first_img MOSCOW — After each of their friends tied the knot and wound up getting married, two men were left standing and single as ever. But rather than take the leap of matrimonial faith themselves, the two Americans – who’ve been friends for 15 years – booked a ‘homiemoon’ to Thailand to celebrate their bachelor lifestyles.What followed was an outpouring of love and laughs on social media, not to mention a possible new niche market in the travel industry. One of the men, who goes by ‘ignoreeverythingido’ on Imgur, documented the trip with photos that spoof the famous ‘Follow Me To’ travel pics by Murad Osmann and Natalia Zakharova.Murad and Natalia’s photos have inspired countless copycats who are in love and travel the world. But these ‘homiemoon’ pics are by far the funniest for putting a jokingly romantic twist on an otherwise heterosexual bromance. Share Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Could the ‘Homiemoon’ be the next big trend in travel? Tags: Thailandcenter_img Travelweek Group Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

first_imgThis hotel package lets you ‘Live Like Kevin’ in Home Alone Travelweek Group NEW YORK CITY — Ready to feel old? ‘Home Alone 2: Lost In New York’, everyone’s favourite holiday flick, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. In the words of Kevin McCallister, “Aaaaggghhhh!”A quarter of a century after a mini Macaulay Culkin evaded the Sticky Bandits in the Big Apple, the iconic hotel that served as the backdrop for the iconic movie is offering a commemorative anniversary package that will make visitors feel like kids again.The ‘HOME ALONE 2 Anniversary Room Package at The Plaza New York, priced from US$895, includes an interactive photo experience, a paint can with all five ‘Home Alone’ DVDs, an anniversary backpack and, the pièce de résistance, an over-the-top ice cream sundae in-room, just like the one Kevin had in the movie.Guests can enhance the package by adding express passes to the top of the Empire State Building, access to Wollman Rink, a four-hour limousine tour through New York City during which they can use their Home Alone Map to follow in Kevin’s footsteps, and a personalized vacation photographer.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsThe anniversary package is available from Dec. 1, 2017 to Oct. 29, 2018.Moreover, the hotel is offering all movie fans – not just hotel guests – to ‘Live Like Kevin’. In room and throughout the property, guests are invited to dine in the Todd English Food Hall to taste-test a 90s-inspired menu featuring upscale versions of childhood favourites. The interactive photo experience, which includes photo opps with the Sticky Bandits, is open to the public as well.For more information, go to theplazany.com/homealone2. Posted by Tags: Christmas, New York Citycenter_img Tweet Tuesday, November 28, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

first_imgWith file from The Associated Press Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Eiffel Tower, Paris Travelweek Group Thursday, June 14, 2018 Eiffel Tower to look even better with new surrounding glass walls Posted by PARIS – The Eiffel Tower, once considered an eyesore upon its construction, is getting a new ‘do.Paris authorities have started replacing the metal security fencing around the famed landmark with more visually appealing glass walls.The company operating the monument says see-through panels are being set up to replace the fences at the north and south ends. Each panel, composed of over 6-centimetre thick armoured glass, measures three metres high and weighs 1.5 tons.The glass walls will give visitors unobstructed views of the tower, the nearby Champ-de-Mars Gardens and the other side of the Seine River that cuts through Paris.In addition to the walls, the gardens beneath the tower will also be enhanced, all of which is being done as part of a US$350 million project announced last year to modernize the 129-year-old iconic structure.last_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. It has arrived! ArteViva is here, and the long-awaited festival brings a weekend full of free events. There is a street basketball tournament Friday, along with an opening event at the Casa de Cultura.A beach volleyball tournament takes place Saturday, and on Sunday there are student exhibitions and a closing event at Lazy Mon. You can also check out free community yoga, dance and cinema and live music every night and of course art, art, art! For the full schedule and list of contacts visit www.arteviva-puertoviejo.com. A local project based out of Playa Chiquita has worked for years to serve quality coconut oil and organic cacao to the people of the Caribe Sur. Talamanca Organica, established by Christina Orr, provides 100 percent sundried organic cacao, a super food of the tropics. Cacao is famous for its richness of nutrients, antioxidants, magnesium, anandamide (the feel good chemical) and phenyl ethylamine (the love chemical). Talamanca Organica sells raw cacao as well as nibs.You can stock up on this super food at the new CariBean’s Chocolate Tasting Lounge that has opened inside of OM on Beach Break, Cocles. Paul and Jeanne Johnson have turned eating chocolate into a full on experience for the senses. Come test a variety of drinking chocolate flavors, coffee options, specialty CariBeans ice cream flavors, juices and a wide selection of chocolate bar flavors and single source creations. Step inside their famous “Chocolador” to get a full scent sensation. Talamanca Organica is one of the many cacao providers. For more info, visit www.caribeanscr.com or call 8836-8930.-Kristin Gilbert Ramírezkristinlgilbert@gmail.