PEOPLE New BDMs announced at Exodus Travels Anderson Vacations

first_img Travelweek Group Share Thursday, September 15, 2016 TORONTO — Exodus Travels has announced the appointment of Sheena Rosentreter and Kent Phillips as the new Business Development Managers for Western USA/Canada. Joining Amanda Pezzaniti, Eastern BDM, this outside sales team will be dedicated to servicing the travel agent community across North America, under the leadership of Sasha Andrews, Director of Agent Relations and Industry Sales.Both industry veterans, Rosentreter first entered the travel industry as a Manager of the Merit Travel Group, then spend seven years as a Sales Manager for Contiki Holidays. Phillips comes from 15 years of selling adventure travel as Sales Manager and Travel Consultant at Merit Travel, and has visited more than 46 countries, including all of Exodus’ top destinations.Steve Bickerdike with Darcie Guarderas, Director of Business Development, Anderson Vacations.Over at Anderson Vacations, Steve Bickerdike has been named the new Business Development Manager for Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan region in B.C. Based in Vancouver, he will report to Darcie Guarderas, Director of Business Development.In his new role, Bickerdike will develop and manage relationships with partner travel agencies throughout B.C.’s important markets, as well as represent Anderson Vacations at industry events, tradeshows and destination conferences. He’ll also host educational training seminars and webinars. Posted bycenter_img Tags: Anderson Vacations, Exodus Travels << Previous PostNext Post >> [PEOPLE] New BDMs announced at Exodus Travels & Anderson Vacationslast_img read more

PEOPLE Tucan Travel names new BDM for Western Canada

first_img[PEOPLE] Tucan Travel names new BDM for Western Canada Tags: Tucan Travel Posted by Travelweek Group Sharecenter_img TORONTO — Tucan Travel has appointed Crystal Cornthwaite as its new Business Development Manager for Western Canada. She joins Tucan Travel with five years’ experience in the travel industry, most recently as an Assistant Team Leader with Flight Centre in BC.Before starting her career Cornthwaite spent nine years living abroad in both Europe and Asia, which gave her the opportunity to visit over 30 countries worldwide before returning to Canada. Not only did she live in five countries, she has also lived in nearly every province and territory in Canada.She will be covering B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. “I’m excited to have Crystal join us with her passion, enthusiasm and experience in the adventure travel world,” said Tony Perdomo, Tucan Travel’s Director for North America.Cornthwaite can be reached at crystal@tucantravel.com and she will be on the road this fall with the new brochures. Wednesday, October 5, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

PEOPLE Carnival Cruise Lines Justin French named Regional Vice President Canada and

first_img[PEOPLE] Carnival Cruise Line’s Justin French named Regional Vice President, Canada and Northern U.S. MIAMI — As part of Carnival Cruise Line’s expansion of its business development team, Justin French will become Regional Vice President, Canada and Northern U.S., maintaining his current role of managing Canada.This move adds additional sales leadership presence to key metros in the Northern U.S., which helps the line expand its support to travel partners in these cruise markets.French will continue to be based in Toronto. Given his expanded role in North America, his responsibilities in managing Carnival’s international business will move to Iain Baillie, who is now Vice President of U.K. and International Sales.“Our goal is to reach as many agents as we can by offering them the best and most trusted sales support,” said Carnival’s Vice President of Sales & Trade Marketing Adolfo Perez. “These team enhancements allow us to work more closely with a significant number of agents and we look forward to the expertise these long time travel industry veterans will bring to these new markets.” Posted by Wednesday, November 23, 2016 Sharecenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Carnival Cruise Line Travelweek Group last_img read more

Canadians save up to 40 off with Fall Only in Cayman deals

first_img Thursday, August 24, 2017 Canadians save up to 40% off with ‘Fall Only in Cayman’ deals TORONTO — The Cayman Islands is offering Canadian travellers a sequel to summer with its annual Fall Only in Cayman promotion with up to 40% off accommodations, watersports and dining.To qualify vacations must be booked by Oct. 31, 2017 for travel between Sept. 5 and Dec. 15, 2017.Known as ‘the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’, the Cayman Islands are also famous for their beautiful beaches plus some of the world’s best scuba diving.The following lodging deals include resort credits, dive packages and reduced rates up to 40% off:HOTELSHoliday Inn ResortComfort SuitesWyndham Reef ResortMargaritaville Beach ResortSunset HouseCarib Sands Beach ResortClearly Cayman Dive ResortsGrand Cayman Marriott Beach ResortThe Ritz-Carlton, Grand CaymanPACKAGES:WestJet Vacations – Grand Cayman Marriott Beach ResortCONDOMINIUMS / VILLAS / GUEST HOUSES:Ocean Paradise Ltd.Avalon CondominiumsCayman CondosCayman VillasGrand Cayman Villas and CondosSunset CoveWindsong PropertiesLuxury Cayman VillasMore news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencySee visitcaymanislands.ca for details. Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Tags: Cayman Islands, Promotions Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

TBO Holidays brings its net rates 350000 hotels to Canada

first_imgTags: TBO Holidays << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Share TBO Holidays brings its net rates, 350,000+ hotels to Canada Travelweek Group Posted by TORONTO — The B2B global travel portal TBO Holidays has arrived in Canada.As a B2B travel portal the company says it provides travel agents with access to over 350,000 hotels worldwide in real time at tboholidays.com. Agents can choose from a large inventory of hotels and dynamic packages, all with net rates.Access to wholesale rates, dynamic rates and BAR rates for hotels are shown in a single screen.Founded over 10 years ago as a B2B travel portal for Middle East and India, TBO now counts sales offices on five continents “and provides a compelling and cost-effective way for agents to access travel content from 50+ leading suppliers globally”, along with its own directly contracted content.TBO says it has customers in 90+ countries with total sales exceeding US$1 billion in 2017.Agents can quote rates in currency of their choice, manage online trip quotes, and monitor back-office activity, with 24/7 reservations support. TBO also reconfirms each hotel booking and provides a hotel confirmation number before check-in.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”“Our XML/API enables online travel agencies and travel suppliers access to our vast global travel content via XML interface integration into their reservation system or website,” says TBO.A mobile app, available on both iOS and Android, allows agents to make and access bookings while away from the office. A ‘Roamer’ app is available for clients, allowing them to access all their bookings while remaining in touch with the agent.Some of TBO’s product offerings include:. FIT – 350,000 hotels worldwide from standard to deluxe with net rates. Dynamic packaging for Europe, Asia, Gulf Region, Latin America, Australasia, India/Indian Ocean. City transfers and excursions. Customized itineraries for groups. Agent reward points programTo support the Canadian retail trade TBO now has local sales presence with Gigi Estragadinho, TBO Holidays’ Country Manager, Canada. She can be reached at gigi@tboholidays.com or call (416)358-9169. Tweetlast_img read more

