The National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC) on Monday began conducting the National Household Survey, a study to determine the current state of poverty and unemployment in Costa Rica.INEC interviewers are expected to visit 13,400 randomly selected homes from July 2-Aug. 3 to complete the study. The cost of the study is estimated at ₡400 million ($79,000).The staff of 150 surveyors will be dressed in blue INEC vests and badges, and will work from Monday to Saturday, from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.INEC will also measure public access to and use of the information and communication technologies. Facebook Comments No related posts.
With the blow of a hammer striking old operating-room walls, President Laura Chinchilla on Monday inaugurated the construction of 15 new operating rooms at San Juan de Dios Hospital, in downtown San José.The Social Security System, or Caja, will invest ₡6.9 billion ($13.7 million) on this historic medical center, which on Tuesday celebrates its 167th birthday.The project includes 2,400 square meters of construction, and is aimed at better serving the hospital’s coverage area, which includes 1.1 million residents.In 2011, Chinchilla declared a health emergency at the hospital after the Health Ministry condemned 15 operating rooms due to deterioration and poor infrastructure.Work is expected to be completed within a year, Chinchilla said. Facebook Comments No related posts.
By Informate Caribe | Special to The Tico TimesThe first African Diaspora Film Festival took place in Puerto Viejo on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast this past weekend as part of a yearly celebration of Afro-Costa Rican culture.The festival drew Hollywood actors such as Alfre Woodard and Danny Glover, as well as international activists from social organizations against discrimination and the war on drugs. The movie “Holiday Heart,” along with documentaries “The House I Live In” and “The War on Drugs” were screened.A musical group from the Puerto Viejo school, Los Rumberitos, composed of children aged 7-10, performed Aug. 30, and had an impact on actress Alfre Woodard. “You don’t have to worry about maintaining roots of Afro-Costa Rican culture,” she said, referring to the skill of Los Rumberitos. Community members gathered in the streets of Puerto Viejo for the first-ever African Diaspora Film Festival. By Daniel Sanchez The activities continued with a screening of the documentary “Caribe Sur: Coast, History, and Resistance,” which was a production of Era Verde from Channel 15 of the University of Costa Rica. Next up was the tribute “Entre Amigas,” an award presented to Hazel Miller, Cristina Smart, Isilma Baker and Delfina León, who were selected by the community for their contribution to their community. During the tribute, the women wre presented with a portrait photo taken by documentary photographer Lucas Iturriza, who specializes in indigenous cultures. After the tribute, the film “Holiday Heart” starring Alfre Woodard and directed by director Spike Lee was shown. Then musical group RAkACHAN performed.On Aug. 31, the drums sounded in the streets, and members and two local bands from Cahuita and Puerto Viejo performed. Those from the community came out in their shining best suits, parading with happiness and pride in celebration of their roots and culture. At the end of the parade, the people entered the garden of the diaspora and began their afternoon, which included local calypso musician Mateo, following by a tribute to fathers.The famous actor and human rights activist Danny Glover excited the crowd with his words on the strength of the Caribbean community, which he called “united and organized.” “Never have I attended a film festival so unique and colorful,” he said.The activities ended with a concert from Grupo Canto América, a calyso band that drew calls from the crowd for an encore.During the festival, area restaurants offered visitors a variety of typical plates from Caribbean zone, such as the famous rice-n-beans with chicken, the Hiel drink (made with toad juice) and Puerto Viejo’s rondon, a fish soap cooked with coconut milk.The event was organized by the community and private businesses with help from the Integral Development Association of Puerto Viejo, the South Caribbean Tourism Congress and Infórmate Caribe, which invited the Costa Rican people to be a part of the festival. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Related posts:Costa Rican police detain 9 undocumented migrants near Jacó, arrest driver Costa Rica detains 27 more undocumented Nepalese migrants Costa Rican police detain undocumented Eritrean, Somali migrants Costa Rican police apprehend more undocumented migrants headed north Doctors at the Tomás Casas Hospital in Costa Rica’s southern region on Wednesday evening dismissed rumors of an alleged case of Ebola at their medical facility as false.Rumors regarding a hospital patient “presented Ebola symptoms” spread among Ciudad Cortés residents at midday on Wednesday. Emergency dispatchers received several calls to 9-1-1 from concerned residents asking about a possible outbreak of the deadly virus in the country’s Southern Zone.Eugenia María Villalta, medical manager of the Social Security System, or Caja, in a press release confirmed a Costa Rican man whose identity was not disclosed, with suspected symptoms had been admitted to the Ciudad Cortés Hospital, but health officials said they “had already ruled out the possibility that he was carrying the Ebola virus.”Villalta said the patient was given an “exhaustive checkup by Caja physicians, who did not find any epidemiological evidence suggesting that he carries the disease.”This month, Border Police activated an infectious disease protocol at the country’s borders, following an increase in the number of undocumented migrants apprehended recently.National Police Director Juan José Andrade last week said the protocol had been activated at least seven times along Costa Rica’s southern border as police encountered groups of migrants who had fever and diarrhea, some of the symptoms associated with Ebola. None of them, however, tested positive for the virus.Costa Rican police and immigration officials earlier this month told The Tico Times that they had noted an increase in the number of undocumented migrants traveling through Costa Rica on their way to North America.Last month, police detained 54 Nepalese citizens, one Pakistani and three Bangladeshi, while in September, they detained eight undocumented migrants from Somalia and Eritrea.Caja officials asked residents not to panic, as health, public security and immigration officials are aware of protocols to respond to suspected cases of Ebola among migrants.Currently the only confirmed cases of Ebola outside Africa are in the U.S. and Spain. Facebook Comments