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. A former National Liberation Party presidential candidate and current campaign manager of San José Mayor Johnny Araya, Antonio Álvarez Desanti, denied on Monday that he had acquired more than 600 hectares of protected land in Panama in an irregular deal.Panama’s daily La Prensa reported Monday that more than 2,000 hectares of protected land owned by indigenous Ngäbe Buglé people were sold in “suspiciously fast” transactions.Desanti, a Liberation candidate for lawmaker in upcoming 2014 elections, allegedly bought 685 hectares in which he plans to invest some $40 million, according to La Prensa, which added that the properties were first acquired by Panamanian lawyers Elvisilda Martínez and her husband, Francisco Castillo, at costs as low as three cents per square meter. They then allegedly sold and registered the land in record time.Ngäbe people in the area told the newspaper they were tricked into signing documents that listed them as investors in development projects. The documents they actually signed were for sale of the land.Many local residents said they spent several years unsuccessfully trying to obtain property titles for the land, yet the lawyers managed to do it in record time and at extremely low price, turning a profit of millions of dollars.The 685 hectares in question are owned by a corporation called Desarrollo Ecoturístico Cañaveral, chaired by Antonio Álvarez Desanti and his wife, Nuria Marín.The Ngäbe Buglé region is a protected area for its high biological value, as it has a rich biodiversity of plants and animals, including various endangered species. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgLiberacionistas sing “Viva Pepe” the party’s theme song following massive defeat @TheTicoTimes pic.twitter.com/KDjMKfHhVa— Lindsay Fendt (@LEFendt) April 7, 2014 “Most of us in the PLN were clear we weren’t going to win this election, but the difference [in votes] was much bigger than we thought,” Araya supporter Roberto Castro told The Tico Times at Liberation headquarters. “I think the people’s will was clear: They do not want a third National Liberation Party administration.”President-elect Solís and his campaign managed to displace Costa Rica’s oldest and most established political party, which won the presidency the last two consecutive terms.President Laura Chinchilla, whose troubled administration and ongoing scandals helped lay the groundwork for the PAC victory, called Solís to congratulate him. She also thanked Costa Ricans for another peaceful election unmarred by violence. PLN campaign manager Antonio Álvarez Desanti discusses the loss of his candidate Johnny Araya in Costa Rica’s 2014 presidential election on April 6. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesThroughout the day and late into the night Costa Ricans stayed connected on social media. One Twitter user, @Denisblabla, summed up the historic day in less than 140 characters: “Acá unas crayolas cambian un gobierno; no las armas” – “Here a few voting crayons can change the government; not weapons.”https://twitter.com/denisblabla/status/453029753642307584Organization of American States Secretary General José Miguel Insulza recognized Solís’ victory and noted that voting was “absolutely tranquil.”Solís, a political scientist and historian at the UCR, surprised pollsters, who had him in fourth place ahead of the Feb. 2 first round of voting. He ended up taking first place, coming in with 30.6 percent of the vote, just slightly better than Araya’s 29.7 percent. But it was not enough to exceed the 40 percent plus one required to avoid a runoff.The PAC candidate has never held elected political office but is no stranger to the halls of power, working in several PLN administrations and serving as ambassador to Panama during the administration of José María Figueres (1994-1998), before leaving the party for the PAC in 2009 2005.Solís, the son of a cobbler and father of six, traces his roots back to his Jamaican-Chinese grandparents who worked banana plantations in the Caribbean province of Limón in the early 19th century. The candidate’s family history and humble demeanor resonated with voters fed up with perceived corruption, stagnant poverty and rising inequality in Central America’s oldest democracy.“My political strategy is aimed towards those who think professional politicians are no good,” Solís told The Tico Times last November.That strategy succeeded. President-elect Luis Guillermo Solís greets the crowd at Plaza Roosevelt in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, in eastern San José, on April 6, 2014. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesThe Tico Times’ L. Arias and Lindsay Fendt contributed to this report. Who is Luis Guillermo Solís? Read our full interview with him last November, and follow all of our election coverage at the hashtag #Elections 2014. Stay tuned for more analysis on Costa Rica’s historic 2014 presidential election.  Facebook Comments Opposition candidate and former professor Luis Guillermo Solís easily won Sunday’s runoff election, ushering in Costa Rica’s first third-party candidate in 44 years.Rallying at Plaza Roosevelt in San Pedro, east of San José, Solís of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) and red-and-yellow clad supporters cheered the results as the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) announced him the winner in a landslide with 77.8 percent of the votes to National Liberation Party (PLN) candidate Johnny Araya’s 22.1 percent, with 96 percent of the votes counted Sunday night.“More than one million Costa Ricans said ‘yes’ to change” today, the president-elect told an exuberant crowd of supporters. “No longer will corruption live in our country.” A crowd of supporters reacts to an announcement that Citizen Action Party candidate Luis Guillermo Solís has just won the presidency, in eastern San José, on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesAraya quickly conceded the race after the TSE released its initial count just after 8 p.m. showing Solís with more than 77 percent, with over 70 percent of the votes counted.“After hearing the results of more than 77 percent of the polling centers, we must congratulate the president-elect of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís,” Araya said. “With humility we must recognize Costa Rican people’s clear and forceful will.”Arguably, Araya had already conceded the race in March when he surprised his party followers by announcing he would stop campaigning after a disappointing showing in a University of Costa Rica poll and dwindling campaign funds. Araya, 56 and a former mayor of San José, left Solís unencumbered to clinch Sunday’s vote. National Liberation Party candidate Johnny Araya reacts to his loss in Costa Rica’s 2014 presidential runoff election on April 6, 2014. