See Europes Christmas Markets with The Intrepid Group

first_imgSee Europe’s Christmas Markets with The Intrepid Group TORONTO — The Intrepid Group is offering a collection of Christmas market tours for Canadians wanting to experience the festive, historic European atmosphere this holiday season.The seasonal collection will take travellers to Europe’s traditional and charming Christmas Markets. Travellers may pick from an eight-day Limited-Edition Christmas Markets of Central Europe tour, or add a day tour in Moscow, Prague, London, Poland and Budapest.“The European Christmas markets are rich in history, on these tours travellers will immerse in the local culture and sip mulled wine, purchase crafts, trinkets and decorations and taste treats,” said Leigh Barnes, regional director for Intrepid Group North America. “When you travel across the continent this winter, you’ll discover that Christmas in Europe is a time for celebration with quirky local traditions unique to the country and city you are in.”The festive tradition dates back many centuries. Every year, most European cities host a month-long market that draws millions of people from around the world. As travel to these markets continues to increase, the Intrepid Group wants travellers to get a taste of the markets in different countries, but with a local guide who can talk to the traditions and influence culture and history had on the markets in each city.More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaHere’s a look at some of Intrepid Group’s Christmas market trips:Christmas Markets of Central Europe (from $1,661): This eight-day Christmas Market tour visits Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest. Travel by train from city to city to enjoy the many sights of Europe and then explore some of Europe’s best Christmas markets.Prague’s Merry Markets Christmas tour (day trip, from $58.98): Spend an afternoon in Prague visiting the main market – its history dates back before the 1989 revolution – and two different Christmas markets outside the city centre.London’s Christmas Lights and Markets tour (day trip, from $74.73): This tour is popular for many reasons, one being it’s one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets. Travellers will learn the true origins of Santa as they wander the winding cobbled streets of Covent Garden and visit one of the city’s most famous markets.Budapest’s Merry Markets and Mulled Wine (day trip, from $65.03): This holiday season, explore three of Budapest’s traditional Christmas markets, including one that’s ranked among the best in Europe. Explore local cafes tucked along decorated streets and learn about traditional Hungarian Christmas celebrations and customs.Krakow’s Christmas Market and Flavours (day trip, from $114.94): Experience a traditional Polish Christmas market with history from today’s era and the communist era. Spend time admiring Admire Krakow’s famous handmade cribs. Your guide will teach you the centuries-old tradition of how they were built. Posted by Monday, October 30, 2017 Sharecenter_img Travelweek Group Tags: Intrepid Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Sabre signs content deals for new lodging tool for agents

first_imgSabre signs content deals for new lodging tool for agents Share Tuesday, January 30, 2018 Posted by SOUTHLAKE, TX — Sabre Corporation has announced agreements with TravelBound, Bedsonline and the Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) to make its content available in the new Sabre Content Services for Lodging, launching later this year.Answering the industry demand for additional types of rate and inventory options, these agreements will establish a critical mass of new opportunities for GDS consumers and buyers, says Sabre.Bedsonline brings a portfolio of more than 170,000 properties in 120 countries, while TravelBound reaches customers in 190 countries and offers unique experiences from more than 50,000 hotels. EAN will provide access to more than 350,000 properties worldwide and offer more than 650,000 exclusive deals on accommodations.“Having aggregator content integrated with traditional GDS hotel content makes travel agents and corporate booking tool providers more efficient, effective and confident in the increased depth and breadth of lodging offerings they are able to bring to their travelers,” says Traci Mercer, Senior VP of Lodging, Ground and Sea for Sabre Travel Network. “These agreements are key to helping us better serve customers in all regions around the globe.”More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedThe first market release of Sabre Content Services for Lodging will deliver over 900,000 property options from both the Sabre GDS and non-GDS sources such as aggregators, redistributors and agency-sourced hotel content. The new lodging solution will allow a more seamless shopping experience that will display the new content at the room and rate level, side-by-side, for more efficient comparison, says the company.“We’re dedicated to driving business for travel agencies by offering them the widest range of the best hotels under exclusive terms and conditions, and partnering with Sabre furthers that commitment,” said Amanda Spencer Hill, regional manager, North America at Bedsonline. “By simplifying the customer experience, travel agents are able to better accommodate travellers and increase overall bookings, bettering their short- and long-term business goals.”“Behind the TravelBound interface is a booking platform that handles peaks of up to 1.5 billion searches per day, and we are pleased to further strengthen our global reach with this agreement,” said James Phillips, President, TravelBound. “By joining Sabre in innovating the GDS channel, we feel we´ll be better placed in serving the overall market.”More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise rates“Travel agents and travel management companies want to provide their customers with the best choice and flexibility,” said Christian Gerron, VP, North America, EAN brand. “Integrating our competitive rates and availabilities at more than 350,000 properties and 25,000+ destinations worldwide to Sabre’s Content Services for Lodging solution will provide tremendous value to Sabre partners by accessing our more than 650,000 deals.”The new lodging solution will include the capabilities of Sabre APIs and will be incorporated into Sabre Red Workspace, GetThere and TripCase. The solution will not only drive more efficiency and revenue with increased lodging choice, but will also extend tools and enable improved optimization capabilities to better manage chain, property, and rate-level preferred content, says Sabre.center_img Travelweek Group Tags: Expedia, Sabre, Travelbound << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

El Salvador urges neighbors to solve gulf dispute

first_imgNo related posts. SAN SALVADOR – El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez on Thursday said his government is seeking an appointment with Honduras and Nicaragua in coming days to address issues related to the Gulf of Fonseca, whose waters are shared by the three countries.“We have proposed a summit of presidents that would be held after Holy Week to review the progress we’ve reached regarding gulf development,” Martínez said.Foreign ministries of the three countries have yet to define a specific date for the meeting, which could take place in Honduras.Martínez will address the issue on Saturday during a private meeting in Costa Rica with foreign ministers of the region. Costa Rica chairs the Central American Integration System (SICA).On Wednesday, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes stressed in a letter to his Honduran counterpart, Porfirio Lobo, his “willingness to make the Gulf of Fonseca a zone of peace and development.”The previous day Lobo said that “the will exists” in El Salvador and Nicaragua to advance on these issues.With an area of ​​3,200 square kilometers, the Gulf of Fonseca has been the scene of political tensions and conflicts between fishermen and coast guards of the three countries, which accuse each other of illegal incursions into territorial waters of the other.In December, the three presidents agreed to “favor the resolution of conflicts through peaceful negotiations,” ruling out the use of military force. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica ranks 12th in World Happiness Report

