Toronto man convicted of operating as an unregistered travel agent

first_img Travelweek Group Toronto man convicted of operating as an unregistered travel agent Tags: TICO, Toronto, Travel Industry Act Share TORONTO – A Toronto-based agent has pleaded guilty to and been convicted of operating without registration.Mahendran Sivakolunthu was convicted of one count of operating as a travel agent without registration, contrary to section 4(1)(a) of the Travel Industry Act, 2002. He operated in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario.His sentence includes a fine in the amount of $3,000 plus Victim Surcharge Fees, for a total of $3,750, payable over two years.He has also been placed on Probation Order for one year starting Sept. 21, 2016, with the following conditions:Report to the Probation Officer within five days from the date of the Order and thereafter as required by the Officer;Pay restitution to the consumer in the amount of $2,000, payable monthly at no less than $170 per month until paid in full;Prior to accepting employment in the travel industry, inform the employer of this conviction under the Act;Within five days from accepting employment in the travel industry, inform the Registrar, Travel Industry Act, 2002, in writing, of the name of the agency.center_img Wednesday, September 28, 2016 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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MSC Cruises adds second World Cruise with new ports in Peru Bali

first_img GENEVA — MSC Cruises has opened sales for its second world cruise, setting sail in 2020 onboard MSC Magnifica. MSC Voyagers Club members can begin booking now while all other passengers can book starting Nov. 23.The 2020 MSC World Cruise boasts a new itinerary with more than 40 ports of call and 23 countries. With four different embarkation ports and dates to kick off the three-month voyage, travellers can select their ideal starting point for a customized trip.“Following the highly successful launch of our first MSC World Cruise last year, due to set to sail in January 2019, we are now delighted to open sales for a new world cruise for 2020 developed to offer guests experiences and destinations that they will never forget,” said MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato.Guests embarking from Civitavecchia/Rome, Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona on Jan. 4, 5, 6 and 7, 2020 respectively will cross five continents on a three-month voyage of discovery to some of the world’s most talked-about destinations.Eight destinations will include an overnight stay in port. The 2020 MSC World Cruise will visit 43 destinations in total, many of which are brand new for the vessel, including Ushuaia, Argentina; Rapa Nui / Easter Island; Darwin, Australia; Valparaiso, Chile; Mumbai/Bombay; and Salalah, Oman.Some 15 shore excursions are included in the cost of the booking with additional excursions available to book in advance or during the cruise. Highlights of these excursions include:In Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, guests can visit ‘Turtle Bay’ where it will be easy to understand the reason for the name. Participants can swim up-close and personal with two different breeds of turtles as well as possibly other marine life such as stingrays, manta rays, sharks and dolphins.In Jordan visitors can explore the ancient city of Petra in the middle of the desert and traverse the narrow cut-through ravine revealing the famous rose-red rock carved temple.In Port Kelang, Kuala Lumpur, travellers can reach the peak of one of the world’s most famous (and tallest) skyscrapers at Kuala Lumpur Tower.Guests on the World Cruise will also benefit from:A complimentary Mealtime Restaurant Drinks Package, which includes unlimited wine, mineral water, draft beer, sodas and fruit juices during lunch and dinner in the main dining room and buffetA 30% reduction on all laundry servicesMore than 90 shows performed in the ship’s Royal Theatre, including 30 Broadway-style shows and a wide range of live music, including acts inspired by the itineraryA comprehensive activity schedule with theme evenings, language classes and cultural guest speakersDuring the exclusive one-month booking window for MSC Voyagers Club members, clients will be able to choose their ideal stateroom before they sell out. MSC will also credit triple membership points at the time of booking, allowing MSC Voyagers Club members to enjoy added benefits right away, all on top of 15 complimentary shore excursions and a mealtime drinks package.Guests who are not already an MSC Voyagers Club member, but do have a loyalty card or status from another leading travel reward program, can join the MSC Voyagers Club at a similar or higher level thanks to MSC Status Match. Travelweek Group MSC Cruises adds second World Cruise with new ports in Peru, Bali and India Monday, November 6, 2017 Sharecenter_img Posted by Tags: MSC Cruises << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Heres your first look at Disneys new gondola system – the Disney

first_imgAt the Caribbean Beach Resort station, the hub of activity for Disney Skyliner, passengers will feel like they’re at an open-air village marketplace in the Caribbean. Here, they’ll be able to transfer gondola routes to reach their destination.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesThe station at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be in line with the park’s main entrance and bus stations. Passengers travelling here from the Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort station can expect a new aerial perspective of the park’s iconic attractions, like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will share a Disney Skyliner station where, upon departing, passengers will ascend over Hourglass Lake and enjoy a panoramic view of these two resorts.Finally, cabins will slow down at the Disney Skyliner turn-station along Buena Vista Drive, where guests can see the mechanical and aerial components that make up the Disney Skyliner.The opening date of the Disney Skyliner has yet to be announced.The gondola construction project comes as Disney is expanding by building new lands in Hollywood Studios as well adding more rides in Magic Kingdom and Epcot.The gondolas had been rumoured for months although Disney brought up the project in July during an event in Anaheim, California.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truck With file from The Associated Press Share Travelweek Group ORLANDO — The first images of Disney World’s new gondolas have been released, and from the looks of it, guests will have a fun, new way of getting around from theme parks to hotels.Called the Disney Skyliner, the new transportation system, which was first announced on Disney Park’s official blog, will travel from select Disney resorts to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and will feature iconic Disney characters on its exterior to look like they’re riding along with passengers.The design of the Disney Skyliner station at International Gateway at Epcot will be inspired by the park’s nearby European Pavilions, and will be hand-painted with murals. While onboard, guests will be treated to a rare bird’s-eye view of World Showcase. Posted by Tags: Disney Here’s your first look at Disney’s new gondola system – the Disney Skyliner Monday, December 11, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Now open Marival Armony Luxury Resort Suites in Mexico

first_imgThe five-star resort is about an hour from Puerto Vallarta, in Punta de Mita with a 281-metre stretch of white sand beach.The property has 268 rooms and one-, two- and three-bedroom suites each with its own balcony or patio. There are also five bars and five restaurants with menus that celebrate local flavours.The resort is also kid-friendly, featuring a Marival Kids activities program and kids’ club for children aged four to 12. Teens have their own club with table tennis, video games and a board table. Another service offered by Marival Armony Luxury Resort & Suites is Family Emotion, a concierge service allowing families to customize their holiday with amenities for every occasion, such as a complimentary beach kit, video games and snacks and drinks to be delivered to their room.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in July Couples seeking quiet time can check into an exclusive section for adults aged 18 or older, with its own pool area.For more information see transat.com/en-ca/hotels/marival-armony-luxury-resort-suites. Wednesday, May 15, 2019 Now open: Marival Armony Luxury Resort & Suites in Mexico Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> MONTREAL — The all-new Marival Armony Luxury Resort & Suites in Riviera Nayarit on Mexico’s west coast is now available with Transat.Transat acquired 50% of Marival Armony Luxury Resort & Suites, formerly known as Rancho Banderas Resort & Suites, in 2017. Travelweek Group Share Tags: Marival Armony, Mexico, Transatlast_img read more

