No related posts. All legal drivers in Costa Rica must report – no later than April 26 – an email address that will be used by officials for notification of traffic fines.Every driver or vehicle owner must complete and submit a form to authorized offices of the Traffic Police, RITEVE (technical vehicle inspections), the Public Works and Transport Ministry or the Roadway Safety Council (COSEVI).The form can be downloaded from COSEVI’s website (www.csv.go.cr) and those who already have a digital signature also can send it to the email address: email@example.com.“Those motorists who do not provide an email address can not argue that they were not informed [about a fine] because they will be notified in the official newspaper La Gaceta,” COSEVI officials said in a press release.The requirement to provide an email address for notifications is established in the new Traffic Law, which took effect on Oct. 26. Facebook Comments
CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s new President Nicolás Maduro was roughly pushed aside Friday by a youth in a red shirt who ran on stage during his inaugural address in the National Assembly and grabbed the microphone.The incident caused momentary confusion as national television coverage of the event briefly went off the air, returning after Maduro had regained his composure and the youth had been moved off stage.“Incident overcome,” said Maduro, saying he would speak to the man after the address and then continuing with his speech.“I swear it before the eternal memory of the supreme commander,” he said after being read the oath by National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello.Cheers broke out in the packed assembly as the presidential sash was placed over the 50-year-old Maduro, who was elected president in snap elections to replace Hugo Chávez, who died of cancer on March 5 after 14 years in power.Close Chávez allies including presidents Raúl Castro of Cuba and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran watched the ceremony along with leaders from other Latin American countries who rallied around Venezuela’s new government.Fireworks fired by Maduro supporters boomed across the city in celebration but the fainter sound of pots being banged in protest could also be heard, recalling that his narrow victory has been challenged by the opposition. Facebook Comments No related posts.
GMO corn is controversial due to its open-air pollination process. GMO opponents fear that genetically modified corn could wipe out Costa Rica’s diverse native corn species.Alberto Font Who opposes GMOs and why?Environmentalists, health advocates and agricultural labor groups are the primary opponents of GMOs. Most of the arguments against genetically modified food focus on three issues: patent control, health risks and the spread of “monoculture” and industrial farming.Patent controlWhen a biotech company develops a genetically modified seed, it secures a patent for that intellectual property. The company then owns the rights to its seeds.Farmers who buy Monsanto’s seeds sign a contract agreeing not to save the seed after harvest. This locks those farmers into a cycle of purchasing seeds year after year, while other farmers save their seeds and have no additional expense.The controversy with GMO patents first emerged in 1997 when Monsanto sued Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser for saving and reusing Monsanto seeds he discovered on his farm. Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto, and the company pursued 145 similar lawsuits in the United States from 1997 to 2012.Some GMO opponents claim that Monsanto and similar companies sue farmers over accidental pollination from nearby farms. Although in some cases, including Schmeiser’s case, farmers said their crops were unintentionally cross-pollinated with GMO seeds, it was never proven. In all cases, the farmers were shown to have intentionally saved and reproduced the seed.Scenarios that theoretically could involve accidental pollination have yet to be tested in court. It is possible that a biotech company could sue a farmer for failure to eradicate crops that were accidentally contaminated by GMOs, but to date none of these cases have been pursued in court.Health risksMany health food proponents claim that eating genetically altered foods carries hidden health risks, but a number of major health organizations – the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the European Commission among them – have ruled GMOs safe for human consumption.There are several published studies, however, that suggest GMOs could have long-term consequences. An oft-referenced study by University of Caen Professor Gilles-Éric Séralini showed that rats fed a diet of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn died earlier than control rats and in some cases developed cancerous tumors. Despite the findings, the European Food Safety Authority and a number of independent scientists have pointed to flaws in the study. Protesters sit outside Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly on Oct. 16 prior to the introduction of a GMO moratorium bill.Alberto Font If GMOs have been in Costa Rica for more than 20 years, why is there so much opposition now?In November 2012, two Costa Rican subsidiaries of Monsanto, D&PL Semillas Ltda. and Semillas del Trópico, filed requests to grow 35 hectares of genetically modified corn.Corn has long been at the center of the GMO debate because it pollinates using the wind, making it vulnerable for cross-pollination with non-GMO corn. In an attempt to quell environmentalists’ worries, Monsanto pointed to a requirement that would separate GMO corn plantations from non-GMO plantations by at least 50 meters.