Posts for August 2019

Wyndham Grand Ambergris Caye to open December 2018

first_imgWyndham Grand Ambergris Caye to open December 2018 Posted by Tags: Wyndham Hotel Group Share Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> PARSIPPANY, NJ — Wyndham Hotel Group will manage the 242-key Wyndham Grand Ambergris Caye, the first resort in Belize to fly the Wyndham Grand flag. The five-star oceanfront resort is scheduled to open in December 2018.The resort’s five towers, housing one-, two-, and three-bedroom hotel and residential suites, feature 11 waterfalls and rise up from pools connected by bridges and canals.Wyndham Grand Ambergris Caye will offer a spa, fitness centre, multiple restaurants, 7,000 square feet of meeting space and an onsite excursion centre. It puts guests within steps of Belize’s Barrier Reef, the world’s second largest coral reef system which runs the length of the country, and is just five kilometres from San Pedro, the island’s only town.“Belize is emerging as a top spot on every traveler’s bucket list, thanks to its pristine beaches, celebrated culture, and continuous recognition as a must-visit destination by respected sources like The New York Times, Lonely Planet, and U.S. News & World Report,” said Paulo Pena, President and Managing Director, Latin America and the Caribbean for Wyndham Hotel Group.More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agency“With overnight visitors hitting a record high last year – up 13% over 2015 – we’re seeing an increased demand for first-class, high-end hotel experiences in destinations like Ambergris Caye.”Wyndham is pursuing aggressive development in Latin America and Wyndham Grand’s Caribbean presence is growing with the existing Wyndham Grand Rio Mar in Puerto Rico and new-construction resorts planned for Barbados and Nevis, both of which will be managed by Wyndham Hotel Group upon opening over the next two years.The company is growing its collection of managed properties around the world, recently widening it to more than 100 hotels and resorts globally with the acquisition of Fën Hotels, a leading management company in Latin America with 25 hotels across Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Paraguay, and the U.S. Thursday, March 23, 2017 last_img read more

Virus spread by Skype infects more than 300000 computers

first_imgNo related posts. More than 300,000 computers have been infected with a new worm that is spreading via Skype, 67 percent of them in Latin America, the consulting firmESET LiveGrid reported on Tuesday.The spamming virus requires just one click to infect a computer. The method used involves messages supposedly sent by user contacts related to images that the user can see by clicking on a link.“Hello, are these really your photos? [link]” , “haha, Here is a nice photo of you [link]” are some of the messages used by the virus.Once infected, the virus begins spamming all the user’s contacts with the same messages over and over.Data released Tuesday say more than 300,000 people have clicked on infected links. According to ESET, the five countries with more infected computers are Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Russia.“Its impact and speed of propagation are above average,” said the security firm. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Tamarindo Talk

first_imgNo related posts. From July 15 to 26, there will be a Tamarindo Adventure Camp, sponsored by TIDE Academy and the Tamarindo Community Center. Kids will get a chance to surf, play soccer and tennis, do yoga and hang out on the beach. There will also be dancing and music, drama exercises, and a science exploratorium. The camp will take place from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Bring sunscreen, surfboard, swimsuit and a change of clothes; lunch is available for purchase, as is water and snacks. Register via email at TIDEAcademy or call 8658-1171.Over at Copacabana every Wednesday, you can hear live music with Interiorama. The sounds commence at 4:30 p.m. and continue through sunset.Nick Holt is a fitness trainer here in Tamarindo who has been getting phenomenal results for his clients using functional training – body weight training focusing on movements rather than muscles. He gives personal and group training both on the beach and at Tamarindo Gym in one-hour sessions, the latter using the TRX suspension method.Nick will also provide nutritional guidance. His certifications include TRX and FMS (functional movement screen), and he is in the process of getting a CSCS strength and conditioning accreditation. As an avid surfer, Nick can improve your ability to paddle and surf, and he offers surf lessons as well. After checking out his website at, email him at –Ellen Zoe Facebook Commentslast_img read more

