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first_imgUniversal Orlando has first behind-the-scenes look at ‘Fast & Furious – Supercharged’ Tags: Theme Parks & Attractions, Universal Studios Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Thursday, November 2, 2017 Share ORLANDO — Universal Orlando’s newest attraction ‘Fast & Furious – Supercharged’ will soon be racing into Universal Studios Florida.One of the world’s highest-grossing film franchises of all time, now with eight movies under its belt (and at least two more to come), The Fast and the Furious (also known as Fast & Furious) is set to get its own UO attraction with a scheduled opening date in spring 2018.Universal Orlando says guests will have the opportunity to “live the excitement they’ve seen on the big screen in a high-octane ride experience where they will become part of the Fast family.”Adds UO: “Here’s everything you need to know about Fast & Furious – Supercharged at Universal Orlando Resort”:Guests will encounter more of their favourite Fast characters than ever before in ‘Fast & Furious – Supercharged’. For the first time ever, Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) will join the star-studded cast of the attraction, which includes Dom (Vin Diesel), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and criminal mastermind Owen Shaw (Luke Evans).‘Fast & Furious – Supercharged’ will be the only place where guests can see. and even take photos with, 15 supercharged Fast & Furious cars, many of them driven by some of favourite Fast family members. Each vehicle, including Dom’s iconic Dodge Charger and Letty’s Turbo Truck, has been crafted by Dennis McCarthy, the man behind the cars for the Fast & Furious films.Guests will be able to select a time to ride ‘Fast & Furious – Supercharged’ via the Official Universal Orlando Resort Mobile App or at kiosks located near the attraction entrance. “While you wait for your ride time, you can enjoy other experiences throughout Universal Studios Florida.”Guests can ‘live’ an original Fast & Furious story that expands on the films and brings them face-to-face with Fast characters. “As soon as you approach the attraction, you see Dom’s Dodge Charger parked outside – and you know exactly where you are. Inside, you’re immersed in the ultimate Fast & Furious experience. Hit songs from the films’ soundtracks fill the rooms as memorable scenes from the series play around you. You make your way through familiar places inspired by the films, like the Family Room – complete with photos of the Fast family – and Tej’s high-tech War Room. You are invited to attend a race after-party that can’t be missed, and Tej arranges for a custom party bus to get you there. As you make your way to the party, Dom calls with an urgent message. Owen Shaw is headed your way. A high-speed chase ensues, and you must rely on the Fast family to lead you to safety. But will it be enough to keep you and the gang from the clutches of Shaw?”More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsUO says more details about ‘Fast & Furious – Supercharged’ will be released in the coming months: “Stay tuned to the Universal Orlando blog for updates.”last_img read more


first_img TORONTO — There’s nothing like a ‘bomb cyclone’ to get travellers thinking about sunnier locales. And for passengers flying out of Windsor, Ottawa and Toronto, that sun-soaked destination can very well be Melbourne, Florida.Located just 20 minutes from Port Canaveral (the world’s second largest cruise port) and 30 minutes from Kennedy Space Center, Orlando-Melbourne is expected to get a major boost in Canadian visitation this year thanks to increased service from Porter Airlines. The carrier has launched new flights to Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) from Windsor and Ottawa, as well as relaunched seasonal service from its hub at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) for the 2017-2018 winter season.To spread the word about the new flights and destination, Porter Airlines and MLB, along with local suppliers and tourism partners, hosted an industry luncheon in Toronto yesterday. Calling Orlando-Melbourne a “fantastic gateway”, Michael Curmi, Director, Agency Sales and Distribution for Porter Airlines, encouraged Canadians to take advantage of the seasonal service, which runs from Ottawa and Windsor until March 31, and from Toronto through April 7. Service from Toronto includes twice weekly flights during peak periods, plus three times weekly for March Break.Michael Curmi, Director, Agency Sales and Distribution, Porter Airlines Inc.Curmi also noted that now is a particularly exciting time for the airline, which recently celebrated its 11th anniversary in October. Crediting the travel trade as a “big part” of its success, he praised YTZ for its convenient downtown location and exceptional pedestrian tunnel, which he says is responsible for a strong bump in passenger traffic since opening in 2015.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesWhat’s in the pipeline for Porter? The completion of a terminal renovation by year’s end, which includes the expansion of lounges and increased food and retail offerings, as well as the introduction of U.S. customs pre-clearance. According to Curmi, if all goes well, pre-clearance will be implemented by Q1 2019.This is particularly exciting news for Florida-bound Canadians, who Bonnie King, Director of Sales Special Events for Space Coast Florida, referred to as a very important market. In 2017, the Sunshine State welcomed 120 million tourists, three million of which were Canadian.In order to accommodate high volumes of visitors, MLB is nearing completion of a US$9 million renovation. Known as one of the fastest and most technology advanced entries in the United States, the airport serves the Central Florida coast with three runways, a 200,000 square-foot terminal and a 40,000 square-foot customs facility.Porter first started flying to Orlando-Melbourne – its most southernmost destination – back in 2015 with flights out of Toronto. It then followed up with a mid-week flight out of YTZ in 2016, which was particularly beneficial to cruise passengers. Now with Windsor and Ottawa flights, Porter is making it easier than ever for Canadians to not only cruise out of Port Canaveral and see top attractions (Orlando is about an hour’s drive away), but also discover Melbourne and the Florida Space Coast.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”The 72-mile stretch of Atlantic shoreline spans from the Canaveral National Seashore to Sebastian Inlet, and is considered to be Orlando’s closest beach. Known for being the East Cost Surfing Capital, Sebastian Inlet will host the inaugural Florida Pro Surf competition on Jan. 18-26 where, for the first time ever, the women’s purse will be significantly higher than that of the men’s (US$55,000 compared to $25,000). Also, this coming Monday, Jan. 15, the Space Coast will debut the world’s largest key lime pie (132 gallons) on the Today Show with hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.Maria Sheldon, Courtyard Beach (left), and Madhur Shah, Ashok Travels LtdOther top attractions along the Coast include bioluminescence kayaking, Brevard Zoo, and Downtown Melbourne, which hosts a monthly street party and the Downtown Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. But without a doubt, its #1 attraction is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the only place on earth where visitors can view the Space Shuttle Atlantis, see launch areas, meet a veteran astronaut, train in spaceflight simulators, and even view a live rocket launch.If your clients are looking to stay an extra day or two pre- or post-cruise, or vacation on the Coast as an alternative to downtown Orlando, accommodation options include Courtyard by Marriott Melbourne West, Residence Inn by Marriott Melbourne, and Courtyard Cocoa Beach. Porter Escapes, as a complement to Porter’s flight service to MLB, also offers flight and hotel packages.For more information go to flyporter.com, theorlandoairport.com and visitspacecoast.com. Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, January 12, 2018 Got winter-weary clients? Porter adds Windsor, Ottawa to Orlando-Melbournecenter_img Travelweek Group Posted by Tags: Airports, Florida, New Routes, Porter Airlineslast_img read more


