Peregrines brand new ship is now sailing the Galapagos

first_imgTags: Galápagos, Peregrine Adventures TORONTO — Peregrine Adventures’ very first new-build expedition vessel is officially up and running with voyages sailing the Galapagos.Considered one of the most sustainable ships operating in the destination, the Grand Queen Beatriz departed on its maiden voyage from Puerto Baquerizo Morena in San Cristobal on July 1. The voyage was a combination of Peregrine’s 10-day ‘Classic Galapagos’ and six-day ‘Galapagos Encounter’, which included a hike on Bartolome, wildlife viewing at Plaza Sur and Santa Fe, and encounters with giant tortoise at San Cristobal.The custom-built vessel offers sailings as part of the company’s growing small-ship Adventure Cruising program, which according to Peregrine has grown 35% year to date.According to Filippos Venetopoulos, Peregrine’s Adventure Cruising general manager, Queen Bea, as it’s become known, was launched in response to demand from environmentally conscious travellers in the region. It boasts solar panels to assist with power generation, and was designed by a local boat builder who made use of local materials.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youth“While we have been cruising the Galapagos for more than 20 years, now that we have our own boat we can offer an even more authentic Peregrine experience at sea, a small group of no more than 16 guests, an immersive experience focusing on discovery and education, comfort and space, insightful and attentive guides, and the newest and most sustainable cruise experience available in the region,” he said.The 98-foot vessel features nine cabins with outward-facing windows and ensuite bathrooms, which on average are double the size of similar accommodation found on other boats in the Galapagos. The 300-tonne boat is also home to a dining room, two bars, lounge and TV area, as well as a sun deck, Jacuzzi and private balcony room on the upper deck.Grand Queen Beatriz is offering a combination of six-, 10-, 13- and 17-day Galapagos itineraries departing from Quito with the six-day ‘Galapagos Encounter Central Islands’, priced from $3,514 per person, twin share. It will also offer Peregrine’s new 13-day ‘Treasures of the Galapagos – Western & Central Islands’ itinerary.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backAll trips are accompanied by Peregrine Adventures’ local leaders and include onboard kayaks, all transfers and excursions and most meals.Peregrine Adventures is part of the Intrepid Group, and operates small group tours that are ideal for travellers aged 45 and over. Peregrine’s brand new ship is now sailing the Galapagos Travelweek Group Sharecenter_img Thursday, July 26, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

Bookings open for newest resort from Fiesta Americana

first_img Share Tags: La Coleccion, Openings & Renovations Friday, October 19, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group center_img MEXICO CITY — The latest news – and pictures – from La Coleccion Resorts by Fiesta Americana’s 13 Mexico resorts includes multi-million-dollar renovations and a brand new resort.The newest addition to La Colección Resorts by Fiesta Americana – Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende is set to open Nov. 1.“Boasting all the elements true to this luxury lifestyle brand,” says the company, the new Live Aqua property will offer guests 153 guestrooms, fine dining restaurants, a full-service spa and a variety of meeting and events spaces geared to incentive and group meetings, weddings and social events.The opening of Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende marks the fifth Live Aqua brand opening for Grupo Posadas in Mexico and will offer the largest guestroom property in the city of San Miguel de Allende.Reservations for Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende opened earlier this week.Live Aqua San Migudel de Allende – Roof Top PoolMeanwhile Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun is undergoing a much-anticipated renovation slated for completion by December 2019.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJGuests can already take advantage of its 371 fully-renovated premium rooms with everything from aromatherapy menu, to controlled surround music, to lighting intensity from new bedside smart consoles.Live Aqua Cancun – Updgraded Guest RoomThe property’s newly-remodelled outdoor restaurants offer traditional and fusion dishes from around the world. One of the most anticipated dining venues is Azul Restaurant, a semi-open Mayan palapa with modern décor that offers both indoor and outdoor seating.Live Aqua Cancun – Renovated RestaurantAnd in other reno news, Fiesta American Condesa Cancun All-Inclusive recently unveiled a multimillion-dollar refurbishment, which included extensive upgrades to over 500 premium rooms and suites in all three towers.The improvements include new décor, wooden furniture, new electronic lock doors with proximity key, redesigned bathrooms and new modern guestroom furniture.The Grand Ballroom got a makeover, along with five onsite dining venues. And the newly-upgraded Kid’s Club, now nearly triple the size, features new comfortable furniture, a large ball pit and all-new arcade-style table games such as air hockey and foosball. Bookings open for newest resort from Fiesta Americana Posted bylast_img read more

