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People Europe Asia specialists join Goways GroupsOnly team

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first_img[People] Europe, Asia specialists join Goway’s GroupsOnly team Share Thursday, December 21, 2017 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img VANCOUVER — European destination specialists Antonella (Nella) Pellegrino and Silvia Camolese, and Asia specialist Christine Ji, have joined Goway’s GroupsOnly department.Pellegrino and Ji are based at the company’s head office in Toronto, while Camolese has joined the core Groups team in Goway’s Vancouver office.With over nine years of experience selling Europe, Pellegrino has also taken on the role as the department’s Europe Team Lead. She has travelled extensively throughout the continent, including in-depth touring of Italy, France, Spain, the UK and Austria.Meanwhile Ji has experience in selling both Asia and the South Pacific for over 10 years. She has travelled extensively to the South Pacific, China, Vietnam, France, Italy and Switzerland.Camolese brings a wealth of European destination knowledge to the Groups Department, with 20 years of experience selling special interest groups throughout Europe and North Africa, from pilgrimages to culinary & wine groups, educational, and adventure.Barbara Norton, the Group Department’s General Manager, says she’s thrilled with the new employees: “With Goway now selling Europe along with the huge growth in our Asian Group sales, the expertise these gals will bring both in destination knowledge and tour planning experience will be unparalleled.” Posted by Tags: Goway Travel, Peoplelast_img read more

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Donate and help save The Tico Times

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first_imgNo related posts. An FAQ on the the future of The Tico Times, and what it needs to continue as both a successful and sincere online newspaper. The Tico Times has set up an Indiegogo account accepting donations from anyone who would like to help us keep this unique voice in Central America.Why does The Tico Times matter? The Tico Times, founded in 1956, has long been the best source for English-language news in Costa Rica. Over the years, The Tico Times has won awards and worldwide readership for its independence in a region marked by turmoil and a weak press. Now to keep telling stories in the region, we need your help. To survive, The Tico Times needs your donations.  We began environmental reporting in the 1950s. We’ve broken stories on secret runways used by the Contras, rampant shark finning in Costa Rican waters and luxury hotels in violation of environmental law. We also covered the fun stuff: “domesticated” crocodiles, surf competitions and tales about monkeys. Oh, so many stories about monkeys. Guido Fernández, the longtime publisher of Costa Rica’s Spanish-language daily, La Nación, always credited The Tico Times with teaching the Costa Rican press investigative reporting. We have remained a unique voice in the region for more than a half-century. We don’t want that to end. Why do we need your money? For financial reasons, our Sept. 28, 2012 issue will be our last print edition, but that doesn’t have to be the end of The Tico Times. In coming months, the company will create new revenue models and modernize the online product, but we are going to need your help. To keep telling stories in the region, and to keep our small group of volunteers out reporting for you, we need cash.  The new Tico Times will continue to go in-depth on the most important issues to our readers, and we will continue to provide the best writing and smartest analysis. We also plan to overhaul the website. We’ll listen to your concerns and suggestions about the website, and we’ll build it to better fit the needs of the reader in the 24-hour news cycle. What’s in it for you?  You live here. You vacation here. You read us when everything is pura vida, but especially when it is not. You come to us to know how much damage the earthquake caused and to find out which politician has been featured in an online sex video. We run your photos of birds. You cringe each time you see another crazy Gringo has been gored in a bullfight. You laugh at our photos of monkeys. Oh, so many photos of monkeys. Still, we want to do an even better job of connecting with you. Now that we are focusing all of our energy on our online product, we will be able to create a more interactive community. In addition to the daily stories that define The Tico Times’ fair, honest journalism, we also have some fabulous perks. Donate and receive copies of our 50th anniversary issue, old editions from your birth date and original photos. You also will receive the satisfaction of knowing your money has gone toward maintaining the health and sanity of our tiny staff and a small group of freelancers. Our impressive roster of journalists knows how to tell a story, and that’s why they’ve been published in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Newsday, the Arizona Republic, the Global Post and The Lancet, among others. What’s the future of The Tico Times?Although enormous challenges lie ahead, we believe ticotimes.net can be a part of your daily life again. It’ll be the first website you read in the morning and the last one you check at night. If you still want to see The Tico Times continue and evolve into something better than before, push the donate button. You can also contribute by getting the word out, sharing our campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Tell your friends, family and enemies. ¡Pura vida!Are you interested in making a donation?Click here, and thank you for your support.If you have any questions. Please email Editor David Boddiger at dboddiger@ticotimes.net. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Costa Rican economy grows more than regional average in 2012

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first_imgNo related posts. The Costa Rican economy will finish the year with 5 percent growth, a figure that is above the 3.2 percent average for Latin America, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).The most dynamic sectors are transport, storage and telecommunications services, financial intermediation, insurance, real estate and manufacturing.The study also says the government fiscal deficit will close at 4.5 percent. The fiscal deficit in November was 4 percent.ECLAC predicted the country’s growth will drop to 3.5 percent next year.In August, Costa Rica’s Central Bank predicted growth of 4.8 percent in 2012. Facebook Commentslast_img

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South Africa still struggling to fulfill Mandelas hopes dreams