first_img Share Posted by Tags: Jetstar Friday, April 13, 2018 Travelweek Group center_img Dear Jetstar: Boy writes adorable letter to request upgrade << Previous PostNext Post >> MELBOURNE — Never underestimate the power of the pen – or the adorability of kids.Nine-year-old Jasper Francis of Melbourne, Australia was rewarded with a free upgrade to business class after writing a heartfelt letter to Jetstar Airways, reports news.com.au.The boy, who was booked on a recent flight from Melbourne to Bangkok in economy, inquired in his letter whether “kids are allowed to fly business class by themselves”. He then informed the airline that he had already saved $85 of his pocket money for an upgrade, and then asked “how much more do I need to save?”He signed the letter “Yours sincerely, Jasper”.Because dreams do come true, the adorable letter eventually made its way to Jetstar staffers who were touched by Jasper’s request. A group of 20 employees ended up pooling their $50 Christmas vouchers to get Jasper his upgrade.The boy, who News.com/au reports is an aspiring pilot, was beyond thrilled. Not only did he fly the nine-and-a-half hours to Bangkok in complete luxury, he also gained plenty of fans around the world.last_img read more


first_imgWOW air reaches tentative agreement with last-minute investor << Previous PostNext Post >> PHOENIX — After Icelandair’s buyout deal fell through earlier this week, another company has swooped in to save the struggling WOW Air.Indigo Partners LLC, a Phoenix-based private equity firm that owns Frontier Airlines, has announced an in-principle agreement has been reached with WOW to invest in the Reykjavik-based ULCC. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.Following successful completion of due diligence, both parties would work to close as soon as practicable. WOW’s CEO and primary shareholder, Skuli Mogensen, would remain a principal investor in WOW upon completion of the transaction.“The demand for low-cost air service continues to expand rapidly worldwide, and with Indigo as a partner, we hope to take full advantage of this highly attractive market segment,” said Mogensen. “I am excited to work with Indigo and I am convinced it is the best long-term move for our people and passengers.”Bill Franke, Managing Partner of Indigo Partners, added: “Skuli and WOW’s management and employees have done a remarkable job in creating a well-regarded, successful ULCC brand. We have a strategic vision for the airline, and look forward to working with its employees and agents to deliver that vision.”More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsEarlier this week, it was reported that Icelandair backtracked on its plans to purchase rival WOW, a conclusion that interim President and CEO Bogi Nils Bogason called “disappointing”. Icelandiar announced its intention to purchase the ULCC in early November. Tags: Frontier Airlines, Icelandair, WOW air Share About Latest Posts Alex Keerma Latest posts by Alex Keerma (see all) WestJet adds to network, nonstop flights between Austin and Calgary – May 3, 2019 Senior Travel Advisor – Peterborough Office – April 12, 2019 “I didn’t know she was married”: Kimpton’s social experiment inspires new themed rooms – March 6, 2019 Alex Keerma Friday, November 30, 2018 Posted bylast_img read more


first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, March 5, 2019 Tags: Princess Cruises, Savings Posted by Princess Cruises’ latest sale includes up to 40% savingscenter_img Travelweek Group SANTA CLARITA — Princess Cruises’ ‘Sail Into Savings’ sale kicks off today with up to 40% off on select cruises and cruisetours.Running until April 30, the sale includes the following voyages:Alaska Voyage of the Glaciers cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage (Whittier) aboard Coral Princess, 7 days, $549 interior (was $999) and $1,099 balcony (was $1,899)Alaska Cruisetour CAZ from Vancouver to Fairbanks aboard Coral Princess, 10 nights, $999 interior (was $1,759) and $1,699 balcony (was $2,709)Scandinavia & Russia roundtrip from Copenhagen aboard Regal Princess, 11 days, $1,839 interior (was $2,299) and $1,999 balcony (was $3,049)Mediterranean from Barcelona to Rome aboard Emerald Princess, 7 days, $889 interior (was $1,449) and $1,539 balcony (was $1,999)Eastern Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale aboard Caribbean Princess, 7 days, $699 interior (was $1,119) and $999 balcony (was $1,699)Western Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale aboard Caribbean Princess, 7 days, $729 interior (was $1,199) and $1,029 balcony (was $1,699)More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoAll prices are per guest and based on double occupancy.Guests can book a Princess MedallionClass vacation onboard any of Princess Cruises’ MedallionClass enabled ships. The Princess OceanMedallion, included complimentary, is a wearable device that elevates the guest experience by delivering enhanced experiences and personalized service.For more information call 1-800-PRINCESS or go to princess.com. Sharelast_img read more


first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> HAVANA — Like just about everything in Havana, the brand new Iberostar Grand Packard and its 100-plus year old building come with a backstory.Originally opened in 1911 as the Hotel Biscuit, in 1912 the hotel’s ground floor became a showroom for Detroit’s Packard Motor Car Company, showing off the latest in luxury cars from the U.S.Fast forward to 1931 and the building got another refresh, and reopened again as the Hotel Packard.In the 1990s it evolved into a hostel and was on the decline until the turn of the century when the last residents left and demolition work began.All that remained of the building was its two main façades, which Iberostar used when it completely reconstructed the hotel.Travelweek recently got a first-hand look at the new five-star Iberostar Grand Packard, open since Sept. 10, 2018 – two months earlier than expected.The Iberostar Grand Packard has 327 luxury rooms, ideal for three adults, or for two adults and two children. The rooms are comfortable with great city views.AccommodationSpending excessive time in the room would be a disservice to any guest though, as the highlight of the property is truly the outdoor sun terrace and swimming pool on the sixth floor.Guests can get the exact level of relaxation or socializing they’re seeking on the terrace and in the L-shaped pool overlooking the Bay and Morro Castle, with spectacular views in all directions. Certain areas of the terrace are in the shade during the daytime, which is ideal for guests seeking a break from the sun.PoolThe hotel is not all-inclusive, so guests can venture out and sample some local cuisines at meal time, however there are five restaurants and four bars at the hotel for clients who prefer to stay close to their home base.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?The best of the restaurants is the Spanish tapas restaurant, offering delicious (and share-able) dishes such as spinach croquettas and fried prawns. The service property-wide is still rounding into form, but should improve as the days pass.Those really looking to unwind can book a treatment – how about the chocolate treatment? – at SPA Sensations, which has a beauty salon, heated pool, massages and sauna and hydro massage area. Those looking to stay in shape can do so at the fitness centre, with scheduled activities. Or guests can just chill out at Los Caprichos Cigar Bar or catch some tunes at Piano Bar Salón Goya.For business travellers the Iberostar Grand Packard has five meeting rooms. The smallest room hosts up to 20 people, while the largest can have up to 150 depending on the format. Also, multiple rooms can be combined to create a space for up to 400 people.The Iberostar Grand Packard also boasts a great location. Upon exiting the main entrance and crossing one street, travellers will find themselves on the Paseo del Prado, a long promenade that is the dividing line between Old Havana and Central Havana. From this promenade, it’s easy to discover Havana by foot. El Capitolio, the National Capital Building, is just a 10 minute walk from the hotel.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerThe hotel is best suited to upscale travellers looking for a base for their Havana explorations. While permitted, not many if any children were spotted on the property, making it a mature and sophisticated setting for some quiet relaxation in a luxurious setting.This year is an especially good one to visit Havana. On Nov. 16 Havana will celebrate 500 years since the third formation of the city. The city, in fact, had two previous locations prior to being established in its current spot.More details about the hotel are at IberostarGrandPackard.com. Tags: IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts, Openings & Renovations By: Chris Kinasz Share Iberostar Grand Packard ready to make history – again – as Iberostar’s newest Havana retreat Thursday, March 14, 2019 last_img read more