first_imgCosta Rica still ranks among the world’s happiest countries according to the United Nation’s 2013 World Happiness Report released Tuesday. Ticos are ranked as the 12th happiest people on Earth out of 156 countries. Costa Rica also was ranked 12th in the 2012 report.Its No. 12 spot puts Costa Rica’s happiness ahead of every other country in Latin America, trailed by Panama (15) and Mexico (16), and at No. 2 in the Western Hemisphere, topped only by Canada (6). The U.S. ranked 17th, a marked drop from last year’s 11th place.  The report analyzed data from surveys conducted between 2010 and 2012. While traditional happiness indicators like per-capita gross domestic product and life expectancy were considered in ranking happiness, other factors like the availability of social support and the perceptions of corruption and generosity were also included.This is the second year the U.N. has released its happiness report, with the authors expanding their research this year to include policy suggestions for countries to improve the lives of their citizens.Costa Rica showed “no significant increase or decrease” in happiness between the period of 2005-2007 and the period 2010-2012 according to the data, but happiness is on the rise in the region as well as the world as a whole.Of the 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean listed in the report, 16 showed a significance increase in happiness. Worldwide, 60 countries showed higher happiness rankings.Another happiness survey, a Gallup poll released in December 2012 also ranked Costa Rica among the happiest countries. The poll surveyed the citizens of more than 150 countries, asking them a series of yes or no questions relating to their emotions. Latin Americans reported more positive responses than any other area with Costa Rica tying for fifth with Ecuador. Costa Rica also tied for fifth with Chile in the list of the world’s most “emotional” societies.  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

BB King 89 expanded blues audience

first_imgRelated posts:Blues legend B.B. King in new health scare Legendary horror director Wes Craven dead at 76 VIDEO: AZ’s ‘Back To Myself,’ filmed in Costa Rica, makes the rounds ahead of ‘Doe or Die, Vol. 2’ Singer David Bowie dies at 69; influential performer of many alter egos Living on his own, he attended school and worked for a white plantation owner, Flake Cartledge, who advanced him a few dollars to buy his first guitar. By the end of 1942, King moved back to the Delta.There, he picked cotton and drove a tractor, listening to music in his spare time. He accompanied a gospel group, “The Famous St. John’s Gospel Singers,” on guitar. Most important, he began singing the blues.“On Saturday evenings, I would go into town and sit on a corner on Indianola and Church Street,” King said, according to the Times story. “When I played gospel songs, people would always compliment me, pat me on the head and say, ‘That’s great, son, keep it up.’ But no money. Nothing in the hat. But I’d sing blues songs, and I’d make $15 a night. And some songs I’d only change ‘my Lord’ to ‘my baby.’ ”Although physically fit, King was discharged from the U.S. Army after basic training in 1944 because he drove a tractor for an essential industry, cotton.At 20, King left Mississippi for the first time, heading 120 miles north to Memphis, where he connected with his mother’s cousin, the noted bluesman Bukka White.Around that time, he married Martha Denton. They divorced in 1952 and had no children, according to a chronology created by Charles Sawyer Jr., a consultant to the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola and an instructor at Harvard University.White taught King the art of the blues: how to hold the guitar and phrase the lyrics. During this formative stage, King was also influenced by Texas electric guitar pioneer T-Bone Walker and jazz guitarists Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian.King soon began to develop his own guitar style. He never played while singing. When he finished a verse, he would extend the vocal line with a guitar solo.“When I sing, I play in my mind,” he once said. “The minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.”His first big break came in 1948 on a radio show hosted by Sonny Boy Williamson, the famed blues harmonica player, on KWEM in West Memphis, Arkansas. King performed and listeners flooded the station with calls asking about the then-unknown musician.He soon landed a steady gig at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and then earned a 10-minute spot on a local radio station with a pioneering all-black format. His on-air name became “Beale Street Blues Boy,” later shortened to “Blues Boy” and finally “B.B.”At one early performance, in Twist, Arkansas, a fight broke out among fans who knocked over a kerosene stove, setting fire to the hall. King raced outside to safety along with everyone else. Realizing he had left his $30 guitar inside, he rushed back into the burning building to retrieve it, narrowly escaping death, he recounted in 1999 to William Ferris, then-chairman for the National Endowment of the Humanities.King later learned that the fight had been over a woman named Lucille and decided to name his guitar after her to commemorate the event. Subsequently, Lucille was the name he gave every guitar he played.During the 1950s, King had more than 10 singles reach the Top 20 on the R&B charts, including several No. 1 hits. By the end of the decade, he was performing as many as 340 one-night stands a year.In 1958, he married Sue Hall, the daughter of an Indianola nightclub owner. The couple divorced in 1966 and had no children.King’s manager, Sidney Seidenberg, began promoting King to white audiences. In 1968, he booked King at Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore West in San Francisco. The following year the Rolling Stones chose him to open 18 of their concerts.After the success of “The Thrill is Gone,” King began performing 300 shows a year in mainstream venues worldwide. After he was diagnosed with diabetes in 1990, he continued appearing at more than 200 concerts a year, usually sitting down. He reached younger audiences at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee in 2008, Britain’s Glastonbury Festival in 2011 and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2013.King was also a successful pitchman and entrepreneur. He endorsed products and companies such as Burger King, XM Satellite Radio, Northwest Airlines, OneTouch glucose-monitoring systems and Gibson Guitars, maker of his beloved Lucille. He opened the first B.B. King’s Blues Club on Beale Street in Memphis in 1991, then expanded to cities including New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.King slowed his studio activities in later years. His 1993 album, “Blues Summit,” was considered a return to form and featured duets with peers such as John Lee Hooker, Etta James and Koko Taylor.“I’m trying to get people to see that we are our brother’s keeper,” King said in “The B.B. King Reader” (1997). “Red, white, black, brown or yellow, rich or poor, we all have the blues.”© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments “Every guitar player in the world should stand up when B.B.’s name is mentioned,” Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy said in 1997, when King was presented with the Blues Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.King’s recording of the Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell song “The Thrill Is Gone,” featuring his plaintive vocals and stinging guitar over a backdrop of violins, became one of the first blues songs to make the Top 20 on U.S. pop charts. The record earned King a Grammy Award in 1970 for best male rhythm and blues vocal performance. His subsequent television appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “American Bandstand” helped bring blues music from black-oriented radio stations and roadhouses into mainstream popular culture.“Almost single-handedly, B.B. King introduced the blues to white America,” said music historian Peter Guralnick, according to a 2003 New York Times article.During a career that spanned six-plus decades, King recorded more than 50 albums, won 15 Grammy Awards and notched about 75 entries on Billboard’s rhythm and blues charts between 1951 and 1985. He played in about 90 countries, had an audience with Pope John Paul II and sipped tea with Queen Elizabeth II.King often collaborated with younger acolytes. A 2000 album with Clapton, “Riding With the King,” sold more than 4.5 million copies, the most in King’s career, according to the Times.“He’s a shining example of consistency and dignity and carrying that ‘King’ crown very high for all of us,” guitarist Carlos Santana told Dan Aykroyd, co-author of “Elwood’s Blues: Interviews With the Blues Legends & Stars.”King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the same year the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. In 2006, President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.Riley B. King — he was never sure what the “B” stood for — was born on Sept. 16, 1925, in a sharecropper’s cabin in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. His parents, Albert and Nora Ella, separated when he was about 4, and he was raised by his mother, who called the blues “devil’s music,” and maternal grandmother in Kilmichael, in the hills east of the Delta, until they died in 1935 and 1940, respectively.King walked six miles round-trip to a segregated one-room schoolhouse and earned 35 cents a day picking cotton. He attended church, where the preacher played guitar while singing spirituals, and King became fascinated with both the instrument and gospel music. B.B. King, who rose from poverty on a Mississippi Delta cotton plantation to become one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century and an ambassador for American blues music, has died. He was 89.King died in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas late Thursday, the Associated Press said, citing his attorney, Brent Bryson. The death was confirmed by the Clark County coroner, the report said. King said on his website on May 1 that he was in hospice care at home.With an electric guitar he named Lucille, King developed a signature style — single-note solos, left-hand vibrato and bent strings simulating a human cry — that beginning in the 1960s inspired a younger generation of blues and rock guitarists from Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck in Britain to Jimi Hendrix, Michael Bloomfield and Stevie Ray Vaughan in the U.S.last_img read more

