Goway launches 2017 Africa Middle East travel planner

first_img TORONTO – Goway Travel has released its new 2017 brochure with more than 250 travel ideas for Africa and the Middle East.More than 20 countries are covered in the new travel planner. New tours for 2017 include:Goway’s 32-day ‘Ultimate Journey of a Lifetime, The Cape to Cairo’ returns with even more additionsExpanded VIP programs including five new itineraries, the Ultimate Air Safari Tour, Southern Africa Extravaganza, Malawi and Zambia Getaway, Legendary Cape and Delta and the African SamplerThe new Spectacular South Africa, a small group, 15-day, escorted tour featuring deluxe accommodationsNew exclusive game lodges in South AfricaUpgraded Kilimanjaro climbsAn 11-day Kenya Family Safari, perfect for younger globetrottersTwo safari and beach packages combining South Africa and MozambiqueNewly added Pemba and Mafia Island stays, “a great extension to any safari in East Africa”New overland tour from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls for more adventurous travellersGoway first entry into Africa was overland expeditions. Its product range has since grown to include fly in safaris, exotic beach destinations and romantic rail journeys. See goway.com. Friday, September 30, 2016 Share Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Tags: Goway Travel Goway launches 2017 Africa & Middle East travel planner << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Karisma enhances wedding offering with new online tools

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Romance & Weddings Share Posted by Karisma enhances wedding offering with new online toolscenter_img Wednesday, October 12, 2016 Travelweek Group MIAMI — Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ newly enhanced website for destination weddings includes a ‘Your Day, Your Way’ customizable planning tool, digital Save the Date announcements and a Promo Predictor for upcoming destination wedding deals.The site is at MemorableMomentsWeddings.com.“Karisma Hotels & Resorts is renowned for its wedding and romance travel offerings, consistently setting new standards at our adults-only El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and family-friendly Azul Hotels, Generations Resorts by Karisma and Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts,” said Faith Wishnie, Director of Wedding Services at Karisma Hotels & Resorts.  “Our new website offers wedding couples access and resources beyond compare, delivering all the tools and customization of traditional wedding planning with the ease afforded by digital. We designed the new wedding portal to make the destination wedding planning process as simple, straightforward and fun as possible, so couples can enjoy personalized, stress-free wedding experiences from start to finish.”Karisma couples can choose from six style categories in the resort brand’s Memorable Moments Signature Wedding Collection. With ‘Your Day, Your Way’, couples have access to a collection of more than 400 Signature Accents wedding elements including food and beverage offerings, wine pairings, personalized stationery, ceremony shade lounges, customized music playlists, wedding signs, custom-designed floral collections and chic décor.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaWith the new digital ‘Save the Date’ announcements, couples can create personalized and interactive wedding announcements to send to guests, which include a link to a resort slideshow, date and location specifics, and all of the reservations details.  This tool also allows the couple to store and track their guest lists in one place.And the site’s ‘Promo Predictor’ allows couples to sort through Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ weddings promotions.  The new tool displays only offers that meet their criteria.Couples can also now reserve entire sections at select resorts, including the El Dorado Casitas Royale.Other Karisma Hotels & Resorts wedding amenities include the three-night Weddings Dress Rehearsal trips. Brides leave with peace of mind and exclusive offers, including a US$500 wedding credit when booking 10+ rooms.  The Wedding Dress Rehearsal is available several times per year for $699 per couple. See MemorableMomentsWeddings.com.last_img read more

DCs famous cherry blossom bloom at risk as cold snap hits US

first_img Share Monday, March 13, 2017 DC’s famous cherry blossom bloom at risk as cold snap hits U.S. capital WASHINGTON — An unusually warm February followed by a looming burst of cold weather could threaten the famous bloom of cherry blossoms in the nation’s capital.Forecasts call for low temperatures Sunday of 25 degrees in Washington, followed by a possible snowstorm on Monday.The cold weather is a problem because warm weather in February prompted the cherry blossoms to bud earlier than usual. The National Park Service is forecasting peak bloom to occur between March 19 and March 22.National Park Service officials told news outlets that low temperatures of 27 degrees would result in about a 10% of blossoms. But if the lows get down to 24 degrees, it could kill up to 90 per cent of the pink-petaled wonders. Tags: Washington D.C. Source: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

