17 of European business travellers say their company has nixed travel to

first_img17% of European business travellers say their company has nixed travel to the U.S. Tags: Donald Trump, Global Business Travel Association Thursday, March 9, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group center_img Share ALEXANDRIA, VA — Nearly 1 in 5 European travel professionals surveyed by Global Business Travel Association report that their company has already cancelled business travel to the U.S. in the wake of the travel ban. The GBTA polled its U.S. and European members this week to assess the business travel impact of President Trump’s revised executive order on travel.Nearly four in 10 (37%) U.S. business travel professionals say they expect some level of reduction in their company’s travel because of the revised executive order. Close to half (47%) of European travel professionals polled agreed that they expect some level of reduction in business travel for their company.Some 38% of European business travel professionals said their companies would be less willing to send business travellers to the U.S. in the future because of the executive order and 45% indicated their company will be less willing to plan future meetings and events in the U.S.

“There is always the risk that closing our borders sends the message that the United States is closed for business, and the results of this poll show the perception of the United States as a welcoming destination for business travel has been altered,” said Michael W. McCormick. “As we always say, security is paramount, but GBTA continues to be a proponent for expanding proven security programs and developing new technology to facilitate information-sharing among governments to ensure travelers are always vetted properly, making us all more safe and secure.”

More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaAdditional findings from the polls:. 44% of European travel professionals reported their organization currently has employees travelling abroad who might be or are affected by the current travel ban.. 20% of European travel professionals reported there are directives within their organization to cancel or delay travel of employees who are nationals of countries included in the ban.. U.S. travel professionals cited potential for countries to respond to this ban, making travel more difficult for U.S. travellers (51%), complications in travel to the United States (44%) and increased threats against U.S. travelers abroad (41%) as their top concerns for lasting impacts of the travel ban. The GBTA says these numbers are all marginally down from its poll following the announcement of the first travel ban in January where they were at 63%, 56% and 54% respectively.U.S. travel professionals expressed similar levels of support and opposition for the revised travel ban as they did for the original one. Just over half (52%) of the travel professionals surveyed strongly or somewhat oppose this action, while 35% strongly or somewhat support it, compared to 50% and 38%, respectively, in the initial poll.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerWhen asked about top concerns regarding the immigration ban on travellers, increased traveller harassment in general (41%), uncertainty regarding green card and approved visa credibility to enter the U.S. (34%), and harassment of U.S. travellers to and from the Middle East (34%) topped the list. More than one-third (34%) said they didn’t share any of the concerns listed. Posted bylast_img read more

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PEOPLE ACTA taps Judy Bunkall as Regional Membership Manager W Canada

first_imgTags: ACTA, People Friday, July 21, 2017 Share Posted by [PEOPLE] ACTA taps Judy Bunkall as Regional Membership Manager, W. Canadacenter_img Travelweek Group Judy BunkallMISSISSAUGA — ACTA has appointed Judy Bunkall as Regional Membership Manager for Western Canada, effective Aug. 1.Bunkall will join ACTA’s team of Regional Membership Managers across Canada and will be based in Edmonton.In her new position Bunkall will be accountable for growing and supporting ACTA’s membership base in Western Canada and be part of a team to drive significant progress on ACTA’s strategic priorities.Prior to joining ACTA, Judy worked for Goway Travel in the capacity of Business Development Manager, Western Canada. She has also served in business development roles with World of Vacations and Signature/Sunwing Vacations. Judy also volunteers as the current President for the Edmonton SKAL club.“Judy’s related job experience, coupled with her enthusiasm, ensures that she will be a great representative of ACTA to both our Retail and Allied members,” says ACTA President Wendy Paradis. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Air Canada WestJet take no chances as Nate heads for Cancun

first_imgWith files from The Associated Press Share Air Canada, WestJet take no chances as Nate heads for Cancun Travelweek Group Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Air Canada, Mexico, Travel Alert, WestJet TORONTO — Both Air Canada and WestJet have issued travel advisories for passengers heading to Cancun in the next few days, offering flexible rebooking policies as Nate, currently a tropical storm and potentially a hurricane by this weekend, heads towards the Yucatan Peninsula and then the U.S. Gulf Coast.Tropical Storm Nate is roaring towards Yucatan Peninsula today after drenching Central America in rain that was blamed for at least 22 deaths. Forecasters said it could reach the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane by the end of this weekend and into early next week.The latest forecast puts Nate at Cancun at approximately 1 a.m. Saturday morning.Louisiana officials have declared a state of emergency and ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of its expected landfall Sunday, and evacuations began at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Nate could cause dangerous flooding by dumping as much as 6 to 10 inches (18 to 25 centimetres) of rain as it moved over Honduras, with higher accumulations in a few places.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”It had maximum sustained winds of 75 kph this morning and was likely to strengthen over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday before a possible strike on the Cancun region at the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula at near-hurricane strength. It could hit the U.S. Gulf coast near New Orleans.Here’s the latest from Air Canada and WestJet:AIR CANADAAir Canada has implemented a policy for customers who purchased an Air Canada ticket no later than Oct. 5 for travel to, from or via Cancun International Airport (CUN) on Oct. 6 or 7.“If you are scheduled to travel on the above dates, you may contact Air Canada Reservations (1-888-247-2262) to change your flight, free of charge, to another date between now and Oct. 21, 2017, subject to availability in the cabin you originally purchased. Otherwise, any fare difference will apply.”Passengers can also choose to travel to an alternate destination: “Any change fees will be waived, provided you are travelling between now and Oct. 21, 2017. However, any fare difference will apply.”More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesWESTJETWestJet is advising all guests travelling to or from Cancun on Oct. 6 to check the status of their flights prior to leaving for the airport. WestJet adds that it has implemented flexible change and cancel rules. “To review your flight options, please call: WestJet (air-only): 1-888-937-8538 (1-888-WESTJET); or WestJet Vacations: 1-877-737-7001. If you have made an air-only booking through a travel agent, please contact your travel agent directly.” Friday, October 6, 2017 last_img read more