Michele Rauzon lands at Boignés new company 5 Continents

first_img Posted by MONTREAL — After a successful career at Alio for 18 years and then a stint at Canandes, Michèle Rauzon has been appointed National Director of Sales and Development Canada and U.S. for new company ‘5 Continents’, founded by another well-known industry veteran, David Boigné.“More than a director of business development, Michèle will be an ambassador for the concept and our services,” Boigné told Travelweek’s sister publication, ProfessionVoyages.com. Boigné is best known for his time at Exotic Tours / Boomerang Tours.“We were looking for someone who will represent us and who will inspire confidence and we are happy to announce that it will be Michèle,” he added. “She will be present at industry events and will visit travel agencies. We will also organize educotours and webinars. Her expertise is solid and reliable.”Working together with tour operators and travel agencies, 5 Continents calls itself a business partner that will bring the expertise of receptives from all over the world.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJIt is an intermediary that does not sell to direct customers and does not compete with tour operators either. All professionals seeking quality travel experiences can use their services.Rauzon told ProfessionVoyages.com that what motivates her in this project is to work alongside travel professionals and provide them with innovative services that are especially useful.“I like the unique concept developed by 5 Continents,” says Rauzon. “I think it’s logical and natural in the current context. There are many agencies that make their own groups with local receptives directly, but it’s not so simple. They can now go through us and ensure the quality of the experience at destination.”She adds: “I know the industry and its needs. At the travel agency level, my relationships have been in place for a long time. My main challenge will be to become an expert on destinations I do not know yet, but I like to learn, it does not scare me!”More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionRauzon also notes that she represents two beautiful high-end villa properties on the West Coast of Barbados and she will be bringing this portfolio with her to 5 Continents. The two seaside resorts, St. Peters Bay and Port Ferdinand, are both under the UNNA Living umbrella. The luxury properties are fully compatible with the high-end incentive and group travel expertise offered by 5 Continents, say Rauzon and Boigné.Rauzon’s appointment officially takes effect Feb. 25. She can be reached at michele.rauzon@5continentsca.com. Tags: 5 Continents, New Hires, People Share Travelweek Group center_img Wednesday, February 20, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> Michele Rauzon lands at Boigné’s new company 5 Continentslast_img read more

These Saint Lucia hotels are offering up to 60 off summer rates

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, June 7, 2019 Posted by Share Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — It will be a summer to remember in Saint Lucia now that over 20 hotels have announced up to 60% off rates for the season.As part of a Summer Specials promotion from the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, participating accommodations ranging from intimate inns to luxury resorts are offering reduced rates to cater to families, couples, wellness enthusiasts and more.Participating hotels include: Aupic Paradise; Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa; Bay Gardens Hotel; Bay Gardens Inn; Bay Gardens Marina Haven; Calabash Cove Resort and Spa; C’est La Vie; Coco Palm; Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa; East Winds; Fond Doux Plantation and Resort; Hotel Chocolat; Ladera; The Landings Resort and Spa; Marigot Bay Resort Spa and Marina; Mango Beach Inn; Serenity at Coconut Bay; Ti Kaye Resort and Spa; Tet Rouge Resort; and Villa Capri.Butler service, rooms with private plunge pools, all-inclusive options, family-focused programs, spa treatments and dining deals are just a few of the amenities being offered.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthDeals include 50% off on Bed and Breakfast rates at Calabash Cove Resort & Spa. 60% couples discount at Serenity at Coconut Bay, 45% off lodging at Hotel Chocolat, and up to 40% off four nights at Ladera.Saint Lucia boasts nearly 100 miles of coastline and pristine beaches with crystal clear waters, with activities and accommodations that suit travelers who want to be active or just enjoy relaxation Caribbean-style. While in Saint Lucia, visitors will enjoy the newly renovated facilities at tranquil Hummingbird Beach in Soufriere and the recently expanded mud baths in Sulphur Springs Park (the most Instagrammed spot in Saint Lucia).To view the full list of Summer Specials offers, go to www.StLucia.org/specials/Summer-Specials. Tags: Saint Lucia These Saint Lucia hotels are offering up to 60% off summer rateslast_img read more