first_imgFrom the print editionThe Association to Protect Tourism (PROTUR) held a forum Monday in the Legislative Assembly to discuss the state of the tourism industry with lawmakers and members of the small and medium-sized tourism sector.The forum, co-organized by Access Without Exclusion Party (PASE) lawmaker Rita Chaves, featured presentations on tourism-related topics including exchange rates, sportfishing and the Costa Rican Tourism Board’s (ICT) recent “Costa Rica’s Million Dollar Gift of Happiness” advertising campaign.ICT, whose general manager, Juan Carlos Borbón, declined an invitation to attend, took a lot of verbal abuse from the 15 presenters and a crowd of some 150 people jammed into an assembly salon.“We believe that ICT does some good things,” said Chaves, who is on the assembly’s Tourism Commission. “But it has completely turned its back on one sector in particular, and we know what sector that is.”And that was about the nicest thing anybody said about the ICT all day.Among other comments, PROTUR members and tourism industry representatives in attendance called for the creation of a commission to evaluate and investigate ICT’s alleged lack of attention to the small-business tourism sector. The groups represented onMonday are also pushing for a reform to Costa Rica’s Tourism Law, which was established in 1955, to include more representation at regional levels and more representation of the small and medium-sized business sector.It is the same argument made by PROTUR President Boris Marchegiani in March before a meeting of the same commission. In that meeting, Marchegiani questioned statistics released by ICT regarding the number of tourists visiting Costa Rica annually, as well as hotel occupancy rates released by the board. The crux of the argument is that ICT’s record-keeping, with numbers provided by the Immigration Administration, does not differentiate between tourists who visit the country for vacation and individuals who enter Costa Rica on tourist visas to visit family or to work, and who would not engage in other tourism activities, particularly spending nights in hotels. According to PROTUR’s calculations, approximately 1.1 million tourists visited Costa Rica in 2011, about 1 million less than the 2.1 million that ICT reported (TT, March 9).“We’re going to talk of how some actions of ICT are going to continue to do grave damage to the tourism sector if there are not great changes made in the way of organizing national tourism,” Marchegiani said on Monday.Marchegiani cited a lawsuit recently filed by a group of tourism-business owners, including Marchegiani, for “damages as a result of the premeditated inflation of numbers in the quantity of tourist arrivals in the country and hotel occupancy rates.”ICT, which did not have any representatives present at Monday’s forum, has defended its statistics by saying that 2011’s reported numbers represent a “general increase” of about 4 percent in tourism activity over 2010, and that distribution of the increase might not be distributed evenly throughout the country. In response to Marchegiani’s assertions in March that the board overestimated hotel occupancy rates by almost half their actual number – ICT reported 64 percent occupancy in 2011, while PROTUR countered with an estimate closer to 31 percent – Borbón said in an email that the tourism businesses were to blame if hotel occupancy rates released by ICT were unreliable, citing “limited response in the business sector to provide sufficient reliable information on hotel occupancy to let us know the real situation in the country” (TT, March 16).Reached via email this week, Borbón responded to criticism of the board’s alleged “inattention” to small businesses, saying that “complete attention based on support and accompaniment of the small and medium-sized businesses has been a priority for the [ICT]. … We have developed many projects to benefit [small and medium-sized businesses], so we don’t know what the basic underpinning of that statement is.”In a presentation on tourist safety in Costa Rica, Isabel Garbanzo, director of Costa Rica Expeditions, called for the creation of a commission to oversee ICT’s activities.“I have worked in tourism for 25 years,” Garbanzo said. “If I didn’t think this commission was necessary, I could have stayed sitting in my office working.”Borbón did respond directly in his email to the idea of a commission to oversee ICT’s work.“It is important to indicate that [the ICT] has a series of projects available that were developed across the country to attend to potential small and medium-sized tourism businesses interested in starting their businesses and improving their levels of management and competitiveness, for which actions are developed directly by the ICT or through the development of alliances with other entities (such as the National Training Institute, universities and the National Tourism Chamber, among others) to support this sector,” Borbón wrote.Borbón mentioned recent ICT programs aimed at small businesses including a workshop on rural-tourism development and marketing in Costa Rica led by a group of Israeli experts earlier this month. Borbón also pointed out the Artisanal Products With Identity Program, which, he said, is an effort to support local artists who create products specific to their regions and loaded with local history.The ICT official also mentioned some 13 different projects and lectures offered to the small-business sector on a variety of topics geared toward improving competitiveness and efficiency.Michael Kaye, founder of Costa Rica Expeditions and a 35-year veteran of the Costa Rican tourism industry, criticized the ICT’s recent “Costa Rica’s Million Dollar Gift of Happiness” marketing campaign, which featured a talking cartoon sloth and the giveaway of vacation packages to Costa Rica. Borbón wrote that Costa Rica’s Million Dollar Gift of Happiness campaign’s “principal objective was to generate conversations about Costa Rica and to facilitate the exchange of experiences through social networks with the goal of positioning Costa Rica as a tourist destination and to increase recommendations of the destination and revisiting.”He added that the campaign generated thousands of conversations on the ICT’s Facebook page and substantially increased the percentage of Facebook fans in Costa Rica’s principal tourism markets, the United States and Canada.But Kaye said the largest problem facing the industry now is disparity between the actual number of tourists visiting the country and the number of beds built to accommodate them. He and other attendees of the forum agreed that an excess of beds is attributable to years of overly optimistic statistics by ICT.“The major problem is the ICT exists, basically, to get more power over all of tourism,” Kaye said. “Their goal is political power, and it’s not to improve tourism in any particular areas. So they do damage, and you can see that if you just watch the various things they do.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more