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St Vincent and the Grenadines gears up for its first winter season

first_img Friday, December 8, 2017 St. Vincent and the Grenadines gears up for its first winter season with direct int’l flights Travelweek Group Share Posted bycenter_img ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES — Stayover visitor arrivals from Canada to St. Vincent and the Grenadines are up more than 10% for the first nine months of 2017, and numbers from this market will only continue to climb with Air Canada Rouge’s new direct flights into Argyle International Airport, starting Dec. 14.Next week’s Air Canada Rouge flight will be met on arrival by the Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, the Minister of Tourism, Cecil McKie, and CEO of the SVG Tourism Authority, Glen Beache. Air Canada Rouge’s flights out of Toronto will operate once weekly through the winter until April 12, 2018, using 136-seat A319 aircraft.The SVG Tourism Authority promoted the destination in Toronto earlier this fall, with a campaign that included a high-visibility taxi wrap promotion on 60 vehicles. Would-be vacationers also saw ads during traffic reports on Global Television Network, and heard radio ads on stations in St. Catharines and Hamilton. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority and Air Canada Vacations are also doing co-op marketing campaigns with local hotels.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTThe 10.4% increase in stayover visitor arrivals from Canada delivered 5,997 visitors to the islands, up from 5,433 in 2016. Tourism is been the main foreign exchange earner for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and accounts for approximately 20% of its GDP.St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ new Argyle International Airport opened with much fanfare in February 2017. More than 130 passengers consisting of media and tourism officials flew to the new airport on a Sunwing B737-800 on Feb. 14, marking the first direct international flight out of Toronto to the new facility. The airport’s construction spanned more than eight years with a US$275 million investment. It has a 9,000-foot runway and was built to handle between 1.2 and 1.4 million passengers a year, with future extensions in mind.When Travelweek met with Beache earlier this year, he noted that SVG is ready for more hotels, “but not too many”. Beache, CEO of the St. Vincent and The Grenadines Tourism Authority, said he has his eye on several top brands, including one that, like Beache himself, has roots right here in Toronto: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. Tags: Air Canada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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SeaWorld Busch Gardens collateral now available through ENVOY

first_img Travelweek Group Friday, February 1, 2019 SeaWorld, Busch Gardens collateral now available through ENVOY TORONTO — ENVOY Networks is proud to announce a new partnership in 2019.Effective immediately agents can visit ENVOY at envoynetworks.ca and order SeaWorld and Busch Gardens collateral.Warehouse, fulfillment and distribution centre ENVOY has been servicing the travel industry for 20 years. Questions about ENVOY can be directed to Toni DeFino, ENVOY’s VP Marketing & Product Development, at tdefino@envoynetworks.ca. Posted bycenter_img Share Tags: Envoy, Partnership << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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300 pairs of connecting staterooms on Carnivals Mardi Gras

first_img Share Tags: Carnival Cruise Line, New Ship, Openings & Renovations Posted by 300 pairs of connecting staterooms on Carnival’s Mardi Gras Wednesday, March 13, 2019 center_img MIAMI — New features on Carnival’s new Mardi Gras ship, set to debut in late summer 2020, include floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors on nearly all verandahs as well as larger, customizable closet space.Mardi Gras will also offer the widest variety of accommodations of any Carnival ship with more than 70% of staterooms featuring an ocean view or balcony, along with 300 pairs of connecting staterooms, for large families or groups. Mardi Gras will also offer the most suites of any Carnival ship, a total of more than 180 of varying size and locations.New details are emerging about the ship, setting sail Aug. 31, 2020. Carnival says the Mardi Gras’ staterooms will reflect new and innovative design practices that are ergonomically-friendly and maximize visual space, clean lines, surfaces and storage. Bookings for the ship opened up in January 2019.“We took a unique approach to our stateroom design with Mardi Gras, utilizing DCA’s design experts who are well known for innovative product design and partnered them with Miami-based interior architect Studio Dado,” said Ben Clement, Carnival’s senior vice president of new builds. DCA is the Warwick, England-based firm that worked with Carnival on the ship’s design. “DCA employed a thoughtful guest-centric approach gleaned from observations of how our guests use their space in conjunction with their vast experience in product design to make the staterooms as comfortable and functional as possible.”Based on a palette of muted turquoise hues, the staterooms’ are enhanced by design touches that include:Floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors on nearly all verandahs for easier balcony access;New sofas that flip into a bed and foot stools that open up for storage;Clear glass doors on the in-room mini-refrigerators to see what’s inside;More 110V power outlets and USB connections both on the vanity and by the bed as well as more shelf space to accommodate electronic devices;Flexible bedside reading lamps that allow guests to read without disturbing others;A larger, customizable wardrobe with two pull-out bins, a sliding shoe rack, folding shelves and storage under the bed for luggage.Spacious bathrooms with glass shower doors, a first for Carnival, along with an in-shower shaving bar. Dom Hargreaves, sector manager for DCA Design International, says: “We’ve taken the best practices in new interior design and hotel concepts and applied them to Mardi Gras to create guest-friendly staterooms designed to make guests feel at home.”Mardi Gras will also offer favourites introduced on Carnival’s Vista-class including:The tropics-inspired Havana staterooms feature vibrant interiors and an outdoor patio space.  These staterooms have access to an exclusive open deck with sun loungers, Cuban-themed bar and relaxation pool.Havana Cabana StateroomExtra-roomy Family Harbor accommodations with their nautical décor are located near Camp Ocean, the children’s facility, and have access to the Family Harbor Lounge, an exclusive spot with breakfast and snacks throughout the day, plus board games, family movies, videoFamily Harbor StateroomCloud 9 Spa staterooms feature exclusive, soothing décor, spa bathrobes and slippers as well as Elemis toiletries. These accommodations offer privileges to the ship’s spa.Cloud 9 StateroomDetails on the ship’s suites and amenities will be announced in mid-April, including the premium level Carnival Excel Suites, which will include a set of exclusive features and offerings.The new accommodations complement Mardi Gras’ activities and attractions, including BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea, and six themed zones with dining, libation, entertainment and activity offerings.Currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras is slated to enter service in Europe in August 2020, before repositioning to New York for a series of voyages then shift to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in October 2020. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Villas Adele Playa Hermosas tropical oasis

