Archives : Aug-2019

first_img Share Posted by Monday, August 22, 2016 Those familiar with Canadians’ travel habits to the Hawaiian Islands know that the 2016 peak travel season is upon us, and with a dollar that has made travel to Hawaii more of a challenge this year, there may be no better time than the present for agents to brush up on their Hawaii selling skills.Here to help is the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau’s (HVCB) Official Hawaii Destination Specialist Program. This tiered program will help you sell Hawaii like you never have before while at the same time providing the opportunity to gain exclusive Hawaii benefits. And if you sign up and complete Level 1 of the Official Hawaii Destination Specialist Program through Travelweek’s Learning Centre ( before the end of 2016 you will also be eligible to win a five-night stay at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani.The Official Hawaii Destination Specialist Program is a self-guided course that delivers in-depth knowledge and insights into the Hawaiian Islands as well as effective sales tips to transform agents into booking pros. Best of all, the program is free, online and mobile-friendly so agents can take it anytime, anywhere and at their own pace.During the course travel professionals will learn uncommon details about the destination’s six distinctive islands, how to match different travellers’ profiles with their perfect Hawaiian vacations and practical tips for cross selling and upselling Hawaii to maximize revenue. This expertise is an important element in building credibility with clients – which results in increased bookings, greater commission and more repeat business.Once Level 1 of the program is complete, agents will then earn Hawaii Destination Specialist designation and gain exclusive benefits, including consumer referrals, specialist only-webinars, one-year subscription to HAWAII MAGAZINE, access to ePostcard Marketing Tool, use of the Hawaii Destination Specialist logo, personalized emails for Hawaiian Islands-Bound Clients.Canadian agents who go through Travelweek’s Learning Centre to become a Destination Specialist will also be entered into a draw for a five-night stay at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani (agents must complete the program by Dec. 31, 2016).American graduates of the Hawaii Destination Specialist Program had this to say about their experience:“I discovered several new ways to sell Hawaii,” said Patti Lehman, luxury travel advisor, The Travel Agent, Inc. “Each island’s program was informative, user-friendly and easy-to-follow. I found I was able to retain the information more easily.”“The course gives you a fresh insight on what Hawaii is all about. I have been able to convince clients who are already set to go somewhere else…to consider Hawaii instead,” said Rebecca Gaerlan, MCC, owner, A Plus Travel.Beyond the Destination Specialist designation, agents can also become a specialist for a specific island – or all six of them – to achieve Destination Expert status. There’s even a Master Specialist designation upon completion of on-island training. The further agents advance their education, the greater the benefits, including priority ranking on’s consumer referral tool.On top of the Official Hawaii Destination Specialist Program, agents will also find a host of other tools at their fingertips on HVCB’s website designed specifically for travel professionals, including Island resource pages, What’s New Section: Island Updates, Hawaiian cultural toolkit, Hawaiian language audio dictionary, media centre with library of videos and images, activities and attractions directory, festival and events directory, Explore Hawaii Interactive Travel Guide, downloadable marketing templates, posters and maps, Expressly For Agents e-newsletter and wholesaler listings.Visit To access the Official Destination Specialist Program visit Tags: Hawaiicenter_img No better time to become a Hawaii Destination Specialist Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

first_img Tuesday, August 1, 2017 MIAMI — Barceló México Reforma, Barceló Hotel Group’s new five-star flagship hotel and first urban property in Mexico, is now open in the heart of Mexico City.The 500-room property is located on the city’s iconic Paseo de la Reforma. One of Mexico City’s most dynamic destinations for shopping, culture, tourism, and business, Paseo de la Reforma has experienced a real estate boom in recent years thanks to the construction of large skyscrapers and the restoration of classic buildings.“With 21 hotels, we already have a strong presence in Mexico, but it has taken us some time to reach the capital,” says Juan Perez Sosa, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing in the U.S. “We are proud to establish our presence in Mexico City with such a superb hotel.”Barceló México Reforma has a buffet restaurant, a steakhouse, lobby bar, wellness offerings, a sports bar and lounge, and modern events facilities that can accommodate groups of up to 800 people. The hotel is geared to business, cultural and leisure travellers.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise rates“We’re using our classic Barceló brand principles for this new property,” said Sosa. “This will enable us to transform Barceló México Reforma into an example of quality and exclusiveness, where guests can enjoy exciting and unforgettable experiences.” Tags: Barceló Hotel Group, Mexico Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Barcelo’s first big-city hotel in Mexico opens its doors Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

first_img Tuesday, May 28, 2019 By: The Associated Press Tags: Louvre, Paris Share PARIS — Employees at the Louvre in Paris are mulling whether to close the museum for a second day this week over tourist overcrowding.The world’s most visited museum was closed on Monday after employees complained they were harassed by tourists waiting to see the Mona Lisa.Pierre Zinenberg, a Louvre employee and union representative, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that renovation work around the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece has led to organizational problems and huge queues.He noted that staff numbers have diminished over the past decade even though the number of visitors has risen 20%.Zinenberg said a meeting early Wednesday would decide if Louvre management has addressed the problems or whether the museum would be closed again that day.The museum is closed on Tuesdays. << Previous PostNext Post >> Louvre employees mull closing museum again over overcrowdinglast_img read more