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first_imgNo related posts. JOHANNESBURG — When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, he brought a vision of forgiveness and reconciliation to rebuild a nation marred by the legacy of white rule. But the South Africa he leaves behind is still a work in progress, far from living up to the promises ushered in by his freedom and the ideals of justice and equality that he espoused.South Africa has made tremendous strides since the end of apartheid, the brutal system of white rule that gripped the country for decades. Under apartheid, blacks and other non-whites were racially separated in every manner possible: education, hospitals, public transport, even beaches. They were forcibly removed from homes, denied citizenship or a vote; any dissent was violently suppressed by the state. Today, all South Africans are considered equal under the constitution.The nation, thanks in large part to Mandela, is no longer an international pariah but participates freely in the global economy, sports and other arenas. South African companies have expanded across sub-Saharan Africa and are a vital economic engine for the continent. South Africa, diplomatically and militarily, is playing a leading role in efforts to defuse crises in Congo, the Central African Republic and other trouble spots on the continent.But at home, the record remains mixed, a place where Mandela’s hopes and dreams remain largely unfulfilled. South Africa is a nation where racial and economic inequalities still tear through the consciousness of the black majority. While some progress has been made, the majority of blacks live in poverty, and many still lack basic necessities such as electricity, proper housing and clean water. Education and health care for impoverished blacks remain poor. It is a nation where the economy is still largely controlled by whites and a relatively small group of black elites.It is also a nation where there’s gradual but growing disillusionment with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party that Mandela helped create and nurture into the revolutionary force that dismantled apartheid. Today, the party and its leadership are facing allegations of corruption and of ignoring the needs of impoverished blacks, the very constituency that Mandela fought so long and hard to emancipate and empower.“We have pockets of individuals, institutions and groups who are pushing Mandela’s ideals,” said William Gumede, a political analyst. “But there has also been backsliding among the ANC leaders in espousing Mandela’s hopes and dreams. His death has left a real gap, and the current leadership is not up to filling this gap.”When he became South Africa’s first black president after winning the nation’s first multi-race elections in 1994, Mandela actively wooed foreign investors. Instead of nationalizing companies, he persuaded the ANC to move away from its socialist ethos and embrace a free and open economy, which fueled South Africa’s economic growth for years.Today, however, that legacy is under fire. Unemployment remains at nearly 25 percent; white people on average earn six times more than their black counterparts. The ANC youth’s wing has lobbied hard for the nationalization of banks and mines; according to the Municipal IQ, a Johannesburg-based research group, last year there were a record 173 protests, many of them violent, over a lack of housing, jobs and basic services. According to World Bank statistics, South Africa remains one of the world’s most economically unequal societies.The most violent upheaval came in August 2012, when police killed 34 mine workers waging a strike at a platinum mine in the town of Marikana. It was the deadliest action by police in post-apartheid South Africa. The ANC responded by charging the striking miners with the murders of their co-workers, triggering popular anger at the storied party.Politically, allegations of corruption have touched the highest levels of office — something that would have been unthinkable under Mandela’s single term in office. President Jacob Zuma is facing a government probe for allegedly spending about $20 million of state funds to renovate his luxurious private residence in KwaZulu Natal province. In 2006, he was acquitted of rape charges. In 2009, charges that he allegedly took bribes from arms dealers were dropped, paving the way for his presidency.In the famed township of Soweto, on Vilakazi Street where Mandela once lived, youths protested and fought the apartheid regime in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Today, many young people here express concern about their future in a post-Mandela South Africa.“Madiba wanted us to have peace and no racism,” said Thandeke Belle, 14, a middle school student, using Mandela’s clan name, as many people in South Africa do. “I still feel there is racism although it was not as much as apartheid. The whites are still at the top, and we blacks are stuck down at the middle.”“Poor people are going to become poorer and the rich will get richer because of what’s happening,” said Belle’s classmate, Thato Tshabale, 15, who was standing next to her. “If you are a normal person with no connections, you will be nothing in today’s South Africa.”Tshabale said his ability to achieve his dreams of going to college and acquiring a healthy income are limited. “I don’t think apartheid has ended,” he said. “Right now, in order for us to learn, we need money. But the whites always have money and they get a lot more chances than blacks.”Papallo Chapedi, 15, said his mother had been waiting more than 10 years for government-subsidized housing, while some of his friends’ relatives were able to get housing due to their ties to the ANC. He criticized Zuma’s leadership, saying that he “does not even come close to Mandela” in terms of what he has provided to South Africans.“I feel a huge animosity towards the ANC,” Chapedi said. “It’s not empowering our needs. There is a lot of corruption; there’s propaganda. I would like to see change.”Patrick Hanratty, 64, had brought some Italian tourists to look at where Mandela had lived. For the white tour operator, Mandela’s vision for South Africa had been partially realized.“There have been successes, and there have been failures,” Hanratty said. “We are living in a society that has a measure of justice, whereas before we were living in a very unjust society. The feeling of guilt is still there of having benefited from the misfortune of our black brothers, but it is less than it used to be.”He added that whites like him “still live in a very privileged position,” but he said this was also partly because the government was being careful not to alienate whites.“You can’t dismantle an economy and make everybody equal,” he said. “To do that would endanger the development of the country. The government is following a pragmatic approach. They don’t want white flight. They want to keep as many skills and as much capital in the country” as possible.Perhaps the biggest impact that Mandela’s vision has had on whites, said Hanratty, is that they are no longer ostracized by the world, particularly in Africa.“You can be a white South African and can go all the way to Cairo without being considered a pariah,” Hanratty said. “You can show your passport with pride. South Africans can play sport anywhere in the world. This helps our national identity very much.”Despite all the challenges South Africa faces upon Mandela’s death, many South Africans expressed gratitude that they were led by a man who by example showed how leaders should govern their nation, imbued with the principles of democracy, justice and equality.“He was our [George] Washington,” said Gumede, the political analyst. “In his personal and public life, he created a gold standard and way of governing that showed us how our leaders should govern. . . . We know what is possible. Not many leaders in Africa can set that kind of example.”© 2013, The Washington Post  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Costa Rica ends clean energy run due to low rainfall

