Tuesday, January 8, 2019 Share Posted by VISIT FLORIDA appoints first-ever female President and CEO Tags: Promotions, VISIT FLORIDA Travelweek Group Young’s predecessor, Ken Lawson, left his role as CEO to take over the reins of the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), as reported in December 2018. Lawson’s appointment in Jan. 2017 came after the resignation of three Visit Florida executives in the wake of the Pitbull scandal, which resulted in outgoing Governor Rick Scott calling for the resignation of Lawson’s predecessor, Will Seccombe. TALLAHASSEE, FL — For the first time ever, VISIT FLORIDA has a female President and CEO in charge following a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors.Dana Young, a sixth-generation Floridian, will assume her new role on Jan. 9 after serving as a senator for District 18 in Hillsborough County. Young also served in the Florida House from 2010 to 2016, rising to House Republican Leader.Governor-elect Ron DeSantis called Young an “exceptional leader” and commended her for “working tirelessly” to improve the quality of life for all Floridians.“Her leadership ability and experience make her an excellent candidate to lead VISIT FLORIDA in its mission to maximize the economic impact of travel and tourism to our state,” said DeSantis. “I look forward to working with Dana, who will be the first woman to lead VISIT FLORIDA, to strengthen our tourism industry and build on the economic success of our great state.”Young’s appointment comes at a time of record growth in tourism for Florida. According to Lino Maldonado, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, the state’s tourism industry has achieved seven consecutive years of record visitation and visitor spending, with the latest economic impact study showing that visitors spent US$112 billion and supported 1.4 million Florida jobs.More news: Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureYoung thanked DeSantis and the Board of Directors for the opportunity to lead VISIT FLORIDA, saying: “As a Floridian, with a family tradition of public service, I understand the vital importance of tourism to our state and look forward to working with industry businesses to inspire travel to Florida, stimulate the economy and create more jobs. << Previous PostNext Post >>
Wondering where I was going to get the pan drippings for the gravy and mashed potatoes I agreed to make for an expat Thanksgiving this year, I starting thinking about last year’s turkey. It was my first Thanksgiving in Costa Rica and away from family. As we sat down to the meal in Escazú, hosted by a Costa Rican family and complete with sweet potatoes and even canned cranberry sauce served in slices, I was struck by the endearing role reversal.Mercedes, the live-in maid of my partner’s father, served the half bird simply, lightly seasoned and roasted without much fanfare. How did this woman who knew so little about Thanksgiving get its culinary centerpiece so right? Nostalgia and a twinge of homesickness might have added their own special spice to the bird, but that does little to explain how the meat, so often dry and oft overcooked, came out so moist and flavorful with crisp mahogany skin.While we might not have had dressing and my grandmother’s pecan pie, the foods we celebrate over on Thanksgiving are part of the same culinary exchange that happened in Central America when Spanish conquistadors, indigenous Americans, and African slaves came together here in the isthmus and built a collective food culture over hundreds of years.Plus, turkey in Costa Rica is hardly the alien encounter it was for the Spanish conquistadors who first saw it served at Aztec banquets in Mexico hundreds of years ago. Native to the Americas, turkey has long been enjoyed in the New World and is a Christmas table staple here.Turkey has even been called “the greatest gift the Americas ever gave to the Old World,” according to food writer and poet Marjorie Ross, author of “Entre el comal y la olla: Fundamentos de gastronomía costariccense” (“Between the comal and the pot: Basics of Costa Rican Gastronomy”), which traces the history of Costa Rican cooking from its earliest incarnations.Ross points out in her book that many of Costa Rica’s national dishes — gallo pinto, casados, olla de carne — all have their roots in the first encounter. Spanish conquistadors brought sugar, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, rice, and wheat with them, along with their cooking styles, including ovens. The region’s indigenous inhabitants already enjoyed corn, beans, sweet and hot peppers, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, yucca, and cacao, among the wide array of fruits and other vegetables. A Caribbean-style casado served with chicken and patacones, a style of fried plantains. Alberto Font Any budget-conscious backpacker passing through Costa Rica has likely had a casado, a mix of rice, black beans, salad, beef (often served stewed in a sauce), sweet plantains, and sometimes a side of pasta. The carbo-loaded plate is a satisfying way to explore the marriage of