Costa Cruises celebrates first steelcutting of LNGpowered Toscana

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> MIAMI — The first steel cut has been made on the Costa Toscana, Costa Cruises’ second ship to be powered in port and at sea by liquefied natural gas (LNG).The steel-cutting ceremony, which took place at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, is “another step forward” in the cruise line’s sustainable development plan,” said Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. “LNG propulsion for cruise ships is a major innovation, pioneering a new era in the use of low-carbon fuels that will significantly reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment without compromising on safety, in line with our top priorities.”Meyer Turku Managing Partner Dr. Jan Meyer, left, and Costa Cruises President Neil PalombaCosta Toscana follows on the heels of Costa Smeralda, the company’s first ship to be powered by LNG. Smeralds is nearing completion at the same shipyard and will enter service in October. Costa Toscana is expected to be delivered in 2021.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemBoth ships are part of the Costa Group’s fleet expansion plan that includes a total of seven new ships scheduled to enter service by 2023. As the Italian brand of Carnival Corporation & plc, Costa Group is comprised of Costa Cruises, Costa Asia and AIDA Cruises.“Once again, Costa Cruises is paving the way for the industry as a whole: in accordance with our global vision aimed at sustainable development, we were the first to invest in this technology, which is now really starting to take hold,” added Palomba. “However, a lot remains to be done in terms of the ready availability of gas bunkering infrastructure to ensure the seamless transition to LNG. Costa Toscana and her sister ship Costa Smeralda may be highly innovative products, but they will retain that inimitable Italian hospitality that has been Costa Cruises’ hallmark since the brand’s inception.”Each ship was named after iconic Italian destinations – Tuscany and the Smeralda coast. On Costa Smeralda, guests will find 11 restaurants, including one specifically for casual family dining, 19 bars, a spa area with 16 treatment rooms, an onboard waterpark with waterslides, four pools and a dedicated kids facility. It will also boast its own museum – the CoDe-Costa Design Museum – that will showcase the excellence of Italian design.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaCosta Smeralda is set to debut on Oct. 20 with a 15-day preview cruise from Hamburg to Savona. Its official naming ceremony will take place on Nov. 3 in Savona before being deployed in the Western Mediterranean through April 2021.Costa Toscana’s cruise program will be announced in the next few months. Costa Cruises celebrates first steel-cutting of LNG-powered Toscana Posted bycenter_img Travelweek Group Tags: Costa Cruises, steel-cutting Tuesday, July 30, 2019 last_img read more

Casino Club Colonial celebrates 30th Anniversary

first_imgNo related posts. In 1982, when Costa Rica’s casino industry was just being born, Casino Club Colonial set up operations in the center of San José, where it still operates today, in a complex known as “Casa Colonial.”In 1996, the casino expanded its facilities, offering guests a bigger space and plenty of new entertainment options, including poker tables, slot machines, two bars and Magnolia Restaurant. One year earlier, the company opened the Hotel Paseo Las Damas. Organized under the collective Grupo Colonial, all of these services continue operating today, as the company celebrates its 30th anniversary. In late September, Grupo Colonial celebrated with a huge party that included buffet dinner, live music, raffle prizes and the chance to win a Kia Sportage 2012, which will be given away on Dec. 8. For more information or to help Casino Club Colonial celebrate its anniversary, call 2258-2807 or visit www.casinoclubcolonial.com. Casino Club Colonial is located in downtown San José, on Avenida 1, between Calles 9 and 11. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Historic Guatemala genocide trial begins Tuesday

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt is expected to stand trial on Tuesday on genocide charges, despite attempts by defense attorneys to postpone the start of the historic proceedings.Ríos Montt, 86, is accused of ordering the execution of 1,771 members of the indigenous Ixil Maya community in the Quiché region during his 1982-1983 regime.The trial marks the first time genocide proceedings have been brought in relation to the 36-year civil war in Guatemala that ended in 1996, leaving an estimated 200,000 people dead, according to United Nations estimates.The strongman was known for his “scorched earth” campaign against people the government claimed were leftist rebels but were often in fact members of indigenous Mayan communities who were not involved in the conflict.The proceedings, expected to last several months, will include 130 witnesses and some 100 experts. Retired Gen. José Rodríguez, a former member of the military leadership, is to stand trial along with Ríos Montt.The former president – who insists he was not aware that the army was committing massacres during his administration – was initially set to stand trial in August, but the date was moved up by five months to March 19.According to the defense team, the start of oral arguments is on hold while judges consider a defense appeal. Ríos Montt’s lawyer, Francisco Palomo, claimed it was “impossible” to start the trial on Tuesday.“What will happen is we’ll all gather, but it [the trial] won’t start,” he said.However, lawyer Hector Reyes, who represents the victims, said court officials indicated on Friday that the trial would begin at 8:30 a.m. local time Tuesday.Over the course of the proceedings, he said, more than 900 pieces of evidence would be presented, including testimony, forensic reports, videos and speeches.The trial is seen as historic by human rights groups.“The prosecution of a general for these heinous crimes 30 years after they happened is testament to the courage and tenacity of victims and humanitarian organizations in Guatemala,” said Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch.The group will serve as an observer at the kickoff of the proceedings.Ahead of the trial, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, a retired general who was also accused of human rights violations, caused a stir by saying that no genocide was committed during the war.“I hold the view that there was no genocide in Guatemala, … There was no policy or document or order to slaughter or kill people,” he said last week. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rican scientists industry lobbyists debate GMO benefits