In downtown San José, just west of the Cementerio de Obreros, sits a forgettable lot of urban real estate where the municipality and the Public Works and Transport Ministry park garbage trucks and heavy equipment. But on this same spot 73 years ago, an internment camp was erected by the government to hold hundreds of German-Costa Rican prisoners after the United States and Costa Rica entered World War II in December 1941.Costa Rica’s popular image today as an environmentally friendly, neutral country without an army hardly meshes with the idea of Tico troops rounding up people into camps. But at the behest of the U.S. State Department, that is exactly what happened following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Concerned about a so-called fifth column — a group of Axis nationalities conspiring against the U.S. and Allied war effort — the State Department leaned heavily on Latin American and Caribbean governments to expropriate property from Axis nationals and either imprison or deport them to the United States or Germany through a Special War Problems Division. The little-known division was responsible for amassing a blacklist of Germans and Italians in Costa Rica, along with orchestrating the policy of internment across Latin America, the Caribbean and the U.S.There are few people still alive who remember these events firsthand, but to mark the 73rd anniversary of the Pearl Habor bombing this month, The Tico Times spoke with several who either experienced them or whose families were impacted by them.“Before, it was perfectly fine, people were even proud to have German friends. But the war changed many things – not for everyone – but when the order came from [U.S.] President Roosevelt to round up Germans across Latin America, things changed,” said Hermann Kruse, 85. Kruse was a boy when the war broke out and his father was interned in the San José camp. One of the remaining structures from the 1941 internment camp as seen from Avenida 10, near the Cementerio de Obreros. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesLa Tribuna, a Costa Rican newspaper, captured the surreal situation in an article dated Dec. 11, 1941 trumpeting the speedy construction of a “concentration camp” to be built in San José and designed to hold 400 men of German, Italian or Japanese descent. The newspaper’s description of the project reads like a perverse hotel review, including “very accommodating” dormitories, kitchens, dining halls and a visiting area all encircled by three rings of electrified fences. “What we want is that the concentration camp offer all the biggest and best accommodations,” said then Public Security Secretary Francisco Calderón, according to La Tribuna.Kruse recalled visiting his father in the camp’s visiting area: “There was a long display with chairs lined up for waiting, and the prisoner would show up at a certain time to talk for 15 or 20 minutes until the guard said enough.”Kruse’s father became a Costa Rica citizen in 1933, but that was not enough to keep him out of the camp. Some of his male relatives were also held at the camp, but the same could not be said for Kruse’s uncles, including one who served in the German consul in Puntarenas. They were among 379 German-Costa Ricans deported to the United States, where they were sent to detention centers in Texas and other states alongside Japanese internees.Along with the imprisonment or deportation of German families, the Costa Rican government expropriated property from many elite German families who dominated coffee, sugar and other export industries. Germans had been moving to the isthmus since the 19th century in search of opportunity in the Americas and found fertile ground in the coffee business in particular. By World War I, Germans were well established in many key export industries in Costa Rica, from coffee, bananas and cocoa to electrical generation and the importation of finished goods from Europe. But economic success had blinded many of Costa Rica’s German population as to what the war in Europe would bring.With a naval blockade separating Costa Rica from its European markets, a deal was struck for the U.S. to buy its coffee with a catch. The State Department announced that it would boycott all exports from German-owned businesses, most notably coffee. Coffee constituted more than 54 percent of Costa Rica’s exports between 1938 and 1945 of which Germany purchased roughly 40 percent, according to economic historian Gertrud Peters of Costa Rica’s National University. As a small country dependent on exports, Costa Rica had little choice but to agree to U.S. demands.The expropriations might have been obligatory but they have also been criticized by scholars as opportunistic. The Victoria sugar factory owned by the Niehaus family was expropriated in March 1943 at an estimated value of more than $700,000 in today’s dollars. The sugar factory became the first agro-industrial cooperative in Costa Rica later that year, according to research by historian Carlos Meissner. Expropriated property was also leveraged to pay down the country’s soaring national debt.“The government of President Rafael Calderón Guardia took advantage of a lot of things,” Kruse said. “When they would take away the Germans, a group of men, I don’t know if they were police or what, would show up with boxes and take away everything in the house supposedly to guard it until they came back,” he added. “76 injured and 123 buildings stoned during riots in capital yesterday,” reported the newspaper Diario de Costa Rica on July 5, 1942. (Courtesy Sistema Nacional de Bibliotecas)Costa Rican-German relations reached their nadir when riots broke out in San José on July 4, 1942, following the torpedoing of the San Pablo, a United Fruit Company ship docked at the Caribbean port of Limón. Twenty-four Costa Ricans were killed in the German U-boat attack. More than 120 shops of German-owned businesses were looted, 76 were injured and 15 tons of glass were broken. Reportedly, 100 German and Italian residents were arrested followed the unrest.The newspaper Diario de Costa Rica reported on July 5, 1942 that looters had infiltrated the demonstrations and that pistols and machine gun fire was heard. Kruse recalled seeing a man throw a bicycle through the window of a German-owned camera shop as looters grabbed everything they could carry, leaving the shelves empty. President Calderón Guardia (1940-1944) was quoted as saying the demonstrations “greatly pleased him” and that the “fifth column would be exterminated.”As the war ended in 1945, the camp was closed and detainees returned to their families, homes and businesses, if they were able to keep them. Some reclaimed lost property, but others could not and faced starting over from nothing.“Those who had properties here tried to transfer them into the name of others before they left. Sometimes, after they returned, they tried to reclaim their property, and people would say, ‘What farm? I have a document here that says you sold it to me.’ That was a shame,” Kruse said.Just a few years after the end of World War II, Costa Rica entered into civil war, and José Figueres Ferrer rose to the presidency. After a short-lived coup d’état, Figueres abolished the armed forces in 1948 and codified the move in the 1949 Constitution.Kruse did remember another story of a Costa Rican family who cared for a German family’s farm. When the Tico approached the German to return the farm to his name, the German rewrote the contract so that they were 50-50 partners.Said Kruse: “There were injustices committed by Costa Ricans and others by Germans here during the war, but there was perfect harmony between others.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica fought – briefly – in World War I Dueling Anthems: ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ vs. ‘Hermosa Bandera’ ‘El Codo del Diablo’ forces viewers to rethink narrative of Costa Rica’s democratic past Costa Rican veterans reflect 66 years after abolition of army
