Posted by IBEROSTAR to take over management of Havana’s landmark Hotel Riviera Tuesday, December 13, 2016 PALMA DE MALLORCA — IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts is set to take over management of its second hotel in Havana in January 2017. With a total of 352 rooms and a prime location on the Cuban capital’s Malecón seafront esplanade, the future IBEROSTAR Riviera will have five-star status and form part of the company’s Premium Gold category.The IBEROSTAR Riviera will be IBEROSTAR’s 12th hotel in Cuba, further consolidating the Majorcan chain’s commitment to the island.First opened in 1957, the Hotel Riviera will soon embark on an extensive renovation project that will include work on guestrooms and public areas and will bring the range of products and services available at the hotel in line with IBEROSTAR standards. The hotel facilities will also include the legendary Cabaret Copa Room, a large venue for shows and live music and one of Havana’s classic night spots.“For us, this hotel is a major step forward as it allows for the qualitative consolidation of our presence in Havana through the incorporation of a hotel that historically has enjoyed an outstanding reputation,” said Enric Noguer, CEO America, GRUPO IBEROSTAR. “Cuba is a tremendously important destination for IBEROSTAR and a crucial part of our expansion strategy, and we will therefore remain committed to our objective of offering top quality and highly competitive accommodation options in this country.”More news: Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoThe future IBEROSTAR Riviera is set to join the IBEROSTAR Parque Central in the Cuban capital. IBEROSTAR has another 11 hotels in Cuba and will soon add the IBEROSTAR Bella Vista Varadero, a five-star establishment in Varadero with 827 rooms, in 2017. Share Tags: Cuba, IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>
Tags: American Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines Share 5 airlines told to compensate passengers following flight delays Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, February 22, 2017 LONDON — Five airlines have been told by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to obey EU rules – or be taken to court.According to the BBC, American Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, Singapore and Turkish Airlines all had told CAA that they did not pay compensation to passengers after they missed their connecting flights due to delays. However, according to EU261, compensation is due if passengers arrive at their final destination from an EU country more than three hours late.Richard Moriarty, director of consumers and markets at the CAA, told the BBC that several airlines were refusing to pay up. He said the organization has received the most complaints about Emirates, which is currently fighting a claim from several passengers through the Court of Appeal, reports TravelMole.The current rules on cash compensation for delays (which must be the fault of the airline) cover flights departing from an EU airport and operated by any airline, or flights arriving at an EU airport and operated by an EU airline.More news: Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsPassengers on short-haul flights that are delayed by more than three hours are entitled to receive 250 euros, while those on medium-haul flights receive 400 euros. Passengers on long-haul flights receive 300 euros for delays of between three and four hours, and 600 euros for delays lasting more than four hours.If an airline refuses to obey the rules, they can be taken to court and be fined an unlimited amount.BBC also reports that CAA took similar against Aer Lingus, Jet2 and Wizz Air three years ago.
MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has launched ACV TV, a dedicated YouTube channel for the travel trade.Utilizing the video sharing site as another medium to stay connected with its partners, agents will be able to view personalized messages from ACV’s Senior Management team and stay informed with relevant updates on products and incentives. Agents are also encouraged to share, comment and like the content posted on ACV TV.The first videos on the channel come from Managing Director Nino Montagnese and Vice President, Sales & Partnerships George Platanitis regarding the tour operator’s new Europe and Cruise brochure.For questions regarding the new collection, agents may contact their Area Sales Manager or email email@example.com. Click here to watch the videos and subscribe to ACV TV. Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Air Canada Vacations Travelweek Group ACV wants agents to Like & Subscribe to its new YouTube channel Posted by Monday, April 10, 2017
TORONTO — The Intrepid Group has found itself ahead of the latest trend that’s taking the travel industry by storm: virtual reality.Partnering with Explor VR, Intrepid Travel and Peregrine Adventures, two brands under the Intrepid Group, have just launched VR experiences on the newly revamped app, which is free to download through Apple’s App Store as well as through Google Play. Intrepid’s Morocco experience plays like a Lawrence of Arabia-type fantasy, complete with carpet merchants and Berber tribesmen, while Peregrine offers two videos that highlight the ‘Peregrine difference’ as well as its Croatia tours.Armed with this revolutionary new virtual reality tool, agents can engage with clients in the office or at trade shows and events, transporting them to the destination they are trying to sell. Ideal for attracting foot traffic off the street and showcasing a hotel, cruise ship or destination right at point of sale, Explor VR also gives agents a leg up over OTAs, which do not offer a retail setting for a fully immersive VR experience.“We believe that VR is going to be huge for the industry, which is why we wanted to get involved from the beginning,” said Leigh Barnes, Intrepid Travel’s Director of North America. “It will allow agents to sell their clients an experience in more depth and detail than ever before. It will also allow travellers to experience a destination without physically being in that destination.”More news: Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemWith over 1,000 trips around the world, the impact VR will have on Intrepid Travel’s growth is limitless. “To be able to show travellers what they can expect on one of our trips before they leave home, whether it’s looking over Medina or a seafood dinner in Croatia, is an exciting tool for the growth of our business,” added Barnes.Barnes compared the two very different experiences of a client reading about the company’s small-ship Adventure Cruises in a brochure, versus them putting on a headset and actually taking a walk around the ship to see it for yourself. “That’s when they’ll really be sold,” he said.The Intrepid Group is just one of many partners that have launched VR experiences with Explor VR. Since Travelweek launched the app in 2016, it has grown rapidly from just 30 experiences to 88.“Virtual reality is the future of travel, which is why it’s so important for suppliers to get onboard and not be left behind,” said Devin Kinasz, Explor VR President. “We are so fortunate to be working with the industry’s biggest names, who are not only passionate about this revolutionary technology, but are also invested in giving travel agents the best and most innovative tools to do their jobs better.”More news: ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthAll experiences can be viewed on a mobile, however, to maximize their impact, agents are encouraged to purchase a VR headset at explorvr.com, which is currently on sale for an extra 10% off using promo code: INTREPID.Agents can download the app from the App Store or Google Play, peruse through different destination experiences to find Intrepid and Peregrine, then either play in mobile view, VR mode with a headset, or download for future offline play.For more information, visit intrepidtravel.com, peregrineadventures.com or explorvr.com. Travelweek Group Posted by Friday, February 16, 2018 Intrepid Group stays ahead of the curve with Morocco and Croatia virtual reality experiences << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Explor VR, Intrepid Group Share
