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MONTREAL — Air Canada has announced additional flights to its growing transborder network: daily year-round service between Montreal and Washington Dulles, and daily summer service between Vancouver and Boston.Montreal-Washington Dulles (IAD) returns on May 1, with introductory fares starting at $191 one-way, all in. In addition to connections to Air Canada’s network to Europe and North Africa, flights will also offer one-stop service to/from Quebec and Eastern Canada, including Bagotville, Sept-Îles, Quebec City, Fredericton, Moncton, Bathurst, Saint John and Halifax.The daily, nonstop Air Canada Express service will be operated with 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-100 aircraft.New for this summer is daily seasonal service between Vancouver and Boston, which runs from June 23 to Sept. 4, 2017. Operated by Air Canada onboard 120-seat Airbus A319 aircraft, flights are priced from $243 one-way, all in.According to Benjamin Smith, President, Passengers Airlines, the new Vancouver-Boston flights will shave two hours of travel time for travellers between the Canadian West Coast and the U.S. northeastern seaboard.More news: Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWT“Customers travelling from the Greater Boston area, the sixth most populous area in the U.S., will also enjoy convenient connections at our YVR hub to Western Canada and to our daily flights to both Sydney and Brisbane, Australia, featuring competitive elapsed times,” he said.So far in 2017, in addition to these new services, Air Canada has launched new nonstop U.S. services from Montreal to Dallas-Fort Worth, Toronto to San Antonio, Memphis and Savannah, and Vancouver to Dallas-Forth Worth and Denver. Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Share Travelweek Group Tags: Air Canada, Boston, Montreal, New Routes, Vancouver Air Canada brings back Montreal-Washington Dulles, launches Vancouver-Boston service Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>
Travelweek Group Wednesday, December 13, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> 30 days ahead is best time to book tickets, says new ARC report Posted by ARLINGTON, VA — The U.S.-based Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and Expedia have collaborated for the fourth time to produce the ‘ARC 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report’, which aims to help leisure and business flyers determine the best personal travel options.They used ARC’s flight data that spanned Sept. 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2017, to identify patterns relating to best-value pricing so that travellers better understand when they’re most likely to find the lowest prices for flights.The report found that the advance purchase window for cost-effective ticket purchases continues to gradually increase as a result of strong demand. Business travellers in particularly are also beginning to understand this shifting dynamic, resulting in long-haul, premium flights being booked further in advance.For most economy or premium air travel, booking more than 30 days ahead is a good strategy for purchasing lower priced tickets.Sunday proved to be a good day to book tickets. With few exceptions around the world, lower airfares for international and U.S. domestic economy seats were booked on this day.More news: Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyAs for busiest U.S. gateways, New York, Los Angeles and Miami saw the most traffic, while other gateway cities also proved busy, signalling continuing demand for international travel into the U.S.What was trending in 2017 in the airline industry? Larger, more efficient planes, longer routes and lower prices were the talk of the town. Many airlines are investing for growth, with new aircraft and improved passenger experiences. Some are investing in a more comfortable journey for passengers via fare inclusions, extras or loyalty benefits. Even Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) continue to evolve from the ‘basic’ (or low cost) fare model they made famous, some offering new destinations to second tier airports, and many offering a wider range of fare choice and inclusions.
WestJet VP Farquharson responds to pilot strike authorization vote Friday, April 27, 2018 Travelweek Group CALGARY — Following the news that WestJet’s pilots union has called for a strike vote, WestJet’s Vice President Lyell Farquharson has released a letter to the airline’s partners to ease concerns.Here is the letter, in full:“As you may have seen, ALPA is holding a strike authorization vote amongst WestJet Pilots. This does not include WestJet Encore Pilots. The strike vote began yesterday and closes May 10, 2018.As you are a valued part of the WestJet team, I wanted to communicate with you directly to provide some details and reassurance that it is business as usual here at our airline.I understand this development seems worrying, and we are taking it very seriously, but strike mandates are a relatively common collective bargaining strategy and do not mean that a strike will take place.Our President and CEO, Ed Sims, is committed to negotiating a successful agreement with ALPA and I can assure you that our flight operations continue uninterrupted. We remain focused on working with ALPA and continuing the momentum we have achieved through the bargaining process, which is scheduled to continue in April, May and June. We are confident we will reach a successful conclusion.”More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesWestJet and its pilots have been in contract negotiations since September. Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of the association’s master executive council, says the two sides remain for apart on working conditions, compensation and job security. Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by
No related posts. From the print editionBy Frank McNeil | Special to The Tico TimesIt is a time to honor history. The 25th anniversary of the Esquipulas II Peace Agreement, aka the Guatemala Accords, was commemorated this week at the National Theater in San José. Signed by five Central American presidents on Aug. 7, 1987, the accords brought peace, first to Nicaragua and eventually to El Salvador and Guatemala. They also extricated the United States from the worst effects of the Iran-Contra affair.I write about these matters with a bit of authority. I witnessed it up close, knew the major players (or their lieutenants) and wrote a contemporary account, “War and Peace in Central America” (Scribners, 1989). As Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz wrote in his memoirs that the driving force behind the peace was Costa Rica’s Oscar Arias, who shares credit with Guatemala’s then-president, Vinicio Cerezo. I also would cite two old friends, now dead: Arias’ principal Costa Rican collaborators, Foreign Minister Rodrigo Madrigal Nieto and the ambassador to the U.S., Guido Fernández. There is much to write about, including how Nicaragua’s Sandinistas and their Cuban mentors misplayed their hand, the immense stupidity of the Iran-Contra affair, the rather different characteristics displayed by each of the three civil wars and the political tangle that the Central American wars became in the U.S. I will skip it all and go to the central features that made the Peace Accords important, even today:1. The carnage in the warring countries and the likelihood war would spread to Honduras and Costa Rica. As a Salvadoran insurgent leader of Leninist persuasion put it, “Costa Rica, too, will have its hour of glory.”2. The courage that Arias displayed in confronting