first_img TORONTO — Insight Vacations’ brand new 2020 USA & Canada Premium Escorted Journeys collection showcases the very best of North America, from its historic landmarks and breathtaking landscapes to the many vibrant cultures that make this region unique.Travellers have their choice of 16 easy adventures, including one brand new itinerary to California and Arizona, as well as over 35 Insight Experiences that range from meeting a Naturalist Guide in New Hampshire, to a Blue River Safari in Grizzly Bear Valley.Also new for 2020 is ‘Insight Choice’, which allows clients to choose between two included Insight Experiences on days when they are given an Insight Choice. For example, in Seattle, clients can choose between an excursion of the Space Needle or the famous Chihuly garden and glass exhibit.In celebration of the collection’s launch, Insight is offering clients who book and pay in full before Dec 18, 2019 a 10% Early Payment Discount. Furthermore, valued and loyal past guests of Insight Vacations and sister companies are offered a 5% discount off all trips until Aug. 3, 2019 in addition to the Early Payment Discount.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is back“With the launch of our new 2020 USA & Canada collection, guests will enjoy our Insightfully Stylish experiences as they explore the natural splendors of North America while staying in great comfort and style at our highly rated hotels and resorts located in the most desirable addresses including Zion National Park Lodge and the landmark Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.,” said Brad Ford, president of Insight Vacations in Canada.Highlights of the collection include:Desert Escapes of California & Arizona – New Premium JourneyThis eight-day journey explores America’s scenic desert land where clients will discover the region’s terrains and national parks from the Golden State to Arizona. Guests will also be able to choose from a small group excursion of the Old Town on golf cars or join a gathering with local artisans at the Cattle Truck artists compound in Scottsdale.Insight Experiences include:Crazy Horse Memorial – Black Hills, South DakotaClients will discover the world’s largest mountain carving, which is found at an elevation of 6,532 feet above sea level. The memorial is dedicated to all Native Americans and was created to preserve the living heritage, traditions and cultures of the North American Indigenous people. This access for guests is not available to independent travellers. Yosemite National Park – Mariposa County, CaliforniaGuests will join a park ranger and explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site where they will learn about the local fauna, flora and history. Highlights of the park include the Giant Sequoias, glaciers and thousands of waterfalls.Anchorage, AlaskaAlaska’s First People introduces Insight clients to Agutak (Inuit Ice Cream) in an exclusive demonstration at the renowned Alaska Native Heritage Centre and museum.Charlottetown, Prince Edward IslandGuests will learn about the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Abegweit Mi’Kmaw Nation, which allow clients to develop a deeper understanding of indigenous communities.Ottawa, OntarioClients will enjoy a hands-on cooking demonstration in C’est Bon’s state-of-the-art kitchen facilities and learn about local Canadian cuisine with ingredients such as maple sugar, haskaps, Labrador tea and wild flowers. This exclusive experience also includes a delectable three-course dinner with wine.More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyFor more information visit Travelweek Group Clients save 10% on Insight Vacations’ 2020 USA & Canada collection Thursday, June 6, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Posted by Tags: 2020, Insight Vacations Sharelast_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. By David Hutt | Special to The Tico Times LEÓN, Nicaragua – In a few weeks, more than 1.6 million Nicaraguan children will return to school for a new year. As they do, supporters and critics of the country’s educational system have already begun to argue over whether 2013 will be good or bad for students. Speaking at a rally of educators this month, Education Vice Minister José Treminio was upbeat about last year’s achievements. He lauded Nicaragua’s retention rate last year of 91 percent – meaning only nine percent of those who started the school year dropped out by the end of the year.  “[The retention rate saw] an increase of six percent compared with 2006, and in social terms it means that thousands of children, adolescents and young people have stayed in school,” he said. He also noted that 89 percent of students passed year-end exams, an increase of two percent. Eleven percent had to repeat the exams, and those who failed three or more tests were required to repeat grade levels.  “We would like all students to successfully pass the exams,” Treminio said.Critics, however, point to the troubling statistics of university entrance exams, and the amount of government spending on education. Reports released this month show that of 2,400 students who took admissions exams at the National Engineering University (UNI), only 136 passed a basic mathematics test – less than six percent. They also show that only 270 of 11,600 applicants – 2.3 percent – to the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in Managua passed the entrance mathematics exam.When Daniel Ortega became president in 2007, he launched a series of strategies to combat low school attendance and poor student performance. Ortega’s critics point to the results from the UNI exams as a sign of his failure on educational policy – in 2007, 10 percent of those taking the exam passed. Ortega’s government also has come under criticism for not providing enough funds to fix the cracks in the education system. Nicaragua has the smallest annual budget in Central America, and the smallest budget for education.A report on primary education by the Nicaraguan NGO Instituto de Estudios Estratégicos y Políticas Públicas (Institute for Strategic Studies and Public Policies), noted that from 1999-2010, the government spent on average 3.5 percent of its annual gross domestic product on education. Honduras and Costa Rica, meanwhile, spent eight and six percent, respectively, while both have a far greater GDP. In 2012, Nicaragua lowered its percentage of GDP spending on education to 3.4, and according to the 2013 budget, spending will fall to less than 3 percent of annual GDP.  