Last weeks have been challenging says IATA despite strong Q1 results

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, May 4, 2017 Posted by Share Travelweek Group center_img GENEVA — It’s still too early to tell what impact the electronics ban will have on air travel, says IATA, but as it stands now, traffic results for March look promising.Demand in March rose 6.8% compared to the same month last year, with capacity growing 6.1% and load factor climbing by half a percentage point to 80.4%, which was a record for the month.“Strong traffic demand continued throughout the first quarter, supported by a combination of lower fares and a broad-based upturn in global economic conditions. The price of air travel has fallen by around 10% in real terms over the past year and that has contributed to record load factors. We will have to wait another month to see the impact of the laptop ban on demand,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.International passenger demand rose 6.4% compared to March 2016, which was a slight dip compared to February after adjusting for the leap year distortion. Airlines in all regions recorded growth, with Latin American airlines seeing a 9.7% increase in March, the strongest among the regions. This was just the second time in 63 months that Latin American airlines led the industry.More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaAsia-Pacific airlines followed closely behind at 9.1% growth in March, compared to the year-ago period, while North American airlines posted a 2.7% traffic rise. Middle East carriers’ traffic growth slowed to 4.9% in March, a considerable decline from January and February year-over-year demand growth. This is related more to developments seen last year, while any impacts from the laptop ban will be visible from April results onward.“The first quarter results are strong. But the last weeks have been challenging to the passenger business. The laptop ban—implemented with next to no notice, no dialogue and no coordination, is testing public confidence in how governments and industry work together to keep flying secure. So, even as rumors persist that the ban will be expanded to other airports and regions, we are calling on governments to work with the industry to find alternatives—to keep flying secure without such great inconvenience to our passengers,” said de Juniac.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesAnd what about the hot topic of overbooking? With the recent dragging incident of a passenger onboard a United Airlines flight still making headlines around the world, many critics are calling for new legislation that would prevent airlines from overselling seats.“The management of overbooking has actually worked well for decades. It ensures that scarce capacity is efficiently utilized; we see that in today’s record load factors,” added de Juniac. “Overbooking helps airlines avoid empty seats, and that helps to keep costs—and fares—low. Governments have acknowledged that this ultimately benefits consumers. And if industry-level change is discussed, let’s make sure that there is a transparent fact-based dialogue between industry and regulators. We must be careful to not risk undoing the many benefits unleashed by the competitive forces of deregulation.” Tags: IATA, Trend Watch “Last weeks have been challenging,” says IATA, despite strong Q1 resultslast_img read more

Disneys drone footage of Star Wars land is incredible

first_img ANAHEIM — The Force is gaining strength in Anaheim, where drone footage of the hugely anticipated Star Wars land has just been released.The short video gives a bird’s eye view of ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’, which is currently in construction and scheduled to open at Disneyland in 2019. Another Star Wars themed land will debut later that same year at Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida.According to Disney, Star Wars will be one of the most detailed and immersive lands in Disney Parks history. Upon completion, Galaxy’s Edge will span 14 acres, will resemble a remote trading port on the edge of space, and will be divided into two difference sections: one dedicated to the First Order, and the other to the Resistance.Judging by the aerial footage, Galaxy’s Edge will not only be enormous, it will also be spectacular. We’re getting closer to reaching that galaxy far, far away and we can’t wait! Travelweek Group Monday, March 12, 2018 Share Posted bycenter_img Tags: Disney, Theme Parks & Attractions, Video Disney’s drone footage of Star Wars land is incredible << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Record spring results from airlines IATA

first_img Share Posted by Thursday, May 3, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Record spring results from airlines: IATA Travelweek Group GENEVA — The world’s airlines are posting record-setting load factors, according to the latest global passenger traffic stats from IATA.New data just released by IATA for March 2018 indicate passenger demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) was up 9.5%, compared to the same month a year ago, the fastest pace in 12 months.Capacity (available seat kilometers, or ASKs) grew 6.4% and load factor climbed 2.3 percentage points to 82.4%, which set a record for the month, following on the record set in February. All regions except for the Middle East posted record load factors.“Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels. But rising cost inputs –particularly fuel prices – suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.North American airlines posted a 9.5% traffic rise in March compared to the year-ago period, well above the 5-year average growth rate of 3.6%. Capacity climbed 4.9% and load factor was up 3.5 percentage points to 83.5%, which was the second highest among the regions.last_img read more

Porter heading back to Stephenville NL starting May 4

first_img Friday, February 22, 2019 Posted by Travelweek Group Share Porter heading back to Stephenville, N.L. starting May 4center_img Tags: New Routes, Porter Airlines TORONTO — Porter Airlines is gearing up for its sixth year of service in Stephenville, N.L., which kicks off on May 4.Running until Jan. 8, 2020 (schedules vary by season), the 2019 schedule for Stephenville includes 48 roundtrip flights operating between Halifax. Flights also connect with Ottawa and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on the same aircraft, with other destinations in the Porter network accessible from these points.“We are ready to begin our sixth year of service in Stephenville,” said Robert Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines. “It is an important route for locals and an opportunity for visitors to access a unique area of the province.”Christmas season flights were first introduced in 2017, after four years of popular summer service. The 2019 schedule is as follows:7 roundtrip flights from May 4-June 15, Saturdays23 roundtrip flgihts from June 19-Sept. 4, Wednesdays and Saturdays11 roundtrip flights from Sept. 7-Nov. 16, Saturdays7 roundtrip flights from Dec. 18-Jan. 8, Wednesdays and Saturdays.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthFlights are currently available for booking. Complete schedule information is available at << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