the “Cabal of the Zealots,” as the U. S. Congress styled the authors of Iran-Contra.3. The winning strategy crafted by Arias with Cerezo’s help. It was a strategy of “don’t let yourselves, country X, be snookered into being the last holdout against a peace agreement.”Central America was one of the final two hot conflicts of the Cold War. It played no real role in the Soviet collapse – in contrast to the Afghan uprising against Moscow – but it was deadly for Central Americans. Arias’ predecessor, Luis Alberto Monge, had bought time for Costa Rica by declaring neutrality. That proclamation got slammed by U.S. “hawks,” though Monge had made clear he was talking about military neutrality, and would continue to advocate democratization as part of a peace settlement. Any American with an ounce of sense who has worked in national security and foreign affairs knows that the U.S. doesn’t always get it right. The Contras were one such moment. By the time Arias became president, the pressures from the Cabal of the Zealots to turn Costa Rica into a Contra base on the order of Honduras had grown. Hawks were in the saddle of U.S. policy in Central America. (They were not – thank heavens – in charge of policy toward the Soviets. As Jim Mann’s lucid account in the book “The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan” makes clear, Reagan and Shultz pursued peace with the Soviets over the objections of the rest of Reagan’s advisers.)The “hard right,” as Shultz styled them, wanted no part of peaceful settlement and preferred to fight to the death of the last Nicaraguan. This is the moment when analysis became art. Where the big boys of Contadora, Mexico and South America, supported by Europe, had failed, Arias would succeed. He moved with Cerezo’s help, and in a crucial moment with the help of the president of El Salvador, Napoleon Duarte, to get one party, and then another, to agree to a simultaneous cease-fire, a cessation of arms shipments to insurgents, and in Nicaragua, peaceful elections sealed by the February 1988 cease-fire between the Sandinistas and the Contras at Sapoa, Nicaragua, on Feb. 7, 1987. The Iran-Contra revelations and CIA Director William J. Casey’s fatal illness drove out the most wild-eyed conspirators, but the Reagan administration remained divided, while democrats, led by Speaker Jim Wright and Congressman Mike Barnes, supported Arias. The deep anger of neoconservatives become public when Arias got the Nobel Peace Prize. Robert Kagan said his reaction was “unbridled disgust,” and an unnamed, more senior official (obviously Elliot Abrams) slammed the Nobel Committee for rewarding “an anti-American stance.” Shultz had to disown these comments in The New York Times the next day.The point, however, is that while the U.S. government was divided, it took great courage for Arias to take on the hardliners, who cut off economic aid to Costa Rica for a considerable time. In the end, it was the administration of George H.W. Bush that ended the efforts to restart the Contras, a decision sealed by a meeting between Secretary of State designate James Baker and Speaker Wright. Peace came to Nicaragua, and Violeta Chamorro defeated Daniel Ortega in free elections, effectively ending war in Central America, though fighting would continue for a time in El Salvador and Guatemala. No mean achievement. Frank McNeil served as U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica during the administrations of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. 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No related posts. TAMARINDO, Guanacaste – A new cable TV show has Canadian homeowners asking, “If I sold my home and moved to a dream location, where would it be?”For families featured on HGTV Canada’s latest series, “Live Here, Buy This,” which premiered Aug. 27, one of the most popular answers is Costa Rica.“Costa Rica was chosen by the families as No. 1, which is really cool,” said Tamarindo realtor Rebecca Clower, who was invited to co-host three episodes from Costa Rica. Those shows will begin airing Sept. 24. The premise of the “lifestyle fantasy show,” explained Clower, is a “combination of House Hunters International meets the Travel Channel.”The network known for its popular home and gardening programming bought 26 episodes, in which Canadian couples are asked, “If you left everything today, where could you see yourself living and what could you afford based on the current value of your home?” Clower said.Couples select three countries, and local realtors team up with show hosts to find two options within each couple’s budget, based on the value of their current home. In the debut season, Canadian couples’ top country choice was Costa Rica.Clower and a five-person TV crew filmed for two weeks at locations in Tamarindo, Conchal, Portrero and Flamingo, and Manuel Antonio, all along the Pacific coast. However, because it’s a “fantasy” show, no homes are actually purchased. But positive publicity about Costa Rica’s real estate market and laid-back lifestyle will be broadcast in homes across North America.“It’s a lifestyle series, so we don’t focus only on real estate, we also focus on what it’s like to live here, what there is to do,” Clower said.For each show, two weeks of filming is condensed into a half-hour episode in which Costa Rica is featured along with two other countries. “It was awesome,” Clower said of her experience co-hosting. “We showed beaches and mountains, and we showed some really nice mansions. You’re going to see some pretty wild stuff.”For the Costa Rica segments, Clower said she showed properties ranging from $300,000 to $1.6 million. Clower also took the crew to Manuel Antonio National Park, on local canopy tours and to other attractions. “We got to do touristy things I don’t normally get to do,” said Clower, 34, who owns Tamarindo-based real estate company Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica, while raising two young kids aged 2 and 4 with her husband, Keith. The show also will help bring the northwestern province of Guanacaste into the international spotlight. Guanacaste’s real estate market was one of the country’s hardest-hit following the 2008 global financial meltdown. Since then, Clower said she’s seen a shift in buyers in the Guanacaste market, with more Canadians and South Americans turning their focus on property in Costa Rica.Costa Rican episodes of “Live Here, Buy This” begin airing Sept. 24 on HGTV Canada at 10 p.m. More at www.hgtv.ca/liveherebuythis. Facebook Comments