first_imgNo related posts. Ten minutes south of the famous Playa Jacó is Playa Hermosa, one of my favorite beaches in Costa Rica. It’s extremely close to the Central Valley and has just the right balance of excitement and relaxation.While Jacó is teeming with tourists, clubs, stores and luxury condos, Hermosa contains only a few quaint hotels, bars and restaurants that cater to a laid-back crowd. I love sitting on the thick grey sand of Hermosa’s beach while I watch a wild ocean full of professional surfers battling out the day’s seemingly impossible waves.I’m not the only one who has fallen in love with Playa Hermosa. LaVonne and Larry Airdo are living the dream of owning a home on the Central Pacific Coast, and they want to share that dream with the guests of their bed and breakfast, Villas Adele.“People who come here like it because it’s private and quiet. Not in the mainstream, not Jacó,” says Philip James Tambasco, co-manager along with the owner’s daughter, Ariel Panjwani.Villas Adele is located about two kilometers off the coast of Playa Hermosa, on Calle Hermosa, among residences and farmland pastures. It is secluded and private, separate from even the subtle party scene that can be found beachfront. In the immediate area, along Calle Hermosa, there are a couple of hikes to waterfalls, a sea turtle hatchery, and residents selling homemade products such as coconut oil, baked goods and sculptures. The owners also offer a breakfast of coffee, patries and fruit. Photo by Erin Morriscenter_img The villas, main house and outdoor patio surround charming tropical gardens and a sparkly, sunlit pool fed by a small waterfall. A lot of work has recently been put into the beautification of the property to create the feeling of a tropical oasis. The landscape is abundant with the bright reds and greens of heliconias and sealing wax palms, and fresh fruit such as lime, papaya and star fruit can be picked from trees.Villas Adele has two villas for rent that are detached from the main house for a truly intimate experience. Each villa accommodates one to four people and is perfect for couples, families or anyone looking for a cozy getaway from the hustle and bustle.Each villa features a queen-sized bed with a comfortable mattress, a twin bed, a living room area, a generously sized bathroom and a fully stocked outdoor kitchen with four-burner gas stove and medium-sized fridge with freezer. Guests are also given access to the large, outdoor grill located in front of the main house, whch is perfect for cooking up the fresh catch of the day.“We like serving guests on a personal level,” says manager Tambasco.A stay at Villas Adele can be highly customized – one or both villas are available for rent nightly, weekly or monthly, and meals or excursions can be arranged for an extra fee. There is also a small garden area that can be rented and catered for events such as birthdays, bridal showers or engagement parties.Going thereVillas Adele is located in Playa Hermosa – 4 km south from the south end of Playa Jacó – about a 1.5 hour drive from San José.Driving: Take Highway 27 towards Jacó, Quepos, and Puntarenas. Take the exit to Jacó (highway 34), which is immediately after the tollbooth following the town of Orotina. Drive past Playa Hermosa and take a left at the bus stop on to the dirt road called Calle Hermosa. Villas Adele is 1.7 kilometers on the left.Public buses also run to Playa Hermosa. It’s about a 2.5 hour ride from the Coca Cola terminal in San José to Jacó. In Jacó, another bus needs to be grabbed to Playa Hermosa, or for a quicker and easier trip, take a cab. Once at Villas Adele, Philip and Ariel generously offer to take guests into Jacó or Hermosa with them whenever they go. Discounted cab fare can also be arranged: to Jacó: $10, to Hermosa: $4.Visit www.villasadele.com for more for more information.  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Time to legalize marijuana in Mexico City

first_imgNo related posts. OPINIONLast year, voters in the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington approved initiatives legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. While the details are being worked out, those watching the developments are in not only the United States. Mexico, too, is taking note, having paid an enormous price waging a costly – and, to a certain degree, futile – years-long crusade against drugs in consonance with the international community’s punitive approach.A growing number of Mexicans are asking logical questions: Why should their leaders follow a path that provokes violence, generates human rights violations, erodes the country’s image abroad and costs a fortune – mainly to stem the northern flow of drugs? Why spray and uproot marijuana fields in the hills of Oaxaca, search for tunnels in Tijuana and incarcerate “weed” traffickers in Monterrey if consumption is made legal in parts of the United States? Why deploy such an enormous effort to deter drug trafficking if Washington does virtually nothing to stop the flow of firearms to Mexico – and has concluded that it can, and should, prevent migrants from Mexico and Central America from entering the United States? If Congress can “secure” the border against people, using walls and drones, why can’t it do the same against drugs or guns and, in the process, respect Mexico’s right to design its own policies?These sentiments are part of the reason for a change in Mexican attitudes toward drugs in general and marijuana in particular. Two former presidents – Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox, who both vigorously fought drug trafficking and consumption while in office – have concluded that this approach is doomed and that a better policy would include decriminalizing marijuana use and commerce. Then-President Felipe Calderón called on the U.N. General Assembly last year to change its focus, eliminating the perverse incentives that strengthen transnational organized crime and gravely affect the rule of law and democracy in some countries.Mexico is a highly conservative country whose population remains largely opposed to legalizing marijuana. But an increasing number of business, political and academic leaders are shifting their views. The city council of Mexico City, which has authority to legislate health and law enforcement issues, is contemplating a measure that would, in effect, allow the regulated possession and use of marijuana. Already, Mexicans can legally possess five grams of marijuana, an amount much smaller than what is commonly sold, bought or shared. Effectively decriminalizing marijuana would be in line with liberal attitudes in the capital and laws that rest on the firm belief that the right to privacy includes certain personal choices, even – or especially – when not shared by the majority.We and other former cabinet secretaries – Pedro Aspe, finance minister to Carlos Salinas, and Juan Ramón de la Fuente, health minister to Zedillo – have joined with Mexico’s leading public intellectual and a prominent social activist to push for legalization in Mexico City. The four of us occupied senior posts directly related to the drug issue in Mexico’s previous four administrations. Along with Héctor Aguilar Camín, editor of the monthly Nexos, and María Elena Morera, founder of Mexico Unido Contra la Delincuencia (Mexicans United Against Crime), we are encouraging Mexico City authorities to proceed promptly.For practical and political reasons, our effort is limited to decriminalizing the use of marijuana in the federal district, though some believe that the same case can be easily made for other drugs in the whole country. A reform that restrains its effects to marijuana is achievable; going further does not seem feasible today. Another reason for moving slowly, though firmly, is the impact this decision would have on the relationship between Mexico and the United States.President Enrique Peña Nieto opposes legalization but seems open to a broad debate and to whatever consensus would emerge – locally, nationally or regionally. He may accept Mexico City’s decision even if he doesn’t like it, much as U.S. President Barack Obama seems to have resigned himself to the Colorado and Washington legislation. Mexico has ratified treaties banning illicit substances, but these international agreements allow governments to set their own policies within certain limits; consider Dutch and Portuguese leniency. The United States should support its neighbor as it seeks leeway for its own stance, even if that conflicts with U.S. policy.Mexicans have paid a high cost in the struggle against drugs. We know that this war cannot be won. This fight should be waged by physicians rather than armed forces. Decriminalization of marijuana is not a silver bullet, but it would be a major step away from a failed approach. Mexico City is the place to start, thanks to the example set in Colorado and Washington state.Fernando Gómez Mont was Mexico’s interior minister in the administration of Felipe Calderón. Jorge G. Castañeda was minister of foreign affairs in the administration of Vicente Fox.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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GIF Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz knocks in goal against Greece as

