JetBlue mixes up 5 year old boys flies them to wrong cities

first_imgJetBlue mixes up 5 year old boys, flies them to wrong cities Share Posted by Friday, September 2, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img The Canadian Press Tags: JetBlue NEW YORK — A woman in New York says she hasn’t stopped crying since an airline mistook her 5-year-old for another child and flew him to the wrong city.Maribel Martinez tells New York’s Daily News she was shocked when JetBlue staffers presented her with another little boy on Aug. 17 at Kennedy Airport.“No, this is not my child,” she recalled telling JetBlue employees. “I was freaking out.”Her lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, said that child was supposed to be in Boston. Instead, Martinez’s son, Andy, was sent there and it took hours for the airline to figure out where he was and return him home safely.“I thought he was kidnapped,” said Martinez. “I thought I would never see him again.”Both unaccompanied 5-year-old boys had boarded in the Dominican Republic. Martinez said her son was wearing a wristband with his name on it. But the other child was carrying Andy’s passport.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsThe boy who was mistakenly flown to New York was safely returned to Boston, the airline said. JetBlue is reviewing how the mix-up occurred.“Upon learning of the error, our teams in JFK and Boston immediately took steps to assist the children in reaching their correct destinations,” the airline said in a statement. “While the children were always under the care and supervision of JetBlue crew members, we realize this situation was distressing for their families.”Martinez flew with her son July 28 for the family vacation; she returned home to Manhattan a week later, leaving Andy with relatives. In buying his return ticket, she paid an extra $100 fee for a JetBlue representative to escort him onto the plane.Martinez said it took more than three hours for the airline to track down Andy in Boston. When it put her on the phone with him, he said, “Mami, they put me on another plane,” she told the newspaper.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthThe airline put Andy on a flight to Kennedy Airport that same day, and JetBlue refunded Martinez $475 for Andy’s return ticket and also gave the family $2,100 in credit.last_img read more

Forbes names Sunwing Travel Group one of Canadas top employers

first_img Monday, February 27, 2017 Tags: Sunwing Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — The Sunwing Travel Group has been named one of Canada’s 300 Best Employers by global media company Forbes.Forbes surveyed over 8,000 Canadian employees, including 81% full-timers, working for companies with at least 500 people, to rate their willingness to recommend their own companies on a scale of one to 10. Those who took part in the survey were consulted anonymously through several online access panels.“We believe investing in our employees is vital and are extremely pleased to be included in this list,” said Stephen Hunter, President and CEO of Sunwing Travel Group. “The Sunwing Travel Group has grown and expanded dramatically over the years and we attribute this growth and success to the passion and dedication of our team.”The Sunwing Travel Group now employs almost 17,000 people internationally and has been included on the PROFIT 500 list for the last 12 years consecutively.The company recently launched a new user-friendly HR portal to provide employees access to their payroll and benefits. Employees working at the company’s headquarters in Toronto, recently extended and refurbished, get free parking and a subsidized staff restaurant and coffee house. Sunwing is also the only airline to reward employees with confirmed flight passes for travelling to and from any of Sunwing’s destinations domestically and internationally, plus staff members receive discounted rates at certain hotels and resorts, as well as selected excursions. Friends and family members of Sunwing employees also benefit from travel promotions.center_img Share Forbes names Sunwing Travel Group one of Canada’s top employers Travelweek Group last_img read more

More lift means record number of Canadians heading to The Bahamas

first_img Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >> More lift means record number of Canadians heading to The Bahamas NASSAU — For the first time in 10 years arrivals into the biggest airport in The Bahamas have surpassed pre-recession travel levels and much of the growth is being fuelled by the Canadian market.Some 151,454 passengers landed at Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport in December 2017, and another 140,314 in January 2018, the largest numbers since the pre-recession holidays of 2007/2008.December’s increase was the highest in a single month, up nearly 15,000 over the second-best year a decade earlier. Preliminary results for March show a year-over-year increase of 24%.Several factors are credited for the spike, including an increase in airlift, the return of Sunwing Airlines, the strengthening of the Canadian dollar and a brutally cold winter in the U.S. northeast and Canada.Tourism officials also credit a marketing and promotional ramp-up by Ministry of Tourism and destination partners, especially in Canada and specific markets in the U.S. and U.K.“Canada is driving growth in international arrivals all on its own,” said Jan Knowles, VP, Marketing and Commercial Development.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaCanada has led the impact on the higher numbers with both WestJet and Air Canada seeing significant growth in their passenger numbers this season and capacity on flights averaging 89%, says Knowles.The bitter cold and a change in flight times help account for the Canadian boost.The so-called Baha Mar factor is yet to be quantified but officials report that nearly every U.S. airline has added seats in anticipation of increased demand driven by marketing of the new luxury resort and casino.The much-delayed US$4.2 billion beachfront Baha Mar opened its doors in April 2017 with the debut of the Grand Hyatt Baha.In late 2016, almost exactly two years after its planned launch date, Baha Mar Resort was sold to Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited (CTFE) for a reported US$3.5 billion. Baha Mar was initially scheduled to open in December 2014.The SLS Baha Mar hotel is the latest opening at Baha Mar, making its debut in November 2017.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaOverall, a 15% increase is projected in non-U.S. international seat capacity through June 2018.More than 3.3 million passengers pass through LPIA every year with the airport serving 55 destinations via 24 airlines.center_img Travelweek Group Friday, March 23, 2018 Tags: Bahamas, Trend Watchlast_img read more