One of the most worrying aspects of the Nicaraguan educational system is teacher pay. Nicaraguan teachers are the poorest paid for their profession in Central America, and are among the poorest paid of all professions in the country. José Antonio Zepeda, president of the National Confederation of Nicaraguan Education Workers, estimates that Nicaraguan teachers earn up to $226 a month. Although they have received annual salary increases in the past six years totaling 140 percent, most still cannot afford basic household items. Most teachers earn less than construction workers and half of what market traders bring home – although teachers do have access to social security and are protected by strong labor laws.  Another problem is poverty. According to Treminio, “poverty should not be an impediment for children to attend classes.” But it often is. Strict guidelines exist for what each child needs to attend a school: a uniform, books and stationery. Many families cannot afford such necessities and children therefore are excluded. The government does operate a National Scholarship Fund that in 2012 provided financial assistance to more than 200,000 children. While the fund provides invaluable donations so that thousands of children can attend school, parents frequently face delays in accessing the money and government bureaucracy that is difficult to navigate. A bank account is needed to receive the money, yet banks require minimum deposits of $620 to open an account, which many poor families do not have.Access to education for many children is also flawed. In public schools the average year lasts only 200 days. Almost 30 of these days are national holidays or are spent outside of the classroom for patriotic processions. Plus, the school day in Nicaragua is really only a half-day. Many high schools operate morning sessions for younger children and then afternoon ones for older students. In cities like the colonial capital of León, various organizations provide a safe place for children to go either before or after their half-day at school – but these are charitable organizations, funded by donations. Even when students are in the classroom, conditions are not always conducive to learning. Schools frequently face a shortage of desks and basic books, and classes often sprawl to more than 40 students per teacher. Teachers can only effectively implement a traditional curriculum based on repetition. Students often use textbooks with the answers already written in. And whether due to shortages or methods of training, teachers work in an environment where little attention is placed on independent and critical thought. Government Response for 2013Speaking on education this month, government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo – Ortega’s wife – said, “We are happy but not complacent. We are not satisfied as long as schools are in poor condition, there are not enough schools, desks are not in good condition and parents are unhappy.”“We struggle every day to defeat poverty, because ending poverty will mean that student potential can be awakened,” she added. But what is the government planning to do to make progress in 2013?First, the education budget will increase this year. Officials say they will spend 49 percent of the total $1.9 billion budget on social programs. The Education Ministry is slated to receive almost $300 million – $33 million more than in 2012. Nicaragua also will receive $77 million from the World Bank for the coming school year. Officials have promised to increase teachers’ salaries. Grade school teachers are paid $157 a month, which will increase to $171 per month this year. Secondary school teachers’ salaries will increase from $174 to $189. This nine percent hike, however, is lower than the minimum wage increase of private-sector workers, who will be getting an extra 13 percent in pay in 2013. The Education Ministry will host a series of teacher-training workshops in the first week of February. Some 47,000 teachers will learn about participatory techniques, teaching methodologies and pedagogy. “We are determined to solve educational problems. We have a commitment to make a leap in the quality of education,” Treminio said. The government also has initiated local projects, such as buying 5,000 bicycles for students and teachers in rural areas. Nicaragua has made improvements in education in the past six years: More students are now attending school, including those from rural areas, fewer students drop out, and fewer fail year-end exams. But as the poorest country in Central America, Nicaragua faces an uphill battle. Many high school students still drop out to look for work, and those who stay face the consequences of decades of low investment in education, including crumbling schools and poor infrastructure. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgCosta Rica’s export figures in January totaled $878 million, which represents an increase of 7.2 percent in the last 12 months, the Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER) reported on Wednesday.In a press release, PROCOMER said that “North America maintains its position as the main destination in the region for national exports, with 41.2 percent ($361.6 million), followed by the European Union with 17.3 percent ($151.5 million), Asia with 15.7 percent ($138.1 million), and Central America with 15.2 percent ($133.3 million).”Microprocessor components remain the main export product, followed by pineapples, bananas, medical components and coffee, the report stated.The amount of exports from Costa Rica totaled $ 16.8 billion in 2012, an increase of 8.9 percent over the previous year, according to PROCOMER. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