iPhone 5 now available in Costa Rica

first_imgiPhone 5 in Costa Rica Hundreds of Ticos lined up Thursday evening to get their hands on an iPhone 5, which went on sale at 10 p.m. at stores run by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), and later, at private company stores.Movistar and Claro began selling the smartphone two hours later. Service plans were kept secret until stores opened.ICE is offering plans that include a free phone when customers sign up for a monthly contract of ₡34,000 ($68) for the 16 GB model, or ₡40,000 ($80) a month for the 32 GB phone. Both have a minimum contract of 24 months.Movistar announced on Friday that the iPhone 5 is available for a whopping ₡378,600 ($756) for the 16 GB model and ₡436,200 ($872) the 32 GB.Movistar customers get the phone for free if they sign a ₡40,000 ($80) monthly plan for the 16 GB iPhone or ₡45,000 ($90) for the 32 GB model.Claro phones start at ₡119,900 ($239) with a monthly service plan of ₡30,000 ($60) for 24 months (16 GB) and ₡177,900 ($235) for the 32 GB model.Costa Rica is part of a group of 50 countries that began selling the popular Apple smarthphone on Friday, after it hit the market on Sept. 12 in 47 other countries. Will you buy an iPhone 5 in Costa Rica?  Yes, I will or already did.  No. Way too expensive.  No response. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Jacó Happenings

first_imgVolunteers are needed in the Central Pacific zone. This weekend, Christian Surfers from Costa Rica will be in Playa Jacó helping to keep our beaches clean-Saturday June 8 at 8:30 a.m. at Calle Bohio in the center of the beach.Isaac Chinchilla from The National Wildlife Refuge in Playa Hermosa needs people to patrol the beach Friday and Saturday nights during the turtle nesting season. If you would like to volunteer, please call Isaac at 6050-9776 and he will coordinate a short training about it and help you get started in the volunteer process.  The Jacó Firefighters are also looking for volunteers. They meet Mondays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Fire Station on the Highway and can be reached at 2643-5951.Joice Solano has started Costa Rica SUP’ers Club offering stand-up paddle board training, lessons and tours. She can be reached at 8831-0164. Ballet lessons are being offered at Teatro Jacó for children aged 3 and up, no experience needed. For more info, call 2630-9812.Something exciting to look forward to: The Healing Cuisine will be in the Central Pacific zone in July hosting Food Workshops at the Casa Limón in Playa Hermosa. These Live Organic Raw Food Workshops will be held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday July 1, 2 and 3 and will feature Living Foods Made Easy, Decadent Desserts and Healthy Food For Kids and Families. They will include expert instruction by Joanne Gerrard Young, Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady‘s personal raw food chef.  The demonstrations will include simple techniques for the preparation of organic, raw, gluten free and vegan recipes. For more information, call Jen at 8479-1039 or visit Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

A sigh of relief for Costa Rica as Cristian Gamboas knee injury

first_imgGracias por sus buenos deseos y oraciones, sigo positivo y enfocado !— Cristian Gamboa (@Cris_GamboaCR) April 22, 2014 An injuryto the right knee of Cristian Gamboa won’t require surgery, keeping alive the hope that Costa Rica’s right back will return in time for the World Cup.On Tuesday afternoon, the 24-year-old reported his test results on Twitter. An ultrasound confirmed he suffered a sprain in his knee and not a tearing of the meniscus  — an injury that would’ve ended his World Cup dreams.Gamboa, who plays for Norway’s most successful club Rosenborg, will continue his recovery in Costa Rica. He hopes to start practicing with the Costa Rica national team during a training session that begins in mid-May.Both of Costa Rica’s top defenders are on the mend and remain close calls for the World Cup that begins on June 12. Star left-back Bryan Oviedo looks on pace to make the team as he recuperates from a gruesome leg injury that occurred in January. Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Costa Rica unveils preliminary 30-man roster for the World Cup 2 days before the World Cup, Costa Rica loses another player to injury Costa Rica completes 23-man roster for World Cup Costa Rica’s last hurrah in historic World Cup runlast_img read more

Clashes as Haitis pop starturnedpresident marks three years in power

first_imgRelated posts:US embassy urges Haiti to resolve political crisis Disorder, delays mar Haiti’s long-awaited election How the Clintons’ Haiti development plans succeed – and disappoint Haiti elections: A vote without violence in a field of 54 presidential candidates PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Clashes between protesters and police marked Haitian President Michel Martelly’s three years in power Wednesday, with at least one person shot in the confrontations.While Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe appealed for calm, a gas station went up in flames as demonstrators denounced perceived abuse and corruption in the poverty-stricken Caribbean country.Calling for Martelly’s resignation, opponents gathered near the presidential palace in the capital Port-au-Prince, where supporters of the singer-turned-head of state had assembled for a concert.At least one person suffered gunshot wounds during clashes between protesters and police elsewhere.“We can’t go back to the politics of the past. We need to create jobs and change the living conditions for the population,” Lamothe said as he urged restraint.Amid pressure from the international community, the Haitian government has committed to holding long overdue legislative and municipal elections in late October. Haiti’s President Michel Martelly: no longer “Sweet Micky”? John Thys/AFPThe date was set after an agreement brokered by the country’s Catholic Church. While welcomed by the international community, Haiti’s main opposition parties have rejected the deal.The poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere has long suffered from political deadlock.Bitter disagreements between politicians have threatened already painfully slow reconstruction following a devastating earthquake in January 2010 that killed around a quarter of a million people.Four years on, hundreds of thousands are still living in squalid makeshift camps.Martelly has faced protests over the slow pace of rebuilding. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Moín terminal construction to create 700 jobs

