Schools almost out Celebrate with Sunwings Family Vacation sale

first_img TORONTO — With summer school break just around the corner, Sunwing is giving parents some much-needed vacation inspiration with a new promotion on all-inclusive vacation packages.Available to book from now until May 25, these packages are available at top-rated resorts across the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Depending on the resort they select, families can make their summer travel budget go even further with Kids Stay, Play and Eat FREE deals, special teen pricing, rooms that sleep families of five and more.Included in the promotion is the new Royalton Bavaro Resort and Spa in Punta Cana, situated on the legendary Bavaro Beach. There’s also the Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, a family-friendly property that’s home to Montego Bay’s largest water park, on-site kids clubs and the 18-hole Runaway Bay Golf Club.One of the tour operator’s most consistently popular resorts is Family Club at Grand Riviera Princess All Suites & Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which offers spacious rooms for families, some of which include bunk beds for kids. Other amenities include an on-site water park, Mini and Teen Clubs, 12 pools, tennis, basketball, soccer and more.More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaAll vacation packages include return flights on Sunwing Airlines, which include a welcome sparkling wine toast, buy-onboard Sunwing Café menu with selections inspired by Food Network Canada Celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford, and backpacks for children filled with games and toys. Travelweek Group Posted by Share Tags: Sunwingcenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, May 18, 2018 School’s (almost) out! Celebrate with Sunwing’s Family Vacation salelast_img read more

Gringos bring tap dancing to Costa Rica

first_imgFrom the print editionThe dancers glow in the evening light as they raise a graceful ruckus with their tap shoes. It’s a nontraditional extracurricular activity for members of a small municipality outside of Grecia, and in fact, it only arrived recently with two gringos who are pretty nontraditional themselves. Bill and Doreen Potter visited Costa Rica in 1992 for what was supposed to be a short scuba diving vacation. They never went back to Colorado. “We just fit into Costa Rica,” Bill says.After living in various places around the country, they settled in Cajón, northeast of Grecia, in the Central Valley. Now, the couple teaches country line dancing and tap dancing once a week at the community center. Out of their own pockets, they bought dozens of pairs of shoes to outfit their pupils. Doreen also finds the music and choreographs all the dances. “The music and dances have to be lively or they get bored,” Doreen says, but clearly she is up for the challenge. It is a great pleasure, she says, to watch them grow and absorb the new things.Back on stage, the kids repeat their dance routines again and again, preparing for a performance the next day at school. A handful sport bright-blue, team shirts announcing them as the Cajón Tappers. Joselin Rodríguez wipes at a stain on her daughter’s team shirt. She brings her kids to dance class every Wednesday, even though they have to trek home is in the dark. It’s worth it. “The kids love dancing,” she said. “They stay active physically, and it keeps them occupied and out of trouble.”Throughout the practice, kids come and go. School lets out at 5:30 p.m., and a half-hour into the practice a few more students rush in. They’re still in their school uniforms, and they’ve also donned tap shoes to join the practice. When it’s over, the kids form a line while Doreen hands out cookies and a few items from her garden. Today it’s a bag of limes, which the kids will bring back to their parents. “If they didn’t have this … [they’d be] working in the family’s coffee plots,” Doreen said. To reward the Cajón Tappers’ hard work, Bill and Doreen fundraise to take the kids on trips to a bowling alley or roller skating rink in San José, as well as a Christmas party. To get the money to hire a bus and pay entrance fees, the Potters and other foreigners in the neighborhood hold an annual garage sale.“The community loves it, they’re always asking when the next sale is,” Doreen said. There is no fee for the kids or moms to attend the classes.After class, Monica Bolaños, 10, munches on cookies with her sister and cousin, who also dance. Bolaños is captain of the Cajón Tappers. Her clean movements and sharp memory for the routines stand out, and other dancers follow her lead.“I like dancing and never want to stop,” Bolaños said. “My friends dance bachata but not country and tap. I’m trying to get them to come to practices.”After packing up the makeshift dance studio and humoring a few moms who also want to learn some moves, Bill starts home in his car. When he encounters a few of his pupils on the side of road, he stops to give them a lift. Dropping them off at their home, he sticks his head out the window and quizzes them on the time of tomorrow’s performance.“Ten o’clock,” one girl says.“Noooo! Twelve! Twelve o’clock,” Bill hollers.The girl giggles and nods. As Bill drives away, the girls’ brother shouts, “At ten, right?”The family bursts out laughing, teasing Bill. He shakes his head and heads home. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Complaints for defective purchases may be made throughout the month

first_imgNo related posts. The deadline to apply the warranties for defects or malfunctioning of items bought last Christmas will last until the first week of February.Consumers have by law 30 days after an item was purchased to check its quality.Economy Ministry (MEIC) offices will reopen January 7, and as of that date buyers have 30 days to validate the warranty of toys, appliances, technology gadgets or any other gift that may not work as expected.All MEIC offices are closed this week and so is the Consumer Protection Office.To file a complaint with MEIC starting next Monday, buyers must present original receipts. Facebook Commentslast_img

Jacó Happenings

first_imgLos Sueños was thrilled to host 17 injured U.S. military veterans from April 7-11 for a Heroes Vacation. The soldiers were brought to Los Sueños through the Freedom Alliance Foundationwww.freedomalliance.org, at the suggestion of Captain Tony Carrizosa. These deserving soldiers were able to enjoy a wonderful time here in paradise thanks to the generosity of homeowners who donated their condominiums and boats, tour operators and management companies that gave away trips and services, and Bill Royster, who handled logistics and provided all meals, a welcome and an awards dinner. The highlight of their trip was surely the two-day “Jungle Rules” billfishing tournament, which resulted in 67 sailfish releases. Our sincere gratitude goes out to the many people who made this event possible and most of all, to these real American heroes.  Mark your calendars for the upcoming cinco de Mayo weekend, which is always a good time in Jacó Beach! Friday, May 3 features the Gran Tope de Caballitos de Palo at 4 p.m., leaving from in front of the Red Cross for the Central Park. This event is organized by the Cen De Jacó, with inscriptions costing $4. On Saturday, May 4, Teatro Jacó will be featuring the comedy “Los Reyes de La Comedia” at 8 p.m., with entrance costing $10. For tickets, call 2630-9812. Later in the evening, The Surf Party sponsored by Arenas Skate & Surf and Yorleny Boutique will be held at Morada Haze, featuring Crypy626, Toledo, & Banton. Tickets available for $10 at 2643-7743.  Morada Haze is located on the second floor above Subway in the Center of Jacó Beach.Later in the month: On Sunday, May 19, the renowned jazz musician Josh Quinlan will perform at The Terrace Lounge in the Los Sueños Marina Village. It will be an unforgettable night of music, delicious food and great company. More details will be announced soon.–Christina Truittchristina_truitt@yahoo.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Panama will use genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue

