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SeaWorld and Sesame Street announce plans for more joint parks

first_img By: Mike Schneider Source: The Associated Press ORLANDO, Fla. — Muppets fans are going to have more places to ask the question, “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. and the non-profit behind Sesame Street announced Thursday that they are expanding their partnership to build another theme park by 2021, and possibly add more U.S. parks in the years beyond.SeaWorld and Sesame Workshop, which run decades-old educational and entertainment brands trying to adjust to 21st century tastes, are extending their almost-four-decade partnership through 2031.During that time, SeaWorld will build a second Sesame Place theme park to complement its existing location outside Philadelphia, open a Sesame Street land in its SeaWorld Orlando park by 2022 and possibly build more Sesame Place parks throughout the United States. Sesame Street lands already are in SeaWorld’s two Busch Gardens parks and two SeaWorld parks in San Diego and San Antonio.For SeaWorld, the park expansion is a way to diversify its offerings as the company pulls back from the use of orcas that were the subject of intense protests by animal rights groups.SeaWorld ended its orca breeding program last year after years of declining attendance and pressure from activists following the 2013 release of the critical documentary “Blackfish.” The documentary chronicled the life of Tilikum, an orca that killed a SeaWorld trainer during a performance in Orlando in 2010. The movie implied that killer whales become more aggressive in captivity.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJ“We do want to continue to diversify, and strategically, I think that’s the main point,” said Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment.For Sesame Workshop, the park expansion allows it to spread its brand via the theme parks during a time of intense competition for children’s viewing attention.SeaWorld’s current licensing agreement with Sesame Street allows SeaWorld to use Sesame Street characters in its parks, and it had been set to expire in 2021.“I think it occurred to us that there was a market opportunity to build more of them,” said Jeffrey Dunn, CEO of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit that is behind Sesame Street. “At Sesame, we know that the theme parks are a great way to deeply engage our fans with the characters that they love.”Officials from both entities refused to say how much SeaWorld pays Sesame Street, but SeaWorld’s annual report says the company pays Sesame Street royalties based on receipts from theme park business.SeaWorld and Sesame Street haven’t decided where the second Sesame Place theme park will be located, but they say they want to go to an underserved market. They aren’t ruling out building the new park where there already are SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps up“The whole point of this is to get geographic diversity,” Dunn said. “We feel like we’ve got the northeast covered … But that leaves a whole lot of the rest of the country.”Neither company would say how many new Sesame Place parks would be built beyond the second one, but the extra decade in the partnership gives SeaWorld time to build new parks and grow their attendance, Manby said.Dunn said the agreement could be extended beyond 2031 if SeaWorld wants to continue building parks.SeaWorld operates parks under the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Aquatica, Discovery Cove, Water Country USA and Adventure Island brands. Manby said it’s possible that someday Sesame Place parks might outnumber the other brands.“We want Sesame Street to not just be a TV show but a physical location where kids can come and enjoy and see the characters live,” Manby said. Thursday, May 18, 2017 SeaWorld and Sesame Street announce plans for more joint parks Share Tags: Family Travel, SeaWorld, Theme Parks & Attractions << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

6 new tours from KapohoKine Adventures on Hawaii island

first_img6 new tours from KapohoKine Adventures on Hawaii island Share Tags: Hawaii, KapohoKine Adventures Monday, August 20, 2018 Posted bycenter_img KapohoKine Adventures, a leading eco-adventure tour operator on Hawaii island, has launched six new tours out of Kona and Hilo.The new tours supplement the company’s standing menu of adventures, including the popular ‘Historic Hilo Bay and Waterfalls by Kayak Tour’ and ‘HeliZippin’ Volcano’. All tours have been slightly modified due to the current lava flow, and will continue to be as needed for dialing conditions.“Hawaii island has always been more than Hawaii Volcanoes National Park,” said Tony DeLellis, co-owner of KapohoKine Adventures. “The challenges of the current lava flow provided the opportunity to expand our tour offerings and come up with creative adventures that showcase the diversity of the entire island and the fun of discovery.”The new tours are as follows:Cap’n Cook by Land and Sea: This tour starts with a tasting at the 24-acre Bay View Farm, which is nestled above Kealakekua Bay. From there, guests will head to Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park and then take a high-speed zodiac raft to explore sea caves and lava tubes. They’ll also snorkel in Kealakekua Bay and see the monument to Captain Cook. This tour is priced at US$299 (Hilo) and $240 (Kona), plus tax, per person, and includes roundtrip transportation and deli lunch.Kings, Kohala and Paniolo: This tour explores the significance of the Hawaiian Islands’ first ruler and the pioneers of today’s vibrant ranching community. Highlights include Pololu Valley, picture-perfect Hawi town, a scenic drive along the spine of Kohala Volcano, and learning about the paniolo lifestyle in Waimea. This tour is priced at $229 (Hilo) and $170 (Kona, plus tax, per person and includes roundtrip transportation and lunch.Hamakua Heritage: Beginning in the sacred Waipio Valley, this tour includes a leisurely stroll through the town of Honokaa, a stop at Laupahoehoe Point, an easy walk to the 442-foot Akaka Falls, and a tour of the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. This tour is priced at $129 (Hilo) and $199 (Kona0, plus tax, per person and includes roundtrip transportation and deli lunch.Waipio Valley, Credit: KaphoKineLaupahoehoe Point, Credit: KaphoKineEvening Volcano Explorer: This popular classic has been redesigned to accommodate access restrictions at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Hilo guests will see two of the island’s most spectacular waterfalls before exploring Kaumana Caves. Kona guests will see how lava rock was used to construct ancient temples, taste coffee grown in volcanic content, and visit the famous Painted Church. Both tours end with sampling wine grown from shallow volcanic topsoil at Volcano Winery. This tour is priced at $149 (Hilo) and $199 (Kona), plus tax, per person and includes roundtrip transportation and lunch, plus dinner for Kona guests.Hawaii Volcanoes National Park & Waterfalls Explorer: This full-day adventure includes a visit to a 24-acre coffee farm, a stop at the Kahuku Unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (the only area currently accessible), and a leisurely stroll along Punaluu Black Sand Beach. It winds down in the quaint town of Hilo and a stop at Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls. This tour is priced at $229 (Kona) plus tax, per person, and includes roundtrip transportation and lunch.Lava Boat Adventure: Aboard the 800hp Ohana vessel, this adventure takes guests along the Hilo and Puna coastline before rounding the easternmost point in Hawaii. The boat captain will find 30-45 minutes of safe viewing before returning to Hilo. This tour is priced at $250 (Hilo) plus tax, per person. Add-on options include a helicopter flight for an additional $215 plus tax, per person, and eight lines of ziplining for an additional $139 plus tax, per person.For more information go to KapohoKine.com. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Book Summer 2019 now with Transats Early Booking Promo