Tech company Ingram Micro to hire 120 employees in Costa Rica

first_imgU.S. electronics company and information technology distributorIngram Micro Inc. on Wednesday announced the upcoming opening of a business services center in Costa Rica. The firm aims to strengthen its growth in Latin America.Ingram Micro began the recruitment process with the goal of hiring 120 workers for its new operation. Recruiters are looking for professional staff for the company’s finance, purchase, sales, and information systems departments as well as technical personnel for its customer service and services center departments.Vice President of Global Shared Services Jeff Aldaz said the new Costa Rica center will initially focus on providing services for Ingram Micro’s customers and employees in the U.S., Argentina, Chile and Mexico.Aldaz believes that Latin America is a key region for the firm and he expects the company can maintain a steady growth in this market. “Our plan is that our Costa Rica operation becomes a foundation to support our growth in the region,” he said.Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Mora said the company’s announcement is of great pride for the country as it represents more employment opportunities for Costa Rican professionals. “It also strengthens the country’s position as the main provider of corporate services in the region,” he said.Interested candidates should send their resumes to Micro launched operations in Costa Rica in 2013 and currently employs some 400 workers at its mobile phone repair plant located in Santa Ana, west of San José.Headquartered in Irvine, California it is the world’s largest technology distributor and provider of IT supplies, mobile services and logistics solutions. The company ranks 62nd in the 2015 Fortune 500. Facebook Comments Related posts:Bacardí opens regional service center in Costa Rica Bosch opens business outsourcing company in Costa Rica Intel hiring for new Costa Rica operation 800 new jobs coming to Costa Ricalast_img read more

Sport fishing in Costa Rica where to go what youll find

first_imgThe Pacific side of the country boasts two fishing seasons, with the central and southern regions most productive November through April. In the north, the good bite is from May through December.The last few years have seen record numbers of sailfish on the Pacific side. El Niño slowed the bite last year, but during the two previous years, records were broken for the number of releases in the Los Sueños and Marina Pez Vela tournaments. Last year in the Offshore World Tournament at Marina Pez Vela, the sailfish were noticeably absent, while marlin released records were crushed.Dorado or dolphinfish have started off as a bang this fishing season, showing what seems to be a recovery of the stocks that migrate through here. Dorado is not only a beautiful fighting fish but also great table fare.Also in the bluewater are marlin, tuna, and wahoo. Tuna have made a great comeback after the area in which purse seiners are allowed to work was reduced 200,000 square kilometers in 2014, and the reduction of purse sein licenses granted to foreign fleets was reduced from 43 to 13 in 2017. There have been phenomenal catches of marlin around man made marine eco-systems. You probably won’t see a grander (a marlin over 1000 lbs) here in Costa Rica, but the Pacific offers blue, black, and striped marlin.Roosterfish are the Holy Grail inshore on the Pacific side, and are available there all year, unlike other areas. The average is 10-15 lbs, but 50-lb fish are common. Also available inshore are a large variety of snappers, grouper, jacks, African pompano and others. When the water is clear, wahoo and dorado venture close to shore. Roosters, snook, jacks and snapper can be taken here casting from the beach.Don’t pass up a chance to fish in Costa Rica. And remember: a Costa Rican fishing license is required for all anglers over 16 years of age.This article originally appeared in our 2017-2018 High Season Print Edition. Read more here about where to download or pick up a copy today.Todd Staley is a Tico Times columnist and director of communications for FECOP, a sport fishing advocacy federation recently chosen to represent Costa Rica in the Panamerican Sportfishing Delegation, formed by groups from the United States and all Latin America countries. One of the group’s goals is to get sportfishing recognized as a competitive sport and to organize teams from various nations to compete in the Pan-American games. The group also seeks a common front on conservation issues. Costa Rica will host the Federation Assembly in November 2018 followed by a roosterfish tournament with competitors from the different nations. Learn more at Facebook Comments On Oceans Day, kids made a difference Saltwater:The Caribbean side is world-famous for tarpon and snook. Tarpon school up outside the mouth of the river in pods that cover several acres. When it is hot, it is red hot and you will pull on big fish all day. As mentioned above, they will also enter the rivers and back lagoons.The fishing in the ocean is done with lures or sardines on circle hooks. Inside the mouth of the river, it is almost always done with artificial lures. The late Bill Barnes made fly fishing for tarpon popular in the area.Snook are also taken in the rivers and lagoons as well as the beach. There are four species of snook on the Caribbean side. The fat snook (calva) run that starts in December offers a chance to catch lots of snook on light tackle. It is a smaller species of snook and averages 5 to 8 pounds. The monsters that made Costa Rica famous in the fishing world are usually taken off the beach at the rivermouth. Rarely will you see lots of fish, but you have a chance to tangle with a once-in-a-lifetime fish of 35 pounds or more. I remember years ago I would see an article about fishing in Costa Rica in a fishing magazine, or a television show about catching tarpon by the boat load in the jungle. It started a series of “bucket list” fishing fantasies in my head. I made my first trip to Costa Rica over 30 years ago, caught and released a ton of fish, and told all my friends when I got back to the States: “I don’t know how yet, but I am going to figure out a way to live down there.”Twenty-seven years have passed since I moved to Costa Rica, and I have been fortunate enough to run world-renowned fishing operations over the years. Big fish tend to beat me up more these days than vice versa, but the fever for both the sport and the country has never left me.Costa Rica has so much to offer all types of anglers that it is a shame not to experience it. Here is a rundown of some of the many sport fishing opportunities.Freshwater:Guapote (rainbow bass) are available in Lake Arenal, along with machaca, a relative of the South American piranha that is quite acrobatic when hooked. The rivers and lagoons in Los Chiles, which is in the Northern Zone, and all along the Caribbean seaboard have those species as well, plus tarpon and snook that also venture deep into the freshwater ecosystems. Several types of other cichlads, known as morjarra are found deep in the jungle and make for great ultra-light fun.High in the mountains that divide the Pacific coast from Cartago, known as the Cerro de la Muerte, anglers will find wild rainbow trout in almost every creek. In that region, San Gerardo de Dota is a popular area and is also great for birdwatching species like the elusive quetzal. Fishing in a National Park is not permitted, so check that the area you are in is not park property.If you would like to take the kids, there are trout hatcheries along the Pan American Highway, which runs through the Cerro de la Muerte. You can fish at those hatcheries and they charge you by weight. Stone Mountain Outdoors in Santa Ana has good information on trout fishing.center_img Related posts:FECOP represents Costa Rica in Panamerican Sportfishing Delegation Baseball legend, all-star fisherman: Wade Boggs in Costa Rica Amateur Fishing Club names 2017 Tarpon Champion Costa Rican government approves greenstick licenses for commercial, charter fishing fleets Reader not fond of ‘torturing fish’ — but sportfishing isn’t the problemlast_img read more