first_imgA magnitude-4.5 quake jolted the central Pacific at 7:40 a.m. on Wednesday in the community of Cocalito, Puntarenas.According to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Ovsicori), the quake registered a depth of 13 kilometers. Residents reported feeling a “moderate shake” in several neighborhoods across the capital and in the province of Heredia.On Tuesday, Ovsicori also recorded a magnitude-2.6 temblor 41 kilometers southwest of Parrita, in the southern Pacific region.No injuries or damage were reported. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

first_imgXiomara Castro began her presidential campaign in Honduras last Sunday, almost four years after husband and ex-President Manuel Zelaya was roused from his sleep and flown out of the Central American country in pajamas during a military coup.Representing the Liberty and Reestablishment Party, known as Libre, Castro opened her campaign for November’s election with a speech that outlined plans to demilitarize the country, promote foreign and private investment, and create a constituent assembly to modify the constitution. Castro, 53, leads polls with 28 percent support, according to CID-Gallup, which surveyed 1,233 potential voters from May 2 to 8 and has a margin of error of five percentage points.Castro’s plans to create a constituent assembly echo those of Zelaya, who sat behind his wife in his trademark white stetson cowboy hat at Sunday’s campaign opening in Tegucigalpa. During the final year of his presidency, Zelaya’s attempt to hold a referendum to form a constituent assembly led to his ouster by the armed forces on June 28, 2009, as some government officials presumed that he aimed to modify presidential term limitations to remain in power.“There is a consensus among Honduran parties that something needs to be done to change some weaknesses within the Honduran constitution,” Heather Berkman, political risk analyst at New York-based Eurasia Group Ltd., said in a phone interview. “That was a key issue that was left unresolved after Zelaya was ousted and it is something that I think would be agreed to by both sides of the political spectrum.”Clad in the red and black colors of the Libre party, Castro also criticized rises in crime and impunity during the current government of President Porfirio Lobo. Honduras has one of the world’s highest homicide rates, with 86 of every 100,000 citizens suffering a violent death in 2012, according to the Violence Observatory at Honduras’s National Autonomous University.“Bipartisanship has converted the country into a stage for drug-traffickers and militiamen where justice is bought and sold,” Castro said to thousands of flag-waving supporters at the National Engineers Coliseum. “It has made Honduras into the most violent country in the world and created more ignorance, hunger, inequality and other calamities, which have left us with an unprecedented fiscal abyss.”Honduras’s presidential elections will be held Nov. 24.© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s first satellite project enters decisive stage Costa Rica’s first satellite scheduled for deployment in one year US Sen. Bill Nelson: Costa Rica has a place in the future of space flight Franklin Chang’s VASIMR plasma engine readies for key test As of Monday evening, Central America’s first satellite is one step closer to orbit. Less than 48 hours before deadline, just over 800 sponsors made it possible to surpass thecrowdfunding campaign’s goal of $75,000 needed to send the region’s first satellite into space.The 10-centimeter (4-inch) satellite, known as a picosatellite, is the key element of the Irazú Project, named after Costa Rica’s highest volcano, located in Cartago province.Instruments on the satellite will take real-time measurements of temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide fixation. Data will be collected in a forest in Los Chiles, a mountainous area near Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua, and will be used to evaluate the effects of climate change on forests.The Costa Rica-based Central American Association for Aeronautics and Space (ACAE) and the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (TEC) are leading the project. It also has backing from a number of private companies.ACAE President Carlos Alvarado said he was “very grateful to all those who believed in and trusted in the project during the crowdfunding campaign” that started March 21 and officially ends at 6 a.m. Costa Rica time on Wednesday.Several components of the satellite were built in Costa Rica, and the money raised through the campaign will be used to buy the remaining components, Alvarado said.Ticos engineers will be responsible for the satellite’s final assembly, which will take place here during the second half of this year.The device will then be sent to Japan where it will undergo tests before being deployed into space from the Kibo Lab, the Japanese module at the International Space Station, with the support of the Kyushu Institute of Technology.Terrestrial baseOnce in space, the picosatellite will orbit Earth at about 400 kilometers and will broadcast information collected through devices known as dendrometers that will be attached to trees in order to measure the effects of climate variations on their growth.TEC researchers built the dendrometers and will be responsible for analyzing all data that will will used by various TEC faculties in projects ranging from climate effects to numerical weather prediction.Information collected also will be shared on a website as open data, so that it can be used by investigators and students all over the world.ACAE will use all money collected beyond the $75,000 goal to fund the Ditsö Project, which consists of sending samples of the hardened forewings, or elytra, of Tico jewel scarabs to the International Space Station in order to evaluate the potential for replicating the material for coating satellites and other space equipment.See a video explainer of the Irazú Project: Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family A representative of the airline’s owners, Sergio Asbun, told The Associated Press that they were analyzing an offer from Petty but would not offer details.A dozen AeroSur workers declared themselves on strike Monday at La Paz’s international airport, saying they were going on a hunger strike, union leader Elias Quispe said. The company has more than 1,000 employees and Quispe said none have been paid for at least three months.AeroSur’s troubles were complicated in March when a court ordered that 100 percent of the company’s revenues from ticket sales be seized by Bolivia’s tax agency to cover unpaid taxes.Beginning in January, AeroSur suspended nearly all its flights.Until December, it had 26 daily flights with leased planes on routes within Bolivia and to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Miami, Florida, and Madrid, Spain.Now, the company can’t afford jet fuel, Vladimir Sanchez, Bolivia’s public works minister, said recently. He said the government would not help the airline until it pays its debts, makes its finances more transparent and defines a restructuring plan.The airline’s crisis exposed tensions between investors with blood relations. Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Parents, stop beating yourself up Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Associated PressLA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) – Bolivia’s principal privately owned airline, AeroSur, was down to a single domestic route Monday and hoping for an infusion of capital to stave off bankruptcy.U.S. mining investor William Petty was in talks with company executives after proposing to make an investment without assuming any of the airline’s debts, which exceed $20 million. Petty is a shareholder in Franklin Mining Inc. of Colorado. The company’s president, Sergio Sanzetenea, accused his half-brother and predecessor in the job, Humberto Roca, of embezzling $37.2 million from the company. Roca says Sanzetenea misappropriated stock.Roca has lived in Miami since leaving Bolivia last year when the government of President Evo Morales accused him of illegal enrichment. Sanzetenea lives in Argentina.AeroSur began in 1992 after the collapse of state-run flag carrier LAB Airlines and it expanded market share until Morales launched state-owned Boliviana de Aviacion two years ago.The state company lowered ticket prices to woo customers from AeroSur, which accused it of using government subsidies to undercut its private competition.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