ingredients that came out of the encounter between Europe and the Americas: beef and rice from Spain, and indigenous ingredients like beans and plantains from Central America.But gallo pinto, a mix of white rice, black beans, onions, sweet peppers and garlic, best embodies the mix of influences in Costa Rican cooking.Ross argues in her book that the dish brings together the three legs of the Tico table: Spanish, indigenous and African. The food writer says that while rice and beans came from European/Asian and American sources, it was African slaves brought to Central America who combined the two staples together into the iconic dish it is today.Ross likens the combination to the Southern classic Hoppin’ John, a rice and black-eyed pea dish cooked with spices, onions, and pork (smoked ham hocks if my dad’s making it).Colorful ears of corn are common decorations come November in the United States, but maize doesn’t reverberate there the same way it does with holidays here in Central America. Corn-flour tortillas have never gone out of style here and corn tamales are just as much a part of the Christmas table here as turkey is for Thanksgiving. With the addition of milk and other dairy products to the Central American diet after European migrants brought cows to Costa Rica in the 16th century, staples like corn got a makeover, often as sweets. Costa Rican classics like churreadas, fried sweet corn pancakes served with sour cream, bizcochos, a simple cornmeal cake, and budín de elote, a syrupy moist dessert sometimes prepared with whole corn kernels baked inside, were all made possible thanks to sour cream.I like to think that the same kind of creativity that cooks in the isthmus channeled to make sense of new foods and create new flavors also manifested itself in Mercedes last year. Unburdened by Norman Rockwell notions of what a Thanksgiving Turkey is, serving a half turkey roasted flat without trying to stuff it or worry about last-minute gravy, she was able to approach the bird with a clean slate and just cook a damn good turkey.Maybe I’ll try my hand at it next year. But who am I kidding, I’ve got potatoes to mash. Facebook Comments No related posts.
National Liberation Party (PLN) lawmaker Rolando González Ulloa on Wednesday morning filed an appeal with the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, that challenges a directive by the Legislative Assembly’s directorate prohibiting officials from providing information or statements to the press without approval by the Assembly’s executive director.Assembly President Henry Mora Jiménez, from the ruling Citizen Action Party (PAC), and secretaries Jorge Rodríguez Araya and Luis Vásquez Castro, from the Social Christian Unity Party, signed the directive on Dec. 10, 2014. It was disclosed to Assembly officials in an internal memo this week.The memo explains that all information required by members of the media must be approved and channeled through the Assembly’s executive director, Antonio Ayales Esna.“The measure aims to provide effective, official, clear and concise information. It does not intend to block communication bridges. The goal is to maintain order and unity in the delivery of official documentation,” the document states.Vázquez denied that the move limits access to information.“We are enforcing a 2009 agreement that is currently being used in all public offices; we are simply naming an official spokesperson. The move is necessary because some people here have distributed information and documents regarding decisions that haven’t yet been approved,” he said.Earlier on Wednesday, González filed the complaint asking Sala IV justices to revoke the directorate’s policy because “it constitutes a threat to freedom of expression, of accessing information and of the press in our country,” he said at a press conference later that day.González told reporters that the directorate’s latest agreement “is one of 11 consecutive decisions – all related to the government and to PAC and its allies – where threats to press freedom are evident.”The legislator cited a directive by Casa Presidencial last year to filter all public agencies’ communications to the media. He also mentioned criticisms, negative remarks and calls to boycott media outlets made by Presidency Minister Melvin Jiménez, PAC President Kattia Martin and former Broad Front Party presidential candidate José María Villalta.In addition, González said he filed a separate appeal with the Sala IV against minister Jiménez for refusing to comply with a request to deliver a report on the log of Casa Presidencial’s incoming and outgoing visitors from December to January.“The Constitutional Chamber will tell us if that information is confidential or not,” the Liberation legislator said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Legislative Assembly reverses order restricting access to information Costa Rican lawmakers reject 2015 budget, Assembly president passes it anyway Less-than-impressive: It’s been a year of few achievements by Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly Setback for Solís: Opposition parties gain control of Costa Rica’s legislative directorate