first_imgPANAMA CITY – Panama will try to control a dengue outbreak that has claimed six lives this year by releasing transgenic mosquitoes. Officials believe the mosquitoes can render infertile female transmitters of the disease, officials said.Health Ministry Director Carlos Gálvez told AFP the technique has “shown promise” in Brazil and the Cayman Islands.In Panama, it is being run by the Instituto Gorgas tropical research institute.“The GM male mosquitoes have contact with the females that transmit dengue; then the eggs the (non-GM) females lay no longer produce (dengue-)transmitting mosquitoes,” he explained.Gálvez said the GM mosquitoes are not a danger to humans because they do not feed on blood, but rather on fruit.GM mosquitoes live for just a week, while normal ones live for a month.The ministry plans to release the GM bugs in two weeks, numbering in the hundreds for each estimated dengue-transmitting female. Facebook Comments Related posts:The hidden environmental factors behind the spread of Zika and other devastating diseases Costa Rica dengue epidemic sets all-time record for calendar year Zika alert: Costa Rica increases surveillance of travelers entering the country Costa Rica’s inclusion in Zika travel warning has tourism leaders worriedlast_img read more

Bioluminescent in Bocas del Toro

first_imgAt 9 p.m., the Bay of Almirante was a vast expanse of darkness dotted with distant lights. The rickety dock rocked beneath our feet and a lukewarm breeze came off that endless expanse of black water. As we stumbled aboard the motorboat, I realized that I had never really ventured into the ocean at night.“Are you nervous?” I asked Erin.“No,” she said. “Are you?”“Yeah, actually.” I sat down in the crowded boat and fiddled with an antiquated orange life preserver. “The water looks a lot different when you can’t see it.”The captain was a stout Panamanian I’ll call Jorge (all staff names have been changed), and when Jorge started the engine, he used its noise as an excuse to sing love songs at the top of his lungs. The boat angled forward, and once we were clear of the dock, we launched into the void. Spray blasted around the hull. The town of Bocas del Toro melted in the distance.We didn’t know exactly where we were going or what we would see. We had only just met our guide, Jon, a skinny guy with long blond hair who looked scarcely adolescent. We weren’t even sure how long we’d be putting around the bay.Only one thing was certain: Within the next couple hours, we would track down some bioluminescent phytoplankton, one of the most mystifying life forms in the sea. If all went well, we’d jump in the water and swim in it.•“I need to get out of town for a few days,” I told Erin, my colleague at The Tico Times and one of my favorite people to travel with. “Any interest in going to Bocas?”“Yes!” she said. “I’ve been dying to go there!”Most folks in Costa Rica know that Bocas del Toro is a kooky little province in the northeastern corner of Panama, a region famous for secluded islands, sprawling mangroves and armies of red tree frogs. Known among fans as simply “Bocas,” the main settlement is an old company town metamorphosed into a tourist mecca. The islands were once vassals of the United Fruit Company. Today, the place is overrun with backpackers and retirees from other countries. Eccentricity as trademark: Bocas Blended specializes in smoothies and breakfasts. Robert Isenberg/The Tico TimesWhile plenty of millionaires vacation in Bocas, the place has a countercultural flavor: Gringo’s Mexican is a quirky little restaurant run by a chatty Californian expat. Bocas Blended is a cute eatery built into a retired bus. Erin and I booked a room at Mar e Iguana (“Sea and Iguana”), a hostel on the outskirts of town. When the taxista drove us there, he pulled up to the beach, pointed to the hostel’s entrance, and said, “Estamos aquí. Mar e Iguana.”“Oh, my God,” I said as we (gently) closed the taxi’s doors. “I didn’t even get that.”“Get what?”“The name of this place.”“What about it?”“Say it fast and don’t pronounce the ‘g.’”“What? Marijuana?” As she said this, Erin’s jaw dropped, and we burst into cackles.As it happened, Mar e Iguana was a tame – not to mention beautiful – little hostel, and most of its denizens were young Germans on their Wanderjahr. Bocas del Toro has its share of parties and reckless behavior, but a critical mass of visitors comes for more than cheap Balboa beer and ubiquitous ganja. They want to also lie on isolated beaches, go snorkeling near dolphin pods and climb into caves full of bats. They want to rent bicycles and pedal down jungle roads, or hike the trails of Red Frog Beach and admire the exotic birds.The punishing heat of Bocas made any plan seem pointless, so Erin and I alternated between hammocks, beaches, seafood restaurants and bars. Bocas can feel very far from real life, especially if you spend most of your time in Costa Rica: You have to cross the trestle bridge at Sixaola, take buses or a cab to the coast, then board a water taxi and thread your way between the islands. Sometimes the water shuts off or the electricity cuts out. Wifi is patchy, and we never found an Internet café. These inconveniences are all part of Bocas del Toro’s freewheeling charm, and we found excuse after excuse not to do anything meaningful. The Bocas del Toro waterfront. Unlike Costa Rica, where maritime laws restrict seaside development, restaurants crowd the coast. Robert Isenberg/The Tico TimesThen, during one of our long strolls through town, we found a handwritten sign: “BIOLUMINESCENT TOURS.” We had both seen this phenomenon before, but only in small doses. We talked with a drowsy-looking girl from California named Jaime, who described the tour.“We meet up around 8 o’clock,” she said. “We take you out in a boat, and you get to see the algae. Then you get to jump in and swim around with masks. It’s really amazing.” Then she looked up at the opal afternoon sky and added, “Tonight is the new moon, which means it’s the best night of the month to see it.”Jaime started the tour about a year ago, and she has continued its operation with her boyfriend Jon, who was born in Holland but raised in Panama. What was striking about the tour was its price tag: $25 U.S. Like so many activities in Central America, some parts of Bocas del Toro are best visited with guides – and many of these tours are cheap and easy to arrange.“So I brought a GoPro with me,” I told Jaime. “Do you think it’ll work?”“Honestly,” she said, “don’t bother. People take cameras all the time, and all they get is a black screen. There are ways to take pictures of bioluminescent algae, but only if you’re an expert. Like a National Geographic photographer probably could, and I’ve seen pictures online, but most of us can’t. So you’re welcome to bring it along, but I’m pretty sure you’re not going to get anything.”We booked two seats on the boat, grabbed some pad thai, and headed to the hostel to grab our swimsuits. Within a few hours, the sun had set, night had fallen over the town, and we were ready to sail.