No related posts. From the print editionVisit FueraJustoOrozco—Thousands of faces look out from the computer screen. The rows of faces go on and on. A woman with purple hair. A middle-aged dude in a cowboy hat. A young man kissing his girlfriend. There’s also Homer Simpson, Salvador Dalí and a parakeet. The photos are varying and relentless.But these 14,600 images – and counting – have something in common.The mugs make up the “Poné Tu Cara” (“Show Your Face”) project. The website www.FueraJustoOrozco.com, built by the San José-based online ad agency Big Web Noise, has provided an outlet for Costa Ricans irate with their government. “We were really shocked,” said Antonio Barrenechea, of Big Web Noise. “We thought in the beginning that if we got from 1,000 to 2,500 people on the app, it would be a huge success. We couldn’t believe that after that first weekend we had 4,000.”That stands as an extraordinary number for an idea dreamt up over cups of coffee one morning, and a website built in one day. But the site seems to fill a need. The page gives young, Internet-savvy Costa Ricans a place to sound off on a current event. “Fuera Justo Orozco” (“Out with Justo Orozco”) refers to an evangelical lawmaker who was selected as president of the Legislative Assembly’s Human Rights Commission on May 31(TT, June 1). Orozco has made comments deemed homophobic and sexist by critics. Last week, Orozco helped bury a bill extending economic rights to same-sex couples, adding that homosexuality is a sin that can be cured with prayer. His election sparked backlash among Costa Rican residents aghast at the idea that a conservative Christian is in charge of advocating legislation relating to gay rights and in vitro fertilization. A protest declared for Saturday morning in downtown San José (see box) will test the legitimacy of the indignation, as Orozco shows no desire to step down. But at this moment, FueraJustoOrozco.com has done an apt job of amassing outrage on the web.In a sharp, white-and-yellow font, the website declares, “If a signature is not enough, we’ll show our face.” (The signature refers to a previous online petition, which garnered 6,800 signees.) The bottom of the page reads: “We demand the immediate resignation of Justo Orozco as president of the Human Rights Commission of the Legislative Assembly.”Then a large button asks visitors to “poné tu cara” (place your face). Click the button and the site asks to connect with your Facebook profile to add your face to the collection of heads already on the site. The website’s launch has attracted international attention. In the first 48 hours, the appeal reached thousands of Facebook users. The majority came from Costa Rica, but hundreds of stopovers to the site arrived via the United States and Spain. Visitors from El Salvador and Mexico asked if the website could be redone for perceived injustices in their own countries. The site’s popularity caught the interest of organizers for AccessNow.org in London. The nonprofit group asked Big Web Noise to apply for an initiative that grants prizes of $20,000 to web developers that “use information technology to promote and enable human rights or deliver a social outcome.” Barrenechea, 34, said if they receive the money, the company plans to use it to turn the site into an open source code project that could be shared freely online. The project also has received mainstream attention in Costa Rica. Big Web Noise designer Cristian Cambronero has undertaken a media blitz. He’s given interviews to a plethora of news sites and TV stations.Cambronero has downplayed the role of the website in the movement, saying its purpose was simple and obvious: to mobilize and give a voice to an undercurrent of Costa Ricans that feel unrepresented by the government. “All the site really did was bring together a pre-existing culture of discontent and dissatisfaction,” Cambronero, 31, said. “What we did was channel this disgust and visualize it in the form of faces, which seems very powerful.”Cambronero hopes the government will pay attention. He believes the current generation of 20- and 30-year-olds will be the deciding factor in electing the next president in 2014. And yet that demographic has its issues overlooked by those in the assembly and the ruling government, he said.He’s tired of hearing critics dismiss equal rights for same-sex unions as an issue solely important to homosexuals. The images on the website and the rhetoric heard on social media reflect the diverse range and backgrounds of LGBT rights’ supporters.However, images on FuerzaJustoOrozco.com have one other commonality. The majority of the website’s visitors are between ages 18-34.Since the initial launch of Fuera Justo Orozco two weeks ago, the number of new headshots added has slowed down. The site appears as a static wall of faces, but the developers hope to do more with the site. Barrenechea said Big Web Noise would like to create more interactivity between the users of the site, such as ways to share messages or to organize protests – any idea that lets Costa Ricans express an opinion they feel is being ignored.Said Barrenechea: “We think it’s important that young people have opportunities to say to the guys who are in power, ‘We don’t like what you’re doing.’”Invisibles MarchEqual rights activists are planning their first organized protest against Justo Orozco’s election as president of the Human Rights Commission in the Legislative Assembly. Already 5,000-plus people say they plan to attend the demonstration, according to the Marcha de Invisibles Facebook page.What: The Invisibles March – For a Free and Equal Costa RicaWhere: Parque Central, in downtown San JoséWhen: 9 a.m., SaturdayMore Info: www.facebook.com/events/244811268958529Correction: The original version of this article spelled Cristian Cambronero’s first name incorrectly. Facebook Comments