The weird wacky and offbeat Costa Rica stories of 2013

first_img4. Cattle theft costs industry $1.5 million Forget typical inconveniences like drought and disease, Costa Rican ranchers have good old-fashioned bandits and gunslingers to contend with. Cattle rustlin’ cost the Costa Rican beef industry more than $1.5 million in 2013, with the theft of more than 2,000 animals between January and October.3. NBC cuts pirated Miami signalCosta Rican cable providers sent out a notice that they would no longer carry their U.S. NBC channels. When their customers complained, the cable providers blamed the major broadcasting network, but failed to mention that the signal was pirated. Cable providers distanced themselves from the incident, blaming a mysterious Canadian company they say sold them the channel. Related posts:Surfers survive attack by 7-foot Costa Rican crocodile in Tamarindo Man’s Best Friend? Man and Crocodile Put on One-of-a-Kind Show in Siquirres Costa Rica says goodbye to famous croc Pocho World-famous crocodile Pocho dies in Siquirres Disney’s own Goofy. Courtesy of Loren Javier Costa Rica saw its fair share ofmajor crime and political stories in 2013, but some of this year’s most viral headlines steered away from controversy and instead were just plain weird. Here are our choices for the year’s most bizarre Costa Rica headlines.5. Costa Rica sets Guinness World Record for largest fried rice bowlMove over, gallo pinto. Ticos have a new favored rice dish. OK not exactly, but the country is now the world record holder for cooking the largest bowl of Cantonese rice. For the Chinese New Year, chefs from 25 Chinese restaurants cooked up 735 kilograms of the dish, feeding 7,000 people. Cattle rustling is a crime that happens every day in Costa Rica, according to the Judicial Investigation Police. Lindsay Fendt 2. Costa Rica mayor invents Disney parkLuis Gerardo Casteñeda, mayor of the northern tourism hub of Liberia, made a surprise television announcement that Disney was planning to build a theme park in his town. The predictable fanfare and media frenzy followed, until Disney denied the story. The bumbling mayor then admitted that no paperwork had been filed for a park and he denied ever confirming it, despite making the original pronouncement on camera.1. Costa Rican legislature accidentally passes same-sex marriage In a sign of accidental solidarity with the Costa Rican LGBT community, lawmakers passed a measure with language that technically qualifies same-sex couples for marriage and domestic partnerships. Though judges have since rejected applications for gay domestic partnerships, appeals have been filed and another judge could still approve the partnerships.Honorable MentionsThis year also saw a presidential candidate drop out of the race two different times, the U.S. and Costa Rica go to war … over soccer in the snow, a crocodile attack victim sympathetic to his attacker and violent criminals released due to prison overcrowding. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US Coast Guard seizes 110 million worth of cocaine in the Caribbean

first_img Facebook Comments The U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday it had seized an estimated $110 million worth of cocaine during two recent operations in the Caribbean, one of which the organization confirmed took place between Colombia and Nicaragua.The combined bust of 3,300 kilograms (3.63 tons) is “one of the largest in a long time,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney told AFP.The first seizure occurred south of Jamaica on March 15, where the Coast Guard found about 97 bales containing some 2,400 kilos of cocaine floating near a fishing boat suspected of smuggling drugs. The estimated wholesale value of the find is $80 million.The second operation, on March 19, involved a Colombian-flagged boat with five Colombian nationals on board that have been handed over to authorities in their homeland.The Coast Guard pursued the vessel in the southwest Caribbean Sea, firing warning and disabling shots that prompted the crew to dump 900 kilos of cocaine worth an estimated wholesale value of $30 million.Both finds were transferred to federal authorities Tuesday in Miami, Florida, in the United States. Related posts:Beachcombing along the Caribbean drug trail in Nicaragua Mexico to purge corrupt cops in violent state Solís put on the defensive as joint US-Costa Rican patrols come up for renewal Nicaragua seizes cocaine on board small aircraft from Costa Ricalast_img read more

Costa Rica prepares for first visit by UN SecretaryGeneral Ban Kimoon

first_imgUnited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit Costa Rica for the first time on Wednesday, according to a statement from the San José U.N. office issued on Monday.“It is an honor for Costa Rica to receive such an illustrious visitor and this is an occasion to reaffirm our historic commitment to the universal values that gave rise to the United Nations, such as love of peace, disarmament, human rights, the environment and international law,” Foreign Minister Manuel González said in a statement.The secretary-general will arrive at Juan Santamaría International Airport outside San José on Wednesday morning, where President Luis Guillermo Solís and Foreign Minister González will greet him. Ban Ki-moon then travels to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Los Yoses where he will give a speech on opportunities and challenges for Costa Rica and the U.N. in the 21st century.Later, he plans to hop on a bicycle and take a short ride around the Casa Amarilla – Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry – in Barrio Amón, with Environment Minister Edgar Gutiérrez and young people from the Environmental Network for Urban Mobility (RAMU in Spanish) to raise awareness about the benefits of efficient and environmentally friendly mass transit.Ban Ki-moon also will meet privately with representatives of Costa Rica’s 24 indigenous groups and with Minister González.On Wednesday evening, the U.N. chief and his wife, Yoo Soon-tack, will attend a dinner in their honor at the National Theater with President Solís and First Lady Mercedes Peñas Domingo.Nobel Prize-winner Kofi Annan was the last U.N. secretary-general to visit Costa Rica in 2002. Facebook Comments Related posts:Obama announces members of US delegation who will attend Luis Guillermo Solís inauguration President Solís reaffirms carbon neutrality goal in UN Climate Summit address Community managed forests protect against climate change, study finds Landmark Arms Trade Treaty spearheaded by Costa Rica’s ex-President Óscar Arias goes into effectlast_img read more