first_imgRelated posts:Watch Bryan Ruiz’s historic goal against Italy from 3 different angles Watch this awesome video compilation showing fans reacting to Costa Rica’s win over Greece 26 photos from Costa Rica’s tremendous post-victory celebration in San José Get fired up: Cool video previews Costa Rica vs. the Netherlands Where was Greece’s goalie? A beautiful slow-roller by Bryan Ruiz puts Costa Rica up 1-0 at the 52nd minute.The Ticos couldn’t hold on to the lead. Greece’s Socratis Papastathopoulos scored in the 90th minute to equalize and send the match to overtime. Costa Rica is playing with only 10 players after Óscar Duarte received his second yellow card at the 66th minute. Uploaded with ImageShack.us Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Mexicos Peña Nieto asks for investigation into his mansions

first_imgMEXICO CITY – Battling favoritism accusations, Mexico’s scandal-hit President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on Tuesday an investigation into houses that he, his wife and his finance minister bought from government contractors.Peña Nieto, who has been under fire over the purchases of his family’s luxurious homes, denied that there were any conflicts of interest in the transactions with companies that have won lucrative government contracts.“This has never been the case in my responsibility as president or in my previous public offices,” Peña Nieto said in televised remarks.“Reaffirming my commitment with transparency and accountability, I have asked the Public Service Ministry to investigate and resolve whether there were, or not, conflicts of interest,” Peña Nieto said.The Mexican leader presented a new anti-corruption czar, Minister for Public Service Virgilio Andrade Martínez, and asked him to form a panel of experts to review the results of the investigation.Mexican investigative journalists revealed in November that First Lady Angelica Rivera, a former soap opera star, bought a multimillion-dollar Mexico City mansion from a government contractor six months before her husband was elected president in 2012.A scandal erupted because a few days before the news report, Peña Nieto canceled a $3.7 billion contract that had been awarded to a Chinese-Mexican consortium that included the contractor, Grupo Higa.Then in December, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray acknowledged that he had also bought a home from the same contractor two months before Peña Nieto took office in December 2012.In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that Peña Nieto bought a house from another government contractor on a golf course in 2005, when he was starting his term as governor of Mexico State.Peña Nieto, Rivera and Videgaray have all denied any wrongdoing.But the revelations came as Peña Nieto faces the biggest challenge of his presidency over his admnistration’s handling of the presumed murder of 43 college students by gang-linked police.Watch a video of Bloomberg reporter Brendan Case asking Finance Minister Luis Videgaray about the interest rate he obtained on his Grupo Higa home, during a Jan. 30 press conference (in Spanish): Related posts:How $500,000 check that sat uncashed adds to Mexico scandal Mexico’s Peña Nieto pledge to find students falls short for families Mexico’s 43 missing students continue to haunt President Peña Nieto – and they should Mexico police, protesters clash ahead of grim anniversary of 43 missing students Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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And here are your Sloth Kong Airport Photo Contest winners…

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:World, meet Ms. Sloth Kong. The Sloth Kong dance La Voz de Guanacaste marks holiday with video tribute to beloved northwestern province To conserve the Amazon, the forest must become an economic ‘asset’ Remember back in Marchwhen we announced that our beloved Sloth Kong was taking over Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport? Well, it turns out that the hospitality offered to big SK at his new digs has been overwhelming. Hundreds – perhaps thousands – of travelers passing through Costa Rica’s busiest air hub have stopped to snap their photo with Sloth Kong.We also took the opportunity to launch a photo contest, and here are our winners for the months of March, April and May. Contest rules are simple: Take your photo with Sloth Kong before boarding your flight back home, share it with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email it to sk@ticotimes.net. Be sure to include the hashtag ‪#‎SlothKong‬. Check out our tagboard here: ticotimes.net/skcontest/.Every month, we’ll choose the most creative photo and donate $100 on behalf of the winner to the institution Hogar Sol, for needy children. Visit them at HogarSol.org.Congratulations to our first three winners, Nikole Lee, Ross Rosen (and kids) and Mauricio Zuluaga. You rock!last_img read more

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Costa Rica lawmakers want to ban nonbiodegradable plastic shopping bags

