Earn 10 commission at source with Sunwing throughout November

first_img Share Wednesday, November 2, 2016 Posted by Tags: Commission, Sunwing TORONTO — Agents can earn 10% commission at source with Sunwing when they book select vacation packages or air only during the entire month of November.When agents book Holguin (Cuba), Curacao, La Ceiba (Honduras), Mazatlan (Mexico) and La Romana (DR), they can earn an additional 2% commission on top of the regular 8%.This month-long incentive applies to individual new bookings for all departures between Nov. 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017.Many of the tour operator’s most popular resorts are included in the promotion, including numerous Sunwing Selection resorts. Be Live Hamaca, for example, is easily reached with Sunwing’s twice-weekly flight service from Toronto to La Romana.For more information go to sunwing.ca.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Earn 10% commission at source with Sunwing throughout Novemberlast_img read more

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This country just listed itself on Airbnb

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — For anyone who’s ever complained about tiny hotel rooms and cramped quarters while on the road, this Airbnb listing has all the elbow room you’ll ever need.In what is being considered an ingenious marketing move, Visit Sweden has just listed the entire country on the popular accommodation site in hopes of attracting tourists and generating buzz.Hailed as the first partnership of its kind with Airbnb, the marketing campaign includes nine different ‘listings’ ranging from Rocky Island in the Stockholm Archipelago to a ‘Cliff with Panoramic Ocean View’ near Skuleskogen.According to the airbnb.site, the listings aim to “make this home available for everyone”, based on a Swedish law that gives all people the right to be free in Swedish nature. “In other words, Swedish nature isn’t just a piece of land with trees and lakes and cliffs – it’s a home with all the necessities and amenities that any great home should have.”More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyTo see the listings, go to sweden.withairbnb.com. Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Thursday, May 25, 2017 Tags: Airbnb, Sweden This country just listed itself on Airbnblast_img read more

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Heres a look at all of Melia Cubas 7 newest hotels

first_imgTags: Cuba, Melia Hotels, Openings & Renovations Here’s a look at all of Melia Cuba’s 7 newest hotels Travelweek Group Posted by 1 2 3 4 5 6 7Next Thursday, April 5, 2018 Share TORONTO — Melia Cuba is pushing ahead with expansion plans, opening five hotels on the island in Q1 2018 and adding two new flagship hotels in Varadero and Cayo Santa Maria by the end of the year.With just 409 rooms in total, the five Q1 properties are small in size but big on heritage and charm, and represent a new style of hotels for Melia in Cuba. All are small to medium-size hotels, set inside exceptional historical buildings in privileged locations.The five hotels are located in the heritage cities of Cienfuegos and Camaguey. In Cienfuegos, there’s the Hotel La Union, Hotel Jagua and Hotel Meliá San Carlos. In Camaguey, Melia is opening the Hotel Colón and Gran Hotel.By the end of 2018 Meliá Hotels International will also have opened two new flagship hotels in Varadero and Cayo Santa Maria. The Melia Internacional, Varadero, will have 934 rooms and the Paradisus Los Cayos, Cayo Santa María will have 802 rooms. This will take the total of new, superior quality rooms opened by Meliá Hotels International in Cuba this year to 2,145+.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthThe Spanish hotel group is also set to open Hotel INNSIDE Camaguey, as well as three hotels in the city of Trinidad before 2020. The properties in Trinidad will include Meliá Trinidad, Meliá Punta Ancón and the innovative Sol House Ancón, which is the result of the conversion of the current Hotel Ancón.Meliá Hotels International says it has aligned its plans with the Cuban strategy to diversify its tourism industry, offering “prestigious hotels with familiar brands in historic cities, along with exciting tours and experiences”. It aims to help increase the number of visitors to these areas and to prolong average length of stay.“Within the framework of our strong commitment to helping improve Cuban tourism, we have the opportunity to promote unique cities with exceptional tourism potential, such as Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, or Havana,” says Gabriel Escarrer, Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International. “This guarantees the internationally acknowledged Meliá service and quality standards from the east to the west of the island. The hotels in the new destinations, which are already in operation, will take on our Meliá brand (Meliá La Unión, Meliá San Carlos, Meliá Colón, Meliá Gran Hotel) and INNSIDE by Meliá brand (INNSIDE Cienfuegos Jagua and INNSIDE Camagüey) once they have been fully adapted to the brand standards.”More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoHere’s a closer look at the new hotels…CIENFUEGOSMelia San Carlos (rendering)Meliá San CarlosThe hotel building is an architectural treasure and an important part of Cuban heritage. After a significant renovation it now reopens as Meliá San Carlos. Located in the historical heart of the city of Cienfuegos, it has 56 modern and comfortable rooms, a lobby bar and a roof garden with outstanding views over the city, says Melia. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Silversea is heading to Cuba with 5 new itineraries for 2019