first_imgNo related posts. “GMOs do not resolve anything that cannot be solved with existing technologies,” experts from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the Technology Institute of Costa Rica (ITCR) concluded at a forum in San José on Nov. 1.The forum, “Biotechnology: Challenges and opportunities for the country’s development,” gathered representatives from CropLife Latin America, Costa Rica’s Chamber of Agriculture and Agroindustry, and professors from the UCR’s Biology Faculty and the ITCR’s Agri-Food Sciences and Biology faculties.Luis Arauz Cavallini, a UCR biologist, said the country’s competitiveness should be based on the implementation of sustainable agro-ecosystems, adding that he has “several concerns related to genetically modified organisms, mainly the release into the environment of transgenic organisms that could affect native biodiversity.”Arauz also refuted the claim that global food production has increased thanks to GM crops, and that GMOs have contributed to the reduction of hunger, as advocates claim.UCR biologist Jaime García González noted that most Costa Ricans don’t know what GMs are, nor what their effects are. As of 2012, 177 of 194 countries have banned GM seeds, and five of the 28 that allow them own 90 percent of the total GM crop areas in the world, he said.Martin Zúñiga, CropLife’s executive director for Central America and the Caribbean, defended the use of GMOs, saying that “a second green revolution” is necessary to meet the global population’s current food needs.He added that one of the solutions to global hunger is agricultural biotechnology, “and specifically the use of GMOs, which are a tool to fight the decrease of agricultural productivity.”Zúñiga said that currently 170 million hectares are planted with GM crops globally, and 17 million farmers are successfully using genetic modification.CropLife Latin America is an international trade association consisting of eight companies and 22 associations in 18 countries in the region. Those companies include Bayer CropScience, Monsanto, Sumitomo Chemical, FMC, Syngenta, Basf, DuPont, Dow AgroSciences and Arysta LifeScience.University experts also highlighted other GMO issues affecting small farmers, such as the concentration of production and marketing of GM seeds in the hands of a few multinatioinal corporations, excessive use of agrochemicals and the payment of fees for intellectual property rights.“The use of transgenic seeds, whose rights are registered, are forcing farmers to pay for products they don’t even want to use in the first place,” García said.Scientists called for better information on all GM products, saying that product labeling “is a consumer’s right.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Drones could help spot illegal fishing around Costa Ricas Cocos Island

first_img Facebook Comments Drones are best known for their place on the battlefield but conservationists hope unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, can transition to a different fight: illegal fishing.In May, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and Turtle Island Restoration Network, a marine conservation group, traveled to the remote, bio-rich Cocos Island National Park with support from Alucia Productions and the Dalio Ocean Initiative to lay the groundwork for using unmanned aerial vehicles to collect evidence of poaching in the island’s protected waters.Poaching is a serious problem in Cocos Island. Its remote location 365 miles off the Costa Rican mainland makes it difficult to reach and expensive for Costa Rica’s Coast Guard to patrol. Illegal fishing threatens endangered hammerhead sharks, manta rays, sea turtles and other protected wildlife that live within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.“The main problem in Cocos is a legal one. The law says you have to catch them (poachers) red-handed, actively fishing,” said conservationist Randall Arauz, director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network.Arauz said patrol boats are important but they haven’t been effective in terms of securing evidence to prosecute illegal fishermen in the nearly 200,000 hectares of water covered by the national park. Often poachers can spot the patrols and dump their lines before Coast Guard officers arrive.“It’s almost impossible to get any reasonable prosecution,” Arauz said.And that’s where drone surveillance comes in.After seeing a drone from Oregon-based UAV operator Precision Integrated identify an illegal shrimp trawler in Costa Rica’s Caletas Arío National Wildlife Refuge in Nandayure, Guanacaste in 2013, Arauz was hopeful that drone technology could be a game-changer in the fight to protect Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity.Watch: test footage captured by the Flexrotor drone during the day and night over Cocos Island, Costa Rica on May 14 and 15, 2015. No vessels photographed were breaking the law. Courtesy Randall Arauz.  Precision Integrated returned to Costa Rica in May and donated its expertise and a Flexrotor drone for the test flight. When the propellers of the yellow drone start to whirl into a high-pitched whine, the UAV lifts off the flat surface of a boat deck and then flies horizontally like a typical airplane. Think of it like a mini-Harrier jet (without the jet or the payload).The Flexrotor is 2 meters long with a wingspan of 3 meters and it can reach altitudes of 1,500 meters. Once in flight it can maintain 20 hours of continuous operation. It uses global positioning satellite navigation and infrared cameras to track wildlife and eventually illegal fishermen.“This is not a toy,” Arauz said.Similar drones from Precision have been used in South Africa to fight rhino poaching in national parks there, but the vehicles had yet to be tested over the ocean. The test flight was a success, Arauz said.The next step is to set up a second trial for a month in hopes of collecting video evidence of poaching, in collaboration with the Environment Ministry, to be used in a trial sometime in 2016, Arauz said. If video footage can be used to successfully prosecute illegal fishing, Arauz said conservationists would pursue fundraising to get several drones and training for Costa Ricans to operate them.Even if the drones don’t end up as part of a law enforcement scheme, Arauz said they could be used in future research expeditions to track whales and other large animals under the waves.“If we can get two or three of these (illegal) fishermen, we’re positive that that will discourage a lot of illegal fishing,” Arauz said.center_img Related posts:Conservationists want you to help crowd-patrol illegal fishing around Cocos Island Actor Leonardo DiCaprio talks about illegal fishing in Costa Rica’s Cocos Island Isla del Coco gets a new radar station to fight drug traffickers Mexican fisherman accused of biggest poaching case in history at Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco still a fugitivelast_img read more