first_img Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Book Summer 2019 now with Transat’s Early Booking Promo Tags: New Tours, Promotions, Transatcenter_img TORONTO — Transat is already looking ahead to summer vacation by launching its Europe & Israel Summer 2019 Early Booking Promotion.Valid for travel between May 1-Oct. 31, 2019, the promotion applies to Europe and Middle East packages and to guided tours of at least seven nights. Bookings must be made by Dec. 18, 2018. The offer does not apply to groups, cruise packages, flights or à la carte accommodations.Clients who book a Guided tour will benefit from savings of up to $300 per couple, Transat’s Price Drop Guarantee, and a future travel voucher of up to $100.Clients who book a Package will benefit from Transat’s Price Drop Guarantee and a $50 future travel voucher. Tuesday, October 16, 2018 Travelweek Group last_img read more

Arenal Report

first_imgArenal is a great place to hold a destination wedding. The wedding of Tara Eisenbeis and William Behn took place July 5 at the house of the bride’s parents, Myrna Kastner and Jim Vernon, in Nuevo Arenal. Tara and William live in the U.S. city of Atlanta, Georgia, and the 35 guests came from many parts of the U.S. and as far afield as New Zealand.Heavy rain prevented the wedding from being held in the garden, but this did not dampen the spirits of the wedding party; everyone thoroughly enjoyed the occasion and the reception that followed. The wedding dinner and dance was held nearby in a private home, with music from Brad Moodie’s band, Los Mojitos, from Liberia. The majority of the guests were visiting Costa Rica for the first time and all were impressed with the hospitality and range of activities. Guests arrived a week prior to the wedding and stayed at the recently renovated Hotel Lago Arenal. Therapeutic massages provided by Gerardina Fonseca were popular – many visitors scheduled repeat sessions.On July 4, the staff at Hotel Lago Arenal arranged for the wedding party to celebrate Independence Day with a whole pig roast accompanied by typical Costa Rican dishes and music by a local Nuevo Arenal marimba band. The dinner and dance lasted well into the night and ended with a fireworks display. You can schedule a massage with the masseuse, Gerardina, a graduate of IECSA Institute in San José who has worked at two hotels near Jacó – Punta Leona and Villa Lapas. She makes house calls. Dial 8524-6226 for Spanish or 8896-2048 for English.Guanacaste Province Animal Welfare foundation (G-PAW), a nonprofit that provides low-cost animal clinics to Guanacaste residents, will be holding two spay/neuter clinics in August: Saturday, Aug. 18, in Río Piedras and Sunday, Aug. 19, in Tilarán. For more info, visit: http://g-paw.com.Property issues are on the minds of Arenal-area residents. Representative of Corfoga, an organization of cattle producers, held a well-attended meeting Tuesday, July 17, to explain Proposal 18,070, which concerns the preservation of agricultural land use. The issue is now being debated in Congress, and if passed would give farmers a tax break.If property has an agricultural use, taxes are calculated slightly more than 20 percent of the value of the property. Corfoga sent a bus to San José on Tuesday, July 31, with protesters from Arenal. Five buses traveled from the Tilarán area. Protesters marched from La Sabana Park, on the west side of town, to the legislature.Another meeting was held July 19, for the Regularization of Maps and Records at the National Registry. Workers equipped with aerial photos delineating property boundaries plan to visit every owner to verify information about their lot, farm or property. In some cases, there are properties overlapping and this will be pointed out. Neighbors will need to discuss the situation, and if there are still problems there will be a free conflict resolution service. They plan to hold a second meeting in the near future.Thanks to Michelle Cloutier, Myrna Kastner and Jim Vernon Myra for their assistance with this article. -Lynn Farris LynnFarris@ymail.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

