More room nights higher commission with new Solmar Agent Expert platform

first_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Los Cabos, Solmar Hotels & Resorts More room nights, higher commission with new Solmar Agent Expert platform Travelweek Group center_img Share Tuesday, June 26, 2018 TORONTO — The launch of Solmar Hotels & Resorts’ new Solmar Agent Expert platform comes with ramped up commission levels per number of nights booked as well as a free three-night stay incentive at a Solmar property.The Mexico hotel company, with seven all-suite properties in Los Cabos, says Solmar Agent Expert was developed with travel agents in mind “to provide a seamless management process for client reservations”.The program allows agents to book hotel and air or hotel-only options, track and manage client reservation details and track performance with a full online reporting dashboard.To register agents are asked to provide their name, address, and IATA number via the official Solmar Agent Expert website.When booking 1-29 room nights, agents earn 10% commission. With 30-59 room nights, agents earn 15% commission. And with 60-90+ room nights agents earn 18% commission plus they get a certificate for a three-night stay at a Solmar Hotels & Resorts property.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesSolmar’s newest resort, Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas, made its debut in February. The new resort is part of the first phase of Rancho San Lucas, an 834-acre resort community.Resort amenities include two adults-only infinity pools and one kids pool with a mini waterpark, fitness centre, health clinic and more. There’s also a signature spa offering a menu of healing massages and body therapies.Solmar also recently introduced the option of all-inclusive rates at Playa Grande Resort & Grand Spa.For details, see read more

Norwegian Sun back on Cuba itineraries starting April 2019

first_img Friday, August 31, 2018 Travelweek Group Tags: Cuba, Norwegian Cruise Line << Previous PostNext Post >> MIAMI — Norwegian Sun will complete its first season of cruises to Cuba from Port Canaveral with its last departure Sept. 3, before heading to Miami for select sailings and then repositioning to South America for its fall/winter season.The first and only homeported ship to cruise to Cuba from Port Canaveral, Norwegian Sun, during its summer season, welcomed over 30,000 guests on 15 voyages on four-day Cuba cruise itineraries with port of calls in Key West and an overnight in Havana, according to the cruise line.Following this successful first season, NCL says Norwegian Sun will return to Port Canaveral in April 2019 with even more Cuba itineraries.“Since we first sailed to Cuba in 2017 from Miami, it has become one of our most popular destinations,” says NCL President and CEO Andy Stuart. “Norwegian Sun last homeported in Port Canaveral in the 2011/2012 fall/winter season and we were excited to return and showcase her latest enhancements and offer a new itinerary in the region.”More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthPort Canaveral was Norwegian Sun’s first homeport, following a three-week, bow-to-stern renovation in April in Victoria, B.C. as part of The Norwegian Edge, the company’s fleet-wide rejuvenation program.Built in 2001, Norwegian Sun now features refreshed staterooms and public spaces, and boasts three new venues including Los Lobos Cantina, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge. Plus all 968 staterooms were upgraded with smart TVs and USB ports as well as new carpet, artwork and select furniture.center_img Share Posted by Norwegian Sun back on Cuba itineraries starting April 2019last_img read more

Sunwings 20192020 Cruise Brochure out now with savings of up to 200

first_img Travelweek Group Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, May 31, 2019 Sunwing’s 2019/2020 Cruise Brochure out now with savings of up to $200 per couplecenter_img Posted by TORONTO — Hot off the press is Sunwing’s new 2019/2020 Cruise Brochure, available now at travel agencies across Canada and online at in the brochure are three leading cruise lines: MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Marella Cruises. Travellers can take advantage of roundtrip flights on Sunwing Airlines from Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Moncton or Halifax, as well as pier transfers, accommodations, meals onboard and more.Plus, from now until June 7, travellers can save up to $200 per couple on all Sunwing cruise packages for travel between Dec. 17, 2019 and April 14, 2020.Vacationers can choose from two different ships with Norwegian Cruise line: Norwegian Escape and, new for this season, the Norwegian Encore, which will set sail from Miami later this year and features a water slide and the largest multi-level racetrack at sea. On Encore’s Eastern Caribbean itinerary, guests will visit Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterMSC Cruises, meanwhile, offers three different ships to choose from, including the MSC Meraviglia, which is new to Sunwing’s 2019/2020 lineup. With sailings from Miami starting Dec. 22, 2019, the Meraviglia boasts a number of world class amenities, including a water park and Cirque du Soleil shows. Several itineraries are available with unique ports of call like Belize, Honduras and MSC’s new private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in The Bahamas.Sunwing is also welcoming back several MSC favourites this year, including the MSC Armonia and the MSC Seaside, both of which feature a splash park, the MSC Aurea Spa and fun-filled kids clubs. Plus, Sunwing guests can enjoy the Easy Drink beverage package with a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included complimentary in their cruise package.Finally, Sunwing welcomes back the popular all-inclusive Marella Discovery 2, with sailings from Montego Bay starting Dec. 17, 2019. These voyages include a complimentary beverage package and daily gratuities, and feature a wide selection of restaurants and amenities such as an open-air cinema, mini-golf and rock climbing wall. Cruise itineraries on the Marella Discovery2 include ports of call like Guatemala, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica, to name a few.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTAll Sunwing cruise packages include return flights on Sunwing Airlines. Tags: Cruise, Sunwinglast_img read more