Casa Alegría butterfly dome drawing visitors to Canaan de Rivas

first_imgFor too long, says Jose Lobo, visitors eager to hike nearby Cerro Chirripó would blow through the village of Canaan de Rivas, leaving nothing behind but the dust.So Lobo gave them a reason to stop.Since his Casa Alegría opened in December, Canaan is home to a butterfly sanctuary housed inside an immense, picturesque dome.“It has really slowed down traffic here and brought a lot of people into town,” Lobo told The Tico Times. “It has put this little town on the map.”Lobo hopes Casa Alegría becomes an economic stimulant for Canaan and said he’s trying to employ “anybody who wants to work” as groundskeepers or tour guides. He co-owns the attraction with the Navarro family, who have lived in the area for generations and with whom he has developed a close relationship.Casa Alegría has quickly turned into a community events center and has already hosted a children’s party and nighttime music performances. Lobo’s daughter, Chamonix Lua, who was born and raised “on this mountain,” runs a well-reviewed gelato shop on the property after taking a course on the topic in Italy.“We’re actually losing money on the gelato,” Lobo laughed, “but the word is getting out there.” (Courtesy Jose Lobo.)Nestled in the foothills of Costa Rica’s tallest mountain, Canaan sees thousands of tourists each year as they take a drive to San Gerardo, the town closest to the Chirripó trailhead.Now, Canaan features a chocolate factory and boutique cheese shop in addition to the butterfly sanctuary. Lobo’s neighbors are also planning on building a putt-putt golf course near the dome.And when Casa Alegría opened to the public in December, it caused a traffic jam on the narrow street that runs through the village, according to local business-owner Carole Friesen.“The whole town has changed a lot in the last little bit,” Lobo said. “Now it has a name for itself.” (Courtesy Jose Lobo.)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 No related posts.last_img read more

Israeli presidents office confirms early elections canceled

first_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli president’s office confirms early elections canceled(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Quick workouts for men More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments   Share   last_img read more

New sectarian violence erupts in Egyptian village

first_imgAssociated PressCAIRO (AP) – New sectarian violence erupted in a village near Cairo Wednesday following the death of a Muslim man, prompting all the local Christians to flee, church and security officials said.Tensions flare frequently between Egypt’s majority Muslims and minority Christians, but clashes rarely result in such a flight of an entire Christian community, about 100 families, said Ishak Ibrahim, who monitors religious freedom in Egypt for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Hamam said the police and big families in the village are in talks with the local priest and the father of the killed resident to calm the tension.The Coptic Christian laundry worker who threw the deadly firebombs, his father and brother have been detained and charged with premeditated murder and possession of explosives, the group said. Five Muslims involved in the violence are wanted in the case but have yet to be detained, it said.Ibrahim of EIPR said the response of the security forces to the rising tension in the village followed a pattern of inaction and ignoring warning signs.“The signs of rising tension were there. Despite that, the security didn’t deal with it and didn’t protect the people and their properties. They didn’t do their job,” Ibrahim said. “It is rare that the village empties out of its Christians.”The local priest told EIPR that the police arrived half an hour after the clashes erupted and did little to stop the looting and arson. The group said often police prefer to let the Muslims act out their anger, believing that would eventually defuse the tension.Attempts by The Associated Press to reach the local priest were unsuccessful. The violence came after the U.S. State Department said in its annual report on religious freedom in 2011 that Egypt’s government has failed to curb violence against the Christian minority and has at times itself been involved in the violence. It also criticized the government’s recurrent denial that the violence is sectarian in nature, often blaming it on criminal or family disputes.“The government generally failed to investigate and prosecute effectively perpetrators of violence against Coptic Christians and continued to favor informal `reconciliation sessions,’ which generally precluded criminal prosecution for crimes against Copts and contributed to a climate of impunity that encouraged further assaults,” the report said.The period covered by the report was well before Morsi was elected president. The year was highlighted by the overthrow of Mubarak in February and the assumption of power by the military. Morsi took office a month ago, but many of his powers have been usurped by the military.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The violence in Dahshour, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Cairo, is the first case of sectarian clashes in the weeks since Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood took over as president. The election of an Islamist heightened fears among Egypt’s Christian and other minorities that their rights would be curtailed, and that they might become targets of extremist Muslim attacks.The deposed regime of Hosni Mubarak kept a tight lid on Islamists. Since his overthrow a year and a half ago, violence against Christians has taken a turn for the worse, including violence by security forces.About 10 percent of Egypt’s mainly Muslim 82 million people are Christian.Security officials said police fired tear gas early Wednesday at angry Muslims who were trying to set fire to the local church. The rioters, who were returning from the burial of a Muslim man who died in the clashes, damaged several Christian properties and set three police trucks on fire.Sixteen people, including 10 policemen, were injured, said the security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information to reporters.The local Giza Archbishop’s office said in a statement that the Christian families fled the village fearing further attacks from Muslims. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 treatments for adult scoliosis More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Men’s health affects baby’s health too The rioters “broke the church’s windows, and doors of homes nearby,” the statement said. While security forces prevented a further attack on the church, the rioters “looted and torched the shops (of Christians), including a jewelry shop … and terrorized the local community, forcing them to leave their homes.”Sectarian violence first erupted in Dahshour on Friday following an argument between a Christian laundry worker and his client, a Muslim, whose shirt he burned. The Muslim man and friends went to the Christian’s home to continue the argument, provoking the Christian to lob firebombs at the crowd gathering outside his home, EIPR said, quoting witness accounts.The firebombs injured a bystander who died Tuesday of his wounds, further aggravating tensions. A group of Muslims tried to attack the local church, but other Muslims protected it until security forces arrived and dispersed the mob, EIPR said.Sayed Hamam, a 22-year old university student and resident of Dahshour, said security was heavily deployed in the village, and reconciliation attempts were under way to bring the Christians back. He said most have moved to a nearby village.“We are very saddened,” he said. “We used to pride ourselves on how peacefully we lived together for years. We are considering it a big feud in one clan, not a Muslim-Christian fight.” Check your body, save your lifelast_img