Expat advice What to do on Thanksgiving

first_imgIf you live in the United States, Thanksgiving is a trascendent holiday. People of all origins, ages, colors, and creeds celebrate Thanksgiving. Carnivores, pescatarians, and vegans celebrate Thanksgiving. Expressing gratitude for family and good fortune is among the most universal traditions – a tradition that even a bunch of stuffy 17th-century Puritans could appreciate. Some folks can give or take Christmas and Flag Day, but Thanskgiving is a chance to spend time with family, an experience more hallowed than, well, Halloween.But what do you do in Costa Rica?Historically, Ticos haven’t made a big fuss over this quintessential U.S. holiday, and turkey and cranberry sauce aren’t exactly staples of the Costa Rican diet. This year’s Thanksgiving doesn’t have the cross-cultural cachet of last year’s “Thanksgivukkah,” and you certainly won’t see any Garfield floats hovering above Avenida Central. But as more expats have migrated to the country, local businesses have made it easier to celebrate in the familiar way.For expats and visitors who are thousands of miles from their loved ones, here are some tropical options.Dine OutIf you’re searching for a restaurant that serves traditional turkey dinners, your best bet is to try hotels – particularly hotels popular with U.S. visitors. All kinds of hotels will host specials, such as Hotel Pelicano in the Pacific town of Esterillos Este ($40) and El Patio del Balmoral in downtown San José (Nov. 28, $25). Such dinners are generally scattered and advertised only to guests, so if you’re staying at a hotel, ask reception about any special events.Some restaurants have special events as well. Some U.S. chains offer basic Thanksgiving fare, such as Costa Rica’s three different Denny’s locations ($24). But some of the most unexpected venues are French restaurant La Tache in Escazú ($45), as well as Club Alemán in Los Yoses ($23). Each restaurant is serving Euro-American fusion feasts, an adventurous departure from the usual menu.Cooking at HomeNearly every major store in Costa Rica has its stock of turkeys, but brace yourself: If you’re accustomed to grandma’s Butterball, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sizeable bird, even at major supermarkets like PriceSmart and Auto Mercado. Most of these turkeys are imported from abroad, so expect to pay upwards of $80 for a frozen 20-pounder.As for fixins, larger stores like Auto Mercado provide an ever-increasing array of imported ingredients, but to do the meal more cheaply – or if you are outside of a metropolitan area –  you might consider tracking down a “Latin-style” Thanksgiving recipe on the Internet. There are zillions of them, and most recipes list readily available ingredients.FootballYou may not have the right cable network in your home or hotel, but there’s a good chance you can catch a game at U.S. sports bars like Chubbs and Rick’s Café.Yoga RetreatWhile binge-eating turkey is not the easiest or cheapest thing to do in Costa Rica, yoga centers across the country run incredible deals on classes and retreats to tighten that post-feast potbelly. Spiritual stretching may seem like the polar opposite of stuffing yourself on stuffing, but it’s a great way to feel fit before the Christmas season. Places like Surf Inn Hermosa, The Sanctuary at Two Rivers, and Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge (and countless others) have all been running holiday deals. Facebook Comments Related posts:Lonely Planet guide documents a changing Central America VIDEO: Fans weather rain to celebrate Festival de la Luz Cowboys, coffee, and other happenings around Costa Rica La nave: the joys and mysteries of San José buseslast_img read more

US court sentences Costa Rican woman to 30 months in jail for

first_imgA Costa Rican woman on Friday was sentenced in a Florida court to 30 months in prison for her role in a conspiracy to smuggle more than 25 undocumented Cuban migrants to that country, the U.S. Department of Justice reported.Mercedes Morera Roche, 49, was extradited to the U.S. from Panama on Aug. 21 to face human smuggling charges. On Oct. 6, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle more than 25 undocumented migrants from Cuba to the U.S.According to her plea agreement, Morera admitted that between 2004 and 2011, she was an organizer of a human smuggling network that provided instructions, fraudulent identities and travel documents, escorts, transportation, safe-house locations, and other assistance to facilitate the illicit travel of undocumented migrants to the United States.Morera said that in some cases, she provided fraudulent passports so that undocumented migrants could fly to the U.S. with the help of corrupt airline and immigration officials. She also directed the migrants to destroy the fraudulent documents during the flights to the U.S., and instructed them about what to do and say to U.S. immigration officials upon landing.In other cases, she coordinated the smuggling of undocumented migrants over land routes through Latin America and Mexico into the U.S. Morera charged up to $10,000 for each undocumented migrant.Morera was born in Cuba but received Costa Rican citizenship on May 16, 2003, after marrying a Costa Rican national. She was married to him from 1997 to 2003. The couple divorced the same year she received her citizenship. Facebook Comments Related posts:Central America arrests break up major human trafficking ring, police say Costa Rican police detain 9 undocumented migrants near Jacó, arrest driver Costa Rican police detain undocumented Eritrean, Somali migrants On patrol with the Costa Rican Border Policelast_img read more

WATCH Costa Ricas Esteban Ramírez a finalist for FIFAs best goals of

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:CONCACAF to review refs after Gold Cup furor Klinsmann’s job is safe despite US Gold Cup losses Switzerland will rule on FIFA extraditions next month FIFA corruption probe: Swiss to extradite ex-VP Figueredo to US What exactly is it that separates agolazo, the Spanish designation for a beautiful score, from a normal goal? Whether it’s the perfect form, the high degree of difficulty, or the sheer improbability of it, there’s no doubting that each one is its own piece of art.Each year FIFA honors these goals with the Puskás Award, which is given annually to the player who authors the most impressive single goal, either in international or club play. Costa Rica’s Esteban Ramírez, who currently plays for Club Sport Herediano, was announced as one of 10 finalists for FIFA’s best goals award last week with this amazing, long-distance strike against Saprissa from last November: 28-year-old from San José is going up against some of the game’s biggest names, like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and captain of the world champion U.S. Women’s soccer team Carli Lloyd. Fans can cast their vote for Ramírez on the FIFA website before the top three goals are decided on Nov. 30. A winner will then be decided on Jan. 16, 2016 on the same day as the Balon d’Or award, given each year to the best football player in the world.All goals were considered from Sept. 27, 2014 to Sept. 23, 2015. Last year’s winner was Colombia’s James Rodríguez for this stunning goal in the World Cup against Uruguay, which lifted the Colombians to the quarterfinals:last_img read more