Facebook Comments New Year’s Eve is almost here: the whole country is celebrating already with the festivities in Zapote and today’s Tope Nacional. Puerto Rican reggae band Cultura Profética is offering another way to bid adieu to 2015: with concerts at two of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches.Today, Dec. 26, the band will play at Playa Dominical, in the southern Pacific, following up that show with another at Playas del Coco, in Guanacaste, on Dec. 29.The almost 20-year-old band, created as a college classmate project, has become an influential group whose mission is to help people create a new, but personal, view of the world. The Tico Times talked to Willy Rodríguez, a founding member who is a vocalist and bassist, about the band, their new projects and their visit to the Costa Rica. Excerpts follow.What do you want to communicate with your music, and how has the band influenced your fans?We transmit a lot of ideas, because it’s a long discography we have now. But most of all, it’s about freedom of thought. We all have influences in life, but there’s specific voice that is ours. We seek a way to make it be heard.I think we have influenced our fans in many ways. We have been forming young generations of thinkers. We have not only influenced the evolution of thought in many young people, but we have also been like a cane for people who feel there are no people thinking like them. Like a friendly hug. For example, during the controversy in Puerto Rico over removing the Navy from the island of Vieques, they gave us the key of the city, because of the influence our music had on the debate.How is the new album going?It’s going well. We have about half of it ready; we have already recorded seven songs. After the holidays we will finish the rest. It’s kind of difficult to understand the album’s personality, but it has a pretty solid base. We are confident that we will present a historic album next year.What motivates you to sing?I wouldn’t put it that way. You do not choose these sort of things. They choose you. I didn’t dare to sing when we started the project; I wrote the songs and gave them to Boris [Bilbraut, his bandmate] so he sang them. I don’t remember when I started to sing, but I did it because it was like a physiological need. It happens naturally. Then, when you see people’s reaction and understand how you can touch people, it becomes a responsability.Do you consider there’s peak point where you decide to stop making music because you already achieved your goal?No. [I’ll play] until my body can’t take it anymore, because music is the fountain of youth. The secret is to keep the force going, and the body endures whatever comes. Obviously, you have to take care of yourself. A musician is like an athlete: you have to sleep well, eat well, exercize.Will you bring any surprises to Costa Rica?Yes, totally. We will play the new single “Le da igual,” which came out approximately a month ago. Also, we are playing a Silvio Rodríguez cover; we recorded it for a special Christmas edition in Puerto Rico, and we loved it, so we are including it in the show. An unreleased song we recorded for the new album, “Despertador Solar,” is one of the nicest in the show because is a song people don’t know, and it is also a very personal song because I wrote it to my son. It’s a really nice intronspective moment. We also decided to go back to some songs we haven’t played in a long time.What are you expecting about these two concerts at two wonderful Costa Rican beaches?We are expecting it to be a really nice experience. We’ve never been to these beaches, so we are really excited to see them. My wife lived for many years in Dominical during her childhood, from 2 to 9 years old, so for me it’s really nice to get to know the place where she grew up.And, of course, to share Costa Rica’s energy is something really nice for us. We feel closely related to the country. And we are both Caribbean, so it’s not a hard task to go to the beach [laughs]. We’ll feel right at home. We’ll close the year in the best way possible, enjoying paradise.What do you think about Costa Rican reggae music?I think it’s a country that cultivates reggae realy well. It’s always on the edge of the new, but keeping its roots. That’s a pretty cool balance. Every time we visit the country we share a really nice energy, and really nice music. It’s a country with pretty good musicians. There is always quality. That is the most beautiful part. We get to know something really nice on each visit.Would you like to say something to your fans in Costa Rica?Well, mainly, gratitude for embracing our music. For hosting us every year, and for the nice energy they transmit us when we take our music there. We hope you come to ourconcerts, and join us to close this year in the best possible way.Find more info about the concerts at the Playa Dominical Event Facebook page or the Playa del Coco Event Facebook page. Related posts:Yoga Day, Father’s Day exhibit and other happenings around Costa Rica Cultural Center anniversary, vegan fair, and more events around Costa Rica International Film Festival, The Nutcracker, and other happenings around Costa Rica Star Wars Fest, Christmas activities, and other happenings around Costa Rica
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Four benefits of having a wireless security system Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments Share Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said the treaty, originally signed in 1947, was created as a U.S. initiative and it’s no longer relevant. The treaty says an armed attack against any OAS member state is to be considered an attack against all of them.Patino said at a news conference with his counterparts from the other three countries that they decided “to throw into the trash something that’s no longer useful.”It was a largely symbolic decision by left-leaning allies that belong to the Bolivarian Alliance, or ALBA bloc, that have joined in calling for changes to the Washington-based OAS.The four nations have strongly criticized the OAS’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, accusing it of acting in concert with the U.S. government to target leftist governments.Bolivian President Evo Morales wants to weaken the independent commission along with a related OAS body that monitors freedom of expression. Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, joined him in criticizing the rights commission at the meeting.Venezuela has said it wants to abandon the rights body, and Ecuador has proposed that the OAS restrict the panel’s independence. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements The U.S. is not subject to the commission’s oversight.Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said the rights commission is currently “above governments, and that we don’t accept.”Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, in contrast, reaffirmed her government’s “full commitment” to the rights commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She called for the region’s countries to “continue building a strong OAS on the basis of our agreements and common aspirations.”In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that the U.S. government “certainly supports reforms to the management and procedures of the human rights organs of the OAS, but only those reforms that are achieved through consensus and that contribute to strengthening the institutions.”“We want to see any reforms to these entities be done through a consensus,” Toner said.The U.S. government was represented at the meeting by Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, who left before it was time to deliver her speech Monday. U.S. Ambassador Carmen Lomellin read Jacobson’s speech on her behalf. Associated PressCOCHABAMBA, Bolivia (AP) – Four Latin American countries announced Tuesday that they’re pulling out of a regional defense treaty while pressing for changes in the Organization of American States.The foreign ministers of Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua said on the final day of an OAS meeting that their countries are withdrawing from the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Sponsored Stories