first_imgMOÍN, Limón — Sunday morning started out rainy and overcast in the Caribbean port city of Limón. But the sun eventually broke through the clouds, and through the early morning mist, the cargo ships — the town’s economic lifeblood — waiting in the harbor came into view.As the day’s weather improved, officials and business leaders gathered on Moín beach to celebrate what they said was a new beginning for a region hampered by unemployment and violence, and largely abandoned by the central government.The $1 billion Moín Container Terminal project, long delayed because of labor and environmental disputes, celebrated its formal groundbreaking Sunday on the beach where the Dutch concessionary APM Terminals will build the most advanced container port of its kind in Central America. Costa Rica Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Mora called the terminal the most important infrastructure project in modern Costa Rican history.Paul Gallie, managing director for APM Terminals Central America, said the new port would help modernize Costa Rica’s shipping infrastructure and ease the high costs the country incurs when cargo ships are stuck waiting to unload onto the port’s small docks.The new terminal will sit on an 80-hectare artificial island constructed west of the original Moín docks. Construction is expected to take 36 months.The terminal will span 1.5 kilometers and receive so-called Post-Panamax ships — vessels designed to take full advantage of the expanded Panama Canal. When finished, Gallie said, the new docks will be able to receive ships more than three times bigger than the current docks are able to receive. A police officer surveys the perimeter of the Moín Container Terminal groundbreaking ceremony on Moín beach on Sunday, March 8, 2015. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesThe Moín Container Terminal is set to quadruple the port of Moín’s current capacity, to an estimated 2.5 million TEUs — twenty-foot equivalent units, the industry standard for measuring cargo — annually by 2030, according to the project’s master plan. The Port of Seattle, in comparison, has the capacity to handle close to 3 million TEUs.The terminal will include specialized berths for container and refrigerated cargo, as well as traditional cargo.Initial construction began in January after the the Environment Ministry’s National Technical Secretariat, SETENA, greenlit construction permits.Gallie framed the project as a second chance for Costa Rica to take advantage of its proximity to the Panama Canal after a century of scant investment in its ports. The World Economic Forum’s 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Report ranked Costa Rica 115 out of 144 countries surveyed in port infrastructure.“I’m a patient guy. I’ve waited five years,” Gallie told the crowd, referring to the years of legal disputes and environmental concerns that delayed the project. “I could wait more but Costa Rica can’t afford to wait longer,” he said.On Moín beach, overlooking the stretch of sea where the artificial island will rise from the waves, Gallie told The Tico Times that the project will create an estimated 700 construction jobs, many of which are to be filled by Limón residents.Once the first phase of construction is complete, another 600 people will be needed to operate the mega-terminal — from administrators to dockworkers.Gallie said the company was aware that Limón — a canton were only 17 percent of school children graduate from high school — would likely have a deficit of skilled labor to run the terminal when it opens in 2018. He said APM Terminals was working with the National Training Institute, INA, and other educational institutions to train local workers.“At some point in time I would like to see the whole terminal run by limonenses,” Gallie said, using the Spanish name for Limón residents.President Luis Guillermo Solís, who also attended the groundbreaking, urged the people of Limón to leverage their native English, along with engineering and other skills, to take full advantage of the job opportunities the new terminal will bring. The president said learning Chinese alongside English was a key to success for young workers.Solís said the Moín Container Terminal was not an end in itself but the beginning of many more projects that would improve Limón, including the recently-approved financing for the Route 32 highway expansion, the $98 million investment announced Saturday to renovate the National Oil Refinery’s Caribbean dock, and an expanded border crossing between Costa Rica and Panama, among others.Security was tight at the beachfront event but threats of significant protests did not materialize during the ceremony.The daily La Nación reported that a group of 75 from the dockworkers union, SINTRAJAP, blocked the access road to the existing Moín docks for several hours Sunday morning. But the roadblock was cleared by noon.Speaking to the crowd gathered at the ceremony, APM Terminals Vice President Tiemen Meester said what many here are pinning their hopes on: “In three years, we’re really going to put Costa Rica on the map.” An illustration of the new Moin Container Terminal. Courtesy of APM Terminals Facebook Comments Related posts:Police re-take docks from striking union workers, arrest 68 Solís administration, striking dockworkers at loggerheads over port concession More than 85 percent of Limón residents support new port terminal, poll claims Limonenses weigh in on Moín Port expansion and the ongoing dockworkers strikelast_img read more

