Source: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, October 31, 2016 Mayor declares ‘Paisley Park Day’ as Prince museum reopens Share CHANHASSEN, Minn. — Prince’s Paisley Park studio complex and home reopened permanently Friday as a museum honouring his musical legacy, and the mayor of the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen declared it “Paisley Park Day” in celebration.The Chanhassen City Council earlier this month put the brakes on Paisley Park’s planned Oct. 6 opening, citing concerns over traffic and parking. Only a limited number of tours were allowed under a temporary permit, disappointing fans who had already made travel plans.But the council signed off on the museum’s rezoning request Monday after steps were taken to address traffic issues, allowing the gates to reopen Friday.“Prince was known to love all, and today we welcome the world to our city while extending an open invitation for fans to visit Chanhassen and this beautiful music landmark,” read the proclamation from Mayor Denny Laufenburger.Visitors to the museum can see the studios where he recorded his hits, his guitars, “Purple Rain” motorcycle, costumes, awards and other memorabilia.More news: GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsAlso on display is an urn – a stylized replica of the building – that contains Prince’s ashes. Prince died at Paisley Park in April of an accidental painkiller overdose.The museum, managed by the same company that runs Elvis Presley’s Graceland, is expected to draw 600,000 people a year. The 70-minute tour costs $38.50 while the 100-minute VIP tour costs $100. Additional fees are $11.75 per ticket.
Travelweek Group Tags: Sandals Resort, Turks and Caicos Thursday, May 23, 2019 Sandals Resorts fires back against class action suit allegations TORONTO — Sandals Resorts says its guests are its top priority and asserts that it would never unlawfully charge its guests taxes, as alleged in a new class action lawsuit.Filed this week in Florida, the suit charges that several Sandals and Beaches Resorts in the Caribbean misdirected all or a portion of government accommodation tax fees charged to guests back into the company.Miami-based Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. says it is “aggressively pursuing litigation”. So far the suit is worth US$5 million.Sandals immediately answered back with this statement: “Our customers are our top priority and under no circumstances would we exploit their faith in us.“Our valued guests have never been unlawfully charged for taxes and allegations to the contrary are downright false.“Not only do we conduct our business with pricing transparency, we meet all of our tax obligations in each of the islands where we call home.More news: Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & Mexico“We take great pride in being the gold standard in the islands where we operate and have spent close to four decades providing guests with the most comprehensive vacation experience bar none. We will of course vigorously defend against these baseless allegations.”Beaches Turks & Caicos is one of several resorts mentioned in the suit. Earlier this year came word that SRI was going to close Beaches Turks & Caicos indefinitely in 2021, stemming from a dispute with that island’s government. At that time the Premier of Turks and Caicos Islands, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, said, “just to be clear, it has not been a matter of Beaches avoiding taxes.”As reported by Travelweek on May 15, while Beaches Turks & Caicos will go ahead with plans to shut down Sept. 3 – Oct. 15, 2019 for light maintenance and renovations, the planned closures in 2020 and 2021 have been scrapped.General Manager, Jamie McAnally, confirmed the news to Travelweek: “There were conversations that needed to be had and I think both parties agreed that it’s in everyone’s best interest to stay open. It definitely speaks to our commitment to staying on longer.” Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>
No related posts. A festival promoting good-hearted mischief, love and unity through music, dance, performance art and a visual smorgasbord is coming to Costa Rica for the first time August 10.The festival is inspired by Holi, the Festival of Colors, which originated in India as a celebration of the triumph of good over evil. In India, Holi is observed at the end of winter to welcome spring and to celebrate a Hindu legend. On this day, participants chase each other through the streets and throw colored powders, perfumes and water on each other. Some also build large bonfires and burn Holi dolls, which represents the burning of the female demon Holika from the Hindu legend of Prahalad and Holika. The moral of the legend is that good always conquers evil. During the celebration, mischievous behavior is encouraged and cast, class, and status are dissolved; everyone is united.From the Indian Holi sprang Holi One World Ltd and that group has brought the concept of unity and color to music festivals all over the world, from Germany to the U.S. to Singapore. Now it will come to Costa Rica. Festival-goers are encouraged to come dressed in white and every hour, on the hour, to release bags filled with colored powder into the air, creating a magnificent cloud and covering everyone with a rainbow of hues.While people in India create their powder in a variety of ways, Holi One has manufactured their own version, which will be used at the festival in Costa Rica. The Holi One powder has been tested and certified in Germany to be environmentally friendly, non-toxic, allergy-free and water-soluble. Despite these tests, the Holi One Ltd website warns that the dyes may permanently stain clothing and temporarily stain light-colored hair. It’s recommended that contact lens wearers bring goggles.Besides throwing colors at each other, attendees will be treated to a long lineup of international and local bands and DJs. The Holi One Costa Rica crew has been slowly releasing the names of the confirmed performers on its Facebook page. The eagerly awaited closing act was announced Thursday morning. It will be the duet Hard Rock Sofa, DJs and producers from Russia.The Holi One Festival is scheduled from noon to 10 p.m. on August 10 at the Centro de Eventos Pedregal in Belén, Heredia. Attendance is limited to those who are 18 years or older. Tickets range from ₡16,000 to ₡20,000 and can be purchased online and at Ruta Urbana in San Pedro, Paseo de Las Flores, Multiplaza Escazú, and Lincoln Plaza. Three bags of powder cost ₡3,500.Performers: Hard Rock Sofa: https://soundcloud.com/hardrocksofaofficialFlorian Kunicke: https://soundcloud.com/zeitzumfeiernChristopher Cherubin: https://soundcloud.com/christophercherubinBartosz Brenes: https://soundcloud.com/bartoszbrenesJalamelule: https://soundcloud.com/jalameluleSource: https://www.facebook.com/source.cr/app_178091127385Santos & Zurdo: http://youtu.be/onIM-atqsDcAlphabetics http://youtu.be/NiENLEkBH-4Melissa O: https://soundcloud.com/melissaoPatterns: https://www.facebook.com/PatternsdanceHuba & Silica: http://youtu.be/EY2NoiuASEoPiloy: http://youtu.be/twu6uAdVVLg Facebook Comments
A large crowd gathered at Hot Rocks bar in Puerto Viejo Friday for the opening ceremonies of the third annual Chocolate Festival, only to have the event shut down by the Health Ministry.The community festival was planned to celebrate Puerto Viejo’s re-emerging chocolate scene, which for decades had all but dissapeared after a fungus wiped out most of the area’s cacao crops in the 1970s and ’80s.Recommended: Puerto Viejo to host third annual chocolate festivalPolice and Ministry officials arrived around 7 p.m. when the event was already in full swing. A crowd of more than 100 people had gathered for performances and to sample chocolate from chocolatiers from around the country. The ministry ordered the vendors off the premises and told organizers the festival violated the country’s health code because the event was too large and the food was from unknown origins.“Since we called it a festival they classified it as a massive event. We could have called it anything else and it may have gone differently,” said Hot Rocks owner Charlie Gregory.Festival organizers specifically chose a private venue for the event in order to avoid permit issues with the ministry. Though the festival had been advertised for months, Gregory said he never received a warning that the event would cause a problem.“It’s as if this was designed to break in the eleventh hour after we couldn’t do anything,” he said. “Are they just shutting down an event this large to make an example of us? Maybe.”This morning, the festival’s shocked and disappointed participants met to discuss a plan for the festival’s remaining events, but many vendors left disappointed.“It cost a lot for us to come out here to do this,” said Juan Luis Salazar, owner of Iguana Chocolate Farm near the country’s Pacific Coast. He and farm volunteers had traveled eight hours to sell their chocolates at the festival.Despite the setback, many of the events and workshops will still take place at venues throughout Puerto Viejo. Those still wishing to attend the festival can go to Hot Rocks for a list of new locations and times.“I still believe we can pull this off,” said Paul Johnson, owner of Caribeans Chocolate and one of the festival’s founders. “We are fighting to come back from a cacao natural disaster that destroyed many people’s livelihoods. This [setback] isn’t much by comparison.”Health Ministry officials will not be available for comment until Monday. Facebook Comments Related posts:Delicious take-aways from the Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival Transsexual aliens, Halloween parties, and other happenings around Costa Rica Puerto Viejo to host third annual chocolate festival Overheard at Envision 2014