first_imgRelated posts:Plastic bag pollution is daunting but has an easy solution, says environmentalist Costa Rica launches quest to replace most single-use plastic by 2021 Costa Rican court hands GMO opponents a victory by declaring permitting process unconstitutional San Ramón public school receives landmark solar panels The Legislative Assembly’s Environmental Commission on Thursday approved the addition of a new article to Law 8,839 on waste management that – if passed by the full Assembly – would prohibit businesses from packaging products in disposable plastic bags.The proposal would give businesses five years to stop using nonbiodegradable plastic bags, and require supermarkets and other stores to offer customers the option of bags made from reusable materials or biodegradable plastic.The proposal would exclude nonbiodegradable plastic only “for the preservation or protection of food or any other product in which the use of alternative packaging methods is not feasible.”In addition to the ban, the proposed amendment calls for fines of up to 200 minimum salaries – about $60,000 – for failure to comply.It also would require all businesses offering reusable or biodegradable bags to clearly inform consumers of the bags’ prices and to include those costs in receipts.If approved, experts from the Health Ministry and the Environment Ministry would have a six-month period to outline the steps to implement the new regulations and to define criteria under which plastic shopping bags could be considered biodegradable.National Liberation Party lawmaker and commission member Juan Marín Quirós said the proposal is a positive step but would require a great effort to implement it in five years.Marcela Guerrero from the ruling Citizen Action Party said she would ask the executive branch to prioritize the bill in the Legislative Assembly’s agenda.“Hopefully we can approve it during the special legislative sessions in December,” she said on Thursday.Marco Luconi, president of the Costa Rican Association of Plastics Industries (ACIPLAST), said on Friday the proposed amendment had caught him off-guard.“It’s a regressive proposal, and its adoption would have consequences for the environment, public health and the economy,” he told The Tico Times.Luconi said plastic bags used here are made of high-density polyethylene that is 100 percent reusable and recyclable.“These bags can be transformed into bags for other industries or into materials used in construction,” Luconi said.Some entrepreneurs also argue that trash stored in plastic bags require up to seven times less space in garbage trucks than that stored in reusable bags.Luconi claimed reusable bags could increase the risk of food contamination: “Escherichia coli and other bacteria more easily reproduce in microclimates generated inside fabric and other materials used in reusable bags,” he said. “The situation worsens because people don’t wash their reusable bags after use.”According to ACIPLAST’s most recent survey from 2013, 160 companies manufacture or market plastic bags in Costa Rica.ACIPLAST now wants to present an alternative to the bill.  Said Luconi: “There’s no point in separating trash at home and then it all gets mixed inside the trucks and the dumpsters. What the country needs is a strategy to improve waste management and disposal.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Zika declines in some nations

first_imgIn several Latin American nations hit hard by the Zika epidemic, the transmission of the virus appears to have peaked, with the number of infections declining in recent weeks, according to governments in the region and the latest World Health Organization data.The slowdown has prompted some countries, including Colombia, to significantly scale back their projections of the impact of the virus.Epidemiologists tracking Zika warn that the downward trend appears to be limited to certain countries and should not be interpreted as a sign the epidemic has started to ebb everywhere in the Americas. It still appears to be expanding in Brazil, the epicenter of the virus, they caution.“We think it has passed the peak of transmission in some countries, like Colombia, but the outbreak is continuing, and it’s possible there will be a second wave of infection,” Sylvain Aldighieri, head of epidemiological response at the Pan American Health Organization, said in an interview. “And Zika has not reached its peak yet in Central America and the Caribbean.”Still, the latest figures raise hopes that the virus, which scientists think is linked to fetal malformations and the potentially deadly neurological disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome, may not produce as many infections as initially feared.U.S. health experts convene Friday in Atlanta for a summit called by the White House to help state and local governments formulate Zika response plans ahead of summer, the most active season for the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The insect, the primary vector of the virus, is found in southern states along the Gulf Coast.Officials say 312 Zika cases have been confirmed in the United States so far, but those infections were acquired by travelers who visited a Zika-afflicted area or were contracted by their partners through sexual contact. Another 352 cases have been registered in U.S. territories, primarily in Puerto Rico.According to the most recent figures from the Pan American Health Organization, nearly 200,000 people have been infected with Zika across the Americas. Of those, 4,600 cases were confirmed with laboratory testing. The rest are based on clinical diagnoses, which are considered less precise.In Colombia, the number of infections has slowed from more than 6,000 new cases a week in early February to fewer than 3,000 per week by late March.“Our models confirm the epidemic has peaked,” said Marta Lucia Ospina, director of Colombia’s National Health Institute. She said the government has scrapped its initial projection of 600,000 infections in the country this year.In El Salvador, the number of new Zika cases has fallen from more than 1,000 a week in early January to fewer than 100 per week in March. Honduras was tallying more than 2,000 cases weekly in early February; now the figure has dropped to fewer than 700 a week.Health experts are not sure why Zika infections have declined in some areas. Sanitation campaigns to eliminate breeding sites may have helped in some urban hot spots. There may be increasing levels of local immunity in places where the virus has been circulating for months.The virus continues to move into new areas, as individuals with Zika arrive from regions where it is more prevalent. Mosquitoes bite them, become infected, and then transmit the disease to others. Areas at high elevations, such as Bogotá in Colombia and Mexico City, are not considered at risk because they are beyond the 6,500-foot limit of the Aedes mosquito’s range.See also: No new cases of Zika in Costa Rica in recent weeksEven countries with a declining number of Zika cases may still face serious fallout from the disease. Colombian authorities are monitoring more than 1,000 pregnant women who have tested positive for Zika, and about 10,000 others who reported symptoms of the virus, to see whether their babies display signs of neurological damage. In Brazil, Zika is strongly suspected of causing a surge of infants born with underdeveloped brains and small heads.Of 32 Colombian infants born since January with undersized heads — a condition known as microcephaly — eight have tested positive for Zika.Counting Zika infections is hardly an exact science. There is no quick, commercially available test for the virus. It generally survives in the body only for a few days, and it produces few or no symptoms in the majority of patients. The quality of monitoring, information-gathering and reporting also varies widely from country to country.Nor is there a cure for Zika, so many infected patients in poor areas prefer to lie in bed and take painkillers for a few days rather than coping with waits in crowded public hospitals.Brazil has reported the biggest outbreak so far, with more than 72,000 suspected cases, but health officials think the actual number of infections is probably much higher, because Zika is often mistaken for dengue fever, and the country is in the grips of one of its worst dengue outbreaks in years.Colombia, which experts say has much more rigorous standards for testing and reporting, has the second-highest Zika count, with nearly 56,000 cases to date. Next are Honduras, with 16,500 cases, and Venezuela, with 15,500. But WHO officials say reporting from Venezuela has been spotty because the health system has suffered enormously from the country’s economic crisis.Predicting the impact of Zika has been extremely challenging for health officials. According to Aldighieri, the initial projections were based on the spread of other viruses, such as chikungunya, that are transmitted by the Aedes mosquito.Chikungunya first appeared in the Americas in 2014, he noted, and it wasn’t until this year that it finally reached the southern limits of the Aedes mosquito’s range in northern Argentina.Zika has yet to reach the full extent of the Aedes range in Brazil itself, Aldighieri notes, and the epidemic is still concentrated in the northern regions of the country where the outbreak began.There are 33 countries or territories in the Americas that have reported local vector-borne transmission of Zika, meaning the infection was spread by mosquitoes.“It is too early for us to determine if Zika virus disease cases and spread in the Americas peaked last month,” Marc Fischer, medical epidemiologist with the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement.Several factors could be responsible for changes in the numbers, he said, including the adoption of different testing practices or reporting delays. “It will take more time to be confident about trends in numbers of disease cases,” he said.Zika is not expected to proliferate as rapidly in the United States as it has in Latin America, where a scarcity of window screens, air conditioning and routine garbage collection in poor areas create optimal conditions for Aedes mosquitoes to thrive. The mosquitoes, which lay eggs in standing water, can breed rapidly in urban slums where residents lack running water and keep jugs and containers in their homes. © 2016, The Washington Post Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Tire mosquito trap could boost Zika control Mosquito spreading Zika has long been one of the world’s ‘most efficient killers’ Vaccine against dengue virus is 100 percent effective: study Health Ministry confirms sixth case of a baby born with Zika viruslast_img read more