ChifrijoGate moves forward as Costa Rica court to hear lawsuit against 49

first_imgA civil court in the province of Cartago next week will begin hearing a case against 49 hotels, restaurants and bars being sued by a bar owner claiming unauthorized use of the name “Chifrijo” to sell one of Costa Rica’s favorite bar foods, or bocas.Miguel Cordero, owner of Cordero’s Bar in Tibás, northwest of San José, registered the name Chifrijo at Costa Rica’s Registry of Industrial Property Trademarks in 2002 as “Chifrijo Cordero’s.” He is seeking $15 million for infringement of rights from businesses of all sizes across the country for using the brand name.The widely popular boca derives its name from two of its main ingredients: chicharrones (pork rinds) and frijoles (beans). Other ingredients include diced tomatoes, spices, hot sauce and tortilla chips.Judge Mauricio Vega Camacho in October dismissed Cordero’s claim of “infringements to the Trademarks Law and unfair competition.” Vega at the time ruled that the dish is prepared with common ingredients and without any particular preparation, therefore it can not be patented.Cordero’s attorney, Ariana Araya Yockchen, appealed, stating that Judge Vega misinterpreted the terms of their complaint. “Our claim is for the use of the brand name, not for the dish,” she said.A Superior Civil Court overturned Judge Vega’s decision last week and ordered the reopening of the case.The court last week requested 49 copies of the complaint to serve all defendants.“We submitted all the documents on Friday, so I believe defendants will begin receiving court papers as soon as next week,” Araya told The Tico Times on Wednesday.Each defendant must respond to the complaint either with arguments against the claim or by requesting a settlement with Cordero.As soon as all defendants are served and deadlines to respond expire, the court will set a date for the trial against defendants who do not respond to the complaint.“We are open to settling with all of the defendants. The amounts definitely will be much smaller than those requested in the lawsuit, as our primary interest is to protect our rights,” Araya said.The lawyer added that for the Cordero family it is important consumers understand the family is not trying to prevent the popular dish from being served at tables around the country.“Anyone can prepare it and even sell it, but they can not sell it using the name Chifrijo,” she said.Chifrijo Cordero’s is currently patented with the National Registry as “a cocktail-type food or snack to accompany drinks.” Neither the ingredients nor the preparation are registered as trademark procedures in Costa Rica.Some businesses have followed the plaintiff’s recommendations and currently are offering the popular boca under different names like “Chichifrijo,” “Chifrijol,” “El Innombrable” (“The Nameless”) or simply “Chicharrón & Frijoles.”The list of sued businesses includes mostly restaurants and bars, but also big names in international franchises such as KFC and Hooters, and hotels such as Barceló San José Palacio, Real Intercontinental, Four Seasons, Marriott, Aurola Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Double Tree Cariari by Hilton, Crown Plaza and Balmoral.Recommended: ‘Chifrijo-gate’: a dish, a lawsuit, and the origins of a Tico classic Facebook Comments Related posts:‘Chifrijo-gate’: a dish, a lawsuit, and the origins of a Tico classic VIDEO: Rebooting Costa Rican cuisine at Al Mercat Experience new sensations dining blind at Racó Perro Vida celebrates first year of craft brewinglast_img read more