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first_imgThe Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said Thursday that the lack of rains in August forced it to fire up one of its thermal plants on the Pacific coast, ending a clean energy streak that attracted worldwide attention.In fact, it was the country’s second green streak this year. In August Costa Rica broke its own record by running 94 consecutive days exclusively on renewable energy. It set its previous record in March when it ended 75 days of renewables, ICE reported.During the second streak, between May and August, some 78 percent of the country’s electricity came from hydroelectric power plants; 12 percent from geothermal sources, 10 percent from wind power; and 0.01 percent from solar.But low water levels in the country’s reservoirs, mainly caused by drought in much of the territory, ended the green energy run. Hydroelectric plants supply some 72 percent of Costa Rica’s electricity needs, according to ICE.“The drop in rainfall forced us to use the Garabito thermal plant to meet peaks in electricity needs in late August,” ICE’s director of electricity generation Alberto Ramírez said Thursday in a public statement.Ramírez said reservoirs at Pirrís, south of San José, and Ventanas-Garita in Alajuela are the most affected by the lack of rainfall. ICE recorded a 74 percent decrease in the flow of the Pirrís River while an 80 percent decrease in the Virilla River is to blame for low levels at the Ventanas-Garita plant.Both ICE and National Meteorological Institute officials attribute this deficit to extreme weather conditions caused by the El Niño phenomenon that often produces drought in one part of the country and intense showers in another.ICE hopes reservoir levels will start to recover this month in order to avoid using thermal plants, which could lead to electricity rate hikes for its customers.But Ramírez said the country has enough fuel reserves to use thermal plants again, if necessary. “It will depend on the behavior of rainfall patterns during the rest of the year,” he said. “Then we will evaluate the need to buy more fuel to support thermal generation for the next dry season.”The state-owned National Power and Light Company last week requested an increase in electricity rates that, if approved, would raise basic rates for customers in the San José greater metropolitan area by 36 percent.ICE’s hydrology department forecasts a slight increase in rainfall levels during September and October. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica’s electricity mostly from renewable sources in 2016 Costa Rica prepared for this season’s harsh weather, energy officials say Construction of Central America’s biggest hydroelectric dam is nearly finished in Costa Rica Electricity rates for ICE customers to drop in Januarylast_img read more

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Inside Cold War Oval Office CIA releases intel briefs

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first_imgRelated posts:Cuban-born ex-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles hospitalized after crash Castro, Obama hold historic meeting, agree to foster ‘a new relationship’ US, Cuba sailors compete in first regatta since diplomatic thaw How Cuba is and isn’t changing, one year after thaw with U.S. WASHINGTON — On October 30, 1962 President John F. Kennedy received a secretCIA briefing on the first results of his diplomatic dance with Nikita Khrushchev to end the Cuban missile crisis.Now, thanks to a major release of previously classified CIA documents, Cold War historians can read along with him the daily memos he and his successor Lyndon B. Johnson received.The 1960s were tumultuous years, and the news on that day was far from clear. Kennedy’s spy chiefs were seeking concrete evidence that nuclear armageddon had been averted.“We are so far unable to verify Kuznetsov’s assertion that the Soviets have begun to dismantle their missile bases in Cuba,” they wrote, referring to the deputy Soviet foreign minister.“We have not yet seen all of yesterday’s photography. Pictures in hand are of poor quality and do not prove anything one way or the other.”Two days earlier, they had warned the president, under pressure from hawks in his administration to invade Cuba, that U.S. planes had spotted 24 “fully operational” nuclear missile launchers.Kennedy held his nerve, enforcing a naval quarantine of the island and reaching out to his Kremlin counterpart through diplomatic back channels.The Soviets famously blinked and — in exchange for Washington removing some missiles from Europe — agreed to take their own medium-range weapons home from the Caribbean.“We see Khrushchev’s Cuban missile misadventure as a major setback for him personally,” the CIA daily briefing crowed.As for Fidel Castro and the Cubans, they were “having trouble keeping down that empty feeling of being left high and dry.”‘No secrecy for secrecy’s sake’ The documents released on Wednesday are still heavily redacted by U.S. intelligence officials, but it is not hard to find telling examples of CIA hubris in these moments of victory.“We are, in fact, getting the impression that Castro and his henchmen will be happy to get out of their jam still holding office,” the agency wrote.Castro, in fact, remained in office as president of Cuba for more than four further decades until 2008, outlasting Kennedy, Johnson and seven more U.S. presidents.He remains a revered figure in Cuba to this day, and his government, now run by his brother Raúl, finally restored diplomatic ties with the United States this year.But hindsight is one of the pleasures of the historian, and Wednesday’s mass declassification will feed one of their favorite passions, the inner workings of the Oval Office.The collection includes about 2,500 “President’s Daily Briefs,” mini-booklets of news and analysis on key national security issues, summarized in brief nuggets for rapid consumption.Only the president, the vice president and a few trusted advisors see the briefings, which continue to this day in much the same format and remain among Washington’s most secret.Foreign policy experts had asked for the CIA to release the files, but the spy agency had long resisted, arguing that the act of briefing the president should be a secret.“The release of these documents affirms that the world’s greatest democracy does not keep secrets merely for secrecy’s sake,” CIA Director John Brennan said, unveiling the memos.“Whenever we can shed light on the work of our government without harming national security, we will do so.”The CIA spent several years reviewing and censoring the documents to prepare them for release.Entire pages remain redacted and about 80 percent of the collection from June 17, 1961 to January 20, 1969 has been declassified.“This is just the beginning — some 2,000 additional declassified PDB documents from the Nixon and Ford administrations will be released next year,” Brennan said.The released documents can be viewed on the CIA‘s Freedom of Information Act website: http://www.foia.cia.gov. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Honduras prepares for Tuesdays Costa Rica faceoff