first_imgFAO said it plans to vaccinate at least 500,000 animals and will try to limit the animals’ movements.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ROME (AP) – A U.N. agency has warned that a livestock epidemic in Congo that has killed more than 75,000 goats is the worst in a decade and is now threatening goats and sheep in neighboring countries.The disease, called peste de petit ruminants, or PPR, is highly lethal, with an 86 percent mortality rate among goats. It is caused by a virus that is similar to measles in humans.The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said 1 million goats and 600,000 sheep are at risk of contracting the disease. To protect them, farmers have been moving their herds away from infected villages, but that has only spread the epidemic to healthy flocks of animals. 0 Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

first_imgAssociated PressTOKYO (AP) – A contentious debate over nuclear power in Japan is bringing another question out of the shadows: Should Japan keep open the possibility of making nuclear weapons _ even if only as an option?It may seem surprising in the only country devastated by atomic bombs, particularly as it marks the 67th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki three days later. The Japanese government officially renounces nuclear weapons, and the vast majority of citizens oppose them. But as Japan weighs whether to phase out nuclear power, some conservatives, including some influential politicians and thinkers, are becoming more vocal about their belief that Japan should have at least the ability to make nuclear weapons.The two issues are intertwined because nuclear plants can develop the technology and produce the fuel needed for weaponry, as highlighted by concerns that Iran is advancing a nuclear power program to mask bomb development.“Having nuclear plants shows to other nations that Japan can make nuclear weapons,” former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, now an opposition lawmaker, told The Associated Press.Ishiba stressed that Japan isn’t about to make nuclear weapons. But, he said, with nearby North Korea working on a weapons program, Japan needs to assert itself and say it can also make them _ but is choosing not to do so.Such views make opponents of nuclear weapons nervous.“A group is starting to take a stand to assert the significance of nuclear plants as military technology, a view that had been submerged below the surface until now,” says “Fukushima Project,” a book by several experts with anti-nuclear leanings. Top Stories Comments   Share   Japan has 45 tons of separated plutonium, enough for several Nagasaki-type bombs. Its overall plutonium stockpile of more than 150 tons is one of the world’s largest, although much smaller than those of the U.S., Russia or Great Britain.Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, an outspoken conservative, has repeatedly said Japan should flaunt the bomb option to gain diplomatic clout. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed similar sentiments, although in more subdued terms.The Yomiuri, the nation’s largest newspaper, made a rare mention of the link between nuclear energy and the bomb in an editorial defending nuclear power last year, saying that Japan’s plutonium stockpile “works diplomatically as a nuclear deterrent.”That kind of talk worries Tatsujiro Suzuki, vice chairman at the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, a government panel that shapes nuclear policy. Himself an opponent of proliferation, he said that having the bomb is a decades-old ambition for some politicians and bureaucrats.“If people keep saying (nuclear energy) is for having nuclear weapons capability, that is not good,” Suzuki said. “It’s not wise. Technically it may be true, but it sends a very bad message to the international community.” Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Check your body, save your life Adding to their jitters, parliament amended the 1955 Atomic Energy Basic Law in June, adding “national security” to people’s health and wealth as reasons for Japan’s use of the technology.“The recognition that both nuclear issues must be addressed is heightening in Japan,” said Hitoshi Yoshioka, professor of social and cultural studies at Kyushu University. The link between the two is “becoming increasingly clear.”Yoshioka sits on a government panel investigating the nuclear disaster caused by the March 11 tsunami last year. The subsequent meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have called into question the future of nuclear power in Japan, in turn raising concern among some bomb advocates.Most proponents don’t say, at least not publicly, that Japan should have nuclear weapons. Rather, they argue that just the ability to make them acts as a deterrent and gives Japan more diplomatic clout.The issue dates to the 1960s. Historical documents released in the past two years show that the idea of a nuclear-armed Japan was long talked about behind-the-scenes, despite repeated denials by the government.The papers were obtained by Japanese public broadcaster NHK in 2010 and more recently by The Associated Press under a public records request. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 5 ways to recognize low testosterone More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories In a once-classified 1966 document, the government outlined how the threat of China going nuclear made it necessary for Japan to consider it too, though it concluded that the U.S. nuclear umbrella made doing so unnecessary at the time.In meeting minutes from 1964, 1966 and 1967, Japanese officials weigh the pros and cons of signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which would mean foregoing the nuclear option. Japan signed the treaty in 1970.The government denials continued, even after former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone wrote in his 2004 memoirs that, as defense chief, he had ordered a secret study of Japan’s nuclear arms capability in 1970. The study concluded it would take five years to develop nuclear weapons, but Nakasone said he decided they weren’t needed, again because of U.S. protection.In 2010, the Democratic Party of Japan, after breaking the Liberal Democratic Party’s half-century grip on power, reversed past denials and acknowledged the discussions had taken place.Given the secretive past, former diplomat Tetsuya Endo and others are suspicious about the June amendment adding “national security” to the atomic energy law.Backers of the amendment say it refers to protecting nuclear plants from terrorists. Opponents ask why the words aren’t then “nuclear security,” instead of “national security.” ___Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