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Discover the Caribbean in the tiny villages of Costa Rica

first_imgNo related posts. A chorus of howling half-human cries jolted us awake on the first morning of our little Caribbean vacation. It wasn’t the kind of wake-up call that we were expecting (we weren’t expecting one at all), and it took me a minute of fumbling in the pre-dawn darkness just to remember where I was.And there it was again: a cacophony of bellowing, rasping roars that seemed to be coming from just outside the door of our bungalow.Then it dawned on me: howler monkeys.My husband and I were in Cahuita, a lazy, out-of-the-way beach town tucked down near the southern end of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. We’d driven from the capital, San José, the day before and settled into our jungle hideaway just before dark. We were expecting to have a good long sleep – not to be startled awake at 4:30 in the morning. But in Cahuita, as it turns out, that’s all part of the experience.I admit that I had hesitated to add Cahuita to our itinerary in Costa Rica – but not because of the threat of howling monkeys. Rightly or wrongly, I tend to associate Caribbean vacations with cruise ships, midnight buffets and all-inclusive resorts. We’d come to Costa Rica to do outdoorsy adventure stuff – whitewater rafting, hiking up volcanoes, zip-lining through the cloud forest – not to lounge on a crowded beach sipping overpriced cocktails.But Cahuita wouldn’t be like that, or so we’d been assured by a couple of friends who knew the area. In Cahuita, they’d said, we’d discover the Caribbean as it was meant to be.And so we did – howler monkeys and all.When we pulled into Cahuita on that first afternoon, it was immediately clear that this isn’t your typical tourist beach town. The place has an old-village feel, with ramshackle wooden buildings, gravel streets and kids tooling around on their bikes. We took a quick stroll through town to get our bearings and saw people sitting out on their front porches, having a drink and watching the world go by.It might have been those front porches, but to me the place seemed to have strong overtones of the U.S. deep South – the Florida panhandle, or maybe the Georgia coast. That sort of connection would kind of make sense, given the region’s history. An Afro-Caribbean fisherman named William Smith was the first person to settle in Cahuita back in 1828. Other fishermen followed, and the area slowly developed into a fishing community with a strong Afro-Caribbean heritage.Today, Spanish is spoken alongside an English-based patois, and salsa music mixes with reggae on the radio airwaves. Local restaurants serve such classic Costa Rican dishes as gallo pinto (rice and beans), but you can also find spicy jerk chicken and other Caribbean staples. Those same cultural influences are evident up and down Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast: Limón, Cahuita’s province, is the most culturally diverse region in the country.We didn’t have too much time before dark, so on that first afternoon of our visit, we decided to head straight for the area’s star attraction: Cahuita National Park, whose main entrance lies at the far end of the village.We checked in at the park gatehouse, a little wooden hut on the edge of a sandy beach, and set off down the 5-mile trail that winds along the park’s coast. We were walking in the shade of palms, strangler figs and mahogany trees, but we could still see glimpses, and sometimes full views, of the glittering ocean on our left.Just 6.5 square miles covering both land and sea, plus another 86 square miles of marine area, Cahuita National Park is one of the smaller reserves in Costa Rica’s extensive network of protected areas. But the park, which was first brought under government protection in 1970, packs a lot into its modest acreage, encompassing tropical rain forest, mangrove swamps and the country’s largest coral reef. It’s home to monkeys, iguanas, toucans, herons, sea turtles and an impressive array of venomous snakes.We didn’t manage to spot all that wildlife in our 90-minute stroll as the sun went down. But we did have a few sightings: a furry gray three-toed sloth taking a nap (a long one, we suspected) in the crook of a tree trunk; a heron standing watch over a little cove; and white-faced capuchin monkeys rustling in the canopy overhead. And then, just as we were about to leave the park, an agouti – a little rodent that looks like the confused, energetic offspring of a squirrel and a Chihuahua – skipped across the trail ahead of us.Not a bad start for our first two hours, I thought.We were up early the next morning, thanks to that ear-splitting monkey wake-up call. We decided to take full advantage of the long day and drive down to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, a somewhat larger coastal town about 10 miles to the south.While Cahuita is rustic and sleepy, Puerto Viejo is rustic and lively, a veritable little party town stretched out along the coast. With plenty of foreigners wandering around in their swimsuits and flip-flops, it had an unmistakable tourist vibe. But still, we saw no signs of chain hotels, and there weren’t any cruise ships lining the bay.We wanted to rent a couple of bikes, which was easy enough to arrange at one of the half-dozen bike shops lining Puerto Viejo’s main street. The cost for a full-day rental: $5 apiece.All geared up with our pastel-colored bikes, we headed south out of town, on the smooth, narrow road that parallels the coast. For the first mile or so, we passed clusters of guesthouses, gift shops and cafes. But then the buildings dwindled, and the jungle grew thicker on either side of the road. The late-morning sun was warm on our sweaty backs, and the air was heavy with humidity and the dense smells of forest and flowering trees.We pedaled all the way to the end of the road, and we were so enamored of the journey that when the pavement turned into a sandy trail, we parked the bikes and started to walk. We’d reached the village of Manzanillo, a tiny outpost less than 10 miles from the border with Panama. But beyond Manzanillo, there’s no road to the border – only a faint trace of a footpath that snakes its way through the remote Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Reserve.After locking our bikes to a tree, we set off on foot on the path along the coast, keeping our eyes peeled for toucans, kingfishers and other birds that we hadn’t yet managed to spot. But the walking didn’t last long: Within about 30 minutes, the path died out – or so it seemed to us – on a hidden little curve of sand that was empty except for a few crabs that quickly scurried into their holes. So we scrapped the idea of a walk, dropped our bags and went for a beautiful warm-water swim.We took our time riding back to Puerto Viejo that afternoon and returned the bikes just as darkness began to fall. Hungry and thirsty after all that time in the sun, we grabbed a table at the Lazy Mon, a beachside bar with a distinctly reggae feel, and settled in for a couple of hours of plain old chilling out. We ordered mango margaritas – two for the price of one – and dove into a heaping plate of handmade tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. The band crooned “No Woman, No Cry” as the sea breeze rustled the palms overhead.Did it feel like a Caribbean cliche? Oh, yes. In the very best way possible.We had one final morning in Cahuita, and we wanted to use it well. So we signed up for that quintessential Caribbean activity, snorkeling, in Cahuita’s coral reefs.Spread across about 1,500 acres, the coral reef in Cahuita National Park is the largest of its kind in Costa Rica. The reef was damaged in an earthquake that struck the area in 1991, but it has been recovering well, thanks in large part to the protection that the park affords.Just past 8 in the morning, we piled into a little motorboat with two other couples and a local guide who introduced himself as Carlos. We set off across the bay, puttering along for about 15 minutes before Carlos stopped the boat and motioned for us all to heave ourselves over the side and into the water.Carlos didn’t speak a lot of English, but he didn’t need any language skills for this kind of tour guiding. We just swam behind him as he flippered his way around the boat, diving down to point out the octopi, lobsters and sea urchins hiding in the clusters of coral below. At one point a stingray slid past us, its long tail swaying gently in the current.I swam a little ways away from the group, lingering a bit and getting a closer look at the rounded mounds of brain coral and stately rows of Elkhorn coral that dotted the seafloor. The fish were as thick as they were full of color: multi-hued angelfish, neon-blue parrotfish, banana-yellow butterfly fish and dozens of other species.But what really struck me was the quiet. As I floated around in that underwater world, the only sounds I could hear were the swish of the ocean in my ears and my own breath as it pushed its way to the surface.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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7 smartphone photography tips