Associated PressATHENS, Greece (AP) – Immigrants living in Greece have been targeted in at least 300 violent attacks in the last three months, local anti-racism campaigners said Thursday, calling for better police protection against a surge in hate crimes.Greece, which is suffering a fifth year of recession, is the European Union’s busiest transit point for illegal immigration. In Athens, many immigrants live crammed in small apartments in squalid conditions in central neighborhoods that have seen a sharp rise in crime since the financial crisis began in late 2009. “These are fascist gangs and someone has to stop them,” Aslam said. “They smashed everything _ TV sets, refrigerators, doors and windows. Four of the homes were inhabited by Pakistanis and the other three by Indians.”In a report issued last week, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said it had documented recent gang attacks on dozens of immigrants living in Greece, including children and pregnant women, and also warned of a surge in xenophobic violence.Greek police do not keep statistics on racially-motivated crimes, arguing that the motive for violent offenses is often unclear.Aslam, whose organization is part of the Athens-based Campaign Against Racism, said anti-immigrant violence had surged before general elections were held on May 6 and June 17. The votes eventually led to the election of 18 members of parliament from Golden Dawn.Since early April, and during the time the election campaigns were in full swing, Aslam said his and other groups had received 300 reports of assaults on immigrants.“The number is probably higher,” he said, alleging that attackers often said they were from Golden Dawn.While denying any role in such attacks, the party has argued that the violence is far less significant than a surge in crime caused by illegal immigrants. Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Activists have linked the surge in attacks against immigrants to the political rise of the far-right Golden Dawn party, which uses aggressive rhetoric against immigrants and has been described by political opponents as neo-Nazi. Golden Dawn members are accused of being behind several of the attacks, though the party denies any role.The anti-racism campaigners said five Indian and Pakistani immigrants were injured Tuesday when they were attacked by some 20 masked men in their homes in Menidi, 10 kilometers (six miles) north of Athens. One alleged victim, Indian immigrant Vije Kumar, had extensive cuts and bruises and said he was beaten with clubs and metal bars.“It was 10 o’clock at night and I was sitting outside eating because it was really hot … Suddenly about 20 men appeared, maybe more. They were all wearing hoods. They started hitting us,” Kumar, a 40-year-old frame maker who has lived in Greece for 12 years, told the Associated Press.“We didn’t realize what was happening in the beginning. They really beat us badly. It was like they were trying to kill us.”Javied Aslam, who heads a Pakistani immigrant group in Greece, said the attackers forced their way into seven homes, assaulting occupants and smashing property. Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments Share More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Check your body, save your life Four benefits of having a wireless security system The Campaign Against Racism’s Petros Constantinou said the new government should give priority to stopping violent street gangs who pick their targets by skin color. He also accused the police of often turning a blind eye to crimes against immigrants _ an accusation the police have denied in the past.(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 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement LONDON (AP) – A voyeur who snooped on members of China’s Olympic swimming team was told Monday he risks being sent to prison if he enters a female locker room again within the next 5 years.Declan Crosbie, 25, was sentenced Monday after he previously admitted a charge of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offense.Prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court that Crosbie snuck into a locker room at a swimming training pool and was caught peeking over the top of cubicles as female Chinese Olympic athletes got changed. Sponsored Stories When staff at the pool in Leeds, northern England, went to investigate, Crosbie hid in a cubicle and imitated a woman’s voice.Judge Peter Collier ordered Crosbie, who has previous convictions for voyeurism, to attend a rehabilitation course for sex offenders.Collier also imposed a 5 year order which legally compels Crosbie to stay away from female changing rooms or bathrooms.Any breach of the order in that time period would likely see the snooper jailed automatically, without the need to charge and convict him of a new offense.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Patients with chronic pain give advice 0 Comments Share
Top Stories Associated PressBUJANOVAC, Serbia (AP) – Azra Ajeti’s fellow Gypsies have been buffeted by accusations of filing bogus asylum claims in the rich EU, but she says there’s nothing phony about her family’s life of misery. “We are starving,” said the woman from this impoverished southern Serbian town. “Life here is a disgrace.”Ajeti’s son was among some 60,000 people from Serbia and other Balkan countries who have sought asylum in Western Europe since the EU allowed visa-free travel from their nations three years ago. Many EU and local officials describe the exodus as little more than a fraud in which mostly Gypsy migrants cross over knowing their asylum requests have no chance, their main goal to obtain the food, lodging and, in some cases, living expenses worth hundreds of euros (dollars) per month they are entitled to while awaiting an answer. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology As a result of the continued surge, the EU states with the most Balkan asylum requests _ Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Luxembourg _ are moving toward re-imposing visas for Serbia and Macedonia, the two countries that send the most asylum applicants.Many seekers, however, cite racial discrimination in their home countries as the reason for their flight, saying it constitutes legitimate grounds for asylum.