AMResorts room inventory to go up 40 following signed management deals

first_img Share NEWTON SQUARE, PA — Apple Leisure Group (ALG) has reported a strong start to 2019 after signing six resort management deals through its affiliated brand AMResorts.The AMResorts collection of brands currently features 66 all-inclusive resorts in its portfolio with an additional 23 brand properties, representing nearly 9,000 rooms in various stages of development. Its development pipeline will increase AMResorts’ available room inventory by 40%.The six previously-announced management contracts, which fall under four of its brands and are located in Mexico and the Caribbean, include: Breathless Cancun Resort & Spa (429 rooms, Cancun); Dreams Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino (286 rooms, Curacao); Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana (500 rooms, Dominican Republic); Dreams Acapulco Resort & Spa (605 rooms, Acapulco); Now Emerald Cancun (427 rooms, Cancun); and Sunscape Akumal Beach Resort & Spa (360 rooms, Riviera Maya).The new deals mark several major accomplishments for the company, including the first Dreams Resorts & Spas-branded properties in Macao Beach and Acapulco, as well as the first Sunscape-brand property in Riviera Maya.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”“Mexico and the Caribbean remain the backbone of our portfolio. Both regions exhibit solid market fundamentals, with the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s latest arrival report showing that 20 Caribbean destinations have already reported considerable growth in 2019,” said Javier Coll, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of ALG. “These positive market conditions, combined with ALG’s unmatched network, give us great confidence in both the short- and long-term potential for the region.”Moreover, following a record-breaking 2018, ALG is celebrating the grand opening of Secrets Mallorca Villamil Resort & Spa, AMResorts’ first Secrets-branded property in Spain.The five-star, all-inclusive, adults-only property, which is located in Paguera, Mallorca, reemerged from a €3.5 million renovation with 162 rooms and suites, a renewed food and beverage program that includes four restaurants and five bars, a heated outdoor pool, a gym and a spa.While the development team continues to sign new deals, progress on properties already under construction or renovation continues to move forward as planned. Out of the nearly 9,000 rooms in the development pipeline, AMResorts plans on delivering more than 2,500 rooms by the close of 2019.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTThis momentum will continue into 2020 with the openings of Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa and Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana, both scheduled for the first half of the year. Wednesday, July 31, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bycenter_img AMResorts’ room inventory to go up 40% following signed management deals Tags: AMResorts, Apple Leisure Group Travelweek Group last_img read more

Another textile firm closes in Costa Rica

first_imgNo related posts. Textile company BorKar announced on Tuesday the closing of its entire operation in Costa Rica, following the path of many other firms in the sector. In the past four years, thousands of textile jobs have disappeared in the country.The firm’s owner, Michael Borg, told reporters that the last 300 employees of a company that once counted as many as 1,100 workers will be laid off on Tuesday.A group of former employees started a new self-managed company, Coopetrajes del Poás, that will rent BorKar’s current facilities to move forward with a smaller operation.This new closure follows that of Confecciones Jinete, a U.S. firm, which in January announced it would leave the country and eliminate 500 jobs.During the worst period for textile companies here, in 2009, 10 companies closed. Since then, the trend has continued, with Cimer, manufacturer of Dockers and Levi’s, closing in 2010, and Compañía Textil Centroamericana in 2012.The decline took a noticeable toll on textile exports, which dropped from $700 million in 2000 to some $200 million in 2012, according to official figures. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

One year after the Nicoya quake magnitude59 temblor jolts Guanacaste

first_imgExactly one year after the earthquake thatstruck the northwestern Nicoya Peninsula a temblor measuring magnitude-5.9 shook the province of Guanacaste at 6:29 a.m. Thursday, the University of Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network (RSN) said.The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Ovsicori) reported the quake as a magnitude-5.3.The epicenter was located 19 kilometers southwest of Manzanillo in Santa Cruz. That is 60 km from the Nicoya earthquake epicenter.The RSN report indicates the temblor was caused by the collision of Cocos and Caribbean plates.At 10:30 a.m., Ovsicori registered 36 aftershocks with magnitudes of up to four degrees, however most of them have not been felt.Neither the Red Cross or the Fire Department have received any reports of injuries or damage to structures due to the quake.On Thursday, President Laura Chinchilla and other government officials presented a report of all the actions taken by her administration on the first anniversary of the magnitude-7.6 earthquake. It jolted most of the country starting at 8:42 a.m. and lasted some 45 seconds. A 51-year-old woman died of a heart attack following the event, although she was not included in the official quake death toll.According to official figures, the cost of infrastructure replacement was estimated at $100 million, $20 million corresponding to repairs to the Monseñor Sanabria Hospital in the Pacific province of Puntarenas. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rica takes down more suspects in cocaine trafficking network run by