As US air travel stalls Trump agrees to halt shutdown temporarily

first_imgAs U.S. air travel stalls, Trump agrees to halt shutdown temporarily Friday, January 25, 2019 Share WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is endorsing a temporary end to the longest-ever government shutdown in the United States, just as his standoff with Democrats is being felt by air travellers north of the border. Trump says the two sides have reached a deal on a so-called continuing resolution, which would ensure the government has the money to continue operating until Feb. 15, and that workers will receive back pay as soon as possible. The long-awaited breakthrough – the government has been shut down since Dec. 22 – comes on the same day that two major U.S. airports were forced to slow the pace of arrivals and departures due to a shortage of air-traffic controllers. Several WestJet and Air Canada flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International in New Jersey were cancelled or delayed by as much as 90 minutes after the Federal Aviation Administration announced it was dealing with a spike in air-traffic controllers calling in sick. The FAA, which urged travellers to check with airlines about possible flight delays, said it was managing the impact by calling in staff, rerouting traffic and allowing more space between flight departures. Air traffic controllers are among the federal employees who are required to work without pay as a result of the partial government shutdown, the result of Trump’s dispute with Congress over funding for his southern border wall, forcing some 800,000 government workers to stay home or forgo wages. On Jan. 24 lawmakers on Capitol Hill rejected a pair of bills designed to temporarily end the shutdown – one from the White House and one from the Democrats, who are staunchly opposed to granting Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding. Tags: Government Shutdown, Trump, USA By: The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Environmental group drops bottle bomb sculpture on downtown San José

first_imgNo related posts. Facebook Comments A view from below the missile sculpture. Artist Francesco Bracci used 8,000 plastic bottles to make his missile sculpture. A 40-foot tall missile disrupted Monday morning in the Avenida Central shopping district in downtown San José.An environmental group, Preserve Planet, created the 12-meter high sculpture to highlight the environmental damage of the missile’s material — plastic bottles.The sculpture’s artist, Francesco Bracci, oversaw the installation of his piece above the walkway on Avenida Central, near the National Theater. A crane and a crew cordoned off half of the avenue, while the missile suspended over pedestrians with the help of wires attached to buildings on both sides of the street.“It’s a direct statement,” Bracci said in an interview. “It is a direct bombardment, a bombardment that affects beaches, seas and everything.”Bracci said the organization’s goal is to convince Costa Ricans to pressure businesses to switch from plastic bottles to glass bottles.“Recycling is one option, but it is not the only option,” Bracci said. “Reusing is the No. 1 option.”The site of the sculpture is one of the major shopping centers in Costa Rica, attracting thousands each day to its clothing stores, beauty salons and restaurants.Bracci, from the San José’s southwestern suburb of Escazú, created a similar work to highlight air pollution. His “Urban Lung” sculpture sits behind a row of bus stops in the central neighborhood of La California, only slightly east of the site of his latest work.In Costa Rica, the options for a consumer to recycle, even glass bottles, are few. Trash pickup does not have options for separating recyclable material from garbage such as in the United States. The government does not sort through trash to separate recyclables as in some other Latin American countries, such as Argentina.Páginas Verdes, a yellow pages for eco-conscious consumers, has a posted list of recycling centers in Costa Rica — called “centros de acopio” in Spanish.Luis Marín, regional coordinator for Preserve Planet, said projects like the giant missile are aimed at public education.“If the people push for returnable bottles, it will get businesses to change,” Marín said in a phone interview.The missile sculpture is composed of 8,000 plastic bottles, Marín said, only a fraction of the estimated 666 million consumed by Costa Ricans every year.Marín’s group will continue to plant striking images to affect the public’s perception, and their next project aims to address air pollution in Costa Rican schools. Alberto Fontlast_img read more

Chinchilla claims Costa Rica will be capital of Latin America

first_imgCosta Rica is set to receive the presidency pro tempore of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), making the Central American country the “capital” of Latin America, according to President Laura Chinchilla.Chinchilla said the regional leadership role was an important step toward advancing Costa Rica’s international standing and forging new relationships for the region with major economic powers like Russia, China, the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council.The president said Costa Rica would become the “capital of Latin America,” serving as the region’s international spokesperson.As a young organization – it’s only three years old – CELAC has no big policy accomplishments under its belt, but Chinchilla highlighted its role in building regional consensus and conflict resolution.“Latin America has been able to come together on its own as a community of nations with enormous diversity, and despite this, has been able to converse, dialogue and resolve problems,” Chinchilla said, citing the group’s work in peace talks between the Colombian government and  FARC guerrillas.Chinchilla will accept the rotating leadership position of the 33-nation body during its second annual meeting Jan. 28-29 in Havana, Cuba.Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo said Costa Rica would focus its presidency on climate change, “South-South” cooperation, nuclear disarmament, food security, and post-2015 development goals, as laid out by the United Nations. Facebook Comments Related posts:Latin American summit opens in Cuba with attack on US spying Solidarity aside, Costa Rica has little to offer Venezuela Costa Rica announces its own international aid policy Daniel Ortega needs to be the center of attention, say Nicaragua’s oppositionlast_img read more