From the print editionThe Valle del Sol Golf Course opens its bird-friendly green to competitors of all ages this weekend for one of its longest running golf traditions. The Valle del Sol Cup has been held since 2002, and organizers say each year the competition, prizes and camaraderie only get better.Located in Pozos de Santa Ana, west of San José, the Valle del Sol community features tennis and golf facilities and academies. The golf course is home to hundreds of birds, and has been Audubon-certified as a wildlife sanctuary. This weekend’s golf tournament has five categories: professionals, champions, amateurs A, amateurs B and ladies. Awards include six months of golf course usage, plane tickets to the United States and various golf accessories.“This cup is special because it is a very select group of competitors with a variety of skill levels,” said Christian Morera, golf director at Valle del Sol. The roster for the tournament is already full, but the public is welcome to attend, Morera said.Leonardo Pinto is general manager with Habitasul Group, real estate agency for the Valle del Sol community. He said this golf cup is steeped in tradition and participants take the competition very seriously. “This is one of the most awaited tournaments in the country,” Pinto said. “And this July’s weather has the golf course at its best.”Friday evening, a cocktail will be held for participants and the golfing commences at 7 a.m. Saturday. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sunday. In the evenings, the Cuban band Chocolate will be performing. Bridgestone, United Airlines and The Tico Times are some of the many Valle del Sol Cup sponsors. Look for The Tico Times booth, where copies of the paper and subscriptions will be on sale. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Editor’s note: In Costa Rica, any party who feels they have been the subject of incorrect or false information in a news publication has a legal right of reply. The following is a right of reply to the Op-Ed piece, “Araya’s downward spiral continues with latest ‘travel-gate,’” by political columnist Gary Lehring, published on April 3.I do not usually respond to articles or comments that are based on incorrect assumptions or inaccurate data. Freedom of speech allows individuals to speak their mind even though their analysis might be erroneously supported. After all, as the saying goes “anything and everything can be said on paper.”However, this time I will make an exception. I am motivated by the fact that the author of the comment is Gary Lehring, a professor of government at Smith College, in Massachusetts, a U.S. state that welcomed me as a student at Harvard University. Quite likely, we are both followers of the Red Sox and the Celtics, so my answer is motivated more by academic – not political – reasons.The professor wonders why, as Mr. Johnny Araya’s campaign manager, I did not fulfill my duty as a law-abiding citizen to prohibit Mr. Araya’s trip on a private plane to Panama. He implies that I breached the scope of Article 128 of the Costa Rican Electoral Code.Allow me to clarify the following, professor Lehring: As determined by Article 127 of the same code, Article 128 only applies to “registered candidates.” Partido Liberación Nacional’s Electoral Tribunal officially registered Mr. Araya’s candidacy in March 13th of 2013. That means that at the time of the Panama trip, the use of this private plane cannot be considered a campaign donation under Costa Rican law. No electoral norm was violated.Additionally, in regards to my participation in this trip, professor Lehring should learn that as a businessman I have been doing business with the owner of the plane for over 23 years. We have been colleagues in the banana business, as well as personal friends. Thus, from an ethical point of view, there was no impediment for me to ride in his plane. I have not occupied a single public office in 20 years and my livelihood comes from my business activities.I am open to explaining to professor Lehring how private contributions are regulated in our legal system. We can even visit the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (Costa Rican TSE) together, where they can give him a detailed explanation of how the system works. I am even open to going out for coffee with the professor to teach him about Costa Rican politics.And to conclude, a final comment: The regime of criminal liability for what is said in the press (e.g. slander) is quite different in our judicial system compared to the U.S. system. My recommendation to Mr. Lehring is that he should learn more about the Costa Rican law system to avoid getting into any legal problems during his time in our country. This way he can enjoy the rest of his sabbatical in Costa Rica and have a happy and safe trip back to Massachusetts. Facebook Comments Related posts:Ex-President Abel Pacheco to back opposition candidate Solís Johnny Araya is down and out, but not his party, says analyst Presidential nominee Antonio Álvarez Desanti to step down as legislator San José Mayor Johnny Araya returns to his former party
Costa Rica could reduce its poverty rate by 8.5 percent if all employers paid the legal minimum wage and poor families could find work, according to a new report from the United Nations Development Program released Monday.Social programs, including non-contributory cash transfers, have shown success combating poverty, but jobs are needed for significant long-term reductions in Costa Rica’s 20 percent poverty rate, argued the UNPD report’s authors. Costa Rica’s poverty rate has stagnated at roughly 20 percent of the population for the last 20 years, despite regular economic growth and a growing population.The report’s authors, investigators Pablo Sauma and Juan Digeo Trejos, said that non-contributory pensions, scholarships and assistance to poor families with children and cash transfers from the national welfare office, IMAS, reduced poverty by 2.9 percent for families living in extreme poverty, and 2.5 percent for poor families between 2000 and 2011. The researcher, however, stressed that these gains were based on receiving assistance from the government and did not represent long-term gains in the country’s fight to lower persistent levels of poverty.The investigators recommended Costa Rica pursue an enforcement policy that guarantees workers get what they’re owed and improve the productivity of small businesses.Unemployment was the most important factor for those living in extreme poverty. Costa Ricans living in extreme poverty have an unemployment rate of 36.7 percent, compared to 4.5 percent for those not living in poverty, according to the report.Sauma told The Tico Times that businesses are not hiring enough to start to close the 20 percent poverty gap in Costa Rica.