Typhoon Haima affects 700 flights at Hong Kongs airport

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, October 21, 2016 Posted by Typhoon Haima affects 700 flights at Hong Kong’s airport As chaos reigns in LegCo and on Hong Kong’s streets, we can all be inspired by the resilience of Starbucks Uncle: https://t.co/syqZiZ2bwm pic.twitter.com/q52qs9ytll— Tom Grundy (@tomgrundy) October 19, 2016 Tags: Hong Kong BEIJING – Typhoon Haima churned toward southern China on Friday after smashing into the northern Philippines with ferocious wind and rain, triggering flooding, landslides and power outages and killing seven people.Hong Kong hunkered down as Haima lashed the financial hub with rain and wind gusts of up to 96 kilometres an hour. Nearly 700 flights to and from the city’s international airport were cancelled or delayed. China suspended rail services in several provinces on the mainland’s south, where the typhoon is expected to make landfall in the afternoon. In the city of Shenzhen, authorities ordered schools, markets and factories to close, halted public transportation and evacuated some areas.In the Philippines, Haima’s blinding winds and rain had rekindled fears of the catastrophe wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which left 7,300 dead, but there were no immediate reports of any major damage. Large casualties appeared to have been averted after nearly 100,000 people fled to safer ground. Several villages were cut off by fallen trees, landslides and floods, impeding communications and aid.More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaOn a lighter note, images of the ‘Starbucks uncle’ have gone viral as one man continues his daily routine of drinking coffee, undeterred by floodwaters. Several memes have also popped up. Hong Kong ‘Starbucks uncle’ becomes viral hero for sipping coffee in a flooded cafe https://t.co/zKqZSHLiv8— DidYouKnow (@DYK_it) October 21, 2016 The Canadian Press last_img read more

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A look at the latest ruling on the Trump travel ban

first_img Thursday, March 30, 2017 Tags: America, Donald Trump A look at the latest ruling on the Trump travel ban << Previous PostNext Post >> By: Jennifer Sinco KelleherSource: The Associated Press Share HONOLULU — A federal judge in Hawaii who temporarily blocked President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban hours before it was set to take effect issued a longer-lasting order Wednesday.U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson held a hearing Wednesday on Hawaii’s request to extend his temporary hold. Several hours later, he issued a 24-page order blocking the government from suspending new visas for travellers from six Muslim-majority countries and from halting the U.S. refugee program.Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin argued that even though the revised ban has more neutral language, the implied intent remains. He likened it to a neon sign flashing “Muslim Ban,” which the government hasn’t turned off.Chad Readler, a Department of Justice attorney defending Trump’s executive order, told the judge via telephone that Hawaii hasn’t shown how it is harmed by the provisions.Watson disagreed.Here’s a look at Watson’s ruling and what comes next:THE PREVIOUS RULINGThis month, Watson prevented the federal government from suspending new visas for people from six countries and freezing the nation’s refugee program. The ruling came just hours before the ban was to take effect.Watson, nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama in 2012, agreed with Hawaii that the ban would hurt the state’s tourism-dependent economy and that it discriminates based on nationality and religion.Trump called the ruling an example of “unprecedented judicial overreach.”The next day, a judge in Maryland blocked the six-nation travel ban but said it wasn’t clear that the suspension of the refugee program was similarly motivated by religious bias.The federal government appealed the Maryland ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and sought to narrow the Hawaii ruling.THE LATEST RULINGWatson’s orders note that Hawaii has shown the state’s universities and tourism industry will suffer from the ban. A plaintiff in Hawaii’s lawsuit, the imam of a Honolulu mosque, will be harmed if the ban is enforced, Watson said. “These injuries have already occurred and will continue to occur if the Executive Order is implemented and enforced; the injuries are neither contingent nor speculative.”More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backGovernment attorneys have tried to convince the judge not to consider comments Trump has made about the travel ban. Chin told The Associated Press on Thursday that a notable part of the ruling was that the court took into account not just one or two comments, but 20 to 25 statements made by Trump the candidate, Trump the president and his surrogates.“The court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has,” Watson wrote.Watson also refused to narrow his ruling to only apply to the six-nation ban, as the government requested.The ruling won’t be suspended if the government appeals, Watson said.“Enforcement of these provisions in all places, including the United States, at all United States borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas is prohibited, pending further orders from this court,” he wrote.WHAT’S NEXT FOR HAWAII’S LAWSUIT?Watson’s ruling allows the lawsuit to work its way through the courts.“The next move is theirs,” Chin said of the Department of Justice. He said the government would likely file an appeal.Chin’s office said in a statement after the ruling: “We believe the court’s well-reasoned decision will be affirmed.”Plaintiff Ismail Elshikh argues that Trump’s order prevents his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting family in the U.S. Chin said the mother-in-law was no longer banned and was able to proceed with the visa process.The Department of Justice issued a statement Thursday saying it strongly disagrees with the ruling. “The President’s Executive Order falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our Nation’s security, and the Department will continue to defend this Executive Order in the courts,” the statement said.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsDEFENDING TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDERThe Department of Justice wanted the judge to narrow the ruling to cover only the part of Trump’s executive order that suspends new visas for people from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.Other provisions of the order have little or no effect on Hawaii, including a suspension of the nation’s refugee program, Readler said Wednesday.Readler said only a small amount of refugees have been resettled in Hawaii. But Watson questioned that, noting that the government said there have been 20 refugees resettled in Hawaii since 2010.Other parts of Trump’s order allow the government to assess security risks, which don’t concern the plaintiffs in Hawaii’s lawsuit, Readler said.The revised order removes references to religion, he said.CAN AN APPEALS COURT AFFECT THE HAWAII RULING?The president is asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put the ruling by the judge in Maryland on hold while it considers the case.The Richmond, Virginia-based appeals court will hear arguments May 8. If the court sides with the federal government, it would not have a direct effect on the Hawaii ruling, legal experts said.The Trump administration’s best bet for saving the travel ban is to have the case go before the U.S. Supreme Court, said Richard Primus, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Michigan law school.“What a ruling in 4th Circuit in favour of the administration would do is create a split in authority between federal courts in different parts of the country,” he said. “Cases with splits in authority are cases the U.S. Supreme Court exists to resolve.”last_img read more