Major League Baseball gets in on USCuba thaw

first_imgRelated posts:With Obama visit, Cubans hope for home run in baseball diplomacy Normalized relations between Cuba and US could have ‘drastic’ impact on MLB Costa Rica’s major league concern Rawlings lays off 200 employees at its Costa Rica apparel operation HAVANA, Cuba – Cuban MLB baseball stars José Abreu and Yasiel Puigreturned home Tuesday for the first time since defecting to join the American big leagues, part of an unprecedented Major League Baseball tour made possible by the thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations.Baseball is a shared passion in the United States and Cuba, but also a source of acrimony in their decades-long estrangement.To play under the bright lights of an MLB stadium, Cuban stars have to abandon their homeland, as did Chicago White Sox first baseman Abreu in 2013 and LA Dodgers outfielder Puig in 2012.Both returned home for the first time since then, with an MLB delegation hosting workshops and meeting with Cuban baseball officials on a four-day tour of the communist island. Jose Abreu and Bryan Peña at the same press conference in Havana.— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) December 15, 2015 Long estrangementThe delegation is scheduled to give a press conference at 4 p.m.Abreu, who signed a $68-million, six-year contract with the White Sox in 2013, has a 5-year-old son in Cuba he has not seen since defecting.Puig fled by boat via the Bay of Pigs with the help of people-smugglers.The Cuban government has reportedly agreed to allow them to visit with family members at their hotel. The trip comes as Washington and Havana mark the first anniversary of the historic rapprochement announced by presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro on Dec. 17, 2014.Since then, the two countries have restored diplomatic ties, reopened embassies in each other’s capitals and taken other steps to patch up their relationship after decades of Cold War animosity.See: PHOTOS: Cuba, US reopen embassies to end 54-year estrangementBut Cuban ballplayers still cannot play in the United States without fleeing, which the Cuban government classifies as illegal.MLB has organized events in Cuba in the past, including a 1999 exhibition game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban national team.But this is the first time that players who defected have been allowed to return.The delegation also includes Cuban-born player Alexei Ramírez, a free agent who left Cuba legally by marrying a Dominican in 2007.Some 20 Cuban-born players are currently active in the Major Leagues.Several non-Cuban stars are also along for the trip, including Miguel Cabrera of Venezuela, Nelson Cruz of the Dominican Republic and American Clayton Kershaw.The delegation is led by Hall of Famers Joe Torre, the MLB’s chief baseball officer, and Dave Winfield, of the MLB Players’ Association.“Major League Baseball is very fortunate to have an opportunity to play a constructive role in the improvement of our country’s relations with Cuba,” MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred said in a statement.“Baseball represents a pivotal common bond in our cultures, and the impact that Cuban ballplayers have made on our game is undeniable. I am hopeful that this tour will represent the beginning of a longstanding relationship.”MLB has said it hopes to organize pre-season games in Cuba next year, as it used to do until 1960, the year after the Cuban Revolution.center_img The journey begins for @79JoseAbreu, who is joining other @MLB players on a goodwill tour of Cuba.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) December 15, 2015 Alexei Ramirez signs a No. 10 jersey worn by White Sox fan Rauol Gomez of Havana, who watches games on TV.— David Haugh (@DavidHaugh) December 15, 2015 The homecoming will be almost as sweet for Cuban fans, who watched these players develop as young talents but have never seen them in their prime.“To be able to see these stars again who came up in our country and are now shining at the highest level of baseball in the world, like Abreu and Puig, will be magnificent,” local fan Pedro David told AFP.Cuba’s national baseball commissioner, Heriberto Suárez, has said the game is being “lacerated” on the island by defections and attempted defections. More than 100 players have defected this year or found a way to leave legally, like Ramírez.Castro’s government began allowing athletes to sign with foreign teams in 2013, for the first time since 1961. About a dozen baseball players have signed with teams in Mexico, Japan, Canada and Colombia.But the trade and financial embargo the U.S. has imposed on Cuba since 1962 still means Cubans cannot play in the United States without fleeing. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Golan Heights provides glimpse of Syria civil war