TORONTO — Goway Travel is offering huge savings on some of its most popular wildlife experiences in Africa.Clients can save up to $3,770 on one of its eight-day East Africa fly-in safaris, which include flights between the parks, upscale lodge or tented accommodation, activities and game viewing. The offer is applicable on the Tanzania and Kenya Sky Safaris, with each departure limited to seven passengers.A throwback to the golden age of East African travel, the Sky Safari combines game viewing with ultra-luxe wilderness camps, gourmet dining and flightseeing over the legendary landscapes of Kenya and Tanzania. Destinations include the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and the Masai Mara. Passengers enjoy upscale perks like business-class seating in an executive aircraft and private butler service at all lodges.Reservations must be paid in full by March 31. Price excludes park fees.For more information call 1-800-245-0920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted by Goway’s popular East Africa fly-in safaris now on sale Travelweek Group Tags: Africa, Goway Travel, Promotions Friday, March 2, 2018 Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
Tags: Air Canada, Bucharest, Paris, Schedule, Zurich Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Satellite WiFi connectivity and 3 new Europe routes for Air Canada Friday, June 8, 2018 Share MONTREAL — Air Canada is offering more connectivity in more ways than one, with new flights taking off to Zurich, Paris and Bucharest as well as new satellite connectivity on all international flights.The new satellite connectivity will debut on Air Canada’s international wide-body 777-300ER aircraft, making it the first Canadian airline to offer Internet services that enable customers to stream TV shows and movies on their own devices.“Air Canada customers on international wide-body flights will have access to the fastest internet service available on any Canadian carrier. Air Canada WiFi will make traveling more enjoyable whether you’re connecting with family and friends, watching a favorite movie or TV program on the Internet, or scrolling through your social media feeds,” says Benjamin Smith, Air Canada’s President, Passenger Airlines.The speed and reliability of Air Canada WiFi will also make it a boon for business travellers, he added.Air Canada Satellite WiFi is now available on the airline’s B777-300ER aircraft and on Air Canada Rouge’s narrow-body fleet. The entire Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge wide-body fleet – including the Boeing 777-200LR, 787-8/9 and Airbus 330 and Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER – is scheduled to be equipped with the system by mid-2019.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesCustomers can choose from a selection of WiFi packages to suit their needs and Air Canada is offering introductory pricing for the service starting at $5 on the airline’s B777-300ER fleet until Aug. 31. Passengers can see if a flight has WiFi available by an icon displayed at time of booking or, for upcoming flights, by checking out aircanada.com/wifi.Air Canada and Air Canada Express also offer customers WiFi connectivity through a ground-based system provided by Gogo on their narrow-body A319/320/321, Embraer 175/190 and Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft within North America.Meanwhile Air Canada’s newest routes amidst a long list of destinations launching this month include nonstops out of Vancouver to Zurich and Paris, representing Air Canada’s fourth and fifth European destinations from YVR.The Zurich flights started yesterday and the Paris flights start today, on B787 Dreamliners.To Zurich, flight AC802 departs Vancouver at 1 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, arriving in Zurich the next day at 7:55 a.m. On the way back, flight AC803 departs Zurich at 10:05 a.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving in Vancouver at 10:25 a.m.More news: Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJTo Paris, flight AC806 departs Vancouver at 12:45 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving in Paris the next day at 7:40 a.m. On the return leg, flight AC807 departs Paris at 9:25 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, arriving in Vancouver at 10:20 a.m.Air Canada has also launched its new Montreal-Bucharest flights. The arrival of AC1928 at Bucharest’s Henri Coanda International Airport marks the launch of the twice weekly seasonal service with Air Canada Rouge, running through Oct. 5.Flight AC1928 flies out of Montreal at 6 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, arriving in Bucharest the next day at 9:55 a.m. On the return, flight AC1929 leaves Bucharest at 1:45 p.m., arriving in Montreal at 4:20 p.m. Travelweek Group
Share Windstar’s new video series designed to help agents sell more SEATTLE — Windstar Cruises has unveiled a new video series that showcases its intimate ships, culinary program and welcoming culture as seen through the eyes of its crew.Featuring stunning visuals and unscripted soundbites from Windstar employees, including Corporate Executive Chef Graeme Cockburn and Destination Manager James Anderson Smith, the videos are meant to demonstrate how Windstar is different from other cruise lines.All videos can be viewed at https://www.windstarcruises.com/beyond-the-expected/.“Windstar is passionate about delivering a more rewarding, more authentic experience for world travellers,” said Windstar President John Delaney. “We believe that cultural exploration is best achieved on smaller ships that allow for greater access to local sites and more freedom to interact with the people who live there, as well as fellow passengers, setting us apart from typical cruise lines. Who better to communicate that story than our staff? These new videos reflect what Windstar is about, and our guests will be delighted to see some of their favorite crew members as the stars of that story.”More news: ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthThe videos were launched as part of Windstar’s ‘Star Promise’, a multi-faceted program aimed at making an agent’s job of selling Windstar easier through tools and sales support, including its newly redesigned Star Specialist Program, agent appreciation and its monthly webinar series. Other agent tools and incentives include the Star Groups Program, which makes it easier to attain tour conductor credits, and an exclusive $50 shipboard credit for agents.Windstar’s Travel Agent Hub has also been recently redesigned and can be found at https://agenthub.windstarcruises.com/login?returnurl=%2f.“As our most important partner, we want to make sure you get the support you need,” reads a statement about travel agents on the company’s website. “Your success is our success and all of us at Windstar Cruises strive to deliver what you want and need.” Travelweek Group Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Tags: Windstar Cruises