first_imgFinding five ticks on your beloved dog in one day is a cause for concern. Finding 50 is a reason to panic. Given my limited experience as a dog owner, I came close to panicking but instead started looking for solutions and knowledge to control the problem and prevent harm to Luna.The result is an eight-page paper outlining how to rid your dog of ticks. Contact me at the address below for a free copy. I encourage anyone working with pets to distribute it to their mailing lists. Any print or electronic publication is also encouraged and I’m hoping someone will take the time to translate the piece into Spanish to reach more owners.This was a collective effort. Thanks go first to my friend and neighbor Sandra Philbrick, from whom I’ve learned so much about dogs. Thanks to Mary Beth Ryan, Paul Montgomery, Paul Forest and Dainna Morales, and thanks to Lisa Bradshaw for her knowledge of organic treatments, to Sallyanne Monti and Mickey Neal who have saved sick dogs here and in the U.S., and to my colleague, T. Babe Hopkins, for sharing her very extensive experience.Thanks to the veterinary offices of Sharinne Chacón as well, and kudos to elcoco.co for being the first to publish the piece. –Kent Cartheykcarthey@aol.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more


first_imgHe called me BRASSBANNER, a code name in the double-barreled style of the National Security Agency, where he worked in the signals intelligence directorate.Verax was the name he chose for himself, “truth teller” in Latin. I asked him early on, without reply, whether he intended to hint at the alternative fates that lay before him.Two British dissenters had used the pseudonym. Clement Walker, a 17th-century detractor of Parliament, died in the brutal confines of the Tower of London. Two centuries later, social critic Henry Dunckley adopted “Verax” as his byline over weekly columns in the Manchester Examiner. He was showered with testimonials and an honorary degree.Edward Joseph Snowden, 29, knew full well the risks he had undertaken and the awesome powers that would soon be arrayed to hunt for him. Pseudonyms were the least of his precautions as we corresponded from afar. Snowden was spilling some of the most sensitive secrets of a surveillance apparatus he had grown to detest. By late last month, he believed he was already “on the X” — exposure imminent.“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end,” he wrote in early May, before we had our first direct contact. He warned that even journalists who pursued his story were at risk until they published.The U.S. intelligence community, he wrote, “will most certainly kill you if they think you are the single point of failure that could stop this disclosure and make them the sole owner of this information.”I did not believe that literally, but I knew he had reason to fear.A series of indirect contacts preceded our first direct exchange May 16. Snowden was not yet ready to tell me his name, but he said he was certain to be exposed — by his own hand or somebody else’s. Until then, he asked that I not quote him at length. He said semantic analysis, another of the NSA’s capabilities, would identify him by his patterns of language.“You can’t protect the source,” he wrote, “but if you help me make the truth known, I will consider it a fair trade.” Later, he added, “There’s no saving me.”I asked him, at the risk of estrangement, how he could justify exposing intelligence methods that might benefit U.S. adversaries. “Perhaps I am naive,” he replied, “but I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents.” The steady expansion of surveillance powers, he wrote, is “such a direct threat to democratic governance that I have risked my life and family for it.”In an email on May 24, he dropped a bombshell. Whistleblowers before him, he said, had been destroyed by the experience. Snowden wanted “to embolden others to step forward,” he wrote, by showing that “they can win.” He therefore planned to apply for asylum in Iceland or some other country “with strong internet and press freedoms,” although “the strength of the reaction will determine how choosy I can be.”He alluded to other options, aware that he had secrets of considerable financial value, but said, “I have no desire to provide raw source material to a foreign government.”To effect his plan, Snowden asked for a guarantee that The Washington Post would publish — within 72 hours — the full text of a PowerPoint presentation describing PRISM, a top-secret surveillance program that gathered intelligence from Microsoft, Facebook, Google and other Silicon Valley giants. He also asked that The Post publish online a cryptographic key that he could use to prove to a foreign embassy that he was the document’s source.I told him we would not make any guarantee about what we published or when. (The Post broke the story two weeks later, on Thursday. The Post sought the views of government officials about the potential harm to national security prior to publication and decided to reproduce only four of the 41 slides.)Snowden replied succinctly, “I regret that we weren’t able to keep this project unilateral.” Shortly afterward he made contact with Glenn Greenwald of the British newspaper the Guardian.We continued our correspondence. He was capable of melodrama but wrote with some eloquence about his beliefs.“The Internet is on principle a system that you reveal yourself to in order to fully enjoy, which differentiates it from, say, a music player,” he wrote. “It is a TV that watches you. The majority of people in developed countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate.”What about legitimate threats to national security? “We managed to survive greater threats in our history … than a few disorganized terrorist groups and rogue states without resorting to these sorts of programs,” he wrote. “It is not that I do not value intelligence, but that I oppose … omniscient, automatic, mass surveillance. … That seems to me a greater threat to the institutions of free society than missed intelligence reports, and unworthy of the costs.”Did he impute evil motives to his former colleagues, or the White House? “Analysts (and government in general) aren’t bad guys, and they don’t want to think of themselves as such,” he replied. But he said they labored under a false premise that “if a surveillance program produces information of value, it legitimizes it. … In one step, we’ve managed to justify the operation of the Panopticon.”On Thursday, before The Post published its first story, I made contact on a new channel. He was not expecting me there and responded in alarm.“Do I know you?” he wrote.I sent him a note on another channel to verify my digital “fingerprint,” a precaution we had been using for some time. Tired, I sent the wrong one. “That is not at all the right fingerprint,” he wrote, preparing to sign off. “You’re getting MITM’d.” He was talking about a “man in the middle” attack, a standard NSA technique to bypass encryption. I hastily corrected my error.“The police already visited my house [in Hawaii] this morning” with questions on his whereabouts, he wrote, explaining his jitters. “It obviously has a profound and intimidating impact on my family.”Despite our previous dispute about publishing the PRISM document in full, Snowden said he did not intend to release a pile of unedited documents upon the world. “I don’t desire to enable the Bradley Manning argument that these were released recklessly and unreviewed,” he said.On Sunday afternoon, as his name was released to the world, Snowden chatted with me live from a Hong Kong hotel room, not far from a CIA base in the U.S. consulate. “There’s no precedent in my life for this kind of thing,” he wrote. “I’ve been a spy for almost all of my adult life — I don’t like being in the spotlight.”I asked him once more which of the two Veraxes he expected to become: the happy ending or life behind bars? “That’s up to the global public,” he typed back. “If asylum is offered, we’ll have the first example. If not, we’ll have the second. I am prepared for both.”© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more