first_img Posted by Share Silversea is heading to Cuba with 5 new itineraries for 2019 Tags: Cuba, New Itineraries, Silversea Cruises << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img MIAMI — Silversea has launched a new collection of voyages to Cuba, with itineraries in 2019 now available to book.While Canadians have long made Cuba one of their top sun spots, the destination is still largely inaccessible to American travellers – unless they’re on a cruise with Cuban ports of call.Departing for Cuba from the U.S. for the first time in the cruise line’s history, the 17 Silversea voyages will showcase the best of the country through immersive land excursions in various destinations, says the cruise line.Available to book now, five voyages will immerse Silversea’s passengers in Cuba’s charms in 2019:Silver Wind will inaugurate the collection of voyages to Cuba when it sets sail on Feb. 14, 2019, on a seven-night voyage from San Juan to Fort Lauderdale. The itinerary will include visits to the Cuban cities of Havana and Santiago de Cuba, and the Bahamian island of Bimini.Silversea’s recently lengthened Silver Spirit will depart San Juan on a 10-night voyage on Feb. 22, 2019. An overnight in Santiago de Cuba will be complemented by calls in Cienfuegos and Havana, as well as stops in George Town, Key West and Bimini, before finishing in Fort Lauderdale.Departing San Juan on March 31, 2019, Silver Wind will head to Santiago de Cuba and Havana on overnight calls, as well as Cienfuegos, on a 10-night voyage. The itinerary will also incorporate George Town in the Cayman Islands and Bimini.Also aboard Silver Wind, a nine-night roundtrip voyage from Fort Lauderdale – departing April 10 – will call in Santiago de Cuba overnight and Havana, in addition to Bimini, Nassau and Port Canaveral.Concluding the selection for 2019, a 14-night sailing aboard Silver Whisper will depart Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 22. The roundtrip voyage will feature a visit to Cienfuegos, plus overnight stays in Santiago de Cuba and Havana. The itinerary also includes calls in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize City and Key West.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backAnother 12 voyages with Cuban ports are scheduled for 2020.“We are thrilled to announce the addition of Cuba to our 2019 and 2020 voyage collections,” says Mark Conroy, Silversea’s Managing Director for the Americas. “Cuba is arguably the fastest growing destination in the Caribbean, and one that many luxury travellers are eager to explore, knowing that they can be uniquely enriched by a fresh perspective on the people, traditions and natural wonders of this island nation.” Travelweek Group Thursday, October 18, 2018 last_img read more

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New corporate tax to start

first_imgFrom the print editionOn April 1, people possessing corporations in Costa Rica will have to start making decisions about their assets and possibly their businesses. The new law will impose a yearly fee on both active and inactive corporations. An inactive corporation is one that does not earn profit, commonly used in Costa Rica to hold assets, while an active corporation is registered with the Tax Administration and earns income.The new fee is based on the salary of a level-one administrative assistant at the Legislative Assembly, which for 2012 is $702. An active corporation will have to pay 50 percent of that base salary, or $351, while an inactive corporation will pay 25 percent, or $176. Payment is due in January for the preceding calendar year, but for the first year only 75 percent of these amounts will need to be paid, because the law takes affect in April.To avoid paying the tax on a corporation for 2012, such as an inactive one that does not hold any assets, the corporation must be cancelled before July 1. Lawyers are charging roughly $150 to process cancellations.Corporation holders also have until Oct. 1 to transfer any assets out of their corporations to themselves as individuals or to other corporations to avoid paying the transfer taxes. For help, contact tax specialist Jorge Granados at 2288-2201. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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As tournament begins Caribbean hot Pacific not

first_imgNo related posts. Everyone I talked to on the Pacific side this week gave me so-so reports, but not so on the Caribbean. Fishing started getting real good last week accord to reports from Silver King, Rio Colorado, and Capt. Eddie Brown. Alex Thomas sent me the following detailed report of a fish they estimated at 210 pounds.From Thomas:After several days of rough weather and 90-130 pound tarpon, the waves died and Mikko Hautanen from Pirkkala, Finland, staying with Silver King Lodge and guide Captain Clifford (a fly fishing specialist) landed this estimated 210-pound Tarpon with a fly rod. The fight lasted 45 minutes but the behemoth never jumped, which is very odd for tarpon. Mikko was using a G-LOOMIS Cross Current #15wt 8,3″ rod, MAKO 9700B reel, Scientific Anglers BW Express 600gr line, 50-pound (16-inch) tippet, 30-pound YGK flurocarbon (12-inch) shock, a locally made (by Capt. Clifford) custom fly, about 18-centimeter yellow/red/orange with lots of flash on a Tiemco SP600 6/0 hook. With Silver King Lodge full, it’s nice to be out on a flat ocean with the big ones hitting. The fish’s measured girth was 116,5-centimeters and fork length 198-centimeters. Mikko said, “This fish was extremely fat all the way to the tail, so she was different shape than many other big ones we’ve caught this week.”The fishing went slack for a few days but went on fire again Thursday as Capt. Eddie Brown pre-fished, getting ready for the first leg of the Club Amateur Annual Tarpon Tournament. Brown reports that there are fish everywhere and they aren’t shy.Alberto Laurenchic will be defending his win from last year. Every year, the tournament draws 30 or more anglers to the two-and-a-half-day event. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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US expels two Venezuelan diplomats official

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States has expelled two Venezuelan diplomats in a tit-for-tat move after Caracas ordered two U.S. Air Force officers out of the country, a U.S. official told AFP on Monday.Second Secretary Orlando José Montanes and consular official Victor Tamacaro were declared “personas non grata” by the United States on Saturday and left the country Sunday, the State Department official said on condition of anonymity.A spokesman contacted by AFP did not give any explanation for the expulsion of the Venezuelan diplomats, saying simply that the Vienna conventions allow anybody to be declared “persona non grata.”The expulsion came just 24 hours after the funeral of ex-President Hugo Chávez, who died last week after losing his battle with cancer, adding a new wrinkle to the already strained relations between the two countries.The two countries have not had ambassadors in their respective capitals since 2010, and diplomatic relations have not normalized despite several direct contacts between the governments.Venezuela will hold a new presidential vote on April 14, with newly sworn-in interim President Nicolas Maduro – Chavez’s handpicked successor – the heavy favorite to win.It was Maduro who last week announced the expulsion of two U.S. military attaches – shortly before he announced the death of President Chávez.Maduro accused the Americans of acting to destabilize the country, going as far as to suggest the U.S. was behind the cancer that killed Chávez.The U.S. State Department branded the allegations “absurd.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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US image remains favorable across Latin America