Related posts:Ex-trade minister Anabel González: TPP, like CAFTA, will help Costa Rica in long run US, Latin American leaders push hard for proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership US lawmakers ease Obama’s path to Pacific trade deal Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiators push hard for deal TheTrans-Pacific Partnership being negotiated between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations has been characterized as the most progressive trade agreement in our history, with the strongest labor and environment provisions ever.But what is the benchmark? To date, the United States has never had a trade agreement that protects basic rights and raises wages and living standards for working people. Previous agreements have failed to ensure the integrity of the democratic process and preserve consumer and environmental protections. Comparing this pact to previous agreements sets a pretty low bar.While there have been some small improvements to the labor chapters of trade agreements over the years, the enforcement record has been mediocre.In April 2008, the AFL-CIO, together with several Guatemalan labor unions, filed a petition under the Central America Free Trade Agreement. This is the first step in initiating a complaint when there has been a violation of the labor commitments in a trade agreement. The petition alleged that the Guatemalan government failed to enforce its own labor laws — tolerating repression of union activity and blacklisting, as well as violence and intimidation, including the assassination of two union officers.Seven years later, a dispute settlement panel has yet to hear the case — and workers continue to wait for justice.In March 2012, the AFL-CIO and more than 20 Honduran labor organizations alleged that Honduras, too, was failing to enforce its labor laws. This petition detailed egregious violations affecting hundreds of workers. Not only did the Honduran government fail to protect workers from beatings and assassination, but its own police and soldiers were implicated in a number of cases. Despite the egregious and repeated violations, the Obama administration took almost three years to even publish a report. Workers wait for justice.In April 2010, the U.S. and Colombian governments, with an eye toward speeding ratification of the long-stalled U.S.-Colombia trade deal, announced a “labor action plan,” which was intended to bring Colombia into compliance with internationally recognized labor rights. Since the plan’s announcement, 105 Colombian trade unionists have been assassinated. Clearly, the new standard — reportedly similar to what’s included in the TPP — is insufficient to the monumental task of creating a fair playing field for U.S. and Colombian workers. Workers wait for justice.The labor movement has fought for more than 20 years to include enforceable labor provisions in trade deals. Workers in the United States — and in our trading partners — have an economic interest in ensuring that basic rights are respected. If employers can violate the right to unionize with impunity, they can easily bring down wages, for all workers, globally.That’s why the AFL-CIO, working with union federations from the other TPP countries, has offered suggestions to our government over the past five years to improve the labor chapter — and address the failures of prior trade deals.Our recommendations include, among other things, the right to bring a labor claim based on a single egregious violation (such as a mass firing or violent attack), clear rules and deadlines that would require timely action on meritorious cases, protections for migrant workers, a ban on goods produced with forced or child labor, an independent secretariat to study and review labor practices and new standards related to labor inspections and decent work.We don’t know yet whether any of our proposals made it into the TPP, since the text has not been made public. But the administration has given no public indication that our suggestions have been incorporated into its own negotiation text — let alone the negotiated draft. Until we hear something different, we remain unimpressed by the administration’s boasts about how strong and progressive the labor chapter is. We have heard those promises before.Vietnam, Mexico, Brunei and Malaysia — all TPP countries — are notorious labor and human rights violators, currently out of compliance with the standards supposedly in the TPP. There is no known plan to withhold TPP benefits until these countries comply.This raises serious doubts about whether the TPP will create a level playing field for workers. History shows we have one chance to get this right. That is why we oppose giving the Obama administration “fast-track” negotiating authority that would limit Congress’s ability to influence a final deal. The administration should release the TPP text and let the public judge for itself whether this deal will truly raise labor standards and conditions for workers when similar language included in past deals has been ineffective. Anything less is irresponsible.– – – –Trumka is president of the AFL-CIO. Facebook Comments