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Manuel Antonio National Park administration moving to comply with Health Ministry orders

first_imgThe Environment Ministry’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) reported that it will invest approximately ₡600 million (some $1 million) in improvements to Manuel Antonio National Park before the end of the year.This investment in the Central Pacific park will address a series of infrastructure improvements that the Health Ministry ordered in February.SINAC officials said in a news release that, as part of the works, they will build a 784-meter (2,600 feet) footpath above one of the park’s wetlands. The footpath will facilitate visitor access from the park’s east entrance to beaches located on the west side.The park’s entrance area will have more booths, benches and other improvements to reduce wait time and long lines for visitors.Park administrators are also working to build new tourist trails that meet accessibility standards, according to provisions of local legislation. Environment Ministry officials in February had reported that new trails will provide “all required measures to address visual, motor, hearing and sensory disabilities.”SINAC also reported that agency officials completed an evaluation of all wastewater systems as well as repairs to the drainage system that caused problems earlier this year. They are working on plans to expand the drinking water storage and distribution system and are conducting improvements to cell phone coverage in various areas of the park.Manuel Antonio is the most visited protected area in Costa Rica; according to SINAC a total of 436,466 visitors entered the park in 2016.In addition to its popular white-sand beaches, Manuel Antonio protects one of the last stands of transition forest from the humid tropical forest to very humid tropical forest. It also protects various species of plants and animals, particularly mammals.Recommended: Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s top destination, and there are good reasons why Facebook Comments Related posts:Health Ministry extends deadline to perform improvements at Manuel Antonio Health Ministry orders improvements at Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica’s famed Manuel Antonio National Park will close on Mondays starting this month Municipal project to build cableway to Chirripó’s peak faces oppositionlast_img read more

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Tico wins prestigious scholarship to study at UNC

first_imgRelated posts:‘World’s happiest goalie’ Keylor Navas hopes to attract more European tourists Ticos living abroad can now register online to vote in 2018 Nicole Arrea, the Costa Rican high school student who helped draft a law to reduce food waste Costa Rican pharmacist awarded for epidemic-fighting research A standout Tico student will represent Costa Rica in the United States as a Morehead-Cain scholar. Julian Goldner, a Lincoln School senior, was selected by the admissions committee at the University of North Carolina for the award. The scholarship will fund his gap year abroad and tuition at the public university in Chapel Hill. “The Morehead-Cain Scholarship covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study at UNC–Chapel Hill,” the scholarship webpage reads. “It also features a distinctive program of summer enrichment experiences designed to stretch students beyond their comfort zones.” The scholarship committee selects well-rounded individuals who demonstrate leadership, character, scholarship and physical vigor. According to his bio on the Morehead-Cain website, Goldner is an avid gardener and founded a business that produces biodegradable flower pots. He is interested in studying biomedical engineering. International students can apply for the Morehead Cain scholarship if they are on-track to graduate and a competitive applicant to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The student’s high school must also submit an endorsement. Semifinalists for the scholarship conduct a video interviews, and finalists are invited to a selection weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.The class of 2023 includes 35 students from North Carolina, 30 from elsewhere in the United States and 10 from outside the United States. Since 2000, 14 Morehead-Cain Scholars have won Rhodes Scholarships, according to the scholarship’s website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Jamaican fraud probe reveals links to politicians

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates What, if anything, he got for such largess is unclear, but the court finding is feeding demands for campaign finance reforms in Jamaica, where, as in many countries across the Caribbean and Latin America, political parties have no obligation to declare any funding sources or campaign expenditures. Taxpayers have no clue if huge sums are being donated by criminals or by special interests seeking favors or influence.“This affair emphasizes the need for urgent reform of the law relating to the financing of political parties,” said Lloyd Barnett, chairman of advocacy group Citizens Action For Free and Fair Elections, one of several associations pushing for legislation that would require public disclosure reports, impose contribution and spending limits and ban donations from unregistered investment schemes like that of Smith.A Florida court last year sentenced Smith to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to 23 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. He was earlier sentenced to 6 1/2 years in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where his assets were frozen.Starting in early 2005, Smith built his Olint investment club by offering interest rates as high as 100 percent a year, allegedly by pooling money from investors for currency trading. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories ___David McFadden on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmcfadd Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistcenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressKINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – David Smith was a large-living and influential figure in Jamaica before courts in two countries knocked him down as a fraud artist. He splurged on luxury cars and mansions, flew in a Learjet and sponsored concerts and athletic events. Now court documents say he also was spreading his Ponzi-scheme wealth to the country’s politicians.A confiscation order by the Turks and Caicos Islands’ Supreme Court alleges that Smith contributed nearly $9 million in tainted money to both of the island’s major parties, and to several prominent individual politicians even as he was defrauding thousands of people across the Caribbean and the United States of at least $220 million. Comments   Share   But the party’s former prime minister P.J. Patterson, has acknowledged that Smith contacted him ahead of the 2007 election and said he was “disposed to increasing what he had previously given to the party’s campaign fund.” Patterson denied an allegation in the order that he had solicited or received a $1 million gift.The Turks and Caicos order last month demanded Smith repay $20.9 million, including $9 million the court found he had donated to Jamaican politicians. Even before the allegations in the order, Jamaica’s Electoral Commission had filed a report to parliament proposing campaign finance reforms. Pressure for the measure has increased since and the country’s largest newspaper, the Jamaica Gleaner, has demanded in an editorial that politicians give the money back.Trevor Munroe, head of the watchdog group National Integrity Action Limited, said sustained advocacy must highlight the murky workings of special interests since bilked investors have stayed remarkably quiet about their losses, likely due to embarrassment.“After all, who is to say that in the last elections similar shady characters would not have been making political contributions?” Munroe said in Kingston. “The taxpayers and electorate should be aware of who is paying the piper because they well may be calling the tune.” Smith helped fund Jamaica’s athletics team at an international meet in 2007 and sponsored the popular Jazz and Blues Festival in 2008. He often traveled by private jet and helicopter, drove a Range Rover and had property in Florida and Jamaica as well as a $2 million house in the Turks and Caicos. But instead of investing the money in trades, he used it to pay off redemption requests from other investors and funneled money into his personal bank account.In March 2006, the government’s Financial Services Commission raided his Kingston offices and barred it from operating in the country, prompting Smith to move to the Turks and Caicos, another Caribbean nation.But Jamaican politicians continued to take his campaign contributions even as he battled, ultimately in vain, to overturn the government order.The opposition Jamaica Labor Party has acknowledged that Smith was a contributor but could not confirm if he gave $5 million, as the Turks and Caicos order states. The party’s former information minister, Daryl Vaz, acknowledged receiving $50,000 from Smith for his campaign in Portland parish ahead of the 2007 general elections.The order also alleges Smith gave more than $2 million to the ruling People’s National Party, which says it has no record of that. 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