US experts tracking wildlife trade help train Costa Rican customs inspectors

first_imgRelated posts:American Airlines says it won’t ship shark fins anymore Scandal-hit VW to cut investments by €1 billion, says CEO Canadian entrepreneur gives water bottles new life as roof tiles Pile of whale puke will auction for upwards of $10,000 Late last year, security at Juan Santamaría International Airport outside of San José uncoveredmore than 400 live animals in the luggage of a German tourist named Maciej Oskroba. The find, the largest of its kind in 20 years, would have been worth thousands of euros on the European pet market. Oskroba’s ham-fisted attempt to sneak the animals out was easily foiled, but the wildlife trade is more often a bureaucratic challenge with officials scrutinizing paperwork instead of opening suitcases full of reptiles.On Friday, customs and border inspectors in Costa Rica are wrapping up a two-day training session on enforcing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, an international wildlife trade regulatory agreement, with technical assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior. More than 20 customs inspectors and 10 officials from the National System of Conservation Areas attended the training event in the Costa Rican capital supported by the U.S. Embassy in San José. The training this week in Costa Rica was one of several across Central America and Panama. Officials from Costa Rican customs and the National System of Conservation Areas attend a workshop on wildlife trafficking on Sept. 17, 2015. (Courtesy of MINAE)The United States is one of the world’s largest importers of wild fauna and flora. Central America’s proximity to the U.S. makes it even more important for the region and U.S. customs officials to be on the same page when it comes to flora and fauna trade.“As a consuming country, it’s incumbent on us to make sure that trade is happening legally and sustainably,” said Christina Kish, project manager with the International Technical Assistance Program of the U.S. Department of the Interior.Kish said part of her job is to emphasize the impact of illegal wildlife trade from both environmental and security perspectives, noting that goods like ivory, for example, can be major sources of revenue for organized crime or terrorists.“In countries where security, drugs and weapons are a high priority things like environment and wildlife get down at the bottom of the list,” Kish said. “We try to stress why it’s important.”Sarita Valentin, an inspector with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Miami, said that she sees a large number of butterflies and reptile leather illegally imported from Central America. Seasonally, she said, officials also often see a spike in mammals being smuggled into the country by collectors or the pet market, but also for religious ceremonies in some cases.Part of the responsibility beyond assisting in CITES training is also informing the roughly one million U.S. tourists who visit Costa Rica annually about how their purchases abroad can affect wildlife and flora stocks.“Tourism is a driver for wildlife demand,” Kish said. “Someone could buy a bracelet made of sea turtle shell in Central America, for example. It’s not a lot individually, but put that together with a lot of people buying trinkets and every one comes from a turtle shell. It’s a lot.”Animal trafficking tends to catch the media’s attention, but Kish said that precious hardwoods from Latin America are increasingly in demand. Mahogany once was synonymous with luxury in the United States, but as it became more scarce over the years, other wood has risen in demand. Police seize 16 trunks of endangered cocobolo wood (Dalbergia retusa) on July 11, 2014. (Courtesy Public Security Ministry)Costa Rican Environment Vice Minister Patricia Madrigal agreed. Madrigal said that cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) – also known as black rosewood – has been smuggled into markets in India and China by organized crime. Dozens of people have been arrested in recent years here for illegally cutting down the endangered trees found in Guanacaste’s dry tropical forests. The hardwood is prized for its durability, dark reddish color and stability.Another item of particular interest for Costa Rica covered under CITES is various species of shark fins. Madrigal defended the government’s decision in March to export 1,200 kilograms of shark fins – the equivalent of about 2,000 hammerhead sharks – allegedly harvested as bycatch, a move criticized by conservationists. Madrigal said the government’s non-determintal finding required by CITES determined the export would not harm shark stocks. Conservationists strongly disputed that claim, pointing out that the Costa Rican government lacked the data to back it up.The legal responsibility for the shipment of animals or plants ultimately rests with the government, said Sarita Valentin of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Miami.Governments are officially tasked with certifying items regulated under CITES, but some airlines have announced voluntary rules for what kinds of wildlife they will ship. In April, American Airlines announced it would no longer ship shark fins, a delicacy in Asia that has driven many Costa Rican sharks into endangered status. American, Delta, and United Airlines announced that they would no longer allow the shipment of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo hunting trophies, following the hunting death of one of Africa’s most iconic lions, Cecil, who was killed in Zimbabwe by a U.S. big-game hunter.Department of the Interior project manager Christina Kish said that the existing laws on flora and fauna trafficking are robust but need trained staff and resources to enforce them effectively. CITES is often cited in regards to goods that are prohibited to trade but much of the convention deals with the regulation of legal wildlife trade, which can be an important source of income for a developing country.“The volume of trade is overwhelming. It’s a challenge. We’re asking them to facilitate the legal trade but also to be hyper vigilant and detect all the illegal trade,” Kish said. “I don’t envy customs inspectors’ task.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rican Friday Happy Hour 2 Malpaís

first_imgCosta Rican Friday Happy Hour #1: ‘Julieta’ Facebook Comments The first installment in our new Friday Happy Hour series wasa fun-filled, beer-with-patacones romp. This week’s is more of a mellow, whiskey-sipping tune.For me, it’s also inseparable from my first months living in Costa Rica. While “Malpaís,” from the band of the same name, is about memories of a long-lost, tumultuous but unforgettable love, it resonated with me as I navigated through a country that was more complex and difficult than I’d realized during my brief, sunny stay years before. I was a reporter as corruption scandals washed over the country, learning about the struggles and injustices and yes, even evils that dwell here.The phrase from the chorus, “in this Malpaís that is paradise,” echoed through my mind for months; it was the contradiction I saw each day as I walked through San José’s streets. The tale of a love that ended badly made me wonder if my love for this new country would end badly, too. I delighted in phrases like “en las malas palabras de tu cuerpo” (“in the bad words of your body”) and “donde el mar se enciende como una hoguera” (“where the sea lights up like a bonfire”).I think I was also proud of the context in which I first heard the song: friendless at the start, I ventured forth by myself to watch the band at a show at the Jazz Café in San Pedro, and heard Fidel Gamboa sing the song below. After the show, I bought their album, “Uno,” and stood it up on my windowsill of my rented room like some sort of proof that I was finding my way.What is Malpaís itself? I’ll let the band explain in the notes on their website: “At the end of the Nicoya Peninsula, beyond Cabo Blanco and the last road, lies the refuge of the landless… the beach of Malpaís. Paradise. It’s a bad name for such a lovely place. A contradition. Maybe as contradictory as the name of Costa Rica itself, which for centuries was the poorest corner of this continent.“Malpaís is the place we’re from, the dry lands of the northwest, the sea that bursts, those dusty roads. That’s the source of our way of speaking and of making these songs. And Malpaís is our idea of music: a meeting place that lies beyond the roads.”Take a listen: What are your favorite Costa Rican songs or musical memories? Tell us at kstanley@ticotimes.net. Related posts:Costa Rican Friday Happy Hour #1: ‘Julieta’ Costa Rican Friday Happy Hour #3: ‘El Otro Gol’last_img read more