first_img Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Komorowski also criticized Russia for changing borders in Europe with its annexation of Crimea.“This is something that hasn’t been practiced since 1939,” he said. “There can be no acceptance of such a practice. These anachronistic attitudes will not stop the aspirations of peoples to decide their own destiny.”Though many Western leaders are boycotting Saturday’s Moscow commemorations, they also mostly did not travel to the commemorations in Poland, perhaps in an effort not to anger the Kremlin as the West encourages a tenuous peace deal between Ukraine and Russia.Before the main ceremony, the U.N. leader met with Komorowski and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In a statement, the U.N. said Ban “encouraged the sides to swiftly and fully implement” the measures of the peace deal for Ukraine agreed on in Minsk, Belarus.Later, Ban told a panel at a conference on the war that the anniversary holds special importance to the U.N. because “our organization was founded on the ashes of this calamitous war that claimed the lives of millions of fellow human beings.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Parents, stop beating yourself up New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like The ceremony began so late so that it would continue into Friday, exactly 70 years after Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945.Light beams illuminated a monument to the Polish defenders of Westerplatte to the playing of the Polish national anthem and a gun salute.Then Komorowski, a member of the pro-democracy Solidarity movement during the communist era, spoke of how Poland suffered under the domination of two totalitarian systems during the war, Germany and the Soviet Union, and of how the war’s end also marked the start of decades of Soviet domination over Eastern Europe.It’s a very different reading of history from that promoted in Russia, which tends to stress only the heroic actions of Soviet troops during the war. Russia is preparing to celebrate the Victory Day holiday with great pomp on Saturday.Recently Moscow has accused Warsaw of trying to deprive Russians of credit for their huge sacrifices in defeating Adolf Hitler.Komorowski originally organized the ceremonies in Gdansk in reaction to the deep divisions between the West and Russia over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. They were meant to give Western leaders a chance to pay homage to the Allied victory over Nazi Germany without traveling to Moscow. Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president led international commemorations late Thursday and into Friday marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, a gathering meant as an alternative celebration to Moscow’s Red Square parade this weekend.President Bronislaw Komorowski was joined by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, European Council President Donald Tusk, who is Polish, and the presidents of Ukraine and several Central European countries for a ceremony that began just before midnight on the Westerplatte peninsula in Gdansk. That is the site of some of the first shots fired by Germany against Poland at the start of the war on Sept. 1, 1939. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

first_imgJOHANNESBURG (AP) — At around 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, South African police entered a Cape Town neighborhood notorious for gang violence. It was one of several nationwide raids, in response to last month’s attacks on foreigners in the country, officials said in a statement.Accompanied by the military, police stalked between apartment buildings, arresting 39 people for crimes ranging from robbery to drug possession, according to a police statement. National police authorities said about 4,000 people were arrested as part of the sweep, including 1,650 foreigners living in the country illegally. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Authorities also deported undocumented immigrants arrested during the raids.The sweeping raids began at the end of April in response to the violence targeting foreign migrants, in which seven people were killed. South African officials condemned the violence. The government is trying to address issues at the root of tension between immigrants and locals, according to a government statement.Tackling crime has become one of the most visible responses, with police around the country reporting arrests as part of nationwide raids, known as Operation Fiela — meaning to sweep clean in the local Sotho language. Despite criticism from rights groups, police have hailed the raids as a success.South Africa’s image has been tarnished by the attacks, especially among its African neighbors.On a two-day state visit to the Mozambique, South African President Jacob Zuma apologized to the Mozambican people because a Mozambican national was killed in the attacks.“It is important that I apologize in the name of a small minority of South Africans who carried out these atrocious acts,” Zuma said at a banquet held by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, in the Mozambican capital Maputo on Wednesday evening. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   ___Associated Press writer Emmanuel Camillo contributed to this report from Maputo, Mozambique.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