“Everybody wants to leave,” Ajeti said while selling old clothes that she picked out of garbage cans on the dusty streets of Bujanovac. “If I had money for a bus ticket, I would pack up and go right this instant.”She said she deserves asylum because she has not received promised social aid _ some euro 100 a month for her 18-member family _ for the last five months. She also says police chase her from the dirt pavement where she sells her merchandize, “only because we are Gypsies.” Her son’s asylum bid in Sweden was rejected earlier this year and now he’s back home.Here, like in much of the Balkans, Roma live in makeshift settlements made of cardboard homes, sometimes facing harassment from right-wing extremist groups. They mostly live from begging or humanitarian aid, and on the little money they earn collecting scrap metal and other material from garbage dumps. The sudden influx has triggered alarm in Germany, which is at the forefront of the process to reinstate the so-called Schengen visas.“Germany advocates the abolishment of visa-free travel … if they (Serbia and Macedonia) are not capable of stopping this misuse,” Hans Peter Uhl, Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union parliamentary speaker for interior affairs recently told the Associated Press. “This year, we have a surge of 72 percent in comparison to same period last year. If the number is broken down, the surge is almost exclusively rooted in ten thousand Roma (Gypsies) from Macedonia and Serbia.”“If you look at those 10,000 asylum requests placed in this year, you will see not a single one was approved,” he said. “For none of them the conclusion was made they were racially, politically or religiously persecuted. All had to leave Germany.”Sweden gives asylum seekers pocket money of about euros 100 ($125) a month per person for those who get free food and about euros 260 ($ 330) a month for those who buy their meals. The asylum process usually lasts between three and six months. Belgium and Holland pay applicants for work they do while seeking asylum, and a lump payment when they agree to leave. The Brussels-based European Stability Initiative, a think tank which has closely monitored the Balkan asylum seekers, said in a recent report that a key reason most asylum seekers now choose Germany is because this summer its Constitutional Court, under pressure from rights groups, increased monthly benefits from (EURO)120 ($155) for a four-member family to (EURO)420 ($550) _ more than the average monthly salary in most of the Balkans. If the asylum seekers buy their own food and clothing _ instead of relying on EU handouts _ that sum increases to (EURO)1,100 ($1,400).Since raising the monthly benefit in July, the number of asylum seekers from Serbia and Macedonia has jumped from about 1,000 a month to 4,000 in September.The EU-based think tank said that Germany could immediately reduce its numbers of asylum applicants by enacting stricter rules seen in some neighboring countries.In Austria, for example, only 380 Balkan nationals asked for asylum in the same time-frame even though it’s closer to the Balkans. Austria had already in 2010 put all western Balkan states on a list of “countries of safe origin” _ meaning seekers from those countries are unlikely to be victims of ethnic, political or religious abuse _ and decides on the asylum claims within a week, the group said. The same goes for Belgium, once the favorite destination for Balkan asylum seekers, which in June decided to shorten the decision process from at least six months to 15 days. At a meeting last month, EU interior ministers urged western Balkan nations to halt the migration stem or face restoration of travel visas.“If they want to belong to Europe, they must ultimately take care of these people,” German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said after the meeting. “They have to do things so that these people don’t feel discriminated against.”Serbian authorities say there is little they can do to stop people from traveling abroad without violating their basic human rights.“If we were to start pulling Roma passengers out of buses on the border, we would be crucified,” Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said recently.There have been several arrests of alleged organizers of EU-bound trips, tougher border controls and a public campaign advising people their trip would be in vain. But this has little effect in Bujanovac or other poor regions in the Balkans. Busloads of people still leave regularly, with people hoping to reach the EU.Balkan minority groups, such as Roma and ethnic Albanians, are among the worst hit by the economic crisis that has gripped the region impoverished by wars and international isolation. Rights groups also say Roma are treated as second-class citizens in most of the Balkans, with little hope of finding regular jobs. Comments Share “Roma experience persistent discrimination across the region,” Human Rights Watch said in a recent report.Kenan Rasitovic, a member of the local Gypsy council in Bujanovac, said simple poverty should qualify them for asylum.“Those people are just looking for ways to survive harsh living conditions and widespread poverty,” said Rasitovic. “Regular income is practically nonexistent here.”___Jovana Gec from Belgrade, Serbia, Konstantin Testorides from Skopje, Macedonia, and Damir Skaro from Berlin, Germany, contributed.(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 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “Call them fake or real asylum seekers,” said Galip Beqiri, a local ethnic Albanian party leader, “these people are leaving not because they are happy but because they are desperate.”EU states reject 99 percent of Balkan demands for asylum, ruling that the applicants do not fulfill the criteria of being politically, ethnically or religiously persecuted. But while their requests are under review, asylum seekers are allowed to stay in the countries where they are seeking a haven _ eating up funds that could help those in perhaps more dire straits, such as asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq.“It is unacceptable that we have two times as many asylum applicants from Serbia than from Afghanistan,” Ole Schroeder, secretary of state in the German interior ministry, recently told reporters.Serbia’s border police chief, Nenad Banovic, was also highly critical of the Balkan exodus: “Asylum has become a profession.” He added that those who are rejected in one EU country often go to another where they start the process all over again.Part of the problem is a lengthy asylum review procedure in many EU countries. Germany has become the most popular country for Balkan asylum seekers because it provides unusually generous living expenses and spends the longest time processing applications _ up to 14 months. 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Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Top Stories Djukanovic already has served in the past both as president and prime minister since becoming the youngest head of government in Europe at the age of 29 in 1991. More recently he served as party leader after handing the premier’s post to a close associate in 2010.The DPS will have to form a ruling coalition with other parties at a time when Montenegro faces an economic crisis and crucial European Union membership talks.(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 Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) – Montenegro’s president has asked ruling party leader Milo Djukanovic to become prime minister, paving the way for the formal return to power of the long-serving politician.President Filip Vujanovic announced the appointment Friday after Djukanovic’s candidacy was put forward by his Democratic Party of Socialists _ the winner of last month’s parliamentary elections. Comments Share Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Sponsored Stories
Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Colleagues in Finland sent blood samples that had been stored from 20 people diagnosed with vaccine-associated narcolepsy. Sure enough, 17 harbored antibodies capable of reacting both to flu and to those narcolepsy-linked receptors, Steinman’s team reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Recipients of another European vaccine, Novartis’ Focetria, didn’t harbor those cross-reactive antibodies.Pandemrix contained much higher levels of the flu protein than Focetria, possibly because the two flu shots were made from different H1N1 subtypes, the researchers found.The study doesn’t prove the link, Steinman stressed, calling for more research. It’s not clear how the antibodies could have gotten into the brain.Moreover, some unvaccinated people who caught the flu harbor the antibodies, too, he said, and a study from China found H1N1 infection itself may increase narcolepsy risk.It’s a plausible theory, said Dr. William Schaffner, a flu vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University who wasn’t involved in the new research.Importantly, “this would also appear to be a solvable problem,” with manufacturing techniques to ensure that future vaccines don’t contain too much cross-reactive protein, he said. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies However the narcolepsy puzzle turns out, the flu kills tens of thousands of people every year. “It’s really important to get vaccinated against flu,” Steinman said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility On Wednesday, an international team of researchers reported the problem may have been a case of mistaken identity by the immune system.Narcolepsy is an incurable disorder that interferes with normal sleep cycles, leaving people chronically sleepy during the daytime and apt to abruptly fall asleep. No one knows what causes it, although patients have very low levels of a brain chemical named hypocretin that’s important for wakefulness. One theory is that a particular gene variant makes people susceptible, and that some environmental trigger, maybe an infection, pushes them over the edge.About a year after mass vaccinations began against a new strain of H1N1 flu, called swine flu at the time, some European countries reported rare cases of narcolepsy in recipients of GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix but not in people given other flu vaccines. Research found narcolepsy patients had that genetic predisposition, but no other explanation.In the new study, Dr. Lawrence Steinman of Stanford University and colleagues found that the H1N1 virus contains a protein that is structurally similar to part of a brain cell receptor for that wakefulness chemical. They wondered if the flu-fighting antibodies generated by the Pandemrix vaccine might also latch onto those narcolepsy-linked receptors, leading to damage. WASHINGTON (AP) — One vaccine used in Europe during the 2009 swine flu pandemic was linked to rare cases of a baffling side effect — the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Now new research offers a clue to what happened.The vaccine Pandemrix never was used in the United States, and was pulled off the market abroad, but reports of narcolepsy in Finland and several other countries sparked questions globally about flu shot safety. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation
Federal Shadow Minister for Tourism Bob Baldwin congratulated 2011 winners of the Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence (Sydney metropolitan area and surrounds), announced this evening in Sydney.Mr Baldwin said he was pleased that culinary mastery is more than ever front and centre of popular culture – something that television shows like Master Chef has reinforced.“Hospitality and Tourism is all about the experience, and tonight’s winners are individuals and teams who create memorable dining experiences for domestic and inbound tourists,” Mr Baldwin said“Australian restaurateurs are amongst the best in the world, and year on year it’s clear that the standards achieved in cooking and presentation are continuously improving.“These coveted awards do a great deal not only to recognize hard work and achievement, they also encourage competition within the industry, and ensure that restaurant industry standards are maintained. Restaurant Catering Association Association CEO John Hart said the Awards are the most dependable and authoritative guide to Australia’s best restaurants and caterers. “With more than 500 trained judges and 2,000 entrants, the Awards for Excellence set the national benchmark. They are the most important and respected industry awards, specifically designed to objectively recognise and promote industry best practice,” Mr Hart saidNow in its 13th year, the Awards for Excellence program gives restaurant and caterers well deserved recognition of their hard work; promotional support; and help to attract incremental business. The RCA national awards will be conferred at an awards ceremony at Luna Park on 24 October Source = Parliament House Canberra
AIBTM, which launched in Baltimore this year as the international U.S. meetings and events industry (www.aibtm.com) exhibition, has won first prize for the ‘Best of Show’ at the 2011 TSNN Event Excellence Awards. The show was awarded first place based on a number of criteria including outstanding event, productivity of show in obtaining business objectives, entertainment, networking opportunities available and awareness and implementation of a sustainable actions.Steve Knight, AIBTM Project Manager commented: “This is a big win for us and we are so delighted to have been recognised so soon after the launch of our event. It is recognition of the team and the focus we placed for this to be a strategic event for the US meetings industry. The show delivers individually qualified Hosted Buyers and eligible Trade Buyers from the U.S. and around the world. It is the only event of its kind this year to also be independently audited so that all figures relating to the event are verified for transparency.”The Trade Show News Network (TSNN) is the world’s leading online resource for the trade show, exhibition and event industry since 1996. TSNN has also become the leading news source for the trade show industry, with more than 50,000 unique visitors a month. Rachel Wimberly, Editor-in-chief, Trade Show News Network commented: “TSNN, along with the rest of the trade show industry, was very impressed that AIBTM was able to snag the inaugural “Best of Show” award for a newly launched event. It proves that AIBTM’s debut show caught people’s attention amongst a competitive group of award nominees.”AIBTM will take place in Baltimore (June 19 – June 21st 2012). Source = AIBTM
Qantas will take to the skies this November with its first indigenous livery in over a decade. The Aboriginal-themed Boeing 737-800 will feature the work of a recognised West Australian indigenous artist, as part of the airline’s ‘Flying Art’ series, The Australian reported. Qantas continued the trend in 1995 with Nalanji Dreaming and again in 2002 with Yananyi Dreaming. Australia’s national carrier introduced its first aircraft with indigenous livery – Wunala Dreaming – in 1994, painting a Boeing 747-400 with motifs from Northern and Central Australia. Qantas is working on the series with Adelaide’s Balarinji Design Studios. The new 737-800 will be painted in Seattle, Washington at Boeing’s factory. Source = ETB News: P.T.