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Transat appoints Sharon Smith as BDM Southwestern Ontario

first_imgTransat appoints Sharon Smith as BDM, Southwestern Ontario Tags: Air Transat Posted by Monday, April 10, 2017 Sharecenter_img MONTREAL — Transat has named Sharon Smith as Business Development Manager, Southwestern Ontario.“As a previous business owner and with over 10 years’ experience as a consultant and manager in retail travel, Sharon possesses strong industry, product and destination knowledge, which will be key assets to working successfully on her accounts,” says Dan Prior, Transat’s Sales Manager, Ontario and Atlantic Canada.Smith has first-hand travel knowledge of the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Europe, all key destinations for Transat. She also has experience escorting groups throughout Europe and Tunisia.She says her aim as Business Development Manager is to assist her travel agent partners with product and destination training and, most importantly, support them in growing their business with Transat.She can be reached via email at Sharon.Smith@transat.com or by phone via the sales department’s toll-free number, at 1-888-256-9259. << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group last_img read more

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IATA reports continued demand growth in June

first_img Thursday, August 3, 2017 Posted by Travelweek Group IATA reports continued demand growth in June GENEVA — June numbers are in and looks like global passenger traffic data is up across all regions, says IATA.Demand, measured in total revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs, rose by 7.8% compared to the same period a year ago across all regions, while capacity, measured in seat kilometres, or ASKS, increased by 6.5%. Load factor rose 1.0 percentage point to 81.9%.For the first six months of 2017, the industry experienced a 12-year high in traffic growth (7.9%) and a record first half load factor of 80.7%.Air travel recorded its fastest first-half growth in 12 years, pushing load factors to record highs. And the peak northern summer travel season is likely to be record-breaking.“A brighter economic picture and lower airfares are keeping demand for travel strong. But as costs rise, this stimulus of lower fares is likely to fade. And uncertainties such as Brexit need to be watched carefully. Nonetheless, we still expect 2017 to see above-trend growth,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsJune international passenger demand rose 7.5% compared to June 2016, with all regions recording growth.North American airlines’ demand rose 4.4% compared to June a year ago. Capacity climbed 4.1%, with load factor inching up 0.3 percentage points to 84.5%. The comparatively robust economic backdrop in North America is expected to continue to support outbound passenger demand. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that inbound tourism is being deterred by the additional security measures in place for travel to the U.S.European carriers fared even better, with traffic rising 8.8% in June compared to June 2016, up from a 7.5% year-over-year increase recorded in May. Capacity climbed 6.5% and load factor rose 1.8% percentage points to 85.9%, highest among the regions. The stronger growth reflects both a favorable comparison with the year-ago period, as well as increased momentum in the regional economic backdrop.“This is all good news. The demand for travel is strong and that, in turn, will make a positive contribution to the global economy. This growth will also further expose infrastructure deficiencies. In every part of the world airport and air navigation infrastructure is struggling to cope with demand. There are plenty of examples linking connectivity and economic prosperity. But few governments have been able to deliver on the imperatives of sufficient capacity, quality aligned with user needs and affordability. This year’s strong growth is a reminder that there is no time to lose,” said de Juniac.center_img Tags: IATA, Trend Watch Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Registration opens for Sandals 2018 events with a crosscountry list of dates

first_img Share Posted by Monday, April 2, 2018 TORONTO — Sandals is pulling out all the stops for its 2018 cross-Canada travel agent workshop road show, with event details now posted for all 45 Sandals workshops across the country, starting this spring.The workshops fulfill the educational requirement towards becoming a Certified Sandals Specialist, as well as the maintenance requirement for agents already holding CSS status.Each Sandals workshop is also ACTA approved and each travel agent or manager who completes a workshop receives 10 credits towards their Certified Travel Counsellor or Certified Travel Manager designation.Agents will hear about Sandals Resorts International’s Over-the-Water Villas & Bungalows, 5 Star Global Gourmet, ‘Aisle to Isle’ wedding inspirations and more.The majority of workshops take place in the morning (7:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) however in select cities, afternoon (1 p.m. – 5 p.m.) and evening (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.) sessions are available. In Quebec, workshops are offered in both English and French.Space is limited and agents are encouraged to register early. A non-refundable fee of $40 is required at time of registration. All participants will receive a workbook, a supply of the newest collateral materials, a certificate upon completion of the workshop and an exclusive booking incentive.Agents can register online at uvisandals.ca.Here’s a look at the schedule …May 2 – Vaughan, ONHilton Garden Inn Toronto Vaughan, 3201 Highway #7 WestMay 3 – Barrie, ONHampton Inn & Suites by Hilton, 74 Bryne DriveMay 8 – Halifax, NS / EVENING WORKSHOPRoyal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron & Saraguay House, 360 Purcell’s Cove RoadMay 8 – Vancouver, BCCentury Plaza Hotel & Spa, 1015 Burrard StreetMay 9 – St. John’s, NL / EVENING WORKSHOPGlendenning Golf Course, 120 Gabriel RoadMay 9 – Surrey, BCSheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, 15269 104th AvenueMay 10 – Victoria, BCFairmont Empress, 721 Government StreetMay 15 – Mississauga, ONHilton Garden Inn Toronto Airport West, 1870 Matheson Blvd.May 15 – Edmonton, ABCourtyard Marriott Edmonton West, 10011 184th Street NWMay 16 – Burlington / Hamilton, ONHoliday Inn Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre, 3063 South Service RoadMay 16 – Red Deer, ABRadisson Red Deer, 6500 67 StreetMay 17 – Calgary, ABHilton Garden Inn Calgary Airport, 2335 Pegasus Road NEMay 29 – Toronto, ONYorkville Conference Centre, 150 Bloor Street West Suite 201May 30 – St. Catharines, ONHilton Garden Inn Niagara-on-the-Lake, 500 York RoadJune 5 – Burnaby, BCHilton Vancouver Metrotown, 6083 McKay AvenueJune 6 – Langley, BCSandman Signature Langley, 8828 201 StreetJune 7 – Kelowna, BCHoliday Inn Express, 2429 Highway 97 NorthJune 12 – Ottawa, ONOttawa Conference & Event Centre, 200 Coventry RoadJune 13 – Montreal, QC (English)Holiday Inn & Suites Pointe-Claire, 6700 route TranscanadienneJune 14 – Charlottetown, PE / EVENING WORKSHOPThe Great George Hotel, 58 Great George StreetJune 19 – Winnipeg, MBHilton Winnipeg Airport Suites, 1800 Wellington AvenueJune 20 – Saskatoon, SKHoliday Inn Saskatoon Downtown, 101 Pacific AvenueJune 21 – Regina, SKSandman Hotel & Suites, 1800 Victoria Avenue EastJune 28 – Belleville, ONFairfield Inn & Suites, 407 North Front StreetJuly 3 – Sherbrooke, QC (French)OTL Gouverneur, 3131 rue King OuestJuly 4 – Vaudreuil, QC (French)Holiday Inn Express Vaudreuil-Dorion, 33 blvd. de la Citè-des-Jeunes EstJuly 10 – Saint-Eustache, QC (French)Imperia Hotel & Suites, 570 rue DuboisJuly 11 – Terrebonne, QC (French)Imperia Hotel & Suites, 2935 blvd. de la PinièreAugust 1 – Ajax/Oshawa, ONHilton Garden Inn Ajax, 500 Beck CrescentAugust 2 – Peterborough, ONHoliday Inn Peterborough-Waterfront, 150 George Street NorthAugust 8 – Markham, ONMonte Carlo Inn & Suites, 7255 Warden AvenueSeptember 5 – Laval, QC / AFTERNOON WORKSHOP (French)Le St-Martin Hotel, 1400 rue Maurice-GauvinSeptember 6 – Toronto, ON / EVENING WORKSHOPHoliday Inn Toronto-Yorkdale, 3450 Dufferin StreetSeptember 11 – Edmonton, ABCourtyard by Marriott Edmonton West, 10011 184th Street NWSeptember 11 – Saint-Hyacinthe, QC (French)Holiday Inn Express, 1500 rue Daniel-Johnson EstSeptember 12 – Quebec City, QC / AFTERNOON WORKSHOP (French)Complexe Capitale Hélicoptère, 1688 route de l’AéroportSeptember 12 – Calgary, ABCoast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre, 1316 33rd Street NESeptember 13 – St. John’s, NLFairfield Inn & Suites, 199 Kenmount RoadSeptember 19 – Kitchener/Cambridge, ONCambridge Hotel & Conference Centre, 700 Hespeler RoadSeptember 20 – London, ONBest Western Plus Lamplighter Inn, 591 Wellington Road SouthSeptember 20 – Ottawa, ON / EVENING WORKSHOPOttawa Conference & Event Centre, 200 Coventry RoadSeptember 25 – Dartmouth, NSBest Western Plus, 15 Spectacle Lake DriveSeptember 26 – Saint John, NBLily Lake Pavilion, 55 Lake Drive SouthSeptember 26 – Mississauga, ONHilton Garden Inn Toronto Airport West, 1870 Matheson Blvd.September 27 – Moncton, NBRoyal Oaks Golf Club, 401 Royal Oaks Blvd.To register go to uvisandals.ca. Registration opens for Sandals 2018 events, with a cross-country list of dates, venuescenter_img Travelweek Group Tags: Sandals Resorts << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Immigration IDs mandatory for online transactions