•Jorge veered the boat sideways, and we started motoring into a tight circle. As water riffled along the hull, we could see thousands of faint specs light up in the liquid furrows.“This is the bioluminescent phytoplankton,” said Jon triumphantly.With the exception of fireflies and glowworms, bioluminescence is a rare sight in the terrestrial world. Mammals and reptiles generally have no need to glow in the dark, so when the lights go out, so do we. But underwater, bioluminescence is a common trait, and the more fathoms you descend, the more glowing creatures you’ll find. There are lots of reasons that deep-sea animals have evolved this way, from intimidating predators to lighting their way in the Mariana Trench.Yet nothing is quite as startling as bioluminescent phytoplankton. Aroused by movement, this algae forms galactic patterns in the water.“Scientists call them dinoflagellates,” shouted Jon over the roar of the engine.“Now that’s a name!” someone shouted back, and everybody laughed.There were about a dozen of us, and we were all under 35. As members of the digital generation, most of the passengers started frantically shooting the water with their cameras and phones, trying to capture images of the algae. Flashes burst blindingly in the dark, but when the snapshots registered on their screens, they showed only blackness or abstract light patterns.“Seriously, guys,” said Jon in his surfer-dude cadence. “You’re not going to get a picture of them, especially with flash. You’re just making it harder for other people to see.”Flash or no flash, the plankton was hard to see. At first the algae was subtle, mere pointillist gray spots, and Erin and I kept murmuring our disappointment.“I really don’t see much,” she said. “It’s just like a couple of dots.”Then the boat drifted into the mangroves, and Jorge switched off the engine. He and Jon handed paddles and wood poles down the aisles of seats, and each of us dipped our implements in the water. With each swish of a paddle, algae bubbled around like heaps of diamonds. “Oh, wow!” we cooed, because there was nothing else to say. Words were as ineffectual as camera lenses.“So are we swimming here?” someone called to Jon.“Not here,” Jon said. “Back in the bay.”“Why not here?”“Look around,” Jon said, gesturing to the curtains of foliage that hung over the water. “It’s creepy.” Again, everyone laughed. “Also, this is where lots of fish come to feed, and they’re attracted to the bioluminescence. Then sharks come to eat the fish. The chances of a shark attacking you are point-zero-zero-zero-zero-one percent. But where we’re going, we’ll be a hundred percent safe.”•Anchored off an island the size of a baseball mound, we slipped off the gunwales into the unseen water. One by one, bodies vanished into the umbra, and then we heard heads popping back up, spitting water and crying, “Oh, it’s cold!”But I adjusted quickly to the tropical water, delighting to taste salt on my lips. Jon advised us to stay on the surface, for fear we’d touch the bottom and impale our feet on a sea urchin. I felt buoyant and free, and I spent long minutes floating on my back, watching the starry cosmos rotate above.“Mask?” someone called out.“Here!” I called back.I strapped on the rubber mask and dipped my face into the ripples. Just as Jaime predicted, glowing particles swarmed around my hands. The tiniest wiggle of my thumb caused microscopic sparks to swirl. Kicking my feet raised clouds of algae, and when I ran fingers through my chest hair, specs lit up.“Erin!” I said, ripping off the mask and handing it off.“This… is… awesome…” Erin intoned, once she’d come up for breath.As we dog-paddled around the boat, unafraid of the obscure depths, lost in the wonder of the moment, it occurred to me how spoiled a visitor can become in Central America. Things that once seemed to exist only in magazines – sloths, cloud forests, waterfalls descending into jungle ravines – are everyday sights in Costa Rica and Panama. Surfing and scuba diving once seemed hopelessly exotic to me, but in recent months I’ve been able to try either on a whim. On Playa Estrella (Starfish Beach), the crystal clear waters are often crowded with playful echinoderms. Robert Isenberg/The Tico TimesIndeed, bioluminescent phytoplankton is fairly common, and not just in Panama: Backpackers later told me about blooms off the coast of Nicoya, which they claimed were visible from the beach.But as we climbed awkwardly back into the boat, reluctant to leave our dark patch of illuminated life, I hoped never to let that novelty wear off. Part of what makes Central America so wondrous, especially for people who grew up elsewhere, is the richness of its species. Hardened urban Yankees come to Central America and wander around the national parks, slack-jawed, because every little leafcutter ant enthralls them.•The next day, the hostel’s water cut out. Already sweat-matted, we trekked through the sweltering heat, all the way back to Sixaola. As we scrambled aboard the bus for San José – only minutes before its departure – Erin smiled broadly and said, “Hey, I’m still covered in bioluminescent phytoplankton. How about you?”“Why, yes I am,” I said.That’s the thing about nature: It sticks with you. Facebook Comments Related posts:Lonely Planet guide documents a changing Central America 7 things to consider before retiring abroad More U.S. tourists are taking vacations in Central America Fishermen, locals are the ‘real heroes’ in Costa Rica catamaran accident, says survivorlast_img read more

Private sector employers propose 162 percent salary increase for 2015

first_imgBusiness leaders on Monday evening sent the National Wages Council a proposal for a 1.62 percent increase in private-sector salaries across all job categories.“We strongly believe the next increase should be the same for all job categories, instead of separate amounts, as was approved the last time around. That type of increase causes problems,” Luis Mesalles, president of the Union of Private-Sector Chambers and Associations (UCCAEP), said.Labor representatives last week submitted a proposal for increases ranging from 2.91-4.58 percent, depending on worker’s salary level. That calculation takes into account 1.9 percent projected inflation for next year plus 0.9 percent projected gross domestic product growth.“We believe the employers’ proposal falls short, … and we expect the government to propose an increase closer to the reality of the cost of living,” Édgar Morales, a spokesman for the National Workers’ Union, said on Monday evening.Labor Minister Víctor Morales will submit the government’s proposal next Monday. The same day, the National Wages Council will determine the salary increase, which will take effect on Jan. 1.The last wage increase for 1.2 million workers in the country’s private sector was approved last July. Facebook Comments Related posts:Salary increase for private sector set at 2.01 percent Private-sector employers offer 0.94 percent wage increase for second half of 2015 New wages for private-sector workers take effect this month Government, private-sector unions negotiate wage hikes for second half of 2015last_img read more