Sunwing’s latest operational update on 737 MAX 8 Friday, April 12, 2019 Share Tags: boeing, New Flights, Sunwing Travelweek Group TORONTO — Sunwing has announced additional flying capacity and a reconfigured schedule in light of Transport Canada’s continued suspension of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.The update to its flight operations, said the company, was made to help alleviate customers’ concerns about their future travel plans.“In order to optimize our operations and provide our customers and travel agency partners with additional reassurance, we have taken the decision to invest in additional flying capacity and reconfigure our schedule without this aircraft type until further notice,” said Sunwing in an official statement.The Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft makes up less than 10% of Sunwing’s fleet.Schedule changes for departures up to and including May 17 have now been made and are reflected in its flights times on sunwing.ca and across Sunwing’s reservation system. If a customer’s travel plans have been affected, the company also reassures that it will communicate directly with them or their travel agent, as appropriate.More news: Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJ“We are currently still finalizing any schedule adjustments beyond this departure date and are confident that these changes will have minimal impact on our operations and on customer experience,” the statement continued. “We appreciate the patience of our retail partners and customers while we work to communicate these updates.” Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>
Boeing airliner deliveries tumble amid problems with 737 Max By: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Share CHICAGO — With the 737 Max jet still grounded after two deadly crashes, deliveries of new Boeing jets are falling far behind last year’s pace.Boeing said Tuesday that it delivered 30 commercial airliners during May, down 56% from the 68 it made in May 2018.Deliveries of 737s plummeted from 47 a year ago to just eight last month. All eight were an older model of 737, call the NG.Boeing is still building Max jets in Washington state, but they are being parked for now.The Chicago-based company has 4,550 unfilled orders for the Max but stopped deliveries after regulators around the world grounded the plane following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. It’s working on changes to flight-control software implicated in the crashes.Boeing reported a cancelled order for 71 Max planes that were to be leased to Jet Airways until the financially struggling Indian carrier suspended all flights in April. Boeing has not reported other large cancellations despite the Max’s grounding.More news: Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesOrders for all Boeing airlines were “anemic” in May but should be better at next week’s Paris air show, said Cowen Research aerospace analyst Cai von Rumohr.Shares of Boeing fell $4.47, or 1.3%, to close at $349.33 on Tuesday. They have dropped 21% since early March, shortly before the second Max crash. Tags: boeing, Boeing 737 MAX Wednesday, June 12, 2019
No related posts. Costa Rica’s Supreme Court on Monday appointed Francisco Segura as the new director of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ). Prior to his appointment, Segura was the agency’s assistant director.Justices elected Segura with 15 votes, while Public Security Vice Minister Celso Gamboa received six votes. Justice Rodrigo Vásquez received one vote, and Osvaldo Henderson received none.The voting was held in a public act Monday at the court in downtown San José. The four candidates were chosen by a nominating committee after a total of 17 had applied for the post.The position was left vacant when former Director Jorge Rojas retired on July 1, after a 38-year career, seven of them as the head of the OIJ. Facebook Comments
No related posts. Canadian mining company Infinito Gold on Thursday demanded the right to resume work at a gold mine in Costa Rica’s northern region “over a period of six months from today [Thursday],” or else the company said it would file a $1 billion lawsuit for breach of the Costa Rica-Canada Free Trade Agreement.The company sent a letter to Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González demanding the government “allow local franchise Industrias Infinito SA (IISA) to resume full operations of the Crucitas mine located in San Carlos, Alajuela, which was closed after the approval of an amendment to the Mining Law that banned open-pit mining in the country.”IISA’s spokeswoman Yokebec Soto said at a press conference that the company “believed the investment was guaranteed, because our company was invited to the country to develop the mine.”The company has already invested $92 million in the project, and it claims to have lost $1 billion in potential profit, Soto said.She said Infinito would pursue legal action as outlined in protocols of the Bilateral Investment Treaty, approved by both countries.On Jan. 30, 2011, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court’s Civil and Administrative Law Branch annulled the mining concession and upheld a ban on open-pit mining, approved after an amendment to the country’s Mining Code was adopted in 2010. Facebook Comments
A federal court in Jalisco, Mexico, on Friday ordered the immediate release of drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero after 28 years of imprisonment.Caro Quintero, 60, is one of the founders of the Guadalajara Cartel and the Sonora Cartel, and he was arrested at his mansion in Alajuela, Costa Rica, on April 4, 1985, where he was hiding after the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Enrique Camarena Salazar in February of that year.He was then convicted of drug-related offenses, for which according to Mexican courts, “he has already served.”After 24 years of litigation, on June 3, 2009, a Jalisco court found Caro Quintero and Rafael Ernesto Fonseca – leaders of the Guadalajara Cartel – “responsible for the death of Enrique Camarena Salazar and Mexican pilot Alfredo Zavala Avelar, a crime perpetrated on February 7, 1985.”The drug lords also were found responsible for the abduction of some 4,000 people who were forced to work in drug crops in Chihuahua. The raid at the time allowed local authorities to seize and burn some 10 tons of marijuana.Although prosecutors asked for 199 years in prison for Caro Quintero and 150 years for Fonseca, they were sentenced to 40 years in prison each, the maximum conviction allowed by the Federal Penal Code in 1985.Caro Quintero’s lawyers last year filed an appeal stating that his client should have not been prosecuted for a federal offense for the murder of Camarena, but for a criminal offense, because the DEA agent was not executing diplomatic or official duties while in Mexico.On Thursday, a criminal court in Jalisco ruled in favor of the drug lord, announcing their decision in the early hours of Friday to Caro Quintero at the maximum-security area of the Puente Grande prison in Jalisco.U.S. authorities never had the chance to bring Caro Quintero to trial in the U.S. for the murder of agent Camarena, as Mexican nationals cannot be extradited in potential death-penalty cases, which are prohibited by a Mexican Supreme Court ruling and local legislation protecting the right to life.However, the DEA in June issued an international alert ordering the arrest of the drug kingpin on charges of kidnapping and murder of a federal agent.The capture of Caro Quintero in Costa Rica made worldwide headlines in 1985 when DEA officials and local Judicial Police agents raided the kingpin’s mansion at 5 a.m. on April 4 in an operation involving overflights and a ground incursion.Caro Quintero was captured, along with his lover Sara Cossío and other members of his band including Mexicans José Albino Bazán, Juan Carlos Campos, Luis Beltrán, Miguel Lugo and Violeta Estrada. They all were extradited to Mexico the next day. Facebook Comments No related posts.