first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – Once shrouded in mystery, the history, culture and glyphs of the Mayan people are being unraveled with increasing speed thanks to scholars collaborating over the Internet to decipher texts.Nicholas Hellmuth is one such individual who has dedicated his life not just to decoding ancient scriptures, but also to separating history from legend by verifying the authenticity of every mention of flora and fauna that decorate the pages of Mayan texts.“In the Popul Vuh, when Hun Hunahpu is playing the ball game, at one point he has no head – his head is cut off – and his brother goes out and makes a head out of a pumpkin. What we study is: Is that true? Did they have pumpkins shaped like heads?” asked Hellmuth, the founder and director of the Foundation for Latin American Anthropological Research, or FLAAR.In search of the answer, the U.S. archaeologist and his Guatemala-based team embarked on a month-long field trip traveling all over the Central American nation. They studied about 3,000 pumpkins, visited every pumpkin patch in the country and spoke with farmers and locals, before eventually stumbling across what they had been looking for in the back of a truck: a pumpkin shaped like a head.According to Hellmuth, no one has ever documented the amount of flora and fauna that FLAAR has recorded in such detail before. The organization has the very first list of all the plants used by the Mayans and has electronically categorized them by edible plants and non-edible ones. The team hopes its findings will assist in suggesting better diets for local people and saving native species from being forcibly removed by residents who are unaware of their benefits.“We decided we were going to make a complete list of every plant they’d ever used, whether it was for cleaning their toenails, cosmetics, eating or smoking. Anything. We list them theme-by-theme: edible plants, edible pulp and edible flowers,” Hellmuth said.Hopping, skipping and jumping between subjects as new plants start to flower, the FLAAR team ventures out at night all over the country to capture Guatemala’s nocturnal activity. They have developed their own cameras and photographic techniques to assist them. Findings are uploaded onto the organization’s website as the team slowly begins to tick off the items on their “Most Wanted” list, which enables them to piece together what Mesoamerica was like 2,000 years ago, based on flora and fauna.“Finding these plants is very difficult. We were looking for magnolia for four years and we just found it, but we haven’t found it flowering. There are some plants that we haven’t been able to find anywhere in the country after four years of looking for them. But we know they are here and we will find them,” Hellmuth added.FLAAR’s vast operation has turned a small corner of Guatemala City into a mini-jungle and provided the world with one of the most extensive collections of flora and fauna ever recorded. The organization hopes to publish its findings in books and animation that will allow people of all ages to connect with the ancient Mayans.For more information about FLAAR, visit www.flaar.org. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more


first_imgNo related posts. Gardeners often ask about how to grow garlic in the tropics, and I warn them that it’s not a simple undertaking. Because garlic is an exotic species introduced to the New World tropics in colonial days, it is not well adapted to our hot and humid conditions. It’s also a biennial plant with a long growth cycle. Gardeners can work around this, however, by planting garlic in pots around the home in sunny areas on porches or in greenhouse conditions. When you can control the amount of water, so the soil can dry out between waterings, garlic will flourish.Use a 12-inch pot or recycled container filled with strained organic compost fertilizer. Between 3 and 6 cloves of garlic can be planted superficially in a 6-inch circle with the tips pointing upward. Try to plant a new container each month, so you’ll have a continuing supply of fresh garlic greens and garlic bulbs. Keep your pots on stands or a table to keep the bugs away. As the garlic grows, select the tender green leaves from some of the garlic plants and leave others to mature into bulbs. It takes six or more pots to have a steady supply of garlic for the home. The plants can be sprayed with soluble organic fertilizers and compost tea to feed the roots. Prevent leaf diseases by including citrus seed oil extract or trichoderma inoculants.The green leaves of garlic are a nutritious addition to salads and dressings, and Garlic has been used for centuries as food and medicine. Using fresh garlic in your diet is a good preventative health practice, since garlic is a strong antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent, which works to prevent unwanted microbes from living in your intestines or cells. Garlic also helps to prevent worms and other parasites from getting established in your digestive tract. Recent research has shown garlic to be an effective agent against viral and bacterial infections in the body. The major ingredient, allyl, acts as a natural antibiotic when used in large doses. Garlic has also proven effective in reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol. Use garlic pills for acute or chronic illnesses. Use garlic cloves and greens daily in salads as a preventative measure for protecting your health. Garlic can be prepared in several ways for healing purposes. For example, a thin slice of a raw garlic clove can be taped on to warts or boils to treat them. Apply a fresh piece of garlic in the morning and evening. The treatment usually takes three days to one week for results. Garlic capsules are also useful in treating infections, circulatory problems and digestive problems, particularly parasites. Take two capsules every two hours during the day.For more information on tropical gardening – naturally – contact us at:  thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com or visit http://thenewdawncenter.info/blog.html. Facebook Comments Ed Bernhardtlast_img read more


first_imgLearn About TableauMora, originally from Colombia, looked at 50,000 locations across the planet and their temperature records from 1860 to 2005. Along with the paper’s other authors, Mora pulled data from 38 different climate models, establishing an historic temperature range. Climate models then estimated when certain regions, such as cities, would hit their departure points.For the wildlife groups, Mora looked at when a “hotspot” would hit the departure point. The study classified hotspots as regions in the top 10 percent of species diversity for that wildlife group.Mora looked at a second scenario where significant efforts are made to curb emissions such as carbon dioxide. Under this alternate scenario, cities and wildlife around the globe would still experience unprecedented climate by the end of the century. Significantly curbed emissions would push back San José’s climate departure date from 2037 to 2058, according to the study. Kingston would only move ahead five years to 2028. Wildlife such as land mammals would get about 40 more years before seeing record climates in 2079. These alternate scenarios are listed in the graphic above.The short timeline for climate departure might be shocking — with some cities having as little as 10 years. However, Mora said that some researchers thought his numbers might be too conservative. Mora said that some environments such as the oceans are already subsumed in an unprecedented climate, due to a shift in the ocean’s chemistry.“Just in the last decade the ocean became a completely different environment with regard to pH,” Mora said.The study delved into the sociological effects of climate departure. Up to 5 billion people will be living in regions that have entered climate departure by 2050, according to the study. The earliest climate departures will happen in poor tropical countries.“The fact that the earliest climate departures occur in low-income countries further highlights an obvious disparity between those who benefit economically from the processes leading to climate change and those who will have to pay for most of the environmental and social costs,” the study’s authors wrote.Mora cited the example of Mexico, one the earliest victims of unprecedented climate in the region. Mora said the loss of agriculture and jobs will create problems for the country’s neighbors. Countries like the United States have already experienced the effects of poor economic conditions in Mexico, such as mass migration, and these events will come again, Mora warned.Given the short timeline, the social consequences and the harm to wildlife, Mora believed the time for actions by governments is now.“Solutions have to come from the top down,” Mora said. “There is not enough time to build a groundswell of support and force change. Politicians have to create regulations now.” Facebook Comments The Costa Rican capital will hit a tipping point in its climate within 25 years, where unseen high temperatures will become the new normal, according to a study published by the scientific journalNature.The study, conducted by University of Hawaii geography professor Camilo Mora, looked at rising temperatures across the planet, estimating when certain cities and wildlife hotspots would enter what he dubbed an unprecedented climate.“It’s when the coldest year in the future will be warmer than the hottest year in the past,” Mora told The Tico Times in a phone interview.The study found that the regions hit first will be in the tropics, some within the next decade. If no action is taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Mora’s study estimated a number of Caribbean islands would see the first unprecedented climates in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Kingston, Jamaica, would be first, with an estimated date of 2023. By 2031 change will hit the mainland, with both Mexico City and Panama City heating up with previously unseen temperatures.In addition to cities, Mora’s study looked at plants and animals, estimating the departure dates for regions with rich biodiversity, such as America’s tropics. The first group will be coral reefs, which will hit their climate departure in 2034.A number of wildlife groups will hit their tipping point around the same time as cities such as San José, including terrestrial mammals, birds, plants and amphibians. This is due to the rich biodiversity in a region covering southern Mexico to the Amazon in South America.“For some species, it is going to be a death sentence,” Mora said.A number of tropical species evolved in a climate with little variability for thousands of years, Mora said. Even a minute temperature shift will create conditions where some species, such as coral, will be unable to adapt.The graphic below shows climate change’s spread according to a scenario where little to no action is taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions. It starts with Kingston, Jamaica, in 2023 and coral reefs in 2034. The story continues below. Related posts:Climate change blamed for Costa Rica’s national banana emergency Climate change in Costa Rica’s cloud forest Tackling climate change in coastal communities Region to pay hefty price of climate changelast_img read more