UK helps train Costa Rican Honor Guard

first_imgNo related posts. Two members of the U.K.’s Queen’s Guard arrived in Costa Rica last week to help train 30 National Police officers and members of Costa Rica’s Honor Guard.In addition to belonging to the Royal Air Force, the two officers also served in official capacity at the Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, London Tower and guarding the late Princess of Wales.Members of Costa Rica’s honor guard, who are assigned to offer protection during official state events, will receive advanced instruction in state funerals, official events, presidential visits, special escorts, and honor guards.The honor guard members also will receive training from five instructors at the National Police School.During an activity held by the Public Security Ministry in San José on Wednesday, members of the honor guard showed off some of what they have learned in the trainings. Present at the activity were Sharon Campbell, British ambassador in Costa Rica, Celso Gamboa, Costa Rica’s public security minister, and Juan José Andrade, general director of Costa Rica’s National Police.“I am proud to be here presenting these two members of the Queen’s Royal Guard. It is a source of great pride for the United Kingdom to be able to help Costa Rica’s National Police Honor Guard,” Campbell said.Gamboa also recognized the importance of receiving support from other countries in order to strengthen and train local police forces. “Today we recognize and thank the support that Great Britain has given us through the Queen’s Royal Guard. We know that this training in protocols makes this group of Costa Rican officials even stronger,” he said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US police probe motive after deadly LA airport shooting

first_imgLOS ANGELES, California – A gunman opened fire with an assault rifle at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Friday, killing a security agent, creating scenes of chaos and causing widespread flight disruptions.Panicked travelers scrambled to escape after the shooter, named as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, pulled out the gun and shot his way through a security checkpoint before being stopped in an exchange of fire with police.The victim was the first employee of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to be killed in the line of duty since the TSA was set up in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.Seven people were injured, but the lone gunman had lots more ammunition on him when he was arrested, said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti.“There were more than 100 more rounds that could have literally killed everybody in that terminal today,” he said, praising airport police. “If it were not for their actions, there could have been a lot more damage,” he said.The motive for the shooting was unclear, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it could not rule out terrorism. The gunman was reported to be in critical condition in hospital.The shooter opened fire shortly after 9 a.m. in a crowded terminal of LAX, the country’s third-biggest air transport hub.He “came into Terminal Three, pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire,” said LAX police chief Patrick Gannon.“He proceeded up into the screening area … and continued shooting,” he said.TV footage showed people diving to the floor at the sound of gunfire and scrambling to escape the terminal.Police chased the gunman to a Burger King restaurant where they “engaged him in gunfire … and were able to successfully take him into custody.”The TSA, which employs screeners and guards at airports, confirmed one of its employees had died. “Multiple Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) were shot, one fatally,” said a TSA statement emailed to AFP.Later, the FBI named the shooter as Ciancia, saying he was an L.A. resident, giving no further details.An NBC television report suggested Ciancia had “strong anti-government views,” and may have had some link to the TSA and targeted TSA agents as his victims.One eyewitness recounted the shooter dressed in grayish-green clothing with an assault rifle opening fire.Brian Adamick, 43, said he saw a wounded TSA worker, with a bloodied ankle, board a shuttle bus helping passengers escape.“It looked like it was straight out of the movies,” he said.In all some 750 flights were disrupted after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a national ground-stop.Nearly 50 were diverted to other airports, and the rest either held on the ground at LAX or at their originating airport, said Gina Marie Lindsey, head of Los Angeles World Airports.Although there was no indication of other people being involved in the attack, the FBI said it could not rule out terrorism.“It would be premature to comment on a motivation at this time and joint investigators have neither ruled out terrorism, nor ruled it in,” said an FBI statement.In Washington, President Barack Obama was kept up-to-date on the shooting. “Obviously, we’ve been monitoring it and we’re concerned about it,” Obama said.This being Los Angeles, a number of celebrities were caught up in the action.Hit TV show “Mad Men” was filming at LAX, next door in Terminal Four, a crew member tweeted, while actor James Franco posted a “selfie” picture of himself on a plane stopped on the tarmac by the incident.“Some s** tbag shot up the place,” he wrote in the first of a series of tweets, ending some five hours later with a more relieved message: “WE’RE OUT! – everyone was calm.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Guatemalan Attorney General Paz y Paz Punished for being effective on big