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesSolís stressed that voter abstention would be his greatest challenge after Araya left the field, leading some analysts to wonder if low turnout would weaken his popular mandate. However, Solís exceeded his goal of 1 million votes, garnering just under 1.3 million – the most votes ever captured by a Costa Rican presidential candidate, according to Teletica. (Araya’s was the worst vote tally in PLN history.) Predictably, voter abstention remained higher than in the first round, at just over 43 percent compared to 31.8 percent on Feb. 2, according to the TSE. Still, at last count, Solís had managed to capture more votes than the number of voters who abstained, which also was just under 1.3 million.“I’m overwhelmed with pride, confidence and [a sense of] security for the country,” PAC supporter Sylbell Bedoya, 58, told The Tico Times at Sunday night’s post-election rally. “[Solís] has brought back confidence to the country, to the Costa Rican people.”Several PAC supporters waved brooms with red and yellow flags attached, signifying a sweep. Solís beat Araya in all seven Costa Rican provinces, and he even won in the former San José mayor’s own home town of Palmares by a margin of more than two to one.“It’s a broom to sweep away pericos!” Feliz Salas, a 65-year-old teachers representative, told The Tico Times, referring to the small green birds associated with the ruling PLN. Thousands of PAC supporters threw a party in eastern San José with five different Costa Rican bands to celebrate Luis Guillermo Solís’ victory. Alberto Font/the Tico TimesCompared to the festive atmosphere at Plaza Roosevelt, PLN headquarters – known as the Balcón Verde – in western San José was subdued, stinging from the trouncing at the polls. A group of Liberación youth dressed in green tried to liven the atmosphere by playing a live rendition of the party’s anthem, while an emotional Araya clapped along. But he looked as if he’d rather have been elsewhere.center_img Related posts:What keeps Johnny Araya awake at night? UCR Poll: Solís running away with runoff election Johnny Araya is down and out, but not his party, says analyst Solís wins big but bigger challenges may be ahead, say analystslast_img read more

first_imgBOGOTÁ, Colombia – Colombian opposition candidate Óscar Zuluaga led President Juan Manuel Santos in elections Sunday, but they now face a runoff vote in a crucial campaign for peace talks with Marxist rebels.With 96 percent of ballots counted, Zuluaga had 29.2 percent of the votes compared to 25.5 percent for Santos, both failing to get the outright majority needed to avoid the June 15 second round.Santos has presented the election as a referendum on his center-right government’s 18-month-old negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).But Zuluaga, who has the support of former conservative president Álvaro Uribe, has vowed to take a harder line against rebels.As he cast his vote early in Bogotá, Santos said the election “strengthens our democracy, our institutions and regardless of the winner we will continue on the right track towards peace.”Zuluaga, who voted in northern Bogotá, said voters were choosing “what kind of country we want.”Once ahead in opinion polls, Santos lost his advantage in recent weeks and the two rivals were running neck-and-neck in the end amid mudslinging.They led a field of five candidates, with conservative Marta Lucía Ramírez in third place with 15.6 percent.With the FARC calling a ceasefire during the vote, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón said it was the “safest election day in recent history.”Monitors from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) said the election was carried out “absolutely normally.”Allies turned rivalsSantos and Zuluaga were once Cabinet colleagues under Uribe (2002-2010), but are now bitter rivals and have clashed repeatedly in a campaign marred by espionage and corruption allegations.Santos, 62, worked as defense minister under Uribe, whose aggressive military campaign led to the killings of key FARC leaders.But Uribe, who remains popular, threw his weight behind Zuluaga, his former finance minister, going as far as calling Santos a traitor for negotiating with the rebels.The former president reiterated his support for Zuluaga as he cast his vote, saying he chose the best candidate “to retrieve the path of security abandoned by the current government.”Zuluaga, 55, has called for the peace negotiations to be suspended until the rebels give up their weapons.Santos, in power since 2010, has made ending the conflict the centerpiece of his re-election bid, campaigning on a slogan which offers voters a stark choice: “War or Peace.”‘Unforgivable betrayal’The contrasting viewpoints were evident among voters.“We need a peace accord,” said 20-year-old student María Paula Erazo.That way the government could “invest in Colombia’s other problems, like health and education,” she said.But one Zuluaga supporter Henry Gallán, a 58-year-old security equipment salesman, said his candidate would ensure there was “peace without impunity, not what Santos has done.”“His betrayal of the previous government is unforgivable,” he said.The peace process, hosted by Cuba, seeks to end a conflict that has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced more than five million since it erupted in 1964.“The main issue between the two candidates is the peace process. Santos wants to finish what he started, while Zuluaga’s precise intentions are unknown,” said Yann Basset, a political scientist at the University of Rosario.“It’s unclear if he’s going to terminate negotiations or try to continue them on different terms.”The talks have so far led to agreements on rural reform, the participation of former guerrillas in politics and the battle against drug trafficking.Santos has refused to call a ceasefire during the peace talks in order to keep up pressure on the guerrillas. Facebook Comments Related posts:Colombia’s ‘discriminatory’ military draft under discussion as peace deal comes closer Colombian Embassy attaché tells of harrowing 13-year ordeal as a FARC captive Colombia government, rebels to set up truth commission Colombia and FARC rebels announce major breakthrough in peace talkslast_img read more