first_imgAssociated PressMOUNT BENTAL, Golan Heights (AP) – As Syrian regime forces clash with rebels close to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, this windswept plateau has become a front-row seat to Syria’s escalating civil war.Curious Israelis and foreign tourists toting binoculars have been drawn to the area to try to get a glimpse of the fighting, even as others sit in a cafe overlooking the Syrian frontier area, sipping from tiny cups of espresso and frosty glasses of beer. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family But three mortar shells fell in Syria several hundred meters (miles) away from the Golan border on Monday, according to Israel’s military chief. An Israeli couple from the area said explosions have kept them up at night, so they drove up to the border to try to see the fighting firsthand.Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak held a news conference within earshot of the fighting last week, warning that the spiraling violence in Syria threatened to spill into the area.The Israeli army hasn’t deemed the Golan area dangerous for tourists. It says the usual large numbers of tourists have flocked there to hike and enjoy the cooler weather, although it doesn’t provide specific figures.Foreigners thronged the hilltop, a routine stop for bus tours, snapping photos and sipping cold drinks at the chalet-like Coffee Anan cafe. An American visitor posed for a photo near a signpost that pointed the way to Damascus, less than 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the northeast.Dozens of other visitors, however, made the trip to the peak _ the site of a major tank battle during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war _ with the Syrian conflict in mind.“We really wanted to see the border with Syria, and we heard that you can see it from this mountain,” said Natasha Haugsted of Copenhagen, Denmark, who had hitchhiked across the Golan with a friend. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Parents, stop beating yourself up 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean The thud of exploding mortar shells and smoke billowing from Syrian territory below have drawn Israelis to lookouts along the suddenly tense frontier, including this spot on Mount Bental _ a former Syrian army post that Israel seized when it captured the strategic plateau from Syria in 1967.The deteriorating situation in Syria has become a mounting concern for Israel, which fears the unrest will spill over the border, and the long-quiet frontier area will become a new Islamist front against the Jewish state.Meir Elakry, an off-duty Israeli security guard who lives just 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the Syrian border, said he was afraid Syrian President Bashar Assad would become desperate and turn his guns on Israel.“I want to know what the danger is to my house,” said Elakry, clutching a pair of binoculars. “I don’t believe Assad will be quiet if he falls.”There was not much to see through the binoculars Monday morning, save for Israeli tanks patrolling the border kicking up dust, and, farther in the distance, a hazy glimpse of a mosque’s minaret from the Syrian town of Quneitra, which has been largely abandoned since Israel’s withdrawal. Two United Nations observers monitored the border area through a huge pair of binoculars at the edge of the mountain. On Monday, Syria threatened to unleash its chemical and biological weapons if it faces a foreign attack _ its first-ever acknowledgement it possesses weapons of mass destruction.Officials also are worried that a collapse of the Syrian government could leave a power vacuum that would allow Islamic militants to launch attacks on Israeli targets in the Golan, in much the same way they attack southern Israel from Egypt’s Sinai desert.Meredith Haines, an American tourist visiting Israel with her mother and a Jewish congregation from Freehold, New Jersey, said she felt uneasy about gawking at the conflict.“Here you spend all this money to come to Israel and then (the tour guide)’s like, `We’re going to go to the Syrian border!’” she said. “But there are people dying, like 30 miles (50 kilometers) away.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Many Israelis also are deeply interested in military matters, a reflection of the fact that most men do three years of compulsory army service and decades of yearly reserve duty afterward, and many women serve in the army for two years.Israel and Syria have fought major wars, and multiple attempts to reach a peace deal have failed. Syria has strong ties to Iran, Israel’s most fearsome enemy, and to Palestinian and Lebanese militants that have warred with Israel.The frontier area has been largely quiet since a 1974 disengagement agreement, but the Syrian regime’s increasingly precarious situation has Israel and its leaders worried that the Golan will be swept into the maelstrom.Defense officials say Israel hasn’t sent more troops or military equipment to the border area. But Israel is closely watching for signs the Syrian regime is losing control of its vast stockpiles of chemical weapons.On Tuesday, military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said the Syrian government remains in control of its chemical weapons arsenals, and militants do not appear to have raided them.Gantz warned that could change and counseled restraint over the possibility that Israel might decide to attack those depots to keep them out of militant hands, as Israeli leaders have recently threatened to do. Such a strike could drag Israel “into a broader offensive than planned,” he cautioned. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Top Stories last_img

UK police raid causes evacuation of nearby flats

first_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   The raids were supported by officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homecenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day LONDON (AP) – Police in central England ordered half a dozen apartments evacuated briefly after finding what they called suspicious substances during a raid.The evacuations followed a Wednesday morning raid at two houses in Horwich in Greater Manchester. Residents of the flats were allowed to return by midafternoon.Greater Manchester Police said a 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images and also on suspicion of possessing information likely to be useful for a person committing or preparing for acts of terrorism. Four benefits of having a wireless security system Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

Montesinos cleared in 1997 hostagetaker killings

first_imgLIMA, Peru (AP) – A Peruvian court has cleared ex-intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos and two former senior military officers of murder in the killings of three rebels during a celebrated 1997 hostage rescue.The three-judge court found that one of the three rebels was executed after being captured alive but the other two had resisted the raid, in which commandos freed 72 hostages who had been held more than three months at the Japanese ambassador’s residence. All 14 rebel hostage-takers were killed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories The reading of the verdict lasted eight hours and ended Monday night.In December, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights decided to take up the case, saying Peru’s justice system had proven itself incapable of bringing justice.Montesinos is serving a separate 25-year sentence for death squad killings and corruption.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 0 Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