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – A list of finalists for Guatemala’s next attorney general contains six men and women. But one of the best candidates, acting Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz, who leaves office this month, is not one of them.“It surprises us that Paz y Paz is not in the list of six attorneys, despite the excellent performance during her term, in addition to her score in the [review] process,” Diego Álvarez, a spokesman for the U.N.’s International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), said at a Thursday press conference, EFE reported.A nominating committee, made up of prominent members of the legal community in Guatemala, spent weeks winnowing down a group of 26 applicants. Yet while the process is meant to shield the Attorney General’s Office from political pressure, recent events appear to reveal meddling by the administration of President Otto Pérez Molina.Each candidate was assigned a numerical score representing suitability for the job as the country’s top prosecutor. Paz y Paz obtained the second-highest score of the group. Yet the nominating committee short-listed six candidates, without including her. That list then was forwarded to President Pérez Molina, who will make the final selection.Former President Álvaro Colom reacted strongly to the announcement, telling the daily El Periódico last Wednesday:I consider this evidence that there was manipulation [of the selection process]. I believe that if they didn’t choose her for the final nomination of candidates it was because of cowardice. There are definitely groups of powerful interests who don’t want the attorney general to be re-elected, and they are the same ones who do not want justice in Guatemala.The breakneck selection process began after a March 7 ruling by the nation’s highest court ordering Paz y Paz to leave office on May 19, six months ahead of the expected end of her term. Civil society groups claim the ruling was the result of pressure from right-wing sectors aligned with military and business interests in Guatemala. However, the court’s ruling did leave the option of re-election on the table for Paz y Paz. Guatemalan Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz is greeted by the former head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Costa Rican Francisco Dall’Anese in Guatemala City, on Sept. 11, 2012. Johan Ordóñez/AFPDuring her current term, Paz y Paz has built a broad portfolio of successful prosecutions in a country hampered by overwhelming impunity. She won a 6,060-year prison sentence for defendants in the infamous Dos Erres massacre trial, a case in which government commandos killed more than 200 villagers in 1982. And she successfully prosecuted former Guatemalan dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide. That landmark verdict was later overturned by Guatemala’s highest court in a highly controversial ruling.With those victories, and the tenacity she has demonstrated in the office, observers say Paz y Paz deserves at least a spot on the shortlist. Many are advocating she be installed for another term. Yet, when the committee selected the finalists, Paz y Paz received only four votes of a maximum of 13, compared to most of the six finalists, who received up to 13 votes each.Paz y Paz, like her supporters, said she was surprised by the decision.“I believe there are some sectors, such as those who filed various lawsuits against me, that without a doubt prefer impunity survives in Guatemala,” she told El Periódico.Two radically right-wing groups in particular, the League for the Nation and the Foundation Against Terrorism, have become notorious for campaigning in favor of Paz y Paz’s removal. Like much of the rhetoric seen during the bloody 36-year civil war, which lasted from 1960-1996, the groups believe Paz y Paz’s human rights prosecutions are an attempt to “promote communism” and attack business and military interests.Yet human rights groups, international agencies, and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala all support Paz y Paz’s recent efforts as prosecutor. The impunity rate for homicides in Guatemala City fell from 95 percent before she took office in 2009 to 72 percent in 2012, according to the U.S. State Department.According to the daily Prensa Libre, the selection process may have been compromised from the start by interference from the executive branch. On April 24, the newspaper published an audio recording allegedly of a conversation between Luis Reyes García, president of the Attorneys and Notaries Association and a member of the nominating committee, a second member of the nominating committee, and two senior officials from the president’s office. The group discussed the nominating committee’s work, and Reyes García is heard referring to “an orchestrated plan” for the selection process.Pérez Molina must name the next attorney general by May 19. The six finalists are: Thelma Aldana, Edgar Lemus, Eunice Mendizabal, María Porras, Ronny López and Julio Claveria.Benjamin Reeves is a freelance journalist based in Antigua, Guatemala. Follow him on Twitter and at his blog. Facebook Comments Related posts:Guatemalan president waves off Biden’s counsel to keep UN impunity commission UPDATE: Guatemala’s former Vice President Baldetti arrested in ongoing corruption probe; President also likely involved, investigators say Guatemala president faces mounting pressure in scandal Guatemala prosecutor confident President Pérez Molina will be removed from office, charged with graftlast_img read more

FIFA partner executive flees ticket sales arrest in Brazil

first_imgRelated posts:FIFA’s Blatter shocked by US anti-corruption tactics FIFA arrests transform Blatter heir into face of football scandal FIFA denies Blatter deputy approved $10 million payment Swiss prosecutors probe 53 ‘suspicious’ FIFA cases RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – An executive from the World Cup’s hospitality services firm escaped out the back door of his plush Rio de Janeiro hotel Thursday to avoid arrest on charges of illegally selling tickets, police said.Raymond Whelan, a British director of FIFA partner company Match Services, fled the luxurious Copacabana Palace Hotel after a judge ordered him and 10 other suspects to be held in detention, the Rio prosecutor’s office said.“The Englishman fled through the hotel’s back door and is considered a fugitive,” Rio police said in a separate statement.“We saw him in (security) footage leaving in a hurry,” Fabio Barucke, the case’s lead investigator, was quoted as saying by the G1 news website, adding that Whelan had fled an hour before police arrived.Police have launched a manhunt for Whelan, who is accused of being involved with a scalping network that has sold thousands of tickets worth millions of dollars, going back to the 2002 World Cup.Whelan, who denies the charges, was initially arrested on Monday but was granted preventive release the next day.Police filed charges against him and 11 other suspects on Wednesday and submitted the case to prosecutors, who requested an arrest warrant against all except one who was cooperating with investigators.Prosecutors said the 12 suspects face charges of organized crime, illegal ticket sales, corruption, money laundering and tax fraud.Brazilian media have published leaked phone calls between Whelan and one of the chief suspects in the case, French-Algerian Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, discussing hospitality packages for games including Sunday’s final.But Match Services has defended Whelan, saying he was innocent and that there was nothing illegal about the conversations.The Zurich-based company says Whelan was discussing the sale of 24 hospitality packages at the correct price, though he rounded up the figure to $25,000 from $24,750 per package, and that the deal was never concluded.Match Services said Wednesday that Whelan would voluntarily relinquish his World Cup accreditation but that he had not committed any wrongdoing.Prior to the news of Whelan’s sudden disappearance, the executive chairman of Match Services and its sister company Match Hospitality issued a statement criticizing Rio police.“Those responsible for the investigation from the 18th Precinct of the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro are not experts in FIFA World Cup ticketing or hospitality,” chairman Jaime Byrom said in the statement.“Notwithstanding our belief that the action taken against Mr Whelan was illegal and baseless, Match Services and I personally remain totally committed to assist the authorities from the 18th Precinct or any other jurisdiction in FIFA’s fight against illegal ticket sales.”Byrom said cooperation with the authorities had led to “a number of successful arrests of actual touts.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Culture Ministry wont budge on Legislative Assembly building permits