Its not just good policy its good business TICO talks strategy at

first_img MISSISSAUGA — “We must become easier to work with” was the key message at TICO’s Annual General Meeting yesterday, which covered everything from the organization’s financial performance and its new digital strategies, to the current state of its Compensation Fund.Taking place at TICO’s new head office in Mississauga, the AGM was hosted by Board Chair Jean Hébert, and President and CEO Richard Smart. Also in attendance was Michèle Sanborn, Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy, Planning and Oversight Division, who was there to represent Lisa Thompson, the newly appointed Minister of Government and Consumer Services.Michèle SanbornSanborn took the opportunity to formally thank TICO and express the Ministry’s appreciation for its continued leadership in the field.“Your work promotes a fair marketplace and helps consumers make purchases from travel agents and wholesalers knowing they are protected by TICO,” she said. “As the organization designated to administer and enforce the Travel Industry Act, TICO has helped created good standards of practice throughout the industry that benefit Ontarians.”Though it has been a strong year in travel, which Hébert said speaks to the innovation and ingenuity of the industry in Ontario, he also noted that there’s certainly room for improvement in the future.“With the changes happening with today’s travel marketplace, it’s also an important time to look at changes to the rules that govern the industry,” he said. “I’m confident that TICO will continue to be a progressive regulator supporting a trusted marketplace where consumers are confident purchasing travel from registered professionals.”Here is an overview of key points from the AGM:REGISTRATIONAs of March 31, 2018, there were a total of 2,359 registrations with TICO compared to 2,418 registrations the previous year. According to Smart, this reflects a slow, continued decline caused by industry consolidation, changing industry dynamics and new business models.“We live and work in an exciting era, one in which change is a constant,” said Smart. “Our goal at TICO is to be a modern and transparent regulator. That means embracing the challenges of a complex marketplace, evolving consumer expectations, new business models and continuous technological advancements confronted by all businesses. This ever-changing landscape of the travel industry is what makes TICO’s role so important: to ensure consumers remain confident with their travel purchases, wherever they go, regardless of the purpose or destination.”FINANCIAL PERFORMANCEFinancially, TICO had one of its strongest fiscal years since inception. Revenues exceeded budget expectations while operating expenses came in under budget, generating a healthy net surplus for the year.Overall, its net surplus of revenues over expenses was approximately $1.9 million, an increase over the prior year surplus of $1.5 million. Smart also noted that over 80% of this surplus was directed towards the Compensation Fund.Total revenues grew by over 20%, to over $7 million. Smart also reported that TICO’s total expenses were managed below budget expectation, and that operating expenses were higher than the prior year by approximately 9%, reflecting growth in our consumer awareness campaign, communications, investments and technology.“Our continued efforts to be cost-conscious over expenses will remain steadfast as we recognize our commitment to efficiency and effectiveness, investments for the future, and service excellence for our registrants and consumers,” said Smart.SERVICE & TECHNOLOGY“Service excellence” is not just a buzzword. We recognize it’s fundamental to our existence,” said Smart. “This is why we’re investing in technology.”More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTIn recent years TICO has moved towards being 100% cloud-based, and has invested in collaborative tools while ensuring our IT securities are at the highest standard. For example, just this year the organization enabled online payments for annual registration renewals and migrated its education platform to an e-portal.“Both initiatives make it easier and more efficient for registrants to work with TICO,” said Smart.TICO is also in the process of developing a portal to allow registrants faster and more accurate submissions of other documentation.“There’s a credible passion and ingenuity by government, industry and TICO for ensuring that consumer experiences are both positive and protected,” added Smart. “It’s not just good policy, it’s good business.”COMPENSATION FUNDIt was a record year with the lowest number of claims against the Compensation Fund in a single year, with the Board approving claims of $27,585. The Fund’s balance at March 31, 2018 was approximately $21.7 million compared to $20.6 million in 2017, an increase of $1.1 million for the year. This contribution to the Compensation Fund, said Smart, is the result of strong industry sales, the realization of past fee increases and reasonable returns from TICO’s investment portfolio.While overall claims to the Compensation Fund were relatively low, there was one larger claim made as a result of Sinorama Holidays Inc., whose parent company in Quebec went bankrupt last summer. In total, 5,800 Ontario consumers had their travel plans interrupted or outright cancelled. TICO assisted 136 of those customers with imminent departures and trip completions, and after the fiscal year a further 135 customers with their claims against the Compensation Fund.In total, $328,000 was charged against the Fund for the year, the