Last week, surfer Adán Rivera was attacked by a crocodile on Tamarindo Beach, and he lived to tell the story. But that story has a different protagonist than you might expect – the reptile.“The crocodile had as much a right to be there as I did, if not more,” Rivera said in an interview with The Tico Times a few days after the incident. He seemed miffed that there had been a question of whether authorities would remove the animal, and recounted the incident as if it were merely a temporary setback.The attack took place on the morning of Oct. 13, when the experienced Spanish surfer was teaching his girlfriend, Natali Latite, how to ride a wave at the popular beach town in northwestern Guanacaste Province. In chest-deep water, Rivera propelled Latite into an oncoming swell and waited for her to swim back. That was when Latite noticed the crocodile and panicked.“She yelled to me, and I turned and saw the animal,” Rivera said. “I began trying to sneak away without drawing attention, but the croc saw me, grabbed my finger and scratched my shoulder a bit. Then it swam off.”That’s a very low-key version of the story The Tico Times heard from surf instructor Luis Sequeira, an apparent witness to the attack, who also claimed to have saved Rivera by scaring the crocodile away. But Rivera says he never saw or spoke with Sequeira. Two Swiss surfers whom Sequeira also claims to have saved have not responded to requests for an interview.Regardless, an injured Rivera checked in to Clínica San Gabriel in Villa Real, where Dr. Gabriel Muñoz patched him up and told to stay out of the water to avoid infection. Rivera and Latite then switched hotels and stuck to land tours, waiting for Muñoz’s permission to surf again. That’s when Rivera became outspoken on the crocodile’s right to inhabit its own territory. The apparent crocodile aficionado also speculated as to why the animal might have attacked, downplaying the danger.“It wasn’t that big, maybe [6.5 feet] long and not very heavy,” Rivera said. I think it was young and didn’t have much experience hunting. … It was just confused.”Rivera had the croc’s back on another issue as well: He was outraged that the reptile had been demonized in the press. Local conservationists echoed this concern, stressing that the beach off Tamarindo is actually part of the Las Baulas National Marine Park, a protected zone that falls within the Tempisque Conservation Area.“The important thing for people to recognize is that this is the crocodile’s home,” said Cristian Díaz, an outreach coordinator with the Leatherback Trust, a nonprofit organization that helps maintain the marine park.On top of the groundswell of support for the crocodile, the fact that it has not returned to the area suggests that a removal will not be possible or necessary, said Mauricio Méndez, assistant director of the Tempisque Conservation Area. Still, Méndez advises people to steer clear of the scaly, floating reptiles – of which there are about 60 in Tamarindo’s estuary. Crocodile sightings should be reported to the National System of Conservation Areas for monitoring purposes, whether or not the reptile is behaving aggressively. If crocs show up in public areas often, they may need to be captured and removed as preventative measure, he said.Sorry, Rivera. Adán Rivera, left, and Natali Latite, middle, survived a crocodile attack last week in Tamarindo. Dr. Gabriel Muñoz, right, treated Rivera’s wounds. Courtesy of Gabriel Muñoz Related posts:Crocodiles Run but Can’t Hide from Lagarteros Unidentified man devoured by crocodiles after jumping from a bridge over the Tárcoles River, Red Cross says Human head found in Costa Rica river likely belongs to Nicaraguan man attacked by crocodiles Costa Rica’s crocodile conundrum Tico Times reporter Corey Kane contributed to this story. Facebook Comments
Related posts:Facebook expands reach with $19 bn deal for WhatsApp Facebook wants to increase free Internet access in Latin America Twitter has a huge problem — and it’s all in your head Obama finally gets a Twitter account NEW YORK — When Facebook added hashtags last year and almost no one used them, you might have thought the social network would give up on trying to become more like Twitter. You’d have thought wrong.Today it doubled down on its bid to rival Twitter as a hub for real-time public conversations about the news, adding a “Trending” section that highlights topics your friends and others are talking about at any given time. This is not a minor change: Facebook has placed the section at the top right of its main news feed, which is prime real estate on the page. It’s the clearest signal yet that the company is serious about becoming a destination for news, not just a place to share photos with your friends and family.The challenge to Twitter is obvious from the first line of Facebook’s press release about the new product:Facebook is a space where people from all over the world gather every day to share their thoughts and participate in real-time conversations, from the highlights of the Golden Globes to the passing of Nelson Mandela.That’s actually a perfect description of Twitter, if you think about it. But it’s part of what Facebook wants to become. Here’s how Facebook describes Trending:To the right of your News Feed, you’ll see a list of topics that have recently spiked in popularity. The list is personalized, including topics based on things you’re interested in and what is trending across Facebook overall. Each topic is accompanied by a headline that briefly explains why it is trending. You can click on any headline to see the most interesting posts from your friends or Pages that are talking about that particular topic.That’s different from Twitter’s trending topics, which can be tailored to a specific city or country, but are not personalized to you as an individual. This is one realm where Facebook believes it has an edge on Twitter. Whereas Twitter has always displayed tweets chronologically, Facebook has been working for years on figuring out exactly which posts you’re likely to be most interested in, and putting those at the top of your feed. Now it’s trying to apply that same type of knowledge to breaking news topics.A first look at the feature suggests it has some promise, and also plenty of room for improvement. For one thing, the little Trending box is not visually compelling, despite its prime placement. If you don’t look closely, you might easily mistake it for an ad.Then again, maybe that’s part of the point. Facebook has had great success with a model known as “native advertising,” in which ads intermingle with and aesthetically resemble the site’s main content. And surely Facebook has long-term plans to sell trending topics to advertisers, as Twitter already does. Still, the feature’s unobtrusiveness might keep it from being a big hit with users, at least in the short term.As for the actual trending topics, Facebook’s initial set of guesses as to what I’d be most interested in are hit-and-miss. The “Academy Awards” topic is probably one that’s universal, rather than personalized, while I assume the one about the Sacramento Kings accepting bitcoin is tailored to my own interest in the virtual currency. Meanwhile, I’m not sure just why Facebook thinks I’m interested in layoffs at J.C. Penney. My best guess is that it’s been watching me read a lot of Slate financial writer Matt Yglesias lately.Clicking on the “Academy Awards” topic brings up a pretty decent roster of posts on the Oscars, led by one written by a Facebook friend of mine and followed by others from people and media outlets I don’t directly follow, like Leonardo DiCaprio, the Hollywood Reporter and the Tribeca Film Festival. (Facebook knows, of course, that I live in New York.) Clicking on the Sacramento Kings topic, meanwhile, brings up an ESPN story about the bitcoin deal, but then a bunch of stories about the Kings’ latest NBA game, about which I care not at all. Presumably, Facebook’s algorithms will learn from my behavior over time, and if I don’t click on the Sacramento basketball-game recaps it will know that I’m not a Kings fan.For Facebook, this is partly about horning in on Twitter’s advertising business, which allows marketers to reach people based not only on their long-term interests but based on what they’re reading about, searching for, or watching at any given moment. But it’s also part of a much broader evolution of the site from a pure social network into a hybrid between a social network and a personalized news site. The “Trending” feature comes amid rumors that Facebook is also preparing a personalized news reader to take on the likes of Flipboard. Re/Code reports that the reader might be called “Paper” and could launch by the end of January.Why is Facebook making such a big push into the news business? I suspect it’s because