first_img Facebook Comments Favorability of the USA in Latin America | Infographics Recent allegations that the United StatesNational Security Agency may have been spying on several Latin American countries has done little to improve the U.S.’s image abroad, but a new report from the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project shows that Uncle Sam has retained a favorable public image across the region.U.S. public image is especially strong in El Salvador (79 percent), Brazil (73 percent), Chile (68 percent) and Mexico (66 percent). Brazilians and Mexicans in particular saw a notable spike in their favorable view of the United States.Argentina remains the Latin American country with the lowest approval of the U.S., coming in at 41 percent. The report noted, however, that while a majority of Argentines surveyed did not have a favorable view of the superpower, the 41 percent is a large improvement over the 16 percent approval rating recorded in 2007.Costa Rica was not surveyed for this report.Young college-educated people in particular reported a favorable view of the U.S. In Argentina, for example, people aged 18-29 had a 49 percent favorable impression of the U.S. versus only 32 percent approval for people older than 50.Latin America is no longer the United States’ backyard, but the U.S. remains more influential than China in the region. All countries surveyed except Venezuela opined that the United States had a “great deal” or “fair” amount of influence over their country and their economy compared to China.While the U.S. may have more impact, respondents said that China’s influence was seen more positively than the United States. Venezuela, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia were among those that saw Chinese influence in a rosy light.During Chinese President Xi Jingping’s visit to Costa Rica in June, both countries’ leaders signed nearly $2 billion in trade and infrastructure projects, including the scuttled Moín refinery expansion project. Since Costa Rica switched its recognition to mainland China over Taiwan in 2007, the world’s second-largest economy has gifted the country a new $100 million stadium and $25 million towards the construction of a National Police academy.Popularity contests aside, most Latin Americans surveyed said that the U.S. was the more important country to have strong ties with.Research for the 2013 Spring Pew Global Attitudes Survey was based on telephone and face-to-face interviews under the supervision of the Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Click here for a full breakdown of method by country. center_img No related posts.last_img read more

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Costa Ricas public security minister urges govt agencies to collaborate more to

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Ricans report increasing safety concerns; 2016 is set to become most violent year on record Following recent crime wave, Solís announces new investment in San Carlos police force Costa Rica’s Northern Zone to get more police to fight crime wave Costa Rica’s Public Security Minister calls for new organized crime unit after spike in killings Costa Rican Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata said Friday that institutions such as the Prosecutor’s Office and theJudicial Investigative Police (OIJ) need to work more closely together to combat crime, and that citizens have a key role in reporting criminal activity in their communities.The minister said in a press conference that police are doing their jobs satisfactorily, because “we have the means [such as police cars and motorcycles] to move to where crimes are being committed.” Authorities are able to map the times, places and days where and when criminal activity takes place, he added.Mata reported that he met with Chief Public Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría on Thursday to discuss the possibility of police, OIJ and the Prosecutor’s Office working jointly on solving crimes.“We must be stronger and more direct in our actions. That’s the idea I suggested to the prosecutor, and he said there’s no problem,” he said, adding that they would meet to follow up on the strategy.Mata said other institutions related to public security and anti-crime activities also needed to work together.“Wherever I go, I speak directly with local governments,” because “if the local government is willing, and we commit to work jointly – the local government and a province’s institutions – we’re assured of having good results,” he said.See also: Former Judicial Investigation Police official named Costa Rica’s new public security ministerThe minister highlighted the need for citizens to overcome what he described as “lack of motivation” in reporting crimes.He also praised work by the National Police through its Regional Anti-Drug Program, which involves schools.“We’ve confiscated notable amounts of drugs that children are somehow bringing to school, for personal use or for distribution inside the schools,” he said. “Principals, teachers have a say in this,” because, “if they don’t tell us what’s happening, we’re not going to know what’s going on in each school.”last_img read more

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Nicaragua canal threatens jaguars other endangered species study finds