first_imgPITAL DE SAN CARLOS, Alajuela – A cassava packing company in the northern Costa Rican community of La Tabla de Pital de San Carlos and a pineapple processor in Chilamate de Sarapiquí were fronts for the Italian mafia to traffic cocaine to the United States and Europe, Costa Rican authorities announced Wednesday following several morning raids.In a joint operation, Costa Rican anti-drug agents and Interpol officers from Rome busted what remained of a cocaine trafficking network following an ongoing investigation by Italian authorities that began earlier this year. That investigation was prompted by the seizure in New York of more than 40 kilograms of cocaine discovered in October 2014 in a shipment of cassava from Costa Rica.The cocaine, allegedly trafficked by the ’ndrangheta organized crime ring – Italy’s principal importer and wholesaler of cocaine – was imported and distributed from an operations center at a family-owned pizzeria in Queens, New York. In May, four people were arrested in the United States, including pizzeria owners Gregorio and Eleonora Gigliotti, their son Angelo, and another relative. Thirteen others were arrested in Italy. Costa Rican and Italian agents searched yuca and pineapple packing plants on Oct. 14, 2015 as part of a crackdown on the alleged ‘ndrangheta cocaine trafficking ring. The Tico TimesOn Wednesday, Costa Rican authorities added to that list with the arrest of seven more people. The suspects – six Ticos and one Cuban, all men – are accused of making bulk cocaine purchases and packing the shipments in refrigerated produce containers sent to the United States and Italy. Two suspects arrested Wednesday are the owners of cassava and pineapple packing companies in Costa Rica.Authorities linked at least four previous drug seizures to the ‘ndrangheta operation in Costa Rica, including a 3.5-metric-ton shipment of cocaine found on Nov. 28, 2014 at the port of Rotterdam in a container of yuca that originated in Costa Rica, said Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría during a news conference Wednesday. Three other seizures were linked to the criminal group in Philadelphia, New York and the Costa Rican city of Limón.Chavarría said that traffickers allegedly hid the cocaine inside cardboard boxes used to hold yuca and pineapple. The prosecutor said the organization was working to establish markets in Europe for the cocaine, but did not say where the cocaine shipped though Costa Rica originated. Cocaine from Costa Rica has been found in 19 different countries in Europe, Chavarría said.The prosecutor also called for stricter controls at ports. The Costa Rican government has struggled for years to implement X-ray scanners donated from the Chinese government six years ago.Police seized property and other items but no money or drugs during the raids.Chavarría said he is concerned about how the tentacles of international drug traffickers in Costa Rica affect life for Ticos and the country’s international image.“As a peaceful country, one that’s open to the world, it makes it possible for cartels to operate here,” he said. “This certainly shows that the Italian mafia is here.”For employees, a genuine shockFollowing the well-coordinated morning raids, employees of the produce packing companies – most of them undocumented Nicaraguan immigrants – expressed fear and concern over the gravity of the alleged crimes. They also worry about losing their jobs, as pineapple and cassava are two primary agricultural activities in Costa Rica’s Northern Zone.“We’re always here. It’s not true what they’re saying about the drugs,” several employees told The Tico Times. “Warning: Before entering identify yourself to security” a sign reads at a local produce packing plant accused of fronting for the Italian mafia. The Tico TimesOther employees and neighbors of the suspects say the two frequently were visited by Italians, but they are unaware of what transpired. Authorities do know that the Gigliottis often visited Costa Rica, particularly in 2012 and 2013. Sometimes they traveled separately, sometimes together. During one of Eleonora Gigliotti’s five flights into Juan Santamaría International Airport outside San José in 2014, she delivered $400,000 to the family’s Costa Rican suppliers, U.S. prosecutors allege.The seven suspects in Costa Rica face international cocaine trafficking and other charges. Interpol agents from Rome participate in a raid on pineapple and yuca packing plants in northern Costa Rica, on Oct. 14, 2015. The Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Narco-plane crashes in northern Costa Rica; cops find 500 kilos of cocaine nearby Honduran brothers charged in cocaine-trafficking case Beachcombing along the Caribbean drug trail in Nicaragua Did Delta Force help capture El Chapo? US role yet to be detailedlast_img read more

Nosara Animal Care raises funds for animals in need

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican organization seeks fresh approach to teenage pregnancy prevention This week in the Peace Corps: Celebrating a scout anniversary This week in the Peace Corps: Keeping up with computers This week in the Peace Corps: Training to be a Peace Corps Volunteer Rural communities use solar power to pump water in Costa Rica Nosara Animal Care, an organization that connects generous animal lovers with local stray cats and dogs in need in coastal Guanacaste, has been focusing its efforts this week on Jade, a dog requiring urgent medical care.“This is Jade and he really needs our help,” the organization stated Tuesday in a Facebook post. “He needs extensive medical attention and tests in San José which we need donations for. But he also really needs a new home – a temporary foster [home] will do because for now he has nowhere to go.”U.S. tax-deductible donations to support Nosara Animal Care and its work with Jade and other animals in need in the Guanacaste beach town can be made through Amigos of Costa Rica, a registered nonprofit in the United States that receives donations on behalf of outstanding Costa Rican organizations.Amigos of Costa Rica was created in 2000 by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), which fully funds Amigos so that participating Costa Rican nonprofits can receive donations without any deductions for overhead.Donate to Nosara Animal Care here or read more about the organization on its website or Facebook page.Brought to you by the CRUSA Foundation/Amigos of Costa Rica Two nonprofits have created a space for inspiring stories about change and giving back in Costa Rica. Courtesy of CRUSAcenter_img Facebook Commentslast_img read more