ACVs new CareFree Plan highlighted in Top Picks brochure available now

first_img Travelweek Group TORONTO — The best of the best in terms of resorts and destinations are all featured in Air Canada Vacations’ newly released Top Picks brochure.Agents and clients will find top resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as value-added offerings including ACV’s new CareFree Plan. Plus, a strong emphasis has been placed on ACV’s exclusive hotels and preferred resorts, including all Sandals and Beaches properties.“This brochure is a prelude to what’s coming for ACV’s Sun product,” said Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, Air Canada Vacations. “We found it necessary to highlight for our trade partners some of our top resorts, destinations and competitive offerings such as the Early Booking Bonus, StormGuard and the new CareFree Plan.”“Top Picks is a great booking tool and we encourage agents to reference it during client consultations,” he added.Launched specifically for Top Picks packages, ACV’s new Early Booking Bonus offers families $1,000 in savings until June 30. Price Drop Guarantee offers up to $800 cash back per couple if the price of a package drops after booking. This offer ends Oct. 31 and is applicable to Groups.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoStormGuard allows clients to rebook their vacation if the U.S. National Hurricane Center declares a tropical storm warning within 72 hours of scheduled departure. Protection typically costs $49 per person but until May 31, ACV will waive the fee.With the new CareFree Plan, clients will receive free seat selection, year-round Price Drop Guarantee, StormGuard protection and a $50 waiver on administration change fees, all of which amount to $339 in savings. For a limited time, CareFree will cost $49 per person.The brochure also highlights Group advantages including special rates; free upgrades; complimentary packages and automatic group price match. Plus, the free weddings at sea offer – valued at US$2,995 – includes a free flight for the 21st passenger; a ceremony performed by the cruise ship’s Captain; priority boarding; photography services for the bride and groom; and more. ACV’s winter flight schedule as well as its collections including Family, Adults, Luxe, Boutique, Spa, Spotlight and exclusive programs Play and Privileges are also highlighted in the brochure. Share Tags: Air Canada Vacations Wednesday, May 24, 2017 center_img Posted by ACV’s new CareFree Plan highlighted in Top Picks brochure, available now << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

The latest resort updates from the Florida Keys postIrma

first_img Friday, March 16, 2018 Tags: Florida FLORIDA KEYS — The Florida Keys and Key West report that about 80% of accommodation is now back in shape.The island chain has been open to visitors since Oct. 1, 2017, just three weeks after Hurricane Irma passed through.In Key West and nearby Stock Island, 92% of all properties are open. Elsewhere in the island chain, 76% are open in Key Largo, 63% in Marathon, 53% in Islamorada and 48% between the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge and Big Coppitt Key.“Lodging properties and other tourism facilities in the Keys have made an amazing rebound since last fall,” says Jim DeKeyrel, Director of Sales for the Florida Keys & Key West. “We’re seeing demand return, helped by cold temperatures in the north.”Here are the latest updates from the tourism boards:KEY LARGOOcean Pointe Suites is scheduled to reopen March 30 with a newly restored private beach and a new over-the-water gazebo.The Keys’ first adults-only, all-inclusive resort is to be unveiled this spring. The new Bungalows Key Largo is targeting a May opening with 135 units, two pools and several restaurants and bars.The former Hilton Key Largo is undergoing renovations to become the new 200-room Baker’s Cay Resort, a Curio Collection by Hilton, to open in the fall with 17,000 square feet of meeting space.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsKEY WESTIn Key West, all properties except three are open. Havana Cabana Key West Hotel, the former Inn at Key West, is scheduled to open April 1. Parrot Key Resort is to reopen by June 1. Key West Bayside Inn & Suites is scheduled to open in the fall.ISLAMORADAIslamorada Resort Co.’s 63-unit Pelican Cove Resort is partially reopened with 42 units. Its 6-acre 54-unit La Siesta Resort & Marina also is open, although its five-bedroom house remains under renovation.Islamorada Resort Co.’s 150-unit Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina is scheduled to reopen in phases, beginning mid-April with 14 new cottages.The 27-acre, 214-unit oceanfront Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa is to reopen March 30 for the Easter holiday weekend. Cheeca Lodge has undergone a US$20 million renovation.Chesapeake Resort has reopened 20 garden-view units and one pool. Its remaining 45 units and resort amenities, including beach accessibility, are to reopen by spring 2019.Islander Bayside Resort is open with 25 two-storey townhomes. Its 25-acre oceanside Islander Resort is to reopen this fall.MARATHONOn Duck Key, the 60-acre Hawks Cay Resort, a AAA Four Diamond Award–rated and Preferred Hotel Group Lifestyle Collection member, is to partially reopen March 16 with 100 villas and its Calm Waters Spa, Sunset Pool, Coral Cay kids’ activities center and Angler and Ale restaurant with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The main hotel, with 177 guestrooms, will reopen this summer.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksIn Key Colony Beach, the Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel & Resort has reopened with 51 units.In Marathon, a new 80-room, full-service Hampton Inn Marathon is set to open in mid-May. Another property, being built oceanside near the Seven Mile Bridge, is to begin opening in 2019 with 199 rooms.LOWER KEYSBig Pine Key Fishing Lodge is open. On Little Torch Key, Parmer’s Resort has 43 (including 14 waterfront) units open, with only one remaining under reconstruction.The four-unit Deer Run Bed & Breakfast plans to reopen by summer. Off Little Torch Key, Little Palm Island is to remain closed until 2019.ATTRACTIONSAll major Florida Keys attractions are open. In Islamorada, Theater of the Sea, launched in 1946 and one of the world’s oldest marine mammal facilities, is open with a restored beach and gift shops. Ferry tours to the historic 5-acre Pigeon Key are operating, departing from the Hyatt Place’s marina at the Faro Blanco Lighthouse. On Pigeon Key, visitors can tour a former section gang quarters, former foreman’s dorm and historical museum. Fishing, snorkeling and diving charters are also operating. The latest resort updates from the Florida Keys post-Irma Posted bycenter_img Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Where would a woman and a ghost get married Try this British