first_img3. Keep your lens clean. Your pocket and hands might get the lens grimy. Use soft cloth or a shirt should do the trick. 4. Pick a better camera app than the one your phone provides. I like Camera Awesome, Camera+ and Snap Seed. They offer better options for more controlled shooting. Whichever is your pick, spend a little time getting used to it.5. Edit your images carefully, don´t over filter them. Retro/washed out Instagramy filters are done by every other smartphone user. Balance color, crop slightly, used brightness/contrast control with moderation. A bad photo won’t improve much by over processing.6. Be critical of your work. Choose your photos carefully. Don’t bore your Facebook friends to death with 100 photos of the same beach, no matter how gorgeous it was.7. If your phone has panorama capabilities, try it out, not only horizontally but vertically, too.Happy shooting and share your photos on our Facebook page! No related posts. The digital revolution has created tools that can help anyone take great photos, even with a mobile phone. Here are some tips for achieving great photos with your smartphone: Facebook Comments 1. Get close to your subject. Avoid the digital zoom, as the optical quality is horrible. As a last resort, shoot and then crop the image. 2. Try different angles. If you have the chance to shoot the subject several times, vary the angle and composition. Shoot verticals, horizontals, crouch to get lower angles, climb on chairs or other objects to get higher angles.last_img read more

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The coming disintegration of Iraq

first_imgNouri al-Maliki may have agreed to step down as prime minister of Iraq on Thursday, but the damage he has wrought will define his country for decades to come. The stunning collapse of the Iraqi state in its vast northern and western provinces may be al-Maliki’s most significant legacy. After nine decades as the capital of a unitary, centralized state, Baghdad no longer rules Kurdistan, nor Fallujah, nor Mosul, and might never rule them again.To his likely successor, Haider al-Abadi, al-Maliki will bequeath an Iraqi state that has reverted to the authoritarian muscle memory it developed under Saddam Hussein. But it will be a state that effectively controls not much more than half the territory Saddam did. As al-Maliki and his loyalists succeeded in consolidating control of the government and pushing rivals out of power, they drove the constituencies of those they excluded — especially Sunni Arabs and Kurds — into political opposition or armed insurrection. Their drive for power alienated Iraqis across all communities from the central state whose wards and clients they had once been, leaving almost no provincial population trustful of the central government. Al-Maliki has held sway in Baghdad, but whole swaths of Iraq have fallen out of his control: The tighter he grasped the state, the more the country slipped through his fingers.The current crisis in Iraq goes far beyond the question of who will lead the next government in Baghdad. Iraqis have entered into a civil war whose logical conclusion is the breakup of the country. What we are witnessing in Iraq today is the beginning of a process that could become at least as destructive and bloody as the breakup of Yugoslavia. The longer it is allowed to unfold, the less likely it will be stopped, and the more likely it will spill over on a large scale to destabilize the surrounding region. Displaced Iraqi Yazidis, who fled a jihadist onslaught on Sinjar, gather to collect bottles of water at the Bajid Kandala camp in Kurdistan’s western Dohuk province, on Aug. 13, 2014. Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFPIt is tempting to conclude that the U.S.-led regime change of 2003 inevitably led to sectarian violence and politics in Iraq by opening up the country’s preexisting fractures. But the deep sectarianism of the past decade was neither foreordained to follow Saddam’sfall nor completely natural in Iraqi society. It was instead a calculated objective of the powerful, mainly expatriate parties that arrived in Baghdad after April 2003, bringing with them sectarian agendas that had been decades in the making. These groups, which included al-Maliki and the Dawa party, as well as almost all of Iraq’s major Islamist and ethnic parties, have had independent but complementary interests in polarizing the country, turning a mixed-sect, multiethnic nation into one of homogeneous ethnic and sectarian political constituencies. The result has been a devastating civil war, and an Iraq more thoroughly sorted by sect and ethnicity than ever before.As Iraq’s major parties have carved the nation into political empires, they have in many regions allowed the state to recede from the streets, creating power and security vacuums that militant and criminal groups have been quick to fill. The creeping takeover of Sunni neighborhoods by Islamic State fighters and their fellow travelers has been well documented, but in other areas Shiite Islamist militants have roamed freely for years, with the state absent or complicit. Away from the Islamic State’s atrocities in the far north, Shiite militant groups trained by Iran to fight U.S. troops until 2011 now seem poised to insulate Baghdad and the Shiite south from the Islamic State threat. They eventually may evict Sunnis from the region around Baghdad in the name of counterterrorism, with the assistance of the Iranian regime and Lebanese Hezbollah, and with the political blessing of the Shiite Islamist political parties that on Monday nominated al-Abadi as their premier.For years now, some outsiders and some Iraqi factions have called for the partition of the country as a matter of policy — a solution to the intractable political disputes. Perhaps the best-known instance was in 2006, when then-Sen. Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relationscalled for the division of the country into three autonomous regions, based on sect, with a central government that would “control border defense, foreign affairs and oil revenues.” Invoking the example of Bosnia, Biden and Gelb offered their plan as a way to keep the country intact and prevent sectarian warfare from escalating.But as we are likely to find out in the coming years, there is no way for Iraq to be divided into three homelands for Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis without experiencing exactly the massive human misery that Biden, Gelb and others hoped partition might forestall. No clean ethno-sectarian lines already exist in Iraq, meaning that the boundaries of the various statelets would have to be fought over. The populations of northern and central Iraq in particular are so intertwined that separating people into sectarian enclaves would immediately prompt violent sectarian cleansing on a scale sure to exceed that of Yugoslavia. At least a quarter of a million non-Sunnis would probably be forced to leave Sunni-majority territories, while more than half a million Sunnis would probably be expelled from the greater Baghdad region, with those Sunni Baghdadis that remain herded into ghettos in and around the city. Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position on the frontline in Khazer, near the Kurdish checkpoint of Aski kalak, 40 km west of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on Aug. 14, 2014. Safin Hamed/AFPThere would also be millions of Iraqis caught in limbo. What would become, for example, of the large minority population that is not Sunni, Shiite or Kurd? And what would become of Iraq’s more than 1 million Turkmen? What would become of the millions of Iraqis in intermarried families of Shiite and Sunni or Arab and Kurd? The fragmenting of the country into sectarian cantons would leave these millions with no clear place to go.Nor is it likely that the fragmentation of Iraq, once begun, would stop at just three sections. The country would be far more likely to split effectively into four pieces or more. The Sunnis of Anbar and Mosul, who have a long-standing rivalry, would be unlikely to consent to living together in one Sunnistan, where one region might be dominated by the other. They would be more likely to live in competing Tigris and Euphrates regions or statelets. Nor is it clear that, once unmoored from Baghdad, the major Kurdish parties would live together in one region where one party could rule the others. Lastly, the shrunken Shiite-majority section would be a rump Iraq stretching from Samarra to the Persian Gulf, rich in oil but certain to fall into the Iranian regime’s orbit for the foreseeable future.Nor would the creation of these sections be the end of the matter, as then-Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak, a Sunni, warned in a 2011 CNN interview: “Dividing the country isn’t going to be smooth, because dividing the country is going to be a war before that and a war after that.” The new states or quasi-states of the former Iraq would surely enter into a long series of wars that none would be strong enough to decisively win, with a death toll unlikely to be less than the roughly quarter-million killed in the Yugoslav wars and a total displacement of perhaps one-quarter of Iraq’s population. An Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter plays a musical instrument on the frontline in Khazer. U.S. military advisers in Iraq were headed for Mount Sinjar to study means of evacuating civilians who have been trapped there by jihadists, a spokesman for the Kurdish peshmerga forces said last Wednesday. Safin Hamed/AFPIf Iraq fragments in this manner, either formally or de facto, there will be no way to preserve a meaningful central structure in which the different sectarian enclaves together defend the country’s borders and share natural resources. In the north in particular, Sunni Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds are more likely to war over the oil-rich disputed territories, while the governments in Baghdad and Irbil will never share oil revenue with Sunni provinces that are at war with the Shiites and Kurds. And since there are no bodies of water or mountain ranges separating Iraq from its western and southern neighbors, these conflicts will not be physically contained as the Balkan wars were. They are sure to spill over, eventually drawing in every neighbor even more deeply than they are already.Iraq’s prospects for political stability are dim, and the country faces fundamental questions that al-Maliki’s impending departure will do little to solve. Reintegrating the Sunni community and provinces back into the Iraqi state would be the necessary starting point for leaders who wish to preserve their country. But the political environment that al-Maliki will leave behind is largely devoid of the trust necessary for partnerships and power-sharing. One reason al-Maliki and his allies have mightily resisted leaving power is that after eight years of rough rule, no member of his group can be fully assured that a successor party will leave them to live in peace. Similarly, what Kurdish leader believes that Sunni Arabs, if ever back in power, would not immediately attempt to push the Kurds back into the mountains and crush Kurdish nationalism? And after a decade of attempting to make Sunnis a permanent minority underclass, what Shiite supremacist does not fear what Sunnis would do if they ever regained control of Baghdad?The enduring dilemmas that have dogged modern Iraq — the relationship between the people and the state, the relationship between Kurdistan and Arab Iraq, the relationship between Sunnis and Shiites, the relationship between Baghdad and its 18provinces — remain unsettled. It would take a leader or movement of extraordinary vision to settle them peacefully, and no such visionary is on the horizon. It is Iraq’s strongmen, sectarians and Islamist resistance who control the path to conflict resolution. The longer they hold sway, the smaller the chance that Iraq will hold together.It is not too late for Iraq. But soon, it will be. The civil war of the past decade has been many things: a struggle between terrorists and the state, between religious extremes, between al-Maliki loyalists and their rivals, between regional proxies, between sects and ethnicities that have not relearned how to coexist. But it has most essentially been a war on Iraqi society itself, slowly draining the lifeblood of one of the world’s oldest countries, which after five millennia has begun to expire before our eyes.U.S. Army Col. Joel Rayburn, a senior research fellow at the National Defense University, is a historian who served as an adviser to Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq. He is the author of “Iraq After America: Strongmen, Sectarians, Resistance.” The views he expresses here are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the Department of Defense.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Obama eyes air strikes in Syria, fixing Iraqi army Obama: Expand effort against Islamic State US drones over Baghdad as Iraq battles for Tikrit Torture report revives CIA’s rogue imagelast_img read more