Presidency Minister Melvin Jiménez steps down at Solís request

first_imgRelated posts:President Luis Guillermo Solís appoints new Presidency Minister Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber to evaluate appointment of Lutheran bishop as presidency minister Cabinet appointment of Lutheran bishop is unconstitutional, says Government Attorney’s Office Costa Rica Supreme Court strikes down ban on clergy holding public office – except Catholics Heads continue to roll in the administration of Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís. On Thursday morning, Presidency Minister — and Solís’ former presidential campaign manager — Melvin Jiménez Marín submitted his resignation effective immediately.The resignation, which Solís said was submitted at his request, came after a series of clashes between the now ex minister and opposition parties and economic groups. Jiménez has been blamed for much of the recent negative publicity directed at the already battle-weary government.“His time in this government has ended,” President Solís said. “He was worn out.”Jiménez has been the target of severe criticism from various political, business and even religious sectors, who repeatedly questioned his skills as government spokesman and highlighted his unsuccesful attempts to negotiate with these groups.Solís justified Jiménez’s ouster on “the many things that Don Melvin has had to endure, which he has faced with great stoicism.”He said that the change at the Presidency Ministry does not alter the road map of his administration in any way. And he thanked Jiménez for his efforts “to achieve social stability and economic progress in the country.”Jiménez’s most recent controversy came last week when a draft bill to amend the country’s “Radio and Television Law” was released publicly. The bill called for harsh sanctions against TV and radio stations for broadcasting “lies” or offending public morality.The scandal had already cost Science and Technology Minister Gisela Kopper Arguedas and Vice Minister Allan Ruiz Madrigal their posts. They oversaw the group of experts who drafted the bill.The situation worsened last Friday when Ruiz said claimed that Jiménez had offered him an ambassador post in exchange for his resignation.In addition, Kopper blamed Jiménez for leaking the draft of the controversial bill, which Jiménez denies.Following the resignation announcement, Juan Jiménez Succar, a legislator with the National Liberation Party, the main opposition party, said he wasn’t surprised by the announcement.“I told the president, in the presence of Minister Jiménez, that we opposed his role as the liaison between the Executive and the Legislative branches,” the legislator said.Libertarian Movement legislator, and former presidential candidate, Otto Guevara Guth, said “Solís’ decision was overdue.”Social Christian Unity Party leader Luis Vásquez Castro said Jiménez repeatedly showed lack of leadership in his job.Jiménez becomes the fourth minister of Solís’ administration to step down and the 15th official to leave during Solís’ 11 months in office.The new Presidency Minister will be announced Friday at a press conference, Casa Presidencial reported. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica set to host track and field championships

first_imgThe continent’s biggest track and field event will be taking place in one of its smallest countries as Costa Rica gets set to host the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships from Aug. 7-9 at the National Stadium in San José.The regional championships are slated to bring together 600 athletes from 30 countries across the region in Olympic-style track competitions, ranging from distance races to shot put.The president of the Costa Rican Track and Field Federation, Geen Clarke, said in a statement Wednesday that the federation has been working closely with the Costa Rican Institute of Sports and Recreation (ICODER) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to make sure the international event runs smoothly.“We’ve been organizing the event for eight months now, ironing out meticulous details with both governmental and sporting institutions,” Clarke said. “From the delegations’ transportation to the athletes’ food, everything is carefully thought out and organized so that this can be the first of many similar events carried out in our territory.”Carolina Mauri, the sports minister, said large-scale athletic events like the NACAC championships allow Costa Rica’s youth to show off their talents, while also falling in line with President Luis Guillermo Solis’ development goals for the nation’s young athletes.“The Solís administration is dedicated to directly promoting sports that help us in larger objectives like quality of life, employment, poverty reduction, and well-being,” she said.Costa Rica’s group of 24 athletes is headlined by Nery Brenes, the 29-year-old sprinter from Limón who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Roberto Sawyers, who holds the Central American record in the hammer throw.This is only the second version of the NACAC Championships, as the last event was held in El Salvador in 2007. The United States, which is sending 115 athletes, took home the most hardware at the first competition when it garnered 43 medals in all, including 28 gold medals.Repairs costing around $50,000 have been made to the track at the Chinese-built National Stadium in preparation for the event, according to the track and field federation.“For us it’s a true honor to be able to officially present the NACAC to the country,” Clarke said. “This is an achievement that shows we’re among the best countries in regards to organizing sporting events. It will also give a boost to track and field in our country by showing our athletes can compete with the continent’s best in the same place they train every week.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Saprissa pounds Kansas City to advance to CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals A big injury to Cuba’s new baseball experiment Boxing: Nicaragua’s ‘Chocolatito’ González, from garbage collector to flyweight champ Costa Rica’s Eduardo Li pleads not guilty in FIFA corruption scandallast_img read more