first_img Share Posted by SOMERSET — For some people, Halloween isn’t just a holiday, it’s a total lifestyle.Amethyst Realm of Bristol, England is floating on air after accepting her boyfriend’s wedding proposal during a recent road trip to England’s Wookey Hole caves in Somerset. But unlike her new fiancé, Realm was able to float back down to earth.You see, her fiancé is a ghost.“There was no going down on one knee – he doesn’t have knees,” she said about the proposal in an article published on Huffington Post. “I could actually hear his voice and it was beautiful. Deep, sexy and real.”Realm and her poltergeist-hottie met in Australia while she was still dating her very-human boyfriend. However, their attraction was so undeniable that she ended up cheating on her boyfriend with her phantom lover. The unlikely pair even went so far as to join the mile-high club on her flight back home.Whether you think she’s crazy or simply crazy in love, the resort where the caves are located is backing her claim of a spiritual connection. It’s offered to host the couple’s upcoming wedding, reports the Somerset Live newspaper.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backOn the caves’ spooky history, resort director Daniel Medley told the paper that “they have been recognized as a crossover point to the spirit world since the Stone Age, a place where people can connect with long-lost friends and relatives no longer with us.” << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Thursday, November 8, 2018 The resort has a resident Wookey Witch (named after a creepy looking stalagmite in the cave) who it says can officiate the spooktacular ceremony. Medley said the Witch “would be happy to help them reword the ‘til death us do part clause.”Looking towards the future, Realm already has babies on the brain. In an interview that aired last December, she said she looked into the logistics of getting pregnant with a ghost baby. “There’s a possibility that it is a ghost in you but people don’t know how to carry it to full term,” she said.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the team Tags: Funny Where would a woman and a ghost get married? Try this British resortlast_img read more

Alleged Zetas members to stand trial for 2011 massacre of Guatemalan farmworkers

first_imgNo related posts. GUATEMALA CITY –Eight men – four Mexicans and four Guatemalans – suspected of belonging to the violent drug cartel Los Zetas, will stand trial for the May 14, 2011 murder of 27 farmworkers in the department of Petén, 600 kilometers north of the capital near the Mexican border, a Guatemalan judge said on Tuesday.Judge Carol Flores said the eight defendants will stand trial on charges of kidnapping and murder. A trial date will be announced at an upcoming hearing.Flores ordered the trial to move forward after hearing testimony from two protected witnesses who linked the eight defendants to the brutal crime. The judge also admitted fingerprint evidence from the crime scene and information gathered via phone taps.Flores said evidence in the case indicated that the defendants allegedly planned and carried out the massacre of poor farmworkers at Los Cocos farm, in the La Libertad municipality in Petén. Victims – both men and women – were decapitated during the brutal crime.Prosecutor Aldo Chapas said the massacre was ordered by Guatemalan drug trafficker Mauricio Cruz Cárdenas, alias “Z200,” whose target was the farm’s owner, Otto Salguero, one of Cruz’s rivals.The eight defendants already have been convicted of killing an adjunct prosecutor from the department of Cobán who was investigating the massacre. A judge sentenced each of the eight men to 158 years in prison, although Guatemala’s maximum sentencing guidelines reduced prison terms to 50 years.Los Zetas – a brutal Mexican drug cartel – have been operating in Guatemala since at least 2008, when members of the group were involved in a deadly gun battle between rival drug cartels that left 11 dead in the eastern region of the country.Interior Minister Mauricio López admitted that members of Los Zetas control strategic drug-trafficking regions in heavily forested areas along the 1,000 kilometers that border Mexico. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica opens oxygen therapy center