Zuckerberg and his team recognize that it can only go so far as a pure social network. A new study claims that teens are abandoning Facebook at a much greater rate than the company has let on. Whether those numbers accurate or not, the company is keenly aware that its status as the world’s social network of choice is under constant assault from an array of upstarts, some of which might capitalize on the public’s mistrust of Facebook’s privacy policies.At the same time, Facebook is rapidly gaining ground as a place for people to share news and links from around the Web. A Pew survey in November found that already 30 percent of Americans use Facebook to read news, more than any other site. Twitter was second at 16 percent. And an even more recent study by Parse.ly found that Facebook has been outpacing Reddit in the amount of traffic it sends to other sites. That may be thanks in part to a recent effort by Facebook to teach its algorithms to favor substantive, “high-quality” news stories over viral memes. For Facebook, explicitly positioning itself as a public news destination seems like a wise hedge against a potential fall from grace as a pseudo-private social-networking utility.If you’re shaking your head and saying, “I would never use Facebook to read the news,” I hear you. I think a lot of people, especially avid news readers, are likely to continue to prefer visiting human-crafted news outlets like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — or their own carefully curated Twitter timelines — to Facebook’s algorithmically generated mishmash.At the same time, I think Facebook stands a real chance of capturing an ever-growing portion of people who don’t consider themselves news junkies. It requires far less effort, from the user’s standpoint, to pop over to Facebook now and then than it does to bookmark four different news sites and blogs, build an old-fashioned RSS reader, or to wade into Twitter’s raging river of links, jokes and snarky punditry. In other words, Facebook could become the USA Today of the 21st century — but on a near-global scale, with a readership in the billions rather than the millions.That’s the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario: Users will continue to largely ignore Facebook’s proliferating news features, and one day — when we’ve all moved on to Snapchat or whatever else — we’ll look back on these features as the boondoggles that distracted the company from the real threats to its core social-networking business.Oremus is the lead blogger for Slate’s Future Tense, reporting on emerging technologies, tech policy and digital culture.© 2013, Slate Facebook Comments
During President Laura Chinchilla’s term from 2010-2014, administration officials and lawmakers passed nine pieces of legislation and one executive decree aimed at helping middle-income Ticos buy homes. Yet despite the effort, little was accomplished toward the goal of increasing the number of homeowners nationwide.That is one of the conclusions of the “State of Housing and Urban Development in Costa Rica 2013,” a comprehensive report presented Wednesday by the Foundation for the Promotion of Housing (FUPROVI).According to FUPROVI, the Chinchilla administration issued a total of 42,554 housing bonds, while the previous administration of Óscar Arias (2006-2010) issued 40,070.The study determined that legislation promoting housing subsidies and other measures provided access to partial or temporary home payments and did little to help struggling families buy their own homes. This occurred, the report said, despite a Central Bank order allowing national banks to lower their minimum reserve limits, which in turn facilitated more lending.FUPROVI study director Franklin Solano said that most middle-class families are priced out of the current housing market. For example, the monthly minimum wage for a non-skilled worker, according to the Labor Ministry, is only ₡278,207 ($520). A middle-class family with a minimum monthly income of ₡674,837 ($1,200) can purchase a home with a maximum value of ₡30 million (₡56,000). And those, Solano said, “are very hard to find because market prices are well above that.”The same family would be required by banks and other financial agencies to place a down payment of ₡9 million ($16,850) in order to secure a loan, and monthly payments then would total ₡236,193 ($440) for 30 years.Families who want a home that costs more than ₡47 million ($75,000) are required to have a monthly income of at least ₡1 million ($ 1,800). The down payment for a ₡38 million ($71,000) loan is ₡9.5 million ($18,000). Monthly payments then would total ₡363,862 ($680) for 30 years.“Banks have money to lend, but there are very few affordable options on the market, as real estate developers have been investing in very high market segments for homes where the profit level is higher,” FUPROVI President Eloísa Ulibarri said.According to the report, the housing market in the Central Region ranges from ₡55-110 million ($100,000-200,000) – beyond reach of most middle-class households. Today, only a “very limited number of housing options” exist under ₡50 million ($93,000) , and many of those are beyond middle-income budgets.The FUPROVI study also noted that although the number of housing bonds issued during Chinchilla’s administration only slightly surpassed the number granted during Arias’ term, the amount of investment increased.The average housing bond issued during Arias’ administration was ₡6 million ($11,200) per family. For Chinchilla’s administration, that number was ₡7.2 million ($13,500), according to the report.FUPROVI’s Solano noted that, “Chinchilla’s government partially met their housing goals. They failed to build more homes, but they increased the amount of financing.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican lawmakers move forward with bill to lower cap on rent hikes How Solís’ administration plans to turn one of Costa Rica’s biggest slums into a park Government postpones project to expand Circunvalación beltway Housing Ministry again postpones relocation of San José slum
Related posts:PHOTOS: ¡Vive Jairo! Protesters demand justice (again) for slain Costa Rica conservationist Costa Rica Supreme Court cries foul on environment minister’s participation in Jairo Mora protest In closing arguments, Costa Rica prosecutors seek acquittal of suspect in Jairo Mora trial Police find 9,400 sea turtle eggs in car trunk outside Nicoya Read all of our coverage on the Jairo Mora case here. LIMÓN – Attorneys presented their opening arguments to a packed Limón courtroom on Monday in the murder trial against seven defendants accused of killing 26-year-old Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora and kidnapping four foreign volunteers last year.The defendants, Felipe Arauz, Héctor Cash, Ernesto Enrique Centeno, William Delgado, José Bryan Quesada and brothers Darwin and Donald Salmón all pleaded not guilty to the charges of robbery, sexual assault and murder, for which they each could face a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison if found guilty. Centeno, Quesada, Cash and Donald Salmón also face charges of rape, kidnapping and robbery in a separate crime committed in the same area a week earlier on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast.Prosecutors opened their arguments with a short video documentary about Mora, which included interviews from his family and friends. The video explained Mora’s love of sea turtles and his decision to work on Moín Beach protecting turtle eggs. As the video played, members of Mora’s family seated in the courtroom wiped away tears with matching green towels. After the video, Limón prosecutor Carmen Zúñiga presented the charges and described the events leading up to Mora’s death on the night of May 31, 2013.According to prosecutors, Mora and four foreign women volunteers were returning from a night of patrolling Moín Beach for nesting leatherback turtles. The group planned to rebury the sea turtle nests they encountered, away from poachers who regularly walked the beach. While driving back to the wildlife sanctuary where they volunteered, the group encountered a tree trunk blocking the road that runs parallel to the beach.Mora exited the vehicle to remove the trunk. Shortly after, four men in masks appeared, grabbed Mora and commandeered the vehicle, along with its passengers. The men took the volunteers to an abandoned house along the northern Caribbean coast, where prosecutors allege Cash and Quesada remained with plans to sexually attack the women. According to prosecutors, the remaining defendants – Arauz, Centeno, Delgado and the Salmón brothers – took Mora to the beach where they stripped him, beat him, dragged him behind the car and left him to suffocate in the sand.