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first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying PHOTOS: Costa Rica comes up empty-handed in clash with Panama PHOTOS: Costa Rica ties Mexico 1-1 Keylor: Costa Rica is ready to classify Facebook Commentslast_img

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5 questions for Costa Ricas indigenous Jirondai Project

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first_imgPreserving the ancestral traditions of Costa Rica’s eight indigenous cultures: that’s the mission that the Jirondai Project has been pursuing for 12 years now.The project has connected indigenous people from around the country with non-indigenous people with expertise in art, music, anthropology, ethnology, gastronomy and other areas. A special focus for the project has been indigenous chants, songs and language, which in many cases have begun to vanish slowly over time.  Today, the project seeks to provide indigenous groups with the tools they need to document culture and traditions from an audiovisual perspective for safekeeping by younger generations.The project’s name and logo are inspired by the Gnöbe Buglé indigenous community.“There’s a figure in the history of the Gnöbe Buglé from Costa Rica and Panama that’s called jirondai. It’s a shaman… They said that it was a being with two faces. One of the faces knew about the Gnöbes past, and the other one saw the future,” Luis Porras, founder of the Jirondai Project, told The Tico Times.With this in mind, Porras, a journalist and musician, has worked to keep creating content that pays homage to Costa Rica’s indigenous communities. When he was 18 years old, he lived in South Dakota for a time and met descendants of the Sioux as well as the Pine Ridge community. He began to wonder how indigenous groups in Costa Rica were living and, later on, had the opportunity to meet indigenous leaders here struggling to maintain their cultures.One such leader is the Cabécar jawá (doctor) Luis Salazar, who has been working along with Porras and the rest of the collaborators of the Jirondai Project during the past five years. Salazar lives in the mountains of Chirripó; it takes him 10 or 11 hours to walk down the mountains to then take two buses to San José. His joy in  teaching younger generations about his culture is what drives him to participate in Jirondai.On a rainy afternoon at the Ecole Travel Tourism Agency in Barrio Escalante, east of San José, The Tico Times sat down and spoke with Porras and Salazar. Excerpts follow.How did you two get to know each other?LS: It’s been five years since we met here in San José.LP: A very good friend of ours, Elvis Vitar, who runs and is a Bribri music teacher, lives in Uatsi and teaches in Amubri. He’s a marathoner, and he [met] Luis at a race called the Ruta Run, which is 150 kilometers with the Tarahumaras from Mexico. Immediately, Elvis called me and told me that he wanted me to meet a friend that was running with the Tarahumaras.Luis is a master of the culture, a doctor and a singer. He also represents maybe one of the most important pillars to understand decolonization. Meeting Luis and the community of Alto Telire, where Luis lives, is to discover something very important about decolonized thought… he did not go through any traditional elements of colonization. Not even school.The biggest colonization Luis has is his friendships, having friends in Pérez Zeledón or San José. It’s the biggest counterculture he knows, but it’s not going to school to learn from a Sikua (foreign) teacher or going to Church to be evangelized. Luis Porras recording indigenous people Courtesy of Proyecto Jirondai Courtesy of Proyecto JirondaiHow many people participate in Jirondai?LS: Many. It’s hard to count.LP: For percussion we have Isaac Morera, who’s also a percussionist at Infibeat. Andrés Cervilla is also working with us. Luis Mario Marín, who’s the guitarist. Johnny Gutiérrez. Paloma Coronado, who is a Mexican-Peruvian singer.We’re actually a really big collective, including academic musicians like Andrés and people who are partially musicians like me. We have anthropologists. We have people from the communities: singers, doctors, elementary and high school teachers.There’s also the gastronomic part with Pablo Bonilla, which is oriented to erase [the idea] that the poor indigenous people from the mountains are dying of hunger and we must help them with cans of tuna. It’s unjust to have masters of food security [in our country], and telling them they’re dying of hunger. In our national gastronomy, we don’t having any vestige of the marvels they use in the mountains to survive.LS: Sometimes we’re told that they’ve found indigenous people who live in Alto Telire that [supposedly] are dying of hunger …it’s a lie [that’s told].They eat natural food and a lot of food. There are a lot of crops. When I return home they’re OK and working a lot. They’re very happy and are not dying of hunger.A few days ago some girls were asked if they were hungry and they did not speak Spanish, so they did not understand well. They just answered yes, and then the other people believed that, and then it’s published that we’re dying of hunger and it’s not true. Cabécar indigenous Luis Salazar on the top of the Usure. Courtesy of Proyecto JirondaiDuring the political campaign you published a video with indigenous people speaking about the elections. What was the result?LP: We’ve never gotten into anything political. We made two short videos. Many people saw it, and that generated a lot of things. We were treated badly and were told many things. Even the men from the communities that appeared in the videos were treated badly. I think the country still doesn’t know what it saved itself from. Seeing the threats that the people received after participating in the video, we notice the craziness that’s behind it.How did you choose to focus on music and audiovisual production?LP: Because it’s what allowed us to speak to more people without the people feeling that it was an anthropological lecture. It made it possible to go to the bar El Observatorio and perform… We’ve played at the National Auditorium, the National Theater, the Melico Salazar Theater, and now we’ll have four dates to perform at the Vargas Calvo to film an audiovisual piece that will document the old singers due to the generational change we’re looking for.I want to generate a dialogue with new voices in communities that want to explore strange and unusual places. Like suddenly taking a public space… and creating a new relationship with music. Young people who do reggae, hip hop and dancehall, but in Bribri and Cabecar. Courtesy of Proyecto Jirondai What motivates you?LS: For me it’s very important to keep on with this work for the rest of my life. I hope my groups, families and students keep going onward. I prefer that they keep learning and growing, and if I become tired or am lazy about it, then my students continue with it. It is important work, like the work of my grandfathers and grandmothers’ work who worked many years, the caciques who worked thousands of years on the Earth and still keep working. We must work like them. We move on and it’s very important for us. We keep going on with the project.LP: This year, Spanish Cooperation is giving us a hand to produce content. We’ll be classifying what we’ve recorded and also produce a lot of content for radio, which is a joint project with Salvador Vayá, who has opened the doors for us at the Farolito and Casa Caníbal because it’s about the new generations taking on this cultural heritage.Listen to one of Jirondai Project’s albums called Sesiones Quetzal:<a href=”http://jirondai.bandcamp.com/album/sesiones-quetzal-ep”>Sesiones Quetzal EP by Proyecto Jirondai</a>“Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at elang@ticotimes.net. Facebook Comments Related posts:5 questions for US painter Suzahn King 5 questions for Costa Rican artist Rossella Matamoros 5 questions for a Salvadoran street artist in Costa Rica 5 questions for a Canadian punk rock band in Costa Ricalast_img read more