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rica always seems to be importing the latest health trends. Now doctors want patients to relax and enjoy some fresh air, from inside an oxygen chamber.Late last month, the country inaugurated the Centro Hiperbárico del Este in La Sabana, in western San José. The center is designed to treat patients through a short stay in a hyperbaric chamber.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy places patients inside a large tube for an hour or two and delivers them 100 percent oxygen. The treatment was long used as a cure for decompression sickness for scuba divers, but now it’s also becoming popular for healing wounds such as ones caused by diabetes, bone infections or trauma injuries.“It works. It’s approved medicine. It’s well used in the United States,” Andres Bolaños, a doctor at the new hyperbaric center, said.The chambers also have grown more popular with top athletes in recent years. The world’s No. 1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic, and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow have both been reported to be fans of oxygen treatment in order to recover better from training.Still, studies are infrequent on the effectiveness of the treatment. The intense flow of oxygen is supposed to encourage cell growth, new blood vessels and better circulation in the body. Studies have shown that in diabetes patients, for example, oxygen therapy reduces the number of amputations caused by foot ulcers. But critics believe the studies aren’t specific enough and need to be repeated more frequently.Nevertheless, some believe the treatment could help with Costa Rica’s growing diabetes problem. The International Diabetes Federation says Costa Rica has 271,210 diabetics from the ages of 20 to 79.Bolaños said the type of chamber imported from the U.S. is the latest model and the first of its kind in Costa Rica. The capsule lets patients choose what to watch on TV in the room and also has internal speakers for listening to music.Bolaños said sessions, which last up to two hours per day, cost $150 (although discounts can be applied for frequent use of the machine). Patients often must undergo the treatment 10 to 60 times before a session is complete. Local hospitals La Católica and Clínica Bíblica, also offer the therapy.Cuauhtémoc Sánchez, a Mexican doctor who attended the center’s inauguration on Oct. 25, said the therapy has some side effects. The most common problem is claustrophobia caused by confinement for one to two hours inside the enclosed space. Another common problem is middle ear trauma, which Sánchez described as the feeling of ears “popping,” similar to what happens while flying on an airplane.  A less common, but more dangerous, problem is “oxygen toxicity.” But most treatments do not use high enough levels of oxygen to cause poisoning, Sánchez said.Certain conditions like heart problems can make the procedure risky.The treatment is available for all ages from premature babies to the elderly. However, the center only takes patients who have been referred to the clinic by a general practitioner.Sánchez said if hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help improve a bothersome ailment, it’s worth taking a closer look at the procedure.“Evaluate the benefits of your treatment,” Sanchez said. “I think it’s like any other part of medicine. You’ve got to be confident in your position and [receive] good care.”For more information on the treatment center, visit: www.hiperbaricocr.com or call 2256-6037. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

San José Mayor Johnny Araya tops presidential poll

first_imgNo related posts. The mayor of San José, Johnny Araya Monge, is the solid leader in next year’s presidential race, according to a survey by consulting firm CID-Gallup for the daily La República, released Thursday.Araya, candidate for the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN), would have the support of 40 percent of respondents for upcoming 2014 elections, the number of voters required to win the presidency without a runoff vote, according to Costa Rica’s legislation.All other candidates combined do not reach even half of Araya’s approval numbers.None of Araya’s opponents, including Epsy Campbell from the Citizen Action Party (PAC), José María Villalta from the Broad Front (FA) and Rodolfo Hernandez from the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), managed to surpass 10 percent approval.As for party preferences, PLN also leads the polls with 40 percent support, a clear advantage over opposition parties. PUSC received 8 percent support from respondents, PAC received 3 percent and the FA received just 1 percent.However, the percentage of people who say they do not support any candidate remains high, with nearly a third (32 percent) of respondents saying they will not vote for any candidate in the next election.The survey polled 834 people from April 3-5. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Caribbean parade hot rod workshop and other happenings around Costa Rica