No related posts. Learn About TableauTEGUCIGALPA — Political tension loomed over violence-torn Honduras on Monday as the conservative candidate insisted he won presidential elections while the leftist opposition cried fraud.The dispute between Juan Orlando Hernández, of the ruling right-wing National Party, and left-wing candidate Xiomara Castro brought new uncertainty to a country reeling from gang violence, poverty and the wounds of a 2009 coup.With 58 percent of the vote counted, Hernández led a field of eight candidates with 34.19 percent followed by Castro with 28.83 percent, according to the latest tally from the supreme electoral tribunal.The electoral authorities have yet to announce a winner but Hernández and Castro both declared victory after polls closed late Sunday.Hernández said the result was “not negotiable with anybody” and he named a transition team to succeed President Porfirio Lobo.But Castro’s husband, deposed former president Manuel Zelaya, said her camp “does not accept” the result after claiming that the election was stolen.“We will defend our triumph,” Zelaya told reporters at a hotel in Tegucigalpa while she remained out of sight as supporters chanted “We hear it, we feel it, Xiomara president!”“We will go to the streets if necessary to defend our rights,” said Zelaya, who was ousted by a right-wing alliance in a military-backed coup in 2009.International observers, including an 800-strong European Union delegation, did not report any incidents following Sunday’s voting. The U.S. ambassador, Lisa Kubiske, said the election had been transparent.Political conflict would add to the woes of a Central American nation plagued by the world’s highest murder rate, massive poverty and the divisions created by the coup.Hernández, the 45-year-old head of Congress, said the people had spoken at the ballot box.“The voice of the people is the voice of God,” he said, while recognizing that the election will bring two new parties to Congress, including Castro’s Libre movement.Hondurans also voted for 128 congressional seats and 298 mayors.But Zelaya insisted that his 54-year-old wife had won the election, which would break the right-wing’s century-old grip on power in Honduras.“The ballot boxes called for deep change in our country,” he said. “We don’t want any negotiations.”The conservative parties and military dictators have exchanged the presidency in Honduras since 1902.Zelaya was forced out of power by soldiers at gunpoint after his right-wing administration took a left turn toward the socialist government of Venezuela.The election’s winner will inherit a country of 8.5 million people with 71 percent of the population living in poverty and a soaring homicide rate of 20 murders per day.Castro, running to become the first female president of Honduras, wants to create a “community police” force to counter violence.Hernández favors an “iron fist” approach against the gangs, with 5,000 military police officers in the streets to confront the heavily-armed Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha.Gangs run whole neighborhoods, extorting businesses as large as factories and as small as tortilla stands, while drug cartels use Honduras as a transfer point for shipping illegal drugs, especially cocaine, from South America to the United States. Facebook Comments
With my long torso and short legs, I am not a natural runner, and after four half-marathons, I’m still slower than most retirees. Obese men and middle-school girls routinely cross the finish line before I do. One woman once beat me pushing a baby carriage. Even the weirdoes in unwieldy costumes generally pass me by. This has never bothered me, because 13.1 miles is still 13.1 miles, and for a non-athlete with a zest for lying on the couch, just finishing fills me with joy. (And shin splints).My wife is a different story. After a half-dozen full marathons, she usually doesn’t trifle with “halfs.” Running the whole 26.2 miles required a lot of training. Back in Pittsburgh, she could spend hours running through the city’s vast urban parks. The terrain was hilly, the green space was generous, and the streets produced a labyrinth of ever-changing routes.Then we moved to Costa Rica, and we hit a wall.“I almost fell in a hole today,” Kylan said, ripping the headphones out of her iPod. “I looked down, and it was just there. A hole. In the pavement. Like three feet deep.”“I can’t believe you tried to run in Alajuela,” I said. “I can barely walk here.”When we first arrived in Costa Rica, we spent about two weeks in Alajuela, and our exercise regimen drew to a halt. Downtown Alajuela is pleasant in many ways, and the streets can feel homey and communal. But navigating the narrow sidewalks is like sprinting across a balance beam. The curbs are dangerously high; the gutters are cut as deep as irrigation trenches. Stop signs are unpredictably placed, and you’re forced to pause at every street corner and watch for speeding cars. People are everywhere – crowding the walkways, stepping in and out of doors, lining up to board buses – and the bustling throngs leave only inches of space. City parks like General Guardia Plaza are beautiful public squares, filled with venerable trees and mingling citizens, but they’re terrible for runners; you can barely jog one lap before having to dodge a shoe-shiner or a nun.When we moved closer to San José, we avoided the city altogether. The nation’s capital is just as claustrophobic as Alajuela and twice as fast-paced. Even long pedestrian walkways like Fourth Avenue are far too busy to accommodate a decent run.“How about La Sabana?” people say. “Have you tried there?”How about La Sabana? San José’s largest urban park is one of the most beautiful stretches in the city, and thousands of people congregate here to play soccer, ride horses, and run its racetrack. Formerly a park (1600s), then an airport (1930), then a park again (1960s), La Sabana provides runners with a web of roads and trails, which crisscross 72 hectares of grass and trees. La Sabana has it all: the National Stadium, a manmade pond, ball fields, light woods, grassy mounds and even the Museum of Costa Rican Art. Spend more than a minute in La Sabana, and you are bound to see runners bobbing past.When we first ran in La Sabana, we felt liberated. The space isn’t big, but you can easily gain some miles by running the perimeter, and there’s a Powerade-sponsored running course that snakes through the park. Granted, La Sabana is surrounded on all sides by four-lane highways, and the noise and fumes constantly besiege you. Once you’ve run every trail in the park, your only option is to do it again. After a while, I started running to La Sabana as well. The streets were still perilous, but at least I could finish my route in an ample slice of nature. • No related posts. Robert Isenberg Costa Rica isn’t known for its runners, and while there are innumerable Tico athletes, marathons aren’t their cultural strong suit. Since Costa Rica first participated in the Olympics in 1936, athletes have won medals only for swimming. Yes, nearly every breathing Costa Rican can play soccer, and the game requires a lot of running, but long-distance races are a totally different game.Kylan searched for running groups online, but only one group wrote her back. They were based in Heredia, and they regularly gathered at 5 a.m.