Costa Ricas ambassador to US weighs in on the migrant dilemma

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica calls for regional meeting to address flood of Cuban migrants Desperate Cubans mass at Nicaragua’s closed border After Central America slog, Cubans can expect US welcome Costa Rica winds down humanitarian mission for Cuban migrants with presidential send-off WASHINGTON, D.C. – Costa Rica has long been the destination of choice for poor immigrants from neighboring Nicaragua. But now, the country is becoming a refuge for increasing numbers of Salvadorans fleeing violent crime and gangs, Cubans desperate to reach the U.S. border, and stateless “transcontinentals” arriving from as far as Iraq, Bangladesh and Somalia.Román Macaya, Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States, tried to make sense of it all during a recent public appearance at the Ronald Reagan Building in the U.S. capital.Macaya’s Jan. 20 speech, most of which focused on his country’s achievements in education, health care, ecotourism and high-tech business investment, came the same day The Washington Post, quoting a study by the Center for Migration Studies, reported that the U.S. undocumented immigrant population has fallen to 10.9 million – the lowest since 2003.That continued “a nearly decade-long decline that has the potential to reshape the debate over reforming the nation’s immigration system,” said the report, adding that the number of undocumented immigrants has dropped each year since 2008, driven primarily by a steady decline in migrants from Mexico.“Sharper declines from South America and Europe have contributed to the overall numbers,” it said, “even as illegal immigration from Central America, where families with children have flocked across the southwest border in recent months, is on the rise.”Macaya, speaking to members of the Washington Intergovernmental Professional Group, said that of the 68,541 unaccompanied minors apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in fiscal year 2014, “not one of those children was Costa Rican.”On the contrary, he said, “we are a destination for migrants of all types. Not only are we getting people from the Northern Triangle, between 100,000 to 120,000 Americans consider Costa Rica home today.”Macaya, who’s been posted to Washington since September 2014, said he spent part of his Christmas vacation back home, accompanying two Texas lawmakers – U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar (D) and Kay Granger (R) – to shelters housing Cuban migrants, to the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border, and to a meeting with President Luis Guillermo Solís.“They were very impressed with how we took care of these migrants, making sure they were documented and legal, and taking them in an orderly fashion through this process,” Macaya, 49, told his audience of business executives, government officials and lobbyists – most of whom, by a show of hands, had never set foot in Central America.Read more stories about the Cuban migrants here From left, Allyson McKithen, senior operations manager at the Ronald Reagan Building’s Office for Trade Promotion, Román Macaya, Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States, and Nelson Garcia, president of Washington Intergovernmental Professional Group LLC. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesDouglas Farah, writing in Foreign Policy, noted on Jan. 19 that “while the budget Congress passed in December surprisingly gave the Obama administration $750 million of the $1 billion requested in aid for Central America, 75 percent of aid was conditioned on the regional governments reining in corruption, strengthening the rule of law and judicial structures, and ending rampant impunity. Given the complexities of the possible disbursements and the unlikeliness of the conditions being met, money will likely not begin to flow for at least a year and then only in trickles.”At any rate, Macaya said Costa Rica would only see “a tiny fraction” of that U.S. generosity, adding that the Cuban migrant crisis is having a much bigger impact on his country at the moment.“With the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, a lot of people in Cuba who might have thought of immigrating to the U.S. have started to fear that the Cuban Adjustment Act – which allows any Cuban citizen who makes it to dry land to stay here legally – might disappear,” he said.Flying from Cuba to Ecuador, they started making their way north, “helped by human traffickers along this whole trip,” said Macaya. “Suddenly, thousands of migrants sort of surfaced in Costa Rica, and they didn’t have anyone to lead them. They went to the border with Nicaragua to continue north, and Nicaragua shut the border on them.”The impasse sparked a humanitarian crisis that has seen some of estimated 7,800 migrants waiting in limbo since November. Meanwhile, Costa Rican taxpayers have spent about $3 million to care for them. The two Texas representatives who toured those shelters with Macaya are urging some form of U.S. assistance to deal with the crisis.“We began issuing temporary transit visas, but it’s now been about two months,” Macaya said. “We began housing these migrants in schools, shelters and gymnasiums. It’s been a real effort, not just by the government but also civil society. This is a real case study, with people coming to shelters to invite Cuban migrants to stay with them.”But it now appears that a solution has finally been found.On Jan. 20, as the diplomat was speaking in Washington, officials from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico met in Guatemala City, where they agreed to a second airlift that would follow the same route and logistics as a Jan. 12 test flight.Under that plan, the Cubans will fly from Costa Rica over Nicaraguan airspace to El Salvador, where they will travel on buses through Guatemala to the Mexican border at Tapachula, and from there to Texas. With two flights a week carrying 180 migrants per planeload, it should take roughly five months to move all the Cubans out of Costa Rica.As complicated as that sounds, said Macaya, another wave of migrants is even more challenging: “transcontinental migrants” from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.“They’re not coming in the same number as Cubans, but they’re very worrisome because of their profile,” he said. “When the Cubans show up, they tend to be healthy and educated. We spoke to many of them who are doctors, engineers, athletes and artists. But when these ‘transcontinentals’ make their way to South America, they have no IDs. When we catch them, there isn’t a single piece of paper on them.”These refugees are often Somalis, Pakistanis, Syrians, Bangladeshis or Nepalese.“They don’t speak English or Spanish, so we don’t even know if that’s true,” he said. “There are no consulates anywhere near Costa Rica for these countries they claim to be from.”Adding to the problem, said Macaya, is the fact that “they’re under the radar. Unlike the Cubans, they don’t want to be seen.”Read more immigration stories here Facebook Commentslast_img read more