Source = ETB News: Tom Neale Travelport’s new Merchandising Platform was demonstrated at the Centre for Aviation conference in Sydney yesterday.The Rich Content and Branding component of the platform allows agents to easily access information about fares and ancillaries from the airlines who directly upload content and agents can view pricing by class and by upgrades if available.It also is completely customisable for airlines, so they can use the Travelport system and upload their own booking content using API or APTCO or use their own system and change the way their uploaded content is presented.Travelport head of global supplier strategy Ian Heywood said that the Travelport Merchandising Platform helps makes the process of selling ancillaries easier for agents.“We always say a ‘suitcase is not a suitcase’ these days, there are different sizes and everything and our worldwide platforms help agents these differences in ancillaries” Mr Heywood told ETB News.“Another comparison is that a person could be flying into this part of the world and then flying to the UK and then flying EasyJet and the travel agent does not know about EasyJet, with our system, they get to know the ancillaries, updated pricing and deals.”Mr Heywood said that there are three component parts to the Travelport Merchandising Platform – Travelport Aggregated Shopping, which groups all fares and ancillaries for destinations on one screen; Travelport Ancillary Services which gives agents the opportunity to sell pre-allocated, seatings, meals and bags within their existing workflows and Travelport Rich Content and Branding, which allows airlines to market their services more effectively through customisation of display and content.One of the most exciting features for agents and airlines is the ability to use Rich Content and Branding to provide customised advertising to different customers.Both Travelport Aggregated Shopping and Travelport Ancillary Services are currently available to travel agents using Travelport Smartpoint agency desktops. Rich Content and Branding is currently in alpha testing (though already more than 50 airlines have already signed up to the technology) and will be launched later this year on Smartpoint.
APG APG launching APG AirlinesAPG launching APG AirlinesAPG Airlines, code GP 275, is based in France and operates a single Beechcraft 200 aircraft.The airline will start its initial scheduled route between Nice and Bergamo airport on 28 October 2016 with two weekly flights.With the launch of APG Airlines, APG is also able to reactivate its APG IET product in which over 100 airlines participate, and which going forward will operate using the code GP of APG Airlines. APG IET acts as an interline hub for airlines allowing APG IET airline clients to interline with any of the other 100+ airlines in the programme without direct interline agreements or links.APG IET was obliged to suspend sales in February this year when Heli Air Monaco, whose code, YO, was previously used for APG IET, became a charter-only operator and was no longer able to participate in the IATA BSP system. With the launch of APG Airlines, APG is now able to use its own code for its APG IET product offering a stronger proposition to airlines in the future. Testing has already started with the first APG IET customers to re-open sales on APG IET and testing with all remaining airlines will be carried out as soon as possible.APG IET is also expected to add new airline customers by the end of the year which have been awaiting the launch of the product with the new code. APG has also taken the opportunity to switch its PSS host system at the same time to Crane PAX, a solution offered by Hitit, a well-known airline systems provider with a reputation for innovation. The new system will allow APG to develop improved links to other sales channels which were not possible previously.Further information: APG Airlines currently participates in ARC in the US, +40 BSPs as well as MITA and ICH.Additional BSPs will be activated in October bringing the total number in which APG Airlines participates to 119.APG Airlines will shortly be displayed and bookable in Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre as well as the Travelport portfolio of GDSs. APGthe network for airline servicesSource = APG – the network for airline services
Cebu Pacific secures IATA operational safety accreditationCebu Pacific secures IATA operational safety accreditationLargest Philippine carrier, Cebu Pacific, has achieved full compliance with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), joining a roster of 429 airlines worldwide that have strictly complied with the most stringent of international standards governing aviation safety. IOSA is considered the accreditation with the highest standards for safety in the airline industry.Though Cebu Pacific (CEB) is not a member of IATA, which represents some 280 airlines comprising 83 percent of global air traffic, it is now listed in the IOSA Registry of operators that have met the benchmark for airline safety management*.“We are committed to upholding the highest possible standards for the benefit of our passengers. Hence, we chose to undergo the rigorous and stringent audit requirements for IOSA. Since it is considered the internationally-recognised and accepted benchmark for airline safety, we wanted to be sure that our protocols and regulations meet IOSA standards,” said Lance Gokongwei, President and CEO of Cebu Pacific Air.Over the past several months, Cebu Pacific has invested in technology that improves its capability to better manage safety risks. These include the on-board Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) cockpit technology for its Airbus fleet, which monitors runway conditions before landing and calculates where the aircraft can safely stop; Area Navigation (RNAV) data for more accurate navigation and approaches to various airports; and a Fatigue Risk Management System for pilots to minimize safety risks and ensure they are at adequate levels of alertness.IOSA is a globally-accepted audit programme using internationally-agreed standards for safety management in airlines. Airlines are re-evaluated for IOSA certification every two years using global best practices for auditing operations management and other control systems such as flight operations, operational control, flight dispatch, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, aircraft ground handling, cargo operations and operational security.Source = Cebu Pacific