first_imgNo related posts. All foreign nationals in Costa Rica who need to make payments or transfer money online must now use the official government IDs: DIMEX or DIDI.The Immigration Identification Document for Foreign Persons (DIMEX) and the Diplomatic Identification Document (DIDI) are the only valid forms of ID as of this month, Costa Rica’s Central Bank (BCCR) confirmed.The DIMEX is an identification issued by the Immigration Administration which is granted to legal resident. It allows holders to complete bank transactions via the Internet. The DIDI is issued by the Foreign Ministry to diplomats accredited in the country.Online bank transactions performed by third parties with a local accounts may be completed with SINPE (National System for Electronic Payments) a digital platform operated by the Central Bank.In order to get either one of the IDs, residents or diplomats must have a checking account, a savings account or a credit card with one of the local banks (private or public). Once the account is set up, they can request from the bank a 17-digit “client account” (cuenta cliente) number that is required to send or receive funds.These measures are due to BCCR’s stipulations. Local banks have already begun to implement the necessary changes in their websites to meet this requirement.Also, starting in July, foreigners are no longer able to use their passports to open bank accounts or transfer funds between banks in Costa Rica. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Costa Rica firms ready for new US Tax Law

first_imgCosta Rican financial organizations are getting ready to comply with the demands of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which went into effect this year.The law obliges foreign financial institutions to supply information to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about their U.S. clients, with the aim of combating tax evasion through the use of overseas accounts.During the coming year local agencies will be modernizing their systems so that, starting on Jan. 1, 2014, they will be able to locate U.S. taxpayers who have accounts with them and compile the information.According to Manrique Blen, a tax specialist with the Deloitte accounting firm, the institutions will be seeking to identify which of their clients might be U.S. taxpayers. In January 2014, they will start contacting those clients requesting more information to confirm their taxpayer status. Then the firms will decide which clients should be reported to the IRS.In 2010 the United States passed the HIRE Act, which grants incentives to employers who contract persons who have been unemployed for a certain period of time. To cover the cost of these incentives, the government created FATCA, which institutes a series of controls over international financial operations.The information about these operations is provided by financial institutions outside the U.S. that manage the investments of U.S. taxpayers.The law doesn’t oblige, but does invite, financial organizations all over the world to provide this information to the IRS. Nonetheless, according to Blen, there are sanctions for those who fail to comply.“Being a U.S. law, it shouldn’t be able to oblige Costa Rican financial institutions,” he said. “However, those that don’t comply with these processes will be sanctioned by U.S. financial institutions with retentions of up to 30 percent on any payment made to a foreign financial agency that does not have an agreement with the IRS.”Starting on March 31, 2015, local financial institutions will have to start reporting to the IRS information about their U.S. taxpayer clients who conducted transactions during 2013 and 2014. Starting in 2016, personal accounts containing more than $50,000 and corporate accounts containing more than $250,000 will be reported.According to Blen, Deloitte is advising a large number of banks and has spoken with 90 percent of Costa Rica’s financial organizations.“All are aware of FATCA and a large number are already implementing it,” he said. “During the rest of this year all will be making the changes to be up to date.”“FATCA is an important development in U.S. efforts to combat offshore noncompliance. At the same time, the IRS recognizes that implementing FATCA is a major undertaking for financial institutions,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman in a communiqué issued in July 2011.“A Costa Rican financial agency will have to incur many costs to identify these people and report them to the United States, costs that won’t be recognized by the government of this country, to increase its [the U.S.’] collections and comply with its law,” said Blen.Blen also acknowledged that one of the advantages of the law is that it allows for greater transparency in the destination of funds and the tax obligations of persons who maintain financial operations outside the U.S.Other countries, such as Germany and Australia, are interested in implementing laws similar to FATCA. This would mean that local financial institutions would have to report not only to the IRS, but also to other countries requiring foreign financial firms to supply information.Blen added that the IRS also offers countries the possibility of signing intergovernmental agreements, in which foreign governments send the U.S. information about the financial operations of U.S. taxpayers in their countries. Mexico was the first Latin American country to sign an agreement of this kind. “There is a list of approximately 50 countries that are negotiating with the U.S. to sign such agreements,” he said. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Huge tornado levels Oklahoma City suburb in US killing dozens