“Wow,” Kylan said, sighing at her computer. “I just don’t know if I can do that.”It wasn’t just waking up early – it was taking multiple buses before dawn. We don’t own a car, and we didn’t appreciate the irony of riding a motor vehicle across the city just so we could exercise.I considered joining the Hash House Harriers, an international “beer and running club” with a local chapter. I had known some “hashers” back in Pittsburgh, and although the group is as well known for its aggressive alcohol consumption as its cross-country jogging, I figured I might meet some kindred spirits. The chapters in San José and Escazú sounded like a great time, but after some consideration – and no response to my emails –I decided that knocking back cervezas was probably not the best training program. Maybe after the race, I thought.So we had to train alone, or sporadically with friends. We haven’t spent much time in Costa Rica, and although we have a healthy number of friends, none of them are taking on the 21K race on Sunday. The race is wholly mysterious to us: We don’t have a map, we don’t know the route, and no Marathon Costa Rica veterans have foretold what we’ll be facing. Will there be serious hills? How packed will the corrals be?Luckily, we can expect about 3,500 athletes to share our pain. •One idle Sunday, I decided to run up a mountain.“There’s no reason to live in Costa Rica if you don’t leave the city,” expats always tell me. The statement is a little trite, but there’s truth to it: Costa Rica is famous for its volcanoes and waterfalls, not its high rises and traffic jams, so residents should enjoy the outdoors where they can.I pass these mountains every day. In the morning, they are folded green massifs against a baby-blue sky. By noon, their rounded peaks are subsumed in clouds. Within hours, they have disappeared in sheets of rain and overcast. Ever since I first saw this venerable range, I yearned to explore it.So I seized the moment. No time to waste, I thought, flying out the door.Madcap streets aside, Costa Rica is a land of rain and early darkness, and these impediments can’t be helped. No matter what the season, the sun will set by 6 p.m., and ill-timed downpours can waste precious daylight. Sometimes Kylan and I see a bright sun through the windows; we decide to run; we change into our running gear; and by the time we’ve filled our water bottles, a storm breaks over the neighborhood. Restless with coffee, we wait for the monsoon to wane, but then dusk falls, and our time is up.On that Sunday, though, I ran down the main avenue, then turned onto an unfamiliar street. As I headed up a steep incline, rounding strange corners and passing yowling dogs, the traffic thinned, and the streets felt quieter and more relaxed. I paced through an old neighborhood, passing hordes of finely dressed families, just as church bells clanged in a nearby steeple. I continued to climb, trading nods with men on the sidewalk, zigzagging across the streets when sidewalks abruptly ended, and waving to drivers who stopped and ushered me across. I even passed other runners – mostly older men wearing Spandex and angular sunglasses.Beneath a fierce sun, my body was so driven by adrenaline that I didn’t even think to look back. The town’s streets merged into a single road, which meandered higher and higher. On one treacherous stretch, I watched a mountain biker fly past, his face taut with concentration; behind him, a pair of laborers watched from a construction site and shook their heads.The mountains grew larger, more textured, but they never seemed to come any closer. That’s the thing about mountains – they’re always farther than you think they are. But I loved their massive ridges, the carpets of trees, the meadows that patched their bases. The road crumbled at the sides and abandoned its dividing lines. Now and again a car drove toward me and swerved to give me room. Some people walked in the road, eyeing me curiously. If there weren’t many runners in San José, there certainly weren’t many up here.Finally, after a brutal tract of road, I stopped. My chest throbbed. Then I turned around and blinked away beads of sweat. The Central Valley sprawled before me, a vast white floor of urban development, framed by the teal highlands beyond. I had escaped the city, risen above its tapered streets and corrugated rooftops. Instead of winding down and hopping a bus, I could take in this vista and rejoice.In the end, my distance wasn’t impressive, only five or so miles, according to Google Maps. The digital map couldn’t calculate elevation, so I had no gain to brag about. I didn’t realize for some time that San José stands at 3,800 feet above sea level, significantly higher than Pittsburgh, and the thinner air should be an impediment. How far up had I gone? It didn’t matter. In a month, I would run my first half-marathon outside the U.S., and hopefully one of many. After conquering the mountain – or at least barreling up its shoulder – I felt ready for a 21K.Vamos, I thought, back in my kitchen as I guzzled water. Let’s do this thing. Facebook Comments Robert Isenberg San José eats runners. Don’t get hit by a car, I think, pulling on my shoes.I step through the gate and start to jog down the street, giving a wide berth to the neighbor’s fence. Don’t piss off the dog. The black-and-white mongrel paces behind its bars, but it doesn’t snarl or bark. Good dog.I rejoin the sidewalk. Don’t slip on the moss. The soles of my shoes twist against the slickened pavement, but they stick. Don’t twist an ankle. Just three more weeks. You can do it.Such mantras echo in my head as I veer onto a busy street, cut through a gas station, and narrowly avoid a gaping black hole in the pavement: Don’t fall down the hole. Don’t step in the dog feces. Don’t kick the discarded glass bottle. Don’t slam into the guachiman in the sombrero. Don’t get run over by a reversing taxi. Don’t lose your footing in the overgrown grass…This is running in the Central Valley – a pinball machine of odd intersections, massive hills, mad traffic and sidewalks that look shattered by a divine hammer. You can do almost any kind of outdoor sport in Costa Rica, from zip-lines to parasailing, but if you want to run long distances in San José, good luck.For my wife and me, though, running is non-negotiable. Wherever we go, whatever the circumstances, we find a way to hit the asphalt. Because of our work, we have to live in the San José area, so like it or not, the city is our only playground. And as a half-marathon looms Dec. 1, we have miles to go before we sleep.• Think of it as an obstacle course.