first_imgThe planned trans-oceanic canal in Nicaragua could spell disaster for jaguars and other large mammals, according to a new study by researchers at conservation groups Panthera and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and Michigan State University.The study, released in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, found that the planned canal route would cut through a critical biological corridor, putting a number of endangered species at risk.“What is of most concern to us is one of the areas under the greatest threat is where the canal is going to go,” said Roberto Salom, the Mesoamerican coordinator for Panthera’s jaguar program. “In this middle portion of the country, it is critical to have another stepping stone for the jaguars to travel from north to south.”The study is the only comprehensive investigation into the potential impacts of the canal on terrestrial wildlife.Though construction on the $50 billion venture is slated to begin this fall, environmental groups say the canal’s backers have failed to produce a comprehensive study on the waterway’s affects on biodiversity.The company building the canal, the Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Group (HKND), released an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in November, but it failed to include a comprehensive biodiversity study looking at threats to wildlife. HKND’s plan to mitigate environmental harm has not been made public.A controversial projectFor as long as outsiders have been arriving at the shores of Lake Nicaragua, they have dreamed of funneling ships through it to interconnect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Spanish conquistadores first wrote about the possibility in the 1500s, and their ambitions were later taken up by wealthy businessmen and even the U.S. government. But each time the plans were derailed: by civil wars, lack of funding, or fears of Nicaragua’s active volcanoes.Many predict that the new canal plan, backed by Chinese billionaire Wang Jing and his newly formed Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Group, will meet a similar end. Wang, a telecommunications tycoon, has never spearheaded a construction project, let alone the largest civil engineering endeavor the world has ever seen. Last year, Wang also reportedly lost 80 percent of his fortune after a crash in the Chinese stock market.Some economists dispute the financial viability of the project, questioning whether shipping companies would choose the new Nicaraguan canal over the nearby Panama Canal. And the project’s own ESIA states that there may not be enough water to even operate within the 175-mile waterway.Despite these questions, HKND and the Nicaraguan government insist that the project will go forward. A man digs sand from the Brito River, the planned starting point for the interoceanic Nicaragua Canal. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesA rushed Environmental and Social Impact Assessment?The ESIA commissioned by HKND was completed in less than two years by the British firm Environmental Resources Management. ERM officials described the schedule as “aggressive,” and were unable to go beyond baseline studies — typically conducted before a project is even put into consideration. In the case of the Nicaraguan canal, ERM was asked to do the work after the canal had already been approved for construction.In general practice, baseline studies conducted upfront are followed by additional studies carried out by a project’s backers in order to design an effective environmental mitigation plan.While HKND is now funding additional investigations into the canal’s feasibility, the company has not indicated if it plans to look further at the canal’s impacts on biodiversity.As a result, environmental groups have grown increasingly worried over the lack of wildlife research in the planning process. They note that there are still many missing pieces of information for formulating an effective plan to reduce environmental impacts.The Nicaraguan government continues to push the canal, despite these complaints from the scientific and environmental communities. In November, the government approved the ESIA, with canal spokesman Telémaco Talavera saying: “the final net balance from the economic, social, and environmental perspective is absolutely positive for Nicaragua.” Nicaragua’s proposed canal route. (Screengrab from the “Proyecto de Desarrollo Integral del Gran Canal de Nicaragua”)The bigger biodiversity pictureWhile ERM’s biodiversity studies were restricted narrowly to the canal zone, the new mammal study examined wildlife populations in a wider area: the entire northeastern section of Nicaragua. This remote region would experience the largest impact from the canal, and has long been considered the country’s wildlife stronghold.Using camera traps, researchers tracked eight species of mammals including the jaguar (Panthera onca), white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) and Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) — all endangered in Nicaragua.The study concluded that an artificial lake used to fill the canal would flood most of the remaining habitat for the three endangered species. The researchers also cautioned that the canal would create a barrier separating the mammal populations of the southern portion of Central America from those in the north, hindering genetic mixing.“You’re in effect creating these habitat islands,” Wes Sechrest, chief scientist at Global Wildlife Conservation said. “In the long term, you will have reduced gene flow, which can create all kinds of problems.”To reduce the canal’s impact, the study recommends moving the artificial lake’s currently planned location, and putting in small islands between which animals could move. The study also urges HKND to make a strong commitment to protecting the remaining forests in the region and to establishing mechanisms for animals to cross over canal infrastructure.The study scientists are not the only experts to deem HKND’s ecological mitigation plans inadequate. According to a report by an independent panel at Florida International University, which reviewed sections of the ESIA before it was finalized, the risk of extinction to endangered species in Nicaragua was not considered at all.“We are talking about one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the history of the planet, so we would hope that if it does go forward that these recommendations would be taken seriously,” Sechrest said. “The ideal situation is that the canal is not constructed, but if there is no mitigation, this would be the end of the Nicaraguan [wildlife] corridor.” A man casts his fishing net near the banks of Lake Nicaragua as Concepción Volcano looms in the background. Lake Nicaragua, the largest drinking water reservoir in Central America, would make up the center of Nicaragua’s planned interoceanic canal. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesStaving off a biodiversity disasterWhile the canal’s potential for ecological damage is great, some believe that it could provide an opportunity to slow the environmental degradation that already grips Nicaragua.Even without the canal, farmers in Nicaragua’s east are already encroaching on protected areas and deforesting the region at a rapid pace. If the current rate of deforestation continues, biologists predict that the most important of these protected lands will be lost within the next several decades.“The environmental disaster [envisioned] along the proposed route is already underway,” wrote Jeffery McCrary, a fish biologist who worked on the ERM study, in an article for Nature in support of the canal. “We saw the destroyed rivers and wetlands, and vast expanses of pastures which maps designate as forests, and we were appalled.”According to McCrary and other like-minded scientists, proper canal management could work to preserve what little is left of Nicaragua’s protected forests. Money from the project could pay for proper policing of nature reserves, and to reforest areas that have been clear-cut. Though mitigation measures — adding security for nearby protected areas and reducing deforestation surrounding the canal — are listed in HKND’s plans, the company has not yet earmarked funds or released specific strategies to implement them.“I do think things can be done to mitigate this [environmental damage] and make sure that the corridor is not lost,” Panthera’s Salom said. “But we would need a lot more support to guarantee that, and we have seen very little interest from the government or the canal company.”This story was originally published on May 9 on Mongabay. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica to host third International Sustainable Building Congress Will the Nicaragua Canal ruin the ‘Galapagos of Central America’? Financial, environmental questions plague Nicaragua canal project UPDATE: Nicaragua deports detained Costa Rican activistlast_img read more

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Construction to begin soon to curb heavy traffic on Circunvalación beltway