“Costa Rica has grown at an average rate of 4.5 percent during the last 20 years. With average growth at just 4.5 percent, we can’t hope for more [reductions in poverty]. To lower the poverty rate we’d have to see growth over 6 percent,” Sauma told The Tico Times.Many poor Ticos who do work, don’t make the minimum wage. Over 67 percent of the poor here make less than the minimum wage. The figure jumps to 87.3 percent for those in extreme poverty. Many poor Costa Ricans work in the informal sector (65.6 percent), where they do not receive health insurance or other benefits. Over 91 percent of these informal jobs involve unskilled labor.UNDP Resident Representative Yoriko Yasukawa said the coffee-producing country should better focus its famous social assistance programs and work toward universal coverage for public services like education. The UNDP representative noted that some 24,000 children who should be in primary school are not. This number has slightly increase during the last decade, according to investigators.“It’s important that Costa Rica continue strengthening the impact of its social programs, even more so for a country that has demonstrated a commitment to the rights of the less fortunate, principally in education, health and social assistance,” Yasukawa said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica is 20 percent more expensive than other Latin American countries Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís promises to cut extreme poverty by 45 percent by 2018 More than 1.1 million Costa Ricans live in poverty President Solís announces goal to create 217,000 jobs during his term
Related posts:The 2013 tax return extension deadline is approaching for US expats. Are you ready? A love letter to Costa Rica’s second language US taxes are due April 15, are you ready? 7 things to consider before retiring abroad Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!The processing fee to renounce U.S. citizenship went up 422 percent, according to a press release from the U.S. Embassy in San José on Wednesday. Starting on Sept. 12, the fee to renounce U.S. citizenship is going up from $450 to $2,350. U.S. citizens living abroad have been giving up their passports in record numbers in recent years, and the State Department seems primed to make some money in the process.Randall Madriz, a tax lawyer with Pacheco Coto, a San José law firm, told The Tico Times that taxes are often the greatest motivator for U.S. expats to give up their U.S. citizenship. Madriz opined that the United States’ unique policy of levying taxes on its citizens regardless of where they reside and the recently approved U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, were among the mean motivators driving some expats to say adios to Uncle Sam.The U.S. Treasury Department reported in August that 576 people expatriated during the last quarter.“The problem is compliance and the costs to comply. Complying with all the rules and regulations in the United States isn’t easy. Many people, whether intentionally or not, have problems complying. So some people are giving up their citizenship,” Madriz said.One expat The Tico Times consulted – who asked to remain anonymous – said it cost $10,000 a year to file U.S. taxes.Madriz explained that FATCA is about expats reporting their income and is not a tax, although it might lead expats to declare more than they would otherwise. According to the agreement signed by Costa Rica and the U.S., starting on March 31, 2015, local financial institutions will have to start reporting to the Internal Revenue Service information about their U.S. taxpayer clients who conducted transactions during 2013 and 2014. Starting in 2016, personal accounts containing more than $50,000 and corporate accounts containing more than $250,000 will be reported.But while renouncing citizenship might get a disgruntled citizen out of future taxes it does not excuse outstanding debts to the IRS. Madriz said the IRS would have to sign off on anyone abandoning their citizenship.Several other fees also are changing, effective Sept. 12:E Visas (for traders and investors, authorized based on trade and navigation agreements between the U.S. and other countries): from $270 to $205K Visas (fiancé visas): from $240 to $265Border Crossing Card: from $15 to $16Immediate Relative/Family Based Immigrant Visas: from $230 to $325Employment-based Immigrant Visas: from $405 from $345Other Immigrant Visas (I-360 and special Immigrant Visas): from $220 to $205Waiver of two-year residency requirement: from $215 to $120Determining returning resident status: from $275 to $180The non-immigrant visa fee (B1/B2 visas) will remain the same ($160), as will the price of passports for U.S. citizens.Correction Sept. 8, 2014: This post originally reported the Border Crossing Card as a “Boarding” Crossing Card due to a typo in the embassy’s press release. Facebook Comments