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Remembering pal and roommate James Foley

first_imgNEW YORK — James Foley knew the risks of living dangerously and couldn’t get enough of them.I know because Jim was a friend of mine. When we were journalism graduate students at Northwestern University, he chose to report from the grittiest neighborhoods in Chicago. In Washington, D.C., we lived together for four months in an apartment abutting a crime-ridden neighborhood — it was a good fit for him.And then things amped up. He went to Iraq, then Afghanistan, then Libya. He was kidnapped by loyalists of Moammar Gadhafi. His friend, Anton Hammerl, was killed — shot in front of Jim. After 44 days, he was released.The next year, after a few months of rest and attempted relaxation in the United States, he was on a plane to Syria, which had probably replaced Libya as the most dangerous place on earth for a journalist.The news this week of his beheading by Islamic militants, at age 40, sent me to look back at Google chats we had exchanged a few years ago. One conversation came in June 2010 when he was in Afghanistan.Jim: Dude, I had a visa fiasco, so went to Germany to get one, took me out of Afghan for almost three weeks, now I’m back and looking to hook back up with this unit I’ve been following.Looks to be an interesting summer. but such a hastle to travel on helicopters around here, this place is like one long waiting cue with s–t coffee.Me: Unreal. Is it dangerous now?Jim: Appears to be, could be interesting where I’m going.. getting some good bits of footage here and there basically I need to get on a chopper, there’s like one seat a day, and reporters are low priority, then I have to take a convoy cause they shoot stuff at helicopters coming into that place, maybe a little too dramatic.Me: You nervous? Or at this point, does this stuff not phase you anymore?Jim: Hmm, it’s kind of unreal, until it happens a few times, close, then you start to see why soldiers get all jittery and worse, when they get home, my conclusion — humans can’t get conditioned to getting shot at in most cases.Jim went into journalism in his 30s, older than most entering the field. When we lived together, he spent a lot of free time creatively writing — often at night, after a full day of submitting work for class. I remember him filing pages of a notebook with stories.He enjoyed reading David Foster Wallace, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer — in his words, authors “who embedded themselves with the bat sh-t craziest group they could find and got some hilarious novels out of it.”His mission after graduate school was to shed light on areas of the world that large media organizations ignored because the danger was too great. He told me in 2008 he was planning on taking a non-governmental organization job in Baghdad for the money, but the job was “boring as f-ck” because he was cooped up in a neighborhood with 24-hour security. So he left to do freelance work covering a military unit in battle. The money was never really important to him.He freelanced for news organizations including Agence France-Presse and Global Post, going places illegally and doing things no large media organization with liability concerns would ever agree to. Go to Globalpost.com and watch some of his videos — but be prepared — a lot of it is raw and uncensored. He was so frequently in the action, putting his life at risk.And in the end, he mobilized the world to see and react against the terrors of Syria.He was eight years older than me, but I never felt it, even though he always called me “son.” (He called a lot of people son). We’d trade lines from movies back and forth, particularly from The Big Lebowski and Glengarry Glen Ross. We listened to hip hop and jazz together. We drank beer and hung out on the couch and talked about girls. He was low key and frequently pushed me to have deep conversations, about politics, religion and life.Here’s how that 2010 chat ended:Jim: Ok dude, 3 am wake up, do some living for me.Me: Man, you are a nut. Good talking to you. Come back to NYC soon. Would like to hear some good stories. Stay safe.Jim: Definitely, hopefully much longer son. Thanks man.© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:US war reporter Sotloff remembered as brave and fun In Syria, freelancers like James Foley cover a dangerous war zone with no front lines Under Spain’s ‘Google Fee’ law, news aggregators must pay publishers Costa Rica’s President Solís signs condolence book for Charlie Hebdo victimslast_img read more