first_imgLa Platina: “Save the country’s honor”President Luis Guillermo Solís also visited the infamous bridge over the Virilla River on Route 1, known as “La Platina,” on Wednesday.Problems with a section of the metal mesh on the bridge earned it its nickname in 2008. Officials from three separate administrations, including Solís’ administration, have made attempts to repair the structure — at a total cost of some $13 million, according to the National Roadway Council.Solís said he intends to “save the country’s honor” by completing repair work on the bridge in February as he publicly promised earlier this year. The project involves expanding passage over the bridge from four to six lanes.The bridge is on the General Cañas Highway, the main route connecting the capital with the province of Alajuela — including the Juan Santamaría International Airport — and Costa Rica’s northern and Pacific regions.Currently, workers are reinforcing the bridge’s structure and building the foundations for the new lanes. MOPT plans to start work on the bridge’s surface in October. Facebook Comments Related posts:La Platina bridge will partially reopen next week President Solís demands explanation for spike in traffic jams Finally! Public Works Ministry reopens La Platina bridge Travel Alert: Route 32 to Limón to close for two days this weekcenter_img President Luis Guillermo Solís took a tour Wednesday of construction projects around the San José metro area designed to ease the capital’s ever-worsening traffic problems. The projects include lane expansions, under- and overpasses and bridges.The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) said $207 million is being invested in projects to improve circulation along the capital beltway known as the Circunvalación.The largest project is the construction of the northern and final stretch of the beltway, which will require an investment of $147 million. In preparation for the work, MOPT crews began evicting squatters last month on 103 state-owned properties.MOPT officials say construction will begin later this year and is estimated to last 18 months.Public Works and Transport Minister Carlos Villalta said the improvements are long overdue and the consequences are visible with daily traffic jams delaying people for hours.A survey released in August by polling firm CID-Gallup found that commuters in the country’s Central Valley spent an average of 99 minutes daily fighting traffic between home and work or school.Improving roundaboutsThe government plans to invest $60 million to construct underpasses at the Zapote and San Pedro roundabouts and at the Guadalupe intersection, which will again have a roundabout.Overpasses will be built on the Circunvalación in San Pedro, La Uruca and on Route 32, the main highway connecting the capital with the Caribbean province of Limón. Construction on these projects is scheduled to start in January, minister Villalta said Wednesday.See an animated video of the planned Circunvalación expansion:last_img read more

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Costa Rican pitching prospect signs with MLBs Houston Astros

first_imgAt Thursday’s press conference, held at Antonio Escarré Park in San José, agent Álvaro Montalván recalled the day trainers brought Solano to Nicaragua more than a year ago on a recommendation from a friend and scout.“We had him go into the bullpen and he seemed like an intriguing prospect to us,” Montalván said. “He’s a fast-armed prospect that relies on two types of pitches: a slider and a fastball. He came to us with velocity problems, reaching 87 mph when he should have been reaching a minimum of 90 mph. After some training throughout this time we’ve been able to get him throwing up to 92 mph.”Solano will begin in Houston’s farm system, where the team will be able to call him up the minor league ladder and possibly even give him a shot at the majors. The Astros are slated to start Solano off in the Dominican Republic summer league that begins in a matter of weeks.“Bryan is an athletic righty with a good pitch repertoire,” scout Locadio Guevara, who signed Solano, told reporters at the press conference. “He throws a lot of strikes and keeps his ball count low.“For our manager Jeff Luhnow and our international director Oz Campo, it’s of great pride that we have a Costa Rican player signed on to our farm system,” the scout added.According to Montalván, the contract runs for an indefinite amount of time and depends entirely on Solano’s progress and conduct on and off the baseball diamond.Alex Torres was the last Costa Rican-born player with an MLB contract in 2009 as part of the Cleveland Indians organization.“This is the reward for his hard work and toughness during all this time as a pitcher for the National Team and during national games,” said Vladimir Murillo, president of the Costa Rican Baseball Federation. “We are very proud as a federation and as a country to see him reach these heights. This can also open the door for more organizations to look at Costa Rica as a place for talent.” Facebook Comments In football-obsessed Costa Rica, searching for a big-time baseball talent is often a fruitless task. That didn’t stop a Major League club from scooping up right-handed Costa Rican pitching prospect Bryan Solano.On Thursday, the 19-year-old Limón native signed a contract with the Houston Astros, becoming the first Tico signed to a Major League Baseball (MLB) club in eight years.Currently playing in Nicaragua’s MLB developmental league, Solano is said to have an arsenal that includes a fastball north of 90 miles per hour, a solid slider, and an improving curveball. El prospecto costarricense de 19 años Bryan Solano estampó su firma con los #Astros de Houston ¡Espectacular noticia! pic.twitter.com/OeIDnnnld3— TDMás (@tdmas_cr) March 30, 2017center_img Related posts:Costa Rica tops Russia 4-3 in road friendly Colombia’s Luis Mejía claims second straight Ruta de los Conquistadores title Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Costa Rica’s Laurens Molina wins Los Angeles Marathonlast_img read more

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Be a part of our next Print Edition out next week

first_imgThe Tico Times’ third Special Print Edition will be out next week.The 24-page publication will be chock-full of our best election photos, arts and culture news, interviews, content from our columnists, and more.To learn more about advertising in this special edition, read about the options here or contact us this week (cvargas@ticotimes.net or 4000-0838). To become a distributor of this edition, please contact us. Distributors are listed on our website with links to their own sites or Facebook pages, as well as in stories on our site in your area of the country. Facebook Comments Related posts:Our Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it Download our High Season Print Edition here Our new Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it Our 2018-2019 High Season Print Edition is here!last_img read more

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HolaLola Capturing Costa Ricas essence in art

first_imgSay hello to Priscilla Aguirre, the artist behind HolaLola Facebook Comments Related posts:CREAR: Enjoy, don’t destroy Musical theater in Costa Rica: teaching passion Gardeners of the forest: The tapir in Costa Rica Covering Santa Teresacenter_img You have probably seen Priscilla Aguirre’s art at HolaLola before. It captures the beauty of Costa Rica’s nature and culture in the form of postcards, cups, bags and more. The designs are famous not only in the local community but also among visitors, as they represent different cultural aspects of the country.Learn more about how Aguirre started and built up the brand:last_img read more