first_imgDance: Graciela Moreno Choreography FestivalThe annual dance festival presents its 31st recital at the National Theater.Festival takes place Sept. 4-7 at the National Theater, downtown San José. Thu.-Sun., 8 p.m. ₡3,500-5,000 ($7-10). Info: National Theater website.Cars: “Foose Tour”Learn about hot rods and classic cars with Chip Foose, star of Discovery Channel’s “Overhaulin’.”Foose Tour takes place Aug. 30 at Wyndham Hotel, Heredia. 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Info: Chip Foose website.Theater: “The Collection”Did Stella and Bill hook up on their business trip? The National Company presents this classic 1961 play by Harold Pinter, here in Spanish translation.“The Collection” will be performed Aug. 28 – Sept. 21 at Teatro 1887, CENAC building, San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun, 7 p.m. ₡4,000 ($8). Info: RedCultura. Courtesy the National TheaterMusic: Íride MartínezThe acclaimed Costa Rican soprano sings a revue of classic arias.Concert takes place Aug. 29 at the National Theater, downtown San José. 7 p.m. Info: National Theater website.Theater: “Sushi’s Journey”In this case, “Sushi” is a cat – whose life is full of adventure. This children’s show by Pedro José Sánchez is an enlivening afternoon excursion.“El Viaje de Sushi” continues through Sept. 14 at the Juan Enrique Acuña Theater, Barrio Escalante. Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). Info: RedCultura.“House and Street” FestivalFourteen artists present multimedia works at this creative cooperative in Barrio Escalante.“Casa y Calle” continues through Sept. 20 at Casa Batsú, Barrio Escalante. Free. Info: Batsú website.Music: SónambuloThe quintessential Costa Rican jam band plays Amón Solar.Concert takes place Aug. 30 at Amon Solar, Barrio Amón. 8 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). Info: Amon Solar website.International Book FairColossal gathering of publishers, editors, writers, and book nuts.Feria de los Libros continues through Aug. 31 at the Antigua Aduana, Barrio Aranjuez. Free. Info: Fair website.Art: “Dirty Game”Costa Rican artist José Miguel Rojas González explores the nature of winning and losing in this subversive series. Read our review here.“Juego Sucio” continues through Oct. 11 at the Central Bank Museum, Plaza de la Cultura, San José. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: Museos Banco Central website.Theater: “Amadeus”Peter Schaffer’s masterpiece about the life of Mozart (and his bitter rival, Salieri) receives an epic production at Teatro Espressivo.“Amadeus” plays Aug. 7 – Oct. 12 at Teatro Espressivo, Curridabat. Info: Teatro Espressivo website.Theater: “Virus”What is the nature of sickness? Costa Rican playwright Ana Istarú explores this theme in “Virus,” her new drama at the Vargas Calvo Theater.“Virus” plays through Aug. 31 at the Vargas Calvo Theater, downtown San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: National Theater website.Art: “The Day We Became Contemporary”The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design celebrates 20 years of cutting-edge arts with a comprehensive, retrospective showcase.“El Día Que Nos Hicimos Contemporáneos” continues through Sept. 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Downtown San José. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Residents ₡1,000 ($2), foreigners ₡1,500 ($3), students ₡500 ($1). Info: MADC website.Enamorate de tu ciudadYes, you can go gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring Enamorate de tu ciudad, or Fall in Love With Your City, a year-round celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Check out the event site for news on games, workshops, presentations and surprise performances.Fall in Love with Your City takes place on Saturdays in various parks in downtown San José. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Info: Enamorate de tu Ciudad website and Facebook page.Art: Paintings by Fabio RojasThe artist presents a series of landscapes at the University College of Cartago.The exhibition will display Aug. 8-29 at the University College of Cartago. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free. Info: University website. Facebook Comments Related posts:The Prague Ballet, an international blues festival, and other happenings around Costa Rica Whale festival, rugby tournament, and other happenings around Costa Rica Flamenco superstars, Soda Stereo tribute, and other happenings around Costa Rica Tico stand-up, founding father, and other happenings around Costa Rica Festival of Afro-Costa Rican CultureCosta Rica is a country of many cultures, and one of the most influential is the Afro-Caribbean. Each year, El Día de la Persona Negra y Cultura Afrocostarricense celebrates the the Pan-African diaspora in Puerto Limón. Learn about Caribbean customs and cuisine during a long weekend in Costa Rica’s busiest port city. The best part: The annual parade takes place on Sunday, bringing together musicians, dancers, breathtaking costumes, and all the coconut rice you can eat.Festival continues through Aug. 31 in downtown Limón. Free. Info: SiCultura website.last_img read more