Mexican officials exhume 12 bodies in two clandestine pits

first_imgACAPULCO, Mexico – Authorities have dug up 12 bodies in two clandestine graves in Mexico’s southwestern Guerrero state, a region plagued by drug violence, authorities said Monday.State prosecutor Inaki Blanco told AFP that forensic investigators exhumed the remains on Sunday in two villages near Taxco, a colonial city known for its silver.Authorities are still digging to check whether any other bodies were buried in the area.The identities of those found are unknown, and authorities are investigating how long ago they were buried. The graves were found by soldiers late Saturday.Authorities have regularly found bodies in mass graves across Mexico in recent years, often linked to drug cartel wars or violence against migrants on their way to the United States.In June 2010, 55 bodies were found in a mass grave next to a mine in Taxco.More recently, 63 bodies were exhumed from pits in the western state of Jalisco late last year. Facebook Comments Related posts:Mexican authorities to confirm if missing students among the dead in a recently discovered mass grave New probe again rejects gov’t claim that missing Mexican students were incinerated UN urges Mexico government to find 43 missing students Mexico mayor accused of ordering attack on missing studentslast_img read more

Two reporters shot dead third injured in Guatemala

first_imgRelated posts:Organized crime and local power struggles blamed in murder of three Guatemalan journalists 26 lawyers have been murdered in Guatemala in the past 3 years Guatemala’s former vice president charged in customs fraud ring, ordered held in prison Guatemalan police ordered to remove Spanish Embassy protesters ‘dead or alive,’ witness testifies Facebook Comments GUATEMALA CITY,Guatemala — Gunmen shot dead two Guatemalan reporters and injured a third Tuesday in the southern city of Mazatenango.Witnesses said men on motorbikes killed Danilo López, a reporter at Prensa Libre, and Nuevo Mundo Radio’s Federico Salazar in the city 170 kilometers (105 miles) south of the capital. They also wounded reporter Marvin Tunches, local media said.López had been receiving threats after he reported on corruption in the area, according to Prensa Libre’s chairman Miguel Ángel Méndez.Marvin Robledo, the director of Nuevo Mundo, said the station was in shock and urged authorities to bring the killers to justice.Guatemala’s media do their work against the challenging backdrop of worsening violent crime, much of it related to clashing rival drug organizations.Dozens of Guatemalan journalists marched in the capital and other cities around the country on Wednesday to denounce the killings. Some 50 journalists protested in front of the Interior Ministry to demand that authorities bring those responsible for the crime to justice and provide protection for reporters.International organizations, including the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also condemned the killings on Wednesday.Guatemalan police said they captured one of the suspects accused of carrying out the armed attack on the reporters.Interior Minister Mauricio López told journalists that authorities were searching the homes of the mayors of Mazatenango and San Miguel Panán, and the former mayor of Santo Domingo as part of the investigation.Nobel Peace Prize winner and indigenous leader Rigoberta Menchú also condemned the attack against the journalists. She said Guatemala “is bleeding with violence, most of it a consequence of corruption, authoritarianism, cronyism, nopotism and injustice.”The Guatemalan Prosecutor’s Office said it recieved 106 reports of assaults against journalists last year. More than two-thirds of them named public officials as the perpetrators.In the past ten years, 26 journalists have been killed in Guatemala, 4 of them in 2013, according to the Guatemalan news agency Cerigua.An average of 16 people are murdered in Guatemala every day, according to officials.last_img read more