Save the date A Costa Rican abroad encounters social calendars

first_imgThere can be major adaptations in a minor culture shock. In terms of way of life and social norms, the gap between Costa Rica and the United States is narrow enough that I didn’t worry too much when I first moved to the States. After all, I learned English when I was 5 or 6, played “Candy Land” during my childhood and, like many Costa Ricans of my generation, can sing the full lyrics of the opening theme of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” dubbed in Spanish in a screechy voice that Will Smith would most certainly disown.What did I need to know that wasn’t already there in the nine seasons of “Seinfeld,” every 90s boy band song, and Tom Sawyer’s practical wisdom? I wasn’t coming from a country where women wore burqas or you had to go on a squat toilet. I was coming from a country that, for better or worse, had long received the influence of the United States. I felt like I had the best of both worlds: salsa and Madonna, tamales and cheeseburgers. I had enhanced my already rich Latin American identity with thoroughly assimilated aspects of U.S. culture. Except they weren’t quite as assimilated as I thought.The first thing I felt upon arriving in New Jersey was loneliness. Of course, that’s a common feature of the expat experience anywhere, but being Costa Rican is a particularly gregarious phenomenon. Perhaps due to the fact that most of us live very close to our family, our school friends and almost any person we’ve ever met, our lives are always crowded – physically, emotionally and chronologically. I’ve heard many U.S. friends say that one of the wonderful things about getting married is that, on your wedding day, you gather all the people from the different stages of your life into one place. Well, that’s what being Costa Rican is like. All. The. Time.There are obvious advantages to having an overpopulated private life. You can always call Uncle Dilson when the car breaks down. Chances are someone you know will drive by while you wait for him. Going to a fancy party means a pilgrimage to some 15 closets, where you can borrow clothes from your cousins, your high school friends or your colleagues. And there’s the occasional local celebrity spotting at the supermarket, where it’s not uncommon to peek into a congresswoman’s shopping cart, take a selfie with a national football team player, or delve into the eating habits of that anchorman from the six o’clock news.But even serious extroverts want some control over their social interactions. You don’t want to keep running into your old boyfriends when you are trying to find a new one. You don’t want to learn, at a family lunch, that your boss is also your third cousin twice removed. You don’t want a night out at the movies to look like, well, your college reunion. People sometimes need anonymity. They need the diluted collective experience that Ticos, by virtue of country size, are rarely afforded.So when I say I felt lonely I don’t mean it in the existential no-one-gets-me kind of way. I mean it in the where-the-hell-is-everybody kind of way. I was 25 and had just understood that being surrounded by strangers is just another form of solitude. For once in my life, I had to reach out. Socializing required intention. And Americans, at least the ones I know, are particularly good at that.I remember the first time I got one of those “save the date” emails. People wanted me to tell them what I was doing the second Saturday of the following month. What? I didn’t know what I was doing the following hour. There are only two moments when Costa Ricans plan ahead: New Year and Holy Week. And that’s only if you want to go to the beach. Everything else falls into a somewhat spontaneous (read chaotic) exchange.Which is not to say that Americans are not spontaneous or that Costa Ricans never agree to meet 10 days later. It is just that, overall, there is more structure to socializing here. Life, especially life in a city, requires that you think about the frequency with which you want to see people. It asks that you form an opinion on how to allot your free time the following week and the week after that. It asks that you remember the complexity of other people’s networks and how you are only one part of your friends’ social architecture. It requires a sense of direction. Social direction.I might never assimilate this completely, but it has helped me in ways I’m only beginning to understand. Whenever I’m back in Costa Rica now, I have a keen awareness of what my social priorities are. I miss those long talks over coffee at my mom’s place, so I make room for them. I need those soul-searching conversations with my friends at one in the morning, so I make them happen. I construct my social life, at a deliberate pace and with a deliberate course. There’s nothing stale in planning when and where and how you see your loved ones. It might be a way of letting them know how much you care. As for my old belief that I already had the best of both worlds – on the treasured occasions when I can combine the gregariousness of Costa Rica with the thoughtfulness of U.S. social life, I feel that I actually do. Raquel Chanto is a lawyer and policy wonk trying to survive international bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. In the new monthly column “Please Send Coffee!” she explores aspects of Costa Rican culture and how they contrast with life abroad. Facebook Comments Related posts:Ticos in a winter wonderland Ojalá: A Costa Rican sense of luck Food choices, then and now: from Guayabitas to cage-free eggs Roommates: a strange concept for Ticos, but are we missing out?last_img read more

New wages for privatesector workers take effect this month

first_imgThe2.01 percent salary increase approved in October by the National Wages Council went into effect on Thursday and will remain in place for the first six months of this year.The wage increase, which applies to all job categories except domestic workers, was lower than the rate requested by union leaders, who had asked for hikes ranging from 2.91-4.58 percent. For domestic workers the Council approved a 2.5 percent increase.The approved rate corresponded to the original proposal presented by government officials during a hearing at the Labor Ministry.Union leaders, however, said at the time that they were “outraged by the approved percentage.”“Representatives of all three workers’ unions voted against it,” said Édgar Morales, leader of the National Union of Workers. “This does nothing to improve the situation for workers or to boost the country’s economy, since higher salaries would have translated into more purchasing power.”The approved hike is significantly lower than that authorized for the first semester of last year, when private-sector workers received a 3.78 percent increase.See the full list of minimum wages as of Jan. 1 here (Spanish only). Facebook Comments Related posts:Government, private-sector unions negotiate wage hikes for second half of 2015 Private-sector employers offer 0.94 percent wage increase for second half of 2015 Private-sector employers offer 1.33 percent salary hike Salary increase for private sector set at 2.01 percentlast_img read more