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Romans will crucify Jesus in annual Good Friday parades throughout Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Despite Zika fears, Guanacaste hotels are booked for Easter holiday Fewer cantons to enforce dry law during Easter holidays What’s open and what’s closed during Easter Holy Week Administrative Court bans dry law during holidays Practicing Catholics will don their ancient Roman garb to reenact the crucifixion of Jesus in the streets of Costa Rica on Friday.The annual procession is held in towns and cities across the country. The largest and most elaborate parade will start in downtown San José at 10:30 a.m.That procession begins at Parroquia de La Merced and will end at Parque Central in San José, where the crucifixion will be reenacted and the Seven Words recited. Like many towns and cities across Costa Rica, the Municipality of San José is promoting Holy Week events throughout the week.Tuesday features a series of live music performances across the city, starting at 4 p.m. with an organ performance at Parroquia Nuestra Señora de El Carmen. The Concert Band of San José will perform at the Metropolitan Cathedral at 7 p.m.Wednesday at 8 :30 a.m., a traditional delivery of offerings will be held at the garden in the Central Park of San José. That evening, the Municipal Band of San José will perform a free concert of holy music at Parque Central. Thursday at 8 p.m., a silent procession featuring the image of Christ at the Column will depart Parque Central for Parroquia de La Merced. Find more Holy Week events in the Greater Metropolitan Area here. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Police beat reporters during Vietnam land eviction

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Nam told the Today’s Countryside newspaper he yelled to the security staff that he and his colleague were journalists trying to do their job. “We are journalists, why did you beat us?”Long was forced to take two weeks off from work for medical treatment, the paper said.The two reporters and the national radio station have asked provincial authorities for an explanation, but they have not responded, it said.Provincial officials were not available for comment.Last week, provincial vice governor Nguyen Khac Hao told a high-level government conference that the case was handled properly, and he accused anti-government activists of trying to paint the incident in a bad light by posting fake video clips.However, state media on Wednesday quoted another provincial official as saying Hao had not seen the video involving the journalists.Land rights cases have attracted increased attention in Vietnam in recent years as farmers have been pushed off their land to make way for projects ranging from industrial parks to luxury golf courses.In the April 24 eviction in Hung Yen province near Hanoi, about 3,000 police and militiamen, many in full riot gear, overpowered more than 1,000 villagers, witnesses say. Authorities detained 20 villagers, and five remain in custody. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates A total of 166 families were evicted from 5.8 hectares (14 acres) of land, part of 72.6 hectares (180 acres) allocated for the second phase of the housing project. More than 4,000 families are slated to lose their farmland.___Online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v(equalsign)Y2ILRETTeAo HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Police and security guards beat two journalists from Vietnamese state radio while they were covering the mass eviction of farmers from land slated for a housing project, the journalists and state-controlled media said.The incident was captured on a video posted on YouTube, which showed police and guards beating and kicking two helmeted men and hitting them with sticks during the high-profile land seizure last month. Nguyen Ngoc Nam, chief of political and economic news at the Radio Voice of Vietnam, and staff reporter Han Phi Long, came forward this week to describe what happened. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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Cubas next step on capitalist road advertising