first_imgA massive tornado up to a mile wide chewed through Moore, Oklahoma, a U.S. suburb of Oklahoma City, on Monday afternoon, grinding up entire neighborhoods and obliterating a school where third-graders who had huddled in a hallway were buried in rubble.Many of those children were pulled — wet and dirty but alive — from the shredded school. As darkness fell Monday, first responders continued to pick through the wreckage looking for children who might be trapped.The Oklahoma state medical examiner’s office said Monday evening that 91 people had been confirmed killed, but the death toll was quickly rising. At least 20 children had been killed, most of them under 12, Amy Elliott, of the state medical examiner’s office, told news agency AFP. CNN reported that at least 145 people had been hospitalized. Reporters for local broadcaster KFOR-TV saw children as young as 9 being pulled out of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, a residential community of 55,000.Anxious parents were being kept at a distance while search-and-rescue workers scrambled to free the students.A second elementary school, Briarwood, was also hit but did not appear to have sustained casualties.Helicopter footage showed a wide path of near-total destruction in a community that had endured a similarly powerful twister 14 years ago.U.S. President Barack Obama declared a “major disaster” in the state and ordered federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts.On the Enhanced Fujita damage scale of tornadoes, this was probably a 4 or 5, at the highest ends of violence, with winds reaching 200 miles per hour, said Russell Schneider, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., about eight miles from the path of the storm.“It’s a very wide swath of very intense damage, a large number of structures almost totally destroyed,” Schneider said. “That in and of itself is usually indicative of a violent tornado, EF4 or EF5.”Plaza Towers Elementary School, where scores of students took shelter as the twister approached, was completely destroyed. Nearby, cars and trucks were heaped on top of one another and homes were reduced to foundations covered with splintered wood.“I’m sick to my stomach,” said Jayme Shelton, a spokesman for the city of Moore, reached by telephone. “Send your prayers this way.”Shelton said the city’s roughly 160 police officers and firefighters were going door-to-door, checking for people who might be trapped in the rubble. Search-and-rescue teams poured in from every corner of the state.“This is terrible. This is war-zone terrible,” said a helicopter reporter for KFOR-TV Channel 4 in Oklahoma City. “This school is completely gone. … This whole area is destroyed. The houses are destroyed, completely leveled.”The tornado outbreak was part of an explosion of violent weather that slashed the nation’s midsection, inciting severe-weather alerts from Texas to Michigan. The atmospheric conditions include a powerful weather system from the west colliding with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, a perfect recipe for tornadoes and super-cell thunderstorms, Schneider said. The bad weather will migrate to the east Tuesday.The Storm Prediction Center counted nine tornadoes Monday in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, though that was a preliminary number based on eyewitness reports. Although much of that region of the country is rural, one monster cell ground its way directly through the southern suburbs of the Oklahoma City metropolis — an urban hit that brought to mind the Tuscaloosa, Ala., tornado of April 27, 2011 (64 dead), and the Joplin, Mo., tornado of May 22 of the same year (160 dead).The strength of the big tornado that hit Moore will be determined in coming days after closer scrutiny of the damage. The twister was on the ground for 40 minutes, ravaging a 20-mile path, Schneider said.“This was a very unfortunate path for this powerful storm,” he said. He noted that the likelihood of severe weather and tornadoes had been forecast many days in advance and that tornado watches had preceded the twister. But this was so powerful a storm, with such devastating winds, that people needed to be in basements or, better yet, a storm shelter, to be safe.“You really need to be below ground,” Schneider said.The citizens there had seen this kind of thing before, on May 3, 1999, when 44 people were killed by a tornado that struck Moore, Newcastle, Del City, Stroud and other suburbs. That tornado reportedly spawned winds that reached 318 mph, the highest ever scientifically recorded, according to a 2005 story in USA Today.“It’s as bad as it looks,” Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., whose district includes most of neighboring Oklahoma City, said Monday evening as he left the House floor, checking his phone for updates.The House will pause Tuesday for a moment of silence. Monday night, Obama spoke with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin to share his concern and assure her that the administration is ready to assist the state’s emergency responders.The injured were brought to multiple hospitals in the area, including 20 people, eight of them children, to Oklahoma University Medical Center, said spokesman Scott Coppenbarger.About 60 patients were taken to Norman Regional Hospital and Norman HealthPlex Hospital, said Kelly Wells, spokeswoman for Norman Regional Health Care. She described the injuries as “a lot of trauma, a lot of lacerations, a lot of broken bones. Typical tornado injuries. We’re no stranger to this out here.”The two hospitals also received more than 30 patients from Moore Medical Center, the third hospital in Normal Regional’s network, which was destroyed by the tornado, Wells said.By Monday evening, a Facebook page created to help connect survivors with loved ones had a growing number of posts, most from people searching for the missing.“Looking for my Aunt Iris Irwin,” read one post.“Looking for 5yo Harry,” read another.Lenny Bernstein, Brady Dennis, Darryl Fears and Jason Samenow contributed to this report.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Obama visits tornado-devastated city Tornado, hail sweep through Heredia, killing one person, damaging houses, cars and power lines More Communities Hit By Flooding, Tornado Tornado Injures 36 in Dominican Republiclast_img read more