ICE to stop printing monthly bills

first_imgBeginning Aug. 1, customers of the state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE-kölbi) will no longer receive printed bills for landline phone service, Internet and cable TV.Instead, ICE will send electronic invoices, and the company is asking customers to register email addresses at its website: kolbi.cr or at any kölbi store, ICE location or via the customer service hotline 1193. Customers also can call ICE’s automated system at 1187.Digital billing options include emails, text messages or a kölbi app for Android and iOS devices. Text messages with monthly bills can be requested by sending an SMS to the number 4231 with the word RECIBO.Customers without access to electronic devices must contact ICE’s customer service department. In some cases, ICE may issue a printed bill if no other options are available. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica mobile carriers improve coverage, but not internet speed Costa Rica’s telecom regulator sanctions state-owned ICE for unfair competition Costa Rican Electricity Institute appeals ₡2 billion fine by regulators ICE denounces telecom regulator for hiring lawyers who worked with private competitorslast_img read more

Santa Teresa Deep Dive Surfing in one of Costa Ricas best beaches

first_imgSanta Teresa de Cóbano is one of my favorite spots on earth.It’s a great mix between jungle and ocean with green to blue waters. There are great waves and surfing conditions. It’s surrounded by nature, too. Don’t get scared if you wake up to the sound of howler monkeys.  If you are planning on visiting, make sure you leave everything where you found it and have a great time.Sunny season (November to April or so) is the best time to go to Santa Teresa, but if you don’t mind the rain, this could be the best beach to visit during the rainy season. The heavy rains come hand-in-hand with bigger swells – and one of the beauties of Costa Rica is that you’ll always get some sunshine, no matter the season.It might rain heavily for a few days, but there are always breaks that deliver an incredibly beautiful day. They say that the early bird gets the worm, and it’s true when it comes to nice weather in the rainy season. You can get some pretty great conditions in Santa Teres (Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times)The morning session delivers glassy conditions and when the trade winds hit, you can find perfect offshore conditions and waves with wide-open sections. They are conditions you dream of and ones that others have never even witnessed. These days made me fall in love with this spot. If the offshore is on, the surf is on at any moment of the day.This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to surf with onshore winds – you just have to wait for the right time.There are several spots that you can check out and see if the conditions are right for you.  Playa Carmen, Santa Teresa, Banana Beach, Brunela, and Hermosa are the most mainstream spots. High tide is the best time to surf it, but things can always change from day to day, and the seasons will affect this as well.On my last trip, I surfed Brunela, in front of the Selina hostel, and I had a blast with a right-hand peak that I had almost to myself.Banana Beach and Santa Teresa also bring me good memories of open-faced waves with a slight offshore as the cherry on top. A sunset session at Hermosa is always a great option not only for the surfers but for those sunset lovers as well. If you get to know the locals and the surfing community, they might show you a couple of secret spots in the surrounding area. A not-so-secret, but hidden spot near Santa Teresa. Can you find it? (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)There are plenty of surf shops with all kinds of boards you can rent or buy – so if you are worried about flying your boards and all the potential mistreatment, then worry not. You will be able to find local and international brands and a diverse price range for new and used boards. There’s also apparel, gear and cool gadgets like GoPro mounts.If you have never surfed in your life, Santa Teresa is a solid option as a place to learn. You will be able to find surf camps and several surf shops that offer lessons and rental equipment. When it comes to the surf lessons, you might end up learning with a local legend or a local champion. Listen to what they have to say: if someone knows how the ocean works there, it’s them.If you’re in town on a Thursday night then you will be able to attend the reggae night at La Lora Amarilla. During the busiest parts of the year, especially on Christmas and New Years, there are plenty of nightlife options. If you like to party with a local and international crowd, this is the place to be. Costa Ricans are always down for a party, especially during the last month of the year. There are plenty of surf schools and stores with gear for rent or purchase in the area. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)Getting there is an adventure that requires a car or bus with the option of a ferry ride. If you decide to drive the whole way from San Jose, you will be facing about 320 km of road.The 17-kilometer ferry ride will cut that distance in half.Driving the full way can be fun – once. You get to cross the Río Tempisque on the now-ironic Puente de la Amistad. It translates to “Friendship Bridge,” and was financed by the Taiwanese government before Costa Rica severed diplomatic ties with them a few years later. The deal, made to strengthen ties with China under Oscar Arias’s second term, included the 35,175-seat national stadium, completely financed and built by China.It was easy bait for a soccer nation.If you skip the bridge and take the ferry, the driver will get to relax and lie back for about one hour. Book your ticket online to guarantee yourself a spot. If not, make sure you arrive early since the ferry can get crowded.Roads have improved slightly, but there are still a lot of bumpy dirt roads along the way. Once you get there, it’s like a tropical Mad Max scene. Locals and tourists with face masks ride around on motorcycles and quads, kicking up dust everywhere they go. Listen to what locals have to say: if someone knows how the ocean works there, it’s them. (Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times)The whole town is on a long stretch of road that has several entrances to the beach. Vehicles come in handy to go back and forth, and renting a bike is always a great option for those willing to sweat.Santa Teresa is a small melting pot of people from all over the world who loved the place and decided to stay. It’s definitely in the top five places in Costa Rica I’d relocate to.Montezuma and Malpaís are close by and the supermarkets have lots of local and international products. There are also great restaurants if you don’t feel like cooking. Tacos are a mandatory stop for me.The Taco Corner has affordable tacos, burgers, fries and sides. I always have a falafel taco, some chili fries and the occasional jalapeño poppers. Careful, they’re hot and I’ve burned my mouth a few times due to a lack of patience and a fierce post-surf appetite. I might get a chicken burrito or a fish taco after that.Just kidding. Or am I?Till next time – see you in the water. Manuel Martínez signing off. (Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times)This story was part of The Tico Times Deep Dive Santa Teresa series. Click here for more stories from Santa Teresa.Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Santa Teresa Deep Dive: How to Surf in Santa Teresa Dreamlike, diverse and grappling with change: Our Santa Teresa deep dive Puerto Viejo Deep Dive: Surfing the Caribbean’s gnarly waves Santa Teresa Deep Dive: A murder shatters the illusion of safetylast_img read more