vast majority of which was related to Sinorama.Speaking exclusively to Travelweek, Smart said: “The compensation fund is the cornerstone of TICO’s consumer protection plan, although it’s not the only consumer protections we provide. What I’m pleased to say is that all consumers have either been reimbursed or been approved for reimbursement, so no one is out of their investment. We were here to work with any consumers who didn’t pay by credit card or had issues with their credit card company and I’m pleased to say that the Board approved all the claims that came in. The hit to the fund was actually a lot smaller than we thought – it’s still healthy, and we’re still continuing to work with the government on future reforms.”WHAT ABOUT CONSUMER CONTRIBUTIONS?The concept of consumer contributions to Ontario’s Compensation Fund, similar to the system implemented in Quebec, has been floating around for years, with little to no traction at the government level. Wendy Paradis, ACTA president, vented her frustrations to Ministry representatives in attendance, noting that an immeasurable amount of time, money and resources have been put into reviewing the Travel Industry Act over the last three years.“We have had no less than 20 meetings in the last six months with government officials trying to express the sheer frustrations of businesses in Ontario, and the burden we have financially with the Travel Industry Act as well as the administrative burden of trying to run a travel agency – whether it’s a small or large business – due to a number of legislation and regulations,” she said. “We are now on our third Minister in this Ministry and we are frustrated in that we cannot get any movement. We go to consultation after consultation and what we feel from a travel agency perspective is that we’re getting more regulation and more burden.”More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesNoting how government officials are now on summer recess, Paradis added: “Politicians may be on break for the next few months but we are not. Our next meeting is within the next two weeks. We will not stop our lobbying for fairness for Ontario businesses.”In response, Hébert reiterated former Minister Bill Walker’s response in April: “Let’s stick to regulatory development at this point in time and then we’ll address this issue of the Compensation Fund.”From a personal standpoint, Hébert did agree that consumer contribution “is part of the solution” and is hopeful of further talks with the new Minister.CONSUMER AWARENESSFor the first time in its 22-year history, TICO has moved to a digitally focused campaign. According to Kristina Wilson, Stakeholder Relations Manager, as consumers increasingly turn to the Internet to research and book travel, it’s important for TICO to also use the same medium for its consumer awareness activities.A new digital campaign was launched last year that comprised of three videos, social media posts and Google Search ads, all of which highlighted the value that a registered professional can bring to the process of buying travel services.The star of the campaign was a life-sized asterisk, which Wilson said represents “that one missed detail that can really take a consumer’s travel plans off-course.”A critical part of the campaign, added Wilson, was measuring the impact it made. What really matters is whether we moved the needle on awareness and on people’s intentions, and I’m proud to report that we’ve done both,” she said.Before campaign launched, TICO conducted a survey to determine a baseline measure for unaided awareness, meaning awareness without any prompts about what TICO is or what it does. The survey found that 14% of Ontarians could name TICO as the provincial travel regulator. After the campaign the same survey showed that unaided awareness of TICO increased to 17.23%, a 23% increase over the baseline.As part of its Omni-Buzz survey, TICO also found that individuals who viewed its videos and digital ads had a higher intent of booking their travel with a TICO-registered travel agency or website in the future. Intent increased by 6 percentage points from 51% to 57%, showing a change in intended behaviour.Tim Snell, TICO’s Legal Counsel & Director Litigation (far left), along with Smart (far right) and Administrative Assistant Susan Janko (second from right) present a cheque to Lauren Adams of Plan International CanadaCORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYTICO staff exceeded its employee contribution goal of $5,000 for Plan International Canada, a global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. This amount represents $30,000 worth of impact for girls worldwide, with initiatives that included equipping two schools and installing one water system.Hébert and Smart present plaques to outgoing TICO Board membersA NEW BOARDIn 2017 TICO underwent a governance of review to assess its Board’s position. This led to the reduction of TICO’s Board from 15 to 11 directors, which came into effect following yesterday’s AGM.“The goal of our new structure is to make sure the Board can continue to deliver the highest level of stewardship and continuity while considering efficiency and cost savings,” said Smart. “I’m confident that TICO will continue to be a progressive regulator supporting a trusted marketplace where consumers are confident purchasing travel from registered professionals.” << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, June 26, 2019 Share Posted bycenter_img Travelweek Group “It’s not just good policy, it’s good business”: TICO talks strategy at AGM Tags: TICO, Travel Industry Actlast_img read more