The October eruption of the Turrialba Volcano may have implications beyond Costa Rica. According to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Review Letters last week, small volcanic eruptions like that of Turrialba may play a big role in slowing climate change.Scientists have long known about the climate cooling affects of the massive amount of sulfuric acid expelled during a volcanic eruption. The acid makes its way into the upper atmosphere where it mixes with oxygen and blocks solar rays from reaching the Earth’s surface. The solar-blocking effects can last for months, causing the Earth’s surface to cool over time.Recommended: The tiny fish that captures more carbon than the rain forestThe 1991 eruption of the Mount Pinatubo Volcano in the Philippines spewed 20 million metric tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, and scientists estimate it contributed to a global cooling of up to 0.04 degrees Celsius. But while large eruptions are widely recognized as climate coolers, the gas contributed by small eruptions was written off as insignificant.But after 1998, warming began to slow and the atmosphere entered into what scientists call the “global warming hiatus.” The hiatus went against all previous climate change models, which predicted that temperatures would steadily increase through the early 2000s. Scientists knew they had missed something.By using satellites, ground monitoring stations and suspended hot air balloons, researchers studied the suspended air particles in the lower parts of the atmosphere. The study found that between the years 2000 and 2013, volcanic gasses deflected nearly double the solar waves as previously estimated, cooling the Earth by as much as 0.12 degrees Celsius.“This is part of the story about what has been driving climate change for the past 15 years,” Alan Robock, a climatologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey told the American Geophysical Union. “It’s the best analysis we’ve had of the effects of a lot of small volcanic eruptions on climate.”Though relatively insignificant in terms of the size of eruptions, Costa Rica’s volcanoes likely contribute to this global cooling.For years, Arenal Volcano in the country’s northeast spewed lava and gas on a daily basis, but in 2010 the eruptions abruptly paused. The country’s most active volcano is now Turrialba, some 60 kilometers northeast of the capital, which had its largest eruption in more than 150 years on Oct. 30, 2014.According to María Martínez, a volcanologist with the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), Turrialba spills between 400 and 1,000 metric tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere each day. During the explosions between Oct. 20 and 31, the volcano spewed between 5,000 and 10,000 metric tons per day.“Compared to other volcanoes throughout the world, our volcanoes don’t erupt often,” María Martínez told The Tico Times. “But they still release a pretty significant amount of gas. Turrialba is one of the most active volcanoes in the region.”Recommended: Turrialba Volcano eruption in Costa Rica: Photos from the web Related posts:Small but vocal turnout in Costa Rica for global climate march Turrialba Volcano erupts again, raining ash over San José Some scientists worried about surprisingly cold ‘blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean With COP21 talks in Paris moving forward after attacks, Latin America climate-change policies remain unclear Facebook Comments
Related: Costa Rica’s president criticizes growing military spending in Latin AmericaVERACRUZ, Mexico – Cuban President Raúl Castro kept a summit of Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese leaders wondering if he would show up until the last moment Tuesday, only to send his deputy instead.Castro has never attended an Ibero-American summit since succeeding his brother Fidel in 2006, but Spain made a special invitation for him to come this time at the Mexican port of Veracruz.He was not the only big name to shun the two-day talks, which end later Tuesday. The left-leaning leaders of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela also sent deputies.The Ibero-American summit has struggled to fill seats as Latin Americans have formed various trade and diplomatic blocs in recent years.But Mexican officials had hoped as late as Monday that Castro would make the short flight over the Gulf of Mexico, with a deputy foreign minister saying he was “doing everything possible to come to this summit.”Rumors swirled that the communist leader would come, with a major Mexican newspaper wrongly announcing his arrival on its website.In the end, it was his vice president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, who flew in.Fidel Castro had already stopped attending the forum after a plot to assassinate him was uncovered at the 2000 summit in Panama.But Spain’s conservative government sent Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo to Cuba last month to improve ties with Havana and convince Castro to attend the summit, the first for the new King Felipe VI.Castro, however, hosted his own summit in Havana on Monday for Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders.“The president was going to come but he was with Caribbean colleagues who decided to spend more days in Cuba, so he was unable to come,” García-Margallo told reporters.“Believe me, what’s important is not the absences,” he said, adding that he learned Castro would be absent on Tuesday.Waning summit The Ibero-American summit has been drawing fewer leaders over the years, with only 11 showing up at last year’s gathering in Panama.This year’s event was billed as the summit of “renewal,” attracting 16 leaders this time, though Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén fell ill after arriving and missed the first day.The Veracruz summit focused on boosting education, innovation and culture to spur growth in the region, which includes countries of the former Portuguese and Spanish empires.Latin America is forecast to endure its lowest growth rate in five years in 2014.But it is the last annual Ibero-American meeting, since member countries have decided to meet every two years from now on.“We wanted to renew the Ibero-American relation. Is it easy? It’s not easy,” García-Margallo said.“I won’t hide the fact that there are different visions of the world and that this happens every time there is a meeting of this type,” he said.“What summits won’t do is … make the Holy Spirit appear and make differences disappear, that I become [socialist] Bolivarian and [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro become Christian-Democrat. These things don’t happen.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Cuba’s Christmas surprise for Caracas US, Cuba resume talks amid Venezuela tensions Venezuela gives US 15 days on embassy staff cuts Cuba’s Raul Castro to visit Mexico next week