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3 arrested after rustling pigs into a car

first_imgRelated posts:Police nab flat-screen TV shoplifter Pigeon lands behind bars in Costa Rica for drug trafficking Boozy bandit tries to steal $50,000 ambulance in Costa Rica Following recent crime wave, Solís announces new investment in San Carlos police force It seems that there is no limit to what livestock thieves can fit in the trunk of a car.Police arrested three suspected hog rustlers who managed to squeeze the animals into the trunk of their car Sunday, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry. With three people already in the car, where else were the pigs going to fit?Police drove the three little pigs all the way home to their owners.The sow-stealing suspects were handed over to the local prosecutor’s office.Hiding stolen animals in the trunk of a car, believe it or not, is not unheard of in Costa Rica. On March 19, police arrested two people driving a car with a mule in the trunk. In July 2014, police got into a shootout with suspects before finding a green sea turtle in the boot of their car. In 2005, a cow was riding in the backseat of an informal taxi. Three pigs discovered in the truck of a car on Sunday, March 29, 2015. Courtesy Public Security Ministry Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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PHOTO REPORT The 191st anniversary of the Annexation of Nicoya is a

first_img Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Related posts:La Voz de Guanacaste marks holiday with video tribute to beloved northwestern province 17 photos from Nicoya’s annexation festival PHOTO ESSAY: Barrio Amón Shoe Repair Shop PHOTOS: Guanacaste celebrates 192 years of being part of Costa Rica Facebook Comments Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Timescenter_img Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times See also: Water protests greet Costa Rica’s Solís in Nicoya during annual festivalOn Saturday, the people of Costa Rica’s northwestern province of Guanacaste dusted off their cowboy boots and headed out for a traditional Tico celebration at the annual Annexation of the Partido de Nicoya Festival. Held every July 25, this year’s festival commemorated the 191st anniversary of the day when the Partido de Nicoya, today known as Guanacaste, became a part of Costa Rica in 1824. This year’s event, held under a scorching sun that sent temperatures skyrocketing, was lively and hot, with plenty of protests and an equal measure of fun. Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Timeslast_img read more

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For something so simple pasta is serious business

first_img(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “The simpler it is, the more testing it takes,” said Stefania Fochi, in charge of consumer testing for market leader Barilla, which organized the taste test.Pasta sales worldwide have grown steadily over the past three years, to (EURO)22.3 billion ($28 billion) last year, according to Euromonitor research. In Italy, however, sales have fallen steadily over that same timeframe as the economy suffers and stores are forced to offer discounts. National pasta sales dropped to (EURO)2.7 billion ($3.4 billion) last year from (EURO)3.1 billion ($3.9 billion) in 2009 _ meaning spaghetti makers in these days of austerity need to try harder to keep their customers loyal.Granted, in Italy, it’s not a huge challenge given that most Italians eat a plate of pasta _ be it spaghetti alla carbonara, penne al ragu or orecchiette with broccoli _ at least once a day. But they are terribly discerning customers: A noodle is not just a noodle.“Some were sticky, some were good, al dente and cooked the right amount of time,” said Stefania De Rossi, a 46-year-old mother of three who was selected for the taste test because of her family’s daily pasta habit. “I liked the last one (identified only by its code name: V36). It wasn’t super smooth, it was a bit rough but seemed better.” Her pickiness stems in part from Italians’ particular obsession with food: Eating in Italy is taken very seriously on both a family and cultural level. The Slow Food movement was born here and you can smell, see and taste this way of life at this time of year in outdoor markets, exploding with bundles of fresh asparagus now that the green and purple hills of artichokes have begun to wane.And what better way to enjoy those asparagus tips than to sautee them in olive oil with bits of speck, a smoky cut of prosciutto, and toss the whole thing with a small mound of linguine?“Pasta is truly the symbol, the emblem not just of Italian food … but the principal plate of the Mediterranean diet,” said Amelia Germoleo, vice director of the National Pasta Museum in Rome. “It’s profoundly rooted in the culture, the lifestyle, the `being’ of Italy.”The museum, which is currently closed for renovations, seeks to enlighten visitors about pasta’s past, including the very Italian origins of dried pasta, the stuff that comes in packages and can be preserved, as opposed to egg-based fresh pasta that must be eaten quickly.It turns out Marco Polo didn’t bring spaghetti to the West from China. Rather, Germoleo said, the earliest known origins of dried pasta date from 12th century Sicily. The Norman king of Sicily, King Ruggero II, instructed a geographer to write a book about all that was known of the world. Sponsored Stories In 1138, the geographer, Idrisi, reported back that the settlement of Trabia, west of Palermo, was making a type of vermicelli that was “sufficient to provide not only for Calabria but also the Muslim and Christian territories, where numerous cargoes are sent by sea,” according a citation of the book in a museum publication, “Time for Pasta.”“This debunks the myth that Marco Polo brought it from China,” Germoleo said. “Dried pasta is absolutely Italian.”Agostino Macri, a food security expert at the National Consumer’s Union, said that pasta was in the “genome of Italians.”“A good dish of pasta puts you in a good mood,” he said. But he cautioned against going overboard in consuming it, particularly with specialties like spaghetti all’amatriciana, a heavy dish using tomatoes and bacon-like pancetta that is common on Roman trattoria menus.“It has a lot of calories,” he warned.The pasta that was served to the blind tasters had none of that: simply spaghetti tossed with a dash of olive oil. Each of the five brands tested _ Barilla, De Cecco, Gragnano and supermarket brands Coop and Conad _ was cooked in 1 liter of water salted with 7 grams of sea salt for every 100 grams of pasta. While each sample cooked, women in white lab coats and latex gloves handed out small packets of noodles as they appear in the package, giving the whole affair a sterile, clinical feel when most Italians would tuck into a plate of pasta around the dinner table.The testers ran their fingers slowly over the slender sticks, caressed them, noted the flecks of brown on the golden strands of semolina and the slight roughness of the grain in their hands. And then they answered an 11-page questionnaire asking them how the color, thickness, smell, taste and texture appealed to them. The results aren’t for public consumption, Barilla said.“For us the pasta is very important, especially for me,” Gabriella Brescia said after sampling her five dishes as she packed up and headed home. “I could give up everything except pasta.”___Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories center_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressROME (AP) – They twirled, they sniffed, they slurped, they chewed.The dozen housewives who gathered in a Rome hotel on a recent afternoon took their work terribly seriously, rating plates of pasta for chewiness, saltiness, gumminess or done-ness _ that perfect balance known as “al dente,” or firm to the bite.Pasta is serious business in Italy, and the recent blind taste test organized by the world’s biggest pasta maker drove home that an awful lot of thought goes into making the simple combination of durum wheat semolina and water from which Italy’s national dish is made. 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Solarpowered plane lands in Morocco