Doctors Japan nuclear plant workers face stigma

first_img Comments   Share   They tell therapists they have been harangued by residents displaced in Japan’s nuclear disaster and threatened with signs on their doors telling them to leave. Some of their children have been taunted at school, and prospective landlords have turned them away.“They have become targets of people’s anger,” Shigemura told The Associated Press.TEPCO workers _ in their readily identifiable blue uniforms _ were once considered to be among the elite in this rural area 230 kilometers (140 kilometers) north of Tokyo. But after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami set off meltdowns at the Fukushima plant, residents came to view them as “perpetrators,” Shigemura said.Many TEPCO families in the area now hide their link to the company for fear of criticism, local doctors and psychiatrists say.Shigemura likens the workers’ experience to that of U.S. Vietnam veterans returning home to hostility in the 1960s and early `70s.“They both worked for (the good of) their countries, but they got a backlash,” he said.About a dozen nuclear workers approached by the AP declined to be interviewed for this report. Except in rare cases, TEPCO has repeatedly declined requests to interview workers, and the workers themselves have shunned virtually all media attention, so these doctors’ accounts provide an unusual glimpse into their lives. Top Stories Worries about radiation exposure aren’t overwhelmingly prevalent among the TEPCO workers, both doctors say, although some workers are concerned, especially those with higher exposure counts. During the crisis, authorities raised the maximum radiation exposure limit to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts. Six TEPCO workers surpassed that level, and were removed from work at the plant. That exposure level was lowered again in December to 50 millisieverts, with an exception allowing up to 100 millisieverts in emergencies.In addition to the discrimination, the TEPCO nuclear workers, who are specially trained, are anxious that they will be transferred to a completely different kind of job, such as clerical work, if they should surpass the exposure limit, the doctors say.“More than health risk, they are worried about social risk and employment risk,” said Takeshi Tanigawa, an epidemiologist with Ehime University’s medical school who visited the plant after the disaster and was the one of the first to report its harsh working conditions, which have since improved. He has been back 15 times since, and Shigemura later volunteered to join him.The two doctors report that they are not aware of any case of radiation sickness or radiation burns among the workers, who undergo regular checks for radiation levels in their bodies. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Many TEPCO workers now live in a temporary barracks at a soccer stadium called J-Village, several kilometers (miles) south of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. Workers at J-Village approached by a journalist refused to talk, and other contractors said they would get in trouble with the utility if they did.Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, who is also in charge of nuclear crisis management, has made a point of thanking the workers during visits to the Fukushima plant, and children from around Japan have sent drawings and words of encouragement. But the workers have told the doctors that in restricted areas around the plant, former neighbors have shouted, thrown bottles and shoved them during their brief visits home to retrieve belongings.Such discrimination weighs heavily on the workers, said Shigemura.“Showing appreciation to the workers is an urgent need. It’s totally lacking,” Shigemura said, adding that he believes stigmatization is a key factor in influencing the workers’ psychological distress.A growing number of the workers tell the visiting psychiatrists of sagging motivation and hopelessness, and Shigemura warned that such attitudes could lead to `’misconduct or human error or sabotage.” He also said the workers are drinking more alcohol and smoking more. Associated PressTOKYO (AP) – A growing number of Japanese workers who are risking their health to shut down the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant are suffering from depression, anxiety about the future and a loss of motivation, say two doctors who visit them regularly.But their psychological problems are driven less by fears about developing cancer from radiation exposure and more by something immediate and personal: Discrimination from the very community they tried to protect, says Jun Shigemura, who heads a volunteer team of about ten psychiatrists and psychologists from the National Defense Medical College who meet with Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plant employees. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family His team started to receive some research funding from the Health Ministry in April.Shigemura predicts that the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder among Fukushima workers 2-3 years after the disaster will surpass the rate among 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, which a 2007 study in The American Journal of Psychiatry said was 12.4 percent.TEPCO says it is considering hiring a full-time psychiatrist to help meet the mental health needs of workers at the plant, but that there are a shortage of such experts, particularly in the Fukushima region.“The public’s trust in TEPCO has declined, so we will work to improve that,” said Yuji Ohya, an official with the company’s health and safety department. “Hopefully as that improves, it will boost the workers’ spirits.”__Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories A brief report on their experience visiting the Fukushima plant soon after the disaster that highlights the discrimination workers faced was published in Wednesday’s issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.The Japanese public and press, meanwhile, has offered the workers little praise, unlike the Western media, which during the height of the crisis portrayed the remaining band of workers at the plant as the heroic “Fukushima 50.” The domestic press instead emphasized how the dangers faced by the workers reflected the risks of nuclear power.Culture helps explain some of these dynamics, including the strong Japanese sense of duty and group responsibility.“People believe the workers share in the responsibility” for the disaster even though they didn’t cause it, Tanigawa said.Disaster psychiatry is not well-developed in Japan. The 1995 Kobe earthquake brought growing awareness of the psychological trauma of disasters, but specialists in the field remain rare.Research from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster suggests that mental health problems will persist for years.Eighteen years after that crisis, Chernobyl clean-up workers experienced higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, headaches and suicidal thoughts than the general population, according to a 2008 study in the journal Psychological Medicine. One former TEPCO employee who lived in the town of Tomioka, inside the 20-kilometer (15-mile) exclusion zone around the plant, told journalists during a rare visit to the Fukushima plant in February that she was frequently harassed by evacuees among the 100,000 displaced by the disaster.“Many people who want to go home are getting frustrated and they often yell at me, `How are you going to make it up to us?’” said Saori Kanesaki, a former visitor guide at the Fukushima plant.More than a half-century ago, many Japanese survivors of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were stigmatized due to fears about their exposure to radiation. But the Fukushima disaster has thrown up a completely new kind of discrimination because of the workers’ links to TEPCO, a company widely despised throughout Japan for its mishandling of the disaster.Some 3,000 TEPCO employees and other contractors continue to labor daily at the plant in one of the world’s riskiest jobs _ keeping three melted-down reactor cores as well as spent fuel pools cool through a makeshift system of water pipes.They face a long haul: Removing the fuel and completely shutting down the plant could take 40 years. Check your body, save your life The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img