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Evita Peron remembered 60 years after her death

first_imgSetting aside the social-climber image fostered by the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and misogynistic biographers of years past, many now credit her activism and passion for things that are central to Argentine culture today, from widespread desires for social justice and equal rights to a shared assumption that society’s poorest need and deserve the government’s help.“Evita now is a character accepted nationwide much more than 20 years ago. Many people who don’t think like Evita, admire her,” historian Felipe Pigna told The Associated Press.“Even from parts of Argentine society you wouldn’t expect _ I don’t know if they vindicate her, but they respect her,” said Pigna. “There has been a transformation in Argentine society.”That transformation has been intensely promoted by the government of Cristina Fernandez, who traces her political activism directly to Evita and misses few opportunities to draw comparisons between their governments. Fernandez unveiled a new 100-peso bill honoring Evita Wednesday night, and said she would mark Thursday’s anniversary by inaugurating a new public housing project. “She would have liked that,” Fernandez said of Evita. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Quick workouts for men Argentina broke with its past the day Evita asked to speak after Peron won his first presidential election in 1946 _ something presidential wives had never done, Pigna said. She took the microphone and launched a campaign for woman’s suffrage, saying “A woman cannot only be a spectator of political movements. She must take action; she must vote.”Critics saw the young former dancer as a power-hungry tramp. Many were so furious at the way the foundation she created took from the rich and gave to the poor that they refused to mention her by name, calling her “that woman”.As first lady, Evita swiftly took control of two pillars of her husband’s government: the relationship with unions and handing government aid to poor citizens, many of whom idolized her. While he focused on politics, she dominated the media with talk of improving living conditions for her “shirtless ones.”“Evita gave form to today’s Argentina in terms of working-class consciousness, respect for workers no matter their rank, awareness that workers have rights and that they must be respected. Before, workers lacked any rights and there was hardly any social legislation,” said Pigna, whose book “Evita, Shreds of her Life” was just published. “This really set Argentina apart from the rest of Latin America.” “Defending the humble ones and those who have the least is costly. And she paid with her life _ happily at the cost of being remembered forever as the one who carried the banner of the poor,” Fernandez said a year ago when she unveiled the huge metal sculptures that now hang from the Social Development Ministry, which towers over the city’s wide 9th of July Avenue.The south side’s Evita, facing working-class districts, appears elegant and compassionate. But the profile that faces north, toward the wealthy neighborhoods that Evita herself often railed against, is combative and powerful.In case anyone missed the message, Fernandez shows off a scale model of the building just behind her podium during many of her national addresses. Sometimes she shows the gentler Evita; at others, the one not to be messed with.Pigna says his investigation determined that Evita was never told she had uterine cancer, a disease that in the late 1940s would have opened her to accusations of promiscuity, damaging the first lady’s image. If she suspected, she chose to deny it, focusing instead on her campaign for women’s suffrage.“She decided she didn’t have time to take care of it, and unfortunately this attitude gave a great advantage to the cancer. She could have saved herself,” he said. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family The combined pressure of Juan Peron and his glamorous wife persuaded Congress to give women the right to vote, just ahead of his reelection campaign. Evita cast the ballot for her husband from her hospital bed in 1951. Eight months later, she was dead.“It’s not that Eva was a saint. It’s not that she didn’t make mistakes,” Fernandez said Wednesday night. “What made her into an immortal character was, having been a humble woman from a small town, she made the decision to change things in favor of the people, at the cost of her own life.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Associated PressBUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Argentina’s iconic first lady Evita Peron was so loved or hated when she was alive that long after her death, passionate arguments about her character drowned out more serious efforts to examine her legacy.Some historians say that only now, 60 years after Gen. Juan Domingo Peron’s firebrand wife succumbed to cancer at the age of 33, are many beginning to consider how much her actions shaped the society they live in today. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories Eva Duarte Peron was born illegitimate, raised poor and was barely educated. She became an actress at a time when high society scorned the profession. Understanding how a woman with so many strikes against her managed to become such a transcendent historical figure is more relevant than ever now that Fernandez occupies the presidency, said Araceli Bellota, whose book “Eva and Cristina, the Reason of their Lives,” also was recently published.“There’s a political continuity, because Cristina occupies a public space that Eva opened when she burst on the scene 55 years ago,” Bellota said. Peronism “made it possible for a woman whose parents were workers, like Cristina, to attend a university and prepare for a career. And that’s what enabled her to be president.”As with Fernandez today, Evita was accused of abusing her access to official propaganda, trying to control the mass media, persecuting opponents and fostering a personality cult, being authoritarian and treating anti-Peronists mercilessly. Both have been targets of insults that could never be printed in newspapers. Fernandez takes pride in the comparisons with Evita’s story. 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Nigeria 28 kids killed by lead poisoning from gold mining