The new revenue management system will help Frasers Hospitality better manage its diverse portfolio, which ranges from serviced apartments such as Fraser Place Setiabudi Jakarta (pictured) to hotel residences.Frasers Hospitality develops revenue management capabilitiesIt is leading the industry in innovating strategies for extended stay room rates, while strengthening its ability to manage distribution across all lengths of stayFrasers Hospitality, a member of Frasers Property Group, is collaborating with Duetto to design new features within an app that will yield room rates on long stays, a traditionally underserved segment. This is part of a larger initiative that the global hospitality company is embarking on to gain more insights into demand and boost its pricing and distribution strategies.The new extended-stay features that Frasers Hospitality is co-developing will be available in Duetto’s cloud-based GameChanger app, which is being implemented across the company’s global portfolio.It is the first revenue management system that uses a revolutionary approach called open pricing to optimise rates for contracted extended stays in addition to traditional short stays.The app will help Frasers Hospitality to more efficiently find the right balance between long and short stays, and account for variable costs by room type, customer segment and length of stay. Having such a system would overcome manual analysis of data as well as allow for better prediction of demand that goes beyond historical guest records by leveraging third- party data such as web shoppingbehaviour, air traffic and weather to gauge price sensitivities and recommend optimal room rates.“Having expanded from two properties to more than 150 properties over 80 cities, we now not only have a global footprint but also serve segments as diverse as luxury serviced residences and boutique lifestyle hotels. This requires us to have a revenue strategy solution that is capable of handling increasing complexity as we continue to scale,” said Joanne Ang, Senior Vice President, Head of Global Marketing & Sales, Frasers Hospitality.“Our enhanced capabilities will help us in pricing inventory, forecasting demand and improving distribution. This will enable us to make data-driven decisions to ensure we are achieving the best mix ofbusiness.”Instead of traditional fixed-tier pricing where rates for different sales channels are derived from a single best available rate (BAR), open pricing allows accommodation providers to price all room types, channels and dates independently of each other based on actual demand. By offering more flexibility in rate adjustments, this also means that guests are not turned away during peak periods when operators would normally close channels or add length-of-stay restrictions rather than sell discounted rooms.“Serviced residences are one of the most exciting – yet underserved – verticals in the hotel industry today. Frasers Hospitality is leading the way in developing not only this segment, but also new strategies for it,” said Patrick Bosworth, Co-Founder and CEO of Duetto.Rates for the extended stay segment are typically inflexible and fail to account for the displacement of transient business and longer, more profitable longer-staying guests. Currently in beta stage, the new app module will be able to recommend an optimised rate and negotiation range for extended stay contracts after factoring in various costs.“As an accommodation provider of choice among the world’s most notable multinational corporations and Fortune 500 companies, Frasers Hospitality is a natural fit as a design partner for furtherextended-stay capabilities within our GameChanger app and we’re looking forward to continuing this partnership for a long time,” said Mr Bosworth.Source = Frasers Hospitality
A new 5-star hotel opens in Ponta Delgada – the Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico -PortugalA new 5-star hotel opens in Ponta DelgadaJuly 1st, 2018 is the date marking the opening of the Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, Azores. Portugal.After the extensive renovation of Hotel Açores Atlântico, an flagship property of the Bensaude Hotels Collection, located on the main avenue of Ponta Delgada facing the Atlantic.The Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico has a design of maritime inspiration, which comes from the century-old tradition of the Bensaude Group in the transport industry through its Insulana Shipping Company giving rise to the hotel concept. Influenced by its history, the maritime elements are present, showcasing the history of this company through a plethora of pieces, images and varied records throughout the hotel, with special emphasis on rare and unique pieces of great historical value. All these pieces come from the INSULANA estate that belonged to the Bensaude Group for almost 100 years and that represents, in all of its existence, more than a century of activity.The Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico is the result of a rebranding and repositioning of the new “Grand Hotel” brand that emerges, closely connected to the Atlantic Ocean and the history of the Azorean hotel industry that began within the Bensaude Group with Sociedade Terra Nostramore than 80 years ago.At the architectural design level, the project was signed by renowned Azorean architect Gomes de Menezes, who has worked over the years on various Bensaude Group projects. Regarding interior design, the Grand Hotel had the collaboration of architect Paulo Lobo, who left his stamp of quality and taste in creating inviting and striking spaces.The Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico also features an à la carte restaurant with its Chef’s signature cuisine, named BALCONY. It overlooks the Ponta Delgada Marina with panoramic ocean views, the result of a complete remodeling of what was previously known as “Varanda do Atlântico.” BALCONY offers dishes highlighting regional ingredients, with contemporary reinterpretations that will enhance the quality of the best fresh ingredients of the Azores Islands.On the ground floor you can find VAPORE Bar & Lounge, a welcoming space influenced by maritime experiences and the theme of the hotel. We wanted a versatile space, with a terrace, that could meet the needs of our visitors, as well as those who live on São Miguel Island andwant to sip a delicious late-afternoon drink or enjoy a light meal.In terms of amenities, the Grand Hotel has a total of 140 rooms, 62 of which are City View, 18 Bay View, 50 Sea View, 5 Suites and 5 Junior Suites. It also provides 4 meeting rooms for conferences, events or banquets, with capacity up to 240 people, as well as small executive meeting rooms. It also features a heated indoor pool, gym, room service, laundry service and Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.The Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico is another example of the Bensaude Group’s commitment to the Azores Islands and to the sustainability of the Azorean economy, creating 100 new jobs and a top-quality alternative for all those who choose the Azores Islands as a vacation, leisure or work destination. Source = Bensaude Hotels Collection