Miguel Facussé is dead What does that mean for the people of

first_imgMiguel Facussé Barjum died late Monday just two months shy of his 91st birthday. Photo by Gustavo Bueso/Via FlickrThis Sunday, Hondurans will mark the 6th anniversary of a military coup that catapulted the Central American nation into becoming the region’s murder capital – with targeted killings of journalists, political activists and labor leaders rising to unprecedented levels. One of the alleged orchestrators of that coup, Miguel Facussé Barjum, died late this past Monday night of causes not yet disclosed, just two months shy of his 91st birthday. His death was first announced on the website of the consumer products manufacturing company he founded in July 1960, Dinant Chemicals of Central America, S.A. At the time of his death, Facussé still served as its executive president and is reputed to have been one of the richest men in the country ­– and perhaps its most ruthless. His sudden death may mean that many of the murders and other crimes of which he has been accused will remain unpunished.Although a death at that age is not unusual, it is odd that no cause of death has been reported in any of the press. But then, Miguel Facussé did not live a “usual” life. He was born in Tegucigalpa on Aug. 14, 1924, the seventh of nine children. His parents were Christian Palestinian immigrants to Honduras. He went to Notre Dame University in the United States, where, according to the biography on his company website, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He later moved to Costa Rica where he served for a time as general manager of Taca Airlines. Shortly thereafter, he moved back to Tegucigalpa and launched Dinant Corporation.Facussé rapidly rose to political prominence in Honduras. His business tenacity, commended by some, meant that Facussé would stop at nothing in dealing with his opponents. His legacy is one of both business acumen and violence.A statement from his company called him “a pioneer with unflinching spirit”; that spirit often led to less than peaceful means, and he has been termed by many as “cold-blooded” and “ruthless.”In 2012, Facussé was accused of “crimes against humanity” in the International Criminal Court for his role in a bloody land conflict raging in northeastern Honduras between his company, Dinant, and the peasant farmers of the area. Dozens – and likely hundreds – of peasants and solidarity workers have been killed in that conflict. Most prominently, Facussé was accused of orchestrating the 2012 murder of human rights lawyer Antonio Trejo, who was working with displaced families and against Facussé in the lower Aguán River valley, also known as Bajo Aguán.In an interview with The Los Angeles Times he talked about the accusations that he was behind the killing of Trejo. Facussé reportedly told the Times reporter, “I probably had reasons to kill him.” However, he denied it, continuing, “but I’m not a killer.” Via WikileaksFacussé has been implicated in many other extra-legal activities as well. Wikileaks cables released in 2011 show that the U.S. Embassy in Honduras, as early as 2004, believed Facussé was also involved in drug trafficking. The media group Reporters Without Borders has also called him a “predator” for his role in a crackdown on opposition and grassroots media in Honduras.Community Radio station KGNU in Boulder, Colorado, was one of the first news outlets in the United States to report Facussé’s death. Their reporter had been fired on by a security guard at one of the palm oil plantations while traveling with a human rights delegation to the region. These plantations are where the majority of the violence of which Facussé is accused has occurred. Much of the population of northeastern Honduras are Garifuna and face cultural and racial discrimination, as well. Dinant Corporation.At the time of the June 2009 military coup that deposed elected President Manuel Zelaya, Miguel Facussé – whose nephew Carlos Roberto Flores Facussé was a Honduran president from 1998-2002 – was very supportive. His private plane was even used to illegally transport Zelaya’s foreign minister out of the country against her will. Facussé, along with other business leaders opposed to Zelaya’s reforms, called him a “puppet” of Venezuela’s former President Hugo Chávez, and said that Zelaya was “bad for business” in Honduras.Facussé’s Dinant Corporation has been the largest producer of palm oil in Honduras since it began production in 2006. The oil — used in everyday foodstuffs as well as in beauty products — is made from the processed fruit of African palm trees. In order to successfully produce substantial amounts of oil, Facussé needed land for planting.Beginning in 1992 as part of a nationwide privatization campaign, Facussé, along with a few other Honduran businessmen, began to acquire land in the lower Aguán region in the northeastern part of Honduras. He came to control over 22,000 acres of palm oil plantations. The land was previously in the hands of peasant farmer cooperatives that claim these “purchases” were made through intimidation, bribery and coercion. For this reason, many peasant farmers in the area still believe the land is rightfully theirs and they are struggling to regain control of it. A coalition of campesino organizations meeting in Bajo Aguán, Honduras, in 2013. Photo by Cristalyne BellSince the 1990s, peasant farmers of the area have held rallies, marches and even occupied the land, seizing control of parts of the plantations – sometimes for weeks at a time. However, usually, these peasants are violently removed and their movements repressed by police friendly to Facussé or by Facussé’s own private security guards. Houses in small communities of displaced farmers have been bulldozed and burned.Ninety-two people were killed in these land disputes between 2009 and 2012, according to a 2014 report by Human Rights Watch. That number is likely much higher. Many more have been subject to non-lethal violence and torture. Almost exclusively, the peasants targeted have been part of organized peasant resistance movements in the area.According to a 2013 report in Dollars & Sense Magazine, Facussé’s security guards are believed to have been directly involved in many of these deaths. The body of Gregorio Chávez, a peasant from the community of La Panamá, was found in an unmarked grave deep inside one of Facussé’s palm plantations. The body showed signs of torture before death.These crimes against local farmers have been carried out with impunity and to such a level that past-President Porfirio Lobo called the situation a “national security crisis.” According to the 2014 Human Rights Watch report, of the 73 killings linked to land conflicts that the Honduran government recorded, only seven had been brought to trial. Three youth walk away from the grave of Gregorio Chávez near the community of La Panamá, Honduras, in 2013. Photo by Cristalyne BellAs a result of his involvement in this violent conflict, Facussé lost several international development loans over the years. In 2014, the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) noted the violence in Aguán as well as Facussé’s probable involvement, and implemented an action plan to remedy the situation before more loans are made. U.S. Rep. Howard Berman mentioned Facussé in a letter to then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying U.S. aid should be withheld until he is investigated for potential human rights violations.Although Facussé was the figurehead of violence and impunity in Bajo Aguán, what impact his death will have on the region remains unclear. Gilberto Ríos, former country director of FIAN International, who worked closely with peasant farmers in Aguán until two months ago, told The Tico Times emphatically that nothing will change as a result of Facussé’s death.“In [Facussé’s] lands, the campesinos enter and are then dislocated by the police and Facussé’s private guards, who are permanently in the area. But that will continue with Facussé or without Facussé,” Ríos said. “His matters will be handled by his executives and surely by his children.”Although a successor has not yet been named, Facussé is survived by several children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.A new feature-length film, “Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguán Valley,” will be launched on June 28th and available for free online viewing for two weeks.Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley | OFFICIAL TRAILER from Makila, Coop on Vimeo.–Sarah Blaskey is a freelance journalist based in Costa Rica. Her 2013 article “Palm Oil Oppression” appeared in the magazine Dollars & Sense. Norman Stockwell is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and frequently contributes to The Tico Times. His reporting on the Honduran presidential election of 2013 can be found in The Progressive magazine and the Capital Times. Facebook Comments Related posts:Is Honduras heading for the privatization of parts of its territory? Honduran judges sacked for opposing 2009 coup seek reparations at Inter-American Court of Human Rights In 2nd day of trial, Honduran judges say they acted in defense of human rights Honduras brings homicide rate downlast_img read more