Islamic State terrorists talked of entering US through Mexico

first_imgRelated posts:Obama admits US underestimated IS threat The Islamic State’s trap for Europe Obama cannot keep ignoring Bashar Assad in Syria France, allies signal major response after Paris attacks leave at least 127 dead WASHINGTON, D.C. — Islamic State extremists have discussed infiltrating the United States through its border with Mexico, a U.S. official said Wednesday.Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told a Senate committee Wednesday that the Sunni militants have been tracked discussing the idea on social-media sites such as Twitter.“There have been Twitter and social-media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor said. Islamic State is also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS. Referring to the 1,933-mile (3,110- kilometer) boundary with Mexico, Taylor said he was “satisfied that we have the intelligence and the capability at our border that would prevent that activity.”Taylor’s comments before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee came hours before President Barack Obama is to outline in a speech plans to expand the U.S. offensive against Islamic State. Steps under consideration include blocking foreign fighters from entering Syria and Iraq, delivering more aid to moderate factions among Syrian rebels, and expanding air strikes to Islamic State targets in Syria.Taylor said the security of the U.S.’s southwest border remains a high concern for his department, and that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has ordered “a comprehensive southern border security strategy that will include national security risks to border.”Officials testifying before the committee said that Islamic State poses the greatest threat to U.S. interests in Iraq and within the region. At the moment, Islamic State’s ability to develop significant, large-scale attacks diminishes with distance from Syria and Iraq, said Nicholas Rasmussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center.“We do not assess right now they have the capability to mount an effective large-scale attack on the United States,” Rasmussen said.Islamic State’s sweep across Iraq and a campaign of terror that has included the beheading of two U.S. journalists have galvanized fears among U.S. citizens of a rising terrorist threat and stirred demands from lawmakers that Obama articulate a plan for dealing with the issue. A Border Patrol vehicle is driven along the U.S.-Mexico border fence as agents carry out “special operations” on July 30, 2009 near the rural town of Campo, some 60 miles east of San Diego, California. David McNew/Getty Images/AFPSixty-five percent of U.S. citizens back bombing strikes against the extremists in Syria, more than double the level of support from a year ago, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released yesterday.Islamic State members have surfaced in Europe — specifically in a shooting that killed four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels and through arrests in Paris — “a clear indication of ISIL’s ambition to operate outside the Middle East,” Rasmussen said. If the group is left to grow, that threat will only increase, he said.“Left unchecked, ISIL poses a threat to all governments it considers apostate,” Rasmussen said, adding that the group’s targets would include governments in Europe, the U.S., Africa and the Middle East.Lawmakers concentrated on the threat posed by foreign fighters who join Islamic State, either Americans or Europeans who wouldn’t need a visa to enter the United States.Rasmussen estimated that “over 100 persons from a wide variety of backgrounds have attempted to travel to the region” from the U.S. to fight alongside extremist groups active in Iraq and Syria.Many go “simply looking to join the fight” and engage with extremist elements, not necessarily searching to join Islamic State in particular, Rasmussen said. “Where they end up actually affiliating plays out over time,” he said.Rasmussen said the estimate of 100 people included individuals who show intent to travel but haven’t left the U.S. as well as those who remain there, have been killed and who have returned.One wild card will be U.S. citizens who may be radicalized through the Internet and decide to take up arms here, Rasmussen said.“We can’t account for homegrown terrorists,” Rasmussen said, “people who might self-affiliate.”If there is any good news, Rasmussen said, it is the “aggressive information-sharing with all of our partners who have the same problem.” This has given the U.S. and Europe “a significant leg up” in attempts “to disrupt travel when these individuals attempt to leave Iraq,” he said.Gathering data on Islamic State and other extremists groups has become more difficult since disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Rasmussen said, as intelligence agencies have seen terrorists change their methods and means of communication to avoid detection.Those changes “frustrate our counterterrorism efforts,” he said. “We cannot connect the dots if we cannot collect the dots.”With assistance from Roger Runningen and Mike Dorning in Washington.© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Presidents Obama Solís meet in New York

first_imgRelated posts:President Solís meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at UN Solís sidesteps Nicaragua border dispute in UN address Costa Rica President set to meet with Obama at Summit of the Americas Obama addresses the Cuban nation in historic Havana visit U.S. President Barack Obama, Costa Rican first lady Mercedes Peñas, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama meet for the first time during a reception hosted by Obama for world leaders at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on Tuesday, Sept. 23. Solístweeted that he hoped the meeting was the start of a cordial relationship between the two leaders. Facebook Commentslast_img

Strong magnitude68 earthquake rocks Costa Ricas southwest

first_imgRelated posts:Magnitude-7.3 earthquake off El Salvador coast shakes Central America String of 25 quakes rattles San José, Central Valley Two Good Friday quakes rock Costa Rica Mag-4.5 earthquake rattles Costa Rica’s Central Valley A magnitude-6.8 earthquake was the latest in a series of temblors rocking Central America. According to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica, the quake struck at 2:51 a.m. Monday off the coast of Costa Rica’s Burica Peninsula, along the western border with Panama.The earthquake follows a magnitude-6.2 quake Saturday at 11:21 a.m. in the same area. Northern Panama also felt a strong magnitude-6.4 quake Saturday afternoon, according to various news reports.No significant damage or injuries have been reported in Costa Rica as of this posting. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Experienced champ rising talents claim victory on Dominical waves