The elegance of Quince Duncan a chat with the celebrated writer

first_imgRelated posts:In love with language: An interview with U.S. poet Mary Jo Bang A rare find: African voices in the Costa Rican National Archives Costa Rican prisoners use poetry to change perceptions at International Book Fair The Black side of the story: Afro-Costa Rican MC Huba Watson About six years ago, when I was a just novice getting my feet wet in research about slavery in colonial Costa Rica, I managed to get an interview with the renowned writer Quince Duncan. Born in 1940 in San José, don Quince is celebrated as Costa Rica’s first Afro-Caribbean writer in the Spanish language. His literary production is prolific: he has written and co-authored over 40 books, including “Hombres Curtidos,” “Kimbo,” “El Pueblo Afrodescendiente,” “Un Señor de Chocolate,” “Los cuatro espejos” and “La Paz del pueblo.” His novel “A Message from Rosa” is written in English and Spanish.His work focuses on the Afro-Caribbean population living on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, particularly around the city of Puerto Limón, though his current writing focuses on the indigenous populations in Costa Rica.His novels and short stories have been awarded Costa Rica’s National Literature Prize and the Costa Rican Editorial Prize. A growing number of global scholars writing on AfroLatin@s are clamoring for more work by Duncan in English, and scholarly texts have explored his considerable contributions to the canon, including Dorothy Mosby’s “Quince Duncan: Writing Afro-Costa Rican and Caribbean Identity” and Dellita Martin-Ogunsola’s “The Eve/Hagar Paradigm in the Fiction of Quince Duncan.”My initial interview with don Quince took place six years ago when I was visiting family over the Christmas holidays. It was my first solo venture in a bus and taxi in Costa Rica, from Quesada Durán in Zapote to don Quince’s house in Heredia, and I struggled with the directions – which, of course, included something like “500 meters to the house with the brown fence, then 200 meters to the pulperia.” Eventually, I got there accompanied by several neighborhood dogs. The night before I had spoken to my Costa Rican mother in New York, telling her how excited I was to meet the famous writer. She stopped me in mid-sentence, asking what I knew about him. Little had I known that my mother knew don Quince through the Anglican Church in Siquirres, Limón, in the 1960s. Having this connection felt like a blessing when I finally arrived at his door.I have always felt the elegance of Quince Duncan, from that first meeting when he allowed me to quiz him on Costa Rican history and his writing practice. I cringe now at the uninformed questions I must have asked – I’m not searching for that tape recording anytime soon – but the amount that I learned has made me see him as a “padrino” and a mentor. Because of his fifty-plus years of dedicated literary production and human rights activism, Quince Duncan is truly Costa Rica’s national treasure. (My question is, who from the younger generation will support his current work and keep the torch going? I am ready to volunteer!)Now, six years later, we are long familiars, and I had a chance to sit down with him again this month. As the new Commissioner of the Ministry of Afro-Costa Rican Affairs, don Quince invited me to his office at the Casa Presidencial, where we discussed the state of Afro-Costa Rican affairs and his current writing projects. I also had the chance to congratulate him on the President’s Award he was given on June 4 in St. Martin at their 14th Annual Book Fair.Excerpts follow.Please share the current writing projects that you are involved in.I am working on a collection of three short stories about the indigenous populations in Limón, focusing on the Matina Rebellion against the Europeans; the last Chief of the Talamanca region who was poisoned when he was vocal against the United Fruit Company; and lastly, the rebellion in Talamanca where the Europeans could not conquer the city. This collection is expected to be published at the end of 2016. The next novel is about the rebellion “de color,” by people of color during the Revolution in Cuba.Some additional good news is that the University of Alabama may be publishing translations of two of my published novels. Lastly, I am working on a large project about the culture and history of Afro-descended populations in Latin America which is expected to be part of the AfroLatin@ Diasporas Book Series by Palgrave in the United States that should be out by late 2017.The Ministry of Afro-Costa Ricans Affairs was established last year as part of the United Nation’s Decade of the Afro-Descendants. How did this come to pass?The Office was set up at the request of the Costa Rican Afro-descended population during the campaign of [President Luis Guillermo Solís] and came to fruition in February 2015. Right now the Ministry has 17 goals that we hope can get accomplished by 2018.What are the major initiatives of your office? With the Ministry of Health, we have established a health protocol to focus a health initiative for Afro-descended populations who have historically been left out of the general social services in Costa Rica. We are targeting populations where we find concentrations of diseases such as glaucoma, which has a higher prevalence rate in people of African descent. We found higher concentrations in the people of Guanacaste than in Limón, which confirms that area had a large heritage of Afro-descendants starting from the 16th century. Within this initiative we are trying to create programs that are also culturally sensitive so that patients and doctors can communicate better. This program should be up and running by April 2017.My office is also initiating an English-language program in Limón that will be funded by the National Learning Institute (INA). The goal is to train 2,000 people in English within 18 months. This project seeks not only to restore the use of English in this community but also to prepare for the new port that is being built in Moin, which promises jobs that require English.  We are in partnership with the University of Costa Rica and other institutions where these courses can be offered. We are also working on the formal recognition of Creole English in Limón as part of the cultural and linguistic heritage of the community.Through a process of working with local Black organizations in Limón, 170 young people have been identified to begin a skills training program that they can take alongside their high-school courses. Some of these young people are also outside the school system and are being supported so that they can get employment.  This program is being co-sponsored by the Ministry of Labor and Finance.Can you tell me about your work on the issue of racism?Along with Dr. Rina Caceres and several others, I have begun a program of racial sensitivity training and workshops for the judiciary system, the police force and other policy makers. Once a month, regional activities around racism are being conducted. What we have found is that the need for information is so great that we are creating a course on a CD with an additional booklet that can be used in any professional setting for this type of training, as there are too few people doing this necessary work.What I have found in these workshops is that most Ticos are unaware that they hold racist tendencies. Once they gain knowledge of this, they are open to self-reflect and do the work that will make the country more inclusive.Once of the outstanding take-aways in some of these workshops is that many Ticos do not recognize what racism actually is. They have seen the public markers of racism in South African Apartheid or the Jim Crow Laws of the Southern United States. Signs that separated races were clearly racist. Since these public signposts were not used in Costa Rica, people automatically assumed there was no racism here and so, for instance, they cannot understand why “Cocori” is an offensive book to the Afro-Costa Rican population. These workshops opened up these types of radical, honest discussions.Read more from Natasha Gordon-Chipembere here.Natasha Gordon-Chipembere holds a PhD in English. She is a writer, professor and founder of the Tengo Sed Writers Retreats. In June 2014, she moved to Heredia, Costa Rica with her family from New York. She may be reached at Her column “Musings from an Afro-Costa Rican” is published monthly. Natasha Gordon-Chipembere with Quince Duncan. Natasha Gordon-Chipembere/The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