Turtles found during boat chase

first_imgMembers of the Costa Rican Coast Guard rescued three green sea turtles found bound by poachers and left on beaches Tuesday night during the course of conducting searches for suspected drug traffickers along the Caribbean coast, officials said.Two dead green sea turtles were also recovered.Rodolfo Murillo, head of Coast Guard operations, said the turtles were discovered tied and left on the beach. A boat captured last week suspected of smuggling marijuana near the port of Limón led to increased patrols in the area this week. At about 8 p.m. Tuesday night, members of a patrol spotted a suspicious boat near Limón, according a report by the Public Security Ministry. When the Coast Guard patrol moved to intercept the craft, occupants of the boat rammed the patrol boat, injuring two officers. One suspect, with the last name León, jumped overboard, injuring his hand and groin. A second suspect fled south in the direction of Westfalia.León and the two Coast Guard officers were treated for minor injuries.The search for the fleeing boat and its captain lasted through the night. At 3 a.m., patrols discovered two green sea turtles bound on Cieneguita Beach. A few hours later, three more turtles were found nearby.The Coast Guard will coordinate with the Environment Ministry to bury the dead turtles and release the living ones. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

US embassy consulate closures backed on both sides of the aisle

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. — Rattled lawmakers in both parties applauded U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to shutter two dozen U.S. diplomatic posts across the Middle East and North Africa this weekend, calling the threat of a fresh terrorist attack credible, specific and the most alarming in years.The State Department extended the closure through Saturday for 19 embassies, consulates and smaller posts “out of an abundance of caution,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a written statement Sunday. Several other posts, including embassies in Kabul and Baghdad, will reopen Monday.Lawmakers who had received intelligence briefings joined a parade of security experts and administration officials in warning Sunday of the seriousness of the threat, which emanates from a particularly dangerous and active al-Qaida franchise in Yemen.Neither the location nor the target of a potential attack is known, “but the intent seems clear,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on ABC’s “This Week”: “The intent is to attack Western, not just U.S., interests.”The Obama administration ordered the posts closed and issued a global travel warning to U.S. citizens on Friday, after U.S. intelligence agencies picked up communications among known terrorists discussing “certain dates” and being “specific as to how enormous it was going to be,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said on the same show. King serves on the House intelligence and homeland security committees.Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Ga., the top Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, compared the intercepted “chatter” to data picked up before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.“This is the most serious threat that I’ve seen in the last several years,” Chambliss said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”Pressed for details, the senator added: “What we have heard is some specifics on what’s intended to be done and some individuals who are making plans, such as we saw before 9/11. Whether they are going to be suicide vests that are used, or whether they’re planning on vehicle-borne bombs being carried into an area, we don’t know. But we’re hearing some kind of that same chatter that we heard pre-9/11.”Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, echoed that view, saying, “The administration’s call to close these embassies . . . was actually a very smart call.” That’s particularly true, he said, in light of what Republicans view as the administration’s failure to respond to threats last year to the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.“I’m glad to see that in this case they’re taking this very seriously,” McCaul said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”Soldiers closed roads, erected extra blast walls and increased patrols Sunday near some of the affected embassies and consulates, according to the Associated Press. They include posts in Yemen and Egypt, which were ordered to remain closed through the coming week. In Washington, analysts at the CIA, the National Counterterrorism Center and other agencies continued to pore over signals, intercepts and other data, searching for clues.“The intelligence community continues to look for additional information to provide better insight and more specificity with regard to the existing threat,” a senior U.S. intelligence official said.The State Department has told U.S. citizens abroad to take extra precautions throughout the month, warning that terrorists have in the past attacked subways, railways, planes, boats “and other tourist infrastructure.” On Saturday, Interpol, the France-based international police agency, issued a global security alert, saying it suspects al-Qaida involvement in several recent prison breaks — including in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan — “which led to the escape of hundreds of terrorists and other criminals.”Interpol noted that the heightened security fears coincide with the final days of Ramadan, the Muslim holiday that Chambliss said “is always an interesting time for terrorists.” This week is also the anniversary of the simultaneous 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people. And the Sept. 11 anniversary is just a few weeks away.In addition, the head of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, recently posted videos on jihadist websites saying that now is the time to retaliate for U.S. drone strikes in Yemen and Afghanistan, lawmakers said. The al-Qaida franchise in Yemen, which has targeted U.S. citizens in recent years, is a likely choice to wreak such revenge. The group asserted responsibility for the failed Christmas Day 2009 attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit.“Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is probably the biggest threat to the homeland. They’re the al-Qaida faction that still talks about hitting the West and hitting the homeland. . . . So we are on a high state of alert,” McCaul said, adding that the threat is “very imminent.”But McCaul, a former federal prosecutor who handled terrorism cases in Dallas, said the good thing about the State Department’s decision to issue alerts is that “you let them know that you know . . . and they oftentimes back down.”Warnings of a possible terrorist plot come at an auspicious time for the National Security Agency, which has recently come under fire after the disclosure of surveillance programs that could threaten the privacy of millions of U.S. citizens. Lawmakers confirmed that the NSA was instrumental in teasing out information about the latest threat.But King, a frequent critic of the Obama administration, dismissed suggestions that the White House could be exaggerating the situation to deflate the NSA’s critics.“It’s absolutely crazy to say there’s any conspiracy here. . . . The government would have been totally negligent if it had not taken the actions taken,” King said.“I’m a Republican. I’ve had problems with the administration on different issues,” he said. “But what they are doing now is what has to be done.”Josh Hicks and Greg Miller contributed to this report.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

El Salvadors Funes urges Panama to give up fugitive exPresident Flores

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica and Bahamas send El Salvador financial reports on fugitive ex-President Flores El Salvador ex-President Francisco Flores to stand trial for embezzlement El Salvador graft trial set for ex-President Francisco Flores El Salvador court freezes ex-president’s bank accounts SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes asked Panama on Saturday not to grant political asylum to former Salvadoran President Francisco Flores, who is wanted on allegations that he misappropriated more than $15 million donated from the government of Taiwan.“According to the press, ex-President Flores is in Panama and will request political asylum. I hope that President [Ricardo] Martinelli fully evaluates the situation, because [Flores] is not a political target. … He is being pursued legally for crimes he committed as president of the republic,” Funes said Saturday on his radio and television program “Chatting with the President.”News media in Panama have published rumors that Flores is at a Panamanian beach, the guest of former President Mireya Moscoso (1999-2004).On Friday, Salvadoran legislative president Sigfrido Reyes officially asked Panama to help locate Flores, after a leader of the Revolutionary Democratic Party, Mitchell Doens, told the Panamanian newspaper La Estrella that the former Salvadoran president, who also served from 1999-2004, is in Panama.According to La Estrella, Flores was spotted on the coast in the province of Los Santos, on a yacht owned by Moscoso.Funes said that in Panama, “there are precedents of political asylum cases” whose beneficiaries “have been former government officials, ex-presidents who are considered political refugees, when in reality they are being targeted for common crimes and acts of corruption.”On April 30, prosecutors in El Salvador asked a court to order an arrest warrant for Flores, who is accused of illicit enrichment and embezzlement after allegedly stealing $15.3 million donated by Taiwan while he was president.The court, which has not yet ordered an arrest warrant, summoned Flores to a hearing last Friday to notify him of the charges against him, but Flores did not appear, sending his attorneys instead.Flores was investigated by the Congress and the Prosecutor’s Office over the embezzlement allegations, which were launched by Funes in October 2013. Funes accuses Flores of receiving three checks from Taiwan and made out to Flores in 2003 and 2004.On Feb. 26, a special legislative commission recommended the Prosecutor’s Office formally investigate Flores after concluding that he had received and misappropriated millions of dollars destined for the Salvadoran state. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