AP Exclusive Unique tombs found in Philippines

first_img Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Associated PressMANILA, Philippines (AP) – Archeologists have unearthed remnants of what they believe is a 1,000-year-old village on a jungle-covered mountaintop in the Philippines with limestone coffins of a type never before found in this Southeast Asian nation, officials said Thursday.National Museum official Eusebio Dizon said the village on Mount Kamhantik, near Mulanay town in Quezon province, could be at least 1,000 years old based on U.S. carbon dating tests done on a human tooth found in one of 15 limestone graves he and other archeologists have dug out since last year. The archaeological site is part of 280 hectares (692 acres) of forest land that was declared a government-protected area in 1998 to keep away treasure hunters and slash-and-burn farmers. Treasure hunters looking for gold exposed some of the limestone tombs years ago, but it was only last year that Manila-based archeologists were notified and started to unearth more graves and artifacts and began to understand the significance of the find.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) How men can have a healthy 2019 Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The discovery of the rectangular tombs, which were carved into limestone outcrops jutting from the forest ground, is important because it is the first indication that Filipinos at that time practiced a more advanced burial ritual than previously thought and that they used metal tools to carve the coffins.Past archaeological discoveries have shown Filipinos of that era used wooden coffins in the country’s mountainous north and earthen coffins and jars elsewhere, according to Dizon, who has done extensive archaeological work in the Philippines and several other countries over the past 35 years.Aside from the tombs, archeologists have found thousands of shards of earthen jars, metal objects and bone fragments of humans, monkeys, wild pigs and other animals in the tombs. The limestone outcrops had round holes where wooden posts of houses or sheds may have once stood, Dizon told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview.The tombs were similar to ancient sarcophagus, which have become popular tourist attractions in Egypt and Europe, although the ones found in Mulanay were simple box-like limestone coffins without mythological or elaborate human images on the tops and sides. Archeologists have only worked on a small portion of a five-hectare (12-acre) forest area, where Mulanay officials said more artifacts and limestone coffins could be buried.A preliminary National Museum report said its top archeologists found “a complex archaeological site with both habitation and burial remains from the period of approximately 10th to the 14th century … the first of its kind in the Philippines having carved limestone tombs.”The discovery has been welcomed with excitement in Mulanay, a sleepy coastal town of 50,000 people in an impoverished mountainous region that until recently was best known as a major battleground between army troops and Marxist rebels.“Before, if you mention this region, people will say `Oh, that’s NPA country,’” Mulanay Mayor Joselito Ojeda said, referring to the New People’s Army rebels. “But that era is past and now we can erase that image and this archaeological site will be a big help.”Mulanay tourism officer Sanny Cortez said that after archeologists have finished their work in a few years, his town plans to turn Mount Kamhantik’s peak into an archaeological and eco-tourism park. A museum would also be built nearby. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img

Venezuelan candidates mobilize backers before vote

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The opposition candidate has called them “Chaca Chaca,” an amalgram of Chavez and Capriles’ names, and told public employees they have nothing to fear. He’s also assured them their votes will be kept secure by the country’s electronic balloting system and checks have shown that safeguards are in place to keep ballots secret.However, some Capriles supporters still express fears that thumbprint readers used at polling centers could intimidate opposition-leaning voters.Given intense interest in the race, analysts predict a high turnout.In the last presidential vote in 2006, about 75 percent of registered voters cast ballots. The latest Datanalisis poll found that more than 79 percent said they are “very sure” they will vote on Oct. 7.At a recent campaign march in the town of Los Teques, hundreds of opposition supporters blew whistles and horns as they paraded through the streets past a red tent where a group of Chavez supporters handed out campaign fliers.Rafael Carrillo, a Chavez supporter who belongs to the Communist Party of Venezuela, paid little attention to the passing crowd as he danced and loudly sang along with the campaign jingle playing on some nearby speakers. “We’ve identified the need to have a presence at the voting tables because in the past we’ve had a weakness in terms of that presence,” Lopez said at a news conference.Chavez’s side comes to the vote with an immediate advantage: a zealous grassroots juggernaut that rallies support for the president even in off-years. For the election, the president’s supporters have been divided into “patrols,” although Chavez has said some organizers complain they haven’t been receiving complete instructions on logistics.“Transport, logistics, we have to fine-tune all of that,” Chavez told a crowd in the western farming state of Portuguesa on Monday. “The great patriotic machinery. That’s what I want to underline.”Chavez’s campaign machine has been visible in the red tents set up on sidewalks where supporters have been handing out pamphlets. The campaign calls the tents “Red Spots,” after the chosen color of Chavez’s socialist-inspired movement.Folk music blared from the speakers at one of the tents on a recent evening in the Caracas district of Chacao, a bastion of opposition support.“I want to show the world that we’re holding a fair and transparent election, and that we’re experiencing a true democratic process,” said Luis Gustavo Marin, a court security chief. He said that on election day he’ll be working as a member of one of the “patrols,” visiting polling centers and providing logistical support to pro-Chavez observers. He said others will be working as “guardians of the revolution” to oversee the voting process and make sure procedures are followed.National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, a close ally of the president, said the socialist party will have witnesses at every voting center, and has already been going through its list of supporters.“We have more than 7 million people who’ve been contacted already,” Cabello said, “with first name, last name, ID number, where they vote and the time they’re going to vote, because we’re giving each of them a time to vote.”Each die-hard “Chavista” is encouraged to bring 10 others to cast ballots. Out of the country’s 29 million people, a total of 18.9 million are registered voters, and Chavez has set a goal of winning 10 million votes.Chavez has been leading in most polls ahead of the election, with one survey by the pollster Datanalisis showing him with a 10 percent lead this month. That poll, however, also showed that 11 percent of voters didn’t reveal a preference.Another survey by the polling firm Consultores 21 put the two candidates roughly even, with 46.5 percent saying they would vote for Capriles and nearly 46 percent choosing the president. The poll had an error margin of less than 3 percentage points. “We’re going to give 10 million votes to our commander,” Carrillo said. He said he thinks voting will proceed peacefully but that Chavez’s supporters must be organized, including “to detect any type of sabotage” by government opponents.“We’re the majority,” he said, “and we’re going to show it on the 7th with votes.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Get-out-the-vote ground games are key to elections all over the world. But in Venezuela, the strategy ahead of the Oct. 7 vote allegedly has involved not only gentle nudges but also intimidation. Both Chavez and challenger Henrique Capriles are mobilizing hundreds of thousands of supporters and will be keeping a close eye on the polls to make sure the other side doesn’t try any tricks.The opposition, which for the first time chose a single presidential candidate in a primary vote, is mounting its biggest-ever team of more than 200,000 volunteers. They include 117,000 poll monitors, and tens of thousands others who will get Capriles supporters to voting stations, driving them if necessary, said Leopoldo Lopez, Capriles’ campaign manager.Also for the first time, the opposition is assigning volunteers to every one of the country’s 14,000 polling centers to watch over the voting, transmit initial results to their headquarters and do post-vote audits of paper receipts printed out by the voting machines, Lopez said. The opposition didn’t send witnesses to all voting centers in the last election in 2006, when Chavez won by a wide margin. The president’s campaign’s better organization was seen as a key advantage. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories center_img Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Associated PressCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – By tradition, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rouse voters before dawn on election day blaring bugle tunes from loudspeakers mounted on trucks cruising through pro-Chavez neighborhoods.If that doesn’t do the job, loyalists from Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela keep extensive lists of supporters, many of whom depend on government jobs or benefits, and contact them to make sure they cast a ballot. The biggest challenge for the opposition is in traditionally pro-Chavez areas such as Caracas’ 23 de Enero slum, where heavily armed pro-government groups swear allegiance to the president. Lopez said some of the more than 400 Capriles supporters who’ve signed up as volunteers in the neighborhood have received death threats.“It’s been hard in the zone where they have the greatest control and threatening presence,” one volunteer said of the armed gangs, adding that Capriles supporters have nonetheless stepped forward to join election monitor teams despite the potential danger. She spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she feared for her safety.The slum is among 278 polling places nationwide where the opposition says there are risks of conflicts and has urged election officials and the military to be on alert to prevent trouble.Chavez and his supporters deny using coercion or intimidation to sway voters.Some government opponents have also raised concerns that public employees and other voters who rely on government social programs are being pressured to vote for Chavez.In fact, one group of Capriles supporters has appeared at his campaign marches wearing paper bags over their heads, saying they need to remain anonymous because they fear losing their government jobs or benefits. Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Quick workouts for menlast_img read more