Six Somalis go on trial in Paris for yacht attack

first_imgPARIS (AP) – Six Somalis have gone on trial in a Paris court for their alleged roles in a 2008 attack on the luxury yacht “Le Ponant” that ended with the release of 30 hostages and payment of a $2.5 million ransom.Only one suspect has admitted to a role in the attack in the Gulf of Aden, and three deny ever being aboard the craft. One of the defendants identified himself to the court Tuesday as a taxi driver, another as a builder. Others claimed to be fishermen. How men can have a healthy 2019 Comments   Share   Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona ErrorOKFree Rate QuoteCall now 623-889-0130 ErrorOK 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Helicopter-borne French troops captured the six _ half of those allegedly involved in the attack _ on Somali territory with some, but not all the ransom.Five Somalis were convicted of piracy in late 2011 for attacking a French sailboat and given 4 to 8 years in prison. Another was acquitted.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Journalist faces 5 years in jail in Belarus

first_img Comments   Share   Poland’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Belarusian ambassador on Friday afternoon and presented him with a note of protest over Poczobut’s arrest.Poczobut’s wife, Oksana, said he was arrested late Thursday in the western city of Hrodno near the Polish border.“They threatened, insulted me,” she told The Associated Press. “Said they would not leave him alone” until Poczobut stops criticizing Lukashenko.Belarusian authorities were not available for comment.Lukashenko has ruled the nation of 10 million for nearly 18 years, earning the nickname in the West of “Europe’s last dictator.”The Polish Foreign Ministry noted that Poczobut is an independent journalist as well as the head of a council representing the Polish minority in Belarus, and said his arrest could lead to tighter sanctions against Belarus.Under Secretary Jerzy Pomianowski, who met with the ambassador, “demanded the immediate release from custody of Andrzej Poczobut,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Bosacki said in a statement. “He noted that such actions deepen the self-isolation of the Belarusian authorities, make relations with the European Union even more difficult, and cause another wave of criticism from international public opinion, which may in turn lead to a tightening of existing sanctions.” MINSK, Belarus (AP) – A journalist for a leading Polish newspaper was arrested in authoritarian Belarus and faces up to five years in jail for criticizing the ex-Soviet nation’s dictatorial president, his wife said Friday.Last year, Andrzej Poczobut, an ethnic Pole who writes for the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, was given a suspended three-year sentence on charges of libel and insulting President Alexander Lukashenko in his articles. His case had drawn attention to the repressive regime of Alexander Lukashenko, especially from Poland, since Belarus has a large ethnic Polish community. The U.S. and the European Union introduced sanctions against Belarus after Lukashenko unleashed a violent crackdown on the opposition after a 2010 vote deemed fraudulent by international observers.The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe also condemned Poczobut’s arrest and denounced it as politically motivated.“I call on the Belarusian authorities to clear Poczobut of the charges and release him immediately. Prosecution of journalists for criticizing the head of state has no place in a modern European country. It chills public debate on issues vital for society,” said Dunja Mijatovic, the organization’s representative on freedom of the media.__Vanessa Gera in Warsaw contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family How do cataracts affect your vision? 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Top Stories Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

Meldrum appointed APs assistant Africa editor

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 0 Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) – Andrew Meldrum, a longtime editor and foreign correspondent with extensive experience in Africa, has been appointed assistant Africa editor for The Associated Press.Andrew Selsky, the AP’s Africa editor, announced the job Friday. The 60-year-old Meldrum will be based at AP’s Africa regional headquarters in Johannesburg, where he will oversee desk operations and report to Selsky in helping direct news coverage of sub-Saharan Africa. Top Stories “Meldrum brings a lot to this role: rich experience in editing and reporting stories from many countries in Africa, historical knowledge and vision on how to emphasize key developments in a dynamic region encompassing 45 countries,” Selsky said.Meldrum was most recently deputy managing editor of GlobalPost, a U.S.-based online news site, where he commissioned and edited articles and special projects on Africa. Before becoming a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2007, Meldrum was the southern Africa correspondent for The Guardian newspaper of London. Earlier, he was the Zimbabwe correspondent for The Economist and a deputy bureau chief for Agence France-Presse, responsible for coverage of southern Africa.A native of Hudson, Ohio, Meldrum holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College.He succeeds Krista Larson, who earlier this year became a correspondent for AP in Dakar, Senegal, covering West Africa.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img The vital role family plays in society Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Tibetan monks tackle science in the Indian hills