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Inter American Press Association warns of mounting attacks on free press in

first_imgMIAMI, Florida – The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) on Thursday warned of growing threats to journalists in Guatemala following an attack this week on a reporter that came just two weeks after another journalist was killed.The Miami-based press association also denounced government-backed discrimination in advertising against the daily elPeriódico, a newspaper that often publishes stories about official corruption, rights abuses and drug trafficking.IAPA condemned a Monday attack that left reporter Fredy Rodas seriously wounded in the face and back. IAPA called for an immediate investigation.Earlier in August, Guatemalan radio journalist Luis Lima, 68, was killed while sitting in his automobile in front of Radio Sultana de Oriente, in the southeastern department of Zacapa.Lima is the third journalist to be assassinated this year in the Central American country, which is facing an ongoing wave of violence that leaves 16 Guatemalans dead every day – one of the highest murder rates in Latin America.IAPA also criticized “the practice of utilizing government publicity and apparent government coercion of private advertisers as an instrument to pressure editorial content,” according to the IAPA statement.elPeriódico founder and President José Rubén Zamora also has spoken out about the atmosphere of violence and intimidation against journalists in Guatemala. Zamora, who was attacked in 2003, said that in retaliation for stories published in elPeriódico about government corruption, officials cancelled a personal security detail assigned to him following the 2003 attempt on his life.IAPA blasted a paid ad printed in local Guatemalan media by the administration of President Otto Pérez Molina announcing that Zamora’s security detail would be withdrawn. The paid advertisement accused Zamora of “publishing false news” and “lacking proof against government officials.”Claudio Paolillo, president of IAPA’s Commission on the Freedom of Press and Expression, accused Pérez Molina’s administration of taking a hypocritical position on the issue of press freedom and protection.“The government cannot say it respects the freedom of the press and that it does not intimidate a newspaper when it is evident – and government officials have admitted this – that elPeriódico is being discriminated against with official publicity,” Paolillo said.This step by the government is a serious threat to press freedom and the public right to information, as outlined in treaties and various national and international agreements, he added.  Facebook Comments Related posts:Belize urges solution to Guatemala’s long-standing territorial claims Guatemalan president: Pot legalization in Uruguay is ‘an important step’ Guatemala City street gets facelift, and what a difference it makes European Parliament recognizes Guatemala’s Ixil community with SOLIDAR awardlast_img read more

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Christmas festival at the Childrens Museum draws 10000

first_imgFireworks, a Christmas musical and a rock band enthralled Costa Rican families Wednesday night, as thousands of spectators filled more than two blocks around the Children’s Museum on the northern edge of downtown San José.The Chidren’s Museum celebrated its 13th annual lighting of the “Castle of Dreams.”Families crammed in front of the castle-like façade of the museum, many parents hoisting smaller children on their shoulders. Streets vendors meandered through the crowd with Santa hats, lighted bracelets and balloons.A rock band opened the festivities and gave way to a musical that focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Actors sang and danced on a stage in front of the museum’s entrance, using wires to pull some up and down the roof. A projector bathed the museum’s wall with changing images for the play’s scenes.In the story, Mugrón, an insect-like villain, stole the presents and cake of the Children’s Museum’s mascots Museito and Museita. As the two lamented their ruined Christmas party with their friends, Costa Rican singer-songwriter Martín Valverde, playing himself, arrived with a lesson on Christmas spirit. Valverde said they must not hold on to hatred of Mugrón.“If you want God to forgive you, first you must be able to forgive,” Valverde said.At the play’s conclusion, Valverde persuaded the villain to give up his Grinch-esque plans to prevent lighting the castle, and the first fireworks launched behind him to joyous cheers from the crowd.“Today we finish a work of more than six months of preparation,” museum director Fabiola Rodríguez said in a statement. “And we feel truly happy and emotional about the power to give this activity to thousands of families.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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NASA selects Franklin Changs Ad Astra Rocket for 50 million contract

first_imgAd Astra Rocket, the company founded by Costa Rican scientist and ex-astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz, will develop space propulsion systems for a new NASA project, the company reported this week.Chang’s hi-tech company will be part of a consortium led by Orbital ATK in a five-year $50 million contract for NASA’s Research and Technology for Aerospace Propulsion Systems. Ad Astra’s piece of the contract draws on the company’s expertise in electronic propulsion system, specifically research and development of thrusters and thruster components, the company said in a press release Tuesday.The Houston-based company, which also has research facilities in Liberia, Guanacaste, is participating in three of the six elements of the NASA’s space propulsion project, including propulsion system design and trade studies, electric propulsion and advanced propulsion systems.“We are proud to be a part of the Orbital ATK team. We look forward to contributing our skills and expertise to help advance the technology readiness of electric and advanced propulsion systems,” Chang said.The contract is the second between Ad Astra and NASA this year. Chang’s company signed a $9 million contract with NASA in August to move its VASIMR plasma engine into the testing phase. The contract will focus on long duration tests of the VASIMR engine for periods of up to 100 hours.The good news for Ad Astra continued Tuesday as the company reported an increase in its share price from $6 to $8 on the Costa Rican stock market.“The increase [in share price] is mainly due to developments in the financial support that the company has achieved,” Chang explained after signing the update at the Costa Rican exchange.The technology developed for the VASIMR engine will be on display soon in director Ridley Scott’s new movie “The Martian,” based on the novel by U.S. author Andy Weir. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica to host UN meeting on space technology Ex-NASA astronaut Franklin Chang talks about ‘The Martian,’ Hollywood’s take on his VASIMR engine Photo of Tico astronaut Franklin Chang with Barack Obama among best White House pics of 2015 Franklin Chang’s VASIMR plasma engine readies for key testlast_img read more

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Bulgaria Skeletons treated for vampirism found

first_img How men can have a healthy 2019 New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories center_img SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) – Bulgarian archaeologists say they have unearthed centuries-old skeletons pinned down through their chests with iron rods _ a practice believed to stop the dead from becoming vampiresAccording to Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the National History Museum in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, two skeletons from the Middle Ages were found in such a state last weekend near the Black Sea town of Sozopol. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Comments   Share   Check your body, save your life He said Tuesday that corpses were regularly treated in such a way before being buried in some parts of Bulgaria, even until the beginning of the last century.Widespread superstition led to iron rods being hammered through the chest bones and hearts of those who did evil during their lifetimes for fear they would return after death to feast on the blood of the living.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

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Islamists Couple in northern Mali stoned to death

first_img Quick workouts for men Men’s health affects baby’s health too More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressBAMAKO, Mali (AP) – A spokesman for the radical Islamic group controlling northern Mali says a couple who had an adulterous relationship was stoned to death this weekend in the town of Aguelhok.Sanda Abou Mohamed, a spokesman for the group Ansar Dine, told The Associated Press by telephone on Sunday that the couple was executed according to Shariah law.A resident of the northern city of Kidal, who had spoken to witnesses in nearby Aguelhok, said the man and woman were buried up to their necks, then pelted with stones until they died earlier Sunday. The resident requested anonymity because he feared for his safety. Comments   Share   Top Stories center_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories The northern half of Mali was overrun by the rebels, including the Islamic group, in early April, following a coup in Mali’s capital.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Parents, stop beating yourself uplast_img read more