All together boys

first_imgThe members of the Costa Rican Men’s National Team, or La Sele, pray before a training session at the Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium in Alajuela on Wednesday. The team is preparing for their FIFA World Cup qualifier football match against Honduras on Oct. 6th. If they win the game, which will be held at the National Stadium in Sabana Park, they’ll clinch a spot for Russia 2018 – and Costa Rica will explode in cheers.Read more about La Sele here.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 We’d love to see the sights with you. Facebook Comments Related posts:A helping hand in La Cruz, Guanacaste U.S.-bound – and delighted Queen of the Avenida Are you ready for some fútbol?last_img read more

Ortega regime proposes massacre be investigated by Police institutions and Porras Commission

first_imgThe proposal of Daniel Ortega’s regime on the issue of justice for the victims of repression is to let the official Truth Commission, known as the Porras Commission, along with six other institutions, including the Orteguista Police (PO), which is accused of committing acts of repression, investigate the crimes in order to verify them.It does not recognize the State’s responsibility in the attacks on the population, nor does it offer compensation to the families of the dead.The four-page document, which was released Wednesday and has been approved by members of the opposition and the Mothers of April Association, states that in order to achieve “the objective of seeking peace and reconciliation,” an Integral System will be established to address the issues of truth, justice, reparation and how to avoid the events being repeated.This system would be made up of the Porras Commission, the Ministry of Health, the Attorney General’s Office, the PO, the Institute of Legal Medicine, the Ministry of Family, the Ministry of the Interior, the Public Defender’s Office, the Courts, the Nicaraguan Institute of Municipal Development and the Office of the Procurator for the Defense of Human Rights (PDDH).The idea echoes the policy devised by Ortega’s wife, Rosario Murillo, in which the State assures that it will contribute to the culture of peace and which was later finalized in the “Law for a culture of dialogue, reconciliation, security, work and peace.”However, the regime claims that the citizen protests were an attempt at a coup d’état and ignores the massacre perpetrated by the PO and the paramilitaries that left between 325 and 535 dead, thousands wounded, some 814 political prisoners and thousands exiled.In Point A of the state proposal, referring to the actions of the Integral System, it is suggested that the National Assembly extend the term of the Porras Commission “with the incorporation of two new members,” which does not detail which sectors they would represent.Francis Valdivia, president of the Association of Mothers of April (AMA), made up of the families of those murdered during the days of protests against the regime, told LA PRENSA that this proposal “leaves all government crimes unpunished.”“With this proposal, Ortega is mocking our pain, it’s a total mockery,” Valdivia said. “It increases the pain of those of us who lost our siblings, children, parents. […] We will not accept any settlement on justice for our relatives unless it involves our participation and the government’s proposal is a mockery since the government is incapable of administering or guaranteeing justice“The Truth Commission that we demand is a Commission with notable impartial specialists, such as the IACHR, because the Commission that exists is pro-government and does not even acknowledge the murder of our relatives.”The chancellor Denis Moncada continues to promise to deliver Daniel Ortega’s chancellor, Denis Moncada, said Wednesday that the regime will comply with the agreements signed last Friday with the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy at the negotiating table.“We fulfill the commitments, we fulfill what we signed,” said Moncada, despite the fact that last Saturday, one day after signing the agreements that restored citizens’ rights, the Orteguista Police shut-down the protests at the Metrocentro shopping center.To this day, the dictatorship still refuses to allow the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations to return to the country to guarantee the agreements in the negotiations, and now prefers that their own government be the guarantor through all the public institutions mentioned.Ortega’s government has also denied the proposal to advance elections, as proposed by the Civic Alliance.“We want to express to our people and to the international community the permanent responsibility of our government to continue on the path of dialogue and conversation that is the way to find a solution to Nicaragua’s problems,” said Moncada at the entrance to the INCAE, the site of the talks between the opposition and the executive.However, Moncada refused to respond to LA PRENSA about whether the government would consider the issues of justice and democracy. Opposition leader José Pallais said this morning that the government today has an opportunity to meet the Nicaraguan people’s demands for freedom, justice and democracy. Related posts:Gioconda Belli: Let’s get back to focusing on happiness Search for trapped miners in Nicaragua suspended Chabad of San Juan Del Sur: A Jewish presence in a Nicaraguan beach resort Nicaragua quarantines US embassy staffer over Ebola fears Read the original story in Spanish at La Prensa, first published on April 3, 2019.This story was translated into English and republished in The Tico Times as part of a partnership with La Prensa to help bring their coverage of the Nicaraguan crisis to an English-speaking audience.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Venezuela more than 14000 homicides in 2011