“The pollination of corn cultivations is open, but studies have shown that nearly 100 percent of the pollen falls within 50 meters from the plant that emitted it,” D&PL Semillas spokeswoman Eva Barbosa told The Tico Times last November.A study conducted by the University of Costa Rica conflicted with Monsanto’s claims, finding viable corn pollen as far as 800 meters from the original crop.Concerned about the contamination of Costa Rica’s native corn growth, Bloque Verde led protests across the country.In January, the National Biosecurity Technical Comission approved D&PL Semilla’s request, despite opposing votes from the commission’s two environmentalist members. The request from Semillas del Trópico S.A. was denied because it did not meet commission requirements.What is the status of those corn projects today?Following complaints from environmental groups and citizens, the Costa Rican Ombudsman’s Office filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the approval of Monsanto’s request.The lawsuit throws into question the process by which GMO requests are approved. It also states that the Costa Rican Constitution requires GMO projects to include an environmental impact assessment before approval, and urges the courts to modify the law that allowed GMOs into Costa Rica in the first place. Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, will hear the case.The impending lawsuit has halted any action on Monsanto’s corn project until the court ruling.What else are opponents doing to stop GMOs in Costa Rica?Following Monsanto’s request, conservation groups launched campaigns to push for labeling of GMO products and additional municipal bans. The Culture Ministry also approved a request last year for native corn species to be considered national patrimony, thus protecting them from destruction.However, these actions can’t be enforced without a court ruling or a new national law. To combat this, lawmakers introduced an environmentalist-backed bill on Oct. 16 that would place a moratorium on GMO expansion.The Ecologist Federation, Bloque Verde and the Network for a Transgenic-free Latin America helped draft the bill, which is supported by the Citizen Action Party and the Broad Front Party in the Legislative Assembly.If passed, what will the moratorium bill mean for GMOs in Costa Rica?The moratorium would not ban GMOs in Costa Rica or have any effect on the GMO farms already in the country. It would prevent expansion of GMO projects (including Monsanto’s approved corn project) and would require that scientific studies involving genetic modification take place in a contained area.The bill’s fourth article also would require the state to begin expanding and encouraging “eco-agronomic practices” through political policies, education and technical assistance. This article would require that the state include the development of these ecological farming practices in the National Development Plan.Though the law would not halt GMO use, Crop Life, a pro-biotechnology organization, told The Tico Times that it would effectively “paralyze agricultural development in GMO plants” in the country.Could Costa Rica completely ban GMOs in the future?Although many GMO opponents claim that Costa Rica is nearly GMO-free due to municipal bans, the reality is that the country is no closer to completely banning genetically modified food than it was before the bans.Only the outcome of the court battle in the Sala IV could make Costa Rica GMO-free. If the court rules in favor of the Ombudsman’s Office, it could lead to a constitutional ban on GMOs. But it could also lead to a less restrictive outcome.Even with a ban on GMO growth, the Sala IV case does not address GMO importation and consumption. Facebook Comments If you’re a little confused about what GMOs are and why lots of people say they’re bad, welcome to the party.A study by the University of Costa Rica and the National University found that 75 percent of Costa Ricans could not explain what a genetically modified organism (GMO) is or for what it is used. Meanwhile, local GMO opponents continue protesting attempts by subsidiaries of multinational biotech company Monsanto to introduce genetically modified corn seed into Costa Rica.Do protesters have a point? Isn’t Monsanto already here? And how is that possible if Costa Rica is mostly GMO-free?Let’s back up and answer some questions about GMOs.What are genetically modified organisms and why do companies produce them? “Genetically modified organism” is a blanket term referring to a living thing with altered DNA via genetic engineering. Scientists often experiment with the genetic material of plants and animals by removing or manipulating certain genes to better understand what those genes do.Some GMO critics oppose genetic modification in any form, but the most controversial aspect involves the altering of crops for consumption.Biotechnology companies genetically modify crops to be resistant to pests, drought, stress and the application of herbicides. Some crops also have been modified to become more nutritious, and others to produce their own herbicides.A wide range of studies exists, both supporting and refuting the benefits of GMOs. Some show that modifications lead to higher crop yields and a drop in pesticide use. Others contradict those findings. Still more studies say that herbicide-resistant crops enable farmers to use milder herbicides. Biotech companies promote these benefits by claiming GMOs could be a solution to global food shortages as populations increase.Monsanto, the world’s most profitable biotech company, uses this tagline: “Feeding the world.” Spread of monoculture and industrial farmingThe greatest environmental and socioeconomic concern with GMOs is a shift from traditional, multi-species agriculture to industrial, monoculture farming.Reusing the same seed of a given crop on every farm eliminates the genetic diversity of traditional farming. Opponents say unforeseen chemical-resistant plagues and pests of the future could take out an entire species of crop in a monoculture system, whereas a more biologically diverse approach would allow for the proliferation of naturally genetically resistant crops.Industrial farming has environmental consequences as well.