first_imgRelated posts:Lawmakers, Culture Ministry clash over construction of new Legislative Assembly facilities Culture Ministry’s Heritage Conservation Center blocks Legislative Assembly renovation Fire destroys Black Star Line building, a Limón landmark Why May 1 is much more than Labor Day for Costa Rica’s government Culture Minister Elizabeth Fonseca on Monday rejected another request by the Legislative Assembly’s directorate to approve building permits for a new Assembly complex in downtown San José, at the legislature’s current location.Fonseca agreed with rulings issued earlier this year by ex-minister Manuel Obregón and the Heritage Conservation Center that stated the renovation project in its current design would threaten the integrity of older buildings declared architectural and historical patrimony.“We agree entirely with the decision issued by this ministry on March 31, 2014 to deny construction permits for this project, as it would damage the current facilities,” Fonseca stated.Because of the patrimony declaration, approval from the ministry’s conservation center is required for construction to move forward.Yet lawmakers are in limbo, because Health Ministry inspectors have declared some of the Assembly’s 100-year-old buildings “uninhabitable.”Conservation center experts say the excavation called for by the proposal would damage La Casa Rosada, a structure built using an antique system of construction known as bahareque, which uses mud and bamboo.They also said the new project’s design would disrupt views of the neighborhood, which include culturally important buildings and parks such as the National Museum, the National Culture Center, the old Atlantic Railway Station, the old Customs House (Antigua Aduana), the National Library and the National Park.Most lawmakers support the project, which is estimated at $76 million for a new Assembly building and an additional $5 million for repairs to old facilities. Last month, a group of legislators presented a bill to remove the architectural heritage status of legislative buildings in order to proceed with construction.During Monday’s session, legislative directory secretary Luis Vásquez filed a motion to prioritize that bill to expedite its approval, meaning it could be discussed in coming days. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

PHOTOS Nicaraguas Momotombo Volcano still putting on a show

first_imgBy all appearances, Nicaragua’s formerly sleeping giant Momotombo ain’t going back to bed just yet.The picturesque stratovolcano, located near the city of León, continued erupting Sunday morning when these pictures were taken. Momotombo, on the northern edge of Lake Managua, about 40 kilometers northwest of Nicaragua’s capital, erupted for the first time in 110 years on Dec. 1, 2015, sending geologists and local townspeople into a tizzy. In fact, there’s been so much volcanic and seismic activity in Nicaragua lately that experts from the United States, the United Kingdom, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are carefully studying and observing the situation. (Google Maps)According to the AFP, citing Nicaragua government spokeswoman and first lady Rosario Murillo, geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and other institutions announced last week that they are studying and assessing risks from Momotombo and other active volcanoes in the country, including Télica and Masaya. In an unexpected and simultaneous event, Momotombo, Télica and Masaya began eruptive processes at about the same time, and another location, Cerro Negro, experienced ongoing seismic activity last week. Nicaragua’s Momotombo Volcano continues to erupt after a century of inactivity, on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016. Álvaro Sánchez/The Tico TimesTo date, the 1,297-meter-tall Momotombo hasn’t placed any nearby residents in danger, but that’s not to say it couldn’t. In 1610, a Momotombo eruption forced residents of the then-Spanish city of León to relocate 50 km to the west.“The danger of this seismic activity is because it’s from Plinian eruptions, which are characterized by a high level of explosiveness,” Nicaragua’s Seismology Network said in a statement. Plinian eruptions are the largest of all types of volcanic eruptions.We’ll continue to keep an eye on the situation. Meanwhile, have Momotombo photos you want to share? Post them on our Facebook page in the comments section.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH1c9Fu82nQ Facebook Comments Related posts:PHOTOS: A close-up look at Nicaragua’s Momotombo Volcano Telica Volcano erupts in Nicaragua Costa Rica’s Turrialba Volcano sees new ash, gas explosions Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano kicks off new year with quite a showlast_img read more