Argentine leader Equality as important as liberty

first_imgBUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Argentina’s president personally delivered the nation’s first identity cards on Monday to people who legally switched their genders under a law that sets a global precedent.President Cristina Fernandez said she’s proud of setting a new global standard with the gender identity law, which overwhelmingly passed congress, enabling anyone to change their gender without first having to win approval from judges or doctors. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Sponsored Stories Argentina is showing the world that equality is just as important as liberty, she said.“What sets us apart is that we care not only about ourselves and our immediate circle, but about others as well,” she said. “Today we’re setting a new standard for equality and legality.”Fernandez handed out the new identity cards to a half-dozen people who were born one sex but now identify as another. She also gave new cards to several children of lesbian parents who couldn’t be properly identified before.(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 Comments   Share   center_img Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

Syria war tipping Mideast balance toward Sunnis

first_img The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Iran is also facing increased pressure over its nuclear program, which the United States and its allies believe is intended to produce nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge. The U.S. has hiked up sanctions, hitting Iran’s vital oil revenues and straining its economy. Israel has talked of military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.The Shiite militant group Hezbollah, meanwhile, still holds a dominant position in Lebanon. But even that is being challenged.Only a few years ago, Hezbollah’s leader Nasrallah had emerged as a hero even among many Sunnis across the Middle East after his fighters battled Israel to a near stalemate in a destructive 2006 war in southern Lebanon. But his backing for Assad has tainted him among many across the region, and among opponents at home. Regional news channels like Al-Jazeera no longer carry his speeches live and in full as they once did.Nasrallah, perhaps in search of relevance, warned on Friday in an 80-minute speech of a harsh and punishing response by Iran if it were attacked by Israel. He warned that if Israel should attack Lebanon, his guerrilla group with its rocket arsenal could turn the lives of millions of Israel to “real hell.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Associated PressBEIRUT (AP) – Not long ago, Arabs everywhere listened when the leader of Hezbollah spoke. Sheik Hassan Nasrallah’s prominence, bolstered by his Lebanese guerrilla force’s battles against Israel, was a sign of the rising regional influence of Shiite Muslims and overwhelmingly Shiite Iran. Now, his speeches don’t necessarily make front pages even in Lebanon.The change is emblematic of how the bloody conflict in Syria, now in its 18th month, has brought a shift in the Middle East’s sectarian power balance. For much of the past few years, Shiites were surging in power across the region, based on the central alliance between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, with close relations to Shiites who took power in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. Comments   Share   The “Shiite bloc” has suffered a number of reversals amid the Syria conflict.The Palestinian militant group Hamas moved its political leadership out of the Syrian capital Damascus, costing Assad the leverage he had long enjoyed by hosting the group. Now Hamas, which had long received Iranian largesse, has shifted allegiances to energy-rich Qatar, which is also a backer of Syria’s opposition.Iraq, where the Shiite majority rose to power following Saddam’s 2003 ouster, is firmly in Iran’s sphere of influence, but the Shiite-led government there is isolated, facing serious challenges to its authority from the Sunnis and Kurds, who between them combine for some 40 percent of the population.Attacks blamed on Sunni militants there have further eroded the government’s authority. Sunni-led Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, continue to shun the Baghdad government because of its ties with Iran and its perceived marginalization of Iraq’s Sunnis.Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies last year also banded together to help crush an uprising by Bahrain’s Shiite majority demanding greater rights under the tiny Gulf island nation’s Sunni leadership. The uprising _ which threatened to turn into an Arab Spring-style revolt _ raised Saudi fears of greater Iranian influence on the doorstep of eastern Saudi Arabia, site of much of its oil resources and the center for its Shiite minority.center_img But now the region’s Sunni-led powers are appearing more confident, encouraged by the prospect that the Sunni-led rebellion could bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, dominated by members of the Shiite offshoot sect of Alawites. Assad’s fall would cost Iran a priceless foothold in the heart of the Arab world. Hezbollah would lose a bastion of support and a conduit via Syria for vital Iranian weapon supplies.Already, Iran and Hezbollah have seen their reputations damaged by their support for Assad in the face of the uprising.“Iran’s influence in the Arab world has taken a big hit recently,” said Alireza Nader, a Middle East expert from the Rand Corporation. Iran’s and Hezbollah’s support of the Assad regime, he said, contradicts their support for Arab Spring revolts elsewhere. “This policy makes Iran, and Hezbollah, appear cynical if not hypocritical.”Further boosting the Sunnis, the wave of uprisings around the Middle East since early 2011 brought greater political influence to Sunni Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt and Tunisia.The announcement Saturday that Egypt’s new, Muslim Brotherhood-rooted president, Mohammed Morsi, will visit Iran on Aug. 30 _ the first such visit by an Egyptian leader since the mid-1970s _ likely reflects the growing confidence that Iran’s status is damaged and that Sunni Arab nations can steer the agenda. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, says Hezbollah is no doubt making preparations for survival without Assad to support it.“Hezbollah has to face a really huge challenge if the Syrian regime falls, but I cannot imagine a group like Hezbollah waiting for this to happen and not actively preparing itself for that eventuality,” he said. “But it is clear that both Hezbollah and Nasrallah have lost some stature as a result of the Syrian conflict.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Egypt has long shunned Iran and in recent years, former President Hosni Mubarak had joined with Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia in touting Tehran’s growing influence as the main threat to the Middle East. Morsi, who was elected this year in the wake of Mubarak’s ouster, has called for Assad’s removal and last month pledged Egypt’s “protection” of what he called Saudi Arabia’s “guardianship” of Sunni Islam against outside threats, a thinly veiled reference to Iran.But at the same time, Morsi’s Brotherhood has suggested it is aiming for a new policy of engaging with Iran and influencing it. During a recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Morsi proposed the formation of a contact group of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey to mediate a solution in Syria. The proposal may have been largely symbolic, but Brotherhood officials touted it as a return of Egypt’s regional impact “that it had lost under Mubarak.”“Sunni Arab countries are pushing back to make up for the losses they suffered after 2003,” said prominent Iraqi analyst Hadi Jalo. “With the civil war in Syria and the isolation of the government in Iraq, the Shiite tide is retreating.”last_img read more