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Wife gets 18 years in Argentine governors murder

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The difference between men and women when it comes to pain New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Top holiday drink recipes BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – The widow of a provincial Argentine governor has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for killing her husband in a drunken rage last New Year’s Day.Susana Freydoz, 61, made no statements during her trial or Tuesday’s sentencing in the death of her husband, Rio Negro Gov. Carlos Soria, and will remain hospitalized for the immediate future.Her lawyers argued that she should be absolved due to “mental alienation.” Sponsored Stories Prosecutors wanted life in prison. But the judges found extenuating circumstances including drunkenness, drug use, suicide attempts and obsessive efforts to catch the ruling party governor with a lover.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

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UK political dispute over foster kids removal

first_img Sponsored Stories LONDON (AP) – Britain’s education secretary says he will investigate how local officials removed three children from their foster family because of concerns about the parents’ political beliefs.The Rotherham borough council sparked criticism Saturday when it was revealed that its social workers removed the children, who are European migrants, because their foster parents are members of the right-wing U.K. Independence Party. The vital role family plays in society Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 0 Comments   Share   How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Top Stories The party wants Britain to withdraw from the EU and favors immigration curbs. Social workers said they were concerned that the children’s “cultural and ethnic needs” may not be met in the foster family.Education Secretary Michael Gove condemned the decision as arbitrary and indefensible, saying that political beliefs should not stop anyone from fostering children.Rotherham is near Manchester.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

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GOP candidates divided over renewing USA Patriot Act

first_imgAcross Congress, the political divisions cut along complex lines. Libertarian-leaning Republicans like Cruz and Paul are aligned with many liberal Democrats, insisting that a secret intelligence agency should not be storing the records of every American phone call. But other Democrats and Republicans say the program is needed now more than ever given the Islamic State group’s determination to inspire terrorist attacks on American soil.Graham, the only one of the four who has not formally announced his candidacy, is siding with Rubio in favor of the NSA’s spy powers but competing with him for support among defense hawks.“I’m open-minded to doing reforms,” Graham told reporters Thursday. “I just don’t want to diminish the capacity of the program to prevent another 9/11. I believe if the program were in operation before 9/11, we probably would have prevented 9/11.”Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, previewed one likely argument. He cited the incident in Texas last Sunday in which two gunmen were shot dead while trying to attack a provocative event that featured cartoon images of the Prophet Muhammad. In the aftermath, authorities described an alarming trend involving potential homegrown extremists with access to social media and possible exposure to Islamic State group propaganda. On one side, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina want Congress to permanently reauthorize parts of the law, giving the NSA much of its surveillance authority.If there were another attack, “the first question out of everyone’s mouth is going to be, ‘why didn’t we know about it?’” Rubio said this week in a speech on the Senate floor. “And the answer better not be, ‘because this Congress failed to authorize a program that might have helped us know about it.’”The rise of Islamic State militants, the continued threat from al-Qaida and the ongoing civil war in Syria have pushed national security to the forefront in the 2016 race for the GOP nomination, with some candidates determined to show their toughness. On NSA surveillance, however, Americans are wary of government intrusion.Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky say the law infringes on citizens’ privacy.“They want nothing more than to keep the national security spy state growing until it tracks, traces and catalogues virtually every detail about every aspect of our lives,” Paul said in a campaign email to his supporters. “Once government bureaucrats know every aspect of our lives — what we watch, what we buy, what we eat, where we worship — it won’t be long until they try to run them ‘for our own good.’” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Under the law, the NSA collects information on the number called and the date and time of the call, then stores it in a database that it queries using phone numbers associated with terrorists overseas. Officials say they don’t use the information for any other purpose, and that the legal powers that enable the program are essential to the hunt for terrorists. Opponents say the seizure and search of telephone company records violates Americans’ expectations of privacy under the Fourth Amendment.Adding a wrinkle to the debate was Thursday’s federal appeals court ruling that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records is illegal. The court all but pleaded for Congress to sharpen the boundaries between security and privacy rights.The House is slated to vote next week on a bill to reauthorize the law while also ending the government’s dragnet collection of records, and Cruz has endorsed the measure, saying it “strikes the right balance between privacy rights and national security interests.”But Senate leaders, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, have spoken forcefully for a competing measure to reauthorize the law as-is. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top holiday drink recipes FILE – In this April 15, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks in Washington. Republican senators eyeing the presidency split over the renewal of the Patriot Act surveillance law, with civil libertarians at odds with traditional defense hawks who back tough spying powers in the fight against terrorism. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File) Top Stories Comments   Share   center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators eyeing the presidency split over the renewal of the USA Patriot Act surveillance law, with civil libertarians at odds with traditional defense hawks who back tough spying powers in the fight against terrorism.The political divide will be on stark display this month as Congress debates reauthorization of the post-Sept. 11 law ahead of a June 1 deadline. The broader question of privacy rights has gained attention since a former National Security Agency systems administrator, Edward Snowden, disclosed in 2013 that the NSA had been collecting and storing data on nearly every American’s phone calls for years. “We must do everything in our power to stop these attacks before they happen,” McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said.FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that although the bureau had opened a new investigation into one of the gunmen, Elton Simpson, agents had no reason to believe he was going to attack the event.___Follow Laurie Kellman at www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellmanCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finisheslast_img read more

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Survivors tell of terror during deadly Mexico tornado