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Costa Rica again voices support for new elections peaceful transition in Venezuela

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first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica, EU and Latam contact group on Venezuela will meet Thursday Guaidó-appointed ambassador takes possession of Venezuelan embassy in Costa Rica Venezuelan diplomat in Costa Rica accuses Guaidó-appointed ambassador of usurping embassy Nearly a quarter of Venezuelans need urgent aid: internal UN report Costa Rica reaffirmed Tuesday that it supports new, fair elections in Venezuela and that it rejects a military solution to the ongoing crisis, justifying its refusal to sign the latest declaration of the Lima Group, issued last Monday in Colombia.Foreign Minister Manuel Ventura told reporters that Costa Rica was consistent in its support for Juan Guaidó, recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by some 50 countries, and in ignoring the 2018 elections in which President Nicolás Maduro was elected.“Our country advocates that the political crisis in Venezuela be resolved in a political, peaceful and democratic manner and insists on the need to unite efforts so that in the shortest possible time, the necessary guarantees are established to carry out a credible electoral process, with the participation of all political actors,” Ventura said in a statement.He added that Costa Rica will not support any “road map” that does not contemplate democratic means as a starting point to solve the Venezuelan crisis.He said the Costa Rican government is concerned with the declarations of United States Vice President Mike Pence and of Guaidó, who have said that “all options” are open to evict Maduro from power, including the military.“In this context, Costa Rica could not accompany the Declaration of the Group of Lima, of which it continues to be part and with which it maintains a series of affinities,” Ventura said.However, the declaration of the Lima Group in Bogotá ruled out the use of force as a way out of the Venezuelan crisis.Diplomat Alexis Coto, a Costa Rican ambassador in Bogotá, represented the country at the last meeting of the Lima Group.Ventura said he spoke with Chilean diplomats on Monday about upcoming meetings of the Lima Group, which will be in Santiago, Chile, and said he will “do everything possible” to attend.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Nearly a quarter of Venezuelans need urgent aid internal UN report