The body of Kivú, the last of Costa Rica’s living lions, is currently under forensic evaluation to determine the exact cause of his death, but the Environment Ministry (MINAE) and Simón Bolívar Zoo are blaming each other for his passing last Friday.Fundación Pro Zoológicos (FUNDAZOO), the administrator of the San José zoo where Kivú lived most of his 18 years, released a statement denying any responsibility for the lion’s death. The statement said Kivú never showed any symptoms of chronic kidney disease during examinations conducted at the zoo.Zoo officials blamed MINAE and the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry for the deterioration of Kivú’s health. Taking the lion to ZooAve, a private refuge in Alajuela province, was the reason for his health problems, the statement said.The document adds that “the quick death of the lion at ZooAve, following its forced relocation on Dec. 5, was the result of [MINAE and MAG’s] disregards of all warnings about the risks of moving him outside Simón Bolívar Zoo.”It cites a Nov. 2 report from FUNDAZOO’s veterinarian Randall Arguedas that was submitted to both ministries at the time to prevent the relocation. Arguedas said that moving the lion to another location with different temperature, relative humidity and other environmental conditions than those in downtown San José could severely affect Kivú’s health.The zoo’s statement says Kivú’s kidney problems were a result of conditions of his new enclosure at ZooAve, “built using metal roof sheets and lacking proper ventilation.” Those factors caused a temperature spike that required additional water intake, “but stress prevented him from drinking enough water and that likely led to a kidney failure.”Following Kivú’s death, many people commented on the zoo’s Facebook profile, blaming zoo administrators for keeping the lion inside a metal cage during most of his life, and for disregarding orders to move him to a better home.MINAE respondsMINAE officials on Tuesday responded with another news release saying that Kivú’s death “was a result of the chronic disease that started affecting him before his relocation.”The lion stopped eating last week and a general check-up showed his chronic renal disease had worsened. Officials, however, stressed that the lion’s quality of life improved at his new and more spacious home.The ministry’s statement describes how living conditions at the Simón Bolivar Zoo prevented the 18-year-old lion from engaging in natural behavior, and argues that zookeepers failed to follow recommendations to improve the lion’s diet by giving him not only meat but also bones, feathers, fur and innards to stimulate his instincts.The response also noted that spending most of his life inside the 70-square-meter cage the zoo provided had a direct impact on Kivú’s life. It critized FUNDAZOO for failing to relocate the lion to a more appropriate home, “despite a public commitment issued upon his arrival in 1999 to take him and his sister Kariba to a refuge in Santa Ana.”MINAE’s statement says the decision to relocate Kivú was based on the results of physical and laboratory tests that showed the chronic kidney disease.“The decision was based on an in-depth analysis conducted by 10 feline experts, including international consultants,” the ministry said.Ban on zoosNegative reactions and comments following the first news reports of Kivú’s deteriorating health also included requests for the closure and ban of all zoos in Costa Rica.Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, a legislator representing the Social Christian Unity Party, filed a draft bill last week asking for amendments to the country’s Wildlife Law to ban zoos. Solís’ plan states that Costa Rica should ban the opening of new zoos and calls for a five-year period “for the closure or transformation of all existing ones.”Current zoos would be forced “to change their operation to follow that of sanctuaries, refuges or conservation centers,” Solís said. He also proposes a ban on the capture or import of animals for public exhibition purposes.Solís says that the operation of the country’s zoos “is not appropriate for the 21st century, as captive animals face terrible suffering,” and added that zoos give Costa Rica a bad environmental image.The Environment Ministry said that experts are currently working on various projects to improve the quality of life of captive animals. However, a proposal for closing or banning zoos is not currently under consideration at the Ministry.In December, President Luis Guillermo Solís posted one of the last videos of Kivú at ZooAve. Related posts:Kivú’s health condition worsens; officials evaluate options Ministries confirm relocation orders for Kivú the lion Environment officials move Kivú the lion to a new home Kivú the lion recovers at his new home Facebook Comments