“We plan to show that the defendants were all a part of a criminal gang involved in the illegal extraction of gas at the oil refinery, RECOPE, several robberies, rapes and the poaching of sea turtle eggs,” Zúñiga told the court.Zúñiga also presented evidence in a related case in which Centeno, Cash, Quesada and Donald Salmón are defendants. According to prosecutors, the suspects kidnapped a man, his wife and their two young nephews while they were fishing on Moín Beach. The men robbed the family and forced the woman to commit sexual acts in front of her husband and nephews. The prosecution’s case claims that the four defendants took the family to the same abandoned house where they took the four volunteers a week later on the night of Mora’s murder. Zúñiga said the rape victim’s shirt had been found in the house and tested positive for DNA from Donald Salmón.Zúñiga claimed that Mora had received threats from the defendants in the months prior to his death, and the homicide was a result of the gang following through on those threats. This statement of motive differs from earlier statements by the Judicial Investigation Police, which claimed after the arrests that the motive was simply robbery.An attorney for Mora’s family, Rodrigo Araya, also presented his version of the charges for a civil lawsuit filed by the family. Araya asked the court for ₡502 million ($1 million) in damages.Following the prosecutors’ arguments, five defense attorneys gave statements saying the defendants are innocent. Facebook Comments
Related posts:The heart of Fabricio Alvarado, part IV: ‘Incorruptible people’ The heart of Fabricio Alvarado, part I: Pocora, Limón The heart of Fabricio Alvarado, part III: Evangelical growth New poll in Costa Rica: another small Fabricio lead, another statistical dead heat In the 2014 elections, the evangelical Restoration Party received only 42 votes of the 2,600 that were cast in Pocora. Residents admit that Fabricio Alvarado was rarely mentioned when the 2017-2018 campaign began, but the court ruling changed all that.Following the ruling, the candidate put himself on the political map with speeches about values, family and the principles, with proposals such as “eliminating gender ideology,” overturning the executive decree that regulates in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the country, and removing Costa Rica from the Inter-American Convention of Human Rights.Unlike preacher Pedro Cubero (see Part I), the majority of pastors we interviewed in Pocora, Matina and Carrandí denied promoting Alvarado in their congregations, and all of them added that the candidate didn’t visit their communities.Nevertheless, the pastor and elementary teacher Ana Yaney Mora said that she did urge her hundreds of congregants in Pocora to “assess the principles and values” of the candidates to decide whom to support.The clerics indicated there was a “click” that their congregants made on their own, guided by the principles that Alvarado promises to uphold.The candidate’s emphasis on traditional values helped him stand out from the pack, according to María José Cascante, deputy director of the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Research and Political Studies (UCR-CIEP).“The key to this election has been finding a topic that polarizes. When it comes to fiscal issues, the differences can be difficult for citizens to notice, but aligning our values is simple,” Cascante said.Post-electoral research from CIEP indicated that most people who supported the PRN in February said their priority was “defending traditional values.”In the locations we studied in Limón, being against abortion or same-sex marriage are the touchstones that Alvarado’s supporters mention most when explaining what they mean by principles and family values.“The Christian principle,” responded María del Carmen Vallejo, who live in Carrandí. She’s Nicaraguan, but counseled her daughter, a Costa Rican citizen, on how she should vote.So, what is “the Christian principle”?“What our parents accustomed us to. That with God made man and women,” responded Vallejo.“We support him because he has the mind of Christ,” said the Pastor Thomas. Semanario Universidad LogoThis article was originally published in Spanish at Radioemisoras UCR and Semanario Universidad on March 6 by journalist David Bolaños, and was translated by The Tico Times with the permission of those media partners. Facebook Comments On Feb. 4, 2018, Fabricio Alvarado – a presidential candidate who just weeks before was at only three percent in some polls – capped off his upward surge by winning the first round of voting in Costa Rica’s national elections. In no community did he receive a higher percentage of votes than in Pocora, Guácimo, in the province of Limón.The Tico Times is pleased to translate David Bolaños’ in-depth feature, originally published by Radioemisoras UCR and the weekly Semanario Universidad examining the factors that led to Alvarado’s massive support in Pocora. Part II of IV. Read Part I here.In addition to its support for Fabricio Alvarado’s National Restoration Party (PRN), Limón showed the second-lowest voter turnout in the country on Feb. 4. Only in Guanacaste did fewer people head to the polls.In Pocora, only six out of ten people voted.According to the inhabitants of Pocora, Carrandí and Matina, the campaign ranged from political disillusionment and hope for change.Those three settlements are home to more than 27,000 people, according to the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC). These are districts surrounded by pineapple or banana plantations, where the roar of trucks passing by on the freeway never ceases.Almost half of the homes in Pocora and 57 percent of the homes in Matina experience multidimensional poverty. A report carried out by investigators from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) Economical Sciences Research Institute established these percentages based on the 2011 census.This compares to a multidimensional poverty rate of just 18.8 percent on a national scale, according to the 2017 National Homes Survey (ENAHO).The UCR study indicates that the most extended scarcities in area homes are lack of human capital and of Internet access.In this context of disillusionment and the desire for change, the missing piece was a candidate to channel those feelings. That opportunity showed its face on Jan. 9, when the Inter-American Human Rights Court issued its ruling on gender identity and non-discrimination for same-sex couples in its member countries, including Costa Rica.