Facebook Comments TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Tens of thousands of Hondurans marched Friday in Tegucigalpa, many with torches in hand, as they demanded the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernández over an ongoing corruption scandal.Organizers estimated that a crowd of approximately 50,000 people gathered in the streets, sounding horns and carrying candle-lit torches, demanding the creation of an anti-corruption commission and rejecting dialogue with the president.Many of the protesters carried banners and held anti-government signs with slogans such as “Honduras is ours” and “This is no president, he’s a criminal.”The protesters crowded onto the city’s Suyapa Boulevard for more than a kilometer, marching to the presidential palace, which was guarded by police and soldiers.The demonstration marked the fifth Friday in which protesters have hit the streets calling for Hernández to go.See also: Anti-corruption protests spread to Honduras with demands that President Hernández resignThe opposition charges that the president received approximately $90 million out of more than $300 million they say was skimmed from poverty-wracked Honduras‘s public health system for his 2013 election campaign.Hernández has denied wrongdoing and drastically played down the amount.On Tuesday the president called for a dialogue on forming an organization to combat corruption and impunity, but protesters rejected the proposal.Hernández was not in the country for the march, but was in Guatemala for a meeting of Central American leaders.Recommended: Miguel Facussé is dead: What does that mean for the people of Honduras? Related posts:Anti-corruption protests spread to Honduras with demands that President Hernández resign Honduras shutters bank linked to drug trafficking Honduras gets new anti-corruption commission Scandal-plagued Honduras needs dramatic overhaul, say analysts
Scotch Whisky giant Chivas Regal this month launched “The Venture,” a competition in which applicants from 23 countries — including Costa Rica — will have a chance to pitch a proposal for a share of a $1 million fund as well as counseling and mentorship to accelerate the winning projects.The Venture is open for businesses and startups as long as they offer a positive impact on their countries.It was first held in 2014 with finalists from 16 countries, and for this year’s edition Costa Rica was included among the eligible nations.In addition to the funds and counseling, finalists will have global exposure and the opportunity to raise additional funds through the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.The Venture is open to social entrepreneurs who have an established, for profit startup or business. Businesses in early stages are accepted as long as they have a working prototype of their concept, ideally with some demonstrable user traction, and generating a maximum of $500,000. Young entrepreneurs are allowed but at least one of them has to be over 25.Businesses in a growth stage also can participate as long as they can show significant user traction and sales, generating a maximum of $1 million.The main requirement for all is to demonstrate that their business has a positive impact for their country.Businesses or projects can be technological, environmental, community-based, public health-oriented or from other areas that can result in benefits for the social environment. The local call is open for Ticos and foreigners legally residing in Costa Rica and whose projects will be developed here.Interested entrepreneurs can submit their proposals through an online form at www.theventure.com before 9 p.m. (Costa Rica time) on Oct. 31.The best five proposals from Costa Rica will be disclosed on Nov. 14 and those selected will have to pitch them before a jury for a maximum of 90 minutes.The winning proposal will be announced on Nov. 26 and the entrepreneurs will travel to the Dominican Republic to pitch their proposals before an international jury along with winners from that country, Guatemala and Panama.Each regional winner of The Venture will travel to Silicon Valley, California, for a week where they will have the opportunity to participate in trainings and seminars at companies such as Indiegogo, Google and Singularity University, among others.Finalist proposals will be submitted to a public vote during five weeks where they will compete for five weekly prizes of $50,000.Chivas brand manager in Costa Rica Dennis González said the remaining $750,000 will be distributed in June 2016 among the three best projects worldwide in a final pitch (in English) also in California.The contest this year will include representatives of 23 countries, among them Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Chile, Mexico, Spain, England, South Africa, United States, Panama and Guatemala.One of the winners last year was a project from Chile involving the manufacture of vending machines dispensing basic grains (rice, beans, lentils) in small amounts aimed at poor people who cannot afford to buy a kilo.Chivas also granted funds to a Brazilian online platform to file complaints against public agencies and also to a project in Japan for manufacturing a device that measures the humidity of plants to determine the exact amount of water needed by crops.“During the fundraising stage alone, 14 of the 16 finalists raised more than 100 percent of the funds they required to develop their initiatives,” González said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica’s capital is the second best city in the region for doing business, World Bank says Costa Rica to build its first industrial park for small- and medium-sized businesses Foundation offers $1.3 million in funding for sustainable development projects Central American Bank grants Costa Rica $2 million to finance environmental projects
SAN SALVADOR — The government of El Salvador on Sunday offered advice to allay the worries of its citizens living illegally in the United States, where immigration authorities have vowed to crack down on undocumented residents.“Immigration agents have to present you with an order that has been signed by a judge in order to enter your home,” read the information provided by the foreign ministry.“If you are detained by an immigration agent, remain calm,” the statement from the Salvadoran government continued.“If you have immigration papers, present them. If not, ask immediately to contact your attorney or the nearest consulate of El Salvador.”The advice from authorities in San Salvador was issued amid news reports last week that President Barack Obama’s administration was planning a vast operation to round up and expel from the United States undocumented migrants — including families who last year fled drought and violence in Central America.News reports said the crackdown could begin as early as Monday. Any such U.S. action would be hugely controversial, with immigration one of the hottest topics in the 2016 presidential campaign, and rights groups expressed grave concern at the deportations.The flow of Central American families and unaccompanied children crossing into the United States from Mexico slowed this year, but the numbers surged upwards again in October and November.A Salvadoran foreign ministry source told AFP that a state of emergency has been declared at the nation’s consulates in the United States, which are bracing for a crush of petitions for assistance from its citizens residing in the United States.According to the reports, hundreds of families living in the United States whose asylum requests have been denied will be rounded up and sent home.Refugee rights activists argue the families are fleeing corruption, gang violence and drought in their homelands and should be treated as refugees.But DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told AFP that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson “has consistently said our border is not open to illegal immigration.“If individuals come here illegally, do not qualify for asylum or other relief, and have final orders of removal, they will be sent back consistent with our laws and our values.” Facebook Comments Related posts:US appeals court rules against Obama’s immigration plan Bernie Sanders: Central American refugees should not be ‘cast out’ US religious groups offer sanctuary to immigrants targeted in new raids Refugee program for Central Americans ‘still on the drawing board’: US official
Mark Randall demonstrates a button-powered pop-up TV at the foot of a bed at The Palms. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesIt’s so you can watch TV in bed at night, Mark said, but in the morning the TV won’t be blocking the stunning view of Flamingo Beach you see through these glass doors.You get what you pay for, I thought.________________Costa Rica’s Greatest PlacesIn this series, The Tico Times Travel section takes an in-depth look at some of Costa Rica’s greatest destinations, with multiple articles exploring the attractions of each. Throughout the month of December, we’ll visit the sumptuous Flamingo Coast — Playa Grande, Conchal, Brasilito, Flamingo, Potrero and Las Catalinas.The Flamingo Coast• Dec. 5: Overview• Dec. 8: Marina• Dec. 12: Real Estate• Dec. 15: Adventure by sea• Dec. 19: Adventure by land• Dec. 22: Hotels• Dec. 26: Restaurants_______________ The front lawn at The Palms. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesWhat’s unusual here is that in the 1990s the site was grandfathered in to allow titled property that starts at 50 meters from the high-tide line of the gorgeous beach. This is ordinarily impossible in Costa Rica, where you generally need a concession to build anything within 200 meters of the beach — and even if you “buy” within that concession, you don’t really own the land, you’re just borrowing it.Words fail me to describe how elegant these residences are. “Lady Gaga should have a place like this,” I said to manager Mark Randall as he gave me a tour of a couple of them. And here on the Flamingo Coast, where I toured properties from Playa Grande to Conchal to Brasilito to Flamingo to Potrero to Las Catalinas, you can get just about anything you want. And you don’t have to be a millionaire.