Two National Police officers were detained this week after being accused of robbing foreigners, Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry confirmed Thursday.The incident occurred in Garabito, a canton within Puntarenas province best known for housing the beach city of Jacó.“We received an alert of people who had apparently been the victims of robbery on the part of the officials,” said Rodrigo Alfaro, the regional assistant director for National Police in the Central Pacific.According to the daily La Nación, two officers with surnames Falcón and Faerron allegedly picked up the victims in downtown Jacó, robbed them of about $400 and their cell phones, and dropped them off at nearby Clarita Beach.Alfaro said that upon learning of the allegations, his team immediately communicated with the officials’ supervisors and with the prosecutor’s office. The two National Police officers were then detained.“They are being investigated at this moment by the Garabito prosecutor’s office,” Alfaro said.Know your rightsUnder the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Costa Rican authorities are required to send any communication you address to your country’s embassy or consular office. While an embassy cannot investigate crimes, it will connect you with resources that can.Global Affairs Canada, a branch of the Government of Canada, provided an overview of Costa Rica’s criminal law system for visitors:You cannot be held in detention longer than 24 hours without a court order. In most cases, only a prosecutor can order the continued detention of an individual. During the arrest, all personal items, including travel documents, are held in custody by the authorities. You will be informed of your rights, including the right:to know the cause of your detention, the name of the officer that requested it, and be shown the warrant issued against you;to immediately inform the person or institution of your choice that you have been arrested and detained;to be assisted from the beginning of the proceedings by the lawyer of your choice, otherwise by a public defender;to be presented to the prosecutor (from the office of the prosecutor or Ministerio Público) or the court (tribunal), and to be informed of the acts you are alleged to have committed;to remain silent. In case you decide to make a statement, you have the right to have your lawyer present when you do so;not to undergo any technique or method that could induce or alter your free will or undermine your dignity; andnot to be subject to any means that impair your free movement, other than those restrictions ordered by the prosecutor or court.The United States Embassy recommends that victims of a crime contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, report the incident to local police and request a copy of the ensuing police report.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent 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 Related posts:Central America arrests break up major human trafficking ring, police say National Police increase street surveillance ahead of holiday season Government announces increased security measures to curb recent crime wave Police officers suspected of robbing tourists under investigation by OIJ, MSP
More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ErrorOK… ErrorOK Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments Share ___Don Melvin can be reached at http://twitter.com/Don_Melvin Associated PressBRUSSELS (AP) – Just as voices across Europe are calling for stronger governance in response to the financial crisis _ a surer hand at the wheel _ one branch of the EU said in a fit of pique Thursday that it was suspending cooperation with another branch on a range of important security issues.The European Parliament, feeling slighted it was not consulted on a proposal the Justice and Home Affairs Council made earlier this month on curbing the free movement of people across national borders, announced it would stop working with the Council on five law-enforcement proposals. They relate to the border controls as well as to fighting cybercrime, improving cooperation among national police forces, finalizing the internal security budget, and crafting an anti-terrorism proposal requiring airlines to supply information on passengers to EU member countries. Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family “This is quite drastic action,” acknowledged Armin Machmer, a spokesman for Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament.A British member of the Parliament, Anthea McIntyre, put it another way. “We should not react with a childish tantrum and throw our toys out of the pram,” she said.The immediate flashpoint was the proposal this month by the Justice and Home Affairs Council, which is composed of officials from the 27 EU national governments, to amend the way the Schengen open-borders agreement allows national authorities in some instances to temporarily close their borders. The Parliament, made up of elected representatives from around Europe, felt it should have helped develop the proposal rather than having it presented to them on a yes-or-no basis.But beyond that, the Parliament has felt ignored or consulted only as an afterthought on a variety of issues, including on the European Union’s response to the financial crisis now threatening the euro currency.The Schengen Agreement, allowing people to move unhindered across the national borders of 26 European countries, is considered one of the EU’s proudest achievements. Tinkering with it arouses strong emotions. Parents, stop beating yourself up Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates “This is a very sensitive point,” Machmer said. “That also in part explains the fury.”The decision to suspend cooperation was made by a majority vote of the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents, a group composed of Shulz and the leaders of the Parliament’s political groups.