first_imgIt looks like Jason Torres wants a repeat of his excellent water work in 2015, the year he was crowned the Costa Rican National Surfing Champion.With a first-place finish in the Copa HOOKD contest in Dominical this weekend, Torres kicked off his participation in the Kolbi Circuito Nacional de Surf presented by Adrenaline Rush at the top of the rankings as the nationwide surf competition began its 17th year in front of Tortilla Flats restaurant. He received 1,500 rankings points for his win.“I’m so happy to win the event in Dominical,”  Torres said. “The main goal is win the national circuit again and be part of the National  Team for the World Surfing Games in France, and also win the World Surfing Games. That’s my goal this year.. and to compete in more events in the QS [Qualifying Series], now that I have the points to get there.”The surfer from Jacó, as well as the other participants — 170 in total — were plagued all weekend by a dropping swell. In the final, Torres was joined by Jair Perez (Jacó), Sean Foerster (Sámara) and Maykol Torres (Esterillos), all of whom were attempting to launch high-scoring risky maneuvers in ankle-slapping waves.Organizers agreed that these were rare conditions for Dominical, which is usually a big strong wave. Regardless, Torres came out victorious with two mid-scoring rides (6.50 and 7.07) for a total of 13.57.With Leilani McGonagle and Emily Gussoni — two of the dominant women’s surfers — off in Australia now, the door was open for Coral Wiggins of Avellanas to win in Dominical and rack up important rankings points.  Just this past week, Wiggins was picked up by the large surfing company Hurley to became a team rider, and the 16-year-old was on fire. In the end, she not only scored the top spot in the Women’s division, but the Junior Women’s as well for good measure.“I got a result that I’ve been working for,” said Wiggins. “This tournament is dedicated to my parents and my sponsors who make all this possible.”“Coral, along with Zulay Martinez, are this generation’s leaders,” said Carlos Brenes of the Federación de Surf de Costa Rica, which organizes the Circuito Nacional. “Coral won her appointment against experienced surfers like [12-time national Women’s Champion] Lisbeth Vindas and Zulay herself. She is a 16-year-old girl who has just sent a clear message about her future.”The complete calendar for Kolbi Circuito Nacional de Surf, presented by Adrenaline Rush, is March 25-6 in Puerto Viejo, April 22-23 in Santa Teresa, May 20-21 in Nosara, and June 24-25 in Jacó, with the Grand Finale July 21-23 in Hermosa.  The spread of dates includes the four main surfing sectors of the country — North, South and Central Pacific, along with the Caribbean.Brenes added that the Circuito has a special mission this year. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in sight, as well as Costa Rica’s commitment to participate in the Juegos Centroamericanos de Managua 2017 and the World Surfing Championships in France, the work that the surfers do in the Circuito will be of the utmost importance.“In this sense, the competitive work completed in the minor leagues is vital in order to bring the best of the best to these contests,” he said. “The Olympic cycle here today takes into account the best in the country, but remember that the big goal is in Tokyo 2020, which is why betting on the new generations seems right.”FINAL RESULTSOpenJason Torres (Jacó)Jair Pérez (Jacó)Sean Foesrter (Sámara)Maykol Torres (Esterillos Oeste)Women’sCoral Wiggins (Avellanas)Rubiana Brownell (Dominical)Valentina Resano (Nicaragua)Merary Jimenez (Quepos)JuniorSean Foerster (Sámara)Oscar Urbina (Puerto Viejo)Francisco Coronado (Brasilito)Joseph Méndez (Jacó)Junior Women’sCoral Wiggins Araya (Avellanas)Zulay Martínez (Tamarindo)Paulina Summers (Limón)Emily Anderson (Pavones)BoysIsauro Elizondo (Panamá)Oscar Urbina (Puerto Viejo)Samuel Reidy (Dominical)Tao Rodriguez (Panamá)GirlsValentina Resano (Nicaragua)Rubiana Brownell (Dominical)Candelaria Resano (Nicaragua)Coral Wiggins (Avellanas)GrommetsSamuel Reidy (Dominical)Darshan Antequera (Jacó)Aaron Ramirez (Jacó)Leo Apreda (Jacó)MinigrommetsKalani AbrahaoTeo GaléLeo ApredaPietro GarrouxMinigrommets GirlsCandelaria Resano (Nicaragua)Rachel Agüero (Jacó)Valeria OjedaFaith Tomas (Dominical) Facebook Comments Related posts:Guanacaste Surf Circuit crowns winners Winners crowned in Costa Rica’s 2016 National Surf Circuit World Surfing Games in Jacó: 5 things to know about attending Leilani McGonagle wins bronze medal at World Surfing Gameslast_img read more

One of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Fighting for women’s issues with art Jaguars: a symbol of Costa Rica Café Viñas: Impact of geography on taste of coffee Three days of mountain biking through Costa Rica Manuel Antonio is considered to have one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Besides that, the national park offers beautiful sites such as trails and viewpoints in the rainforest. Facebook Commentslast_img

Tico Times Pic of the Day Lagoon hiking at Barva Volcano Braulio

first_imgThis story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5% Club. If only 5 percent of our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments A day trip to Barva Volcano is a prime option for anyone looking for a somewhat challenging hike in a tranquil setting away from the crowds. Barva, the overlooked middle child that lays between Poás and Irazú in Braulio Carrillo National Park, is almost exclusively trekked by Costa Ricans, not tourists. Park ranger Cristian Pérez said the low rate of foreign visitors is likely due to an absence of advertising or tour information for Barva.Read more about Braulio Carillo National Park: Related posts:Four Seasons Resort hosting job fairs across Costa Rica CREAR: Enjoy, don’t destroy The energy of sound Halloween is not over yetcenter_img On Barva Volcano, a day hike without the crowdslast_img read more