Related posts:Costa Rica nearing record rainfall for May Costa Rican researchers develop new climate change-resistant beans Water and Sewer Institute announces rationing plan for up to four months Sun halo dazzles in sky over Costa Rica The El Niño phenomenon will cause a rainfall deficit in Central America over the next three months, weather experts reported on Friday in San Salvador.According to the members of the Central American Climate Forum (FCAC), the lack of rainfall is a result of El Niño gaining strength due to the “coupling between the ocean and the atmosphere”.“Experts from all over the region agreed that, since February 2019, the El Niño phenomenon has fully developed and that there is a 75% probability that this condition will persist during May, June and July,” the FCAC said in a statement.El Niño is a climatic phenomenon that increases the temperature of the Pacific Ocean, impacting global weather patterns.Meteorologists and other Central American experts met in San Salvador to review current atmospheric and oceanic conditions and their implications on weather patterns with a focus on rainfall.In the case of Belize, according to the report, the entire country will have a rainfall deficit, while in Guatemala three scenarios are expected: 45% of the country will experience normal rainfall, 25% above normal, and 30% below normal.In the case of El Salvador, most of the territory (11 of its 14 departments) will have shortage of rains. Only in the departments of Santa Ana, Ahuachapán and Sonsonate, in the west of the country, will the situation be normal.Honduras expects a normal rainfall season in 45% of the territory, with the rest impacted by a lack of rainfall.Nicaragua and Panama both foresee rainfall on the lower end of normal amounts.Costa Rica anticipates rains above normal in 45% of the country, 35% will have normal rainfall and 20% of the country will have a deficit.As in recent years, the drought condition will be greater in the Central American dry corridor, which extends from the Pacific coast of Guatemala to the northwest of Costa Rica.The experts also foresee that due to El Niño, the tropical cyclone season in the eastern Pacific will be more active than normal, while in the North Atlantic it will be less intense than in non-El Niño years. Facebook Comments
Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories LIMA, Peru (AP) – The U.S. Geological Survey says a strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 has struck off the coast of northern Peru.The quake struck at 4:49 a.m. local time and was centered 58 miles (94 kilometers) west-southwest of the city of Paita. The USGS says it was at the relatively shallow depth of 10 miles (16 kilometers).There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments Share New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility
Comments Share 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A plane meant to carry Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies to talks in Geneva left Sanaa International Airport without the delegates on board, airport officials said Saturday.The absence casts doubt on whether the U.N.-led meetings will be able to go forward as planned. The talks are slated to be first substantive meetings by all parties involved in the conflict.The delegation representing the government of embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi arrived in Geneva Saturday morning, an official from the presidency said. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories A Houthi representative said that the Houthis objected to the idea of two separate delegations to the talks–one representing the embattled government, and one seen as representing a “coup.”He said this arrangement created an environment aimed at pressuring the Houthis to withdraw from Sanaa, rather than continuing a broader multi-party discussion. The Houthis had initially welcomed the meetings.The U.N. had said the talks would start as proximity talks but the U.N. would seek to bring warring factions around the same table.The Yemeni government and the U.N. did not immediately comment. On Friday, the U.N. had announced that the talks would be pushed back a day until Monday “due to unforeseen circumstances” that would delay the arrival of one of the delegations.Inside Yemen, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes continued Saturday. Yemeni security officials said six civilians were killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen’s capital Sanaa that targeted the homes of relatives of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.The officials said dozens of civilians were injured in Saturday’s airstrikes near the homes of Saleh’s brothers Ali Saleh al-Ahmar, Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, and his nephew Yahya Mohammed Abdullah. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall It was not immediately clear whether Saleh’s family members were present at the time.Military units loyal to Saleh have aligned themselves with the Shiite rebels who overran the capital and large portions of the country.The Saudi-led coalition began conducting airstrikes on March 26 aimed at pushing the rebels back and supporting Yemen’s embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies
Sponsored Stories The protest law, in place since 2013, criminalizes any gathering of more than five people without prior police permission and imposes hefty fines and prison sentences on violators. Authorities say the law is necessary to end the chaos that plagued Egypt since its 2011 revolt.Activists say the law is used to muzzle critics. Thousands of people have been detained over the law, with some sentenced to as many as 15 years for protesting and allegedly using violence.Prominent women rights defender Yara Sallam and activist Sanaa Seif, who hails from a well-known family of rights defenders, were arrested a year ago Sunday outside the palace for opposing the law and are currently serving two-year sentences along with 21 other activists.Some in the protest Sunday posted on their Twitter accounts that journalists were harassed, with one of them saying that his pictures of the protest were deleted by police. There were no reported arrests.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility CAIRO (AP) — Dozens of women held a vigil Sunday outside Egypt’s presidential palace, challenging a law that restricts protests and calling for the release of thousands of prisoners detained for violating the controversial measure.Organizers said they didn’t seek prior permission from authorities to stage the vigil near the palace of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.Police formed a cordon around the women, who raised photos of detainees. Some protesters raised banners that read: “Ramadan is not the same without you,” in reference to the Muslim holy month of fasting that brings families together. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments Share 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How do cataracts affect your vision? Check your body, save your life Top Stories
FILE – In this file photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader April 9, 2015, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with a group of religious performers in Tehran, Iran. Iran’s top leader has rejected a long-term freeze on nuclear research and supports banning international inspectors from accessing military sites as a deadline in negotiations with world powers approaches. Khamenei’s comments, made Tuesday night, June 23, 2015, and broadcast on Iranian state television, suggests the Islamic Republic may be toughening its stance ahead of a June 30 deadline for a final deal. (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader, File) Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments Share Sponsored Stories Negotiations likely will begin in earnest in the coming days in Europe. On Wednesday, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported that deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araghchi and Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi had resumed talks with Helga Schmidt, a deputy of European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. It did not elaborate.___Associated Press writer Nancy Benac in Washington contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Parents, stop beating yourself up TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has hardened its stance less than a week before the deadline for a nuclear deal, with its top leader rejecting a long-term freeze on nuclear research as a constitutional body on Wednesday approved a law banning access to military sites and scientists.