“Monoculture depends on the use of agro-chemicals in order to function. These can harm local crops and wildlife,” said Ignacio Arroyo, a biologist and member of Bloque Verde, a Costa Rican environmental group. “It can reduce the fertility of the soil. It could lead to the development of resistant weeds and pests. It just seems irrational.”In addition to environmental consequences, anti-GMO groups oppose socioeconomic inequities created by industrial farming. Opponents view corporate farming as a shift of agricultural control from the hands of rural farmers to wealthy companies.“Agriculture in Costa Rica should be managed by Costa Rican farmers, not a Gringo mega-corporation,” said Bloque Verde’s Fabián Pacheco, who also is a member of the National Biosecurity Technical Commission, a Costa Rican regulatory body.What are Costa Rica’s laws regarding GMOs?Municipal governments enacted local GMO production bans in the past year, with 63 of Costa Rica’s 82 cantons prohibiting GMOs in some form. Despite the bans, no national laws specifically prohibit GMO growth and production in Costa Rica. This means that GMO projects sanctioned by the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG) can move forward, even in cantons with a municipal ban.Projects are approved or denied on a case-by-case basis by the National Biosecurity Technical Commission. The commission bases its decisions on technical requirements established by the Cartagena Protocol on Biodiversity, an international agreement from 2003 that established norms for GMO risk assessment and management. The nine-member Costa Rican commission is made up of industry leaders and scientists. Environmentalists are given two seats on the commission.MAG oversees the importation of GMO crops to Costa Rica. There are no national laws prohibiting GMO sale or consumption, and there are no laws requiring GMOs to be labeled.What GMOs are being produced in Costa Rica?MAG approved Monsanto’s first project in Costa Rica in 1991. The company began growing genetically modified soybeans and cotton, but only to create seed for export. To date, none of the GMOs produced in Costa Rica are licensed for consumption.As of January, Costa Rica had 443.1 hectares of genetically modified crops. Cotton plantations made up the majority, with 394.3 hectares, followed by soybeans with 44.6 hectares. A single 3.2-hectare pineapple plantation and a 1-hectare banana plantation also are located in Costa Rica. One of the Costa Rica’s most outspoken GMO opponents, Fabián Pacheco, center, is a member of both the Bloque Verde conservation group and the National Biosecurity Commission. Pacheco was one of only two votes against Mansanto’s proposed GMO corn project.Alberto Font Related posts:Costa Rica Ombudsman’s Office files complaint against GM corn Awaiting a court decision, anti-GMO activists gain symbolic ground Lawmakers begin discussions on bill that would place a moratorium on GMO crop production in Costa Rica Following court ruling, anti-GMO activists ask for map of transgenic farms
Related posts:Electricity rate hikes take effect in April Solís calls for review of gasoline, electricity prices Electricity rates to remain unchanged through December 2015 Electricity rates for ICE customers to drop in January The start of the month of April on Tuesday will bring with it an increase in electricity rates recently approved by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP). The agency on Monday also said they are reviewing requests for more hikes on the per-liter price of fuel.On March 21, ARESEP approved hikes in electricity rates ranging from 6.87-9.81 percent due to an increase in thermal generation. Electricity production at hydroelectric plants has decreased significantly due to severe weather conditions that have produced less-than-average precipitation during the rainy season and have caused an increase in fuel consumption at thermal generation plants.As of Tuesday, April 1, customers of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute will pay 6.87 percent more on their monthly bill; a bill for a family with a monthly consumption of 250 kWh, for example, will increase from ₡23,500 to ₡25,200 ($44-$47).ARESEP also is evaluating two hike requests in the per-liter price of fuel. The first one is an ordinary price adjustment requested by the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) that ranges from ₡11-₡45. The refinery has asked for the increase to compensate for administrative expenses and investments.RECOPE also has filed an additional request to raise fuel prices due to a variation of international oil prices. If approved, per-liter prices would increase by ₡29 for Super gasoline, ₡21 for Plus gasoline and ₡9 for diesel.RECOPE will announce on its website dates and locations for upcoming public hearings, where citizens opposed to the increases can argue their case. Facebook Comments
Related posts:Actor Leonardo DiCaprio talks about illegal fishing in Costa Rica’s Cocos Island Police rescue giant sea turtle from trunk of a car after shootout with suspects Following public outcry, Costa Rica temporarily blocks exports of hammerhead shark fins Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson turns to human rights commission to block Costa Rica’s legal chase Park rangers on June 14 detained a boat fishing illegally near Cocos Island National Park, a protected marine area more than 300 miles from Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The boat’s fishermen had hooked 11 sharks on their longlines before the rangers intervened.Officials were able to free four sharks, but seven others died. Among the dead sharks was an endangered scalloped hammerhead.The area around Cocos Island is known for its abundant shark population, but biologists estimate that illegal fishing in the area has lowered numbers of some species by as much as 70 percent.Recommended: Actor Leonardo DiCaprio talks about illegal fishing in Costa Rica’s Cocos IslandDespite the installation of a state-of-the-art radar system on Cocos Island, sharks and other marine life surrounding the island still endure frequent threats from illegal fishing in the area, according to the park’s administrator, Geiner Golfin. Sharks caught off the coast of Costa Rica. (Courtesy of Geiner Golfin) A hammerhead shark swims off the coast of Cocos Island in the Costa Rican Pacific. (Courtesy of Geiner Golfin) (Courtesy of Geiner Golfin) Facebook Comments