Related posts:President Solís signs new Animal Welfare Law New cases of animal abuse spark criticism of President Solís, lawmakers Disfigured Costa Rican toucan stars in Discovery documentary Supreme Court deems wording of Animal Welfare Bill unconstitutional A bill that would set stricter punishment, including prison time, for animal cruelty or killing animals could be up for discussion at the Legislative Assembly as soon as Monday, Presidency Vice Minister Luis Paulino Mora Lizano confirmed Thursday.Mora said the executive branch will make “all necessary changes to the legislative agenda in order to prioritize discussion of the Animal Welfare Bill” starting this week. The executive branch sets the agenda during the current extraordinary period of sessions that ends in April.The Legislative Assembly’s environmental affairs committee approved the draft bill on March 3 and the full text was published Wednesday in the official newspaper La Gaceta, meaning it is ready for discussion and voting by all 57 legislators.The bill sets prison penalties for animal cruelty and also penalizes some activities deemed cruel such as dog fighting.The approval of the draft followed heated debates as lawmakers threatened to file hundreds of motions against the proposal. Most of those motions requested the bill be amended to include an exception for events deemed “traditional,” such as horse parades, rodeos and Tico-style bullfights.Opposition came mostly from the Libertarian Movement’s Otto Guevara, who refused to negotiate and filed more than 80 motions against the initiative.All of Guevara’s motions were rejected during committee voting, most of them unanimously. However, legislative rules allow Guevara to re-present them before the full assembly during the first three days of discussion.In order to become law the bill must be discussed and voted on by the full assembly in two separate rounds of voting.The approved draft has the support of 32 of the Assembly’s 57 lawmakers. National Liberation Party legislator Ronny Monge has said the bill has a good chance of passing.Amending the country’s Animal Welfare Law was one of President Luis Guillermo Solís’ campaign promises. After he was elected, he promised to prioritize the animal welfare bill during his first months in office. Facebook Comments
Facebook Comments Related posts:Cassava: tropical staple, drought-friendly… cancer-busting? A gardener’s guide to the Costa Rican rainy season Costa Rican plants for aches and pains Hügelkultur: tricky on the tongue, astonishing results in the garden Wormseed: a plant that came to the rescue more than once for this columnist’s children. Ed Bernhardt / The Tico TimesIt’s good to have an old friend return to my tropical garden.As most gardeners know, there’s an ebb and flow of plants that reside around you. For years, wormseed found its home in our herb garden, and I’ve been glad to see it come back. It’s a plant with an unusual fragrance that’s hard to describe, somewhat like that of camphor. Its principal essential oil, Ascaridol, is what gives it that pungent medicinal smell.Wormseed – called apazote in Spanish – grows in most parts of the neotropics and has been used by native Americans for centuries. In Costa Rica, it is found in fields and planted in home patios for medicinal use. Wormseed grows to about 1 m tall, with many branches and small leaves. These leaves are alternate, dentate, and vatelanceolate in shape. The inconspicuous green flowers are formed on dense spikes.Throughout the tropics, wormseed is a popular natural worm medicine. It contains ascaridol, a compound that exerts a paralyzing, narcotic effect on Ascaris and Ancylostoma worms (although it is not strong enough to combat either tapeworms or Trichocephalus worms). According to the World Health Organization, a single 20 g dose rapidly expulses target parasites with no secondary effects.Recommended: Costa Rican plants for aches and painsWe found this herb really came in handy when our young boys were growing up on the farm. It takes a while for toddlers to understand the “wash hands before inserting into mouth” routine, and so we had to take care of deworming them occasionally.Apazote is prepared the following way for cases of worms: Boil 30 g of the fresh plant in 500 mL of milk. Take three times a day before meals for no more than six days. During this treatment, castor oil is often also administered to flush out parasites. Overuse may cause vomiting and other secondary effects. Pregnant women and people with low energy should not take this treatment.Most folks these days opt for the drugstore to treat worms, but it is good to know mother nature has her remedies too. It’s interesting to note that Mexicans cook beans with apazote as a culinary condiment, and perhaps a preventive measure for dealing with parasites.Other uses for apazote tea include the treatment of kidney problems, stomachache and gas, as well as helping to regulate menstration. The same tea is used as a skin wash for injuries and to reduce inflamations.Later this year, I hope to try it for natural bug control. Gardeners have been praising essential mint oil for dealing with bugs, and apazote also contains mint-like oil.Since wormseed is a wild plant, it’s easy to grow at home. You can sometimes find it in the farmer’s market, as I did at our organic farmer’s market. Later I’ll be offering seeds on our newsletter.Read more of Ed Bernhardt’s monthly Home Gardening columns here.For more information on tropical gardening – naturally – and upcoming Sunday workshops, visit Ed’s website or contact him at email@example.com.