AP Photos Nigeria celebrates Afrobeat legend Fela

first_img Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 0 Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too Through the haze of marijuana smoke, top artists in Nigeria, including Asa and Tiwa Savage, performed on stage. Most raised their fists above their heads, mirroring the famous image of the singer who called for pan-Africanism and human rights in his country when many were cowed into silence by a string of military rulers.Fela created Afrobeat in the late 1960s, mixing the rhythm of jazz, the catchiness of pop music and traditions of African mysticism into 10-minute-long songs riffing on politics and sex in a nation only recently freed from colonialism. Many in Nigeria, at times a very religious and conservative nation, largely shied away from Fela over his heavily publicized sexual appetite and marijuana use. However, the singer has received more attention in recent years following a smash Broadway musical about his life.Fela died in 1997 of complications brought on by AIDS.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Associated PressLAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Nigeria celebrated the memory of late Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti this past week as his family put on a series of concerts featuring singers and artists channeling his funky style.Felabration, as the concert series is known, began with the opening of the Kalakuta Museum, which offers a glimpse of how Fela lived in his former home. Thousands came to the New Afrika Shrine, the performance hall where his son Femi Kuti performs each week. 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

Media blackout as Bush speaks in Cayman Islands

first_imgGEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (AP) – Organizers of an investment conference in the Cayman Islands say they have been forbidden from disclosing any details about a speech by former President George W. Bush in the offshore financial haven, an event spokesman said Thursday.The keynote speech by the former president is “totally closed to all journalists,” and conference organizers are forbidden from discussing any aspect of it even in general terms, spokesman Dan Kneipp said. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How do cataracts affect your vision? Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019 “We’ve got a complete blackout on discussing the Bush details,” Kneipp told The Associated Press.The restrictions were imposed by the former president’s staff, he said. Bush was scheduled to speak Thursday evening at The Ritz-Carlton on Grand Cayman Island.“It’s totally their decision,” Kneipp said of the decision to close the event to the media.Sponsors of the two-day conference include KPMG, a company that provides tax advisory services, and Deutsche Bank. It costs $4,000 to attend and other speakers include billionaire Richard Branson.Cayman Islands officials are proud of the British territory’s role as an offshore finance center. But members of the U.S. Congress and advocates for changes in tax laws have accused corporations and wealthy individuals of using so-called financial havens to improperly avoid taxes.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Red Cross 3 workers kidnapped in Yemen released

first_img Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) GENEVA (AP) – Three Red Cross workers who were kidnapped by armed men in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan have been safely released, the organization said Thursday.The three staff members for the International Committee of the Red Cross had been held since Monday morning when the armed men stopped their ICRC-marked vehicle in the vicinity of Jaar, near the southern port city of Aden, the ICRC said in a statement. The two international staff and a locally hired employee were on their way back from a field trip. Cedric Schweizer, who heads the ICRC delegation in Yemen, said the three staff members are now safely back in Aden, but did not provide more specifics on the identities of the kidnappers or the victims, or how their release came about.“We are relieved and extremely happy to have our colleagues back with us,” Schweizer said, who thanked “all those who gave us their support unconditionally with the aim of getting our colleagues back safe and sound.”Yemen’s president warned last week that the al-Qaida branch in the country was expanding and using assassinations and abductions of foreigners as a way to challenge the central authority. ICRC has been operating in Yemen since 1962, delivering aid for civilians affected by conflicts in the impoverished Arab nation that has struggled to beat back al-Qaida militants and the country’s political divisions.The Geneva-based humanitarian organization has more than 200 staff in the country, including 50 international employees, working in Sanaa, Aden, Saada, Amran and Taiz. They provide health care, deliver relief assistance and work to improve water supplies.In Jaar, ICRC has a surgical team providing support to the surgical unit of a general hospital. ICRC delegates also visit detainees and help Yemeni families keep in touch with loved ones detained abroad. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Nigeria Pilot of crashed plane ignored warnings