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also insisted that Iran will only sign a deal if international sanctions are lifted first, which could further complicate the negotiations. The new law calls for all sanctions to be lifted the first day of any agreement’s implementation. The vital role family plays in society The supreme leader has backed his negotiators amid criticism from hard-liners. But his latest remarks may narrow their room to maneuver ahead of a self-imposed June 30 deadline for a potentially groundbreaking deal with world powers that would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting sanctions.Iran’s constitutional watchdog, known as the Guardian Council, ratified the legislation banning access to military sites and scientists, making it binding law, according to state TV.The bill would still allow for international inspections of Iranian nuclear sites within the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.The United States — which is negotiating the deal alongside Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — has said the sanctions would be gradually lifted as inspectors verify Iran’s compliance.Speaking Tuesday night in comments broadcast on Iranian state TV, Khamenei said demands that Iran halt the research and development portion of its nuclear program constitute “excessive coercion.”“We don’t accept a 10-year restriction. We have told the negotiating team how many specific years of restrictions are acceptable,” Khamenei said. “Research and development must continue during the years of restrictions.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Khamenei said the U.S. is offering a “complicated formula” for lifting sanctions. He said that waiting for the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency to verify Tehran’s cooperation would take too long.“Lifting sanctions can’t depend on implementation of Iran’s obligations,” he said.Khamenei also said he rejects any inspection of military sites or allowing Iranian scientists to be interviewed. Iran’s nuclear scientists have been the target of attacks.The Americans’ “goal is to uproot and destroy the country’s nuclear industry,” he said. “They want to keep up the pressure and are not after a complete lifting of sanctions.”U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday the negotiations would not be affected by the Iranian leader’s remarks.“This is something that’s been going on throughout the negotiations,” he said. “It is not new. We are not going to be guided by or conditioned by or affected or deterred by some tweet that is for public consumption or domestic political consumption.”Western nations have long suspected Iran is covertly pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian program, charges denied by Tehran, which insists its atomic program is for purely peaceful purposes. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall
A Paris cab with posters reading ” Uber get out”, (Uber d Here’s a look at some other issues Uber has faced around the world:___SPAINA judge in December ordered Uber’s temporary suspension in Spain, saying it represents unfair competition. The Madrid commercial court judge said in a preliminary ruling that Uber drivers lacked proper permits to transport passengers in Spain. The suspension was sought by Madrid’s Taxi Association. Days later, Uber shut down Spain operations temporarily. Last week, a Barcelona judge asked the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for help in deciding whether Uber must comply with transport rules or if it should be regulated as an information services company. People use an app on their mobile phones to book Uber rides.___NETHERLANDSA Dutch court has ruled in a preliminary judgment that Uber must stop its UberPop service that works with drivers who charge fares but do not possess a taxi license. Dutch Transport Minister Wilma Mansveld relaxed Dutch taxi legislation in May to make it easier for new services to enter the market, but the UberPop service remained outlawed. Mansveld argued that cars used by UberPop drivers do not meet all the criteria to be considered taxis under Dutch law. “Making an exception for UberPop would disturb the level playing field and lead to unfair competition,” Mansveld said. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share ___CHINAIn January, The Chinese government banned drivers of private cars from offering their services through taxi-hailing apps. In the spring, police raided Uber offices in the southern city of Guangzhou, seizing thousands of iPhones and other equipment used to run the business. The city’s transport commission said it suspected Uber was operating an illegal taxi service without a proper business registration.___INDIANew Delhi police say there’s a possibility of criminal charges against the company if police find evidence it misrepresented the safety of its service. A top government official has called for Uber to be banned nationwide after one of its drivers was accused of rape in New Delhi, which has already banned the service.___MEXICOHundreds of taxi drivers protested in Mexico City in May, chanting “Uber Out!” and demanding city authorities ban the ride service. The drivers say that Uber and other ride-sharing services evade the tax, registration and safety laws that regular cabs are subject to. Uber responded on its blog by offering Mexico City commuters free rides on Monday, with hashtags that roughly translate as “If Mexico won’t stop, Uber won’t stop.” Top Stories PARIS (AP) — Taxi drivers in France went on strike Thursday, smashing car windows, setting tires on fire and blocking traffic to express their displeasure with American ride-hailing service Uber. Despite an October law forbidding the company’s low-cost UberPop service, its drivers continue to provide rides in France.The taxi drivers say Uber is unfairly undercutting them, while the company says it is just a symptom of a badly organized market. But nothing is black and white. France’s Court of Cassation has called for a constitutional review of language in the law, and Uber France’s chief Thibaud Simphal says the company is contesting judicial rulings around France and winning. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home ___U.S.— In April, an Uber driver with a concealed-carry permit shot a 22-year-old man who had opened fire on a group of pedestrians in Chicago. Court records say the man was shooting at pedestrians who were walking in front of the Uber driver’s vehicle, and the driver shot the gunman. The driver wasn’t charged, as prosecutors said he acted in defense of himself and others. In June, Uber banned its drivers and passengers from carrying guns.— The California Labor Commission ruled this month that an Uber driver should be considered a company employee, not an independent contractor. While Uber says the ruling is non-binding and only applies to the single driver, it could have broader implications for Uber’s long-term business model and how it is regulated.— In San Francisco, an Uber driver accused of running down and seriously injuring a bicyclist in an apparent road-rage incident was arrested in April.___WORLDWIDEIn March, the U.N. women’s agency backed out of a partnership with Uber that had pledged to create jobs for 1 million female drivers by 2020 after a protest by trade unions and civil society groups.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The difference between men and women when it comes to pain
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/290e8/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=132&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=ada84479″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Strategic Airlines is set to launch its first Airbus A320 aircraft into the West Australian market.Currently, the Airbus A320-200 is in Melbourne undergoing final fit-out and application of the Strategic livery, before beginning operations on the airlines licensed Perth-Derby (Curtin) route. Strategic Airlines CEO, David Blake said, “The A320 presents an upgrade in size and comfort to past services on the Perth-Derby route, as well as a long awaited increase in passenger and cargo capacity.“These attributes allow for growth in the mining and tourism sectors, which are critical to Derby’s local economy.” “Alongside the Perth – Derby route, we see many opportunities for this aircraft to be utilized for commercial and charter purposes in Western Australia. “Already, we have reccieved numerous enquoroes from mining and tourism companies throughout the country, seeking both regular and ad-hoc charters,” he said. Strategic currently operates an additional two A320s – one based in Brisbane (under contract with Solomon Airlines) and the other out of Paris. Strategic also operate an A330 under their Australian AOC, which is predominately used for transporting Australian troops into the Middle East under contract with the Commonwealth Government.