first_imgPresident Luis Guillermo Solís signed an executive decree Thursday that reiterates his government’s pledge to maintain essential services, including police and hospitals, and establish protocols to guarantee that these and other public services are not interrupted by labor disputes.Solís told reporters at Casa Presidencial that he would sign Thursday’s decree after lifting former President Laura Chinchilla’s (2010-2014) veto on a controversial labor reform bill on Dec. 12. The decree takes effect Thursday through the next 18 months until the Reforms of Labor Procedures Bill becomes law in May 2016.“This is to tell the people, investors, workers, that we believe that the government should guarantee continuity in public services, in these activities we have defined as essential,” Labor Minister Victor Morales said during a press conference Thursday.The decree’s language defines “essential services” as those that would endanger “rights to life, health and public security,” which included, hospital, emergency and police services as well as port operations, telecommunications, water, energy and the transportation of patients.President Solís said he did not agree with the labor reform law’s language that would allow for strikes in essential services, which prompted his decision to issue the decree. Morales clarified that the labor reform law permits regulated strikes in public services but that some services, like police, should have an absolute prohibition on strikes. The labor minister said that the Solís administration hoped the legislature would amend the law’s language to reflect the decree’s intention during the coming year. Facebook Comments Related posts:Uber gets $200 million for international expansion Obama administration to further ease travel and business restrictions with Cuba Doing Business: How countries game the World Bank’s rankings Argentina opposition attacks Macri over Panama Paperslast_img read more


first_imgRelated posts:Upbeat outlook for Costa Rica tourism, as visitors, revenue up in 2014 Tourism entrepreneurs to present President Solís with a plan to further develop sector Singing animals will ‘save the Americans’ (and the Canadians) in a new Costa Rica tourism ad campaign Costa Rica rises in global ranking of travel, tourism competitiveness Costa Rica’s Tourism Board wants visitors to spend time not just at the country’s beaches and national parks, but in its capital city San José.The Tourism Board is launching a strategy that “aims to make San José a cultural and gastronomic attraction,” the board’s director of promotion, Ireth Rodríguez Villalobos, said Monday.The strategy is part of tourism policies outlined by President Luis Guillermo Solís, who last year signed an executive decree declaring “of public and national interest the tourism development of downtown San José.” The decree was published in the official newspaper La Gaceta on Monday and takes effect this week.It’s main goal is to promote San José’s downtown among both local and international tourists through brochures, maps, guides, videos and websites.They all will advertise the capital’s historic buildings, museums and galleries, as well as the many gastronomic options located between 7th Avenue and 10th Avenue and 9th Street and 12th Street in central San José.In addition to promoting the area’s urban attractions, such as the National Theater, historic post office, National Museum and Gold Museum, the Tourism Board also will promote several surrounding neighborhoods, including Amón, Otoya, Aranjuez and Pitahaya, where visitors can check out historic buildings and antique houses.The tourism board plans to keep promoting current touristic activities such as walking and train tours through the city’s main attractions. It will also support private initiatives like Art City Tour, ChepeCletas and bus tours by Costa Rica City Square Tour.The government also plans to host tourism and cultural fairs, and boost promotion on the web, through social networks and at information offices downtown, Rodríguez said.Among its main challenges, officials will have to work to make tourists feel comfortable and safe walking the capital’s streets.They’ve already made one move: the Tourism Board’s director of tourist services, Víctor Ramírez Montero, said the board recently moved the Tourist Police headquarters to new facilities within the promoted area and added 49 police officers, two police cars, six motorcycles and ten bicycles for patrolling downtown.Currently board officials are in negotiations with San José’s municipal tourism department to coordinate the creation of a new information, assistance and tourist protection center, Ramírez said. Plans also include campaigns on mass and social media asking people to avoid littering and keep the city clean, he added.According to data from the Tourism Board, some 1.3 million tourists stay at least one night in the Central Valley each year, usually prior to moving to other destinations across the country.Click here to download a PDF version of one of the brochures the Tourism Board will provide at their information offices. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


first_imgVenezuela now has a gold problem.The South American country, which is trying to stave off a bond default in the wake of oil’s swoon, had 68 percent of its international reserves in bullion as of August, according to the World Gold Council. That’s a big worry because the price of the precious metal has tumbled 15 percent from this year’s high in January as the global slump in commodities deepened.The decline threatens to erode reserves the cash-strapped country relies on to pay its foreign debt. Venezuela, which gets more than 95 percent of its export revenue from oil, will see its hoard plunge by $1 billion if bullion prices don’t rebound, said Alejandro Arreaza, an analyst at Barclays Plc.“Obviously, it’s the worst of both worlds,” he said.Venezuela’s dollar-denominated bonds have lost 19.2 percent in the past three months, the most in emerging markets, as the collapse in oil exacerbates concern the nation will run out of money to pay debt. Yields on its benchmark notes climbed past 26 percent on Aug. 6, the highest since February.Venezuela’s central bank uses a six-month moving average to value its gold, which means the 5 percent drop in the metal over the past month isn’t immediately reflected in official statistics, according to Barclays’s Arreaza.Bullion for immediate delivery fell to a five-year low on Aug. 5 and is currently trading around $1,104 an ounce. Prices will average $950 an ounce in 2016, Natixis Commodity Markets Ltd. said in an Aug. 6 report.Press officials for the Finance Ministry and Central Bank didn’t answer phone calls placed Monday during normal business hours seeking comment on the slump in gold prices and the government’s ability to pay debt.After falling to $15.4 billion last month, the lowest since 2003, Venezuela’s reserves have climbed to $16.7 billion after the country collected an oil-debt payment from Jamaica and signed a loan agreement with China.Still, Venezuela and its state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, have about $6.3 billion in bond payments due for the remainder of this year and about $10.8 billion in 2016, data compiled by Bloomberg show.Venezuela’s reserves could fall below $15 billion if gold prices fall further or if the government decides to liquidate some of its holdings, according to Sarah Glendon, the head of sovereign research at Gramercy Funds Management.In April, Caracas-based newspaper El Nacional reported that the central bank swapped $1 billion of its gold reserves for a cash injection. And in 2012, then President Hugo Chávez repatriated most of the country’s gold reserves.Venezuela has drawn down reserves about $1 billion a month this year to counter the drop in oil prices, Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients last month.“It’s a question of what weighs more in their mind: servicing their debt or holding their gold in Caracas?” Gramercy’s Glendon said from Greenwich, Connecticut. “It’s going to be extremely challenging for Venezuela to get another source of dollars.”© 2015, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:Amid shortages, Venezuelans turn to informal networks Venezuela’s Maduro secures another $5 billion loan from China for oil sector Venezuela’s crackdown on sales of everyday goods risks alienating loyalists Venezuela rating cut by Moody’s as oil plunge hits financeslast_img read more