Members of the legislative appointments commission this week were supposed to issue a list of the three top candidates to lead Costa Rica’s Ombdusman’s Office. But the announcement of those names was pushed back to Monday because one of the top five applicants was absent.Lawmakers pared down an initial list of 98 candidates to five, most of whom were interviewed this week.The commission’s president, Ottón Solís, from the ruling Citizen Action Party, confirmed that the top five candidates are: Cristian Campos, Ericka Hernández, Yanis Quesada, Montserrat Solano and Ricardo Hernández. But Solano, a journalist who lives in the Netherlands, will arrive in Costa Rica over the weekend and will be interviewed early on Monday.Solís said commision members evaluated all 98 candidates in a detailed process.“The selection of finalists was based on evaluations to determine their leadership skills, abilities, experience in public office and thoughts on human rights and ethics, among others,” he said.The Ombudsman’s post has been vacant for over a month following the resignation of Ofelia Taitelbaum on July 7, after lawmakers and Judicial Investigation Police announced they would open an investigation into allegations that she had committed tax fraud and identity theft.In addition, Assistant Ombudsman Luis Fallas ended his term on April 28, and lawmakers have yet to appoint his replacement.The absence of top officials at the Ombudsman’s Office has led to the accumulation of 370 unresolved complaints as of this week, the agency reported on Wednesday. Facebook Comments Related posts:Lawmakers announce top three candidates to lead Ombudsman’s Office New ombudswoman will prioritize complaints against hikes in utility rates, fuel prices Naming a new ombudsman could take weeks, Costa Rica Assembly president says Lawmakers elect Montserrat Solano as Costa Rica’s new ombudswoman
Keylor Navas corrió desde su arco para festejar el gol de Sergio Ramos sobre la hora. pic.twitter.com/JhzLPbHop7— SportsCenter (@SC_ESPN) December 3, 2016 The top two teams in Spain’s La Liga battled to a tense 1-1 draw Saturday in Barcelona’s Camp Nou that saw a flurry of action in the final minutes.Barcelona’s Luis Suárez headed in the first goal off a Neymar free kick from the side in the 53rd minute. Costa Rican goalie Keylor Navas was unable to stop the point blank goal from Suárez, who had overpowered Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.Real Madrid answered in the last minute, however, when captain and perpetual lifesaver Sergio Ramos headed in the equalizer. Related posts:Keylor Navas and Real Madrid advance to Champions League final Keylor Navas makes history as Real Madrid wins Champions League title Costa Rica returns with full-strength lineup in last step toward World Cup qualifying Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Navas was first called into action in the 19th minute when he comfortably stopped a Lionel Messi free kick on goal.In the preceding minutes, a possible handball by Ramos went uncalled, avoiding a Barcelona penalty kick that looked likely warranted.In the 68th minute, Neymar had a chance to put the dagger in Real Madrid after beating his defender, but the ball somehow sailed high of goal.Ramos’ 90th-minute goal came in the middle of a dramatic back-and-forth in the games waning, desperate moments. Madrid nearly scored before Ramos’ goal when superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo headed a ball towards what looked like an open goal. However, his attempt was stopped just in time by Jordi Alba’s ankle as the Barcelona defender continued his brilliant match against Madrid’s attack.In extra time, Navas came far away from net to punch out a lofted ball. He soon found himself in no man’s land as Barcelona sent another shot towards goal, which was fortuitously saved by Madrid defender Casemiro.With the tie, Madrid remains first in La Liga with 34 points and Barcelona stays one spot behind with its 28 league points.Real Madrid returns to action this Wednesday with a Champions League group stage match against German power Borussia Dortmund. Facebook Comments
Related posts:Costa Rica working with FAA to restore Category 1 rating ‘as soon as possible’ Construction to begin on new terminal at Limón Airport American Airlines expanding service to Costa Rica Costa Rica ‘does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization safety standards,’ FAA says Costa Rica has joined more than 40 countries in temporarily banning Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft, which was involved in two deadly crashes in less than six months, the Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) announced Wednesday night. According to DGAC, neither the 737 Max 8 nor the 737 Max 9 are permitted to operate in Costa Rican airspace until further notice. “The General Director of Civil Aviation, Captain Guillermo Hoppe Pacheco, indicated that the decision is taken as a preventive measure, primarily for the safety of all passengers and crew, as a result of the recent accidents in which such aircraft were involved, whose causes are under investigation,” the statement from DGAC reads.“The protection of human life is a priority, and until the circumstances of the accidents in which those airplane models have been involved are clarified, the measure will be maintained.” Costa Rica’s decision came hours after the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency order grounding the two 737 Max models in U.S. airspace. The FAA’s announcement put the United States in line with the majority of other countries in which the 737 Max 8 and Max 9 operate.Boeing said it “has determined […] to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 Max aircraft.”“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution,” the airplane manufacturer said in a statement.Neither Avianca Costa Rica nor Volaris Costa Rica include 737-series airplanes in their fleets. However, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Aeromexico all operate the 737 Max 8 or Max 9 and fly to Costa Rica. The 737 Max series was developed by Boeing to succeed the 737 Next Generation (NG) series of the popular narrow-body aircraft. The first 737 Max-series airplane was delivered in May 2017. In October 2018, a 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashed minutes after takeoff near Jakarta, Indonesia. On Sunday, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 crashed minutes after takeoff near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Both accidents remain under investigation. This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5% Club. If only 5 percent of 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 Comments