first_imgFacebook Comments Related posts:Christmas-themed theater warms hearts this month Yoga Day, Father’s Day exhibit and other happenings around Costa Rica Music for movie buffs, whale fest, and other happenings around Costa Rica Envision Festival announces 2016 music and arts lineuplast_img

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican president presents draft decree to legalize in vitro fertilization Costa Rican plaintiffs disappointed, but not surprised, by president’s IVF proposal Costa Rica IVF decree loses support of public health care system Following legalization, just 1 clinic signed up to offer IVF Contributed by: Jill Louise Replogle, The Tico Times http://ticotimes.net/73887 Full Spanish language decree regulating in vitro fertilization in Costa Rica on Sept. 10, 2015. Zoom Loading Loading After years of court battles, legislative wrangling and consultations with medical organizations, in vitro fertilization is once again legal in Costa Rica.President Luis Guillermo Solís signed a decree Thursday to regulate IVF in Costa Rica, opening the possibility for people to pursue the fertility treatment here for the first time in 15 years. Solís signed the decree despite hesitation from the Costa Rican Social Security System, which runs the country’s socialized healthcare system.Solís signed the decree Thursday afternoon at his desk in Casa Presidencial, without fanfare, after he received comments on the decree’s language from the Doctors and Surgeons Association and the Costa Rican Social Security System, also known as the Caja.The Caja estimated that an IVF treatment would cost roughly ₡20 million ($40,000) per patient, but ₡18 million of that price tag is for prenatal care, birth, postpartum and neonatal care. According to the Caja’s breakdown, the actual IVF treatment, for three cycles, would cost just ₡2.4 million (roughly $4,400) per patient.Costa Rica became the only country in the Western Hemisphere to ban the fertility procedure after the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court decided in 2000 that IVF violated the right to life. Several families sued the government in a case that eventually reached the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which ruled that Costa Rica must regulate IVF by 2012.The country missed that deadline. The Legislative Assembly has struggled to pass a bill that complies with the court’s decision, resulting in the threat of sanctions from the human rights court. Solís said last month that if he did not take action unilaterally the country’s international standing as a defender of human rights would be at risk.IVF decree prohibits destruction of fertilized eggsThe decree from Casa Presidencial would limit the number of fertilized eggs that could be used per cycle to two and would prevent any experimentation on fertilized eggs, including cloning or selecting children for desired traits. The decree also prohibits the destruction of fertilized eggs.The procedure would be made available to the public through the Caja or in private practices.The Doctors Association said in a statement Wednesday that its recommendations were “minimal” and that it didn’t oppose the medical or legal foundation of the decree. The Doctors Association recommended adding a line that would allow couples to donate their unused fertilized eggs to other infertile couples. There are 16 doctors in Costa Rica with a specialization in reproductive health, according to the statement.“We’ve studied this for many months and we’re quite confident that its regulation by decree is possible,” Solís told reporters Thursday.María del Rocío Sáenz Madrigal, executive president of the Caja, isn’t so sure. In a post on the Caja’s Facebook page, Sáenz said that the Caja’s Board of Directors believed that as a matter of fundamental rights, regulation of IVF should be left to the legislature. Sáenz insisted that the Caja was not opposed to IVF, just the president’s decision to regulate it via decree.Advocates for IVF have said that the procedure is not regulated by specific laws in many countries and that there is no reason to believe the Doctors Association and the Health Ministry would not be able to effectively police any potential problems.Plaintiffs in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights case celebrated the president’s executive action after expressing their initial dismay last week when he only released draft language to regulate IVF.“I’m very happy,” Ana Castillo, one of the plaintiffs, told The Tico Times. “We know that there is still a ways to go, there will be opposition, but it appears that after 15 years we can finally see the light and hope for these families who truly want a child.”The decree goes into effect as soon as it is published in the official government newspaper, La Gaceta, which could be as early as Friday.Read the IVF decree (in Spanish) CLOSE Loading Loading Costa Rica In Vitro Fertilization Decree p. 3 Related Article » for “” Next p. 1 p. 2 Facebook Comments Previous Original Document (PDF) » Document Pages Notes Text