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first_img Facebook Comments Crowds cheer Guaidó as opposition leader returns to Venezuela A study by UNICEF found that 48 percent of children and teenagers enrolled in schools were at risk of dropping out because they are unable to attend classes regularly.The United Nations moved to scale up relief efforts in Venezuela late last year, launching a strategy to reach 3.6 million people, but the report indicated that effort was falling short.“The limited scope and funding of the scale-up strategy, as well as continuing changes in the situation, including the impact of power outages in March 2019, have made clear that much more action is required to meet the growing needs of the Venezuelan people,” it said.Last month, deadly clashes broke out at Venezuela’s border with Colombia and Brazil over opposition demands to let in humanitarian aid.“The politicization of humanitarian assistance in the context of the crisis makes delivery of assistance in accordance with the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence more difficult,” said the report. One of the greatest impacts of the crisis has been on nutrition, with consumption of meat and vegetables dropping between 2014 and 2017. Consumption of milk, in particular, dropped by 77 percent.Some 3.7 million people suffer from undernourishment in the country – three times the rate from the 2010-2012 period, according to UN estimates.At least 22 percent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition.Preventable diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles and malaria have resurfaced and are on the rise as is hepatitis A due to the lack of access to safe drinking water.Unprecedented challenges“Due to an increasingly contracted economy and political unrest, the Venezuelan population is facing unprecedented challenges in accessing essential services, including protection, health care, medicines, vaccinations, water, electricity, education and access to food,” said the report.Average wages have collapsed, and the outflow of people including professionals and technicians from all sectors have exacerbated the drop in living conditions.About 5,000 people leave the country every day, with some 10 percent of the population – more than 3.4 million people – now living as migrants or refugees in neighboring countries, it said.About one third of the country’s doctors – 22,000 – have migrated out of Venezuela.Some 300,000 people are at risk because they have been unable to access medicines or treatment for more than a year including Venezuelans on dialysis, afflicted by Parkinson’s disease or living with HIV. Venezuelan diplomat in Costa Rica accuses Guaidó-appointed ambassador of usurping embassycenter_img Related posts:US pushes Maduro’s envoys off international bodies Costa Rica again voices support for new elections, peaceful transition in Venezuela Contact Group pushes for progress on Venezuela impasse Venezuela: three months of crisis About 24 percent of Venezuela’s population – seven million people – are in dire need of humanitarian aid, according to an internal UN report that showed malnutrition and disease were on the rise as living conditions plummet.The report obtained by AFP on Thursday was presented this week to President Nicolás Maduro’s government, which has blamed US sanctions for Venezuela’s economic crisis, and to opposition leader Juan Guaidó.The “Overview of Priority Humanitarian Needs” lays out detailed data about the scale of the humanitarian crisis that is rocking Venezuela as the United Nations seeks to enlist support to step up its response.“Seven million people – or about 24 percent of the total population currently living in the country – are estimated to have urgent priority needs for assistance and protection,” said the 45-page report.More than 94 percent of the population lived in poverty in 2018, including 60 percent who lived in extreme poverty, according to a survey by three universities in Caracas quoted in the report. Here’s what you should know about the crisis in Venezuelalast_img read more

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Kenya seeks German man for info on terror group

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first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Al-Shabab, Somalia’s most dangerous insurgent group, has threatened to bomb Kenya for sending troops into Somalia.Kenya’s government says the military incursion into Somalia was a reaction to the threat posed by al-Shabab whom it blamed for a wave of attacks and kidnappings on Kenyan soil.(This version CORRECTS APNewsNow. Note both spellings of German name are correct: Mueller and Muller)(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – A Kenyan official says a German man is sought for questioning about the activities of an al-Qaida-linked militia group.Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said in a statement Saturday that Ahmed Khaled Mueller is wanted for questioning over the criminal activities of the Somalia-based al-Shabab militia.He says Mueller may be armed and goes by the aliases Andreas Martin Muller and Abu Nusaibah. Kiraithe says Mueller may have entered the country illegally. 0 Comments   Share   center_img Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Tunisia declares its desert closed military zone

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first_imgTUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – Tunisia has declared the Sahara desert area of the North African country a “closed military zone” requiring authorization to travel there.The official TAP news agency quotes Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Mokhtar Ben Nasr as saying Saturday that special permits are meant mainly for those working there and tourists and foreigners _ who will be surveyed and protected “so they don’t get lost.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 0 Comments   Share   He notes that more than 5,500 tourists visited the Tunisian Sahara in May.A desert triangle between Tunisia’s borders with Algeria on one side and Libya on the other has become a transit zone for arms and drug traffickers.On June 20, Tunisian Air Force planes destroyed three vehicles stocked with arms, including rocket launchers, in the desert, also traveled by Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finisheslast_img read more

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iPhone 5 launch draws crowds at Asia Apple shops

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first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million iPhone 5s by the end of September.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   HONG KONG (AP) – Apple’s Asian fans jammed the tech juggernaut’s shops in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore to pick up the latest version of its iPhone.Buyers lined up overnight in Australia while in Hong Kong they signed up online for a chance to get their hands on the new iPhone 5.The smartphone is also being launched in the US, UK, Canada, France and Germany on Friday.It will go on sale in 22 more countries a week later. Apple received 2 million orders for the iPhone 5 in the first 24 hours, more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S when that phone launched a year ago. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 3 international destinations to visit in 2019center_img Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Merkels Christian persecution comments draw ire

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first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Human Rights Watch noted that Muslims in Myanmar, members of Falun Gong in China and Jews in many countries worldwide also face persecution.Merkel’s comments came at a meeting of the German Protestant Church late Monday in which she emphasized Germany needed to protect Christian minorities as part of its foreign policy.Merkel, the daughter of a pastor, also spoke out against strict separation of church and state and said Europe was built on Christian foundations.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistcenter_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project BERLIN (AP) – Opposition lawmakers and human rights groups are criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel for claiming that Christianity is “the most persecuted religion worldwide.”Lawmaker Jerzy Montag of the opposition Greens party on Tuesday described Merkel’s comments as “mistaken” and “not very helpful”.Rights campaigners said ranking faiths according to how persecuted they are is pointless. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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Red Cross says death toll in Myanmar quake hits 26

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first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk The Red Cross says it provided aid to some families and is still assessing needs but that no external assistance will likely be needed.Myanmar’s second-biggest city of Mandalay is the nearest population center to the quake but reported no casualties or major damage. It is 117 kilometers (72 miles) south of the epicenter near the town of Shwebo.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Check your body, save your life Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – The Red Cross says the death toll has risen to 26 from an earthquake that damaged homes and ancient Buddhist pagodas in northern Myanmar.The Red Cross said in a statement Tuesday that another 231 people were hurt in Sunday’s magnitude-6.8 quake in the underdeveloped mining region. Myanmar has a poor official disaster response system and lost upward of 140,000 people to a devastating cyclone in 2008. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Top holiday drink recipes Comments   Share   last_img read more