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Associated PressRABAT, Morocco (AP) – An experimental solar-powered plane landed in Morocco’s capital late Tuesday after a 20-hour trip from Madrid in the first transcontinental flight by a craft of its type.With the wing span of a Boeing 777, the plane appeared out of the pitch darkness over the runway, suddenly turning on its lights and gliding to a landing in Rabat, the four propellors that flew it already silent. Patients with chronic pain give advice Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help The single-seat aircraft is fitted with 12,000 solar cells across its immense wings and weighs just as much as the average family car, according to organizers.The plane is the first of its kind to fly both during the night and day as the solar panels charge the batteries that power its turbo-props.Pilot Bertrand Piccard descended from the plane and said the Solar Impulse project had chosen Morocco because of its pioneering work in solar energy.“This is why we wanted to be here,” he said. “This is why we accepted the invitation of the Moroccan solar energy agency.Morocco is set to begin construction on a huge solar energy farm in the south as part of an ambitious project to lessen its dependence on fossil fuels.Solar Impulse arrived from Switzerland in late May on the first leg of the journey.The mission is being described as a final dress rehearsal for a round-the-world flight with a new and improved plane in 2014.The project began in 2003 and is estimated to cost about $100 million over 10 years.The two-leg Europe to Africa trip covers 2,500 kilometers (1,554 miles).(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debateslast_img read more

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Glance at Egypts 2 presidential candidates

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family (AP) – A look at the two candidates who competed in Egypt’s presidential runoff on June 16-17. Both claimed victory. After a delay that hiked tensions across the country, official results are to be announced Sunday.AHMED SHAFIQThe former Air Force commander and civil aviation minister was Mubarak’s last prime minister and was dumped in the face of protests after the president’s ouster. Shafiq, 70, scores points by presenting himself as a strongman who will stabilize the country, promising to restore law and order within 24 hours of taking office. His campaign for the runoff has focused on warning against the Muslim Brotherhood, drawing on the fear among many Egyptians of its rising power and what they see as its drive to dominate the state and change their lifestyle with stricter Islamic rules. Opponents view Shafiq as the military’s favorite.center_img The vital role family plays in society Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 treatments for adult scoliosis In the first round, Shafiq came in second, winning a surprisingly high 5.3 million votes or nearly 24 percent of the total.MOHAMMED MORSIThe candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s strongest political movement, was educated as an engineer in southern California. Elected to parliament several times under Mubarak’s rule. Morsi, 60, is not seen as the group’s most charismatic figure but he has its organizational power behind him. The Brotherhood’s platform promises to reform corrupt institutions, put the state on an “Islamic basis” and apply more Islamic law. In the second round, Morsi sought to appeal to revolutionaries his group alienated in its quest for political power, and has campaigned as the only candidate that will prevent the return of Mubarak’s regime.In the first round, Morsi came in first, winning a surprisingly low total of 5.6 million votes or nearly 25 percent.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

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Egypt intelligence agency tries to reclaim image

first_imgThis month, Morsi issued a presidential decree to re-open all the investigations. The investigative committee, though, will likely not have authority to investigate the military’s involvement in deadly protests since Mubarak’s toppling.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – Egypt’s top intelligence agency, long a secretive power behind the country’s ruling system, is taking a small but unprecedented step out of the shadows in an apparent attempt to win the public’s support in the face of potential challenges from the new Islamist president.In an unusual move, the General Intelligence Service _ known as the “Mukhabarat” in Arabic _ released a 41-minute-long documentary boasting of its achievements, presenting itself as the defender of the nation and vowing to continue to protect the country. Eventually, the Brotherhood may try to reshape the security agencies. “If restructuring doesn’t happen immediately, it will sooner or later,” Morayef said. “The battle hasn’t started yet.”Already, the Brotherhood is in a power struggle with the military, which has ruled since Mubarak’s fall. It has formally handed over power to Morsi, but before doing so it seized overwhelming authorities for itself that retain a large degree of control and restrain the new president. The military’s head, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, vowed that the army would never allow the Brotherhood to dominate the country.The Mukhabarat and the military are in “complete cooperation and understanding” with one another, Gen. al-Yazal said. The intelligence agency’s building is located behind the walls of the Defense Ministry in Cairo. Intelligence chiefs are often from the military. Throughout most of its history, the intelligence agency’s chief was never named, until the last decade when its head Omar Suleiman emerged in a public role as Mubarak’s right-hand man.Suleiman was one of the most powerful figures in Mubarak’s inner circle, serving as his intelligence chief since 1993 and then as his vice president during the 2011 uprising. He was dubbed “Mubarak’s black box” because of his reputation as the regime’s holder of secrets. When Mubarak fell, he was replaced as intelligence chief by Murad Muwafi. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family “The eye of the Egyptian intelligence does not sleep,” the narrator says. In one of the film’s many dramatic images, it shows footage of a falcon _ the agency’s symbol _ circling in the sky and swooping down to snatch up a snake.“Behind the curtains, the men of Egypt’s intelligence services continue to monitor issues, analyze facts, confront offenses, carry out operations and succeed in achievements without us knowing what they look like or who they are,” the narrator says.The documentary, aired late last week on private and state-run Egyptian TV stations, also plays heavily on widespread anti-Israel sentiment among Egyptians, saying the agency has protected Egypt from plots by Israel and its Western allies. It shows footage from World War II, including images of Jews interned in Nazi camps, and says that Jews plotted for “a nation created on the land of Palestine.”The film, titled “The Word of a Nation,” was a highly unusual public relations move for an agency which traditionally stays hidden, has an opaque but pervasive role and is described by experts as “a state within a state.” The agency oversees espionage efforts abroad but also plays a significant role domestically. It was a crucial underpinning of Hosni Mubarak’s 29-year rule, working to suppress his opponents and ensure the loyalty of institutions nationwide. Suleiman briefly tried to run for president _ provoking a furious outcry from those who launched the revolution against Mubarak _ but failed to qualify on technical grounds.Now the Mukhabarat have faced sharp criticism from Morsi’s Brotherhood as well as pro-democracy activists who fear it will keep its grip on the state. Some have been calling for the prosecution of Suleiman for his connections to Mubarak’s regime, notorious for its political repression and corruption.“Suleiman’s papers should not have been submitted to the elections commission, but to the courts,” said Mohammed el-Beltagy, a leading Brotherhood member and former lawmaker, during a recent interview on the privately-owned ONTV. “This (the agency) is at the heart of Mubarak’s regime, which used to rely on the intelligence services and state security.”During Mubarak’s trial, in which he was sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of hundreds of protesters during the revolt against him, prosecutors and lawyers for the victims’ families accused the intelligence agency of being uncooperative in the investigation and of destroying tapes and other vital documents incriminating police of targeting unarmed protesters. Former intelligence officer Gen. Sameh Seif al-Yazal told The Associated Press that the film was made to raise awareness about the importance of the agency after it came under attack by some for not doing its job and was criticized as serving remnants of Mubarak’s regime.But it comes at a time when the agency and other key parts of the old system are looking to defend their turf and their sway over the country after the election victory of the new president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group was the chief nemesis of Mubarak’s regime and was repressed by his widely-hated state security services and the Mukhabarat itself.In theory, the intelligence agency and other security services would now report to Morsi _ but they and the military are believed to be pushing back to ensure that does not happen and that Morsi does not get to name the government ministers who would oversee them.“For many years, the (agency) saw the Brotherhood as their prime enemy,” said Heba Morayef, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Egypt. “And because of the treatment the Brotherhood saw for many years, there is a fundamental mistrust and an inherent power struggle that is yet to be addressed.” Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society 5 ways to recognize low testosterone 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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Ai has been thorn in China govts side for years