New Pakistan outreach could aid Afghan peace deal

first_imgAssociated PressISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistan has increased efforts to reach out to some of its biggest enemies in Afghanistan, a significant policy shift that could prove crucial to U.S.-backed efforts to strike a peace deal in the neighboring country.The target of the diplomatic push has mainly been non-Pashtun political leaders who have been at odds with Pakistan for years because of the country’s historical support for the Afghan Taliban, a Pashtun movement. Pakistan will have to overcome significant distrust among the non-Pashtuns. The government has old ties to some of the leaders, who worked with Pakistan in the 1980s to push the Soviets out of Afghanistan, but Islamabad’s subsequent support for the Taliban created a huge amount of bad blood.Despite that, the Pakistanis are hopeful.“The Pakistani side’s view of Afghan negotiations is that you kill on one day and kiss on the next, so while this will be very tough, they think that it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that they may actually get somewhere,” said Yusuf, the South Asia analyst.____Vogt reported from Kabul, Afghanistan.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Four benefits of having a wireless security system “I think one of Pakistan’s realizations is that if you want to play a bigger role to reconcile all these groups, you need to reach out to every group,” said Rahimullah Yousufzai, a Pakistani journalist and expert on the Taliban. “They will be pushing the Taliban to share power with all these people, but it won’t be easy because the Taliban aren’t known to share power and the U.S. doesn’t want to give them a major share.”Islamabad’s historical support for the Taliban and other Pashtuns in Afghanistan, who make up about 40 percent of the population of 30 million, is partly rooted in the sizable number of Pashtuns who live in Pakistan. The ethnic group has always been seen as the best bet for furthering Pakistan’s interests in the country.Pakistan first advertised its overtures to non-Pashtuns in Afghanistan in February when Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar met with a range of ethnic Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara leaders during a visit to Kabul. Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf followed suit in July when he traveled to Afghanistan and invited the group to the opening of the new Pakistani Embassy in Kabul.There have also been less publicized contacts by Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul, Mohammad Sadiq, and the country’s army and intelligence service, according to Pakistani and Afghan officials. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Khar said the policy shift had been in the works for a while but was like a steering a large ship in a new direction.“You’re not able to do it immediately,” said the foreign minister.Pakistan’s powerful army is the true arbiter of the country’s Afghan policy, but experts expressed doubt that the Foreign Ministry would have pushed ahead without the support of the generals, who have historically had the closest relationship to the Taliban.One key Afghan leader who has met with the Pakistanis, Abdullah Abdullah, said he appreciated the country’s recent attempt to reach out because it was done publicly. The influential politician, who was runner-up to Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the 2009 election, said Pakistani intelligence officials contacted him in previous years, but he refused to speak with them because he did not believe communication should be carried out in secret.“I see a lot of good in reaching out, in engagement, in dialogue,” said Abdullah, who is half Pashtun but draws much of his support from the Tajik community.The outreach has rattled the Taliban, who have warned Pakistani officials that they can’t trust the non-Pashtuns, Yousufzai said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Pakistan’s concerns have led it to conclude that a peace agreement that includes all Afghan groups is in its best interests, and contact with its traditional foes among the non-Pashtuns is necessary to achieve that goal, said Moeed Yusuf, South Asia adviser for the United States Institute of Peace.“I think the fundamental point here is that there is a serious realization among some people who matter in Pakistan that they can’t continue to put all their eggs in the Taliban basket because it is too shaky,” said Yusuf. “This is a major shift, and a shift that I think everybody should welcome.”The outreach comes as Pakistan, Afghanistan and the U.S. have stepped up efforts to breathe new life into the Taliban peace process, which has been hamstrung by distrust among all the parties involved.The U.S. and Pakistan recently set up working groups to identify which Taliban leaders would be open to reconciliation and to ensure those holed up on Pakistani territory would be able to travel to the site of talks. Pakistan and Afghanistan have been in discussions to revive a joint commission set up to discuss the peace process.Pakistan is seen as key to a peace deal because of its ties with the Taliban, and there is hope that Islamabad’s increased engagement with non-Pashtuns in Afghanistan will facilitate the process. Many of the leaders fought against the Taliban when the fundamentalist Islamic group seized control of Afghanistan in the 1990s with Pakistan’s help, and have accused Islamabad of maintaining support for the insurgents following the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 _ allegations denied by the government.Many experts agree that Pakistan continues to see the Taliban as an ally, albeit a shaky one, in countering the influence of archenemy India in Afghanistan. But they also say Islamabad no longer believes the insurgents can take over the country or wants them to, a common misperception in the West.“A Taliban victory on the other side of the border would give a huge boost to domestic militants fighting the Pakistani state,” said Zahid Hussain, a journalist who has written extensively about Islamabad’s war against the Pakistani Taliban.Pakistan is also worried that unrest in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of most foreign troops in 2014 could provide the Pakistani Taliban with greater space to establish sanctuaries across the border.The Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are allies but have focused on different enemies. The Afghan Taliban have battled local and foreign forces in Afghanistan, while the Pakistani Taliban have mainly waged war against Islamabad. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Gay marriage in Spain affirmed by top court