COD 293 Multifunctional modern house windependent apartment

first_imghttps://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-25.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-7.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-1.jpeg No related posts. https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-15.jpeg See this and other listings in the new Tico Times Real Estate section here. Facebook Comments Next Image https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-8.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-5.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-2.jpegcenter_img https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-3.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-4.jpeg Previous Image https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-23.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-9.jpeg Price: $395,000COD: 29-3Email: realestate@ticotimes.netPhone: +(506) 2258-1558Province: San JoséCantón: San JoséConstruction: 400m2Land: 496m2Bedrooms: 4Bathrooms: 4Parking: 2A/C: YesLocated in a privileged area in the area of San José, near La Sabana Park and in a safe neighborhood. A perfect place to live in and work from!This multifunctional house consists of a main building where we find: a large entrance hall, indoor garden, guest bathroom, bright kitchen with granite countertops and modern furniture, living/dining room that opens to a private tropical garden with deck, a bedroom Home or office with spacious walk-in closet and bathroom with Jacuzzi, indoor garden, and a spacious studio/workshop.Additionally, an apartment that can be used completely independently consisting of: 3 bedrooms, each with private bathroom and walk-in closet, panic room, kitchen, living/dining room with outdoor deck, especially in tropical wood floors and double glazed.The property has use of both residential and commercial land with approved architectural plans to add two more studios or apartments. The property is equipped with 2 electric gates, indoor garage for 2 cars, intercom, electric door opener, underground storage tank, and automatic water irrigation system for all gardens.Sabana Norte San José, San José, Costa Rica https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-3-17.jpeg info heading info contentlast_img read more

Airbnb v Uber Sharing economy gets a mixed reception in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Uber starts service in Costa Rica Friday afternoon New bill would OK ride-sharing services beyond Uber in Costa Rica Solís administration proposes bill to cancel tax debts for some tourism businesses Uber rival Cabify coming to Costa Rica The night that Uber started offering its ride-hailing service in Costa Rica, vandals – reportedly taxi drivers –smashed the windows of one of the company’s cars in protest. Traffic police impounded two Uber vehicles earlier that same night.Airbnb, however, another staple of the so-called “sharing economy,” has been operating quietly in Costa Rica without incident for years.Countries around the world are scurrying to update their laws to address disruptive services like Airbnb and Uber, but the response from the government here has been mixed. The Solís administration has declared Uber’s service illegal and threatened to fine chauffeurs caught driving passengers. But the administration so far has ignored Airbnb, a service that allows private citizens to rent out their homes to guests.That could change if the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels can convince the Finance Ministry to go after home-share hosts for tax evasion.Uber might only be in San José so far, but Airbnb listings are all over the country. Steve Andrews rents a one-bedroom apartment through Airbnb and FlipKey, a similar service offered by popular travel website TripAdvisor, in the Pacific beach town of Tamarindo. Andrews said that he and his wife started listing the property in March and have been booked nearly every night since.“It’s a good service. It helps us with the bills every month,” Andrews said. “We didn’t think we’d like it at first, but it’s nice having guests in.”Andrews said he plans to report any income from Airbnb, but other hosts contacted by The Tico Times would not comment about the service because they did not want to pay taxes associated with it. Andrews said he intended to meet with a tax lawyer about what his obligations — if any — would be as a host.Airbnb tax obligations? Anyone?The question over what tax obligations sharing economy participants owe is not well defined in Costa Rica. Gustavo Araya, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels, told The Tico Times that hotels don’t oppose Airbnb, VRBO or other home-sharing services.“In comparison with the taxis, we here at the Chamber [of Hotels] are lovers of the free market. We can’t oppose an innovation that has already arrived and arrived to stay,” Araya said.Araya said that the chamber position is that hosts should be able to keep using these services, but any income should be subject to a sales tax, the same 13 percent that hotels must pay.“Airbnb is a private company that charges commissions, and the owners of these condominiums get profit too,” Araya said. “Any business needs to pay taxes.”Airbnb charges a value-added tax on its service fees in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and South Africa. Costa Rica is not one of those countries, but the Finance Ministry here has yet to request it, according to Taxation Director Carlos Vargas.Vargas told The Tico Times that the Finance Ministry is reviewing how and what it would tax Airbnb, and possibly Uber, too. Vargas said the Finance Ministry is still mulling over whether it would ask hosts or Airbnb to withhold the tax.“The point that needs to be clarified is who generates the income that needs to be taxed and in what form they would need to pay those taxes,” Vargas said.The director said the government did not share the Hotel Chamber’s assessment that Airbnb and other services were guilty of tax evasion. He said that a crime like tax evasion would have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and he could not comment on all users.One major difference between Airbnb and Uber is that there is no law limiting the number of hotels in Costa Rica. The transit law restricts the number of registered taxis to 13,000 in the San José greater metropolitan area. Hotels and motels are supposed to register with the health and finance ministries, as well as their local municipality, but anyone with the means and the proper authorization can legally operate a hotel.Smaller hotels also have taken to listing their rooms on Airbnb alongside hosts like Andrews, something that taxi drivers cannot do with Uber. Hotels or hostels might not be the desired hosts for home-sharing services, but in the meantime, they have found a way to use the service instead of fighting it. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Pope Francis preaches to marginalized indigenous in a fight to keep Catholics