New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Local authorities are investigating the incident.Khon said the road to the pagoda opened in 2004 and attracts thousands of visitors each year.(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 HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – An official says a boulder the size of a house has fallen from a mountain in Vietnam, smashing a car and killing six people who were on a religious pilgrimage.Village official Keo Khon says five people including the driver died at the scene Saturday in southern An Giang province. Another passenger died while being evacuated and two others remain hospitalized.Khon said Monday that the eight pilgrims were heading home after visiting mountaintop pagodas when the large boulder broke loose and tumbled toward the road. Photographs from the scene show that their silver car was utterly mangled. Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Sponsored Stories Comments Share 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Timing is crucial, with a U.N. bid before November potentially disrupting the U.S. presidential race.The U.S. and Israel oppose the quest for unilateral recognition. They say a Palestinian state must be set up through negotiations. Israeli-Palestinian talks broke off in 2008 and the two sides disagree on how to restart them.The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel has increasingly blurred the pre-1967 frontier by moving half a million Israelis into the West Bank and east Jerusalem.The General Assembly could at best accept “Palestine” as a non-member observer state. Palestinian officials have said the main purpose of winning General Assembly recognition is to reaffirm the 1967 lines as the borders of a future Palestinian state.Last year, Abbas sought full U.N. membership for Palestine but failed to win the necessary votes in the U.N. Security Council.Palestinian officials have said they are confident they can win the required majority in the General Assembly.Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki, who also attended the Doha meeting, said the Palestinians would contact U.N. member states individually and in groups to affirm their support for recognizing Palestine. He suggested the Palestinians are not in a rush, saying that they would seek General Assembly recognition “when all other options are closed and there is no hope to return to negotiations.” More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments Share Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressRAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) – The Arab League on Sunday backed a Palestinian plan to ask the U.N. General Assembly to recognize a state of Palestine, but stopped short of setting a date for the bid, Palestinian officials said.Instead, Arab League representatives meeting in Doha asked a committee to prepare the U.N. appeal and report back on Sept. 5, said Saeb Erekat, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking by phone from Doha. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like
Nevertheless, summary executions committed by rebel forces _ albeit on a far smaller scale than the regime’s alleged atrocities _ put the West in a difficult position as it seeks to persuade Russia and China to stop blocking tough U.N. action against Assad.“In the areas they control the rebels bear responsibility for preventing acts of revenge and violence against defenseless persons,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Wednesday. “We clearly expect them to be aware of this responsibility.”Representatives of the Free Syrian Army, the Turkey-based umbrella group of Syrian rebels, acknowledged that the executions shown in the video were wrong but said the rebels, unlike Assad’s forces, do not attack ordinary civilians.“The Free Syrian Army does not attack civilians,” said spokesman Ahmed Kassaem. “We do not support killings and are not Sadists like the regime.”Activists said those shown killed in the video were not ordinary citizens, but rather Assad loyalists who had killed rebel fighters and intimidated peaceful protesters.Opposition activists filter most information about the rebels sent outside the country, making it hard to get an accurate picture. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The AP reporter counted almost two dozen rebel groups operating with little or no clear command structure. Some were more brutal than others. And there are doubtless countless of others who answer to nobody but themselves.It is therefore difficult to call anybody to account for the increasingly ugly sectarian nature of Syria’s conflict, where an opposition largely based among the country’s Sunni majority has risen up against Assad’s regime, which is dominated by members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.Many Iraqi Shiites, streaming back to their homeland in the past month to escape the war in Syria, reported a rash of attacks against their community, apparently by Sunni rebel gunmen.In July alone, 23 Iraqi Shiites have been killed in Syria, some of them beheaded, according to the Washington-based Shiite Rights Watch. In one gruesome case, the U.N. said an Iraqi family of seven was killed at gunpoint in their Damascus apartment.The motives for the attacks on Iraqis are unclear. They may be revenge against any Iraqi because the Shiite-led Iraqi government is seen as siding with Assad. They may also be fueled by sectarian hatreds, with resentment of Syria’s Alawite leadership flaring into anger at Shiites. An Associated Press reporter who spent two weeks with rebels in northern Syria in June found little evidence of rebel attacks on civilians, but the rebels were often merciless with regime troops and Assad loyalists. Some boasted freely about sending captured soldiers or loyalists deemed as collaborators “to Cyprus,” which the rebels use as a euphemism