Members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will meet in Havana, Cuba, for two days starting Wednesday to discuss coordinated prevention and emergency response efforts for potential cases ofEbola in the region.ALBA countries – particularly Venezuela and its outspoken President Nicolás Maduro – had urged Costa Rica, which currently heads CELAC, to plan joint efforts to prevent the virus from spreading to the region.Costa Rica’s acting Foreign Minister Alejandro Trejos on Tuesday evening confirmed the participation of all 33 CELAC members in the upcoming summit.The Costa Rican delegation, which includes experts from the Health Ministry and the Social Security System, traveled to Cuba on Tuesday, led by the ministry’s director of health surveillance, María Ethel Trejos.Specialists from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and officials of the Cuban Public Health Services also will attend the meeting.ALBA countries last week agreed to outline an Ebola action plan that emphasizes prevention and assistance to Caribbean countries. They also commissioned technical experts to draft an action plan for regional health ministers by Nov. 5.Experts at the meeting will present their countries’ strategies for containment of the virus and hold working groups to draft specific emergency response guidelines.Four committees will focus on diagnosis, treatment, surveillance, patient management, awareness campaigns and training.A PAHO expert with recent experience in Liberia, Africa, is in Costa Rica this week providing training to public health care workers and conducting an evaluation of country’s protective equipment.The World Health Organization reported 10,141 Ebola cases this month in eight countries; 4,922 patients have died from the deadly virus.Recommended: Cuban man sent to fight Ebola in Guinea dies of malaria Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican health officials announce measures to prevent introduction of Ebola virus here ‘It’s despair on all fronts,’ says Ebola aid worker UN confronts deadly Ebola epidemic Health officials in Costa Rica react to first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States
The Costa Rican Chamber of Industries (CICR) on Wednesday said that next year they will begin a preparatory stage for building an industrial park that will host only small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).The Millennium Industrial Complex will house approximately 40 SMEs that have “export potential,” chamber president Enrique Egloff said.The project is in a planning stage, and CICR experts are outlining logistics including financing strategies and a location.“The exact site has not yet been defined, but it most likely will be somewhere west of the Greater Metropolitan Area,” Egloff said.In coming weeks the CICR will disclose a list of requirements and procedures for businesses to apply for a spot in the park.The industrial complex will be the first of its kind in Costa Rica and initially will be financed by a trust fund created by CICR associates, public banks and international cooperation organizations.The CICR hopes the model can be replicated in other parts of the country. To do so, the chamber will solicit support from public agencies that are part of the government’s SMEs Support Network, including the Foreign Trade Ministry, the Science and Technology Ministry, the Foreign Trade Promotion Office, and the National Training Institute, among others.International aid organizations and partner countries with which Costa Rica has bilateral cooperation agreements also will be invited to join the project.The complex is expected to provide companies with infrastructure and “a number of technological platforms to supply all their logistics, financing, training, marketing, health and other services to facilitate their operations,” Egloff said.The Economy Ministry in 2013 reported that 10,200 SMEs are officially registered in the country, and only 6 percent of them export products or services.SMEs last year produced the equivalent of 33 percent of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product and provided some 30,000 jobs, the Economy Ministry study found. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica’s capital is the second best city in the region for doing business, World Bank says Costa Rican company begins exporting wood-burning stoves Ticos abroad: Which Costa Rican products do you miss the most? Employment outlook among industrial sector shows no improvement
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Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Parents, stop beating yourself up New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments Share Sponsored Stories Associated PressASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) – The head of the U.N. refugee agency says deepening humanitarian crises across the Middle East and North Africa combined with persistent global economic woes have created a “nightmare scenario.”U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said the formation of a broad crisis area across Africa encompassing Libya, Nigeria, Mauritania and Somalia poses a major threat to global peace and security. “We feel there are more and more needs, and we see that there are limitations to mobilize the resources required to address those needs,” Guterres told The Associated Press in an interview on the sidelines of a conference in the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan devoted to the issue of refugees in the Islamic world.More than two-thirds of the 17.6 million displaced people worldwide are from and sheltered in Islamic countries, according to UNHCR figures.Political unrest and civil conflict in countries such as Syria, Mali and newly independent South Sudan over the last year have further stretched thinly resourced humanitarian organizations.