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family One member of the team that helped create La Pachanga’s campaign expects an upswing in demand for advertising as it becomes more sophisticated. The young designers dream of launching their own firm, even though Cuba has yet to formally add their profession to the 181 that have been approved for private enterprise.“Going forward, we think this is how the competition will work,” said Alejandro Perez Alvarez. “The other proprietors are going to see how things are going, come up with their own ideas and raise the bar.”Such freewheeling competition seems a far cry from the collectivist society envisioned by that earlier guerrilla, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who once called capitalism “a contest among wolves.”___Follow Peter Orsi on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Peter_Orsi Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 0 Comments   Share   But there are signs the government is interested in making it easier for private businesses to publicize.State telephone company Etecsa recently allowed small business owners to list and buy ad space in the yellow pages for the first time, and 500 signed up.Communist Party newspaper Granma ran guidelines encouraging entrepreneurs to mount business signs, provided they don’t block sidewalks or exceed 5 feet (1.5 meters) in length.La Pachanga, meanwhile, is rolling out a unified marketing scheme based on a yellow, bug-eyed bumper sticker character known as Super Pachanga. Alba is about to release what he calls Cuba’s first 3-D animated ad clip, 90 seconds long, telling the story of Super Pachanga’s birth from a drop of mustard and transformation into a superhero after downing a Pachanga burger. The plan is to show it on flat-screen TVs at the restaurant, pass it around on CDs and flash drives, and beam it to cellphones via Bluetooth.And all that advertising is creating work for other breeds of entrepreneurs, from PR specialists like Cafe Laurent’s Hernandez to would-be ad agency startups.Hernandez said she has even been approached by Cuban journalists interested in launching a newspaper that would sell commercial advertising. Since Castro opened up the door for more small businesses in the fall of 2010, the ranks of licensed entrepreneurs have swelled to more than 371,000 people. But few had any experience with capitalism after 50 years in a Marxist economy, and surviving cutthroat competition often meant overcoming an “If you build it, they will come” mentality.“Many people thought that way, even us,” said Daylin Hernandez Diaz, public relations manager for the restaurant Cafe Laurent, which opened in February 2011 around the corner from the storied Hotel Nacional.“We thought we were going to open and because of our location, clients would fall into our lap. Well, that lasted 15 days,” Hernandez recalled, chuckling. “And on day 16 we hit the streets to start handing out fliers.”Lesson learned, Cafe Laurent aggressively woos tour operators who can bring entire groups by for dinner. It floods the streets with business cards and fliers, including more than 800 handed out at the just-ended Biennial art festival. It also advertises in magazines distributed by tour companies in Canada and Spain, and by U.S. charter flight operators.That’s actually one of the few traditional advertising opportunities available in Cuba. Marketing is not illegal, strictly speaking, but the state controls all newspapers, broadcast airwaves and commercial buildings _ and it’s not taking ads. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “We put one on the ambassador of Spain’s car a few days back and he turned up,” Fernando said.Cheaply printed fliers are a popular way of getting the word out. So is more permanent swag. Customers of the Enigma beauty salon go home with pens and lighters emblazoned with its logo and phone number.At La Pachanga, a bustling burger joint, owner Sergio Alba Marin has pioneered the art of bumper-sticker marketing in Cuba, persuading more than 1,500 motorists to plaster his bright yellow decals on their cars for a 25 percent discount.Probably nobody in Cuba has been more successful than Alba at drawing eyeballs to his brand. Besides the stickers, customers take home tiny, branded straw hats.“It’s the only way I can let people know of our existence, that we are here,” Alba said. “One way or another, you have to get word traveling from mouth to mouth.”Alba scored something of a marketing coup last month when more than 30 employees, customers and friends wearing La Pachanga T-shirts marched in Havana’s May Day parade carrying a banner supporting the Cuban Revolution.The state-run media gave it prominent coverage. La Pachanga’s logo, address and tagline _ “preferred by the party scene” _ appeared front and center on national television, and the newspaper Juventud Rebelde, or Rebel Youth, ran a six-inch photo the next day. It was an unusual sight for islanders accustomed to the media carrying revolutionary slogans like “fatherland or death.” Associated PressHAVANA (AP) – For decades there’s been no such thing as a commercial radio or TV spot in Cuba. Ditto for billboards, website banner ads, and newspaper classifieds.It can be a refreshing change from the global marketing onslaught, but the lack of traditional advertising opportunities creates a problem for the thousands of budding entrepreneurs who have embraced President Raul Castro’s push for limited free-market reform.center_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona “There was a lot of publicity from the May 1 thing,” Alba acknowledged.Restaurants, nightclubs and other businesses are also going a little high-tech, spamming cell phones.“Unlock the iPhone 4, now it can be done! $150” read a recent text message from The Cellphone Clinic, launched in February 2011 by three friends. Javier Ernesto Matos said it does a brisk business unlocking phones purchased elsewhere so they can be used in Cuba.The Cellphone Clinic does regular mass messagings of 3,000 or more, paying another entrepreneur in Cuba 3 cents per SMS to send them from a computer.It may be the closest thing Cuba has to a chain, with three outlets that are registered separately but share a business plan and a branding theme: a green, stethoscope-wearing cellphone. That sets the company apart from the hordes of garage-based competitors, according to Matos.“It’s our identity,” he said. “There are a lot of people repairing cellphones. But we’re not just a workshop, we’re The Cellphone Clinic.”People are also turning to the Internet, despite the island’s woeful connectivity rates. Some restaurants have Facebook pages. Families who rent rooms beg travelers for write-ups on sites like TripAdvisor. Fernando says Bollywood is getting into Google ads. The Craigslist-inspired Revolico.com is blocked in Cuba but islanders able get around the technological wall are posting and reading a growing number of listings. The site recently started carrying ads for things like restaurants and international calling plans. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes It’s one thing to open your own business, but how to let potential customers know you exist? True to Cuba’s famous knack for making do, the island’s small-business owners have turned to low-cost, unconventional advertising _ a flurry of guerrilla marketing in a Marxist society whose founder, Fidel Castro, once denounced advertising as “alienating and noxious.”Getting the word out is “a nightmare,” said Cedric Fernando, operator of Bollywood, the Island’s only Indian restaurant, which opened in December. “We’re running a race with one leg.”Fernando, a Londoner of Sri Lankan descent who is married to a Cuban, emblazoned both doors of his 1955 MG roadster convertible with the Bollywood logo, converting it into a rolling conversation-starter. Some people have snapped pictures with cell phones, called and made reservations.He also recently paid someone $10 a day to slap coupons for two free drinks onto windshields around Havana, taking advantage of Cuba’s color-coded license plate system to target a select clientele: Blue-plated tour vans, the black-and-white of diplomatic vehicles, bright orange for the foreign company employees paid in hard currency rather than the anemic Cuban peso. A thousand fliers lured about 50 dining parties to Bollywood in just two weeks. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

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UK police probe university bomb threats

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths David Alder, a spokesman for Bristol University, said that institution has received about 12 similar emails since late April and that all have proved to be hoaxes. The emails did not specify any reason or cause, he said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories LONDON (AP) – British police say they are investigating bomb threats that dozens of British universities have received via email.Metropolitan Police also say they believe the threats may be linked.A spokesman at Cambridge University confirmed Sunday that it has been receiving almost daily threats by email in the past three weeks. He said the university made the necessary searches each time and evacuated buildings on three occasions as a precaution, but so far none of the threats have been substantiated. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

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Myanmars Suu Kyi to appeal ruling in home dispute

first_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches ErrorOK ErrorOK A district court in the city issued its verdict Friday, confirming that Aung San Oo had inheritance rights to the property, Suu Kyi’s lawyer Nyan Win said.It was not clear, however, whether the verdict would have any impact on the estate’s fate or whether Aung San Oo would be able to benefit from it. Foreigners are legally forbidden from owning or selling property in the Southeast Asian nation, and Suu Kyi’s brother is a U.S. citizen currently residing in California.The 0.8-hectare (2-acre) strip of land was given by the government to Suu Kyi’s mother Khin Kyi after her husband, independence hero Gen. Aung San, was assassinated in 1947. Khin Kyi died in 1988.The roots of the dispute between Suu Kyi and her brother are the subject of widespread speculation, though some say Aung San Oo has disagreed with Suu Kyi’s political views and many believe he may have been influenced by the brutal former military junta, which ceded power last year.Suu Kyi spent 15 of the last two decades confined to the disputed Yangon property, but Aung San Oo never visited her there during those years despite making almost annual trips home.The family’s quarrel became public in 2000 when Aung San Oo sued for partial ownership of the estate. A Yangon court threw out the case in 2001 citing procedural errors. But Suu Kyi’s brother filed a new suit again claiming joint-ownership. How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Civil cases can take years to work their way through Myanmar’s court system.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will appeal a court ruling in favor of her estranged American brother’s claim to half-ownership of the two-story lakeside villa she has lived in for almost a quarter century, her lawyer said Monday.The property, perched on a prime spot on Yangon’s Inya Lake, has been at the center of a bitter legal dispute between the two siblings since 2000. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