first_imgPeople stand near a destroyed vehicle after a powerful tornado swept past in Ciudad Acuna, northern Mexico, Monday, May 25, 2015. A tornado raged through the city on the U.S.-Mexico border Monday, destroying homes and flinging cars like matchsticks. At least 13 people were killed, authorities said. The twister hit a seven-block area, which Victor Zamora, interior secretary of the northern state of Coahuila, described as “devastated.” (AP Photo) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   The house had been flattened by the storm, and bulldozers were sent in Tuesday to clear the rubble and allow the family to salvage any possessions. Gerardo was able to find only his stepfather’s wallet and a pair of mismatched shoes.“I don’t have papers, I don’t have anything. There are a lot of people who lost everything,” said Perla Isabel Aguinaga. “We have no place to live.”Their stepfather, Edgar Gerardo Gonzalez, 37, their mother, Alma Isabel Galindo Chavez, and Perla’s 5-year-old son, Bryan, were in the house when the twister hit.Galindo and Bryan hid under a bed as the building collapsed around them. Their truck ended up on the roof of a nearby home. She survived with back injuries and bruises, and Bryan suffered gashes to his head.But the stepfather was standing at the back of the house, leaning against a wall that fell on him, injuring him more seriously. Despite his wounds, the stepfather managed to dig himself out, rescue his wife and the boy and take them to a neighbor’s house.“Whenever I close my eyes, I see what happened,” Galindo said a day after the storm.Four adjacent houses also were flattened. In several, the only things left standing were the bathrooms, precisely the place where Mexican authorities advise people to take shelter in storms. CIUDAD ACUNA, Mexico (AP) — Jose Francisco Contreras and his wife were driving to the bus he takes to his job at a factory in northern Mexico when the winds picked up and torrential rain began to fall.They tried to turn around and flee, but their car was lifted by a howling tornado and flung about 650 feet (200 meters) to land on its roof in a grassy plaza. Airborne bricks and concrete blocks made loud bangs as they pummeled the vehicle. Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories “We were spinning around in the air, like four times,” Contreras said. His wife, Araceli Alcala, said she “was terrified.”Contreras broke his ankle trying to kick their way out of the car, but both survived the sudden, devastating twister in Ciudad Acuna that killed 13 people, including a baby boy and destroyed more than 200 homes.The child’s body was found amid the rubble of shattered houses in the city across the border from Del Rio, Texas, Ciudad Acuna Mayor Evaristo Perez said Tuesday.Neighbor Angelica Elizabeth Garcia said the 11-month-old identified as Osvaldo Govea was being dropped off at his grandmother’s house when the tornado ripped him and his mother from their car. Garcia spoke after attending a funeral for the boy and two of his relatives who also died. The mother suffered a punctured lung and was in the hospital.The tornado that touched down early Monday also injured about 300 people and damaged about 800 homes, affecting some 4,000 residents. Some of the houses were reduced to mounds of cinderblock and rubble, making the search more difficult.Gerardo Aguinaga and his sister, Perla Isabel, stood in front of a concrete slab where the family’s home and taco business once stood. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of President Enrique Pena Nieto toured the area to survey damage and help coordinate rescue efforts. Bulldozers and cranes worked to move rubble, fallen light posts and crumpled cars.Questions began to center on the lack of any warning system, though tornados are infrequent in Mexico and officials said this one struck too quickly to give much warningThe last major tornado hit to the southeast of Ciudad Acuna in 2007 in the nearby border city of Piedras Negras, across from Eagle Pass, Texas, killing three people.After escaping the vehicle Monday, Contreras lay on the ground nearby until some people in a truck appeared to take him and his wife home. On Tuesday he sat, still rattled and with a cast on his ankle, outside their now-windowless house.He hasn’t gone back to see the car, but his wife did.“It was totally crushed,” Alcala said.___Associated Press writer Mark Stevenson contributed to this report from Mexico City.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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Fed up with failing peace Ukraine rebels eager to fight

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk “So they fire at us at the checkpoints. Fine, we’re fighters here,” said a bespectacled rebel militiaman, who adopted the nom de guerre Odessa in honor of his native city. “But there are civilians living near here. They just hurl stuff at them too.”One shell last week fell onto Yelena Ignatova’s roof, but spared her meticulously tended garden plot of tomatoes, peppers and cabbages. Residents like Ignatova pray desperately for peace, but have little faith that diplomacy is the way to achieve it.“What did we need the peace agreement for?” she said. “Just to give the Ukrainian army the chance to reinforce here?”The diplomatic path’s prospects appeared to further dim this month when the latest round of talks between rebels, Russia and Ukraine ended with no visible progress. On Saturday, the talks’ moderator, Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, resigned.The units holding the line in Dokuchayevsk are a varied crew. Some are from nearby towns and cities. The voyage there has been longer for others, like Valery, an ethnic Evenk from the Siberian region of Yakutia in Russia, around 5,500 kilometers (3,300 miles) to the east. Valery, who agreed only to give his first name, said he completed a three-year contract with the Russian army in September and decided to travel to Ukraine after growing bored of civilian life.“My granny told me that men should fight, so I came here,” he said.Dokuchayevsk is only one of multiple potential flashpoints. The worst violence to hit east Ukraine in months broke out Wednesday in Marinka, a satellite suburb of apartment buildings outside Donetsk.Following a well-rehearsed pattern, both sides blamed one another for sparking the fighting. An official account by monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe describes movements of rebel forces in Donetsk on the eve of the battle that suggest the initiative may have been with them.Ukrainian and separatist officials appear to be dissembling about the scale of their losses.Kiev says five of its troops were killed, although soldiers told The Associated Press of a battle so ferocious that they feared none of them would survive. One complained that they had little with which to repel that attack — his unit’s anti-tank rocket launcher was damaged and the portable grenade launcher is of little use against armored vehicles. DOKUCHAYEVSK, Ukraine (AP) — In this front-line town in eastern Ukraine, the cease-fire called more than three months ago seems to be only an insulting guise. Shelling rocks the area so often that dogs have learned to head for the basement at the first blast.Everyone wants the shelling to stop, both the town’s civilians and the rebels who control it. That weariness points paradoxically toward new violence. The vital role family plays in society At his post, Odessa says there is only one conclusion to be drawn.“As soon as we get the order, we will go ahead. We all want to get this over with as soon as possible,” he said. “What are all these negotiations for?”___Evgeniy Maloletka in Marinka, Ukraine, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Rebel leaders are admitting to 16 deaths among combatants, but the rank-and-file privately admit the true number ranges into several dozen.Separatists quietly buried some of their dead Friday and then more of them over the weekend.Nobody appears to have lost or gained ground in the fighting, so the only certain dividend has been a further intensification in the anger and frustration felt by the fighters.In the wake of the events in Marinka, Ukrainian officials had to admit they used heavy weaponry proscribed under the cease-fire agreement in their battle to hold onto the town.Such arms may give their users power but they have proven disastrously imprecise. The trail of destruction created by the Marinka unrest led deep into Donetsk, where part of a market was burned to the ground after being struck by a projectile.OSCE accounts also indicate that rebels haven’t refrained from deploying multiple rocket launchers and several other weapons prohibited from being anywhere near the front.In Dokuchayevsk, rebel fighters say the shelling has worsened in the last two weeks and that the Ukrainian army has taken to using Grad rocket launchers and large-caliber artillery, along with the usual mortars and tanks. Relatively fresh impact craters seen on the grounds of an oil depot in the town Friday were several feet deep — a potential confirmation of that claim. A separatist sniper in eastern Ukraine talks at his position in the town of Dokuchayevsk, Ukraine, on Friday, June 5, 2015. A tense calm is holding in the east of the country in the days after a bloody battle Wednesday between separatist and government forces erupted in a suburb of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk. (AP Photo/Peter Leonard) Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 ways to recognize low testosterone The rebels are itching for an end to the pretense and wish their leaders would give the order for a full-out assault.“We’ve asked them for permission, but all they say is: ‘no, no, no,’” said one rebel sniper, who goes by the call-sign Rzhavy.The hollowness of the phony armistice was rudely exposed this week as a ferocious one-day battle erupted on the western edge of the main rebel stronghold, Donetsk. International appeals for calm and restraint duly followed.Instead, the menacing sound of heavy-duty artillery is again being heard along the front.Under the internationally-brokered peace agreement, all firepower with a caliber over 100mm should have been pulled far back from the front line. But international monitors say the heavy weapons may be getting brought back — recent trips to holding points for the big guns found many that had once been there to be gone.At the intersection of a country lane leading out of Dokuchayevsk, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Donetsk, separatist militiaman take turns on guard by an anti-tank rocket propped on concrete blocks.Across the road stands an Orthodox crucifix pocked with bullet holes and the words “save and protect” written on a crossbeam. The roof of a dilapidated warehouse nearby bears signs of a shell strike. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