first_imgCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuela’s top security official said Thursday that more than 14,000 people were slain in the country last year and that a new anti-crime plan aims to address the problem.Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said the country’s homicide rate was 50 homicides per 100,000 people, one of the highest rates in Latin America. That’s about the same as the 48 per 100,000 people that he had previously reported for 2010. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img “We recognize that the country has a high, serious rate. It’s a serious problem,” El Aissami told reporters. “We’re acting and facing it with firm decisions.”President Hugo Chavez’s government this week is launching a new anti-crime plan. Chavez is up for re-election in October, and his rival Henrique Capriles has been criticizing the government’s record in addressing crime.El Aissami said the plan includes a stepped-up police focus on high-crime areas as well as community programs intended to keep young people away from crime, among other initiatives.He also said the country’s fledgling national police force is projected to grow to more than 16,000 officers in September when about 9,500 new trainees join the force.The government had not previously released homicide statistics for last year.The watchdog group Venezuelan Violence Observatory has provided an unofficial tally of more than 19,000 killings last year. But El Aissami said that was incorrect and that a total of 14,092 people were slain in 2011 in the country.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

Ivory Coast says it will disarm militias in west

first_img Patients with chronic pain give advice The military says it also will seek to disarm the dozos, traditional hunters who have assumed unofficial security roles since postelection violence ended last year.At least 3,000 people were killed in Ivory Coast after former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede the November 2010 election to current President Alassane Ouattara.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) – An Ivory Coast military official is announcing plans to disarm militia groups in the country’s volatile western region.Army spokesman Cherif Moussa said the “pacification operation” would involve 800 soldiers.The operation would specifically target Amade Oueremi, head of a Burkinabe militia group implicated by Human Rights Watch in a March 2011 massacre in the town of Duekoue. Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements The vital role family plays in society Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 0 Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Hamas blasts Palestinian officials Auschwitz trip

first_imgGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Gaza’s ruling Hamas has criticized a Palestinian official for visiting a memorial at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz and paying respects to its 1.5 million victims there, most of them Jews.Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum, expressing the Islamic militant group’s position, claimed Wednesday that the Holocaust “is a big lie.” He said last week’s visit to the Auschwitz by Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, went against Palestinian public opinion. Abbas and Hamas are political rivals. Top Stories Top holiday drink recipes Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Some 6 million Jews were killed in the German Nazi genocide during World War II, including in Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland.Many Palestinians fear that if they acknowledge the Holocaust, they will diminish their own suffering, including their uprooting during Israel’s 1948 creation and decades under Israeli occupation.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

Chavez gets Russian oil investment and a puppy

first_imgCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Russia agreed to deepen its investments in Venezuela to tap new oilfields, while President Hugo Chavez thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for a personal gift _ a puppy.Venezuelan and Russian officials signed eight agreements to boost cooperation in energy projects Thursday. Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft oil company, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying he also gave Chavez a 3-month-old black terrier puppy as a present from Putin. “There I have the dog he sent. We’re training him, a good dog and beautiful. I’m going to call him `Russian,’” Chavez said during a meeting with the Russian delegation at the presidential palace.“Thanks for that gift,” he added, joking that he would give Putin an animal from Venezuela, perhaps a capybara.Chavez has built close ties with Russia during the past decade, and on Thursday a joint venture involving state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA and a consortium of Russian oil companies began to tap a rich deposit of heavy oil in eastern Venezuela.“They’re projects with approximate investments of $19 billion, $20 billion,” Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said as he oversaw a ceremony where oil began to be extracted in the eastern state of Anzoategui.Russian companies are involved in two projects in the region known as the Orinoco Oil Belt, and are increasing their involvement.“For the first time, the Russian (oil) industry began joint production of crude in Latin America,” Sechin said. “Today we’re showing the entire world that Russia and Venezuela are capable of carrying out big projects that make a significant contribution to the global economy.” The deals signed Thursday include agreements to form new joint companies to carry out oil production, oil services and construction and to build a power plant. They also include a $1.5 billion loan from Russia to cover part of Venezuela’s initial share of investment in the Carabobo 2 oil project.The Russian company Gazprom was granted a license to explore for natural gas off western Venezuela.“We truly have to give thanks to the Russian government, the Russian people for everything that we’ve been building together,” Chavez said. “Our relations are growing more solid every day.”According to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves. Investments such as the joint projects with Russia are aimed at developing the country’s vast reserves of heavy crude.During the televised meeting, Chavez held up a cylinder filled with the black crude, saying it’s a step toward increasing Venezuela’s oil production.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top holiday drink recipeslast_img

Female Gadhafi bodyguard killed in Egypt

first_imgAssociated PressCAIRO (AP) – Egyptian authorities are investigating the killing of a former female bodyguard of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, She was found stabbed to death in her Cairo apartment.Egyptian officials said Tuesday Zahraa al-Bouaishi, 31, was found dead in a pool of blood in her apartment in Nasr City district in Cairo over the weekend.Authorities suspect al-Bouaishi’s brother. The officials said al-Bouaishi was planning to begin an acting career in Cairo, considered a disgrace by some in her family. The officials were speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. Al-Bouaishi defected from Gadhafi’s regime, then helped the rebels and international allies with information about some of his forces’ weapons caches. She later moved to Cairo from Tunisia.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Men’s health affects baby’s health too Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 5 ways to recognize low testosterone 0 Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories last_img read more