first_img Sponsored Stories The Tibetan culture, meanwhile, is increasingly imperiled. Ethnic Han Chinese, encouraged by generous government subsidies, now outnumber Tibetans in much of Tibet. The traditional Tibetan herding culture is dying out as people move to cities. Many young Tibetans now speak a tangle of Chinese and Tibetan.The shifting cultural landscape has torn at Tibet, sparking violent uprisings every decade or so. In the most recent wave, some three dozen people have burned themselves alive over the past year in ethnic Tibetan areas of China, protesting Beijing’s policies.Amid such tumult, the Dalai Lama _ a man raised to live in regal isolation as a near-deity _ has instead spent much of his life seeking ways that Tibetans can hold onto their traditions even as they find their way in the modern world.He has encouraged modern schooling for exile children, and a democratic system to choose the Tibetan political leader (he renounced his political powers in 2011). There are job programs for the armies of unemployed young people.And, for a few dozen monks and nuns, there is science.The first group from the Emory program _ 26 monks and two nuns _ have just finished their five years of summer classes. While they earned no degrees, they are expected to help introduce a science curriculum into the monastic academies, and will take with them Tibetan-language science textbooks the program has developed. The Dalai Lama realizes that “preservation of the culture will occur through change,” said Carol Worthman, a professor of anthropology in Emory’s Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology. “You have to change to stay in place.”But change is a complicated thing. Particularly with a culture like this one.The monks and nuns in the Emory program are “the best and the brightest,” Worthman said, brought to the Sarah complex from monasteries and convents across India and Nepal. While most are in their 20s or 30s, some are far older and long ago earned high-level degrees in Buddhist philosophy.Still, few learned anything but basic math before the Emory program. Because of the way they study _ focusing on debates and the memorization of long written passages, but doing comparatively little writing _ few are able to take notes during classroom lectures. Many were raised to see magic as an integral part of the world around them.To watch them in class, though, is astonishing.No one yawns. No one dozes. Since almost no one takes notes, it’s easy to think they’re not paying attention.But then a monk or a nun in a red robe calls out a question about brain chemistry _ or cell biology, or logic _ that can leave their teachers stunned. But this is something different.Evolutionary theory is mentioned _ loudly. One monk invokes Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Another shouts about the subatomic nature of neutrinos.In an educational complex perched on the edge of a small river valley, in a place where the Himalayan foothills descend into the Indian plains, a group of about 65 Tibetan monks and nuns are working with American scientists to tie their ancient culture to the modern world.“I’d like to go back to my monastery … to pass on my knowledge to other monks so that they might bring the (scientific) process to others,” said Tenzin Choegyal, a 29-year-old monk born in exile in India.If that seems a modest goal, it reflects an immense change in Tibetan culture, where change has traditionally come at a glacial pace.Isolated for centuries atop the high Himalayan plateau, and refusing entry to nearly all outsiders, Tibet long saw little of value in modernity.Education was almost completely limited to monastic schools. Magic and mysticism were _ and are _ important parts of life to many people. New technologies were something to be feared: Eyeglasses were largely forbidden until well into the 20th century. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Though most studied only religious subjects after eighth grade, they regularly traverse highly complex concepts: “They really understand how neurocircuits work at a level that’s comparable to what we see at a senior (undergraduate) neuroscience classroom in the United States,” said Young, the neuroscientist.For most of the monastics, though, the challenges are not in the academic rigor. They see nothing astonishing about their ability to process vast amounts of information without taking notes, or to remain attentive for hours on end. It is how they have been trained.For them, the challenges lie in weaving modern science with traditional beliefs.The science program “was sort of like a culture shock for me,” said Choegyal, who is based at a monastery in southern India. While Tibetan Buddhism puts a high value on skepticism, conclusions are reached through philosophical analysis _ not through clinical research and reams of scientific data.So it was difficult, at first, for many of the students. And the questions ranged across science and philosophy: Are bacteria sentient beings? How does science know that brain chemistry affects emotions? Are Tibetan beliefs in mysticism provable through science? More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressSARAH, India (AP) – The shouts of more than a dozen Tibetan monks echo through the small classroom. Fingers are pointed. Voices collide. When an important point is made, the men smack their hands together and stomp the floor, their robes billowing around them.It’s the way Tibetan Buddhist scholars have traded ideas for centuries. Among them, the debate-as-shouting match is a discipline and a joy. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family No longer. Pushed by the Dalai Lama, a fierce proponent of modern schooling, a series of programs were created in exile to teach scientific education to monks, the traditional core of Tibetan culture.At the forefront is an intensive summer program, stretched over five years, that brings professors from Emory University in Atlanta. For six days a week, six hours a day, the professors teach everything from basic math to advanced neuroscience.“The Buddhist religion has a deep concept of the mind that goes back thousands of years,” said Larry Young, an Emory psychiatry professor and prominent neuroscientist. “Now they’re learning something different about the mind: the mind-body interface, how the brain controls the body.”But why are Tibetans now embracing modernity?Many of the roots can be traced to 1959, when Chinese soldiers invaded Tibet amid an aborted uprising. The Dalai Lama and thousands of his followers fled across the Himalayas and into India, creating an exile community that now numbers an estimated 150,000 people around the world.Beijing says Tibet is an integral part of China. And while the Dalai Lama insists he only wants autonomy for his homeland, Beijing disparages him as a quasi-terrorist intent on wresting control away from China. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day At times, the program can seem incongruous, given the widespread belief in magic. Such beliefs go all the way to the top: The Dalai Lama still consults the official state oracle, a monk who divines the future from a temple complex not far from here.But after five years, Choegyal says he has managed to hold onto his core beliefs while delving deeply into science.“Buddhism basically talks about truth, or reality, and science really supports that,” he said. Questions that science cannot address, like the belief in reincarnation, he brushes aside as “subtle issues.”Instead, he mostly finds echoes across the two cultures.He points to karma, the ancient Buddhist belief in a cycle of cause and effect, and how it plays into reincarnation. Then he points to the similarities with evolutionary theory.“Everything evolves, or it changes,” he said, whether in evolution or in reincarnation. “So it’s pretty similar, except some sort of reasoning.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

146 presumed dead in Tanzania ferry accident

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 treatments for adult scoliosis New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The ferry MV Skagit, which capsized Wednesday while traveling from the East African nation’s economic capital Dar es Salaam to the island of Zanzibar, was carrying 291 passengers, although it had only been certified to carry 250, he added.A total of 145 passengers, among them also foreign tourists, were rescued after the accident.The government closed the identification center for victims Saturday after bodies recovered a day earlier had already decomposed beyond recognition, said Dr. Marijani Msafiri, an official in charge of the rescue operation.Rescue efforts had been slowed down by heavy winds and strong currents over the past days.One rescue diver, Ali Ramadhan, said divers tried to find the sunken ship, diving to a depth of 25 meters (yards) but couldn’t find it. He speculated that underwater currents may have pushed it away from where it sank.“We realized that there’s little chance to recover anybody alive or to allocate exactly where is the ill-fated ferry. The place it sunk is deep sea with strong underwater currents. It’s dangerous to go beyond 25 meters,” said Ramadhan.Last September, more than 200 people were killed when a crowded ferry traveling between two islands of Zanzibar sank. Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories Associated PressZANZIBAR, Tanzania (AP) – Tanzania’s government on Saturday halted rescue operations for a ferry accident that appears to have killed 146 people.Government official Ali Juma Shamhuna said 69 passengers were confirmed dead and 77 were still missing, but the rescue efforts were called off because it was unlikely to still find any passengers alive in the Indian Ocean three days after the accident. Comments   Share   last_img read more

Putin says ousted minister can get new post

first_img Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories Quick workouts for men He says, “We aren’t in 1937,” referring to the peak year of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s purges.Some observers believe the dismissal was likely rooted in a battle over 20 trillion rubles ($635 billion) that the Kremlin plans to spend on weapons through 2020. Serdyukov was demanding higher quality and cheaper prices, angering Kremlin-connected industry leaders.(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 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says his sacked former defense minister isn’t facing charges and may get a new official job.Putin unexpectedly fired Anatoly Serdyukov this month amid a military corruption scandal focused on the suspicious sale of military assets.Putin said Friday that Serdyukov lost his job over “doubts about his ability to oversee property issues.” But he added that Serdyukov would not be blacklisted. Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Comments   Share   last_img read more