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In historic visit Clinton reaches out to Laos

first_imgFour decades later, American weapons are still claiming lives. When the war ended, about a third of some 270 million cluster bombs dropped on Laos had failed to detonate. More than 20,000 people have been killed in Laos since then by ordnance, according to Laos’ government, and agricultural development has been stymied.Clinton, gauging whether the nation can evolve into a new foothold of American influence in Asia, met with the prime minister and foreign minister, part of a weeklong diplomatic tour of Southeast Asia. The goal is to bolster America’s standing in some of the fastest growing markets of the world, and counter China’s expanding economic, diplomatic and military dominance of the region.Clinton said she and Laotian leaders “traced the arc of our relationship from addressing the tragic legacies of the past to finding a way to being partners of the future.”Laos is the latest test case of the Obama administration’s efforts to “pivot” U.S. foreign policy away from the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The efforts follow a long period of estrangement between Washington and a former Cold War-era foe, and come as U.S. relations also warm with countries such as Myanmar and Vietnam. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressVIENTIANE, Laos (AP) – Decades after the U.S. gave Laos a horrific distinction as the world’s most heavily bombed nation per person, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Wednesday to help get rid of millions of unexploded bombs that still pockmark the impoverished country _ and still kill.The U.S. dropped more than 2 million tons of bombs on the North Vietnamese ally during its “secret war” between 1964 and 1973 _ about a ton of ordnance for each Laotian man, woman and child. That exceeded the amount dropped on Germany and Japan together in World War II. “Let us mend the wounds of the past together so that Laos can begin a new legacy of peace,” he said.The U.S. is spending $9 million this year on cleanup operations for unexploded ordnance in Laos and is likely to offer more in the coming days.It is part of a larger Obama administration effort to reorient the direction of U.S. diplomacy and commercial policy as the world’s most populous continent becomes the center of the global economy over the next century. It is also a reaction to China’s expanding influence.The last U.S. secretary of state to visit Laos was John Foster Dulles in 1955. His plane landed after a water buffalo was cleared from the tarmac.At that time, the mountainous, sparsely populated nation was near the center of U.S. foreign policy. On leaving office, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned his successor, John F. Kennedy, that if Laos fell to the communists, all Southeast Asia could be lost as well.While Vietnam ended up the focal point of America’s “domino theory” foreign policy, Laos was drawn deeply into the conflict as the U.S. helped support its anti-communist forces and bombed North Vietnamese supply lines and bases. Landlocked and impoverished Laos offers fewer resources than its far larger neighbors and has lagged in Asia’s economic boom. It remains one of the poorest countries in Asia, even as it hopes to boost its development with accession soon to the World Trade Organization.In recent years, China has stepped up as Laos’ principal source of assistance, with loans and grants of up to $350 million over the past two decades. But like many others in its region, Laos’ government is wary of Beijing’s intentions. And it has kept an envious eye on neighboring Vietnam’s 40 percent surge in commercial trade with the United States over the past two years, as well as the sudden rapprochement between the U.S. and nearby Myanmar.Persistent human rights issues stand in the way of closer relations with Washington. The U.S. remains concerned about the plight of the ethnic Hmong minority, most of whom fled the country after fighting for a U.S.-backed guerilla army during the Vietnam War. Nearly 250,000 resettled in the United States. The U.S. has pressed Laos to respect the rights of returnees from neighboring countries.Washington also has been seeking greater cooperation from Laos on the search for U.S. soldiers missing in action since the Vietnam War. More than 300 Americans remain unaccounted for in Laos. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories And the U.S. is pressing the Laotian government to hold off on a proposed $3.5 billion dam project across the Mekong River. The dam would be the first across the river’s mainstream and has sparked a barrage of opposition from neighboring countries and environmental groups, which warn that tens of millions of livelihoods could be at stake.The project is currently on hold, and Washington hopes to stall it further with the promise of funds for new environmental studies.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories In her meetings, Clinton discussed environmental concerns over a proposed dam on the Mekong River as well as investment opportunities and the joint efforts to clean up the unexploded bombs dropped across Laos over what was once called the Ho Chi Minh trail. Greater American support for programs in these fields will be included in a multimillion-dollar initiative for Southeast Asia to be announced later this week.Clinton visited a Buddhist temple and a U.S.-funded prosthetic center for victims of American munitions. There, she met a man named Phongsavath Souliyalat, who told her how he had lost both his hands and his eyesight from a cluster bomb on his 16th birthday, four years ago.“We have to do more,” Clinton told him. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here today, so that we can tell more people about the work that we should be doing together.” Although the U.S. bombed Laos to loosen its alliance with the North Vietnamese, the current Vietnamese government focuses its efforts in Laos on recovering its own dead, more than cleaning up unexploded bombs.Cleanup has been excruciatingly slow. The Washington-based Legacies of War says only 1 percent of contaminated lands have been cleared and has called on Washington to provide far greater assistance. The State Department has provided $47 million since 1997, though a larger effort could make Laos “bomb-free in our lifetimes,” California Rep. Mike Honda argued Wednesday.last_img read more

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