Flashy fiery Sarkozy fades from French scene

first_imgIn the history books, Sarkozy’s impact may well be more notable for what he accomplished abroad than at home: Under France’s presidency of the European Union in 2008, he mediated between Russia and Georgia during their brief war; the following year, he replaced France in NATO’s integrated command after a 43-year absence.Politically, he was a mix.Sarkozy favors free markets but has been unafraid to defend French business. He long took pride in his moniker as “Sarko the American” _ and has rebuilt ties both with the United States and Israel. He led France into a leadership role in a NATO-backed revolution in Libya that toppled Moammar Gadhafi, and has taken a tough line on nuclear-minded Iran. Along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he helped craft a hard-won European fiscal treaty meant to stem the continent’s debt crisis.As interior minister, Sarkozy was generally successful as a crime-fighter. But his tough talk on youth in immigrant-heavy housing projects also often infuriated many French citizens whose families hail from former French colonies in north and sub-Saharan Africa.Yet as interior minister, he helped create the country’s largest confederation of Muslim groups, the CFCM, and supported a form of French-styled “affirmative action” _ before he abandoned it under pressure in his conservative political camp which saw preferential treatment as against France’s color-blind values. His idea of change wasn’t exactly what many French had in mind.Sarkozy’s meticulously built political career all but collapsed Sunday, after he lost to Francois Hollande, an unassuming and bespectacled Socialist, in France’s presidential run-off. Sarkozy becomes the first French one-term president since Valery Giscard d’Estaing lost his re-election bid in 1981.Sarkozy’s inauguration-day jog, which conveyed youthful vigor, ultimately epitomized what many French came to see as jejune, self-centered antics unbefitting of a president at a time when economic troubles and persistently high joblessness were on most minds.“I take full responsibility for this defeat,” he said after the results came out Sunday night.Some political brethren grumbled that Sarkozy should have officially jumped into his re-election race earlier, instead of clinging to his mantle as head of state until February. Other pundits suggested that less controversial conservatives such as Prime Minister Francois Fillon or Foreign Minister Alain Juppe would have had a better shot at beating Hollande than Sarkozy did.A frank-speaking, energetic and media-savvy former interior minister, Sarkozy won the presidency in 2007 over Segolene Royal _ Hollande’s former partner, and mother of his four children _ with an unlikely campaign built on promises of “rupture” from the policies of Jacques Chirac, his fellow conservative and former mentor. Born on Jan. 28, 1955, Nicolas Paul Stephane Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa grew up in a middle-class home in Paris, the second of three sons born of a half-Jewish French mother and an aristocratic Hungarian emigre father who fled Communism after World War II.Sarkozy is the first French president to divorce and remarry while in office. He is the father of three sons and, as of last year, a daughter with former supermodel Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, his third wife.Before this election, Sarkozy said he would quit politics if he lost.“A new epoch is opening,” he said Sunday night, adding he’d become a citizen “like you.” He gave no specifics about his plans.Sarkozy got a searing taste of defeat 13 years ago, after he headed a center-right list of candidates for European parliamentary elections, and the loss sent him into retreat from national politics.“I recognize failure. I take full responsibility. I am ready to learn the consequences,” he wrote in his 2001 book “Libre” (“Free”) of that campaign in 1999, during which he had assumed leadership only six weeks before the vote. “And in the situation I find myself in this spring evening,” he wrote, remembering the loss, “being, remaining, and being considered dignified is my only ambition.” Sarkozy reportedly once said he’d foreseen himself more as a prime minister _ whose job is the day-to-day running of the government, requiring a lot of energy _ than head of state, whose traditional role is about statecraft.But backed by a strong majority of his conservative UMP party in the National Assembly, and by force of personality, Sarkozy commandeered the reins of power. His prime minister, Francois Fillon, was seen as his executor.In his first year in office, Sarkozy’s team rammed through changes like a cap on income taxes for the wealthiest, seen by critics as a sop to the uber-rich friends who backed his candidacy and were in his inner circle from his years as mayor of the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.Other reforms came hard, in the face of protest.Sarkozy’s team wrote into law minimum-service requirements during France’s often-crippling labor strikes. It raised the retirement age to 62, from 60, in the face of protests. It pushed through complex reforms to cut costs in a creaky university system, and students protested in the streets by the thousands.He reduced payroll taxes on overtime pay, and cut the bureaucracy by refusing to replace one of every two retiring state workers. Sponsored Stories It was personal style, many pollsters said, that largely did in Sarkozy. After his 2007 victory speech on Place de la Concorde, Sarkozy sped over to one of the ritziest restaurants on the Champs-Elysees to celebrate; then he jetted off to the yacht of a tycoon friend in the Mediterranean. Critics pounced on the showiness.A lackluster economy and his inability to make good on his 2007 race promises to shrink persistently high joblessness didn’t help. In the fourth quarter of 2011, France’s unemployment rate was nearly 10 percent. In January, S&P downgraded France’s state debt rating from its top tier, delivering a blow to his image as financial-manager-in-chief.Sarkozy sought to cast himself as powerless: On the 2012 campaign trail, he repeatedly pointed to Europe’s financial crisis _ in places like Italy and Greece _ that endangered the euro zone. He sought to cast himself as a “ship captain whose boat was in a full storm.”In many ways, Sarkozy was an anomaly as France’s president.He had a foreign-sounding surname. He didn’t attend the most elite French university for public servants. He seemed to relish in chucking out the regal niceties of the presidency. His off-the-cuff remarks, like calling a somewhat belligerent passer-by at a Paris farm fair “a poor jerk,” got him in trouble. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 ways to recognize low testosterone ___Sylvie Corbet contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressPARIS (AP) – When Nicolas Sarkozy bounded up the steps of France’s presidential palace in jogging shorts and shoes on his first day in office five years ago, many French instantly sensed they were in for something new.In a country where King Louis XIV’s phrase “L’Etat, c’est moi” _ “I am the state” _ resonated for later heads of state, the message from Sarkozy was clear: Tradition-bound France needed a self-image makeover. Check your body, save your life New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Danes to extradite suspect in 1994 Rwanda genocide

first_img Top Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Parents, stop beating yourself up More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Denmark has decided to extradite to Rwanda a man suspected of being involved in the country’s 1994 genocide.The Justice Ministry says the man, who was not named under Danish privacy laws, has been living in the Scandinavian country since 2001. The ministry declined to give more details on Friday.Danish media had earlier identified the man as Emmanuel Mbarushimana, a Rwandan who was granted asylum in Denmark under the false name of Emmanuel Kunda. They reported that he was suspected of being one of the ringleaders in the 1994 massacre, when more than 500,000 were killed in the genocide by Hutu extremists against the Tutsi minority and Hutu moderates.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Striking Zimbabwean nurses refuse to work night shift

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories Top holiday drink recipes Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Nurses in Zimbabwe are refusing to work the night shift in the southern African nation’s public hospitals and clinics in a nationwide strike over salaries.Striking nurses are demanding $150 for a weeklong shift, and have described the current pay rate of $3 for a seven-day nightshift as “a mockery,” according to union representative Enock Dongo.The strike has dragged on for a week and the union says nurses may stop working completely if an agreement is not reached. For now, nurses are only working from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and student nurses have been filling in, Dongo said.center_img 0 Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Negotiations to end the strike are progressing, said Health Minister David Parirenyatwa.A national shortage of qualified doctors and a troubled health insurance industry means Zimbabweans rely on nurses in the public sector, said the group Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights.Zimbabwe’s ailing economy has meant that the government is already struggling to pay its workers. The government announced last month it could not afford to pay state workers their annual bonuses until 2017 but President Robert Mugabe overturned that decision, promising to look for funds to do so.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