“There is no humanitarian solution for these problems. The solution is political, and it is essential that the international community comes together to be able to quickly promote effective political solutions in each of these situations,” Guterres said.Last week saw a major breakthrough in efforts to ease one the world’s most enduring humanitarian crises when international donors pledged $1.9 billion to help rebuild the lives of almost 9 million former and current Afghan refugees.The plan thrashed out at a conference in Geneva is to initially focus on providing schools and jobs and meeting other basic needs for the 5.7 million Afghans who have returned to their homeland. Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Some 2 million Afghans remain in Pakistan, and 1 million in Iran, and the plan also is intended to help resettle those who wish to return home.But while Syria and Afghanistan have gained significant global attention, Guterres said the fallout of civil conflicts like that in the Western African nation of Mali risks being overlooked.The government in Mali was toppled in a coup in March, compounding instability as tens of thousands of people were fleeing to neighboring countries because of attacks by a Tuareg rebel group. The Tuareg uprising that began in mid-January is being fueled by arms leftover from the civil war in neighboring Libya.Guterres warned developed nations against complacency and the dangers of allowing isolated crises to take on a pan-regional dimension.“It is not only a matter of solidarity. It is a matter of enlightened self-interest that should mobilize the international community to address this crisis,” he said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 must play golf courses in Arizona
4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Quick workouts for men Comments Share How do cataracts affect your vision? More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Associated PressSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Three Puerto Rican reggaeton stars have come under U.S. scrutiny after recently performing at the wedding of an alleged drug trafficker in Colombia who had been presumed dead, a federal official said Thursday.Singer Arcangel and duo Jowell & Randy were among seven Puerto Rican artists present at the wedding who the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration wants to question, said Pedro Janer, acting special agent in charge of the DEA’s Caribbean division. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates “We’re definitely going to look into it,” he said. “This guy was a pretty notorious drug trafficker.”The artists were performing at the weeklong wedding party of Camilo Torres, who is nicknamed “Fritanga” after a Colombian dish of fried meat. Colombian authorities raided the party in late June just hours after the wedding and arrested Torres, who Janer said had assumed a new identity after someone filed a false death certificate for him in 2010.The party was held on the island of Mucara off Colombia’s Caribbean coast and featured theme nights, fireworks and a bikini-clad bride.The DEA wants to know how the artists were contracted, how much they were paid and how they arrived in Colombia, among other things, he said.“This guy was a significant trafficker, and to find seven guys from Puerto Rico there, even though they claim they were working, or performing, that’s fine, but it’s not the typical venue,” Janer said.The Puerto Ricans know things that “would probably be of very good use to the Colombian authorities,” he added.Uka Green, a publicist for Arcangel and his managing company, Pina Records, said DEA agents are welcome to interview anyone who was at the wedding. She said none of those present knew who was financing their performance. “Of course they did not know the groom or the bride or anyone else,” Green said. “This is a very unpleasant situation for all those involved. Obviously, we don’t want to be making comments that do not contribute to the security and well-being of the employees who were there.”Pina Records issued its own statement denying that someone working with Arcangel had identified himself as a U.S. police officer during the raid as alleged by Colombian media.A man who answered the phone at Vallejo Enterprises, a company that represents reggaeton duo Jowell & Randy, declined to comment and said he did not know whether anyone would issue a statement.Janer said he might ask the IRS and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for help, along with Puerto Rico’s Treasury Department, if the DEA decides to fully investigate the case.“If there’s money involved, we would like to see what kind of finances these performers have,” he said, adding that they typically get paid double or triple what they normally charge.It is rare for singers or other artists to be directly accused of ties to drug trafficking since it’s the promoters and managers who are involved in direct negotiations and sign the contracts, Janer said. Sponsored Stories “The thing is, at what point does the artist or the artist’s manager realize that this is drug money and that people behind it are drug traffickers?” he said. “That’s what they claim they never know.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family
Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Two of E.ON’s nuclear reactors were among eight older ones in Germany that were switched off after Japan’s Fukushima disaster.E.ON says it’s upholding an increased full-year forecast issued last month. Its full earnings report is due next Monday.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments Share More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements BERLIN (AP) – Energy company E.ON AG says its first-half earnings leapt following an agreement on long-term gas supply contracts with Russian gas producer Gazprom OAO.E.ON said Tuesday that it expects underlying net earnings of about (EURO)3.3 billion ($4.1 billion) for the January-June period _ compared with some (EURO)900 million a year earlier.It said that, in addition to the settlement with Gazprom which it announced last month, the year-on-year comparison was flattered by one-time costs the company faced in 2011 from Germany’s decision to accelerate its phase-out of nuclear power. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family
Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Lee Ju-yeol, Bank of Korea governor, said spending by South Koreans has been shrinking since last week. The central bank on Thursday slashed its key interest rate for the second time this year by a quarter of a percentage point to a record low.Since the first reported case and especially during the first few weeks when the government withheld the names of the hospitals with MERS patients, South Koreans have avoided crowded spaces such as public transport, movie theaters and shopping malls. New movies have pushed back their release dates.IKEA Korea postponed a sale that was set to start on Thursday citing the local government’s recommendations. A resident of a southwestern village which is quarantined after a patient was released before getting a positive test result told a South Korean television network that some people cancelled their online food orders out of panic.South Korea’s government is providing emergency loans to small and medium-sized companies that are the hardest hit by the MERS outbreak. The loans will be distributed next week to small hospitals that had contact with MERS patients, hotels and concert organizers.Markets have also reacted to the outbreak. Cosmetics companies and airlines that count Chinese consumers as their key customers have suffered share price slumps in the past month. Shares of Korean Air Lines are down 14 percent since May 20 while Asiana Airlines lost nearly 20 percent of its market value during the same period. Shares of Amorepacific, South Korea’s largest cosmetics maker, are down nearly 10 percent. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of “Even after the Yeonpyeong Island shelling and Japan’s Fukushima crisis, it wasn’t this bad,” said Kim, referring to the North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island in 2010 and Japan’s nuclear accident in 2011.Kim said revenue in June is expected to plunge to less than 30 percent of what it was a year earlier. The massive cancellations are dealing a blow to business for July and August as well, which are usually high-demand months.“It’s a step backward for South Korea which has built a good image,” he said. “I just hope that the outbreak ends quickly so that business in the fall wouldn’t be hurt.”Efforts to foster stronger growth in Asia’s fourth-largest economy have been set back by the MERS outbreak, which is denting tourism and spending by locals. Eleven people have died and more than 120 people in South Korea have been diagnosed with the disease since the country reported its first case on May 20.The outbreak, the largest outside Saudi Arabia, has been contained to hospitals but it has caused widespread fear. Nearly 3,000 schools and kindergartens remained closed on Friday despite calls from the World Health Organization for them to reopen. Top Stories Sponsored Stories SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — For a South Korean tour agency, the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome feels like a bigger threat to business than a North Korean attack or nuclear reactor meltdown.Kim Chun Choo’s company, which has provided tour services for the last quarter century, is going through its worst year ever.Following the outbreak last month, most tourists from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, who account for about half of Kim Travel’s clients, cancelled tours to Seoul. Almost all international conferences, which were set to bring in participants who would use his company’s tour services, were cancelled or postponed. A worker wearing protective gears sitting on a truck sprays antiseptic solution as a precaution against the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) at a local market in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, June 12, 2015. South Korea’s economy is feeling the heat as the MERS outbreak slashed inflow of visitors and consumption. For a South Korean tour agency, the outbreak of a contagious disease turned out to be a bigger threat to the business than North Korean attack or nuclear fuel meltdowns. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall For Kim, the head of Kim’s Travel, it is time for his staff to recharge and prepare for the future.“We decided that this is time to do preparation for the next busy season, from September to November,” he said. “We are doing the things that we were too busy to do, like developing new tour products and having employees get some time off.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes
FILE – In this Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, file photo, an Israeli woman of the Women of the Wall organization wears tefillin, a leather strapped box containing Torah scripture which is used for prayer, as she holds a Torah and prepares to pray at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem’s old city. Israel’s narrow coalition government, propped up by two ultra-religious parties, is butting heads with liberal streams of Judaism that dominate Jewish life in the United States, widening a rift that risks further alienating American Jews at a time of growing estrangement. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill, File) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories The bill sought to smooth the conversion path for some 350,000 people, many immigrants from the former Soviet Union who have Jewish ancestry but who face difficulty marrying in Israel or receiving Jewish burials. The Reform and Conservative Judaism movements had hoped the bill could chip away at the Orthodox monopoly, even if it wasn’t as far-reaching as they might have wished.But after the elections in March, with the new government formed, the bill, along with other challenges to the ultra-Orthodox community, including changes to military service, appeared to be doomed.Tzipi Livni, an opposition lawmaker whose party tabled the conversion bill, said its scrapping could further alienate American Jews.“Even though there are different streams, we are part of one people and I believe that this is the message that the Israeli government — any Israeli government — should send to the American Jewry,” Livni told The Associated Press.Adding fuel to the fire, the country’s Religious Affairs Minister, David Azoulay, has publicly blasted Reform Jews, recently telling Israel’s Army Radio that he doesn’t consider them to be Jewish.“A Reform Jew, from the moment he stops following Jewish law, let’s say this is a problem. I cannot allow myself to say that he is a Jew,” he said. He later dialed back his comments, saying he was concerned about assimilation and that he would pray for all Jews “to return” to the faith. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “Diaspora Jews are a central strategic front for the state of Israel,” Stern said. “What the Israeli government is doing is to slap them in the face over and over and over again.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Netanyahu has quickly distanced himself from what he called Azoulay’s “hurtful” comments, saying they don’t reflect the government’s position. He said he reminded Azoulay that Israel is a home “for all Jews.”Netanyahu has also recently called for “roundtable discussions” between his Cabinet secretary, the Jewish Agency, which acts as a link to the Jewish world, and leaders of the liberal streams in Israel.The talks would allow the liberal streams to voice their grievances and perhaps “hasten” some bureaucratic logjams that could lead to greater equality, like access to state funding or land for institutions, said Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency. He said the discussions were a way for Netanyahu to make progress on the issue, albeit incrementally, outside the constraints of his government partners.Meanwhile, in an apparent conciliatory gesture, President Rivlin is set to host a study session this week with representatives from various Jewish streams that will focus on Jewish unity.Yedidia Stern, a vice president at the Israel Democracy Institute, a think-tank, said that Netanyahu is left with little room to maneuver, like many before him, in the face of the political power of the ultra-Orthodox. Stern said Netanyahu should fire Azoulay “immediately,” to make real amends with Reform Jews, but doing so would put his coalition at risk. While most observant American Jews identify with the Reform and Conservative movements, Israeli religious affairs are dominated by stricter Orthodox law.Israel’s Orthodox rabbinical establishment wields a monopoly over key aspects of daily life, such as marriage, divorce and burials. Reform and Conservative rabbis are not recognized, and their movements are largely marginalized. Most Jews in Israel, while secular, follow Orthodox traditions.These long-simmering tensions between the world’s two-largest Jewish communities have been aggravated by a series of steps by religious elements in Netanyahu’s coalition government meant to halt attempts by the liberal streams to win recognition in Israel.“Israel does not meet the standards of religious freedom and pluralism that one should expect of a Western democracy. And the fact is that American Jews have simply lost patience with the second-class status of liberal Judaism in Israel,” Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, the former head of the Reform movement, wrote in the Israeli daily Haaretz. He listed “week after week of religious crises” in Israel.The current religious-nationalist government earlier this month canceled reforms meant to ease conversion to Judaism, unraveling painstaking efforts by the previous government to weaken the grip of Israel’s Orthodox establishment. That was followed by inflammatory rhetoric from the Cabinet minister responsible for religious affairs, disparaging Reform Jews. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s narrow coalition government, propped up by two ultra-religious parties, is butting heads with liberal streams of Judaism that dominate Jewish life in the United States — widening a rift that risks further alienating American Jews at a time of growing U.S.-Israel estrangement.The dispute is forcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into a delicate balancing act in which he must at once please American Jews and placate the Orthodox members of his government. American Jews comprise the world’s second largest Jewish community and have provided a source of unconditional moral support, lobbying and fundraising for decades. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Netanyahu is in a tenuous situation. His narrow coalition is bound together by two ultra-Orthodox factions who can bring down the government if Netanyahu pursues policies not to their liking.At the same time, American Jews are growing increasingly frustrated with Israel’s policies. A major survey on American Jews by the Pew Research Center from 2013 showed they are still strongly attached to Israel, but that connection wanes with younger Jews and with Jews who don’t identify with a particular Jewish denomination.The Reform and Conservative movements have demanded greater recognition in Israel for their practices, most prominently at Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox led Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray. And they complain of discrimination, recently accusing Israel’s president of canceling a Conservative bar mitzvah ceremony at his residence to placate Orthodox opposition. President Reuven Rivlin’s office said it wasn’t his place to decide “a war of religions.”There were signs of change in Netanyahu’s previous coalition government, in which ultra-Orthodox parties were in the opposition. Progressive parties stripped away some of the entitlements ultra-Orthodox parties had previously legislated, and after much political wrangling, a bill was passed weeks before the government was dissolved that would allow municipal rabbis to hold special conversion courts, potentially opening the door for liberal rabbis to help perform conversions. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona
<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1a6ad/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X While largely being a domestic US ski destination over the last two years Telluride Ski Resort has also seen growth in interest from international markets, and this year at the annual ski expo, it’s committed to its own dedicated stand.“It’s a great time to reintroduce the Telluride brand internationally,” remarks Estrella Woods, Telluride Ski Resort International Sales Manager. “Right now 5-6% of our visitors are international travellers.”“We’ve found that the biggest international market is Australia,” she continues. “Due to interest Telluride had its own stand at this year’s Snow Travel Expo [in both Sydney and Melbourne].”Attending the show for the second time, last year under the Colorado banner, Telluride Ski Resorts also has a raft of travel trade centric promotions scheduled, with agent seminars including the Ski USA event as well as the Tourplan educational evening coming up next week.A 2011 travel agents famil is also in the works, with more information to come in the next few months.“There are a few new products that we’ve recently introduced… one of the major projects has been the Revelation Bowl on the back of the mountain.”Others include new properties both in ski-in/ski-out Mountain Village as well as the township, and new terrain.One of the key messages of this year’s trade mission will be highlighting the ease of access from Australia’s east coast with United Airlines, connecting at Los Angeles and flying to regional airport Montrose, from which the ski village is a one and a half hour shuttle.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Tourism Queensland has launched their first truly global tourism brand – Queensland, Where Australia Shines.Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said, “Queensland, Where Australia Shines captures the essence of Queensland – a beautiful Australian holiday destination, with unforgettable experiences and shining Queenslanders themselves.”Ms Bligh said the new brand strategy would be backed by a two-year $4.16 million investment, including a global social media campaign, an updated Queensland Holidays website and marketing in key international markets.”It’s been 12 years since Tourism Queensland last launched a new brand under the theme of Where Else But Queensland, which served us well, but research has shown it’s time for a change.”The Premier said the unique positioning of Queensland’s new tourism brand, hasbeen validated by extensive consumer research and industry consultation.”Tourism Queensland asked over 6000 Australians their views on holidays and destinations in Queensland,” she said.”Feedback from our tourism industry, both in Australia and overseas is that they love the new brand and we are sure Queenslanders will as well, as they more than anyone know that Queensland is where Australia shines.”Minister for Tourism, Peter Lawlor said Tourism Queensland’s iconic ‘Q’ logo had also been transformed to make it more contemporary.”Around 122,000 Queenslanders are directly employed in tourism with a further 100,000 employed indirectly.”Queensland, Where Australia Shines is a brand that will resonate with Australian and international visitors. “This brand will enable our tourism industry to develop more effective marketing activities based on what visitors want and need from their Queensland holiday.”As part of the new tourism strategy, new marketing brands for Brisbane, Gold Coast, Tropical North Queensland, Sunshine Coast and The Whitsundays will also be rolled out in the coming months.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Guests at the 1st Annual Hainan Tourism and MICE trade show, held in Sydney this week, have been told to get to Hainan now. “Hainan is a place that you need to get your clients to,” Planetdwellers co-founder and lead guide Barry Warner said. Sanya, Hainan’s second largest city and biggest drawcard, attracts 80 per cent of Hainan’s tourism and lays claim to being China’s only tropical city. “In five years time you’ll be selling Sanya like you’re currently selling Phuket,” Mr Warner added. “In Sanya you’ll see the best of China”. Literally meaning “South of the sea”, Hainan is China’s southernmost province and is already popular among tourists from Japan, China and Russia.”Hainan is a beautiful tropical Island, surrounded by mountains and white sandy beaches. We hope that our trade show encourages more Australians to visit Sanya in the near future” Sanya Tourism Association secretary general Dr Xie Xiang commented. “You can enjoy the Chinese ocean, just like Sydney, except Sanya is warmer.” According to the Sanya Tourism Development Board, in 2010 Hainan hosted 3,000 MICE events, with approximately 300, 000 visitors flocking to Hainan for business trips. “With twice daily flights from Sydney and daily flights from Melbourne, China Southern Airlines brings the paradise even closer,” Hainan Tourism Australia director Michael Lee said. Dubbed the ‘Hawaii of the East’, Hainan is unique in all of China in that the island offers visas on arrival without the need for visitors to pre-apply for a Chinese visa in their home country. The event, held at the Sheraton on the Park, concluded with a cocktail reception and a prize draw with a generous range of accommodation prizes and flights to the Island.Check out our photo gallery from the event here.