UN court convicts 6 Bosnian Croats of atrocities

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   The six defendants showed no emotion as Antonetti, who is French, read out their convictions and sentences. Their attorneys are expected to appeal the convictions.Outlining some of the abuse meted out by Bosnian Croats, Antonetti said girls were raped, men were forced to work near battle lines and one Muslim prisoner was ordered to lick up his own blood so it would not stain Croat territory.___AP writer Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, Eldar Emric and Amer Cohadzic in Mostar, Bosnia, contributed to this story.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) According to the 2,629-page ruling by Antonetti and Judges Arpad Prandler of Hungary and Stephan Trechsel of Switzerland, Bosnian Croats and Croat leaders including Tudjman realized that to create the new state, “it was necessary to modify the ethnic composition of the territories” and that triggered the large-scale crimes aimed at driving out Muslims and other non-Croats.Both Antonetti and Trechsel added partially dissenting opinions to the judgment.The judges also said that Bosnian Croat forces carried out what is widely viewed as one of the signature acts of cultural vandalism of the entire Bosnian war, the destruction of Mostar’s centuries-old bridge over the Neretva River in 1993.They said that although the bridge was a legitimate military target because Bosnia’s army used it, “its destruction constituted disproportionate damage for the Muslim civilian population of Mostar.”The bridge’s elegant arch high over the river linking the two sides of Mostar has since been rebuilt.In Mostar, survivors of Croat-run camps watched the proceedings live on TV.“There is no penalty for what we have been through. The entire verdict is true,” said Izo Alimanovic, who spent 323 days in prison camps. “People were suffering and our lives there every day hanging just on one tiny thread.” Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – A U.N. court convicted six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders Wednesday of persecuting, expelling and murdering Muslims during Bosnia’s war and said leaders in neighboring Croatia helped hatch and execute their plan to carve out a Croat state in Bosnia.It was the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal’s most unequivocal statement of Zagreb’s involvement in Bosnia’s 1992-95 conflict and followed the acquittals late last year of two Croat generals accused of atrocities against Serbs, a ruling that reinforced many Croats’ view that their country was a victim in the Balkan wars. The court handed down sentences ranging from 10 to 25 years’ imprisonment for the six suspects.The longest sentence was handed down to Jadranko Prlic, former leader of the self-proclaimed Croatian community and later republic of Herceg-Bosna. Also convicted were Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic, all high-ranking political or military figures.The trial, which began in April 2006, provided a reminder of the complex ethnic jigsaw that fueled fighting in Bosnia and continues to create frictions in the country even today. While many cases at the 20-year-old tribunal focus on crimes by Serbs, the case that ended Wednesday highlighted vicious crimes by Croats, who are Catholics, targeting Muslims.The judges ruled that murders, rapes, illegal expulsions and torture of Muslims “were not the random acts of a few unruly soldiers” but part of a plan to permanently remove Muslims from territory claimed by Bosnian Croats, Presiding Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti told a packed courtroom.Antonetti said the majority ruled that Croatia had overall control over the Bosnian Croat entity and its armed forces and that Croat troops fought alongside Bosnian Croat forces. A majority of the three-judge panel said the late-Croat President Franjo Tudjman was a key member of a plan to create a Croat ministate in Bosnia with the aim of later uniting it with his country to create a greater Croatia, or leaving it as a separate independent state.Past rulings by the court have labeled fighting between Muslims and Croats in Bosnia an international armed conflict because of Zagreb’s involvement, but Wednesday’s ruling explicitly named Tudjman and his former defense minister, Gojko Susak.“This is the first time the court has been very clear and adamant about the significant role played by Tudjman and Susak,” prosecutor Kenneth Scott said. “There’s no question in my view that’s one of the most historical, remarkable things about the case.”Tudjman died in 1999 and was never indicted by the Hague-based court.Croatia’s liberal prime minister, Zoran Milanovic, said the tribunal judgment “does not correspond with the truth” and expressed hope it would be overturned on appeal.“Reality is sometimes complicated, but sometimes it is very simple,” he said. “Croatia made some mistakes in Bosnia, but it was also a partner and helped a lot.” 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Iranian protesters outside US Embassy in Berlin

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Comments   Share   Iraq denies any involvement, saying the killings were an internal dispute. The U.N. has investigated but hasn’t determined who was responsible.The group, which is strongly opposed to Iran’s clerical regime, has been protesting since early September, calling for international pressure on Iraq to get to the bottom of the killings.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homecenter_img BERLIN (AP) – Iranian dissidents are demonstrating outside the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, pushing for action after the killing of 52 of their compatriots in Iraq.A dozen Mujahedeen-e-Khalq members protested in front of the embassy Friday, next to the landmark Brandenburg Gate.The group accuses the Iranian and Iraqi governments of involvement in the Sept. 1 shooting at Camp Ashraf in which roughly half the camp’s U.N.-protected population was killed. The dissidents claim seven MEK members are being held by Iraq. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Men’s health affects baby’s health toolast_img read more