“It is without precedent that in the middle of the legislative process, one co-legislative chamber excludes the other,” Shulz said in a statement. “The JHA Council’s approach of 7 June represents a slap in the face of parliamentary democracy and is unacceptable to the directly elected representatives of European citizens.”Morten Bodskov, minister of justice for Denmark, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency at the moment, said he regretted the Parliament’s decision.“A good cooperation is to the benefit of all, especially during the present economic crisis,” Bodskov said.Jochen Mueller, a spokesman on home affairs issues for the Council, could not be reached for comment.But Timothy Kirkhope, another British member of the Parliament, denounced the decision to suspend cooperation with the Council.“The European Parliament is now threatening public safety in order to make a political point,” Kirkhope said. Members of Parliament, he added, were “putting their own self-aggrandizement ahead of safety and security.”
5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Seoul says more than 23,000 North Koreans have come to South Korea since the 1950-1953 Korean War. Many struggle to adapt to life in the South.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korean police say they have uncovered an insurance fraud scheme involving more than two dozen North Korean defectors.The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said Tuesday that 27 defectors are suspected of faking illnesses to bilk insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.Police say in a statement that some of the money has been sent to family members in North Korea. Police are also investigating two brokers who were allegedly involved. Police say six hospital officials are also suspected of helping the defectors fake illnesses. Comments Share
Comments Share But critics said the move will hit farmers who are dependent on diesel fuel to power irrigation pumps and tractors.The decision to open up the supermarket sector is aimed at attracting foreign investment to jumpstart the country’s sputtering economy.Opposition parties said the decision will hurt millions of small store owners and traders who will not be able to compete against multinational retailers.The BJP and Communist parties said they will hold a series of protests against the government in the coming weeks.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Hundreds of supporters of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party held a rally in New Delhi demanding that the government reverse its decisions, saying they would hurt the poor.Shouting “Down with Manmohan Singh’s government” and “Roll back the diesel hikes,” angry protesters climbed over barricades erected by police on the road.They burned an effigy symbolizing what they called the “corrupt government” before dispersing.In Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state, the top elected leader, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, led a large rally protesting the government’s economic reform policy.Banerjee, a key coalition partner, gave the government 72 hours to reverse its decision to open the supermarket sector.In Kerala state in the south, shops were closed and public transport was halted after opposition Communist parties and the BJP called a general strike.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defended the hike in diesel prices, saying it was “vital” for the country’s energy security.“Our energy prices are out of line with world prices,” he said.The government hiked the price of diesel after coming under intense pressure to reduce its fiscal deficit by cutting spending for subsidies, particularly on fuel. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Top holiday drink recipes Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 treatments for adult scoliosis NEW DELHI (AP) – Angry Indian opposition parties protested on Saturday against the government’s decision to open the country’s huge retail market to foreign retailers.The government’s surprise announcement Friday that it will allow foreign investment in retail and aviation and the sale of minority stakes in four state-run companies evoked sharp criticism from opposition parties and some of the ruling Congress party’s coalition allies. A day earlier, the government announced a hike in the price of diesel fuel.