first_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean MADRID (AP) — Spanish opposition parties have filed an appeal against the conservative government’s new Public Security Law, known as the “gag law,” before the Constitutional Court, a court spokeswoman said Friday.The law, due to come into force July 1, allows for the summary expulsion of migrants caught illegally entering the country’s North African enclaves, sets hefty fines for protests outside parliament buildings or strategic installations and provides for banning unauthorized television and photographic images of police. Five United Nations human rights special rapporteurs issued a statement in February calling for it to be repealed. Human Rights Watch also slammed the bill.The group of five opposition parties, led by the Socialist party, lodged the complaint Thursday, saying the law contains many points that violate the Constitution.The court spokeswoman said the tribunal will decide whether to accept the challenge for analysis over the coming weeks. If it does so, it could take up to a year or more for it to make a ruling, and the law would still go into effect, she said.She spoke condition of anonymity in keeping with court policy.Spanish cities have been the scene of weekly, mostly peaceful protests since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008 but the government was enraged in 2012 when tens of thousands of protesters surrounded Parliament in downtown Madrid to rail against tax hikes and cutbacks.The bill sets fines of up to 30,000 euros ($33,000) for protests near Parliament and regional lawmaking buildings when there is a “serious disturbance of public safety.”A fine of up to 600,000 euros ($638,000) is included for unauthorized protests near key infrastructure,- including transportation hubs or nuclear power plants. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipes New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Media advocates are also concerned that the law could stifle journalists because it allows for fines of up to 30,000 euros for “unauthorized use of images” of police, including live and recorded video.The Popular Party government says pictures of police cracking down on protests could prevent them from doing their jobs or put them at risk.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How do cataracts affect your vision? Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

first_imgFILE – In this Nov. 12, 2014 file photo, the website, where people can buy health insurance, on a laptop screen, is seen in Portland, Ore. More than 10 million people have signed up for subsidized private health insurance this year under President Barack Obama’s law, the administration reported Tuesday. The positive numbers are finally putting the nation within reach of coverage for all, but the gains may not last. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File) Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center 4 must play golf courses in Arizona The figures released Tuesday cover the period through March 31.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   The 10.2 million sign-ups represent consumers who enrolled in a plan and followed through by paying their first month’s premiums. That number will fluctuate during the year as some people get jobs that offer coverage, and others decide to drop their insurance.Although it exceeds a target of 9.1 million set last year by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, it’s not much of a cushion. “Enrollment has been lower and slower than what most people projected,” said Caroline Pearson of the data analysis firm Avalere Health.Still, the combination of subsidized private coverage sold through online insurance exchanges in every state, along with Medicaid expansion in most states, has resulted in historic coverage gains.Nearly 9 out of 10 adults now have health insurance — about the same proportion of Americans who buckle their seatbelts.Health insurance is now a federal mandate for most people, with employer plans remaining as the mainstay for workers and their families. Violators risk fines and penalties.A major private survey, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, found 88 percent of U.S. adults have coverage.The new health insurance numbers could be just an ephemeral high-water mark if the Supreme Court invalidates subsidies for people in states using, the federal government’s online exchange. Top Stories center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Four benefits of having a wireless security system — Florida would be the biggest loser if the Supreme Court overturns subsidies, with 1.3 million residents losing nearly $390 million a month in financial assistance. The subsidies are delivered as tax credits and paid directly to insurers on behalf of consumers.— Texas, North Carolina and Georgia would be the next three states hardest hit. In Texas, more than 830,000 people would lose subsidies; likewise for nearly 460,000 North Carolinians, and more than 410,000 residents of Georgia.— Overall, 87 percent of the customers in states that would bear the consequences of the court ruling are receiving subsidies. In one of those states, Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is moving to take over the operation of the health insurance marketplace as a bulwark against the potential loss of subsidies. Coverage for nearly 350,000 residents is at stake.The Obama administration says it expects to win in court and officials say there is no backup plan if they lose the case. Leading congressional Republicans are promising to help consumers who lose subsidies, but it’s unclear Congress could pass any fix that Obama would sign.“After a rocky start, the marketplaces are now generally stable, with steady growth in enrollment,” said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “A court decision for the challengers would roil the relatively calm waters.” Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober In the 34 states most directly affected, nearly 6.4 million people could lose subsidies worth more than $1.7 billion a month. Without financial assistance, it’s expected that most of those consumers would drop coverage. As healthy people exit the market, premiums would spike for the remaining customers buying individual health insurance policies.The court case revolves around the literal meaning of a handful of words in the complex law.Opponents say the law only allows subsidies in states that set up their own insurance exchanges. Only 13 states and Washington, D.C., are running their own markets this year. The administration says that, when read in context, the law allows subsidies in all 50 states regardless of whether the federal is in charge of sign-ups.If the Supreme Court invalidates the subsidies, Republican-led states that have resisted “Obamacare” would bear the brunt of the coverage losses. Of the 34 states most affected, 26 have GOP governors.Nationally, 8.7 million people are getting an average of $272 a month, which covers most of their premiums. The national figure includes residents of states running their own insurance markets.Here are some highlights from the report: Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 10 million people have signed up for private health insurance this year under President Barack Obama’s law, the administration said Tuesday. That puts the nation finally within reach of coverage for all, but it may not last.The report from the Department of Health and Human Services comes as dozens of insurers are proposing double-digit premium hikes for next year, raising concerns about future affordability. And the Supreme Court is weighing the legality of subsidized premiums for millions of consumers in more than 30 states. A decision is due around the end of the month.last_img read more