“You still can get a $100,000 little house that’s walking distance from the beach,” said Estela Reyes, who runs the RE/MAX office in Flamingo, referring to properties in Potrero. “So you can go from $5 million properties to $100,000, and you don’t see the break between the rich and the less fortunate. … Everybody welcomes everybody, and it’s a very small community.” Club Mar Vista, a restaurant, bar and pool open to the public at the Mar Vista housing development. Karl Kahler/The Tico Times“The scenery around here,” Berkowitz said, “because we have all these little islands — we have the Catalina Islands to look at, we have the Parrot Island, Isla de Los Loros — it’s more a scenic view than just looking at the ocean.” A private swimming pool at a private villa. Karl Kahler/The Tico Times“There’s not a lot of beauty in the world, and we think that doing something beautiful, that’s a good ambition to have.”Playa Grande On the south end of this coastline, just across the estuary from bustling Tamarindo, is Playa Grande, which unlike the bays of Brasilito and Potrero has excellent surfing. I stayed at a couple of great hotels here, the Bula Bula and the RipJack Inn, and toured a development called Las Ventanas de Playa Grande with real estate agent Dave Corredor, a co-owner of the RipJack. Ed Podolak and his Super Bowl ring. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesHe and his partners bought the hilltop property in 1998, but they didn’t start building until 2015 — in part because they believed the marina was finally going to be rebuilt.“It’s a stand-alone, it could be all right, but the marina just makes it much, much better,” Podolak said. “It’s a wonderful site, with access to Flamingo Beach, which is all mangroves, so you know nothing will ever be built on Flamingo Beach. It’ll be like that 200 years from now. … The site is very attractive, but knowing that marina would be built made us pull the trigger.” Mar VistaOne of the standout developments here is the Mar Vista, on the green hills overlooking Brasilito and Potrero bays, minutes from the beach. Twenty years in the making, it’s got $14 million worth of infrastructure, paved roads and clay tennis courts, and it remains remarkably low-density. “Also,” Marin said, “if you want to compare this area with Sámara or Santa Teresa, there are some factors like being less than an hour away from the international airport in Liberia; also being less than an hour from good hospital facilities in Liberia; having very good shopping places around. You don’t have to drive an hour to go to a good supermarket. It’s more family-oriented than other places.” View from the 360 Splendor, now under construction on top of Flamingo’s highest hill. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesReserva ConchalAt the upper end up of the upscale options here is the 2,300-acre Reserva Conchal, a luxury housing development on the same property as the Westin Golf Resort & Spa and the 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II.Here at the Llama del Bosque subdivision, lot prices start at $197,000, or at nearby Aromo they’re $299,000. You can also rent here, of course — around $350 a night for a one-bedroom residence, to around $1,700 for a five-bedroom villa with a private pool. Peter and his wife, Sarah, run Krain Costa Rica, which has offices in Potrero, Ocotal and one coming soon to Flamingo. Krain’s eight agents all have U.S. real estate licenses — a nice plus in Costa Rica, where no real estate licensing exists.“Our team is comprised of U.S. licensed agents who have chosen real estate as their profession and value the high standards imposed by U.S. licensing requirements,” Peter said. “Simply put, we are the best at what we do. Our professionalism, knowledge and high quality of service is the cornerstone of our unprecedented success and is our continued promise to our clients.”360 SplendorOn top of the highest hill on Flamingo’s North Ridge, a major condo project called the 360 Splendor del Pacífico is under construction, with 36 units that will sell for between $295,000 for a 1-bedroom and $1.75 million for a penthouse. If you lived here, you’d be home already. (Courtesy of Westin Golf Resort & Spa)Owners have access to some but not all of the amenities of the 5-star all-inclusive Westin Golf Resort & Spa. And practically right across the street is an excellent private school, formerly the Country Day School, now known as CRIA, the Costa Rica International Academy.Hernán Binaghi, the general manager of the Westin, sends his kids to CRIA, and he said, “If you go there to pick up your kids, you can hear maybe 20 languages. It’s amazing. … Here you will hear French, Russian, Croatian, Italian — there’s a huge community. I would say there are more than 20 nationalities in the school.” The PalmsSo back to that James Bond house. … The Palms, just south of the Flamingo Beach Resort, is probably the nicest housing development I’ve ever visited, and with prices starting at $925,000, it ought to be. A fountain in the imaginative streetscape of Las Catalinas. Karl Kahler/The Tico Times“At our core we’re planners,” Neal said, “so we spend a lot of time thinking about our urban plan, which is modeled after a concept called new urbanism. … It’s all about that we need to be connected, an idea of not having cars on your streets. You’re going to be healthy, walking around on your own power — for some that’s freedom, for some that’s an opportunity to meet other people…. In other words, the Flamingo region is poised for a major boom, and prices are only going to go up. This is good news both for sellers who can afford to wait and for buyers who are ready to act.“Let’s say eight years ago, a little bit longer, we had the boom, and real estate in Costa Rica all went up or went down,” said Kenny Segers, a real estate agent with Special Places of Costa Rica (and Estela’s husband). “Now with the marina, everybody is foreseeing that it’s going to go up again.” This 380-acre property has lots that range in price from $60,000 to $220,000, and in size from 1,200 square meters to 5,000. Only 10 homes have been built so far, and all have sold; Dave said he thinks it’s likely that 300 to 350 units will be built, yet even so he said the density will remain very low. Contemporary tropical architecture. (Courtesy of Las Ventanas)The home is made of beautiful Costa Rican teak, with bathroom walls of coralina, a fossilized coral taken from reefs in Colombia and the Dominican Republic.“It’s a wonderful finish, super-warm and natural,” he said. “So there’s a lot of modern stuff about these houses, but also earthy, natural touches.” View from a home at Mar Vista. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesLas CatalinasOn the northern end of this coastline at Playa Danta is a development called Las Catalinas, where you may feel like you’ve stepped out of Costa Rica and into a walkable village on the Mediterranean, full of courtyards, fountains and swimming pools. Manager Neal Herman described the concept as “density but privacy.” Casa Bamboo. (Courtesy of Las Ventanas)Just up the road is another community under development, Corona del Cabo, with ocean-view lots of 5,000 square meters at costs ranging from $125,000 to $350,000. It has 30 lots, with one finished home and two under construction.“Corona del Cabo is a small, intimate gated community that offers beachside living with spectacular ocean views,” said Peter Breitlander, who represents the properties out of his office in Potrero.The site is 15 minutes from Flamingo, 20 minutes from Tamarindo, 45 minutes from the Liberia international airport — and three minutes from the beach. Dining room at The Palms. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesWhen Mark came here four years ago, nothing had been sold, but today 20 of 34 units have been. There are 32 2-bedroom, 2-story units ($925,000 to $1.1 million) and two 3-bedroom units on the ends with two master bedrooms each ($2.5 million). Typically owners spend one to three months here and rent them out the rest of the year.In the center of the complex facing the strangely close beach is a beautiful swimming pool, close-cropped lawn and palm trees. And there’s a restaurant with no dining room, serving gourmet meals at the pool, on the beach or in your villa.Looking for a nice rental? It’s all yours for $550 to $650 a night — or $1,200 for Christmas or New Year’s.Come on, live a little. The entrance to Las Ventanas. (Courtesy of Las Ventanas)“And it’s a debt-free project… It’s all financed in cash and it will never take on debt,” he said.Finished homes start at $299,000 for a brand-new, 2-bedroom, 2-bath, 1,200-square-foot home in a “contemporary-tropical” style. Higher-end homes range from $375,000 to $699,000. Bedroom at Mar Vista. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesI had already toured a couple of sumptuous homes at Mar Vista with Britta Engelhardt, a German woman who runs the Tropical Homes vacation rental company. (She had asked if I wanted to see her “high-end, super-duper houses,” which struck me as a good description — one had a little movie theater, and both had infinity pools and views to die for.) Entryway to a $699,000 home at Las Ventanas. Karl Kahler/The Tico Times“One of the founding principles is construction that’s in harmony with our environment here,” Dave said. “And so that means, generally speaking, houses that are designed efficiently with tons of insulation and other features that make it so they cool themselves.”Dave showed me an 1,800-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 3-bath house under construction, presold for $599,000, with a Balinese-style roof, wooden deck with outdoor kitchen, barbecue, sink and fridge, an infinity pool, quartz kitchen countertops, custom cabinets with “anti-slam doors,” and huge sliding-glass doors that provide breezy cross-ventilation. FLAMINGO, Guanacaste — Showing me a $2.5 million villa at The Palms, Mark Randall touched a button in a master bedroom and a big flatscreen TV started rising from the foot of the bed.