5 things to know about the NSA court ruling

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The divisions on the issue don’t run neatly along partisan lines. Libertarian-leaning Republicans have joined many Democrats in arguing that a secret intelligence agency should not be storing the records of every American phone call. Some Democrats and Republicans assert that the program is needed now more than ever, given the efforts by the Islamic State group to inspire extremists to attack inside the U.S.The House Judiciary Committee last month overwhelmingly passed the latest version of a bill known as the USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA’s collection and storage of the phone records. Instead, it would allow the agency to request records held by telephone companies under a court order in terrorism investigations.A NOD TO SNOWDEN?Some were arguing Thursday that the court’s ruling was a vindication for Snowden, who is under indictment in the U.S. and living in exile in Moscow. Indeed, one of the three judges, Robert Sack, authored a separate opinion that appeared to paint Snowden as a whistleblower.Many other people, including senior U.S. officials, sharply disagree. They note that Snowden’s disclosures about NSA activities were far broader than this single program, revealing espionage that had no implication for Americans’ privacy. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell served on a task force in the wake of the Snowden leaks that recommended ending NSA’s bulk collection of phone records. In a new book, Morell calls Snowden’s leak “the greatest compromise of classified information ever” that did “enormous” damage.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The appeals court rejected an argument that since the law allows the government to seize records relevant to a terrorism investigation, it was sufficient to declare all the country’s phone records relevant. The ruling, however, allows the program to continue, since the provisions expire June 1 and Congress is debating their future.All three of the 2nd Circuit judges are Democratic appointees.CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE UNRESOLVEDWhat the court did not address was whether the program is constitutional. Other legal cases have argued that it is not.Opponents say the seizure and search of their records from telephone companies violates their expectations of privacy under the Fourth Amendment because the government failed to obtain a search warrant based on probable cause to believe that evidence of criminal conduct will be found in the records. The program’s backers rely on what is known as the third-party doctrine, under which the Supreme Court has held that personal records people voluntarily turn over to companies, including phone records and email, are not protected by the Fourth Amendment.CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE CONTINUESThe court’s ruling sharpens the focus on the ongoing congressional debate about the program. The Patriot Act provisions in question expire June 1 unless Congress reauthorizes them. Republicans and Democrats in the House have agreed on a bill to do that while also ending the government’s bulk collection of the records. Senate leaders are backing a competing measure that would maintain the status quo, but they are open to compromise. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has declared illegal the National Security Agency program that collects data on the landline telephone records of nearly every American. The ruling Thursday, the first of its kind by an appeals court, comes as Congress considers whether to continue, end or overhaul the program before June 1, when the legal provisions authorizing it expire.Five things to know about the court ruling, the program and the congressional debate about where to go from here: Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology NOT-SO-SECRET SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMAt issue is an NSA program that for years has been collecting and storing data on American phone calls — a closely held secret until it was leaked by former NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden in 2013. The NSA collects information on the number called and date and time of the call, and stores it in a database that it queries using phone numbers associated with terrorists overseas. Officials say they don’t use the data for any other purpose.The idea is to hunt for hidden domestic terrorists akin to the hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks. But the program has not been particularly valuable as a counter-terrorism tool, and is becoming less so, since, for technical and bureaucratic reasons, the NSA has not been gathering the data on most mobile calls.DEMOCRATIC APPOINTEES AGREEA three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled that the practice was not legally justified under the law its creators cited to implement it, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. In a unanimous ruling written by Judge Gerard Lynch, the court held that Section 215 “does not authorize the telephone metadata program,” despite years of secret legal rulings by an intelligence court that it could. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

Cuba removed from US terror list

first_img 0 Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like WASHINGTON — The U.S. has taken Cuba off its list of state sponsors of terrorism.Secretary of State John Kerry has signed an order removing Cuba from the U.S. terrorism blacklist as part of the process of normalizing relations between the Cold War foes.Kerry acted 45 days after the Obama administration informed Congress of its intent to do so. Lawmakers had that much time to weigh in and try to block the move, but did not do so. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The step comes as officials from the countries continue to hash out details of restoring full diplomatic relations, including opening embassies in Washington and Havana and returning ambassadors to the two countries. Friday’s removal of Cuba from the terrorism list had been a key Cuban demand.last_img read more

Iraq gets back antiquities recovered by US forces in Syria

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Quick workouts for men Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milkcenter_img BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s antiquities minister says the Baghdad National Museum has gotten back nearly 500 artifacts recovered by U.S. Army commandos during a recent raid in Syria targeting the Islamic State group.Minister Adel Fahad Sharshab pledged that authorities will recover all missing artifacts. He spoke Wednesday as the recovered pieces were on display.Many of the artifacts were stolen during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when the Baghdad museum was looted. They eventually fell into the hands of IS extremists and were smuggled out of Iraq into Syria but the timing and details of that remain unknown. Sponsored Stories The IS has looted and destroyed several ancient sites in Iraq and Syria as part of its campaign to cleanse the territory it controls of items the extremists deem as non-Islamic.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Kerry calls talk of better Iran deal a fantasy