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first_imgRelated posts:As US, Cuba renew ties, report urges ‘economic reintegration’ US restores regular flights to Cuba US to ease travel, trade with Cuba starting Friday US, Cuba agree on restoration of ties, embassies to reopen © 2015, The Washington Post HAVANA – No event in decades shook up Cuba like the announcement last Dec. 17 by presidents Obama and Raúl Castro that their countries would begin normalizing long-broken relations. In the 12 months since, Cubans have witnessed scenes few expected to see in their lifetimes, or at least in the lifetimes of Fidel Castro and his brother, Raúl.A U.S. flag snaps once again in the sea breeze outside a U.S. embassy in Havana. Raúl Castro and Obama held talks on the sidelines of a hemispheric summit in April. So many U.S. politicians, corporate executives, foreign leaders, tourists and celebrities have visited, that an island long known for isolation suddenly feels it is at the center of the world.The psychological impact of these events, however, has far outpaced any physical one. So far, U.S. businesses have only completed a handful of new deals. Cuba remains the only closed, one-party state in the Americas, and if anything, normalization with Washington has left communist authorities increasingly anxious about dissent and more determined to stifle it.Cuba is still very much the same country it was a year ago. And yet, not quite.“For a lot of my friends who are university graduates, the news was positive, and we saw it as the beginning of a long and complicated process,” said Lenier González, a founder of the group Cuba Posible, which advocates gradual reform. But for more of the population, “it produced an unrealistic expectation that things would move faster,” he continued.“And then there are others whose hopes have run out after 25 years of economic crisis. They saw it as a good thing too, but they still want to move to Miami.”That third group of Cubans heard in Obama’s words last Dec. 17 a cue to flee. They fear normalization will put an end to the immigration rules that essentially bestow residency and welfare benefits on any Cuban who reaches U.S. soil.As many as 70,000 Cubans have left for the United States in the past year, in what appears to be the largest wave of migration from the island in decades.Related: ‘Dusty-foot’ Cubans forgo rafts, choose land route through Costa Rica People protest outside the newly-reopened Cuban Embassy in Washington D.C. on July 20, 2015. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesDozens, even hundreds of activists are detained or arrested each Sunday, when the Ladies in White dissident group attempts to march in Havana and another group, the Patriotic Union of Cuba, stages a weekly mobilization in Santiago, the island’s second- largest city.Though the government generally no longer locks up dissidents for long prison terms, it increasingly relies on short-term arrests to block protests by activists it considers “mercenaries” at the service of foreign interests.The illegal but tolerated Cuban Commission of Human Rights and Reconciliation tallied 1,447 political arrests or arbitrary detentions in November, the highest monthly total in years.In an interview published Monday, Obama said that the United States would continue to support Cuban rights activists and that he was considering a trip to the island – but on the condition that he can meet with dissidents. “If I go on a visit, then part of the deal is that I get to talk to everybody,” he said, in an interview with Yahoo News.“Our original theory on this was not that we were going to see immediate changes or loosening of the control of the Castro regime, but rather that over time you’d lay the predicates for substantial transformation,” said Obama, whom surveys show is a widely popular figure on the island.Cuban officials this year have tried to push back at public perceptions that Obama is a friend and the United States is no longer a threat or a foe. Relations will not be truly normal, they insist, until Washington lifts its trade embargo, closes the U.S. Navy baseat Guantanamo Bay and makes reparations for a half-century of economic sanctions and other grievances.Yet the rivalry has morphed from hostile confrontation into something more sportsmanlike: a low-intensity contest to set the pace of change, with Washington trying to move faster and Cuba preferring slow, cautious steps.As Rafael Hernández, editor of the Cuban journal Temas, put it: “We’ve traded a boxing ring for a chess board.” Using a new Internet hotspot in Havana, Carolina Baez, 16, left, uses Facebook as her friend, Lara Gonzales, 16, video chats with an aunt in Miami on August 3, 2015. The recent addition of public WiFi hotspots has made the Internet much more affordable in Cuba. Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington PostRaúl Castro, 84, has pledged to step down in February 2018. Obama has 13 months left in office. That leaves a narrow window for the two men who charted the normalization course to see it through.Rarely does a week go by without some new chess move. The Obama administration in May took Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, paving the way for the countries to formally reestablish diplomatic ties in July.The two countries have signed new agreements on environmental cooperation. They’ve enhanced anti-narcotics enforcement. Direct mail service is set to resume on a trial basis. U.S. and Cuban officials have even started discussing their oldest grievances, opening negotiations to settle billions in U.S. property claims and Cuban counter-claims.The U.S. secretaries of agriculture, commerce and state have all visited Havana in the past year, along with dozens of U.S. lawmakers, adding up to the highest-level government contacts in decades.A U.S. tourism tsunami still seems to be building. U.S. travel to Cuba increased by 40 percent since last December, according to industry estimates. Overall tourism to Cuba increased nearly 20 percent, bringing billions in additional revenue for the government.“Our booking activity has been off the charts,” said Tom Popper, president of Insight Cuba, the largest U.S.-based provider of the licensed “people-to-people” travel permitted under U.S. law.Most of the U.S. travelers have come to Havana, where a shortage of hotel beds has kicked off a scramble among Cubans and their foreign business partners to buy, renovate and rent properties. Each city block seems to have at least one crew of contractors patching cracks and applying paint.A deal to reestablish regular commercial flights between the two countries is said to be imminent, with United, JetBlue, American Airlines and other U.S. carriers pledging to begin service as soon as they’re cleared by the two governments.Cuba established a direct phone link with a U.S. company, IDT, and a roaming agreement with Sprint. It has set up nearly 50 outdoor WiFi hotspots at parks and boulevards across the island, where Cubans gather round-the-clock to chat with friends and relatives overseas.But the initial Cuba excitement among U.S. companies has been replaced by something more “sober” a year later, said James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, a group lobbying to lift the embargo.Williams said he knew of at least two-dozen U.S. companies that had submitted formal business proposals to the Castro government, aimed at taking advantage of more flexible rules. “I would imagine it’s probably in the hundreds,” he said.The companies want to lease office space, build warehouses, dock cruise ships and ferries. Not one has gotten a green light so far, he said.