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US announces 30 million additional Syria aid

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first_img Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Check your body, save your life Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Associated PressPERTH, Australia (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the U.S. will provide an additional $30 million in humanitarian aid to Syria, bringing the total U.S aid to the war-torn nation to $200 million.Clinton made the announcement in Western Australia, where she is attending an annual summit with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and their Australian counterparts.On Tuesday, France became the first Western country to formally recognize Syria’s newly formed opposition coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The U.S. also recognized the leadership body as a legitimate representative, but stopped short of describing it as a sole representative. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Syria’s opposition had been deeply divided for months despite the relentless bloodshed and repeated calls from Western and Arab supporters to create a cohesive and representative leadership that could present a single conduit for foreign aid. The formation of the coalition, after more than a week of meetings in the Qatari capital of Doha, could boost efforts to secure international backing _ and possibly weapons _ that will be needed to oust President Bashar Assad.Clinton was asked Wednesday whether there was any way the U.S. would follow France and recognize the opposition as sole representatives and perhaps provide lethal aid.“We have long called for this kind of organization,” Clinton said. “The United States was deeply involved in the work that went on leading up to and at Doha. Now we want to see that momentum maintained. Specifically, we urge them to finalize the organizational arrangements to support the commitments that they made in Doha and to begin influencing events on the ground in Syria.”“As the Syrian opposition takes these steps and demonstrates its effectiveness in advancing the cause of a unified, democratic, pluralistic Syria, we will be prepared to work with them to deliver assistance to the Syrian people,” she said.last_img read more

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Senate GOP bill combats Obama environmental agenda

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first_imgThe buzz of activity involves the agency operating budgets Congress passes each year, a process that this year features a drive by President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill to boost spending for domestic programs and the Pentagon as well.Republicans have responded by increasing defense spending but freezing domestic agencies, for the most part, in keeping with the return this year of automatic spending cuts called sequestration.The ongoing budget battle features fights big and small, from tens of billions of dollars in increases sought for the nuts and bolts operations of the government to regulations limiting sales of antique ivory in the U.S. Both the House and Senate EPA and Interior Department funding bills are stuffed with GOP policy “riders” aimed at reining in Obama administration actions on endangered species, ozone standards, “fracking” on federal lands, and new clean water rules.Senate Democrats, meanwhile, praised a $47 billion bill for the Department of Homeland Security, even as a showdown looms in that chamber over environment-related provisions in the EPA and Interior Department funding bill.In the past, Obama has used veto threats to preserve new regulations in the works or being planned. But GOP measures advancing this week are reminders of the party’s success in cutting staff levels at bureaucracies like the EPA and IRS even as they struggle to find enough money for favored programs like drug treatment, flood mitigation and updated flood maps. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories A House panel, meanwhile, unveiled a $153 billion House labor and health funding measure that, for instance, carves out small increases for health research, special education, and community health centers, but eliminates Title X funding for family planning services. It also slashes the National Labor Relations Board, tries to eliminate funding to implement the Affordable Care Act, and cuts money to reduce teen pregnancy. The measure cuts almost $4 billion from current levels and $15 billion from Obama’s request.“This bill is woefully underfunded and is simply inadequate to meet our country’s needs,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.Senate Democrats promise to block the defense appropriations bill — a separate policy measure is expected to advance this week — in hopes of forcing Republicans to the negotiating table. The strategy seems risky since it would put Democrats on the hook for filibustering troop pay, funds for operations in Afghanistan and combating Islamic extremists, and the rest of the Pentagon budget. This would all be part of a strategy that might not pay off for months, if at all.“Voting to filibuster would mean allowing Democrat leaders to hold our military hostage at a time of unprecedented global threats, as part of some partisan ploy to extract a few more bucks for Washington bureaucrats,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Quick workouts for men Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility WASHINGTON (AP) — A GOP-controlled Senate panel on Tuesday approved a $31 billion spending bill slashing the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by more than $500 million and seeking to block the agency on clean air and water regulations, global warming, and hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas from federal lands.The measure, drafted by Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is opposed by panel Democrats and the White House and came as the Senate’s top Republican laid the groundwork for a vote later this week in which Democrats are poised to filibuster the Pentagon’s budget in a Washington showdown over the agency spending approved each year by Congress.center_img Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Patients with chronic pain give advice Comments   Share   Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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Fed officials in June wary of looming economic risks