first_imgSecretary of State John Kerry, center, leaves a classified briefing for all House members on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, July 22, 2015, to head to a Senate briefing to speak about the deal reached to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Democrats and allied independents control 46 seats in the Senate, and so far Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico have announced support for the plan. In the House, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has expressed optimism that a veto can be upheld.The hearing unfolded as House Speaker John Boehner hinted at additional steps to stop the deal beyond the legislation, which is expected to be voted on after lawmakers return from an August vacation. “I think there’s a lot of tools at our disposal,” he told reporters, although he did not elaborate.Given the political calculus, the Senate hearing wasn’t so much an attempt by Kerry to persuade Republicans to support the plan as it was an opportunity to reassure Democrats.Even so, no matter the objections — and Republicans leveled many in a hearing that stretched until midafternoon — Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew were ready with responses.Kerry read supportive comments from former Israeli intelligence officials who hold views diametrically opposed to the ones held by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s, arguably the pact’s fiercest opponent. Across more than four hours in the witness chair, Kerry sought repeatedly to blunt one of the Republicans’ core objections, that Obama settled for a less favorable deal than he could have gotten had he insisted on more.“The alternative to the deal we’ve reached isn’t what we’re seeing ads for on TV,” he said, referring to commercials backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which strongly opposes the deal.“It isn’t a better deal, some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran’s complete capitulation. That’s a fantasy, plain and simple.”Kerry also said that Obama has “made it crystal clear we will never accept a nuclear-armed Iran.” More than that, he said, “he is the only president who has developed a weapon capable of guaranteeing that. And he has not only developed it, he has deployed it.”That appeared to be a reference to a “bunker buster” bomb, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.Kerry said that when the negotiations began, experts calculated that it would take Iran only two to three months to produce enough material for a bomb.“If the deal is rejected, we return immediately to this reality, except that the diplomatic support we have been steadily accumulating in recent years would disappear overnight,” he said. Republicans were unpersuaded — and said so — at an occasionally contentious Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that marked the opening of a new phase in the administration’s drive to prevent Congress from undermining the accord.“You guys have been bamboozled,” said Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, complaining that the agreement wouldn’t permit neutral testing at Iran’s Parchin military complex to guard against cheating.Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the panel’s chairman, told Kerry moments after opening the hearing, “Not unlike a hotel guest that leaves only with a hotel bathrobe on his back, I believe you’ve been fleeced.” He later sought to soften the criticism to avoid singling anyone out, saying, “We’ve been fleeced.”The deal, reached earlier this month, will take effect unless Congress blocks it. Republicans in control of the House and Senate hope to do that by passing legislation in September to prevent Obama from lifting sanctions that lawmakers put in place over several years.Obama, who met at the White House during the day with a group of House Democrats, has promised to veto any such bill. That would lead to a vote to override his veto, and the administration is searching for 34 votes in the Senate or 146 in the House to assure a veto would stick. The vital role family plays in society ___Associated Press writers Donna Cassata and Matthew V. Lee contributed to this story.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home WASHINGTON (AP) — Countering Republican criticism, Secretary of State John Kerry declared Thursday it is “fantasy plain and simple” to claim that President Barack Obama failed to insist on enough restraints on Iran’s nuclear program before agreeing to lift economic sanctions long in place.“So what’s your plan? … Totally go to war?” he challenged lawmakers who want to torpedo the deal. He also said he expects support for the deal from Saudi Arabia, Iran’s rival in the Middle East. Half a world away, by coincidence or not, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the agreement appears to have the provisions needed to curtail Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear weapon. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fierce rivals, and al-Jubeir met separately with Kerry and Obama last week.When Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican presidential hopeful, asked a question suggesting the deal would require the United States to support Iran if Israel launches a military strike, Moniz had a one word answer: “No.”“It does not?” Rubio asked skeptically.“No,” said Moniz.With the exception of Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Democrats questioned administration officials far more gently than the Republicans, suggesting they will side with Obama on a deal he has called historic.At its heart, the agreement calls for the United States and other world powers to end economic and military sanctions in exchange for concessions from Iran in its nuclear program. Tehran says its program is entirely peaceful, but the U.S. and most other nations believe it is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons. They imposed sanctions on Iran to bring it to the bargaining table. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

Scientists worry about arms race in artificial intelligence

first_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like LONDON (AP) — Scientists and tech experts — including Prof. Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — warned Tuesday of a global arms race with weapons using artificial intelligence.In an open letter with hundreds of signatories, the experts argued that if any major military power pushes ahead with development of autonomous weapons, “a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.” Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Some critics have argued in favor of so-called “killer robots,” saying the use of robotics on the battlefield could save lives. Such weapons are still some years away.But the scientists warned that, unlike nuclear weapons, once they are developed they will require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials — making it possible to mass-produce them.“It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc.,” the letter said.The signatories included leading figures globally in academia and business studying artificial intelligence — the idea that computer systems could replicate tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as language translation or visual perception. They were joined by philosophers, historians, sociologists and geneticists, among others.Those signing letter included Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO; Demis Hassabis, who founded Google DeepMind; and Noam Chomsky, an emeritus professor at MIT.“We therefore believe that a military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity,” the letter concluded. “There are many ways in which AI can make battlefields safer for humans, especially civilians, without creating new tools for killing people.” 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Check your body, save your life Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more