first_img Sponsored Stories MADRID (AP) – Spain’s Constitutional Court upheld the legality of the country’s gay marriage law on Tuesday, rejecting an appeal contending that marriage in the Spanish constitution means only the union of a man and woman.The county’s top court voted 8-3 to dismiss the appeal of the conservative Popular Party filed shortly after Spain became the world’s third country to approve gay marriage. Spain’s Parliament passed the gay marriage law in 2005 when it was Socialist-controlled, with Popular Party deputies opposed. The Popular Party took power late last year after the Socialists were ousted over their handling of the economy.The gay marriage law angered the predominant Roman Catholic Church but opinion surveys showed most Spaniards backed it. Belgium and the Netherlands approved gay marriage laws before Spain.More than 22,000 gay marriages have taken place in Spain.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centercenter_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Latest on China Boat Sinking Over 1000 sent to help search

first_img Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Parents, stop beating yourself up ___7:30 a.m. (2330 GMT)Chinese President Xi Jinping orders all our rescue effort after the passenger ship carrying 458 passengers and crew sank late Monday night in the Hubei section of China’s Yangtze River. He has ordered a work team from the State Council, the country’s Cabinet, to rush to the site to guide the rescue work. The ship, the Eastern Star, sank after being caught in a cyclone while steaming upriver in a section of the river in Hubei province, according to the Yangtze River navigation administration.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. A man grieves for his missing parents as his aunt calls on her phone outside a travel agency which was involved in organizing a Yangtze River cruise, in Shanghai, China Tuesday June 2, 2015. A small cruise ship sank overnight in China’s Yangtze River during a storm, state media said Tuesday. (Chinatopix via AP) CHINA OUT BEIJING (AP) — The latest on the capsized cruise ship on China’s Yangtze River:___5 p.m. (0900 GMT)Chinese state broadcaster CCTV says more than 1,000 armed police officers, 30 soldiers and 140 navy divers have been sent to the site where a cruise ship sank on China’s Yangtze River. More than 40 small boats also were sent to take part in search and rescue operations.An air force spokesman says China’s armed forces sent six helicopters from Beijing and Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility CCTV says an initial batch of 39 medical staff from the city of Guangzhou arrived at the site, and an additional 38 are expected later Tuesday.___2:30 p.m. (0630 GMT)Relatives of people who were aboard a cruise ship that sank on China’s Yangtze River have headed to a government office in Shanghai to try to get more information about the accident. The family members had initially gathered at a travel agency that had booked many of the trips to await word on their loved ones.Huang Yan, a 49-year-old Shanghai accountant, wept as she told a reporter that she believes that her husband, also 49, and his father, who is in his 70s, were aboard the boat. But she said she couldn’t be sure because she hadn’t seen an official passenger list yet.Yan shouted: “Why did the captain leave the ship while the passengers were still missing? We want the government to release the name list to see who was on the boat.”China’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted the captain and chief engineer, who were both rescued, as saying the ship sank quickly after being caught in a cyclone.___1:45 p.m. (0545 GMT)Relatives of people who were aboard a cruise ship that sank on China’s Yangtze River have gathered at a travel agency in Shanghai that was involved in organizing the cruise. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Some of the family members cried and consoled each other Tuesday as they awaited word on their loved ones.The ship went down overnight with 458 people aboard, most of them elderly, according to state broadcaster CCTV. Five people are confirmed dead and at least 13 have survived, with the rest still missing.___12:45 p.m. (0445 GMT)State broadcaster CCTV says rescuers heard survivors yelling for help from inside a capsized cruise ship on China’s Yangtze River after it went down overnight in a storm with 458 people aboard, most of them elderly.The broadcaster says 12 people survived, and at least five people are confirmed dead.CCTV says search teams heard people calling out from within the partially submerged ship about 12 hours after it went down late Monday during a windy storm in Hubei Province. Stormy weather is hindering the rescue.The broadcaster showed rescuers in orange life vests on the upside-down hull, with one of them lying down tapping a hammer and listening for a response.___10:30 a.m. (0230 GMT)State broadcaster CCTV said search teams heard sounds coming from within the capsized cruise ship more than 12 hours after it flipped over in the Yangtze River on Monday night, and were trying to confirm whether they were from survivors trapped inside. Sponsored Stories Footage from the broadcaster showed rescuers in orange life vests standing on top of the upside-down hull, with one of them lying down tapping a hammer and listening for a response, then pointing downward.___10:15 a.m. (0215 GMT)Chinese state media say that at least one person is dead and nearly 450 are missing after the ship sank. Ten people have been rescued, according to state broadcaster CCTV, which said the four-level ship was carrying 406 Chinese passengers, five travel agency employees and 47 crew members. Most of the passengers were 50 to 80 years of age.___8:40 a.m. (0040 GMT)Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is on his way to the accident site where a passenger ship carrying more than 450 sank on the Yangtze River. Only a small number of survivors have been found so far, including the captain and chief engineer, who said the ship sank quickly after being caught in a cyclone. The Communist Party-run People’s Daily said the ship sank within two minutes.___8 a.m. (0000 GMT)The state-run Xinhua News Agency says that rescuers are battling winds and rain in the search for missing from a small cruise ship that sank late Monday on China’s Yangtze River. Footage from state broadcaster CCTV calm waters Tuesday morning, with dozens of rescue personnel in bright orange vests gathered on the shore. Several rescue ships were searching the waters, and submersible craft had been deployed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Albania police arrest 2 more suspects in policemans slaying

first_imgAn Albanian police officer uses binoculars during an operation in Lazarat village, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Tirana, Thursday, June 25, 2015. Hundreds of Albanian police officers were checking houses Thursday in a marijuana-growing village in southern Albania a day after gunmen fatally shot a policeman and wounded two others during a shootout. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Six people so far have been accused and detained in both the policeman’s killing and for illegal weapons possession. Police say gunmen were organized to push away police from the village so locals could resume planting marijuana, a multibillion-dollar business in Lazarat.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian police have arrested two suspects considered to be the leaders of the armed group that fatally shot one policeman and wounded two others this week.Police spokesman Gentian Mullai on Sunday said two teenagers, brothers Arbjon and Alban Aliko, handed themselves over after 500 police isolated them Saturday evening at a former army mountain tunnel 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the marijuana-growing village of Lazarat. The village, 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of the capital, Tirana, is where the policeman was killed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

US inline to break traveller spending record

first_imgThe US travel industry is eager to meet President Obama’s challenge to double the country’s exports over the next five years, boosting visitor expenditure up by 19 percent increase in April compared to the same month last year.Travellers spent up to US$12.3 billion in the country in April this year, boosting international visitor spending estimates between January and April by 13 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2010 to US$48.3 billion.Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez said figures were in-line to break records and could see up to US$151 billion injected into the economy.“Since President Obama challenged us to double U.S. exports during the next five years, the U.S. travel and tourism industry has proven itself up to challenge,” Mr Sánchez noted. “Our nation’s travel and tourism businesses are a driving force in helping us achieve the goals of the National Export Initiative – helping to strengthen our economy and support millions of American jobs.” Total fares received by carriers also grew for the month with international visitors fares up by 26 percent to US$2.9 billion, breaking a record set in August 2008. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more