“Frankly I think the Cubans have been overwhelmed with a surge in interest and the decentralized nature of how that interest is coming to them, with companies calling them up, consultants coming to them, and not a lot of clarity about how to make a deal,” said Williams. “The non-responsiveness has slowed things down.”center_img Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Off the eaten path: Ban Mee Off the eaten path: Coconut Off the eaten path: Tamura Off the eaten path: Santa Ana Farmers Market If you’re constantly in search of heat, make your way to Avenida 2, between Calle 38 and 40 and you’ll find the perfect spicy space, literally. Espacio Picante, Spanish for spicy space, serves traditional Sichuan cuisine that’s world-famous for their namesake chili peppers that tingle your mouth with a numbing burn.Here, for the last five years, a family of immigrants from the Sichuan region of China hasbeen satisfying and burning the palates of adventurous diners while staying true to their roots.There is an a la carte menu, but the real reason to visit Espacio Picante is for their Sichuan hot pot. Each table in this restaurant has an electric hot plate where they place a large pot of broth (spicy/plain/or half-half) and bring it to a boil.Guests then cook their own food in this pot. Imagine a steaming cauldron spicy of deliciousness with a different morsel every time you go fishing in it. It’s sort of a choose your own culinary adventure. And by the way, definitely get the spicy broth, or at very least half and half. It’s what we came to the spicy space for, isn’t it? Half spicy, half not, full boil.This format is ideal for family-style eating or plate sharing. I would recommend this restaurant for groups of four and up. They could easily accommodate large groups, too.If you choose the hot pot, the waiter will bring a single page black-and-white menu. Each ingredient is listed in Spanish and Chinese, one of the many reminders that this place is legit. Then you mark down on the right side of each ingredient how many you want (ex. 1,2,3).The hotpot menu has about 60 different items to choose from: meats, seafood, starches, vegetables, and noodles. Tofu is available, for vegetarians, too, and while I suspect the broth to be a vegetable stock, I was not able to get a straight answer and so can’t confidently recommend to vegans.All of these items are brought to the table raw, and some are frozen, so it is important to beaware of the different cooking times, depending on temperature and size of the ingredient. If you have any doubts, the waiter will be happy to help specify.As a Canadian, I cannot guarantee that this is the correct way to eat this meal, but I have made the greatest effort to understand proper practices. I always put everything that I order into the pot and let it all cook before starting the meal, but that could very well be incorrect. Maybe the traditional way is to go one at a time, item by item.Regardless of how you cook your ingredients, everyone is served a plate of freshly grated ginger and green onions. It is customary to put a little of each into your small white porcelain bowl and top of with sesame oil and soy sauce. There is also a fermented fish paste that is supposed to be included in this mix. Be cautious with this since it has a powerful and extremely salty flavor that some might find offensive. Some of the ingredients at Espacio Picante.When you remove cooked proteins and vegetables from the hot pot, the idea is to dip them into this mix before eating.Then, as you finish each plate, you put them on the cart they place next to your table. This keeps the table free so you can keep ordering more and more. This meal should be a feast that goes on for as long as you can stomach it.My personal favorites here are the pork empanadas, thinly sliced beef, spicy beef, pork balls, and whole shrimp. Generally, the quality of ingredients strikes me as more than acceptable and I have always suspected them to be fresh. Quail eggs, lobster balls, tilapia heads, and bamboo were some of the more interesting items I noticed and will have to try next time.The ideal complements to this feast are the 1-liter bottles of Tsingtao beer. When poured over a glass of ice, it is the perfect relief of the spicy Sichuan peppers that will have your nose running, face sweating, and eyes crying – it hurts so good. For those who would prefer something nonalcoholic to drink, try a can of their milk tea with tapioca pearls. It’s equally refreshing under these circumstances.Prices per plate range from 2,400 colones up to 8,500 colones, which would get you a whole chicken. I would say the average hot pot ingredient comes in around 3,600 colones and then the broth, to begin with, has a charge of 3,000 colones. (Prices here do not include the 13% tax.)I am sure solo diners and couples are equally welcomed, but the portions here are never designed for less than four people, and the meal would come out more expensive per person, than with a group of eight people. Variety with every spoonful.Actually, it could make the difference between this being an affordable meal or an expensive one. Either way, the price always feel justifiable, as there is no way you will leave hungry. Things can also get messy, so maybe it’s not ideal for first dates. I recommend going here with people you are comfortable with to maximize the fun.As with most of these kinds of restaurants, it appears to double as the family residence. Don’t be surprised if you see an older woman walking around with her small white dog following at her feet. She’s the owner. For me, this adds to the charm, but