Costa Rica EU and Latam contact group on Venezuela will meet Thursday

first_imgEuropean and Latin American countries that form an “international contact group” hoping to end Venezuela’s political crisis will hold their first meeting in Montevideo on Thursday, the joint hosts announced Sunday.The meeting will be at the ministerial level, said a statement from EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez.“The IGC aims at contributing to creating conditions for a political and peaceful process to emerge, enabling Venezuelans to determine their own future, through the holding of free, transparent and credible elections, in line with the country’s Constitution,” said the statement.The contact group comprises the EU and eight of its member states — France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom — and four Latin American countries: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay.The EU announced its creation last Thursday, giving itself a 90-day timetable to resolve the crisis in Venezuela.Mogherini said then that its aim was to enable the holding of new elections under democratic conditions — not to mediate with the government of President Nicolas Maduro.The United States and a dozen Latin American countries have already recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s acting head of state — as has the European Parliament.France, Britain, Germany, and Spain are among the EU countries that have told Maduro to call elections by the weekend or they will recognize the opposition-backed parliamentary speaker.France European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said Sunday that if Maduro had not called a fresh presidential election by Sunday evening, France would consider Guaidó interim president with the right to organize them in his place.She denounced Maduro’s election victory last May as a “tragic farce” in comments to French radio RTL.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Europeans, Latin Americans to meet on Venezuela crisis The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Jan. 28, 2019 Who is Juan Guaidó Costa Rica again voices support for new elections, peaceful transition in Venezuelalast_img read more

Costa Rica to face Peru in Gold Cup warmup

first_imgPeru’s men’s national soccer team will host Costa Rica on June 5 in Lima, nine days before the start of the Copa América in Brazil, the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) announced Thursday.“Peru will receive Costa Rica on June 5 as part of its preparation for Copa América 2019,” FPF announced on Thursday on its Twitter account.Ya tenemos fecha y rival para el próximo amistoso de la Blanquirroja. La @SeleccionPeru recibirá este 5 de junio a @fedefutbolcrc como parte de su preparación para la @CopaAmerica 2019. El partido se jugará en Lima con horario y estadio por confirmar.#ArribaPerú pic.twitter.com/zE7kosnuUd— Selección Peruana (@SeleccionPeru) April 4, 2019The match will be played in Lima at a stadium to be confirmed.The match against the Ticos will Peru’s first friendly match in June. Peru, managed by Ricardo Gareca, will also receive Colombia on the 9th of that month at Estadio Monumental in Lima.The last time La Sele faced Peru was Nov. 20, 2018, in the city of Arequipa. Costa Rica won, 3-2. Campbell stars as Costa Rica beats Peru, 3-2 This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5% Club. If only 5 percent of our readers donated at least $5 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Costa Rica will begin its 2019 Gold Cup campaign on June 16 at the National Stadium in San José against an opponent yet to be determined.After the 2018 World Cup in Russia, for which Peru qualified after a 36-year absence, the South American team has shown mediocre form; over eight friendlies, they have managed two wins, one draw and five defeats, scoring nine goals to 12 conceded.In their first two matches of the year, played in the United States, Peru beat Paraguay 1-0 on March 22 and fell 2-0 to El Salvador on March 26.Peru is part of Group A of the Copa América, along with host Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela. The tournament starts on June 14.In 2019, Costa Rica has a 1-0 victory over Jamaica, but La Sele lost to Guatemala in March and to the United States in February.center_img Want stories like this delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter Related posts:Costa Rica returns with full-strength lineup in last step toward World Cup qualifying Legendary Radio Columbia sportscaster Mario McGregor dies at 59 Costa Rica’s Sele out of Korea U-20 World Cup The 5 greatest moments in Costa Rican soccer historylast_img read more