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis __ August-September 2009: Ai tries to attend the subversion trial of writer and activist Tan Zuoren, who had also tried to compile names of the earthquake dead. Ai is barred from testifying. Four police officers carrying guns and batons barge into his hotel room at 3 a.m., then beat and threaten to kill him. He is held briefly, then sent back to Beijing. A month later, he has emergency surgery in Munich to relieve swelling in his brain from the attack.__ April 2011: Ai uses Twitter to catalog the growing number of dissidents disappearing into detention amid calls for a “Jasmine Revolution” in China, inspired by anti-government protests in Egypt and elsewhere. Ai is detained at the Beijing Capital Airport before catching a flight to Hong Kong. He disappears for 81 days and is believed to be detained but there is no official confirmation of his whereabouts.__ June 2011: Ai is released but warned that he is still under investigation and must not leave Beijing for a year. He is warned not to tweet or talk to media but within months, he resumes both. Chinese authorities say he confessed to tax evasion in custody but he tells reporters that he has done nothing wrong. Soon after his release his company is handed a $1.85 million bill for back taxes. Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates BEIJING (AP) – Artist Ai Weiwei has been battling Chinese authorities for years. A Beijing court on Friday rejected his company’s lawsuit against an agency that fined it more than $2 million for tax evasion. Here are some of the recent clashes Ai has had with officials:__ 2008-2009: Ai draws attention to the thousands of children killed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, many of whom died in shoddily built schools that collapsed. Ai publishes the names of 5,835 victims on his blog, and in Germany he opens an art exhibit titled “Remembering” using thousands of children’s backpacks. He said, “The lives of the students disappeared within the state propaganda, and very soon everybody will forget everything.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Check your body, save your life __ October 2011: A revised government notice now demands that Ai’s design company pay $2.4 million in back taxes and fines. Ai’s supporters say the case is bogus and Ai says he will fight the judgment and the fine. Thousands of people send money through wire transfers; some throw cash stuffed in envelopes or wrapped around fruit into his yard. He uses the donations to pay a $1.3 million guarantee to the court.__ June 2012: Ai’s year-long parole expires but he is told by police he cannot travel outside China because he remains under investigation on suspicion of illegal exchange of foreign currency, and pornography. The latter allegation is believed to be linked to satirical and non-racy snapshots posted online of him posing naked with four topless women. Ai says the allegations are far-fetched.__ July 2012: The lawsuit against the agency behind the tax fine is rejected.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Nokia dismisses Moodys downgrade

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Nokia said the impact of the downgrading would have a limited impact, and pledged to keep cutting costs and protecting its financial position.The downgrade is Moody’s third on Nokia since April.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories HELSINKI (AP) – Nokia says it is “disappointed” that Moody’s has downgraded the company’s long-term senior unsecured debt ratings to Ba3 from Ba1.The rating agency said Monday that the change was prompted by its view that Nokia’s smartphone business could post bigger operating losses, while draining the company of cash, during the transition to the new Windows Phone 8 operating software this year. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories last_img read more

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Southern Israelis disappointed by Gaza ceasefire

first_imgAssociated PressSDEROT, Israel (AP) – In this southern Israeli town, which has lived for nearly 13 years under the constant threat of rocket attacks from Gaza, there is little joy over a new cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers: Schools remain closed, traffic is sparse and hope is hard to find.The working-class residents of Sderot have seen previous lulls in violence quickly unravel. This time around, they are wary of new promises of calm, and many say the military should have continued its offensive in Gaza until Hamas was decisively beaten. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project In Ashkelon, a coastal city of 120,000 farther to the north, life was returning to normal more quickly. With schools still out, the malls were filled with children watching a clown show and playing with balloons. People were visibly jittery though when one popped loudly.“We’re not ready for that yet,” a waitress said with a smile.Businesses reopened but suffered from shortages of supplies and employees who had fled farther north during the fighting, in which 125 rockets were fired toward the city.Despite a palpable sense of relief, residents were still angry about how the fighting ended _ with Hamas still standing and claiming victory. The militant group held mass celebrations in Gaza on Thursday.“I don’t understand how they can attack and kill our people and nobody cares, but we can’t attack them,” said Uri Nuriel, a 57-year-old who works at a jewelry store and thought Israel acted too soft in the offensive. “If you come after me, I’m going to come after you. “In the Middle East you have to behave like the Middle East, not Switzerland. Something has to change here. This is an impossible situation. Any other country in the world would have just wiped them out.” “This quiet is hard to swallow and it doesn’t do us any good,” said Ortal Buchbut, 31. “We know that at some point it will end and things will go back to being what they were, or worse.”Israel launched its campaign on Nov. 14 in a bid to end months of renewed rocket fire out of Gaza, carrying out hundreds of strikes. During the eight days of fighting, some 1,500 rockets were launched at Israel, targeting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other major cities for the first time.For Sderot, though, it was nothing new. More than any other Israeli town or city, Sderot has been pounded mercilessly by Gaza militants, making life here nearly unbearable.Less than a mile (2 kilometers) away from Gaza, Sderot has been a favorite target of Gaza militants. Eight residents have been killed since rocket fire began with a Palestinian uprising in 2000, hundreds have been wounded and nearly everyone traumatized by the frequent wail of sirens and explosions.Despite fortifications that have secured schools and homes in recent years, keeping casualty figures down, the threat has remained.Experts warn of long-lasting psychological damage inflicted on Sderot’s 24,000 residents, particularly children, who suffer from exceptionally high rates of anxiety and bed-wetting compared to other Israeli children, according to psychologists who have researched the phenomenon. Comments   Share   Top Stories On Thursday, residents gingerly emerged from their homes to take in some fresh air and do some shopping, even though most stores remained shuttered. There was little movement around the town’s main traffic circle, which also serves as a memorial to those slain by rocket attacks over the years.Those who ventured out expressed frustration with the cease-fire, saying Israel’s offensive ended too quickly and that they were willing to absorb more abuse in return for a chance for quiet, once and for all.“Hamas needs to be eliminated, completely. Nothing else will work,” said Yisrael Haziza, 68, sitting outside a mostly empty convenience store.An acquaintance passed by, offering a more subtle view.“We have no more energy, maybe now we’ll get a breather, God willing,” Florie Vanunu said.She said carrying out the ground operation Israel was threatening could have cost the lives of soldiers. But she had no illusions that her troubles were over either.“We don’t trust the Arabs for a second,” she said.Speaking Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that some Israelis were disappointed.“I know that there are citizens who expected an even sharper response,” he said, after meeting police commanders. “This is the right thing to do for the state of Israel at this time, but we are also prepared for the possibility that the cease-fire will not be upheld, and we will know how to act if need be.”center_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Yaniv Tzur, 24, said he was pleased to be reopening his frozen yogurt shop but would have preferred to wait it out longer in order to deliver a more devastating blow to Hamas.“This thing will last six months, maybe eight months, a year tops,” he said. “We have to finish off Gaza so they can’t threaten us ever again. If we are already suffering, then we should go all the way. When you start something you should finish it, or else don’t do it at all.”Life in the desert city of Beersheba was back to its usual humdrum beat, minus the thousands of university students usually seen biking on the main roads. Despite the cease-fire, classes remained canceled and many students had evacuated the city. Restaurants were filling up once again, after more than 160 rockets were fired at the city of 200,000 over the past week.At the Soroka Medical Center, the 55 premature newborn babies that were moved from the infant ICU ward during the fighting still remained in their temporary location in a sheltered wing of the hospital.Sara Bar, 60, a retired supervisor of the hospital’s emergency room, paged through her phone’s Facebook news feed and pointed out caricatures and commentary goading Netanyahu for ending the hostilities early. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology “We’re in a dilemma. If we had continued, soldiers would have been killed,” she said. “But for our own sense of quiet, the only way to prove to (Hamas Prime Minister Ismail) Haniyeh that we will beat him is to go in.”____Associated Press writer Daniel Estrin contributed to this report from Beersheba.Follow Heller (at)aronhellerap(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