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober But the violent conflicts in Africa and the Middle East and natural disasters like Nepal’s massive earthquake in April or Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 can stymie or even reverse progress if countries do not have stable institutions that can withstand such shocks.The United Nations is currently leading efforts to come up with a new set of so-called “sustainable development goals” that will apply to all countries, not just developing ones, in setting benchmarks through 2030.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories Comments   Share   center_img NEW DELHI (AP) — Global resolve to rescue impoverished children from lives of squalor, disease and hunger has fallen short, with economic development in many countries still leaving millions of the most vulnerable behind, according to a UNICEF report released Tuesday.The data show a bleak situation: The world’s poorest children are almost twice as likely to die before their 5th birthday as children from wealthier homes, and the proportion of those dying within days of being born is even increasing. Children living in grinding poverty can be seen almost everywhere — sleeping on sidewalks, begging at traffic intersections or relying on state-run lunch programs to provide their only full meal for the day.That poverty also drives children into dangerous situations like early marriage or unsafe jobs just to secure a bit of food or help their families. Last year, India was both honored and embarrassed when child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi won the Nobel Peace Prize for decades of work against child labor and slavery.If nations don’t start focusing on their most vulnerable, another 68 million children will die before they are 5 by 2030, while another 119 million will be chronically malnourished, the agency warned. Open defecation, which in India alone leads to pathogenic diseases that kill 700,000 children every year, will also remain a vicious public health threat.The report noted some progress toward improving public health among the poorest children, with chronic malnutrition decreasing 41 percent worldwide since 1990 and under-5 mortality dropping by more than a half. In addition, maternal mortality has fallen 45 percent, while more than 2 billion gained access to cleaner drinking water. Patients with chronic pain give advice Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Quick workouts for men “This is outrageous,” UNICEF’s Executive Director Anthony Lake told reporters in a teleconference highlighting the report’s assessment of U.N. development goals laid out in 2000 for targeting poverty, hunger, gender inequality, illiteracy and other areas.While the world has seen unprecedented economic growth in the last 25 years, the benefits have rolled out unevenly with nations focusing on national data averages that can obscure enormous inequalities between the rich and the poor, the report says.So while the number of people living in extreme poverty has gone from 1.9 billion worldwide in 1990 to 1 billion today, 47 percent are still younger than 18. And while 46 million more children are in primary school, the 58 million still out of school are five times more likely to be poor, the report shows.That means poverty is likely to endure for millions of people, ultimately limiting the full potential of economic growth, Lake said. “We need to address the needs of the most disadvantaged children before they become tomorrow’s parents and the cycle turns again.”In India, the problem is particularly bad despite more than a decade of robust economic expansion, with 50 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people younger than 24, and 60 percent living in poverty on less than $2 a day.last_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Toga Hospitality has signed on to distribute its hotel bookings on Asia’s global accommodation site company’s four brands Adina, Medina, Vibe and Travelodge will join the online site’s inventory of up to 160,000 accommodation buildings worldwide. In a statement the hospitality group said it expects its new partnership to increase its visibility in Asia as well as make its hotels more accessible to Asian holidaymakers. “Toga Hospitality is known for its unique range of affordable hotels and apartments across key Australian cities,” president Robert Rosenstein said. “They’re a great fit for Agoda’s initiative to provide the best accommodation choices to our customers.”Toga Hospitality was founded in 1963 and has buildings in major cities across Australia, New Zealand and Europe.last_img read more

first_img11 airports across the country have set new records for domestic travel delays this year, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin and the Gold Coast. Qantas has had the most cancellations this year, registering an average of 2 percent per month. New research has revealed Alice Springs and Port Macquarie to be the worst airports in terms of flight delays in Australia, while others have set records for postponements in 2013. “Flights can often depart on-time but arrive late into Alice Springs… these delays can have a knock on effect to aircraft departing too,” a Qantas spokesperson said. An exclusive analysis conducted by News Corp Australia based on data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, has revealed the worst delay offenders, according to the Sun Herald. 43 percent of flights from Alice Springs have been delayed or cancelled between January and September 2013, while 31 percent of arrivals to Port Macquarie fell under the same guise. Alice Springs, Launceston, Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Sunshine Coast were the top five worst performing airports for departures; while Albury, Brisbane, Coffs Harbour and Wagga Wagga were worst for arrivals between January and September 2013. Jetstar logged the poorest average (25 percent) for departures delayed each month in 2013 and Tigerair was considered the worst when it came to arrivals (26 percent) delayed. Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

first_imgFor example, in March, Emirates Airways requested that an A380 landing late due to refuelling issues be allowed to take off later than 11:59pm, the request was rejected. Federal Transport Minister Warren Truss said that he did not want a curfew for the second Sydney Airport being built at Badgerys Creek.  Etihad Airways chief executive James Hogan said that there was a case of an Etihad plane lifting off from the runway but was held up with thunderstorms and was not able to take off because it was 11pm at that time. A NSW government campaign to change the flight cap and curfew for Sydney Airport has failed, with the Abbott government fearing further electoral backlash after their budget’s poor public reception.center_img NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner campaigned for the Commonwealth to increase the movement cap and relax the curfew, saying that ‘ridiculous cases’ of planes wanting to land late should not stop the curfew being changed. Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more