Lithuanian police detain 39 in child custody case

first_img Sponsored Stories Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressVILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) – Riot police helped a mother regain custody of her 8-year-old daughter on Thursday in a tragic case that has riveted Lithuania for three years and led to three deaths.Thirty-nine protesters were detained as they tried to prevent the police from carrying out a 5-month-old court order saying the mother should regain custody of her daughter from a house where relatives were keeping her. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean It was a dramatic development in a tragic case that has riveted Lithuanian society for the past three years.In 2009, the girl’s father, Drasius Kedys, claimed his daughter was being abused by a pedophile ring involving Stankunaite.After Kedys failed to get a court order protecting his daughter, he allegedly killed a judge and the mother’s sister, both of whom he accused of being part of the pedophile ring.Kedys then disappeared, only to be found dead near a reservoir in mysterious circumstances two years ago. His funeral was attended by thousands of Lithuanians who had come to regard him as a martyr who dared fight a corrupt justice system.On Thursday, the girl and her mother were moved to an undisclosed location under constant police protection.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 0 Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Many Lithuanians in the southern town of Garliava violently opposed the order because they allege the girl’s mother, Laimute Stankunaite, is part of a pedophile ring.Protesters had long prevented authorities from taking the girl, Deimante Kedyte, from her deceased father’s relatives by forming a cordon around the house. But early Thursday morning Stankunaite and her lawyer _ both wearing bulletproof vests and surrounded by dozens of police carrying shields _ whisked the girl out of the house to a waiting van.The demonstrators screamed and shouted obscenities, and many were later shown crying.Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius defended the action. “People have different opinions about this operation, but Lithuania has its laws, its Constitution, and everybody has to respect it _ including law enforcement institutions,” he told reporters.Video and photos of the operation immediately went viral, and several hundred Lithuanians met in downtown Vilnius, the capital, to hold a vigil outside President Dalia Grybauskaite’s residence and urge her to reverse the court decision.“We are here because we care for our country. We see it is being demolished with the help of authorities as they use force against an innocent child and destroy the republic’s moral foundations,” said vigil participant Darius Kuolys. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Oxford University gets 116 million donation

first_imgWales-born Moritz, who studied history at Oxford, says the goal is to ensure that money is not a barrier to an Oxford education.The number of students applying to British universities has fallen since the government tripled university fees to 9,000 pounds starting this fall. Students on the scholarship will pay just 3,500 pounds.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   LONDON (AP) – Oxford University says a Silicon Valley venture capitalist has donated 75 million pounds ($116 million) to help poor students attend the prestigious institution.The money is a gift from Sequoia Capital president Michael Moritz and his wife, novelist Harriet Heyman.Oxford said Wednesday the donation will form part of a fund to subsidize fees and living costs for students with family incomes below 16,000 pounds. About 100 students will get the award in the first year. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Patients with chronic pain give advicecenter_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Sponsored Stories Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

Palestinian rivals promise unity government

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The Hamas militant group controls the Gaza Strip, while the Western-backed Palestinian Authority governs autonomous areas in the West Bank.The territories have been politically divided since 2007.In 2011, Hamas and Fatah leaders signed an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement that was not implemented. According to subsequent talks, the two factions were to form a national coalition government of independents to oversee legislative and presidential elections.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement CAIRO (AP) – A leading Palestinian official says rival groups Fatah and Hamas have agreed to form a national unity government in three months.Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed said both sides agreed on a timetable that begins with creating laws to govern elections.Al-Ahmed spoke in Cairo after he met with a Hamas delegation led by Moussa Abu Marzouk. Tuesday’s meeting was brokered by Egyptian intelligence officials.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

Britain to host 2014 NATO summit

first_img Comments   Share   New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like LONDON (AP) – The British government says it will host the 2014 NATO summit, the first time the meeting has been held in the country in more than 20 years.Prime Minister David Cameron announced the news Friday, saying the 2014 summit will be an important moment in the history of the alliance as the NATO mission in Afghanistan draws to a close.The date and venue for the summit were not disclosed.Britain last hosted the summit in 1990, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister and the Cold War was drawing to a close. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Sponsored Stories NATO summits typically occur every two years. The last took place in Chicago in 2012.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

Putin signs Russian law to shut undesirable organizations

first_img How men can have a healthy 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law Saturday giving prosecutors the power to declare foreign and international organizations “undesirable” in Russia and shut them down.Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the measure as part of an “ongoing draconian crackdown which is squeezing the life out of civil society.”The law is part of a Kremlin campaign to stifle dissent that intensified after Putin began his third term in 2012. His return to the presidency had been accompanied by mass street protests that Putin accused the United States of fomenting. Russian suspicions of Western intentions have been further heightened because of tensions over Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The new Russian law allows prosecutors to declare an organization undesirable if it presents a threat to Russia’s constitutional order, its defenses or its security.Laws passed in recent years already have led to increased pressure on Russian non-governmental organizations, particularly those that receive foreign funding. Rights activists fear the new law could be used to extend the crackdown to Russian branches of international groups and the Russian activists who work with them.In a statement, U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said the United States is “deeply troubled” by the new law, calling it “a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more