The vital role family plays in society (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressMINSK, Belarus (AP) – International observers on Monday condemned a weekend vote in Belarus in which not a single opposition politician won a parliament seat. The election looks set to deepen the former Soviet nation’s diplomatic isolation.Critics also said the 74.3 percent turnout reported Monday by the country’s Central Elections Commission chairman was way too high and indicated widespread fraud. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Political analyst Leonid Zaiko said the way the elections were held highlighted Lukashenko’s desire to prepare for another beckoning economic crisis.“He plans to control the situation with an iron fist. He has no time for any opposition, not on the street and certainly not in parliament,” Zaiko said.Lukashenko’s landslide win in the 2010 presidential election triggered a mass street protest against election fraud that was brutally suppressed. Some of the 700 people arrested at that protest are still in jail, including presidential candidate Nikolai Statkevich.Opposition politicians have cautioned supporters to refrain from holding protest rallies this time.The opposition had hoped to use this election to build support, but 33 of 35 candidates from the United Civil Party were barred from television, while the state-owned press refused to publish their election programs.The United Civil Party and another leading opposition party, the Belarusian Popular Front, pulled their candidates off the ballot and urged voters not to show up at the polls a week before the election.The United States and the European Union have imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Belarusian government over its crackdown on opposition groups and independent news media. “The aim of giving President Lukashenko’s regime the appearance of democratic legitimacy has clearly failed,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement. “In view of the glaring irregularities in these elections, it is clearly visible for everyone what Belarus is today: the last dictatorship in the heart of Europe.”Westerwelle said Germany and its European partners would step up their efforts to push for the release of political prisoners and isolate Lukashenko and his regime.EU foreign ministers hold talks in Brussels next month on political freedom in Belarus. They are expected to consider possible revisions to sanctions against the country aimed at more specifically targeting those in the leadership deemed responsible for the political crackdown.EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule lamented that “the elections took place against the background of an overall climate of repression and intimidation” and described it as “yet another missed opportunity to conduct elections in line with international standards in Belarus.”____Geir Moulson in Berlin and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report. Sponsored Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? The main opposition parties, which were ignored by state-run media, boycotted the election to protest the detention of political prisoners and the ample opportunities for election fraud.The vote filled parliament with representatives of the three parties that have backed the policies of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.“This election was not competitive from the start,” said Matteo Mecacci, leader of the observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. “A free election depends on people being free to speak, organize and run for office, and we didn’t see that in this campaign.”Belarus’ parliament has long been considered a rubber-stamp body for Lukashenko’s policies. He has ruled Belarus since 1994 and Western observers have criticized all recent elections there as undemocratic.Local independent observers estimated the overall turnout as being almost 19 percent lower than the official 74.3 percent figure.“Belarus gets ever closer to the worst standards of Soviet elections,” said Valentin Stefanovich, coordinator of the Rights Activists for Free Elections group.At least 20 independent election observers were detained, according to rights activists. Comments Share
Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Comments Share The arrests come amid heightened tension between Latvia and Russia. Latvia and its former Soviet Baltic neighbors are unsettled by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and alleged supply of arms and troops to separatist rebels in Ukraine’s east. Russia in turn criticizes Latviafor language laws it claims effectively ban the use of Russian.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Federal Security Service says it has broken up a ring that was smuggling firearms into the country from Latvia.The service, known by its initials FSB, said in a statement Thursday that more than 30 weapons were seized in a raid in the Pskov region, which borders Latvia and Estonia. The weapons included submachine guns and carbines, the statement said.The FSB says one Latvian citizen and eight Russians were arrested in the case. Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system 3 international destinations to visit in 2019
Hayman has been named Best Hotel/Resort in Australia at the National Travel Industry Awards for Excellence 2010.A six-time winner of this award and the first resort to be inducted into the NTIA Hall of Fame in 2005 after winning this category for three successive years, Hayman accepted this latest award at a glittering dinner in Sydney on Saturday night (10 July).Hayman General Manager, Shane Green said the award was a significant one for Hayman, having been voted on by the travel industry.“We are delighted with the success Hayman has enjoyed in these awards over many years, and having been selected by our industry partners, who continue to allow us to showcase the many wonderful attributes of our resort and island,” Mr Green said. Mr Green acknowledged the contribution of “an exceptional group of people who live and work on Hayman and are dedicated to providing a special resort experience”.“We are committed to delivering a higher level of excellence to our guests and respected partners through our ongoing enhancements to the Hayman experience which will include the unveiling of magnificent new Beach Villas in December.”Hayman is owned by Mulpha Australia Limited and is a member of the prestigious organisation, The Leading Hotels of the World. Source = Hayman <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2186f/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Hiking in NepalExpedia has announced a partnership with Gap Adventures in a bid to increase customer access to adventure tours.The new partnership is expected to benefit venturesome people through easy searching and booking systems via the Expedia website.Expedia Australian and New Zealand General Manager Nicolas Chu said the agreement will offer customers more choice.“We believe that where you book matters and Gap Adventures, an established partner of Expedia in Canada, has a unique and comprehensive product offering which we believe our Australian customers will embrace as the popularity of adventure travel continues to rise.”“Expedia’s consumer reach and commitment to putting the traveller first aligns with Gap Adventures’ philosophies to change people’s lives through travel, to lead with service and to provide travellers with the opportunity to see the world in an authentic and sustainable way,” Gap Adventures Australia and New Zealand Head Pete Rawley said.Via the Tours tab on the Expedia website customers will have access to Gap Adventure’s 100 worldwide tour groups including; sailing around the Greek Islands and mountain climbing in Nepal.