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LOT distinguished in prestigious OAG Airline Industry Awards 2009 poll

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/16f18/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> LOT Polish Airlines received the official distinction of “Highly commended Airline based in Central/Eastern Europe” in the prestigious OAG Airline Awards 2009 poll. Regarded as the “Oscars of the Airline Industry”, the OAG poll celebrated its 27th edition in 2009.  The awards presented through the poll are among the most highly prized in the airline industry, because they are based on the voting of frequent flyers on airlines all over the world. The OAG Airline Industry Awards poll is proof of excellent quality of services in the airline industry promoted by OAG.The selection of winners is conducted through the use of survey forms directed to frequent passengers, in which they are asked to indicate the three top airlines that they have travelled on in the past twelve months in specific categories. All votes are submitted over the Internet.The categories of prizes have changed over the years, but they continue, as always, to be awarded on the basis of the same principles – the opinions of the word’s business travellers, whose votes are based on their personal experience from the preceding twelve months. The results of the poll for 2009 were published on the Internet. The airline industry, like many others, is still going through a difficult period and in the opinion of the organizers, the holding of a lavish presentation ceremony would have been inappropriate considering the budgetary restraints felt by our customers.An official certificate, signed by President Peter Von Moltke of UBM Aviation Worldwide, was received by Andrzej Wysocki, LOT’s Regional Director for Great Britain and Ireland.In December of last year, LOT received the distinction of “Best Airline in Eastern and Central Europe 2009” from the American magazine Business Traveler USA, and in January of this year LOT Polish Airlines took first place in the category “Best Airline in Eastern Europe” in the poll of awards “GT Tested Awards 2009”, organized by the prestigious American magazine Global Traveler.center_img Source = LOT Polish Airlineslast_img read more

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Manchester sweeps the board at Englands Northwest Tourism Awards

first_imgSource = Marketing Manchester Manchester swept the board at the England’s Northwest Tourism Awards last night – taking home five of the 16 awards up for grabs. Manchester Art Gallery was named Large Visitor Attraction, while the Radisson Edwardian Hotel was awarded Large Hotel of the Year.  Manchester Central Convention Complex took home the award for Business Tourism, while Chill Factore was awarded Tourism for All and the Manchester International Festival claimed Tourism Event. Cherry Clough Farmhouse in Saddleworth was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the Bed and Breakfast category.Organised by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), the 2010 England’s Northwest Tourism Awards once again celebrated the best of the region’s tourism sector, providing a showcase for industry best-practice and top-quality tourism businesses in Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester, Liverpool City Region and Cheshire.The award ceremony took place at The Point at Lancashire County Cricket Club.Andrew Stokes, chief executive of Marketing Manchester, the agency charged with promoting the city-region on a national and international stage, said: “It was a great night for Manchester. Our winners highlight three of our biggest strengths – business tourism, culture and sport.“We can now look forward to representing the region in the VisitEngland national awards, where we will compete with other regional award winners. My congratulations to all the Manchester winners.”A total of 16 accolades were presented to winners from across the region. In addition to receiving a prestigious title, regional winners will also have the opportunity to represent the Northwest in the national awards, organised by VisitEngland in 2011.The winners were:Bed & Breakfast                        Number 43, Arnside, Cumbria Holiday Park                            Woodclose Park, Kirby Lonsdale, CumbriaSelf Catering                            The Old Shippon at Mellor, LancashireTaste of England’s Northwest   The Cottage in the Wood, Keswick, CumbriaTourism for All                        Chill Factore, Trafford, ManchesterTourist Information Centre      Morecambe Visitor Information Centre, LancashireTourism Experience                  Cumbrian Heavy Horses, Millom, Cumbria Small Visitor Attraction           Chester Heritage Tours, Chester, CheshireLarge Visitor Attraction           Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Excellence in Customer Service Sandcastle Waterpark Team, Blackpool, LancashireSustainable Tourism Award      Clough Bottom Farm Cottages, Clitheroe, LancashirePublic Space Award                  Dream, St Helens, Liverpool City RegionTourism Event                          Manchester International Festival, ManchesterBusiness Tourism                     Manchester Central Convention ComplexSmall Hotel                              Overwater Hall, near Keswick, Cumbria Large Hotel                              The Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Manchester Six judges’ commendations were also handed out on the night, in recognition of the exceptionally high standards in a number of the award categories.Felicity Goodey, chair of Tourism England’s Northwest, said: “It just gets better and better. Each year we celebrate some of the best of our many outstanding businesses which, together, have established the Northwest as one of the most popular visitor destinations in the country. We are used to them going on to win national awards and I have every confidence that last night’s winners will be the ones to beat at the next National finals. The region owes them a big ‘thank you’. It’s their vision backed up by hard work, training and investment which have built tourism into one of this region’s most important industries.”Nick Brooks-Sykes, director of tourism at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) added: “Tonight’s event has been very special and all our winners should be very proud of their achievements. Tourism in England’s Northwest is marked by a quality and passion that will continue in the future, making the region a destination of choice.”last_img read more

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