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – A preliminary investigation into a plane crash that killed at least 13 people in Nigeria indicated Friday that the crew were concerned about the aircraft even before departure and that the captain took off despite continuous automated voice warnings and the first officer’s suggestion they abort the flight.Associated Airline’s Brazilian-made Embraer-120 aircraft “impacted the ground in a nose-down near 90-degree right bank” after an apparent aerodynamic stall, said the report from Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Then the first officer noted the aircraft was moving slowly. Four seconds later another automated warning cautioned “Take off flaps, auto feather,” indicating the propeller was not producing any thrust.The first officer asked if the take-off should be aborted. The captain indicated they should continue.The first pilot did not make the customary calls of the speed at which a decision is made to abort or continue take-off.Instead, “the first officer stated `gently’, which we believe reflects concern, that the aircraft is not performing normally and therefore needs to be rotated very gently so as not to aerodynamically stall the aircraft.”Ten seconds later, the stall warning sounded in the cockpit.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Flight 361 burst into flames meters (yards) from tanks at a fuel depot, minutes after taking off Oct. 3 from Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. It was carrying 13 passengers and seven crew members. Officials have given differing death tolls between 13 and 16 and have not said if the pilot and his first officer survived.DNA tests are being carried out on the remains of victims, indicating some were burned beyond recognition.“Crew decision-making and training with respect to proceeding with the flight despite concerns regarding the aircraft’s suitability for flight” is one area of investigation, Friday’s report said.Investigators also are focusing on “mechanical and electronic engine control issues” with the right engine and right engine propeller systems and aural warnings about the auto-feather and flap settings required for take-off.The report does not elaborate on what the crew said before departure, saying the investigation has yet “to determine the specific nature of the crew’s concerns.”It was compiled in part from the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.The first warning came four seconds after engine power was advanced to begin the take-off roll. “Take-off Flaps” was the automated warning suggesting the flaps were not in the correct position for takeoff. But the crew did not appear surprised and carried on even as the warnings continued.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Check your body, save your life Comments   Share   Top Stories Sponsored Stories last_img

Iranian official nuclear talks need new approach

first_img“We have both seen the nuclear issue as a zero sum game,” he said. “I hope we have come to an understanding that the approach was wrong.”The rhetoric is consistent with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s outreach to the West since he was elected in June. Zarif leads Iran’s negotiating team that is set to return to talks in Geneva next week with a six-nation group: the permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany.The West and others fear that Iran could eventually produce a nuclear weapon. Iran insists it only seeks reactors for energy and medical use.On Friday, Zarif was on the panel with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and flew afterward for meetings in Ankara with Davutoglu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.The relationship between the two countries has been strained over the civil war in Syria, with Iran backing the government of Bashar Assad and Turkey supporting the rebels. Davutoglu and Zarif each said it was in both countries’ interests to contain the sectarian tension sparked by the conflict in Syria.“As two important countries of the region, Iran and Turkey are working toward preventing ethnic and sectarian rifts,” Zarif said at a joint news conference in Ankara. “We agree to work together against extremism, which is a great threat.” Top Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Patients with chronic pain give advicecenter_img ISTANBUL (AP) – Iran’s foreign minister said Friday that both Iran and the West need a new approach if negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program are to succeed.Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a conference on disarmament in Istanbul that a decade of failed negotiations has led to consequences neither side wanted. To Western dismay, Iran has drastically boosted its ability to enrich uranium. To Iran’s detriment, international sanctions have hurt its economy. Men’s health affects baby’s health too New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories last_img read more

US tells Okinawa governor that new airfield is only solution

first_imgTOKYO (AP) — U.S. officials in Washington told the visiting governor of Okinawa that there is no alternative but to build an airfield for the Marines on his southern Japanese island.Gov. Takeshi Onaga, who was elected last November on a platform of opposing the airfield, is in Washington this week to plead his case.State and Defense department officials told him on Wednesday that the plan to construct the airfield “is the only solution that addresses operational, political, financial and strategic concerns,” according to a State Department news release. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The airfield would replace the existing Marine Corps Futenma air station that all sides want closed because it is in a populated area of Okinawa in southern Japan. The new airfield would be built largely on reclaimed land as an extension of the U.S. military’s existing Camp Schwab.The plan has drawn growing protests in recent weeks from residents and other opponents who think that Okinawa bears too much of the burden of the U.S. military presence in Japan, and want the operations moved off the island completely.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Hungarys Orban says barrier on border with Serbia possible