Couple held by Somali pirates returns to S Africa

first_imgAssociated PressJOHANNESBURG (AP) – A South African woman and her Italian partner were handcuffed throughout the nearly two years they were held by Somali pirates, who fed them little but rice, pasta and bread, the now-freed couple said Wednesday after arriving in South Africa.Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari, captured in late 2010 from a yacht off the coast of Tanzania, spoke to reporters at an emotional Johannesburg airport news conference. They were freed in Somalia last week and stopped in Italy to see Pelizzari’s family before coming to South Africa, where friends and relatives draped in yellow ribbon printed with the word “believe” greeted them at the airport with tears, hugs and flowers. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help South Africa’s foreign minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who met the couple at the airport Wednesday, told reporters the hostage-taking could only end once stability was brought to Somalia. Somalia has been beset by decades of civil war, and its last fully functioning government collapsed in 1991, allowing piracy and other crime to flourish. In more recent years, al-Qaida-linked militants have gained a foothold in the Horn of Africa nation.Pelizzari echoed the South African foreign minister’s calls for peace.“We’ve created a rainbow nation in South Africa,” he said, referring to the negotiated, peaceful end to white racist rule here. “We’ve got to do the same for the world.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements “We were treated like untouchables” in Somalia, Calitz said. “We were treated worse than animals at times.”The two were held captive 20 months, among the longest periods hostages have been held by Somali pirates.Relatives have said the two were sailing on a budget after buying a used yacht several years ago to pursue a dream of traveling the world’s seas. At the time they were kidnapped, they were working for another South African yachtsman to earn money for a visit home.The pirates originally demanded a ransom of $10 million, which relatives had said they could not pay. Their relatives in South Africa sought donations and organized concert fundraisers, and said the pirates kept changing their demand.“Thank you for not giving up on us,” a tearful Calitz told her friends and relatives Wednesday. She also thanked the governments of South Africa, Somalia and Italy.“We’re home! We’re safe! And we’re happy!” she said.Calitz said Wednesday the couple did not know whether a ransom was paid. Last week, Somalia’s defense minister said Somali security forces helped secure the release. He did not describe it as a rescue, but would not say if a ransom was paid. Most such cases end with payment of multi-million dollar ransoms, which security experts say only inspires more hostage-taking.center_img Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories last_img read more

UK regulator finds BSkyB fit and proper

first_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The agency, known as OFCOM, concluded that James Murdoch was not complicit in a cover up at the tabloid News of the World, but his failure to initiate appropriate action on a number of occasions was “difficult to comprehend and ill-judged.”Since February, James Murdoch has been a non-executive director of the company, and one of only four people on the 12-member board with connections to News Corp.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Four benefits of having a wireless security system LONDON (AP) – Britain’s communications regulator has found British Sky Broadcasting a “fit and proper” organization to hold a license despite criticism of the company’s former chief executive and chairman, James Murdoch.The announcement on Thursday was a response to the phone hacking scandal at a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which effectively controls BSkyB through a 39 percent shareholding. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

New Zealand offers residency to Afghan translators

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand says it will offer residency to all the military translators it employs in Afghanistan.Defense minister Jonathan Coleman on Friday announced New Zealand will offer resettlement packages to 23 Afghan interpreters and their immediate families, a total of about 73 people.New Zealand is preparing to withdraw its small contingent of 145 troops in April. The troops have been stationed in central Bamiyan province since 2003. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Some Afghan translators who have worked for coalition forces have been killed by the Taliban and others have been threatened. Their fate has come under increasing scrutiny as many coalition countries prepare to withdraw troops.The U.S. has been criticized for not dealing more quickly with a huge backlog of interpreters who have applied for U.S. visas.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation ErrorOK.. ErrorOKlast_img read more

Vietnam drops objections to Laos dam on Mekong

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories center_img Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Vietnam and Cambodia last year proposed a 10-year moratorium on any dams on the Mekong. They have expressed concern that the dam would kill fish and affect the livelihoods of millions of people living along their stretches of the river, which begins in China and empties into the South China SeaVietnamese foreign ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said Thursday that Laos had decided to build the $3.5 billion dam “after adjusting the project design to mitigate the impact on the downstream.”The U.S. on Monday criticized the decision to go ahead with the dam, citing feared negative environmental impact downstream.Opponents say the dam in central Laos would open the door for a building spree of as many as 10 other dams on the 3,000-mile-long (4,800-kilometer-long) river.Laos is one of Asia’s poorest nations and hydropower is already a key source of revenue. The project will generate electricity for sale to neighboring Thailand.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top holiday drink recipes HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Vietnam has apparently dropped its objections to a dam that Laos is constructing on the Mekong River, saying Thursday that the neighboring country has made changes in the design to mitigate any negative downstream impact.Laos officials reportedly said this week that construction of the Xaburi dam was going ahead, and they took several journalists and diplomats to the site of the proposed dam on Southeast Asia’s mightiest river. Construction of approach roads and support buildings has already begun.last_img read more