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first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve policymakers last month saw signs that the economy was healing after its winter slump but agreed that there were still too many uncertainties at home and abroad to raise interest rates.Minutes of the June 16-17 discussions released Wednesday showed that while one Fed official was ready to begin hiking rates at the meeting, “most participants” believed that conditions were not yet ripe for an interest rate increase. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments   Share   4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The Fed’s policy statement and comments made by Fed Chair Janet Yellen at her news conference supported many economists’ views at the time that the central bank was moving closer to raising interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. Many analysts pegged September.However, recent events including the Greek debt crisis, plunging stock values in China and a somewhat disappointing June jobs report in the United States have led many economists to push back the date of the first rate hike.The developments overseas are already affecting global financial markets and could hurt the U.S. economy, in part by pushing the value of the dollar higher and dragging U.S. exports. A stronger dollar also lowers U.S. inflation at a time when the Fed would like to see inflation move closer to its target of 2 percent annual price increases.Brian Bethune, an economics professor at Fisk University in Boston, said he believed the recent developments, including the disappointing June jobs report, had greatly reduced the chance of a September rate hike. The Fed’s next meeting is July 28-29, but economists had already ruled out the possibility of a rate increase then.“I think the earliest window for a Fed rate increase will be December,” Bethune said. “There are just too many problems right now in China and too many problems in Europe. A rate hike would be another shock to the system.” Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The minutes revealed that many Fed officials expressed concern about the impact a failure to reach a deal on Greek debt might have on financial markets. They also mentioned concerns about future growth in China and other emerging markets.While private economists had expected the Fed’s first rate hike to occur in September, the recent standoff on Greek debt and the sharp plunge in Chinese stock prices — which emerged after the Fed’s June gathering — have prompted many analysts to expect a delay until the end of the year.“Since the June meeting, much has changed on the world stage, none of it particularly good for the U.S. economy,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.The minutes of the June meeting were released with the customary three-week lag after the meeting. The Fed took note in its policy statement of the rebound that had occurred in the U.S. economy since it stalled in the first quarter.It highlighted progress in various sectors including manufacturing and housing. The Fed officials said that the cumulative gains in the job market over the past year had been “substantial” but that they wanted to see further progress, including evidence of stronger wage growth. Financial markets are awaiting a speech Yellen is scheduled to give Friday for an updated assessment on her views of the economy. In addition, she will deliver the Fed’s mid-year outlook on the economy during two days of testimony next week before House and Senate committees.Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said that markets will put greater weight on Yellen’s upcoming comments than on the views expressed in the minutes, given all the developments since the meeting.The minutes did say the Fed had adopted a staff proposal that when the central bank does start raising rates, it will also release an “implementation note” that will describe the specific measures the Fed will employ to achieve its target for its key policy lever, the federal funds rate. That overnight bank borrowing rate has been at a record low near zero since December 2008.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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Windsor ties knot with Labor government formed

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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Independent MP Tony Windsor has backed a Labor Government, citing the broadband network and the environment as decisive factors.Mr Windsor’s support, coupled with that of Rob Oakeshott, has given Labor the right to form a minority government, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.”This is not a mandate for any government,” Mr Oakeshott said. “This parliament is going to be different.”The decision comes after 17 days of drawn out negotiations, with the independents drawing some criticism recently for their protracted decision-making.With the support of the independents, Julia Gillard has the support of the necessary 76 MPs to claim majority in the House of Representatives. Earlier today, Queensland independent Bob Katter announced that he was backing the Coalition to form a minority government, though his decision would have been different if Kevin Rudd was leading Labor.Labor’s victory means that the travel and tourism industry will miss out on much of the AU$90 million pledged by Coalition leader Tony Abbott in the lead up to the election.last_img read more

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Silversea bodes luxurious educational expeditions

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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Expedition cruising is more than just a water-excursion, Silversea Expeditions director Conrad Combrink told e-Travel Blackboard, describing the growing fad as a way of making “people’s dreams come true”.The new educational and adventurous travel has attracted up to 80 percent new business for the luxury cruising group and according to the company’s expedition cruises director, some clientele are willing to save for years to embark on the exotic experience.“The expedition side of the company has been growing consistently since the beginning,” Mr Combrink told e-Travel Blackboard.Australia is the company’s second largest market in the Asia Pacific and according to the director, the company has successfully filled every single birth to the Antarctica as well as its recently launched exhibition in West Africa. “It is not necessarily just Antarctica and the Arctic that is growing because the fact is we only operate in Antarctica in November to February,” he said.“People are becoming more aware that expedition cruising offers unique destinations all over the world.The key feature attracting customers to the Silversea exhibition experience, according to Mr Combrink is the educational aspect of an expedition cruise, with the promise of Silversea luxury.“It’s a different approach and it’s a very satisfying and rewarding experience to be on an expedition cruise,” he explained.“Expedition destinations are not necessarily new to cruising, most of the places that we go to have been cruised before but it’s how we deliver these destinations that sets Silversea apart from others.”The cruise company has handpicked destination specialists to work with the company, transforming the experience from entertaining to educational, hired 121 crew to cater to 130 guests, included a butler service, wine service, hotel staff and complimentary shore excursions.Mr Combrink added that the company has also added a free-style sailing approach which is also working to divert customers to the travel group.No two embarkations are identical with Silversea organising flexible itineraries allowing the on board vibe to drive the direction of the trip.“The itineraries are unstructured, we know where we are going to be on embarkation and we are 99 percent sure where it is going to end,” Mr Combrink laughed.Despite increasing success, the company’s expedition director said there are no current plans to expand the company’s fleet and remained tight lipped on new destinations expected to be unveiled in September this year.“We are not going to release any specifics until we do the release in September… the one thing I can say is that our itineraries will always be fresh, the core product will stay, it will always be new and exciting,” he said.  However, to learn more on Silversea’s expeditions, destinations and on board hotel service travellers can follow ships on the company’s online daily Voyage Journals.“The reports section is where people can follow the expeditions and get a feel of what we’ve done,” Mr Combrink added.“People ask what trips are going to be like and it is very difficult to describe and so the journals are there to give people an idea.”last_img read more

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