NIH Major study finds earlier HIV treatment improves health

first_img Comments   Share   The results, once final, will need careful scrutiny to see if they apply to people with the highest CD4 counts, cautioned Dr. Jay Levy of the University of California, San Francisco, who wasn’t involved in the new study.“I’m still concerned about putting everyone on therapy,” Levy said.But Fauci said the study offers “another reason why we should be more aggressive” in getting people tested and treated. “It tells you that you will benefit from therapy at whatever your CD4 count is,” he added.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Men’s health affects baby’s health too New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories The findings are preliminary, but the NIH found them so compelling that it stopped the study a year early, so that all the participants could receive medication as researchers continue to track their health.How soon should treatment begin?“The sooner the better,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which funded the work.Current U.S. guidelines already recommend early treatment for HIV, but the findings could alter care recommendations in other countries.HIV may not trigger symptoms for years, raising the question of how soon after diagnosis patients should begin taking expensive medications that may cause side effects. Previous studies have made clear that early treatment dramatically lowers the chances that someone with HIV spreads the virus to a sexual partner. But there was less evidence that the HIV patient’s own health would benefit by starting early.The START trial — Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment — sought proof by randomly assigning still healthy patients either to receive early therapy or to delay therapy until their CD4 cells, a key sign of immune system health, dropped into a worry zone. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober While the U.S. guidelines back treatment regardless of patients’ CD4 counts, the World Health Organization’s guidelines recommend that HIV-infected people begin treatment when their CD4 levels fall below normal, to 500 or below. But that doesn’t happen in many poor countries, where often people are sicker before they receive treatment and global funding to expand care is tight.Even in the U.S., many people don’t seek or stick with early care: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that only about 30 percent of Americans with HIV have the virus under control.The START trial enrolled 4,685 people in 35 countries, all of whom had CD4 counts in the healthy range — above 500 — and had never taken anti-HIV medication. Researchers tracked deaths, the development of AIDS-related illnesses and the development of serious non-AIDS events such as cancer, heart disease and kidney or liver disease.Over about three years, the risk of serious illness or death was reduced by 53 percent in the early treatment group, NIH said.The actual numbers of bad outcomes in both groups were very low, given that patients were so healthy when they enrolled in the study: 41 cases in the early-treatment group compared with 86 in the group that delayed treatment until their CD4 count dropped to near 350. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility FILE – In this Feb. 3, 2015 file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. A major international study says don’t delay in seeking HIV treatment: Starting medication soon after diagnosis helps keep people healthy longer. People who started anti-AIDS drugs while their immune system was still strong were far less likely to develop AIDS or other serious illnesses than if they waited until blood tests showed their immune system was starting to weaken, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — A major international study sought to settle how soon is best to start HIV treatment — and the advice is don’t delay.People who started anti-AIDS drugs while their immune system was strong were far less likely to develop AIDS or other serious illnesses than if they waited until blood tests showed their immune system was starting to weaken, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

US stocks fall in early trade as Greece debt woes escalate

first_imgPeople are reflected on an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, June 29, 2015. Tokyo stocks plunged more than two percent in early trading on Monday as fears mounted over Greece’s debt crisis after eleventh-hour talks collapsed. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi) Top Stories Nine of the 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 index fell. The only one that rose was utilities, a traditional safe-haven play.Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.39 percent.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling in early trading in the U.S., but not as much as in Europe as Greece’s debt woes deepen.The Dow Jones industrial average fell 138 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,804 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time Monday.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gave up 16 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,085.The Nasdaq composite fell 47 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,033.The declines were steeper in Europe. Benchmark indexes were down 2 percent in Germany and 3 percent in France. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Rockhampton Airport may gain full international status

first_imgRockhampton Airport in Queensland may be granted full international status.Federal MP Kirsten Livermore is currently holding high-level talks with Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese about what needs to be done to make full use of the airport for international tourism and trade. Minister Livermore’s first election commitment was to have the Rockhampton Airport runway extended to take international jets.Mayor Brad Carter said the council-owned airport, which is already one of the busiest and fastest-growing regional airports in Australia, is ready to expand further.“If we can secure international charter flights then our airport could be international capable tomorrow.“A new tower is being built and we already have the security, baggage handling and customs facilities that are required. We won’t need any new technology or further major investment.”If the proposal is granted it will be a great opportunity for the region’s hotels and hospitality industry to have specific tourist charters flying in from abroad.I would also enable the region’s holidaymakers to fly direct to international destinations too. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/163d7/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

Los Angeles Uluru now connected by Virgin Blue

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2a719/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Visitors from Los Angeles travelling on V Australia to Sydney can now connect to Uluru’s Ayers Rock Airport with Virgin Blue’s new direct daily flights, a report said. The flights make it effortless for US visitors to take a trip to the Red Centre, Tourism NT Chief Executive, Maree Tetlow said. “Over the last three years the Northern Territory has attracted, on average, 32,000 holiday visitors from the US every year. “We expect this number to increase considerably over time given the extra travel option now available to Australia’s outback.” Tourism NT look to capitalise on the new travel option, having worked with V Australia in July to launch an “online marketing campaign in the US specifically targeting people considering coming to Australia who are searching the Internet for travel options,” Ms Tetlow said.Ms Tetlow expects the “extremely value driven” US market to be attracted by V Australia’s promotional airfare, at AU$878 for people who booked flights by 30 July. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