first_img Facebook Comments SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico – Wedged between a chain-link fence and a metal barricade, Manuel Méndez, a vegetable farmer in a lamb-wool cloak, strained to hear the message Pope Francis had come to deliver to indigenous Mayans like him who have been marginalized in Mexico for centuries.For the crowd overflowing the soccer field here in the southern state of Chiapas and for those perched on the hillsides behind police lines, the pope’s visit seemed to be a welcome honor for an often downtrodden and forgotten part of Mexico.“We’re happy because this is the first visit of a pope here,” said Méndez, who came from the Chiapas town of San Juan Chamula for the service. “People should respect us, because we’re humans, too.”Francis on Monday continued to tug the poor into the center of the discussion, expanding on his earlier messages in Mexico City that lambasted government corruption, drug trafficking and a political elite that tends to ignore the troubles of the masses. Parts of the ceremony were presented in three indigenous languages — Bibles were also passed out in these tongues — and the pope’s homily addressed the importance of respecting these cultures and protecting the environment.“The environmental challenge that we are experiencing and its human causes affects us all and demands our response,” Francis said. “We can no longer remain silent before one of the greatest environmental crises in world history.”Chiapas, with some of the most biodiverse jungles in the country, has been the site of intense conflict in recent years between those hoping to preserve protected areas and residents, including the indigenous, pushing into the forest for agriculture and other uses. A former Mexican environment secretary, Julia Carabias, was kidnapped two years ago as part of this conflict in the Lacandón Jungle, the largest rainforest of its kind in North America.When it comes to protecting the environment, the pope told the crowd, “you have much to teach us.”The pope’s presence here, beyond highlighting the less fortunate and caring for the earth, also serves a strategic purpose for the Catholic Church, which has lost ground in indigenous territory to other religions such as evangelical Christianity. The state is among the least Catholic in the country.Catholic Church leaders in Chiapas, which has about 1 million indigenous people, have been controversial in the past for incorporating indigenous customs and culture, such as allowing deacons to be married, which has been criticized by the Catholic leadership elsewhere. Francis again allowed married deacons here to be ordained two years ago.The pope on his current trip honored the legacy of the late bishop of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Samuel Ruíz, who was famous for this type of hybrid innovation. He was criticized for aligning with liberation theology and for helping fan the flames of the Zapatista uprising, which started in Chiapas in 1994.But Francis has shown himself more amenable to incorporating local flavors to keep the church vibrant. He also arrived with a decree on Monday that indigenous languages Tzotzil, Chol and Tzeltal could be used in services. Andrew Chesnut, a religious studies professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said that the inclusion of the indigenous in the ministry here has “tremendous significance.”“It’s the indigenous of Chiapas who’ve most abandoned Catholicism in Mexico despite Bishop Samuel Ruíz’s herculean efforts to acculturate the faith to the local Mayans,” he said.Thousands of those Mayans slept outside on the ground on Sunday evening as they awaited the pope’s arrival by helicopter. Many of the streets of this cobblestone colonial town were clogged with barricades, soldiers and police as crowds crammed together to try to get a glimpse of the passing pontiff. “The forgotten border welcomes you,” read one banner in the crowd.“We wanted to come follow the love of Christ and mamita María,” said María Cruz Vázquez, who traveled for seven hours with 12 relatives from her home in Tabasco to see the pope. “For us, the indigenous here, this visit is very important.”“We want to renovate our Catholic faith,” Leticia Arias Cruz, a 38-year-old maid, added. “The new generation is changing to the other religions.”© 2016, The Washington PostSee also: Minaret and Muslims in Mexican city set to host pope Related posts:At Mexico-US border, pope decries migrant ‘tragedy’ Pope Francis to visit Cuba in latest move to support US-Cuba relations World Bank: Zika will cost Latin America $3.5 billion in 2016 Refugee program for Central Americans ‘still on the drawing board’: US officiallast_img read more

Costa Rica evaluates lifting ban on Mexican avocados

first_imgGuac lovers, rejoice: Costa Rica’s ban on imports of Hass avocados from Mexico could end as soon as this year.The Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG) confirmed that its officials are engaged in a negotiation process to sign a bilateral agreement with Mexico to renew the import of the fruit, a very popular food in Tico homes and restaurants.Officials are currently drafting technical and legal aspects of a protocol for the agreement that would end the ban that Costa Rica issued against Hass avocados from Mexico and eight other countries on May 5, 2015.At the time, MAG’s Phytosanitary Service argued that it was a preventive measure to avoid spreading the sunblotch virus on local avocado plantations.The ministry said in a news release that the new protocol would allow it to negotiate renewed imports from Mexico by midyear.The protocol establishes a series of mitigation actions from both countries to avoid the entrance of the disease. MAG is proposing mandatory lab tests and increased sanitary controls at entry ports for Mexican avocados.Another measure under consideration is approval only for the entry of avocados from areas certified as sunblotch-free. This option, however, would represent increased costs for importers.MAG officials are also working on the implementation of a new laboratory to conduct inspections on samples of all imported avocados. The ministry said the lab would be ready to evaluate samples of Mexican Hass avocados and varieties from other countries later this year.Contentious banThe ministry’s ban on avocado has caused problems for importers, distributors, restaurants, retail stores and a large segment of the population.According to figures from Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promotion Office, Mexican Hass avocados make up 80 percent of the 12,563 metric tons of the fruit that the country imported in 2014, the year before the ban went into effect.There are just over 900 avocado farmers in Costa Rica, and local production barely reaches 2,000 metric tons per year, according to the MAG.The ban has prompted shortages at different periods, and retail prices of Hass avocados have almost doubled just one year after the ban.It also boosted a black market for coveted Hass avocados now available in farmers markets and other retails locations around the country.Importers have tried to supply the local demand with imports from other locations, primarily from South America, but import prices are higher than those from Mexico. The country recently started buying avocados from the Dominican Republic.According to MAG’s data, the last recorded import price for Mexican Hass avocados was ₡18,000 ($31) for a 10-kilogram box.Costa Rica is now importing Hass avocados from Peru at prices up to ₡28,000 ($49) per box, and up to ₡30,000 ($52) a box from Chile.Mexico, the world’s largest producer and exporter of avocados, threatened to file arbitration against Costa Rica before the World Trade Organization, but the government has conducted negotiations to avoid the legal complaint.Costa Rica’s ban also revoked import permits for Hass avocados from Australia, Spain, Ghana, Guatemala, Israel, South Africa, Venezuela, and the state of Florida. Renewing import permits for those countries would require bilateral negotiations with each one, the ministry noted. Facebook Comments Related posts:Mexico takes Costa Rica ban on avocados to World Trade Organization Costa Rican importers decry black market avocados 1 year after ban Police seize 20,000 contraband avocados at Panama border Moín cargo terminal will not be ready in Januarylast_img read more