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Twenty-eight children have died from lead poisoning from illegal gold mining in a remote west-central village, Nigerian health officials said, while doctors still are treating thousands from an earlier outbreak.Dozens more children are sick in the Rafi area of Niger state and action must be taken quickly if they are not to suffer irreversible neurological damage, Michelle Chouinard, Nigeria director for Doctors Without Borders, told The Associated Press on Friday. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Her organization still is treating children from a 2010 mass lead poisoning, in Zamfara state, that killed 400 kids and left many paralyzed, blind and with learning disabilities because of a three-year delay in government funding for a cleanup.Chouinard said they have cured 2,688 of 5,451 people infected and hope to complete treatment next year. They have had most success in the worst-affected village of Bagega, where all but 189 of 1,426 people have had the lead leached from their bodies.Junior Health Minister Fidelis Nwankwo said Thursday all those newly infected in neighboring Niger state are under 5 with 43 percent of the 65 sickened children dying.“The devastating impact of this outbreak is associated with new mining sites which were found to contain more leaded ores which are often brought home for crushing and processing,” he said.Previous government efforts to forbid artisanal mining have failed as poor villagers make up to 10 times as much from gold than from farming.In Zamfara state, where the processing area was found to contain over 100,000 parts per million of lead — the United Nations considers 400 parts per million safe — Idaho-based TerraGraphics International Foundation took 5 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Quick workouts for menlast_img read more

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AP Source House panel subpoenas Hillary Clinton confidant

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The panel has “a number of questions” for Sidney Blumenthal, the official said, including whether he had any business arrangements that led him to send emails to Clinton and other officials concerning Libya while Clinton was secretary of state. Blumenthal was not an employee of the State Department at the time.Clinton had initially been expected to testify this week on the September 2012 attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, but her testimony was put off after Gowdy complained that he lacked the necessary State Department documents to thoroughly question her. Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, was in Iowa Tuesday for a campaign appearance.Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, ranking Democrat on the panel, issued a statement Wednesday assailing the committee’s GOP leadership for its handling of the subpoena.“There was no need for the Select Committee to send two U.S. Marshals to the home of Sidney Blumenthal…especially since the committee never bothered to contact him first to ask him whether he would voluntarily come in,” Cummings said. “These heavy-handed, aggressive and unnecessary tactics waste the time of the U.S. Marshal service.” Sponsored Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — A longtime confidant of Hillary Rodham Clinton has been subpoenaed to testify before a special House panel investigating the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, according to an official familiar with the probe.This official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the subpoena was issued by the panel headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. The official declined to be identified publicly because he wasn’t authorized to discuss by name an investigation still in progress. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Jamal Ware , a spokesman for the Benghazi committee, said Tuesday that “questions about why it will take so long and how much it will cost the department to comply with public records requests due to challenges stemming from former Secretary Clinton’s personal email arrangement are best directed to State and the former secretary.”Ware added that Gowdy believes it is “imperative” for the sake of transparency that “the complete public record of Secretary Clinton’s time in office be made available for the American people as quickly as possible.” Ware said the committee is focused solely on Benghazi.The New York Times reported earlier this week that Blumenthal, 66, had written then-Secretary Clinton a host of emails about Libya before and after the death of Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Blumenthal was a White House aide during Bill Clinton’s presidency.On Tuesday Clinton said she wants the State Department to speed release of her emails.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Top Stories Quick workouts for men Men’s health affects baby’s health too “These latest moves by the Benghazi Committee — issuing a subpoena without first contacting the witness, leaking news of the subpoena before it was served, and not holding any committee debate or vote — are straight out the partisan playbook of discredited Republican investigations,” the congressman added. “The fact is that we have had these exact emails for three months, and the latest abuses by the committee are just one more example of a partisan, taxpayer-funded attack against Secretary Clinton and her bid for president.”Gowdy complained to Kerry last week that the State Department had delayed providing emails and other documents involving Clinton and her top associates. “Simply put, the committee must have the records of communication requested more than six months ago before the secretary’s appearance can be scheduled,” Gowdy wrote.The State Department said the department has provided 300 emails from Clinton, 19 witnesses and more than 40,000 pages of documents from the initial departmental investigation.Democrats have complained that Gowdy and other Republicans are drawing out the Benghazi hearings in order to disrupt Clinton’s presidential campaign, but Gowdy said that the State Department is to blame for any delays.last_img read more

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Average US rate on 30year mortgage rises to 387 pct

first_img WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week to their highest level so far this year as new data showed strength in the housing market.Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.87 percent from 3.84 percent a week earlier. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages advanced to 3.11 percent from 3.05 percent.Rates have risen in recent weeks amid signs of improvement in the economy. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories A government report issued Tuesday showed that more Americans bought new homes in April, evidence that the stronger job market is propelling the housing market. New-home sales climbed 6.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000.Rising demand has created a supply crunch, and the limited inventory of homes for sale has pushed up prices.Home prices rose at a steady pace in March, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index showing a 5 percent increase in March from 12 months earlier. Prices rose at the same pace in February.Home values are rising at a faster rate than incomes, potentially pricing many would-be buyers out of the market.Still, Americans signed contracts to buy homes in April at the fastest pace in nearly nine years. The report Thursday by the National Association of Realtors showed the fourth straight monthly gain in pending home sales. Signed contracts are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.Despite their recent climb, mortgage rates remain low by historic standards. A year ago, the average 30-year rate was 4.12 percent and the 15-year was 3.21 percent. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 must play golf courses in Arizonacenter_img Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.The average fee for a 30-year mortgage fell to 0.6 point this week from 0.7 point last week. The fee for a 15-year loan slipped to 0.5 point from 0.6 percent.The average rate on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 2.90 percent from 2.88 percent; the fee remained at 0.5 point. The rate on one-year ARMs averaged 2.50 percent, down from 2.51 percent last week; the fee declined to 0.3 point from 0.4 point.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This Thursday, May 21, 2015 photo shows a house for sale in Culver City, Calif. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates on Thursday, May 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

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