School of second chances opens in Costa Rica

first_imgKimberly Marín Jarquín, like many Costa Ricans, never received her high school degree.  She stopped attending school in the 8th grade. But today, at 22 years old, she is back in school and hopes to receive her high school diploma.Last month, The Costa Rican School of Opportunities opened in San José and has 75 adult students working toward obtaining a high school degree. It is the only free private school in the country, and maybe Central America, designed to get adults back into the classroom to finish their secondary degrees.The School’s adult students attend classes in the afternoon and evening and span grades K -12.“I am so thankful for the possibility of getting my degree.  I know it will be hard, but this degree will give me a better job and a better life,” Marín said.The school was the brainchild of Robert Flanzer, a United States citizen from Atlanta with many deep ties to Costa Rica. Flanzer is married to a Costa Rican and spends much of the year living with his wife and children in the La Uruca neighborhood of San José.Flanzer was aware that many Costa Ricans leave school at a young age and never return. He also knew that having a secondary degree opens doors and provides for greater economic success.  With a private foundation grant, Flanzer began the hard work of turning his vision into a reality.He first assembled a team of United States citizens, continued to fundraise and then began hiring certified teachers in San José.“Education is always a demonstrated path of success. It provides the basis of a lifetime of economic achievement,” Flanzer said.His belief in education is so firm that Robert created a Foundation in the United States called The Costa Rican Educational Foundation. It, like the school here in Costa Rica, is 100 percent supported by charitable donations.“Our dream is to be so well-funded that we can open additional schools around Costa Rica,” he said.For now, however, his attentions are focused on the staff of nine teachers and 75 students here in San José. This includes not just ensuring that all the adult students graduate, but also that job opportunities are available when they graduate.“We will provide employers in San José and beyond with bright, ambitious and accomplished employees,” Flanzer said. “We want to create relationships with companies here in Costa Rica and provide a pipeline of future employees for their business.”Within a year, the school’s first graduates will receive their diplomas and be ready to take on the world.Todd Scala is the Head of Fundraising for the foundation that funds The Costa Rican School of Opportunities. The Tico Times welcomes op-eds and from its readers. Submit your via e-mail at:  Related posts:Tico Times: Letters to the Editor (Dec. 21, 2018) The rise of the #metoo movement through the eyes of two Costa Rican teenage girls Tico Times: Letters to the Editor (Dec. 28, 2018) Tico Times: Letters to the Editor (Jan. 4, 2019) Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Irans dreams for influence stymied in Egypt