In a report published by the New York Times on Wednesday, a group of Washington Redskins cheerleaders described being required to pose topless for a photo shoot in front of male team sponsors and escort sponsors to a nightclub during a visit to the Occidental Grand Papagayo Resort in northwestern Costa Rica in 2013.“The first cause for concern among the cheerleaders came when Redskins officials collected their passports upon arrival at the resort, depriving them of their official identification,” the Times reported.“For the photo shoot, at the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo resort on Culebra Bay, some of the cheerleaders said they were required to be topless, though the photographs used for the calendar would not show nudity. Others wore nothing but body paint. Given the resort’s secluded setting, such revealing poses would not have been a concern for the women — except that the Redskins had invited spectators.“A contingent of sponsors and FedExField suite holders — all men — were granted up-close access to the photo shoots.”The New York Times reported that at the end of the day, the squad’s director told cheerleaders that some of them had been requested as escorts at a nightclub by male sponsors.“Several of them began to cry. ‘They weren’t putting a gun to our heads, but it was mandatory for us to go,’ one of the cheerleaders said. ‘We weren’t asked, we were told.’”The Times interviewed five cheerleaders for the story who spoke on condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements they signed upon joining the squad. The Times also interviewed the Redskins’ longtime cheerleading director, Stephanie Jojokian, who disputed much of the women’s description of the trip. Read the full story here. Related posts:Seahawks flatten Packers as NFL seasons kicks off Indifference on the streets jeopardizes athlete safety Costa Rica’s Sele out of Korea U-20 World Cup 2017 Gold Cup: Costa Rica’s La Sele draws Canada 1-1 Facebook Comments
5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories STOCKHOLM (AP) – A Swedish appeals court has convicted the gunman in a spate of shootings that mainly targeted immigrants of three further attempted murders, and upheld his life sentence.The appeals court in the southern city of Malmo said Thursday that 41-year-old Swede Peter Mangs was guilty of two murders and a total of eight attempted murders. It said the crimes were of such gravity that no other sentence but life could be considered. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories Mangs had appealed his convictions and sentence from the Malmo District Court last November. He was sentenced two years after he was arrested for more than a dozen shootings that police had linked to a single gunman.About 40 percent of Malmo’s 300,000 residents are first- or second-generation immigrants.(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 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Comments Share
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Prison officials had placed Denmark-born El-Hussein, who has Palestinian parents, on a list of inmates they considered at risk of Islamic radicalization, but the intelligence agency said the information it had received gave it no reason to believe the 22-year-old had been planning any attacks.El-Hussein, who had been in prison on a stabbing conviction, was killed in a shootout with a SWAT team early Feb. 15 in central Copenhagen.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen, who released the government report Wednesday, declined to comment on Madsen’s resignation and said she was generally pleased with the Danish police and the agency although there were some “criticisms in the report.”On Feb. 14, Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein gunned down a Danish film maker at a free speech event at a cultural center attended by Swedish artist Lars Vilks and several hours later fatally shot a Jewish guard outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue. Five officers were also wounded in the attacks.Ahead of the event, the police agency had gauged that Vilks was not in any immediate danger. The artist, who has received numerous threats for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in cartoons, was likely the main target of the attack.Frederiksen described the agency and the police as “well-prepared and well-organized,” noting that it had identified the shooter within 12 hours of the first attack, but pointed out that officers weren’t posted outside the synagogue until nearly four hours after that attack.“That is too long,” she said. “It is obviously not satisfactory. It cannot be explained.” 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The head of Denmark’s intelligence agency announced his resignation on Wednesday, hours before a government report was released criticizing some parts of the police response to the two fatal shooting attacks in Copenhagen in February.Jens Madsen, who had been chief of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service since January 2014, said his tenure had been difficult. “It’s no secret that it is a very demanding position,” he said in a statement. The vital role family plays in society Comments Share Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
FILE -In this April 10, 2015 file photo, Blue Bell delivery trucks are parked at the creamery’s location in Kansas City, Kansas. Blue Bell ice cream had evidence of listeria bacteria in its Oklahoma manufacturing plant as far back as March 2013, a government investigation released Thursday says. The company then continued to ship ice cream produced in that plant after what the Food and Drug Administration says was inadequate cleaning. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File) Check your body, save your life The company eventually recalled all of its products after tests showed listeria in its ice cream last month.A sweeping food safety law passed by Congress in 2010 sought to prevent such ongoing contamination by requiring companies to do more testing, put detailed food safety plans in place and take more preventive measures to keep pathogens, especially deadly bacteria like listeria, from getting into food.But that law has been plagued by delays within the Obama administration. The FDA has struggled to get the rules right and appease many of the farmers and companies that will have to abide by it. After lawsuits over the delays, the final version of those rules must come out later this year.Since President Barack Obama signed the food safety bill into law, there have been dozens of outbreaks, including one of listeria in cantaloupe in 2011 that killed 30.