“Wow, this is like a James Bond house!” I said. I was sitting with Federico Marin and Aaron Berkowitz, who design and build homes here, at Club Mar Vista, a hillside restaurant and bar with an infinity pool and a spectacular view of an oceanscape dotted with pretty islands. The general partner on the project is Ed Podolak, 69, who was a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1969 to 1977. His team won the Super Bowl his rookie year. He didn’t start, but he did play, and of course he still has the ring. Related posts:Five good restaurants in Flamingo and Potrero, and one very sad note Flamingo: Zafira catamaran cruise is a heaping helping of hospitality at sea Flamingo Marina: Happy ending expected to a long tale of woe Riding mountain bikes above Playa Danta is your own private roller coaster A model of the 360 Splendor at its office in Flamingo. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesI toured a sumptuous model at the site, where Podolak said half the units are already sold. Typically the buyers are investors looking for a place to stay for a month or so and rent out the rest of the year.The first phase of four buildings is expected to be complete by July, with a fifth ready by December 2017. There will will be an infinity pool, a 4,000-square-foot restaurant and bar, an exercise facility and a spa. The cost of the entire project is about $20 million. Britta also represents homes on the beach in Surfside, an upscale neighborhood in Potrero. Her vacation rentals run close to $6,500 per week, “but divide by six or eight people and it’s a pretty good deal,” she said. Great. Now I just need six or eight friends. Estela said, “Whoever can wait until the marina is in, as soon as the first machine is digging in the ocean, they’re going to raise prices. I have people that contact me — ‘Sell my property’ — and as soon as I mention the marina, they say, ‘Oh, I’m going to wait, then.’”Even if you’re agnostic about the new marina — and people have been hearing for years that it’s coming any day — the coastline north of Tamarindo and south of Playa del Coco has become a major destination for people looking for a place to live and raise children, to buy an investment or vacation home, or to retire forever. Living room at Las Catalinas. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesPedestrian-only streets made of brick or paving stones connect a series of luxe villas that sell for around $200,000 for a one-bedroom flat to $3 million for a 5-bedroom beachfront home. You can also rent these places at prices that average $200 per bedroom per night. Exterior view of The Palms. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesHe said celebrities aren’t really drawn to this place because of privacy issues, but he reeled off a list of names of tech, business and finance titans who own or rent here. I won’t name the individuals, but the companies had names like Google, Amazon and the Minnesota Vikings, and one guy is a former Costa Rican president.Construction started eight years ago, and it took four and a half years to build. Even the walls around the place are stunning, made of hand-placed stones, some flat and some horizontal, that took three men something like three years to complete. Facebook Comments Vacation rental at Mar Vista. Karl Kahler/The Tico TimesFor those looking to buy at Mar Vista, lots start at $70,000 and climb to $500,000, Aaron said. Finished homes range from $400,000 to $3.5 million, though there’s a “starter home” package for $249,000, for a 2-bedroom, 2-bath, 1,150-square-foot home on a quarter-acre lot.Mar Vista also offers private financing, at rates as low as 4.5 percent, depending on the size of the down payment.A few people told me that they’re seeing an increasing number of buyers here in their 30s and 40s with young kids. One big plus at Mar Vista is that it shrewdly donated space on its property for the La Paz private international school, possibly the finest in the region. So the kids can walk to school and back in a totally secure area. I talked to a lot of people here about why the Flamingo Coast is a good place to buy property and a good place to live, and the reasons are myriad: natural beauty, great schools, fair prices, close airport and a thriving community in a spot that’s neither too overdeveloped nor too remote.Marina coming soon — no, reallyAnd there’s one more reason that makes this not only a good place to buy but also a good time: the Flamingo Marina that by all accounts is on the verge of being approved.“All this apparent inactivity on the land around here, it’s just waiting for that decision,” said Allen Lungo, a Realtor with Keller Williams who’s been here since 2004, around the time the old marina was shut down. “And then this area will be the best place to be in Costa Rica for the next 20 years.”
An average of three Nicaraguans have been killed every day due to government oppression since the peaceful resistance started 100 days ago.The numbers vary depending on which human rights organization report you read, but the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH), which is linked to the Organization of American States, published its most recent tally on Twitter yesterday: 295 dead during protests in Nicaragua.More than 2,000 people have been injured, more than 750 have been kidnapped, and an unknown number of people have been detained while the government oppresses a populace asking for justice and democracy.The government has been known to cause, through sheer terror, forced displacement and an unknown number of people have been forced to abandon the country due to persecution.Last week’s violent escalation led the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), which is part of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), to issue a communique petitioning the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, to take a strong stance regarding government oppression in Nicaragua.In fact, during a visit to Costa Rica on July 17, Guterres questioned “the use of lethal force” of the state on its citizens.The oppression has escalated in the last 50 days. The number of dead grew from 127 to 295 during that time according to the CIDH.CIDH commissioner Antonia Urrejola explained on Twitter that the number has been consistently updated since her visit to Nicaragua last May, when the number was 76 dead. The organization has called on Daniel Ortega to stop the oppression. Managua 21 de Abril 2018 Un prtestante que se enfrentaba a la policia antimotines fue alcansado por una detonacion en la cabeza quedando inconciente en la carretera. Foto Jader Flores / La PrensaThe CENIDHCENIDH agreed with the numbers reported by CIDH: 295 dead, 2,000 hurt, hundreds detained illegally and accused of being terrorists and hundreds of families displaced.The Executive Secretary of the Nicaraguan Pro Human Rights Association (ANPDH), Álvaro Leiva Sánchez, says that their records have the number of dead up to 370.Marcos Carmona, Executive Secretary of the Permanent Commission for Human Rights (CPDH), said their organization’s tally stands at 309 dead, which includes 22 police officers.According to Leiva, the violation Nicaraguans’ human rights has prevailed during the past 100 days.Arbitrary justiceAccording to CPDH lawyer Julio Montenegro, the arbitrariness of the justice system has also increased during this period.Montenegro said the anomalies start with detentions, most of which are arbitrary to begin with. They stem from kidnappings committed by paramilitary forces and illegal detentions by police and then detainees remain incarcerated for longer than the 48 hours established in the Constitution. Some are sent to court six days after they were first captured.The worst part, Montenegro said, is the day-to-day helplessness prisoners face. They have even been taken to court without a public defender.“It’s totally up to the prosecutor, who attributes a crime to them and then it’s never questioned,” Montenegro said.Montenegro added that lawyers often don’t get told what courts their clients are being taken to, or they’re driven to courtrooms where only prosecutors, public defenders, and judges can enter.For Montenegro, this is illegal and irregular. He also mentioned that in the case of Medardo Mairena, a rural leader in Nicaragua who was accused of terrorism, he has information that Mairena “was the target of a beating” by someone who was only identified as Carlos aka El Chacal.He added that the justice system just further criminalizes people who were persecuted by police and paramilitary forces.Montenegro used Mairena’s case as an example.Mairena, Pedro Mena, and eight other people have been accused of being co-conspirators in at least nine charges, including terrorism, organized crime, and murder. Medardo Mairena (L) and Pedro Mena’s (R) first hearing was held in secret without attorneys, family, or fellow farmers present. Courtesy of La PrensaNumber of political prisoners growsDuring the last three months of peaceful protests, 137 people have been accused and indicted in 34 different cases. The most common charges are: terrorism, organized crime, kidnapping, arson, and murder. Most of the accused are students and six of them are teenagers.That number is confirmed by the CPDH, an organization that also offers pro-bono defense to detainees. There have been cases where up to 14 people are charged, like in Estelí, Nicaragua. There, prosecutors made the 14 people who were in the city’s barricades look like delinquents by labeling them “Los Chapulines. There’s also a case where 10 students who were barricaded in the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) were charged in the same case.While the first five political prisoners to appear in court in Managua did so on April 23, the majority of cases were presented by the Public Ministry in June and July of 2018.“There are several complaints to the Public Ministry against police and paramilitaries,” said Pablo Cuevas, the CPDH legal adviser. “This proves that there are two classes of Nicaraguans that have immunity to commit crimes and murder, while the fact that you’re carrying a white and blue flag is enough to get killed or indicted.”Read the original story in Spanish at La Prensa.This story was translated into English and republished in The Tico Times as part of a partnership with La Prensa to help bring their coverage of the Nicaraguan crisis to an English-speaking audience. Facebook Comments Related posts:Thousands march to back Nicaragua bishops after Ortega attacks Nicaraguan government cracks down on doctors, thousands hit the streets US warns Nicaragua as more killed in unrest Nicaraguan student leaders meet with former President Oscar Arias
Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Another unknown is why North Korea about eight months ago stopped construction on the launch pad, rocket assembly building and launch control center at what was intended to be a major new facility at the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground on the northeast coast, according to analysis provided to The Associated Press by 38 North, the website for the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.But the analysis of May 26 commercial satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe and Astrium provides some possible scenarios about what’s happening.One theory is that equipment and construction troops sent from the site to help repair widespread rain damage last year may still be at other posts. Another is that North Korea’s leadership has decided that its more modern Sohae rocket launching site on the northwest coast, the one used to launch rockets in April and December 2012, will be sufficient to support large rocket developmentBut the most intriguing theory from the analysis is that the work stoppage could reflect a decision in Pyongyang to slow or stop building larger rockets.“If Pyongyang ultimately abandons facilities to launch large rockets it only began building in 2011, that could have important implications for North Korea’s space launch program as well as the development of long-range missiles intended to deliver nuclear weapons,” Joel Wit, a former U.S. State Department official and now editor of 38 North, said in an email. Earlier this year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un enshrined the drive to build a nuclear arsenal, as well as expand the economy, in North Korea’s constitution. The Korean Peninsula remains technically in a state of war because the Korean War ended 60 years ago Saturday with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.Since 2006, North Korea has staged three nuclear tests of apparently increasing power and a series of long-range rocket launches. North Korea says its rocket launches are meant to put peaceful satellites into orbit.What the Obama administration saw as faster-than-anticipated North Korean progress on nuclear weapons and missiles prompted a March announcement that Washington would spend $1 billion to add 14 interceptors to the U.S.-based missile defense system.Outsiders have difficulty assessing North Korea’s intentions and technical capabilities, but many doubt that Pyongyang has yet mastered the technology needed to miniaturize a nuclear device to mount on a long-range missile and attain its goal of being able to directly threaten the United States. Some analysts, however, believe Pyongyang may be able to arm shorter-range missiles with warheads.___Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim contributed to this report. Follow Foster Klug on Twitter at twitter.com/apklug(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments Share Top Stories Any clues about North Korea’s secretive rocket program, which Washington and others see as a cover for work on missiles that could strike the U.S. mainland, are significant.Another analyst said North Korea’s construction stoppage may be linked to a desire to ease tensions that spiked this year after weeks of North Korean war threats following U.N. sanctions over its nuclear test in February and rocket launch in December. The rival Koreas have since made tentative efforts at diplomacy.“North Korea may have concluded that there’s nothing more to be gained from confrontation,” said Ohm Tae-am at the state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in South Korea. He said North Korea’s struggling economy may also have figured into a decision to stop funding the construction work.The 38 North analysis said there’s no sign of activity, equipment or personnel at the new launch pad at Tonghae. Grass is growing from the foundation of a large new rocket assembly building, and work is incomplete on a road meant to bring construction equipment and, eventually, large rocket stages to the site.Even if North Korea resumes work at the site, the delay means completion could be pushed back to 2017, at least a year longer than earlier estimates, according to the analysis. Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea has stopped construction work at a site meant to launch bigger and better long-range rockets, a possible sign that Pyongyang is slowing or even halting development of larger rockets, according to a new analysis of recent satellite imagery.The sight of unfinished roads and grass growing from the foundation of a large new rocket assembly building could be welcome news for Washington and others who see Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile work as a threat _ though it is unknown if the work stoppage is only temporary. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
The party-line vote was 51-46.Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said the rejection of the motion was a “harbinger of bad things to come.”He said Democrats would allow the defense policy bill to move forward, but they have decided to block movement of any appropriations bills until a budget agreement is made. “Sooner or later, the Republicans are going to have to back off,” he said.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 Senate Democrats have said they will block the defense appropriations bill from the Senate floor unless there is agreement on spending caps. Obama has threatened a veto, saying he’s opposed to using a budget “gimmick” to increase defense spending while failing to do away with the Budget Control Act’s spending caps.“The Budget Control Act, which set in motion dangerous defense cuts, establishes caps on defense and nondefense discretionary spending,” Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote in an op-ed published on Tuesday. “There is bipartisan consensus on the dangerous impact these spending caps would have on defense. All of the military service chiefs testified this year that funding defense at the level of the BCA caps would put American lives at risk.“Rather than seeking to avoid this scenario at all costs, the president is using it as leverage to extract increases in nondefense spending. As his veto threat made clear, the president ‘will not fix defense without fixing non-defense spending.”The lengthy debate over the authorization bill has stretched into its second week on the Senate floor. The Republican-led Senate rejected an amendment introduced by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., that would have put restrictions on the amount of funding available for the war-fighting account unless money for domestic programs received equal increases. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Comments Share Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top holiday drink recipes WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate panel approved a $575.9 billion defense spending bill on Tuesday, but its fate is uncertain as lawmakers argue over spending caps.The usually bipartisan bill has run into snags this year. The GOP-led House and Senate both have bills that give President Barack Obama the amount he seeks for defense, but they do that by padding a war-fighting account that’s not subject to the automatic spending caps that took effect a few budget cycles ago. Democrats and the White House — and some Republicans — say doing an end-run around the caps by increasing the war-fighting account for a year doesn’t permit defense officials the flexibility to plan to keep U.S. military might strong, especially at a time when Islamic extremists are on the rise. It takes years, for instance, to develop weapon systems.Obama has threatened to veto defense policy bills in both the House and Senate. On Tuesday, he issued a third veto threat — this time on the defense spending bill that the House will vote on this week.The defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday recommended $489.1 billion in base spending and another $86.8 billion for the war-fighting account called Overseas Contingency Operations. The total $575.9 billion measure is to be considered by the full committee on Thursday.If additional mandatory spending and money used in national security programs at the Energy Department are added in, the subcommittee’s markup is aligned with the $612 billion defense authorization bills.Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the top Democrat on the subcommittee, said this year’s defense appropriations process is overshadowed by a “budget impasse.” Sponsored Stories
Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of ___3:40 p.m.Greece’s economy minister says the European Central Bank should keep Greek banks alive so talks can push ahead with creditors.Giorgos Stathakis told the BBC that even if the ECB continues to freeze Emergency Liquidity Assistance, current cash withdrawal and transfer restrictions could stay in place until Friday without any collapse. He said the best-case scenario would be an additional 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in liquidity assistance.Capital controls were imposed last week in the wake of the failure of the country to forge a new deal with creditors.___3:15 p.m.The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin received a phone call from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose government is racing against the clock to reach a bailout deal with creditors.The two leaders discussed the results of Sunday’s referendum in Greece and “several questions about the further development of Russian-Greek cooperation,” the Kremlin said.During Monday’s call, the Kremlin said Putin “expressed support for the Greek people in overcoming the difficulties facing their country.”___3.00 p.m.The eurozone’s top official says he wants Greece to stay in the euro. “There are still 48 hours, there is still this week,” said Antonopoulos. “We will push as much as possible for an outcome, a result of these negotiations that does not obligate Greece to go in that direction.”___11:36 a.m.European stock markets trimmed earlier losses after Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he was quitting his post despite the overwhelming ‘no’ vote in the country’s referendum on creditor proposals on Sunday.After opening sharply lower, European stock markets recovered some ground on the news. The Stoxx 50 index of leading European shares was down 1.6 percent while Germany’s DAX fell 1.2 percent.___10:55 a.m.French Finance Minister Michel Sapin says it is up to Greece to come up with new proposals following the referendum, hours before German Chancellor Angela Merkel heads to Paris for an emergency meeting with French President Francois Hollande.“The basis of a dialogue is on the table, but it’s up to Greece to show us that it takes the dialogue seriously and that it knows it can stay in the euro and that there are decisions to make,” Sapin told Europe 1 radio Monday.France had no desire to see Greece leave Europe but Sapin insisted that the bloc would not be destabilized if that happened. “It’s Greece that is in difficulty. Europe is not in difficulty — Europe is facing a Greek difficulty.” Portugal’s center-right coalition government, which has staked its reputation on austerity policies to reduce the country’s huge debt burden, made no comment.___1:25 p.m.The German Finance Ministry says a reduction in Greece’s debt mountain isn’t on Germany’s agenda. Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said “our position is well-known … a debt cut is not an issue for us.”He said there were no grounds for a debt restructuring given that Greece has yet to set out fresh proposals for financial aid.___1:05 p.m.German officials are insisting that Greece can only hope to receive aid from the eurozone’s rescue fund if it accepts conditions in return.Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said Monday the rules underpinning the fund, the European Stability Mechanism, clearly specify that all aid is subject to conditions.He said that “it is simply not legally possible to back away from this principle.”___12:45 p.m.Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman says Germany sees no basis at present for entering negotiations on a new bailout program for Greece, but that the door remains open.Steffen Seibert said Monday that Germany respects the “clear ‘no’ vote” by Greeks against austerity measures demanded by creditors and that “the door for talks always remains open.” ___10:30 a.m.A meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the leaders of six of the seven parties represented in Parliament is underway at the presidential palace.Tsipras requested Monday’s meeting shortly after the referendum results showed a clear victory for the “no” camp. He said he aimed to share his strategy for negotiations with creditors on a new bailout deal and call for support.___10:15 a.m.Government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras “feels the need to thank (Varoufakis) for his ceaseless efforts to promote the government’s positions and the interests of the Greek people, under very difficult conditions.”___8:57 a.m.Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned, saying he was told shortly after the Greek referendum result that the some eurozone finance ministers and Greece’s other creditors would prefer he not attend the ministers’ meetings.Varoufakis issued an announcement Monday saying Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had judged that Varoufakis’ resignation “might help achieve a deal” and that he was leaving the finance ministry for this reason.Varoufakis is known for his brash style and fondness for frequent media appearances when the new government was formed in January. He had visibly annoyed many of the eurozone’s finance ministers during Greece’s debt negotiations. Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the support heralded a “new era” in Greek politics and would boost Athens’ chances of reaching a deal with European and international creditors.___4:15 p.m.Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has spoken on the telephone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a day after Greece overwhelmingly voted against recent creditor proposals and on the eve of an emergency eurozone leaders’ summit.A government official in Athens said Tsipras told Merkel that he would present Greece’s proposals to restart talks with creditors at the Brussels meetings.The official asked not to be named pending an official announcement.Talks between Athens and bailout lenders were halted during the referendum campaign.___3:55 p.m.Germany’s vice chancellor says Europe needs to be ready to provide humanitarian aid to GreeceSigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany’s economy minister, said there is a danger that Greece will suffer a shortage of essential goods such as medicine.“The people there need help, and we shouldn’t deny it to them just because we’re not satisfied with the outcome of the referendum,” Gabriel told reporters in Berlin. However, he said the conditions are “not there at present to enter negotiations on a new program.” He said the “no” vote is a vote against the principle — still supported by Germany — that solidarity requires countries to take responsibility.___12:30 p.m.French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said discussions over Greece’s debt sustainability are not “taboo” and that the country could not recover given its current repayment obligations “in the months and years to come.”He also called for the European Central Bank to maintain liquidity assistance to Greek banks. French and German leaders are meeting late Monday for a “deep conversation” leading to a solution, Sapin told Europe 1 radio. France has through the last few months been one of the most conciliatory eurozone countries towards Greece.___12:15 p.m.Greece’s employment minister is signaling a conciliatory tone in upcoming talks with European leaders, suggesting that leaving the eurozone would be the worst possible option for the beleaguered country.Rania Antonopoulos told the BBC there is still time to get a deal. With Greece’s future hanging in the balance, the country is running out of cash and is at risk of a financial crash. The 55-year-old economist was Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ lead bailout negotiator in talks that halted last month before Tsipras called a bailout referendum. In that referendum, Greeks overwhelmingly voted against recent creditor proposals required for bailout cash.Tsakalotos replaces fellow-economist Yanis Varoufakis who quit earlier Monday, saying his departure would help bailout negotiations reach an agreement.___5:45 p.m.Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, says the fund stands “ready to assist Greece if requested to do so.”Her statement Monday was the IMF’s first reaction to Greek voters’ decisive rejection of further austerity measures in return for bailout loans.“We are monitoring the situation closely,” she said, without offering further details.Greece is in arrears to the IMF, having failed to pay a 1.5 billion-euro ($1.7 billion) loan due last Tuesday. The IMF said it couldn’t get involved in a further bailout of Greece if the country remained in arrears.The IMF last week also said that Greece would need debt relief as well as new financing worth more than 60 billion euros through 2018 to avoid financial collapse. The two are expected to issue a joint statement before the dinner that’s likely to reflect the line to be taken at the summit. France has appeared more conciliatory than Germany toward Greece over the past few months of protracted bailout discussions.___7:05 p.m.German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says he had “no personal problems” with Yanis Varoufakis, who earlier quit as Greece’s finance minister despite the overwhelming ‘no’ vote in Sunday’s referendum on creditor proposals.At a press briefing in Warsaw, Poland, Schaeuble said he, and other finance ministers in the 19-country eurozone, were “not of the same opinion” on many points with Varoufakis whose resignation triggered hopes that the Greek government will be more conciliatory in discussions Tuesday in Brussels.Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the new finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos are expected to provide fresh proposals to European creditors.Schaeuble said Varoufakis’ successor “will be in the not-simple situation of finding a solution with his colleagues in the eurogroup to not-simple problems.”___6:50 p.m.Britain’s Treasury chief has urged British tourists headed to Greece to take enough cash and prescription medicines to cover their trip. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras “needs to start negotiating quickly and keep commitments.”Spain, which took a bailout of its banks in 2012, will help Greece but only if the country embarks on meaningful economic reforms, Rajoy said.He added that negotiations have gone on for too long and must be resolved soon.“The important thing is that Greece needs to know that we are inclined to help but there have to be reforms,” Rajoy said.___9:05 p.m.The European Central Bank says it is keeping the level of emergency credit to Greek banks unchanged, leaving the banks under increasing pressure as they try to cope with cash withdrawals.The ECB says in a statement that the credit “can only be provided against sufficient collateral.” That collateral has been weakened due to the worsening financial situation of Greece.The decision leaves the Greek banks in a stranglehold, as they struggle to replenish cash machines in the coming days.The ECB says it is monitoring the situation in the financial markets closely and is ready to use all available measures to keep stability in the 19-nation eurozone.