Prison sentence for abortion in El Salvador draws attention to Central American

first_imgThe recent liberation of Salvadoran woman Teodora Vásquez after 11 years of prison for having an abortion has drawn increased attention to the dramatic situation faced by women in Central America today, with strict anti-abortion laws in various countries.During the past two decades, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras prohibited therapeutic abortion – abortion carried out out of medical necessity – thus denying hundreds of women access to safe medical services when they experience medical crises during pregnancy.A judge commuted the rest of Vásquez’s 30-year sentence, of which she had served 11 years. The justice system had classified the abortion of her fetus as aggravated homicide.Following her release on Thursday, Amnesty International asked for “the immediate suspension of the application of the abortion law” and the release of at least 27 female inmates in El Salvador “because of the draconian Salvadoran abortion laws.”“Truly, this law is unjust because it condemns women to death and the repercussions for a family are very serious, both economically and in terms of the care of other children who are left alone,” said Magaly Quintana, director of the Nicaraguan chapter of Católicos para el Derecho a Decidir (Catholics for the Right to Choose).The activist said it is difficult to obtain reliable data on the number of women who have died as a result of such laws or the number of abortions practiced “because of the secrecy about homicides, maternal mortality and everything that questions the State.”Read more about therapeutic abortion in Costa Rica: Therapeutic abortion: a Costa Rican right ensnared in doubts and fears Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo reported the death of a woman in Nicaragua because of pregnancy complications, one week after another similar case.“There are women who have died. We don’t have any official statistics, but we know of concrete cases where because of fear on the part of health personnel, women were not attended in time with the treatment that their obstetric condition warranted,” Martha Blandón, director for Nicaragua of the international nonprofit IPAS, told AFP. (IPAS focuses on ending preventable deaths and disabilities stemming from unsafe abortions.)“We have come across various cases, but when we have tried to do a more in-depth study, we have found that the families, who are very poor, are afraid of confronting local authorities, or receive pressure or material goods to desist from denouncing the women’s deaths,” Blandón added.Work in the shadowsTwo cases of pregnant woman who illustrate the impact of these laws were those of Amalia in Nicaragua (2009) and Beatriz in El Salvador (2013). The first had cancer and the second lupus, and neither woman received adequate medical treatment, apparently because of the fear of health care professionals of damaging the fetus and provoking an abortion.Amnesty International and the Inter-American Human Rights Court called upon the governments of Nicaragua and El Salvador, respectively, to provide medical attention to the women. The women eventually did receive treatment and gave birth, but their babies did not survive, and months later the women, too, perished. Women’s rights activists state that their deaths were caused by the delay in their treatment.Quintana said that the entities that support women are more or less blindfolded because governments “do not publish data about maternal mortality. They would have to reveal the cases of women who died because of their pregnancies but who suffered from illnesses such as lupus, cancer, ectopic pregnancies – that is, all indirect obstetric mortalities.”Quintana said that after Amalia’s case, health authorities in Nicaragua began to resolve therapeutic abortion cases “so as not to get involved in an international scandal.“The Bertha Calderón Women’s Hospital [in Managua] has an unwritten, but explicit and clear, order that no woman is going to die because of [a lack of] a therapeutic abortion… But women who can’t make it to the Bertha Calderón face a horrible ordeal,” she added.Despite the prohibition, there are no women in prison for abortion in Nicaragua.In Guatemala and Costa Rica, abortion is allowed, but only in cases of risk to the health of the mother. Panama authorizes the practice if the pregnancy is the result of a rape or if the fetus is not viable.According to data from the Health Ministry in El Salvador, at least 27 women died from complications related to abortion and ectopic pregnancy between 2011 and 2015. In Honduras, the Center for the Rights of Women estimated that the number of clandestine abortions in the country in 2017 was between 50,000 and 80,000. Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Anti-abortion parade brings 200,000 Catholics to San José ‘Marianita’ Case Revives Abortion Debate Costa Rica priests to forgive abortion Activists Hope Court Reverses Abortion Banlast_img read more

Gorgeous waves on the Pacific coast

first_imgRelated posts:Luscious green Time for some more sloth therapy A family chat in Santiago de Cóbano Manuel Antonio’s official greeter Playa Blanca is a beautiful beach located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, in the province of Puntarenas. The beach has earned theBandera Azul Ecológica (Blue Flag) for several years as an acknowledgment of local efforts, particularly of the Punta Leona complex, to keep the beach clean and allow tourists to enjoy its pristine surf.Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or any other image you care to share? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to kstanley@ticotimes.net. We’d love to see the sights with you. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Toll rises in Guatemala volcano as more bodies recovered