first_imgOn the heels of last year’s closure of chip manufacturerIntel‘s assembly plant in Costa Rica, the company announced Monday that it’s opening a new Client Computing Group (CCG) in Costa Rica. The new unit will be responsible mostly for developing tablets and PCs.Intel is waiting to disclose details until the official announcement Tuesday. But the company already confirmed that the new department will employ Costa Rican engineers who will work “in coordination with Intel teams worldwide to develop new technological devices to be launched in coming years.”The CCG team will focus on Intel’s latest generation of microprocessors including Atom, Pentium, COREM, Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7.The team will also support product development for other devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops and all-in-one computers.The new department joins Intel’s Research and Development Center, which the company opened in Costa Rica in 2014. The center is responsible for research and testing of Intel’s microprocessors prior to their mass production at Intel’s plants in Asia.Intel last year closed its microchip assembly plant in Heredia province and dismissed a total of 1,500 employees. The closing is still affecting Costa Rica’s export figures in what government officials call the ‘Intel effect.’The Foreign Trade Ministry last month reported that exports of goods from Costa Rica rose 2.3 percent in the first nine months of 2015 compared with the same period of 2014. However if exports of electronic components are included in comparisons between both years, there’s been an overall 16.7 percent decline. Facebook Comments Related posts:Intel hiring for new Costa Rica operation Costa Rica exports down 15 percent in 2015, mostly thanks to Intel exit Intel’s exit still affecting Costa Rica export figures Costa Rica exports down 16 percent in first six months of 2015; ‘Intel effect’ continueslast_img read more


first_imgHe vehemently opposed ultra-Orthodox Jews serving in the Israeli military and opposed secular studies for his community, fearing outside influences could change their traditional way of life.And he forbade Jews from wearing Crocs shoes on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, because he said they were too comfortable for the somber atmosphere of the day of fasting and repentance.Shortly before his death, the Israeli news website Ynet was granted rare access to film the two-room apartment where he raised his 12 children. The video showed humble living quarters consisting of a bed, a few pieces of basic furniture and vast amounts of books.“He wakes up about 3:30 in the morning, studies for a few hours and then leaves at 6:00 for prayers at a small synagogue nearby,” said Shlomo Kook, an aide to the rabbi.“He told his students that the secret to his long life is never to get angry and never take things personally or to heart _ except Torah study, which should be taken straight to the heart,” Kook said.The rabbi’s health deteriorated in recent years, and he was hospitalized many times for lung infections and other ailments.Thousands of Jews prayed for his recovery in recent weeks in synagogues around the world. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   Elyashiv ruled on a wide range of issues.He condemned a directive by a group of radical Israeli rabbis in 2010 forbidding renting or selling property to non-Jews. Elyashiv said those who supported the ruling should “have their pens taken away.” Elyashiv’s opinion prompted several rabbis who signed the edict to retract their signatures.Elyashiv spoke out against Jews visiting the Jerusalem shrine they know as the Temple Mount, which was home to the Jewish temples in biblical times until destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.He said Jews are not ritually pure enough to set foot on the sacred ground today, and that visits by Jews could lead to bloodshed, because the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, stands there now.In another ruling, he banned ultra-Orthodox women, who cover their hair for modesty, from wearing Indian-made wigs in case the wig hair had previously been used in Indian worship, which would disqualify them for Jewish ritual. The edict prompted the burning of thousands of wigs in Israel as well as in Jewish communities in Brooklyn and elsewhere.Elyashiv also made several proclamations that drew the ire of the mostly secular Israeli public. The rabbi had 12 children. One of them, a little girl, was killed in Jordanian shelling in 1948 during the battle for Jerusalem that followed Israel’s creation, and another died at a young age from typhus.The other 10 children had large families who in turn had many children of their own, putting the number of the rabbi’s survivors at close to a thousand, Kook said.According to Jewish tradition, the funeral takes place as soon as possible after a death, so the rabbi’s funeral procession began late Wednesday night.Israeli police said they would close roads in Jerusalem for the procession, which was expected to draw tens of thousands of people.(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 Israeli President Shimon Peres, the mayor of Jerusalem, the country’s chief rabbi and many others also offered condolences.Menachem Friedman, a professor emeritus of Bar Ilan University and an expert on ultra-Orthodox Judaism, called Elyashiv “an extraordinary scholar.”“He lived in great modesty in a small, rundown apartment, and people would flock there day and night seeking answers to complex questions of Jewish law and asking for blessings,” Friedman said. “Often they would line up outside in the alley for hours just to catch a glimpse of the rabbi.”Friedman said Elyashiv was a kingmaker who worked behind the scenes to approve the appointment of Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbis as well as Jerusalem’s first ultra-Orthodox mayor, Uri Lupolianski, in 2003.Elyashiv was unique in that his rulings transcended the divide among the different Jewish sects. His authority was accepted by all but the most fringe groups, Friedman said.Elyashiv was born on April 10, 1910, to a rabbinical family in Lithuania. He moved at a young age to Jerusalem, where he grew up in the insular ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim.He served as a judge in the sensitive position of the rabbinical appeals court until 1974, when he retired. The rabbi then devoted his time to Talmudic scholarship, mainly in an otherwise abandoned building in Jerusalem, so he could study alone without interruption, Friedman said. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishescenter_img Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem said Elyashiv died there after a long illness.Elyashiv was the leader of the Lithuanian sect of ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews that adhere to a strict religious lifestyle and ideology renowned for its analytic form of studying complex Jewish holy texts.He also served as the spiritual leader of a small ultra-Orthodox party in the Israeli parliament, Degel Hatorah, which later merged into the influential United Torah Judaism that consists of various small religious parties.Party members conferred with Elyashiv on all matters _ political, religious and personal _ and a few words uttered by the elderly rabbi could sway Israeli policy or affect daily life for devout Jews.For his hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, Elyashiv was considered a sage and a respected arbitrator of the intricacies of Jewish religious law and practices.Tributes began pouring in shortly after news of his death was reported on Israeli TV and radio stations.“In his rulings, Rabbi Elyashiv left a deep mark on the ultra-Orthodox world and on the entire people of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “The rabbi’s way was that of love of the Torah and love of man, humility and the protection of the sanctity of life.” Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, revered by Jews worldwide as the top rabbinic authority of this generation for his scholarship and rulings on complex elements of Jewish law, died Wednesday, hospital officials said. He was 102.Elyashiv devoted his life to Torah study and credited his longevity to never getting angry. He rejected worldly possessions and chose instead to live modestly in a tiny Jerusalem apartment, where people lined up, seeking advice, blessings and rulings on religious issues. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more