South African High Commissioner, Koleka Mqulwana speaking to trade South African Tourism hosted a breakfast this morning, announcing monstrous potential to grow their national economy by investing in the burgeoning Australian market. Lalie Ngozi, general manager of South African Tourism, thanked guests for the opportunity to break bread with the important people responsible for South Africa Tourism’s involvement in the Australian market place. “Australia has honoured South Africa and we are here to stay,” Ms Ngozi said. The Republic of South Africa Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Marthinus van Schalkwyk, expressed how important a stake in the Australian market is and that priority must be to develop this long-haul market.“We take this market very seriously and the support received by the trade has been appreciated. “Of the outbound market, 1 percent encompasses Australia, which is a good base to grow on,” Mr Schalkwyk said. Tourism is a primary solution to boost the South African economy. The government will focus on developing small businesses within the tourism sector; a joint initiative (Tourism Enterprise Program) providing small businesses a chance to break into the market which will in turn help develop rural tourism. Agents at the trade show wondered how South Africa would remain competitive in terms of price and safety. “The destination offers value for money and to remain competitive we have introduced many new products to offer any traveller regardless of their budget. Activity-based Tourism is the direction for 2012 and by attracting the Australian and New Zealand market, we will be focusing on outdoor holidays, golf, hiking and of course the safari,” Mr Schalkwyk said. Products will be sold around the experience with a variety of inclusions to provide extra value and incentive. Safety was a hot topic and South African Tourism said it takes the safety of travellers very seriously and addressed this excessively during the World Cup. “Just like all major cities around the world, there are areas you just do not go but international events have helped maintain our message of that it’s safe to travel,” Ms Ngozi said. Word of mouth is another initiative South African Tourism is planning to roll-out in Australia throughout 2012. Launching this week, the new website www.southafricanholidays.com.au will showcase deals and specials, creating a new online platform to the market. In an exclusive interview with e-Travel Blackboard, The Hon. Marthinus van Schalkwyk shared one of his favourite getaways, the Isi Mangaliso Wetland Park, located north of Durban. “It’s a sub-tropical paradise. It is absolutely wonderful and the only place you can see elephants on the beach; another example of the unique products on offer in South Africa,” he said. The Hon. Marthinus van Schalkwyk. South Africa Minister of Tourism Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T South African High Commission Mauritz Lindeque, South African Tourism Trade Relations Leisure Manager Rob Gurr, South African Tourism Asia & Australasia Business Tourism Manager Eric Lewanavanua, South African Tourism Chief Marketing Officer Roshene Singh, South African High Commissioner Koleka Mqulwana, South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima, South African Tourism Australasian Country Manager Lalie Ngozi, Deputy Director Administration Tebogo Kambule and Republic of South Africa Director General Lm Makhubela joined the South African Tourism Minister for the breakfast event at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel this morning. South African High Commissioner, Koleka Mqulwana