___8:45 p.m.The leaders of Germany and France say they respect Greece’s vote against the terms of an international bailout, and added the door remains open to negotiations with the Greek government to find a way to keep the country in the 19-country eurozone. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the importance of Greece taking “responsibility” for reforming its economy, while French President Francois Hollande said it is important for Europe to show “solidarity” with Greece. The two leaders run the eurozone’s largest economies.The two leaders met in Paris on Monday. Their brief statement sets the tone for an emergency summit Tuesday in Brussels of the eurozone’s 19 national leaders.Both stressed the urgency of coming to a decision on a solution to Greece’s financial woes, with Merkel demanding proposals from Greece’s prime minister this week.___7:40 p.m.Credit ratings agency Fitch says Greece’s ‘no’ vote in Sunday’s austerity referendum “dramatically increases” the risk of the country leaving the eurozone.Fitch said a deal between Greece and its creditors remains possible but that there’s little time. The agency said the resignation of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis signals the Greek government’s desire to again start talking with its creditors.It said creditors could make stronger commitments on easing Greece’s huge debt but were unlikely to make big concessions on austerity measures. In addition, Fitch said the European Central Bank may find a way to provide hobbled Greek banks with additional liquidity while negotiations continued. 0 Comments Share ___5:25 p.m.On the streets of Athens, Greeks are proud of their toughness and defiance after Sunday’s landslide “no” vote against creditors’ demands — but they acknowledge there’s still plenty to worry about.George Papadokostakis, a 34-year-old coffee shop owner, says he’s very happy with the referendum result. He says “something happened last night with the Greek people. … we were in a dead-end situation (but) with the ‘no’ vote we believe there may be something better.”Shoe store worker Nicky Zachary thinks Greeks are tough and united in rejecting austerity.She says “we can live with very little and we can live through difficult situations. And I think after the referendum, the Greek people are united.”“I don’t know what will happen next. I would like to have an answer. But at least we are fighting,” she added.___5:05 p.m.Greece’s defense minister says three opposition parties have signed a declaration backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in bailout negotiations with creditors.That makes a total of five parties behind the prime minister, who already had the support of his own Syriza party and the junior party in the governing coalition, the Independent Greeks. Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility George Osborne says “the situation risks going from bad to worse” and that “Britain will be affected the longer the Greek crisis lasts and the worse it gets.”He said the chances of a positive resolution to Greece’s debt crisis are “sadly diminishing” after Greek voters’ rejection of recent creditor proposals and that the economic situation in Greece will deteriorate quickly without a new push for stability.Osborne also said several thousand U.K. citizens in Greece will continue to be paid their pensions.___6:40 p.m.Cuban President Raul Castro has sent a congratulatory message to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras saying the overwhelming ‘no’ result in Sunday’s referendum on creditor proposals ratifies the Greece government’s approach.“That result demonstrates the majority support by the Greek people of the courageous policy of the government you lead,” he said in a note published on the front page of official newspapers Monday and dated July 5.___6:30 p.m.The Greek government has named Euclid Tsakalotos as the country’s new finance minister, a day ahead of an emergency meeting with creditors in Brussels. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch finance minister, also says the Greeks want the same.“That is their goal, and still mine,” he said on his way into a Dutch Cabinet meeting Monday in The Hague. “But we will have to see if it happens.”Asked if it was still worth talking with the Greeks after the referendum, Dijsselbloem said: “We will see. We are going to see in the coming days if there are still openings. But there are no easy solutions.”___2:45 p.m.The Greek referendum result is giving heart to anti-austerity parties in other countries.Portugal’s main opposition Socialist Party, which will bid for power in elections due in three months’ time, says Greece’s troubles show that a new approach is needed to the eurozone’s financial difficulties.Socialist leader Antonio Costa said austerity policies are “wrong” and endanger European unity. A new focus on growth is needed to rid the eurozone of the deep economic differences between its 19 members, he said.Like Greece, Portugal got a bailout, when it asked for 78 billion ($86 billion) in 2011. Spending cuts and tax hikes have reduced its budget deficit but have increased unemployment and reduced living standards. Sponsored Stories ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The latest on the fallout from the Greek referendum (all times local):___10:45 p.m.Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says Greece needs to enact reforms that will spur economic growth and comply with obligations to pay off its debt to remain part of the eurozone.“We’re inclined to help Greece but Greece must follow Europe’s rules,” he said in an interview on Spain’s Telecinco evening news program. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall He said it’s crucial there is a “proper resolution” involving debt restructuring immediately.“I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride,” he said, adding that he fully supports the prime minister and the government.___3:35 a.m.The final results of Greece’s bailout referendum are in, with all 19,159 precincts reporting. The “No” side won with a higher than expected 61.31 percent, while “Yes” got 38.69 percent. A total of 6.16 million Greeks voted in Sunday’s referendum, or 62.5 percent of eligible voters.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Markets steadied on the news of Varoufakis’ resignation to not register further falls. Germany’s DAX ended 1.5 percent lower, while the euro was up 0.8 percent on the day just below $1.11.___7:25 p.m.A top Greek official says the government is “moving immediately”” to reach a deal with its creditors “as soon as possible” in order to stave off economic collapse.Government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has sought support from all political party leaders and that the government is “fully aware of how crucial the situation is.”Tsipras met with rival party leaders a day after Greeks soundly rejected a proposal by creditors for more austerity measures in exchange for rescue money.Sakellaridis said the leaders couldn’t ignore the people’s message for a viable deal that would be fair to the poor, deal with Greece’s massive debt and restore liquidity to the hobbled banking system.___7:20 p.m.German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived at the Elysee Palace for talks with French President Francois Hollande about the Greek crisis.Hollande gave her a friendly greeting in the courtyard before heading for the meeting, which comes a day ahead of an emergency summit of the eurozone’s 19 leaders on Greece. Supporters of the No vote celebrate after the results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greeks overwhelmingly rejected creditors’ demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans in a critical referendum Sunday, backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted the vote would give him a stronger hand to reach a better deal. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches
L-R: Silversea’s: Steve O’dell, Cait Gargett, Karen Christensen & Ken Watson in Sydney Ultra luxury European liner, Silversea Cruises have reaffirmed its dedication to the Australian market, which delivers 15 per cent of the company’s business and is its fastest growing market, according to visiting Chief Operating Officer, Ken Watson.Mr Watson, in Sydney earlier this week, said this region was one of the most profitable markets for the cruise line, with more Australians requesting higher-end Suites resulting in the highest daily rate.Silversea Cruises is also the only luxury cruise line in the region to have a dedicated sales office in Sydney, which Mr Watson said was further proof of its dedication to the region.In 2011, Silversea’s Silver Shadow will launch a 30-day Circumnavigation around Australia, which Mr Watson said was already 60 per cent full, mainly with Australian guests. “We try to be the best ultra luxury European cruise line,” Mr Watson said, adding that “being European differentiates us from other American brands”.Silversea are also heavily promoting its specifically designed Expedition ship, Prince Albert II, of which Australians represent 20 per cent of its customers. For more information on Silversea’s 2010/11 voyages, visit: www.silversea.com Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M
“The cost of this announcement to the New Zealand tourism industry is over $70 million every year, so it’s important we secure capacity in wider Asian markets to replace this loss,” Airport spokesperson Glen Wedlock said. “Auckland Airport is actively working on replacing this value.” Auckland Airport has calculated that the loss of the thrice weekly service will cost the NZ tourism industry NZ $70 million per year. Source = ETB News: Tom Neale The decision also means that 100,000 low cost seats will be removed from the market and lessen the travel options of 85,000 passengers per year. Jetstar has decided to redeploy the aircraft to more profitable and popular routes between Brisbane and Bali and Melbourne and Tokyo, the Australian reported. Jetstar has decided to cancel its Auckland to Singapore route and refocus on more profitable flight routes.