first_imgThe officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.The Sunni-Shiite divide explains in part Egypt’s resistance. But there are key strategic issues as well.With a struggling economy, Egypt is in dire need of financial help from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab nations whose relations with Tehran are fraught with tensions over its disputed nuclear program, its perceived support for the majority Shiites in Sunni-ruled Bahrain and occupation of three Gulf islands claimed by the United Arab Emirates.Egypt is also the recipient of some $1.5 billion in annual U.S. military and economic aid and is dependent on Washington’s support to secure loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.Egypt and Iran “are competitors and rivals in the region,” said Middle East expert Samer S. Shehata of Georgetown University. “The natural state of affairs is not for Iran and Egypt to be allies. Egypt’s strategic interests are different from Iran’s.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   For the past decade, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been the cornerstones of the anti-Iran faction in the Middle East, trying to roll back its rising fortunes, which peaked with the ascent to power by Iraq’s Shiites in 2003 and Hezbollah’s 2006 war against Israel, a fight that elevated the Shiite group and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, to heroic status in the mostly Sunni Arab world.Relations between Cairo and Tehran were tense throughout the 29-year rule of Mubarak, whose regime accused Iran of supporting homegrown militant Islamist groups and involvement in a 1995 assassination attempt against the ousted leader.More recently, the two regional powerhouses quarreled publicly over Iran’s alleged meddling in Iraq and over its support for Hezbollah and Hamas.Moreover, Egypt traditionally sees itself as the guardian of Islam’s dominant Sunni branch and as a protector of Arab culture against foreign influence, including that of Persian Iran.Relations, however, appeared to be heading for a major breakthrough following Mubarak’s ouster on Feb. 11, 2011, with Cairo approving an Iranian request for two naval ships to transit the Suez Canal on their way to Syria. The two vessels sailed through the canal in late February 2011, the first ones to do so since the Islamic Revolution. Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – Iran once saw the Arab Spring uprisings as a prime opportunity, hoping it would open the door for it to spread its influence in countries whose autocratic leaders long shunned Tehran’s ruling clerics. But it is finding the new order no more welcoming. Egypt is a prime example.Egypt has sporadically looked more friendly toward Iran since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak 16 months ago, and the rise of the Islamists here fueled the expectations of Tehran’s clerical regime that it could make inroads. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates “Arab Spring revolts have been a disaster for Iran,” said Michael W. Hanna, a Middle East expert from New York’s Century Foundation. “It wants to ride those revolts as an extension of its own revolution back in 1979, but it is not happening.”Instead, Iran has been losing its allure as an alternative model to authoritarian Arab regimes that fell victim to popular uprisings like Mubarak’s, Moammar Gadhafi’s in Libya or Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh.Ominously for Iran, it faces the possibility of the fall of its top Arab ally, the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad, and its replacement by Sunni rule.The Assad dynasty _ which belongs to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiism _ has maintained close ties with Tehran for more than 30 years. But it is now struggling to contain an uprising dominated by Syria’s Sunni majority.The fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who succeeded his father in 2000, would almost certainly weaken Hezbollah, Tehran’s chief ally in Lebanon and a sworn enemy of Israel.Iran has already seen one friend distance itself over the Syria turmoil. The leadership of the Palestinian militant Hamas group left its Damascus headquarters and relocated to Qatar which, together with Saudi Arabia, is calling for the arming of Syrian rebels. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Last month, Egyptian security forces raided the Cairo offices of Iran’s Arabic-language state television channel, Al-Alam, seizing equipment and closing it down. Police said the station did not have a license. A Cairo-based Iranian diplomat was detained and expelled in May last year on suspicion that he tried to set up spy rings in Egypt and the Gulf countries.That was followed by a flurry of media reports that Shiite places of worship known as Husseinyahs were springing up across the country.The leader of Al-Azhar, the world’s foremost seat of Sunni learning, responded sharply.Grand Imam Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb said that while Al-Azhar is not an enemy of any Muslim nation, “it declares its categorical and decisive rejection of all attempts to build places of worship that are not simply called mosques that will incite sectarianism.”Al-Tayeb summoned Iran’s top diplomat in Cairo to complain about the Husseinyahs in an intensely publicized meeting. Photographs of a grim-faced al-Tayeb made front pages the next day along with reports that the diplomat gave him assurances that his country had nothing to do with the construction of the Husseinyahs.Security officials said authorities were investigating a plan to spread “Iranian Shiism” by 350 Shiite activists who have been able to convert thousands of Sunnis to their faith. They said two Husseiniyahs were already operational, one in the Nile Delta town of Tanta and the other in the October 6 district west of Cairo. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths How do cataracts affect your vision? Sponsored Stories In the following month, Egypt’s then-Foreign Minister Nabil Elarabi declared Iran was no longer an “enemy state,” a comment the Iranians seized on to express their wish to see closer relations with Egypt.The signs of a rapprochement worried the United States and Saudi Arabia, allied nations whose largesse and goodwill have for decades been at the heart of Egypt’s foreign policy goals.Iranian public statements did not ease their concerns.“A new Middle East is emerging based on Islam … based on religious democracy,” a hardline cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, said last year during a Friday prayer sermon.Many Iranian clerics and top officials described Arab Spring uprisings as an indication that “an Islamic Middle East is taking shape” and that Egypt’s own revolt was a replay of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled a pro-Western monarch and brought Islamists to power, much like what has happened in Egypt.But even as Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and others have gained a stronger political role in Egypt with their domination of parliament, they have proven little more sympathetic to Iran. And Egypt’s military rulers _ all veterans of the Mubarak era and close friends of the U.S. military establishment _ show little sign of changing their traditional wariness of Tehran. Instead, it has been met with the deep mistrust felt by many in mainly Sunni Muslim Egypt toward non-Arab, Shiite-dominated Iran _ as well as Cairo’s reluctance to sacrifice good relations with Iran’s rivals, the United States and the oil-rich Arab nations of the Gulf.In a sign of the mistrust, Egyptian security and religious authorities have raised an alarm in recent weeks that Iran was trying to promote Shiism in the country.That brought warnings from the Sunni Islamists that Iran had hoped would be friendly to their religious-based leadership.“Iran must realize that if it wants good relations with an Egypt that will soon regain its strength, it must bear in mind that Egypt holds high the banner of the Sunni faith,” said Mohammed el-Sagheer, a lawmaker from the hard-line Gamaa Islamiya.“Spreading Shiism in Egypt is not an issue of sectarian conflict, it is a question of national security.”Iran has also invited families of nearly 900 protesters killed during last year’s uprising to honor them in Tehran, but most relatives declined the offer, with only a group of 27 agreeing to make the trip. They flew to Iran last week.In a wider context, the new order in the Arab world is not going Tehran’s way and it could even erode its influence and leave it more isolated. Top Stories last_img read more

Italian justice minister says corruption growing

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories In an interview Sunday with Sky TG-24 TV, Severino said corruption is “extremely widespread in a context of great political weakness.”The non-elected technocrat government of economist Premier Mario Monti has slashed public spending, raised taxes and made Italians work longer for their pensions.Corruption probes have rocked regional governments in Rome, the financial capital of Milan, and elsewhere. Several political parties hit by corruption scandals face elections next spring.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img ROME (AP) – Italy’s justice minister is warning that rampant corruption by politicians’ pilfering public funds is reaching unprecedented levels, just as the government is demanding sacrifices from its citizens to keep the country from succumbing to the European debt crisis.Minister Paola Severino says corruption is worse than during 1990s kickback probes, nicknamed “Bribesville,” that brought down an entire ruling class. Comments   Share   5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist How men can have a healthy 2019 The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