<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/29557/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Air New Zealand denied claims it bought shares in Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd., despite its plans of a proposed alliance with Virgin Blue.Currently awaiting approval from regulators, the anticipated joint venture between Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue does not include an equity aspect, as many airline alliances do, said Air New Zealand in a statement released to both the Australian and the New Zealand Stock Exchange. The comments follow from speculation in today’s Sydney Morning Herald that Air New Zealand was considering buying up to 15 per cent of Virgin Blue. The paper cited an unnamed source in the aviation industry. “Any such purchase would require FIRB approval in accordance with the Australian Government Policy on foreign investment due to the substantial ownership of Air New Zealand by the New Zealand Government,” said Air New Zealand. “The necessary regulatory approvals for the trans-Tasman alliance are still in process and Air New Zealand has had no indication of the outcome of this decision.” A final decision on the alliance between Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue is expected by the end of the year. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A
50 million people claim Scottish ancestry Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Tourism authorities in Scotland are hoping to eventually attract up to 800,000 ‘ancestral’ tourists a year, as roots-based tourism in the nation continues to grow. Fuelling the boom in ancestral tourism are programmes like the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, which is inspiring journeys to the old country from as faraway places as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. According to Scotland’s Press and Journal (P&J), VisitScotland international marketing team member Gillian Swan believes the market is one well worth cultivating, particularly for areas off the usual beaten tracks. “Lots of the archives are being digitised now on websites like scotlandspeople.com, which is great for people doing family history research anywhere in the world,” Ms Swan said. “But what we are trying to do is encourage them to get away from their computers and actually touch the walls of the clan castle and breathe the same air.” According to P&J, Scottish family historians generated £67million for the nation’s tourism industry last year, a number which looks likely to increase greatly over the coming years. Working together with the country’s hotels and B&Bs are Scotland’s museums, libraries, archivists and tour guides who hope to turn this niche market into a thriving trade.More than 50 million people from around the world claim Scottish heritage, the newspaper reported.
John Molinaro Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has embraced social media with the launch of a dedicated Australian Facebook page, hoping to entice future business and giving local agents easy access to up-to-date, country specific information in a bid to leverage business from competitors. To coincide with the launch, Uniworld Australia are asking fans to ‘Like’ the new Facebook page to win a Parisian Winter Cruise. The competition, open to domestic travel agents, is also expected to help increase sales through connections between agents and past, prospective clients. Speaking at the launch of Uniworld’s 2012 Europe and Russia brochure, General Manager Australia, John Molinaro said agents who received the brochure last week would immediately be able to spot the high-end quality of the product, which now incorporates all gratuities, a commissionable bonus for agents. “The way we have positioned the brand, you know it’s a five star product that’s different,” Mr Molinaro said. Two new itineraries connected to Floriade have been incorporated into the 176 page brochure, taking the total to 32 itineraries ranging from 8 to 32 days. A new “Choice is Yours” programme offers seasoned travellers the option of alternate shore excursions off the beaten track, while the new “Go Active” or “Gentle Walking” programmes caters to each person’s touring style preference. Mr Molinaro stressed how Uniworld’s unique quality and service due to their association to Red Carnation Hotels was still a fundamental aspect when educating consumers and agents alike. Off the cuff of their $100 million investment to the fleet in 2010-11, Uniworld’s last three ships to undergo refurbishments are expected to be completed in time for new itineraries and possible destinations in 2012-13. “The ships speak to our relationship with Red Carnation, which will allow passengers to see the common threads between the brands with service being the key,” Mr Molinaro said. “We have to provide what the consumer wants, and we feel they need to understand how beautiful and opulent the ships are.” Forecasting for more inter-generational travel in upcoming seasons, Mr Molinaro said it has already resulted in a change of demographics on board, producing a renewed image and perception of boutique river cruising versus ocean liners. “It’s a brand building exercise, and we have come an enormous way in Australia in the past 3 years,” he said. According to Mr Molinaro, Australia remains as a key driver for Uniworld as one of their top five markets globally, resulting in increasing investment to sustain growth with full-time sales managers now appointed in each State. “There is so much noise in the market place in this segment that we need to educate the trade on our product so they understand the difference,” Mr Molinaro said. “The fundamental message we send to them is to book clients in early due to our limited capacity on board.”To join Uniworld on Facebook visit www.facebook.com/uniworldcruisesaustralia and click ‘Like’. For more information on Uniworld visit www.uniworldcruises.com.au