first_img Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Comments   Share   She survived by taking on an assumed Christian identity. Her mother and her sister were saved by papers issued by Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat in Budapest who rescued thousands of Jews.Her father and other relatives perished in the Auschwitz concentration camp.“He was a fantastic athlete,” she said of her father. “He’s the one who got me into sports.”After the war she resumed her training.“For me, sports was really just a way to see the world,” she said. “Maybe that’s why I never got nervous. People said they got scared before competitions. That never happened to me. Gymnastics was just a part of my life.”During the 1956 games in Australia, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary, half a world away. Keleti, along with about half the Hungarian delegation, sought and received political asylum.She emigrated to Israel the following year to compete in the Jewish Maccabiah Games. She married, had two sons and coached Israel’s national gymnastics team for decades.In 2002, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.Now widowed, she maintains an active lifestyle, swimming and walking for more than an hour a day. She has a firm handshake and is flexible enough to touch the floor from a standing a position, hold her leg high above her head and even do the splits. Now living in an apartment near the beach in the coastal city of Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, the retired gymnastics coach is still physically fit but has trouble recalling details of her Olympic heyday.She couldn’t find her precious hardware.“Staying alive is more important than the medals,” she said, after rummaging in vain through drawers in her apartment. “The medals have no meaning.”After the 1956 Games in Melbourne, Australia, she had more of them than any other woman in the world.At 35, an age when most gymnasts have long retired, Keleti won four gold medals and two silvers, winning three of the four individual events _ floor, bars and balance beam _ and placing second in the all-around. The showing made her the top medalist of the games and the oldest female gymnast ever to win gold.Together with her four medals from the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland, she became the top female medalist ever, trailing only Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi and American shooter Carl Osburn on the all-time list at the time.Keleti said she never even wanted to be a gymnast. Her childhood dream was to be a cellist. Those and other plans changed with the Holocaust, when her family was driven from home and scattered across Europe. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories center_img She followed the just-completed Olympics closely on TV.Watching the athletes compete, he said she was struck by how much sports have changed and progressed since her days.“It’s developed too much. It’s unbelievable the things they can do. It’s not sports anymore, it’s a profession,” she said. “Today I never would have succeeded. The gymnasts today are better at acrobatics than those in the circus. The things I see look impossible.”Her 10 medals surpass the seven all of Israel’s athletes have earned together over 60 years of competition, and she was disappointed with Israel’s shutout showing this year.“It’s a shame that Israel didn’t get a medal,” she said, before adding with a smile, “but I’m Israeli, too.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressHERZLIYA, Israel (AP) – One of the world’s most decorated Olympians is living quietly in Israel, a country that just wrapped up its participation in the world competition without a single medal.Agnes Keleti, 91 now, won 10 Olympic medals in gymnastics, including five golds, for Hungary in the 1950s before defecting and emigrating to Israel.That was just one chapter of her unusual life. Her Olympic heroics began when she was already at an age when most athletes have hung up their shoes _ because she spent her prime sporting years escaping the Nazis during World War II. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more


first_img Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Hundreds of Maariv employees protested against the sale Thursday. They said they will go on strike and wowed not to publish the newspaper on Tuesday.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories JERUSALEM (AP) – One of Israel’s main daily newspapers has been sold, placing the future of its 2,000 employees in jeopardy.Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner sold the Hebrew-language Maariv for $19 million on Thursday. The new owner, Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, is the publisher of a hardline religious newspaper. He has said he will likely keep only 300 of Maariv’s current employees.Maariv was first published in 1948 with the establishment of the Israeli state. It was once the country’s largest paper, but in recent years it has fallen behind Yediot Ahronot and Israel Hayom, the free daily, funded by the hawkish Jewish-American billionaire Sheldon Adelson. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more


first_img Check your body, save your life Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Critics of Morales say he is afraid people would check “mestizo,” or mixed-race, so as not to identify themselves with a particular indigenous group, thus delegitimizing the government.“I’m not Aymara. I’m not Quechua. I’m a mestizo,” read graffiti painted on walls around La Paz, the capital.“The government wants to put on display an indigenous country, and if `mestizo’ turned out to be the majority identity its entire indigenous routine gets sunk,” said Victor Hugo Cardenas, a former vice president and, like Morales, an ethnic Aymara.More than 60 percent of Bolivians are of native descent and Morales, who grew up in poverty and became a coca-grower’s union leader, has solid support from the Aymara and Quechua, the two principal ethnicities centered in the highlands.The Morales government rewrote Bolivia’s constitution to give native groups political autonomy, naming it a “plurinational state.”Interior Minister Carlos Romero said the result of Wednesday’s census would help the government construct such a state. And he noted that people who did not wish to identify an ethnicity could simply check “Bolivian” on the census form. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Associated PressLA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) – A dispute over ethnicity marked census-taking day in Bolivia as the landlocked Andean nation’s population submitted Wednesday to its first national head count in 11 years.The controversy revolved around a decision by the government of President Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, not to include “mestizo” as a category.It might not have been an issue _ “mestizo” never appeared as an option on previous censuses _ had not Bolivians been given the option Wednesday of declaring themselves members of one of 40 ethnic groups, including Afro-Bolivians. In practice, the autonomy of the country’s native groups has been very limited and Morales has alienated many indigenous Bolivians, especially lowlands Indians, by insisting on plans to build a highway across a nature preserve that would link La Paz with Brazil.The census aims to provide the government with hard data on who lives where and who has moved around to help it make decisions on distributing resources and providing basic services such as health, education, electricity and water.Expected to be well-detailed in the census is the economic primacy of the lowlands state of Santa Cruz, seat of opposition to Morales. Although La Paz and the Andean highlands are home to most Bolivians, Santa Cruz produces 70 percent of the country’s food and accounts for 27 percent of gross domestic product against 25 percent for La Paz.Administering the census was estimated to cost $50 million.Bolivians were obliged to stay at home on Wednesday to participate, silencing the usual cacophony on the streets of the major cities in the country of 10 million.An estimated 2 million Bolivians live abroad, chiefly in Argentina, Spain, The United States and Brazil.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img