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EU seeks carbon tax for all flights over Europe

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The proposal still requires approval from the European Parliament and the bloc’s member states. The Commission hopes it will enter into force next year.The legislation would apply until 2020 when a recently agreed international airline carbon emissions tax scheme comes into force.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Commission wants to impose carbon emission charges for all flights using Europe’s airspace.Wednesday’s proposal by the 28-nation bloc’s executive arm would force airlines to buy carbon emission permits for all flights within Europe but also for the parts of intercontinental flights that use the bloc’s airspace.That means, for example, that a U.S. airline flying from New York to Frankfurt would have to buy pollution rights under the EU emission trading system for the part of the route within Europe’s airspace. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Comments   Share   Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

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Restored The Third Man emerges again from the shadows

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   If Cannes is movie nirvana, a restored “Third Man” is something like seventh heaven. Ever since audiences first laid eyes on it, “The Third Man” has ranked as one of the most beloved films of all time, endlessly adored for its rich postwar atmosphere, its darkly sly humor and its deep, expressionist shadows. It contains one of the finest movie scores (Anton Karas’ indelible zither), one of the truly great scenes (Orson Welles’ “cuckoo clock”) and almost certainly the most spectacular foot chase ever.“The Third Man” somehow encapsulates so many of the medium’s best qualities: wit and tragedy, lush imagery and charismatic stars, unforgettable lines and an evocative on-location setting. Roger Ebert said “The Third Man” ”completely embodies the romance of going to the movies.” Welles said it was the only film of his he was always happy to watch.Fans will be pleased to hear that the extensive restoration by Studio Canal, the first major restoration of “The Third Man,” has only enhanced and clarified the film’s gorgeous black-and-white photography. The restored “Third Man” will be released in New York on June 26, in Los Angeles July 3 and tour elsewhere after that. How do cataracts affect your vision? The re-release coincides with the centennial of Welles. His 100th has been feted in Cannes with a number of screenings, including two new documentaries about him. A handful of producers and Welles’ daughter, Beatrice Welles, are also currently trying to raise $2 million in crowdfunding to pay for the post-production on Welles’ final, unfinished film, “The Other Side of the Wind.”Though Welles has sometimes been credited with helping Reed direct “The Third Man,” that’s been proved a misconception by film historians. Here he is merely an actor, and one that doesn’t enter the film until its second half.Joseph Cotten stars as Holly Martins, a writer of cheap Westerns — “a scribbler with too much drink in him” — who has come to Vienna to visit his old friend Harry Lime (Welles). But Martins arrives to find Lime, a racketeer, has died mysteriously. Falling in love with Lime’s mourning girlfriend (Alida Valli) and feuding with a British major (Trevor Howard), Martins attempts to investigate his friend’s apparent death.“The Third Man,” penned by Graham Greene, will likely always seem relevant for its depiction of postwar crime and the allure of Welles’ charming, rationalizing gangster. Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img “You know what the fellow said: In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance,” he says, disembarking a clandestine meeting atop a Ferris Wheel. “In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace — and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”“The Third Man” persists, though, less because of any contemporary significance but because of its gem-like perfection, its sweet melancholy, its shadowy symphony.___Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAPCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. CANNES, France (AP) — Break out your zithers: “The Third Man” is back.Sixty-six years after Carol Reed’s noir masterpiece first debuted, “The Third Man” premiered again at the Cannes Film Festival, this time in a freshly restored print as part of the Cannes Classics program. It was a kind of homecoming: “The Third Man” won the Palme d’Or at the third Cannes in 1949, back when Europe was still rebuilding from World War II. “Bombed about a bit” is how the opening narration of “The Third Man” describes its Vienna setting. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

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Brazilian senators fail to meet with Venezuela opposition

first_imgVenezuelan hardline opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, who met the delegation at the airport, said maintenance work snarled traffic and the protesters held up the lawmakers’ bus. She said dozens of protesters surrounded the bus, shouting insults at the lawmakers and beating on the vehicle, though without damaging it.The senators wanted to visit high-profile imprisoned Venezuelan politicians, including former mayor Leopoldo Lopez, who has been on a hunger strike for nearly a month.Neves expressed his extreme displeasure before boarding a plane back to Brazil.“We’re here to show that we are worried, and to insist that democracy prevails through the region. Unfortunately, we have been attacked and stymied,” he said in an interview with local Union Radio.The Brazilian Foreign Ministry released a statement Thursday night saying hostile acts against its politicians are unacceptable and promising to seek an explanation from Venezuela’s government.“The Brazilian government regrets the incidents that affected this visit to Venezuela,” the Foreign Ministry said. “Hostile acts from protesters toward Brazilian lawmakers are unacceptable,” it added. Four benefits of having a wireless security system It was not the first time an attempt at a jailhouse visit by international figures touched off a spat in Venezuela. Last week, former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez was unable to meet with Lopez and left the country on a Colombian military plane, earning that country a rebuke from the Venezuelan government.In May, Venezuela blocked conservative former presidents from Bolivia and Colombia from visiting imprisoned opposition politicians, saying they were trying to give Venezuela condescending human rights classes.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Brazilian senators flew into Venezuela on Thursday to try to meet with jailed opposition leaders, but they barely made it past the airport, leading Brazil’s government to complain about hostile acts against its lawmakers.The group, which was led by Brazilian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Aecio Neves, landed at a coastal airport but turned back before reaching Caracas, blaming road congestion and a demonstration by supporters of Venezuela’s socialist government. The drive usually takes an hour. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Brazilian Senators Aloysio Nunes, right, and Jose Agripino speak on their cell phones as they ride in a van after departing the airport in la Guaira, Venezuela, Thursday, June 18, 2015. The group of Brazilian senators failed to reach the capital city of Caracas twice, due to traffic caused by a demonstration and road maintenance. The delegation had traveled to Venezuela to meet with members of Venezuela’s opposition but returned to the airport to fly back to Brazil. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)center_img Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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