Iran Zoroastrians celebrate ancient feast of fire

first_img Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone “Sadeh is an ancient celebration that symbolizes Iran’s rich cultural heritage. There is no reason why Iranian Muslims shouldn’t observe the event,” he said.To Zoroastrians, fire represents life and the inherent nature of Ahura Mazda _ total goodness.“Sadeh is a celebration of fire, but we are not fire worshippers. We worship one God,” said Ardeshir Khorshidian, another priest.Fire plays a central role in worship as a symbol of truth and the spirit of God. Prayer is often performed in front of a fire, and consecrated fires are kept perpetually burning in major temples.(Copyright 2013 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 Stories The vital role family plays in society Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sadeh, the feast of creation of fire, has been observed since ancient days, when Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion in the powerful Persian empire.Zoroastrianism lost dominance after Muslim Arabs invaded and conquered Persia in the seventh century. Today, most of Iran’s 75 million people are Shiite Muslims, and the ruling establishment is led by clerics who preach a strict version of Islam.After the 1979 revolution brought in the hard-line Islamic religious government, many Zoroastrians emigrated to the U.S., and their festivals were strongly discouraged.About 20,000 Zoroastrians remain today _ down from 300,000 in the 1970s, when many emigrated to the United States. They make up part of Iran’s small non-Muslim population, including 150,000 Christians and 15,000 Jews.Although the feast of fire has traditionally been marked by Zoroastrians, many Muslim Iranians joined the festival Tuesday.“This festival promotes friendship and happiness. The feast is an opportunity to thank God for the creation of fire. The light and warmth of fire brings affection among communities. That’s the reason we are here,” Zoroastrian priest Sohrab Hengami said.Ali Doosti, an Iranian Muslim who attended Tuesday’s celebration, said Sadeh should not been seen from a purely religious perspective. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressTEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Followers of Iran’s minority Zoroastrian religion gathered after sunset to mark Sadeh _ an ancient mid-winter feast dating to Iran’s pre-Islamic past that is also drawing new interest from Muslims.Zoroastrian priests, dressed in white to symbolize purity, recited verses from Avesta, the holy Zoroastrian book, before more than 2,000 people on Tuesday.Men and women in traditional dress carried torches and lit a huge bonfire on the outskirts of Tehran Tuesday, as young people danced. Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

3 bodies found near Mexico city occupied by vigilantes

first_imgFederal investigators have been sent in to search for the missing residents, but questions have arisen as to why the government allowed the armed vigilantes to take over the city of about 35,000 people for almost five days. Authorities appeared not to have resisted the takeover because “community police” groups have some legal standing in Guerrero and negotiations with such groups have worked in the past.“A decision was made to not act (against them) to avoid the spilling of blood,” said a federal official who was not authorized to be quoted by name. “The government preferred to negotiate.”Police found the three bodies after receiving an anonymous tip. The men were apparently killed about five days ago, said a Guerrero state official, who also was not authorized to be quoted by name.Claiming to be “community police” from surrounding towns, between 250 and 300 vigilantes took over Chilapa on May 9 purportedly to end widespread violence in the city that has resulted from a turf war between the rival Rojos and Ardillos drug gangs.The vigilantes disarmed local police and forced the police chief out, saying they suspected some officers of working for Los Rojos. After negotiations, the vigilantes returned the police weapons, a new chief was named and state and federal police were sent in to take charge of security. Patients with chronic pain give advice After the vigilantes left, some residents came forward to accuse them of kidnapping residents and said they appeared to be working for Los Ardillos.The confusion continued Thursday when Miguel Angel Godinez, the state prosecutor, said in an interview with Milenio television that there weren’t any missing people, but rather 15 people were being held by the vigilantes. He said the leaders of the vigilante force are “responsible people” and they will have to say where the 15 people are.The Guerrero state government said Wednesday that it continued to negotiate with the leaders of the community police forces. It identified the head of the vigilantes as Jose Apolonio Villanueva, a communal farm leader. It said he was fed up with crime in the area and had demanded that marines be sent in.Community police forces have legal standing in some Guerrero towns, but they are designated by community assemblies. They are limited by law to policing their own towns, usually with low-caliber, single-shot rifles or shotguns. Most of the armed men who took over Chilapa had such weapons, but a few had assault rifles.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Mexican police found at least three dismembered bodies wrapped in blankets near a southern city where residents have reported that 10 people disappeared during a vigilante takeover earlier this month and six more went missing in previous months.The bodies of the middle-age men were found Thursday in a cemetery near Chilapa, a city in Guerrero state that was occupied May 9-14 by vigilantes, who some residents claimed were linked to a local drug gang. It was not clear if the bodies were some of the men reported missing. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Russia rejects US accusations of nuclear treaty breach

first_img Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home The disagreements over the INF treaty come amid the Ukrainian crisis and may further foment Russia-West tensions.Asked to comment on U.S. considerations to deploy land-based missiles in Europe as a possible response to the alleged Russian violations, Lavrov warned that “building up militarist rhetoric is absolutely counterproductive and harmful.”He said that Russia had its own grievances regarding the U.S. implementation of the treaty and that mutual concerns could be assuaged through dialogue.The U.S. has accused Russia of flight-testing a ground-launched cruise missile with a range prohibited by the treaty. Russia denied the claim and, in its turn, alleged that some elements of the U.S. missile defense shield violate the treaty.On a tougher note, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said the U.S. was leveling accusations against Russia in order to justify its own military plans.“We believe that the return of U.S. short and medium range missiles to Europe and their deployment in other regions from where they could pose a threat to Russia and other nations not following Washington’s orders would have a sharply negative impact on global security and stability,” Antonov said in a statement. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Tuesday pledged adherence to a Cold War-era nuclear treaty and rejected U.S. accusations that it had violated it.Speaking at a briefing, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. has failed to provide evidence to prove allegations of Russian breaches of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty.He added that Moscow is ready for an “honest but specific dialogue” and said Russia “has no intention to break the treaty.” Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top holiday drink recipes He said that the Defense Ministry had sent a formal note to the Pentagon asking it to present its official position on the subject.The INF Treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons. Its signing followed some of the darkest periods of the Cold War, when NATO allies hosted U.S. ground-launched cruise missiles and Pershing 2 ballistic missiles to countering Soviet SS-20 missiles.The current tensions risk reigniting the old standoff. “If the treaty is broken, threats will primarily rise for Europe,” the Interfax news agency quoted Ret. Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin as saying.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more