for execution usually by gunfire.Human rights groups have long documented reports of extrajudicial executions by people on both sides of the conflict, along with kidnappings, detentions, and widespread torture. As they gain confidence and more territory, however, rebel fighters appear to be increasingly resorting to these tactics.In another video, posted Thursday, a group of about nine prisoners stand against a wall with their hands behind their backs, captured by rebels after they seized a police station in the embattled city of Aleppo. A rebel fighter says they would be put on trial in front of a Sharia (religious) court made up of “honorable judges.”The authenticity of the videos could not be independently verified.The Syrian uprising began in March 2011 with largely peaceful protests but has since morphed into an insurgency and civil war. Activists say the conflict has already killed more than 19,000 people _ a figure which may soar with reports that foreign jihadists and extremists are streaming into Syria to join the fight against the regime. The video, which surfaced online this week, is fueling concerns that opposition fighters are capable of brutality that matches that of the regime they are seeking to topple _ a charge that could badly damage the rebellion’s ability to claim the moral high ground in the Syrian civil war.As rebels gain more territory and a multitude of militias, jihadists and criminals join the fight against Assad, reports of serious human rights abuses committed by armed opposition elements are on the rise.“As the Free Syrian Army and armed opposition gain more ground control, they are at a crossroad,” said Nadim Houry, researcher at the New York based Human Rights Watch.“They can either go down the route of revenge and killings and replicate the behavior that we have seen by pro-government forces, or take a genuine decision showing that what they’re fighting for is not just about revenge but about human rights and justice,” he said.The video sparked international condemnation, including a rare rebuke of rebel tactics from the Obama administration on Thursday.“This is abhorrent and inconsistent with the type of struggle for freedom and a new Syria that the broad opposition is looking for,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters. Nevertheless, the rebels’ main targets are not Iraqis, but rather Syrian security forces and regime loyalists. And the main battleground is now the country’s largest city, Aleppo, where the new video of summary executions was shot.According to activists, the executed prisoners were members of the powerful Barri clan, which has long had close ties to the Syrian government. Among them was the clan’s leader, Ali Zinelabedine Barri, known as Zeino.An earlier video shows Zeino sitting on the ground among a group of other prisoners, wearing only black underwear, with blood seeping from above one of his eye. The narrator says the prisoners had been terrorizing residents and earlier in the day killed 15 members of the “Brigade of Unification,” the main group of rebel fighters in Aleppo.A local activist who goes by the name of Abu Adel confirmed the executions, saying they took place on Tuesday at the courtyard of a school after major fighting between the FSA and members of the Barri clan in Aleppo’s Bab al-Neyrab district.The Barri clan, which Adel said numbers in the few thousands, were known to be hard-core regime loyalists and for months had intimidated residents who took part in peaceful anti-government protests. He said they were outlaws, drug dealers and “very well armed.” New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Associated PressBEIRUT (AP) – The unsteady, hand-held video shows several bloodied prisoners, one in boxer shorts, being led into a noisy outdoor crowd and placed against a wall. The prisoners crouch and seem to avert their eyes as men carrying assault rifles shout slogans and take aim. The gunfire lasts for more than 30 seconds.The international community has accused Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces of war crimes, but the gunmen in this gruesome video were rebels. Their slogans: “Free Syrian Army Forever!” and “God is Great!” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Comments Share 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Ventrell said the U.S. was encouraged that opposition commanders have condemned abuses, but stressed that “summary executions committed by any party are abhorrent and inconsistent with international law, and those responsible must be held to account.”Separately, Ventrell also criticized what he described as another “massacre” by Assad’s forces, this time in the Damascus suburb of Yalda. U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said civilians were killed execution-style with gunshots to their heads or necks. They said the killings took place in the victims’ homes, basements and gardens.“It is the Assad regime and Assad’s forces that have perpetrated the overwhelming amount of violence in Syria, that are responsible for the overwhelming number of civilian casualties,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.Assad’s regime stands accused of a number of massacres in which hundreds of civilians, including women and children, were killed. The Syrian government blames gunmen driven by a foreign agenda for the killings, but the U.N. and other witnesses have confirmed that at least some were carried out by pro-regime vigilante groups, known as shabiha. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Check your body, save your life 4 must play golf courses in Arizona “Everyone in Aleppo hates them,” Adel said, adding that they were given a “trial” before they were gunned down. “I wish it didn’t happen, but the rebels are human after all. Sometimes it’s hard to control people. We should understand their motives.”In a nod to criticism of rebel brutality, Abdel Razzaq Tlass, leader of the Farouk Brigade of the Free Syrian Army in central Homs province, pledged that his group would comply with Geneva conventions and treat captives according to international law.“We are revolting against a barbarous regime that always tortured and treated detainees and arrestees in brutal ways that led to the death of many,” Tlass said. “That’s why we can never adopt the behavior of that very entity that we are revolting against.”Tlass made his pledge in a video that was posted on Monday _ a day before the Aleppo executions.___Associated Press writers Bradley Klapper and Ben Feller in Washington, Frank Jordans in Berlin and Bassem Mroue in Hatay, Turkey contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)