ExGitmo inmate Omar Khadr asks Canada for a fresh start

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Asked if he categorically rejects violent jihad, Khadr said “Yes, yes I do.”“It’s not something I believe in right now. I want to start fresh. There are too many good things in life that I want to experience.”Khadr said he noticed a lot of people are able to be manipulated if they are not educated. He said he wants to finish his education and work in health care. “I have a lot of basic skills I need to learn,” he said.Court of Appeal Justice Myra Bielby earlier rejected the government’s emergency request to stop Khadr release’s while he appeals his U.S. war crimes conviction. A lower court judge granted him bail last month. “Mr. Khadr you’re free to go,” Bielby said before cheers erupted in the courtroom. Khadr smiled.Khadr’s long-time lawyer Dennis Edney and wife have offered to take him into their home. Among the bail conditions imposed were that Khadr wear a tracking bracelet, live with the Edneys, observe a curfew between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., and have only supervised access to the Internet. Also, he can communicate with his family in Ontario only while under supervision and only in English.“He’s met very few people outside a jail cell,” said Nate Whitling, one of Khadr’s lawyers. Toronto-born Khadr spent a decade in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Since 2012 he’s been held in Canada, serving out an eight-year sentence handed down by a U.S. military commission in 2010. He was convicted of war crimes, including throwing a grenade when he was 15 years old that killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer in Afghanistan during a 2002 firefightKhadr was once the youngest detainee at Guantanamo, arriving there at age 15. He is now 28.“Give me a chance,” Khadr said outside his lawyer’s home in Edmonton, Alberta. “I will prove to them that I am more than what they thought of me and I’ll prove to them that I’m a good person.”Khadr said he believes in education and he’s excited to start his life.“I’m sorry for the pain I’ve caused for the families of the victims,” Khadr said. “There’s nothing I can do about the past but I can do something about the future.”Khadr said he will disappoint Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose government has long refused to do anything for Khadr while he was at Guantanamo and has tried to keep him in prison in Canada. “I’m better than the person he thinks I am,” Khadr said. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility TORONTO (AP) — Former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr, free from prison for the first time since the age of 15, said Thursday he wants a fresh start after spending a decade at the U.S. military prison and three more years in Canadian prisons.A smiling Khadr said freedom is way better than he thought and he apologized for the pain he’s caused. Khadr was released on bail Thursday after a judge refused a last-ditch attempt by the Canadian government to keep him imprisoned. Top Stories U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke declined to immediately comment on the judge’s decision.Copyright © 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 The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk “It’s going to be a major adjustment for him, but I’m sure he’s up for it.”Whitling said Khadr has served his time and he believes this will be the end of his incarceration. Whitling later tweeted a picture of Khadr leaving the courthouse with Edney. “This is Omar’s first time out in society since the age of 15,” Edney said.“I’m delighted. It’s taken too many years to get to this point. We were the only Western country that didn’t request one of its detainees come home. We left a Canadian child in Guantanamo Bay to suffer torture.”Defense attorneys said Khadr was a child soldier who was pushed into war by his father, Ahmed Said Khadr, an alleged senior al-Qaida financier whose family stayed with Osama bin Laden briefly when Omar Khadr was a boy. His Egyptian-born father was killed in 2003 in a Pakistani military operation.Edney asked why Canada is spending money helping to rehabilitate child soldiers in Sierra Leone “while we had one here.”Harper’s Conservative government’s long refusal to support Omar Khadr reflects ambivalence in Canada over the Khadr family.“We are disappointed with today’s decision, and regret that a convicted terrorist has been allowed back into Canadian society without having served his full sentence,” said Jeremy Laurin, a spokesman for Canada’s public safety minister. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Cyprus trial set for suspect in large ammonium nitrate haul

first_img Top Stories Check your body, save your life New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A Lebanese-Canadian man arrested in connection with the seizure of 9 tons of a chemical that can be converted into an explosive will face terrorism charges when his trial begins later this month, Cyprus police said Friday.The 26-year-old suspect was arrested last month after police discovered ammonium nitrate while raiding the Larnaca-area house where he was staying.Police spokesman Charalambos Zachariou told The Associated Press the suspect will enter a plea June 29 to 16 charges, including participation in and providing support to a terrorist organization and possession of explosives. He said the charges relate to the man’s activities in Cyprus as far back as 2012, 70 witnesses will testify for the prosecution, and the suspect faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   The suspect’s lawyer, Andreas Mathikolonis, said his client, who has not been named, continues to deny any wrongdoing.Authorities are investigating the suspect’s possible links to the anti-Israeli group Hezbollah.Cyprus Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said authorities had put the house under surveillance for some time before the raid after receiving a tip-off.In 2013, a Cypriot court sentenced a Swedish-Lebanese man who admitted he was a Hezbollah member to four years in prison after finding him guilty of helping to plan attacks on Israelis in Cyprus. No attacks were carried out.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Parents, stop beating yourself up 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

With great fanfare Pyongyang opens new airport terminal

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories Comments   Share   It is rare for North Korean media to mention any problems in the country, but under Kim Jong Un there have been other occasions where his criticisms have been published.Photos of his visit to the new terminal were prominently featured in the North’s media last week. Judging from his broad smile in those photos, whatever defects he had previously pointed out were fixed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. However, the airport is likely to appear largely empty. Just a handful of international flights come and go from Pyongyang every week, although since last year the frequency has increased. Only two airlines have scheduled flights to Pyongyang — North Korea’s flag carrier, Air Koryo, and Air China.The new international terminal building is roughly the same size as the old one which was long in service. But it is much bigger than the small, temporary terminal building that has been in use for the past few years while construction was going on.In recent years, the regular international connections from Pyongyang have been Beijing and Shenyang in China, along with Vladivostok in Russia. Air Koryo occasionally flies further afield, for example to Malaysia and Kuwait, but those are not regular flights.North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had shown a keen interest in the construction of the new airport facilities and North Korean state media reported him making inspection visits to the project four times in the past two years.On one occasion last year, North Korean state media reported that Kim Jong Un criticized the construction of the new airport terminal building, highlighting “defects.” Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea opened a new terminal building at Pyongyang’s international airport on Wednesday, underscoring an effort to attract more tourists and to spruce up the country ahead of a celebration of a major anniversary of the founding of its ruling party in October.North Korean Premier Pak Pong Ju officiated at the opening ceremony, which marks the completion of years of work at Pyongyang’s main Sunan airport. Mesa family survives lightning strike to homelast_img read more