Emirates, a global connector of people and places, has today announced a new codeshare agreement with Thailand-based Bangkok Airways, a regional boutique airline, which is set to open up new destinations for Bangkok Airways and Emirates passengers from Europe, Australasia and South-East Asia regions.The new agreement will see Emirates’ code added to 19 Bangkok Airways routes across a number of Southeast Asian cities, adding a total of 14 new destinations to the Emirates global network and seamlessly connecting customers to new tourist destinations such as Koh Samui and Chiang Mai in Thailand, Siem Reap in Cambodia, and Yangon and Mandalay in Myanmar.Passengers travelling to Bangkok Suvranabhumi, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will be able to take advantage of Bangkok Airways codeshare routes.This agreement also offers a choice of stopover in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Phuket for Emirates passengers travelling to and from Koh Samui.The Bangkok Airways flights will seamlessly connect with Emirates flights from Dubai and beyond, including European gateways, and will also provide increased connectivity for passengers from Australia and New Zealand.Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Our new codeshare agreement with Bangkok Airways will provide our passengers with increased choice, flexibility and ease of connection to different cities across Southeast Asia to and from Dubai, ultimately offering a smoother, more convenient travel experience.“Emirates already offers six daily services to Bangkok, and from December, four of these services will be operated by our flagship A380 aircraft. This provides many options to connect to the region as part of our new codeshare.”Bangkok Airways’ Senior Vice President Network Management, Peter Wiesner, said: “This new codeshare agreement with Emirates is yet another important milestone and an exciting development in the continued growth of Bangkok Airways.“It allows us to give our customers around the region convenient, seamless access to Dubai and onwards to the rest of the world through our extensive regional route network, direct from their local airport.”Bangkok Airways operates 31 routes to 24 Asian airports. Emirates customers travelling on Bangkok Airways will enjoy the same luggage allowance they are entitled to on Emirates, checked through to their final destination. All Emirates’ passengers on Bangkok Airways flights will receive boarding passes on check-in at their first international departure point for connecting international services. Fly EmiratesSource = Emirates
NSW domestic tourism results sky high againNSW continues to lead the way as the most popular tourism and major events destination for domestic visitors, according to the latest National Visitor Survey (NVS).Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said NSW continues to lead Australia in visitor numbers, nights and expenditure, with each of these growing at more than three per cent over the last year.“In the year ended June 2015, NSW welcomed more than 27.4 million domestic visitors who stayed almost 90 million nights and contributed close to $16 billion to the State’s visitor economy, representing the highest level of domestic overnight expenditure since the year ended June 1999,” Mr Ayres said.“The NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW continues to work alongside the NSW tourism industry, developing strategies and campaigns to contribute to the goal of doubling overnight expenditure by 2020, and these outstanding results reflect the success of these activities.”Regional NSW welcomed more than 19.1 million visitors, and leads regional Australia for domestic visitors and nights. Regional NSW also achieved its highest domestic overnight expenditure since the year ended March 1999.Central NSW and the Riverina recorded significant growth in visitor numbers of 13 per cent, and the Blue Mountains and Murray both had visitor growth of nine per cent.Earlier this month, international data showed NSW remains Australia’s undisputednumber one destination, with a record 3.3 million international visitors in the last year.In the June 2015 quarter, world-class events in NSW included Vivid Sydney, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, the Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur matches, Orange F.O.O.D Week, State of Origin Game 1 and the Sydney Royal Easter Show.Source = Destination NSW
European Commissionfind out more here Source = THAI Airways International THAI Airways Internationalbook and fly here THAI Airways International www.thaiairways.comTHAI operates to Europe as normalMr. Charamporn Jotikasthira, THAI President, said that the European Union’s Aviation Safety Committee (ASC) meeting on 25 November 2015 to review the Air Safety List, did not place carriers from Thailand to the list. In the European Commission press release dated 10 December 2015, “No air carriers from Thailand were added to the Air Safety List at this time.”As such, THAI will continue to operate regularly-scheduled flights to Europe, which includes these 11 cities in 9 countries: London, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Brussels, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Zurich, Milan, and Rome. Passengers can find flight information at www.thaiairways.com. THAI continues to operate under high safety standards of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).THAI is prepared to support and cooperate with the Civil Aviation Administration of Thailand (CAAT) in the recertification of air carriers, and supporting other Thai carriers to raise safety standards in making Thailand’s aviation industry robust.
Hip, Hip, Hooray! It’s TRYP Fortitude Valley’s Third BirthdayHip, Hip, Hooray It’s TRYP Fortitude Valley’s Third BirthdayWith guests requesting everything from a ‘band of dinosaurs’ to Nicholas Cage on their booking forms, TRYP Fortitude Valley Hotel, Brisbane has accommodated all manner of strange requirements in the three years since opening its doors.“We do get some odd requests, but we always have a lot of fun coming up with ways to meet our guests’ needs,” said Hotel Manager Kim Knowles, who has been at TRYP Fortitude Valley since it opened on 5 September 2014.“We had one guest ask to have Nicholas Cage in the room for his girlfriend’s birthday and, while we couldn’t get the real thing, we made sure they had a portrait of him next to their bed. On another occasion a guest requested a band of dinosaurs, which was brought to life through drawings done by several team members.”The city’s only street art hotel has become a destination in its own right thanks to its striking exterior murals, ideal location on Constance Street in Fortitude Valley and impeccable service.It has welcomed almost 72,000 guests in three years of operation, including the likes of Olly Murs, Rudimental, Wu-Tang Clan, Yelawolf, Rufus, Birds of Tokyo, Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker), Kate Miller-Heidke, Kid Ink, Six60, Jarryd James, Yellowcard and Mayday Parade.“TRYP Fortitude Valley has become a go-to destination for corporate travellers and weekend revellers who want to stay in the heart of Brisbane’s most vibrant entertainment and corporate hub,” Ms Knowles said. “Our guests love the hotel’s unique décor and central location, as well as our staff who know all the best places to eat, drink and be seen in the city.”Nestled amidst the Valley’s vibrant cultural precinct and close to iconic bars, restaurants, galleries and other attractions, TRYP Fortitude Valley’s rooms are adorned with striking street art and also boast coffee pod machines, interactive Lifestylepanel televisions and complimentary Wi-Fi.As well as stylish and well-appointed accommodation, TRYP Fortitude Valley offers excellent service and a host of state-of-the-art facilities including an onsite gym, meeting room, UP on Constance rooftop bar and ground floor burger restaurant, Chur.The hotel has received numerous accolades over the past three years, including nods to its architecture and interior design from the Australian Institute of Architects, as well as TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and Travellers’ Choice Award in 2017.Barry Robinson, President and Managing Director of Wyndham Hotel Group South East Asia and Pacific Rim, said TRYP Fortitude Valley was one of the company’s most unique and popular properties.“Since it opened, TRYP Fortitude Valley has provided a different flavour to street art and it has been great to see how well it has been received by customers, corporate partners and the whole community,” Mr Robinson said. “It is a truly unique property and we could not be more proud of the mark it has made on the Brisbane hotel landscape.”More information on TRYP Fortitude Valley is available at www.trypbrisbane.comCelebrate TRYP’s 3rd birthday with 20% off the best available rate (subject to availability).Call (07) 3319 7888 and quote: TRYP’s 3rd birthday. Source = TRYP Fortitude Valley Hotel
In order to attract Indian tourists, the Sri Lankan Tourism Promotions Bureau has decided to launch Ramayana trail. This decision was taken soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka.The decision came from the Bureau because of the significance that Ramayana holds in India. The trail is among Sri Lanka Tourism Board’s new products to keep tourists from its biggest market interested. According to the Bureau, Indian market is becoming more competitive therefore Sri Lanka needs to come up with innovative ways to have an upper hand against the competition.Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau will launch the Ramayana Trail with top 26 tour operators in India. The Ramayana Trail will focus on 19 important sites with links to Ramayana, including Ramboda, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Galle, Chilaw and Mannar etc.Since Ramayana is a connection between India and Sri Lanka, the Tourism Bureau is hoping to attract tens of thousands of tourists with it. Sri Lanka is hoping to attract at least 20,000 tourists from the Ramayana Trail in the first year itself.
Unlocking the huge potential and enlarging the developmental scope for the North-East region, the Government of India is furthering its most ambitious project, ‘Look East Policy’ by means of which it is focusing on the overall development of the region for better economic growth. Amongst the many potential sectors on bringing development, health sector in the northeast region can play a major role and can be the most sought after medical tourism hub in the country and its neighbouring countries.In a bid to promote health sector in the region, a conference on the health sector in northeast region was graced by Manipur Chief Minister, N Biren Singh in Imphal, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in association with the Manipur state government.The conference was aimed to invite potential investors in the region for greater development in the health. It was attended by CEOs and CMDs of leading healthcare providers of the country as well as over 300 stakeholders from healthcare fraternity from across the corner of the country.Medical Tourism is poised to be the next Indian success story after Information Technology. Every year about 150,000 foreigners are visiting India for treatment purpose and realising this potential, the Ministry of External Affairs has set up the provision of issuing medical visas for those seeking healthcare in India. In India, cities like Chennai, Vellore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata are the most preferred destination for Medical Tourism. The seven sister’s region of India is in the process of becoming a favourite Health Destination.