first_imgRelated posts:Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt dies at 91 Landmark sexual slavery case in Guatemala examines use of rape as weapon of war Following Trump, Guatemala begins process to move embassy to Jerusalem Guatemala Fuego eruption is over: officials Rescue workers pulled more bodies from under the dust and rubble left by an explosive eruption of Guatemala’s Fuego volcano, bringing the death toll to at least 65 on Monday.Disaster Relief Agency spokesman David de León told a briefing that after hours of searching for survivors, the number of dead had hit at least 65.In addition, there are 46 people injured, most of them seriously, with more than 1.7 million being affected by the disaster, including 3,271 ordered evacuated and 1,787 in shelters in the departments of Escuintla, Sacatepequez and Chimaltenango since Sunday’s eruption.The 3,763-meter (12,346-foot) volcano erupted early Sunday, spewing out towering plumes of ash and a hail of fiery rock fragments with scalding mud.Authorities had warned the death toll could rise after searches resumed for survivors in communities on the mountain’s southern flank.After an initial toll of 25 dead, it was revised upwards within hours as bodies were recovered from villages razed by the tumbling mud.“There are missing persons, but we do not know how many,” said Sergio Cabanas of Guatemala’s disaster management agency. A roll call of communities on the slopes of the volcano was under way.The speed and ferocity of the eruption took mountain communities by surprise, with many of the dead found in or around their homes.Cabanas said those who were killed had been overrun by fast-moving burning material discharged by the volcano Sunday. Communities located on its southern slope were the worst hit. Several of the dead were children.An AFP journalist saw at least three bodies burned in the rubble of the village of San Miguel Los Lotes, where rescue workers, soldiers and police were desperately searching for survivors.Dead dogs, chickens and ducks also lay among the mud and ash, much of it still smoking.“I do not want to leave, but go back, and there is nothing I can do to save my family,” a weeping Eufemia Garcia, 48, told AFP. She was searching for her three children, her mother, nephews and siblings.Garcia, from Los Lotes, said she escaped with the help of her husband.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was deeply saddened by the “tragic loss of life and the significant damage caused by the eruption,” and said the UN was ready to assist national rescue and relief efforts.National mourningPresident Jimmy Morales, who has declared three days of national mourning, visited the disaster zone.“The volcano has erupted before, but never like this,” said Gustavo Larius, a 27-year-old bricklayer searching the streets of his village for missing family and friends, a handkerchief pressed over his mouth and nose.The eruption sent ash billowing over the surrounding area, turning plants and trees gray and blanketing streets, cars and people.Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defense workers tried to relocate them to shelters.“This time we were saved; in another (eruption) no,” said Efrain Gonzalez, 52, sitting on the floor of a shelter in the city of Escuintla, where he arrived with his wife and one-year-old daughter.Gonzalez was overwhelmed with despair, as two more of his children, aged 10 and four, are missing. They were trapped in their home, which was flooded with hot mud that descended from the volcano.Dense ash blasted out by the volcano shut down Guatemala City’s international airport, civil aviation officials said.The eruption ended after 16.5 hours, but “there is a likelihood that it will reactivate” warned the Institute of Volcanology.Surprising speedThe speed of the eruption took locals by surprise, and could be explained by it producing pyroclastic flows, sudden emissions of gas and rock fragments, rather than lava, said volcanologist David Rothery of Britain’s Open University.“A lava flow rarely travels fast enough to engulf people,” he said.“The videos and still images I’ve seen suggest instead one or more pyroclastic flows. This is when a violently erupted mass of rock fragments and hot gas finds itself too dense to rise as an ash column and instead cascades down the volcano’s slopes.“Pyroclastic flows or surges can move at over 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour, and may be hot enough to glow like molten lava. They can travel further, as well as much faster, than lava flows,” said Rothery.Fuego has been erupting since 2002, and was continuously active in 2017. There were explosions and ash plumes and a volcanic mudflow last month. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US concerned about rule of law in Romania

first_imgBUCHAREST, Romania (AP) – A senior U.S. official says he has expressed concerns about Romania’s rule of law in a meeting with its president, who has been suspended on charges of overstepping his authority and violating the constitution.The U.S. and the European Union have voiced doubts about Bucharest’s commitment to democracy, after a court failed to rule on whether a referendum to suspend President Traian Basescu was valid. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Voters overwhelmingly voted to remove Basescu, but too few people voted to validate the vote. The left-leaning government claims enough people voted as the country’s electorate has shrunk.U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon met Basescu Monday and called Romania “a strategic partner” and said the US was concerned about `’the rule of law and independent institutions.” He also met interim President Crin Antonescu.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img

Egypts top cleric cancels Saudi trip over slight

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Al-Tayeb was assigned a first class seat.The Egyptians were due to perform the minor pilgrimage to Mecca, or umrah, before flying to the Saudi capital Riyadh to attend Monday’s award ceremony for the King Faisal International Prize for scientific and religious achievement.The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – Cairo airport officials say Egypt’s top Muslim cleric cancelled a visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of its monarch when he discovered that senior delegates traveling with him were assigned economy class seats by their Saudi hosts.The officials said Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar _ Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning _ angrily disembarked from a Saudi-bound airliner shortly before takeoff on Wednesday and instructed his delegation to follow suit. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Palestinian panel starts updating voter registers

first_imgGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – The Palestinian election commission began updating voter registration lists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Monday, paving the way for new elections in a step toward reconciliation between rival Fatah and Hamas governments.It was the first time the commission updated voter records in Gaza in seven years, underscoring the event’s gravity for Palestinians, who have seen elections repeatedly delayed because of fighting between the rival groups. Hamas and Fatah officials had authorized the commission to update voter records to prepare for elections, a key part of any reconciliation effort. Still, while Palestinian law requires elections to be held within three months of completing the registration drive, no date has been set for voting, and disagreements have repeatedly prevented elections from taking place in the past.Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Fatah-led forces of President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. The rift is a major obstacle to Palestinian independence and years of previous reconciliation efforts have failed to reunite them.The two sides are expected to meet in the Egyptian capital Cairo this week to try hammer out a reconciliation agreement. But even as voter registration began, Hamas and Fatah officials had yet to agree on what kind of election system they will implement, or how power would be shared.It was still a positive step, said Fatah official Mohammed al-Madani. “We hope it will lead to positive results, despite points in dispute,” he said.Monday’s registration drive took place both in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which is governed by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.The commission opened over 600 registration offices, mostly in schools. The election commission said voter registration would continue until Feb. 18. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Check your body, save your life Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories “I hope I will be able to vote soon in the coming elections, so I can change a little in our hard life,” said Maryam Omar, 21, as she stood in a near-empty registration office at the al-Jaleel school in Gaza City.A falafel vendor outside was less interested.“I don’t believe elections will take place,” shrugged Jawdat Hassan, 55. “Even if it happens, I won’t vote. I don’t trust any of them,” he said.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

Prince Philip spends 92nd birthday in hospital

first_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement LONDON (AP) – Prince Philip is spending his 92nd birthday in a London hospital recovering from abdominal surgery.Queen Elizabeth II’s husband is expected to be hospitalized for two weeks for investigation of an abdominal problem. Details about his symptoms have not been released.Officials say he is “progressing satisfactorily” after the exploratory surgery on Friday at a private London clinic. Results of various tests are expected this week, but it is not clear if the diagnosis will be made public. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img In the past, Philip has suffered heart and bladder problems but seemed in good spirits when he was last seen in public at a Buckingham Palace garden party Thursday.His birthday is being officially celebrated by two extended gun salutes.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Sponsored Stories last_img read more