Touting progress Obama says Islamic State is losing ground

first_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center “President Obama’s comments today reveal the disturbing degree of self-delusion that characterizes the administration’s campaign against ISIL,” McCain said.Although the president said there were “no current plans” to send more U.S. troops to Iraq, he did not rule out that possibility in the future. Obama has vowed to keep American service members out of direct combat, but has sent more than 3,000 U.S. troops to advise and assist the beleaguered Iraqi military — including the deployment of 450 additional service members announced last month.Efforts to train local forces in Iraq and Syria, however, have been slow to take shape. Last month, Obama acknowledged that the U.S. lacks a “complete strategy” for training Iraqi troops to carry out ground missions. And in Syria, fewer than 100 rebels are being trained by the U.S., far fewer than the goal of producing 5,400 fighters a year.At the Pentagon, Obama also walked a fine line on whether he’ll sign a massive defense policy bill favored by Republicans. The White House has threatened to veto the bill, arguing that it uses gimmickry to increase defense spending without increasing domestic spending by an equal amount, as Obama has insisted. Some Republicans have questioned, however, whether Obama would really veto the bill should it come to his desk. Top Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama portrayed the U.S.-led coalition Monday as gaining ground against the Islamic State amid an expanded U.S. effort and ample signs of progress, but conceded more difficulties ahead in fighting what he described as a nimble and opportunistic enemy.“We’re starting to see some progress,” the president said during a rare visit to the Pentagon, ticking off a list of towns in Iraq and Syria he said had been wrested from IS control in recent weeks. Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories center_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too Flanked by top military commanders, Obama also warned of the Islamic State’s efforts to recruit and inspire vulnerable people in the United States, and called on the American-Muslim community to “step up in terms of pushing back as hard as they can.” He said that while the U.S. is now better prepared to thwart large-scale terrorist attacks like 9/11, the threat from individual “lone wolves” or small terrorist cells has increased.“We’re going to have to pick up our game to prevent these attacks,” Obama said.The Pentagon visit followed a wave of weekend airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition in eastern Syria, including the de facto IS capital of Raqqa, in one of the most sustained aerial operations carried out in Syria to date. Obama pointed to those and other airstrikes as proof of an intensified U.S. effort to undermine the militant group’s base of operations and cut off their sources of funding.Obama’s afternoon visit to the Pentagon offered a public display of presidential support for the military one day before Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey were expected to be grilled on Capitol Hill. Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., has sharply criticized Obama for not doing more militarily to defeat IS, and said Monday that the U.S. is losing the battle as the extremist group continues to gain territory in Iraq and Syria. “Our men and women are going to get paid,” Obama said, noting that U.S. service members haven’t missed a paycheck since he took office. Yet he also insisted he wouldn’t accept a bill that shortchanges long-term investments in technology, education and the economy. “We’re not going to eat our seed corn by devoting too much money on things we don’t need now and robbing ourselves of the capacity to make sure that we’re prepared for future threats.”___AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.___Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

YQ4 Travel not taking bookings last refunds being processed

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> YQ4 Travel have this week denied rumours that it is still trading, saying it hasn’t been taking reservations for months and that it is seeing the last of its dishonoured vouchers being refunded.e-Travel Blackboard was tipped off by our readers that several travel agents had not received commissions on bookings for clients made with YQ4 Travel, with some bookings as old as eight months.Despite booking online with YQ4 Travel, receiving an instant confirmation and booking vouchers, when clients arrived at their destination ready to claim their travel products, suppliers did not appear to have any records of bookings being made.“YQ4 Travel, like many businesses, suffered heavily during the global financial crisis last year.  Coupled with problems in technology, we saw some issues with our bookings,” said Matthew Bryant, YQ4 Travel Managing Director, to e-Travel Blackboard.“We’re no longer trading, we haven’t been trading for two months.  But we’re still working to refund payments and there are no more than 10 [bookings] that haven’t been processed.”Mr Bryant told e-Travel Blackboard that he was even paying some of the commissions back with his own funds, and that all payments will be made by the end of this week. It’s understood that the website which calls on agents to contact reservations for any queries is informational only, is not taking any new bookings.“We could have shut the website down in three minutes,” remarks Mr Bryant.  “We elected not to, and put that message up, so agents don’t think we’ve run off with their money.”Despite the last few refunds being processed, it’s understood that the headache is not yet over for YQ4 Travel as suppliers are now circling for their refunds.  One nationwide supplier has informed e-Travel Blackboard that they are trying to recoup over half a million for more than 500 dishonoured bookings.Have you been affected or refunded by YQ4 Travel? Comment below. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more