“It certainly has taken far too long to get this done and these outbreaks are the result,” said Christopher Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America.The Blue Bell outbreak is an example of how contamination can go unnoticed and untreated. The FDA hadn’t inspected the Oklahoma plant since March 2012, and even if it had been in the plant more recently, the company may not have been required to tell the agency about the contamination. Many company records are private, though the food safety law would make some of those tests more visible. The only way some records become available “is if people get sick,” said David Plunkett of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Listeria illness generally only affects the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborn infants. All three who died in the Blue Bell outbreak had already been hospitalized for other conditions.___Associated Press writer Juan Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials say they were never told of repeated findings of listeria at a Blue Bell Creameries facility before an outbreak linked to the ice cream turned deadly.Results of a Food and Drug Administration investigation released this week showed the company had found 17 positive samples of listeria on surfaces and floors in its Oklahoma plant dating back to 2013. The FDA said Friday that it “was not aware of these findings” before doing its own inspection this year in response to the outbreak. State health inspections weren’t much help: A March 2015 state inspection of the Oklahoma plant read “No Violations Observed!” and “Keep it up!”FDA inspectors found many violations at that plant, including dirty equipment, inadequate food storage, food being held at improper temperatures and employees not washing hands appropriately. Employees wore dirty shoes in the plant and soiled, porous wood pallets were used for ingredient storage and transportation. The FDA also said the company did not do enough testing for possible food contamination.Blue Bell said in a statement Thursday that its facilities remain closed indefinitely as it cleans and sanitizes them. Of the FDA report, company spokesman Joe Robertson said when a test was conducted and there was a positive result for listeria, “our standard procedure is to stop, clean and sanitize and then re-swab the area. When we get a negative test (result), we feel like we are good about operating again.”Robertson added, “In hindsight, we can see now that wasn’t always adequate.”Once in a plant, listeria can be very difficult to get rid of. It is found in soil and water and can be tracked into a facility by employees or carried by animals. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Top Stories The outbreak — and the FDA’s lack of knowledge of the bacteria found in the plant — is a stark illustration of gaps in the nation’s food safety system. Food contamination often isn’t discovered until people get sick or die.In the outbreak linked to Blue Bell, three people died in a Kansas hospital and seven others were sickened in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona.The FDA said it isn’t uncommon for companies not to report findings of listeria or other pathogens. Companies are only required to report to the FDA if they find a “reasonable probability” that a food could make people sick. Blue Bell’s listeria samples were found on surfaces and not in the ice cream, and the company hadn’t tested to see if the listeria strains found were among those that are the most dangerous.The FDA said it is common for a company to take corrective action — sanitizing and cleaning — without doing further testing if the pathogen isn’t found in the food itself.“Although Blue Bell’s testing did identify listeria, the company did not further identify the strain to determine if it was pathogenic,” FDA spokeswoman Lauren Sucher said.
CANNES, France (AP) — It may be the most topical film at Cannes — but “Mediterranea” — a searing account of a desperate African migrant who travels by boat from Burkina Faso to Italy — is not just pulled from the headlines.It’s been years in the making and is based on a true story.First time director Jonas Carpignano — who’s half African-American, half-Italian — evoked the real-life experiences of his roommate and lead actor in the film, Koudous Seihon. ErrorOK ErrorOKSeihon witnessed shootings, race riots, violence and faced near-constant discrimination after he took the perilous trip by foot, car, bus and boat to southern Italy as a 20-year-old father seeking to support his family.Despite its small 1 million-euro ($1.1 million) budget, Carpignano’s film, which was screened at the Critics Week, has already garnered great attention for its highly personal portrayal of Europe’s great migrant crisis.“We’re constantly bombarded and desensitized (about migrants). That’s why I wanted to make a film about this, to give people something to latch on to,” Carpignano said. “It doesn’t help to constantly group immigrants as just migrants coming over. There has to be more of a personal angle.”The film’s power comes from its documentary-style shooting and from the charismatic Seihon, who plays the enigmatic character of Ayiva with understated grace.“The idea of the film was to let people in through one specific character, through Ayiva,” the director explained. “He’s never pathetic and (he’s) strong, despite having nothing. I hope the audience finds him charismatic and charming — which I of course do, as he’s my friend.” Comments Share Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ayiva manages to keep our sympathies as an essentially innocent man fighting to survive in a racist, hostile community. The character puts a human face on stories like last month’s tragedy, where a boat off the Italian island of Lampedusa capsized, drowning an estimated 800 migrants.Carpignano said he hopes the film moves the conversation from tragedies on the sea to the equally important issue of what happens to migrants once they have reached Europe.“There needs to be a lot more attention to what happens afterward. … This is not a fleeting thing. It’s changing communities,” said Carpignano. “This is not going away.”___Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAPCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Director Jonas Carpignano poses for a portrait to promote his film Mediterranea at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 21, 2015. It may be the most topical film at Cannes – but “Mediterranea” – a searing account of a desperate African migrant who travels by boat from Burkina Faso to Italy – is not just pulled from the headlines. It’s been years in the making and is based on a true story. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) The difference between men and women when it comes to pain
Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of bombings Sunday across the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killed at least 14 people and wounded 41, police officials said.The deadliest attack took place at the Aden checkpoint in Baghdad’s Khazimiyah district, where a suicide car bombing killed eight people, including five civilians, and wounded 23.In Baghdad’s al-Askan district, a car bomb killed at least four people and wounded 11 on a commercial street as people gathered after sunset to break their daily fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Comments Share 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Police also said a roadside bomb on a commercial street in Baghdad’s al-Amal neighborhood killed two people and wounded seven.Medical official corroborated the casualty figures. All spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to brief journalists.No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, the Islamic State militant group is often behind assaults on checkpoints as it seeks to challenge Iraqi security forces amid intensifying battles in northern and western Iraq.___Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches
Melbourne will have a lot to sing and dance about this winter, aggressively marketing the city as Australia’s cultural hotspot and backing it up with a new line of events, including two of the country’s largest exhibitions.The Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series includes an exclusive showing of European Masters: Stadel Muesum 19-20th Century at the National Gallery of Victoria, which will feature more than 100 works from 70 of the world’s most influential artists including Monet, Renoir, Degas, Picasso – to name a few. For a different type of exhibition, the city will also be home to Tim Burton: The Exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image from June 24. The exhibition comes direct from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where it was one of the three biggest draw cards in the museum’s history. The Tim Burton Exhibition will feature 700 examples of rare photographs, paintings, drawings, storyboards and costumes from the visionary writer and director of movies including Alice in Wonderland, Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice.New theatre productions are also set to hit the stage in Melbourne, kicking off with London’s popular Mary Poppins musical, Fame – The Musical, West Side Story and Hairspray.For more information on Melbourne’s new lineup, visit www.visitvictoria.com <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/28dc7/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Past and present members of The Walshe Group, select industry colleagues and clients gathered in Sydney last night to celebrate a decade of leadership in Australia by Managing Director Jacqui Walshe.“The anniversary presents an opportunity to acknowledge and thank those who have contributed to the company’s success including past and present employees,” Ms Walshe said.“Despite the challenges, it has been a very positive experience, and thank you for being part of my 10 years.”In his keynote speech, Swiss International Air Lines, General Manager AU & NZ, Anil Rodricks acknowledged the mixture of guests present said, “Tonight represents part of our philosophy of still being a family run business”.Mr Rodricks added that though there are a number of achievements during Ms Walshe’s tenure; specific milestones included post September 2001 recovery, moving the company beyond the region into Asia and responding to economic trends by becoming a Public entity.“Post 9/11 period, the airline industry was going through profound change and how the airlines were represented in marketplace. We evolved as being a specialist of what we are now, through the partnerships we developed with our principles,” Mr Rodricks said.South African Airways, Head of Australasia, Thevan Krishna said since the airline joined the Group in 2002, its growth has been contributed largely due to Ms Walshe’s leadership and commitment. “On behalf of the SAA team in Australia, I would like to congratulate Jacqui on her achievements over this period and together with my team wish her all of the very best in celebrating 10 years in Australia,” Mr Krishna said.Initially started as a family-run business in New Zealand 30 years ago, The Walshe Group is now considered to be one of Australia’s leading GSA’s and continues to evolve with the addition of new partners, with Ms Walshe confirming tenders are waiting to be decided upon.Gary Hilt, GM, New Horizons, Jacqui Walshe, MD, The Walshe Group, Thevan Krishna, Head of Australasia, South African AirwaysJacqui Walshe and Anil Rodricks, Swiss International Air LinesSonia Holt, Jacqui Walshe, Estela Alvear and Nhung Truong from The Walshe GroupMr & Mrs Rodricks, Rob Gurr, Marketing Manager, South African TourismJason Tarabo, Eurostar Account Manager Australia, Irmgard Goetjes-Pedersen, SAS, Thevan Krishna, SAAMona Tannous, Sultanate of Oman Tourism, Caroline Brunel & Donna Campbell, Tourism Ireland
2010 was a “landmark year” for MAp MAp Airports Limited has announced proportionate earnings of AU$445.4 million for the six months to December 2010, up 19.3 per cent on the year before. “It is the first full year we have operated as a standalone entity and we have delivered 19.3 per cent proportionate earnings growth,” MAp chief executive Kerrie Mather said. “Against a backdrop which has included the impact of the volcanic ash cloud in Europe and significant appreciation of the Australian dollar, this is an outstanding result reflecting a very strong traffic performance, commercial revenue initiatives and continued cost discipline.” According to Ms Mather, 2010 was “a year of delivery” for MAp, who in recent months recorded record levels of traffic at its Sydney and Copenhagen airports. 2010 also saw the successful completion of aeronautical charges agreements at Copenhagen and Brussels airports, as well as the end of the company’s AU$1.9 billion refinancing of all 2011 and 2012 debt maturities at Sydney Airport.“MAp’s financial position remains very strong with no corporate debt and cash of AU$755 million which provides significant financial flexibility,” Ms Mather added. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H