first_imgBUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Hungarian government will consider “all options,” including a physical barrier on the southern border with Serbia, to stem the increased flow of migrants, the prime minister said Friday.Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that “migration is dangerous” and that the government will hear the interior minister’s recommendations on the issue next week.Hungary has received more than 50,000 asylum requests so far this year, compared to 43,000 in 2014 and 2,157 in 2012. About 70 percent of the refuges now are from Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Four benefits of having a wireless security system Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories Orban said the governments of Hungary and Serbia would hold a joint session in early July, including discussions on migration.“I don’t consider it right that they send the refugees to us,” Orban said on state radio. “We think they should be stopped within Serbia.”Orban said the European Union should fund facilities outside its borders where migrants wishing to come to Europe can stay until their cases are evaluated.“The problem needs to be handled outside” the EU, Orban said.Human rights groups have been critical of the government for its anti-immigration billboard campaign, as well as a provocative questionnaire on the issue sent out to voters. It links migration and terrorism and asks whether they agree with the government on supporting Hungarian families instead migrants.“The billboards are part of a hate campaign trying to turn the popular mood against migrants and intimidate the tens of thousands of foreigners living in Hungary,” said Gabor Gyulai, refugee program coordinator of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.Orban said Friday that the billboards with messages like — “If you come to Hungary, you cannot take away Hungarians’ jobs” — were meant to deter human traffickers and economic migrants. Comments   Share   last_img read more

Air Canada wins the Best Airline North America at the 2010 Skytrax

first_imgAir Canada has been ranked ‘Best Airline North America’ in a worldwide survey of more than 17 million air travelers at the Skytrax World Airline Awards. The survey was conducted by independent research firm Skytrax between July 2009 and April 2010 using over 38 different aspects of passenger satisfaction to rank airlines’ product and service standards. This annual survey is regarded in the air transportation industry as a primary benchmarking tool for passenger satisfaction levels of airlines throughout the world.”It is an honour to once again be acknowledged by air travelers around the world as the best airline in North America,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada. “This most recent poll of 17 million airline passengers underscores our progress in providing our customers with a world class travel experience and an industry leading product. I am incredibly proud of our employees whose dedication and professionalism are recognized by this prestigious award. In effect passengers are recognizing the culture change underway at Air Canada and the excellent employee brand that has developed.” Air Canada has renewed its international and North American fleets with new Boeing 777 and Embraer aircraft.  Air Canada has completed a major refurbishment program of its existing fleets to offer all customers brand new seats and personal entertainment systems at each seat, fleet wide on North American and international routes.  New fleet-wide amenities include digital quality in-seat monitors with touch-screen controls offering a wide selection of audio and video on demand programming, standard in-seat power within reach of every customer and industry leading lie-flat beds in Executive First suites, Air Canada’s international business class service.  Montréal-based Air Canada provides scheduled and charter air transportation for passengers and cargo to more than 170 destinations on five continents. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, providing the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network for Canadian domestic, transborder and international travel. Source = Air Canadalast_img read more

Even crocs are in it to win at The Africa Safari Cos

first_imgAir Mauritius’ Marie-Lise L’Olive Niall from &Beyond concocting ‘Dawa’ Air Mauritius Country Manager Steven Palombo hands the prize over to The Africa Safari Co Marketing Manager Wayne Hamilton Hunting for the Big 5 Agents getting a few ‘hints’ The Africa Safari Co. and Air Mauritius this morning drew the names of some very lucky Aussie agents who have won a place in a much sought after educational to Africa and Mauritius flying Air Mauritius (MK).Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard from the MK Head office in Melbourne just after the draw, The Africa Safari Co. marketing manager Wayne Hamilton said he was looking forward to calling the winners who had attended the company’s travelling roadshow. The annual roadshow was a hit in Sydney, with agents telling e-Travel Blackboard that the event was one of the best they’d been to in a long time.“I was literally in tears of laughter,” one agent enthused.“There was a lot of information to get, but it was presented in a way that I would remember.”&Beyond took agents on a virtual game drive (complete with a personal ranger in the form of new Australasia sales manager Chris Tinkler) while The Africa Safari Co.’s own Mr Hamilton provided the soundtrack to a video showing a journey on board the Blue Train (think Dame Edna with a South African accent) – “Whooo. Chugga chugga chugga….” and so on.According to The Africa Safari Co. chief executive Susie Potter, performances aside, the strong agent response at all the roadshows across Australia was indicative of travellers’ interest in Africa.“If the agents are interested, they have clients who are interested,” she said.“Our forthcoming figures for 2011 are already looking really good, despite the economy and recent events.”Due to the ongoing and growing interest in the region, Ms Potter acknowledged the importance of getting agents current and relevant information, not forgetting of course getting agents into Africa.“Last year we did ten famils to Africa and this year we’re aiming to do ten to eleven.”Attendees of this year’s roadshow were in the draw to win one such familiarisation trip, flying Air Mauritius later this year. Winners are:Perth: Tonee-Lee from Carine TravelbugAdelaide: Eva Green from Phil Hoffman Travel in GlenelgMelbourne: Clare Phillips from Travel CounsellorsBrisbane: Jacqui Dunn from Discover Cruise and TravelSydney: Karen Kelly from Travelbookers Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more