Carnival Fun Ships 20

first_imgCarnival Liberty, the first ship to feature the ‘Fun Ship 2.0’ initiatives – Image courtesy of minnemum – Flickr Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A Celebrity chef and star of the ‘Food Network’, Guy Fieri, is taking his hand-crafted burgers, fresh-cut fries and exclusive recipes created specifically for Carnival to the high seas. The free dining venue is set to debut onboard Carnival Liberty post refurbishments later this month before being rolled out to several other fun ships. Five different burgers will be on offer along with a wide array of condiments including chipotle mayonnaise, a special barbeque sauce, garlic aioli and three hot sauces at two self-serve stations. A variety of toppings including grilled onions, crumbled blue cheese and sautéed mushrooms will also be on offer in the car-themed venue taking inspiration from Guy’s California roots. Themed with life-size surfboards, car bumpers, grilles and car hoods, staff will wear mechanic uniforms adorned with personalised nicknames.“I’m stoked to be partnering with the team from Carnival. They understand what it takes to make a top notch burger – quality ingredients and a great attitude,” said Guy who appeared on stage in New York City this week to announce the partnership. “It’s great to see a cruise line adding additional food venues that aren’t at an extra cost to the passenger,” said creator of Cruise Radio, Doug Parker to e-Travel Blackboard live from the announcement in New York City. BlueIguana CantinaThis free poolside dining venue will offer passengers the opportunity to make their own freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas complete with an array of salsas and toppings. EA SPORTS BarPassengers will be able to play EA SPORTS video games, watch live sports on a video wall featuring 16 46-inch big screens and keep up to date with real-time sports results 24/7.Daily trivia games and EA SPORTS video game tournaments will be on offer along with drinks and bar snacks. RedFrog Rum BarTaking inspiration from one of Carnival’s most popular destinations, the Caribbean, casual attire is welcomed at this themed poolside version of ‘RedFrog Pub’ which debuted on Carnival Magic earlier this year. The bar will offer rum-based cocktails and an array of beers, including Carnival’s signature draught, ‘ThirstyFrog Red’.BlueIguana Tequila BarLocated poolside across from ‘RedFrog Rum Bar’, ‘BlueIguana Tequila Bar’ will be Mexican themed and will specialise in tequila-based cocktails and Mexican beers. Live entertainment will be positioned between both bars to entertain patrons. Alchemy BarThe vintage-themed cocktail ‘pharmacy’ will offer a unique experience for guests with ‘mixologists’ prescribing blends of interesting flavours from a variety of categories along with the opportunity to create custom cocktails. The Library BarAn intimate cocktails lounge featuring automatic wine dispensers and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. The Cruise Radio boys interview Guy Fieri at Carnival’s announcement in New York City Comedian and TV personality, George Lopez, is Carnival’s new ‘curator of comedy’ and will be acting as a consultant to vet and hire the talent seen fleetwide in Carnival’s comedy clubs. Passengers will be able to view George Lopez at his stand-up best in-cabin via their televisions, experience the ‘Punchliner Comedy Brunch’ which will be offered on sea days and take part in a comedy-themed consumer contest, slated for 2012.“Carnival’s ships offer a huge audience that truly appreciates comedic performances and the onboard clubs are fantastic,” said George.“I intend to help build and nurture an understanding among up-and-coming comedic talent that these ships represent a phenomenal environment to work and gain experience.”The changes to the comedy clubs on board will roll out over the next year with George Lopez set to sail on a yet to be named Carnival ship in December.Hasbro, The Game ShowPassengers will be placed in the middle of their favourite Hasbro games including ‘Sorry Sliders’, ‘Simon Flash’, ‘Yahtzee Bowling’, ‘Operation’ and ‘Connect 4 Basketball’.Playlist ProductionsThese music-driven revues will incorporate a wide array of genres including ‘Motor City’, the R&B Motown sounds of the 1960s and 1970s, ‘Divas’ showcasing the iconic female entertainers, ‘Latin Nights, a fusion of latin culture, music and choreography and ‘The Brits’ offering music from the UK’s best.The thirty minute productions will feature high-tech LED staging and special effects.DJ IrieAward-winning DJ Irie has been named the ‘Official DJ’ of Carnival Cruise Lines as part of the 2.0 initiative. Creating and leading ‘DJ Irie’s Spin-iversity’ he will train and develop the musical skills and personalities of the onboard DJ talent. Dining and BarsGuy’s Burger Jointcenter_img Friends of e-Travel Blackboard, Matt Basford and Doug Parker from Cruise Radio with George Lopez at the Carnival Cruise Lines announcement in New York City In the largest initiative ever undertaken by Carnival Cruise Lines, their fun ships will receive what the line is dubbing the 2.0 treatment with fourteen ships scheduled to receive the refurbishments through to the end of 2015. Costing USD $500 million and involving partnerships with celebrities including George Lopez and DJ Irie along with companies including EA Sports and Hasbro, Carnival is set to dramatically transform their onboard guest experience.EntertainmentPunchliner Comedy Clubs Presented by George Lopez Click here to view a photo gallery of what to expect from Carnival’s ‘Fun Ship 2.0’ initiatives.last_img read more

QF launches A380 Sydney to Hong Kong

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Qantas has launched its fourth A380 destination in the network to service Australia and Hong Kong with the inaugural flight between Sydney and Hong Kong return touching down in Sydney this morning.The Sydney – Hong Kong A380 service (QF127) will operate on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, offering customers luxurious and spacious First Class suites, fully-flat Skybed sleeper seats in Business, extra-wide seats in Premium Economy and award-winning Economy seats.The growth in Qantas’s fleet late last year with the eleventh and twelfth A380 has provided the capacity to support Hong Kong Services as well as an additional service between Melbourne and London (via Singapore) and Melbourne to Los Angeles.last_img read more