Indochina heats up in 2011

first_imgThe Indochina region is becoming one of 2011’s hottest destinations for FIT and small group travel, according to Travel Indochina’s co-founder and Managing Director Paul Hole, speaking at an intimate function in Sydney yesterday. Mr Hole’s visit coincides with the launch of a series of travel agent roadshows across major cities in Australia, the first being held in Melbourne last night.  Mr Hole said it was imperative to educate trade on the company’s expanded cruise product, different style small-group holidays and new destinations, Bhutan and Mongolia. Reporting a 45 per cent year on year growth from November 2009, and high yields, Mr Hole said “recovery-mode” was well on the way, with some tours in March and April already doubling in capacity being fully booked.  Mr Hole said the company will ramp up its marketing, investing heavily in 2011 to drive more business to travel agents. Mr Hole said it’s ever growing Handmade Holidays product continues to be a top seller with Australians, citing the programmes experiential, off-the-beaten track and intimate group itineraries as a key point of difference to other products in the marketplace.“Our Handmade Holidays is important for the trade in the current climate because it doesn’t allow cherry picking,” Mr Hole said, referring to new technology-savvy clients who compare agent rates with online rates when booking trips. “Our modules can’t be broken down, and they cannot be replicated online,” he said. Travel Indochina will also exclusively offer charters on the new Jahan cruise liner, featuring some of the largest and most luxurious all-balcony cabins on the Mekong River.  Mr Hole will personally escort travellers on its inaugural departure in October, which will also have additional inclusions such as cocktail parties and an overnight stays in Saigon and Siem Reap. For more information on Travel Indochina’s product range, visit Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Bronwyn Cook & Paul Holelast_img read more

Sunny Coast still popular for Kiwis

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: V.V Tourism Queensland’s chief in New Zealand says the Sunshine Coast is still a hit with Kiwis following the region’s recovery from the impact of January’s floods.The Sunshine Coast Daily reported Graeme Manson said TQ was “very optimistic” the region would return to strong figures during the peak April to October period.Mr Manson forecasts growth of two to three per cent in arrivals compared to the same period last year, despite recovery still continuing in earthquake-ravaged Christchurch.“The overall message is we’re very positive with the market,” he said.“From a [TQ] perspective, [New Zealand] is still our number one source market.”Mr Manson said about 420,000 Kiwis visited Queensland each year, with some 80,000 arriving on the Coast.He said TQ was working hard to erase the misconception New Zealanders held over the effect of the floods, and that the organisation would launch several campaigns in New Zealand from now until June to promote the Sunshine Coast.last_img read more

Qantas freeze upper management salaries

first_imgLast year, after the Australian national carrier suffered its first loss since privatisation, Mr Joyce turned down a short-term bonus of AU$792,000. Despite freezing senior management base pays, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce still received over AU$3 million in remunerations for the 2012-13 financial year. Despite base pay freezes, Alan Joyce receives healthy bonus. Source = ETB News: P.T. Mr Joyce received AU$3.3 million in remunerations for FY2013, up 15 percent from AU$2.28 million in FY2012, aided by a cash bonus of AU$775,000 and AU$388,000 in deferred shares.center_img The short-term bonus is measured on a range of factors including underlying pre-tax profit, operational safety, flights arriving on time and the expansion of Jetstar in Asia. Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford said the airline exceeded its targets on strategy but was “tempered by the fact we were below our financial targets in a challenging global market”. The airline, which last week reported AU$6 million annual profit, froze the base pay of upper and middle management as a result of a “challenging operating environment”, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.last_img read more

Trump International Hotel Tower New York wins Forbes 5 Star Awa

first_imgSource = Trump International Hotel & Tower New York Trump International Hotel & Tower New York wins Forbes 5 Star AwardTrump International Hotel & Tower New York wins Forbes 5 Star AwardTrump International Hotel & Tower® New York is proud to announce their inclusion in the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide’s 2016 Five-Star Awards.As the global authority on luxury travel, Forbes Travel Guide sends anonymous professional inspectors around the world to rigorously assess hotels, restaurants and spas against up to 800 objective standards.Trump Central Park is one of four Trump Hotels and eight total New York City properties to be accolated, which grades candidates by location, amenities, strong reputation of exceptional service and facility quality.“We are thrilled and honored to once again receive our five stars for the hotel and Jean-Georges restaurant,” says General Manager Suzie Mills, who has been at Trump Central Park for almost two decades. “I am incredibly proud of my team and thank them for all of their continued hard work and passion.”Trump Central Park has been heralded with numerous awards throughout the years, yet the hotel’s 2016 Five-Star Award is particularly noteworthy as it is a proven marker of the staff’s continued commitment to providing premium guest experiences.With sweeping vistas of Central Park, unique amenities including the fully-equipped European style kitchens in every room and the personalized service of Trump Attaché™, Trump Central Park provides flawless service and tremendous attention to their guests.Soaring above Central Park and Columbus Circle, the majestic Trump International Hotel & Tower® New York – the only Forbes Five-Star/AAA Five-Diamond hotel with a Five-Star/Five-Diamond restaurant, Jean-Georges – is an icon delivering the highest level of service, style and exclusivity. Trump International Hotel & Tower New Yorklast_img read more