if you’re the kind of person who gives out 1-star reviews on Facebook over these kinds of things, maybe stay away.She also does not seem too interested in conversation and so the service can also be hit or miss, especially due to the occasional language barrier. My point is to please know, you are going here for the food, not the ambiance, not the service. It is an experience, and as long as you bring a good group of friends, it will be an enjoyable one. I guarantee it. The food here is good enough and unique enough to happily put up with whatever little hiccup.Espacio Picante is open 7 days a week, from 12 p.m. until 1 a.m., with late night being their busiest hours. Of course they are. This kind of meal is best when shared with friends over loud conversation and the inebriating effects of ice-cold Chinese beers.They accept all major credit cards. To arrive, look up “Restaurante Espacio Picante” in Waze or Uber.William Ayre is a Canadian born chef and restaurateur who has spent the last half of his life doing business in Costa Rica, where he now considers to be home. Inspired by Anthony Bourdain, Ayre’s passion of experiencing different cultures through food has taken him to 35 different countries over five continents. Whether it’s a 20-course meal at a fine dining restaurant in Toronto, or cantina hopping in search for the best chifrijo here in San José, he fits in just fine. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgPERSIAN GULFMajority Shiites on the tiny island nation of Bahrain, a vital U.S. ally and home to the U.S. Navy in the region, mounted a wave of protests alleging discrimination and disenfranchisement by the Sunni monarchy, which responded with two months of martial law. In March last year, Saudi Arabia, which feared the Shiite uprising was a proxy for spreading Iranian influence, led a Gulf military force into Bahrain that helped largely crush the protests, though they have continued sporadically. In all, at least 50 people have died. The conservative Sunni-led Gulf monarchies have largely prevented the eruption of protests. Saudi Arabia saw some demonstrations by its own Shiite minority, which it promptly put down, and the king sought to quell discontent with largesse.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) (AP) – Starting Wednesday, Egypt is holding its first free presidential election since it came under dictatorship 60 years ago. The winner will succeed Hosni Mubarak, one of four rulers toppled in the uprisings that began 18 months ago across the Middle East and became known as the Arab Spring. But replacing dictatorships with democracy is proving much harder. Here’s where things stand:TUNISIAThe first Arab country to throw off its ruler, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in January 2011, Tunisia has also had the smoothest transition. Elections in October resulted in an interim coalition led by the election-winning Islamist Ennahda Party in a coalition with two liberal parties. Ennahda has taken a moderate track in this country that has a strong secular heritage, refraining from seeking to base the new constitution on Islamic law. But secular Tunisians worry that ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafis have grown more assertive. LIBYAProtests against Moammar Gadhafi, Libya’s strongman for more than 40 years, quickly turned into civil war. Much of the eastern half of the country threw off his rule early last year, and the ramshackle rebel army tried to march on the west. It took months of NATO airstrikes to open the way for rebels to take Tripoli, the capital. Gadhafi fled and two months later was caught and killed. The oil-rich North African nation has been mired in instability ever since. The rebel militias refuse to disarm and have carved out fiefdoms, sometimes taking brutal revenge against suspected regime supporters. The east has made moves to declare autonomy while the ruling National Transitional Council is largely ineffectual. A major test of the country’s chances for stability comes in national elections next month and an effort to write a constitution.YEMENIn power for 33 years, President Ali Abdullah Saleh clung to his post through a year of nationwide daily protests. Many allies abandoned him, major military units joined the opposition, and a bomb blast at his palace badly burned him. Finally, after balking three times at resigning, he bent to U.S. and Gulf pressure and agreed to step down in return for immunity from prosecution. He left office in February, his vice president was elected president unopposed, and a coalition of Salah’s party and the opposition took over. But Saleh’s son and nephew command elite military units and his loyalists remain in posts throughout the government. His opponents accuse him of using those levers to hamper the new government as it tries to deal with poverty and deep tribal divisions. Saleh’s replacement as president, Abed Rabbo Hadi, has stepped up cooperation with Washington in a major offensive against al-Qaida militants who seized control of parts of the south. Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   center_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Check your body, save your life EGYPTSince Hosni Mubarak was toppled on Feb. 11, 2011, Egypt has been ruled by the military in a tumultuous transition. Protests against the generals have repeatedly turned into deadly clashes killing dozens. A series of military-installed interim governments have been largely ineffectual, hesitant to make significant decisions. Police, angered and humiliated during the anti-Mubarak uprising, have often refused to work, letting crime increase. With big money earners like tourism and foreign investment plunging, fueling unemployment, the government has burned through more than half its hard currency reserves to prop up the Egyptian pound. Islamists won the first post-Mubarak parliamentary election and stand a good chance of capturing the presidency. Divisions run deep, with some fearing the imposition of Islamic rule, and others that the military is angling to keep a grip on the country.SYRIAWhat began in January 2011 as a wave of peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad has turned into a bloodbath and near civil war, with well over 9,000 dead. Assad’s regime responded to the protests with gunfire and some opponents have taken up arms, joined by army defectors. The military has responded with all-out assaults on opposition areas, leaving heavy destruction in neighborhoods of some cities. The conflict has also taken on a worrying sectarian tone. The Sunni Muslim majority largely backs the opposition, while the Alawites and other minorities support Assad, himself an Alawite. There have been tit-for-tat killings and a string of suicide bombings against military buildings. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Sponsored Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? Four benefits of having a wireless security system “Healthy or disabled, if you have the will to succeed, there is no obstacle in your way,” said Li Pun Hui, a former table tennis star who has become her country’s leading advocate for disabled athletes.Clearance to participate in the Paralympics, which open Wednesday in London, came too late to qualify for most events, but swimming was an exception. That made Rim Ju Song, a 16-year-old who actually lives in Beijing, North Korea’s only hope to compete this year.One problem: Rim, who lost an arm and leg in a construction accident, couldn’t really swim. His first training session in April was a disaster.He sank “like a rock,” recalled Kim Sung Chol of the North Korean Paralympic Committee. Nevertheless, he soon learned the crawl stroke and in May, Rim and his coaches boarded a plane for Berlin and his first international competition.Only upon arrival did the North Koreans learn that Rim would need a second stroke to compete. He spent the next two weeks learning the breaststroke. Rim finished last in one event and was disqualified in the other, but that was good enough for a wild card slot in the Paralympics, where on Sept. 4 he’ll compete in the 50-meter freestyle. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project When AP journalists visited the Taeddonggang Cultural Center for the Disabled in June, a girl in a wheelchair was thwacking a pingpong ball fired at her by a coach while a boy fiddled with his prosthetic leg while awaiting his turn.The young woman, Ma Yu Chol, isn’t competing at the Paralympics but she is in London to cheer Rim on. Li said she sees her country’s trip to the Paralympics as a “first step” toward developing a disabled sports culture in North Korea.“People can communicate through sports,” she said, “and learn to feel comfortable around one another through sports.”___Associated Press writer Hye Soo Nah contributed to this report from Seoul, South Korea. Follow AP’s bureau chief for Pyongyang and Seoul on Twitter at twitter.com/newsjean.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressPYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) – North Korea’s first and only Paralympian is a swimmer who doesn’t live in North Korea and, until a few months ago, didn’t know how to swim. But he’s an inspiration in a country where disabled people are just beginning to get the support they need to shine as athletes.Long accused by rights activists of shunting its disabled residents off to isolated detention camps, North Korea gained provisional membership in the International Paralympic Committee earlier this year. Top Stories Gripping the North Korean flag, he smiled Monday as his nation was introduced at a Paralympics welcoming ceremony in London.His performance will be watched closely back in North Korea, where sports play a major role in life. From the streets of the capital to the dusty fields of the countryside, kids are constantly kicking around soccer balls, and there’s a basketball hoop in nearly every schoolyard. From an early age, promising athletes are plucked for rigorous training, and those who win medals at international tournaments are welcomed home as heroes.One of those heroes was Li, who became her country’s darling after teaming up with a South Korean player in 1991 to beat the seemingly indomitable Chinese and win the team gold at the World Table Tennis Championships. It was the first time players from the enemy Koreas competed together.After her career ended and her now-15-year-old son was born with cerebral palsy, Li dedicated her life to bringing the disabled out of the shadows and onto the playing fields. In 2010, she organized a table tennis tournament that was covered by state media _ the first time many North Koreans saw the disabled on TV.“Caring for my son, I’ve felt that people with disabilities often feel despair,” she told The Associated Press in an interview in Pyongyang. “They feel uncomfortable around other people, ashamed of their disabilities, and purposeless.” Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   This may be especially true in North Korea. The country has some 1.8 million disabled people, about 7.5 percent of the population, according to the Green Tree Charity Foundation in South Korea, which bases its estimate on figures provided by the North Korean government.Defectors have reported in the past that the disabled were housed at group homes and kept out of the showcase capital of Pyongyang and other major cities, according to the South Korean government and the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights.In 2003, the country passed a law promising free medical care and special education, and in 2009 Pyongyang assured the United Nations its disabled were receiving proper care and schooling.But Kim Kyung Hwa, manager of the Green Tree foundation’s planning team, says the country can barely feed its people, much less provide special care for the disabled. Green Tree sends food and supplies to North Korea’s disabled, as well as sports equipment to Li and her group of disabled athletes.The foundation and a slate of other donors have helped provide the pingpong tables, barbells and other equipment that fill a Pyongyang recreation center that serves as a training facility for disabled athletes.last_img read more

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories The China International Peace Research Center launched the prize in 2010 in an apparent attempt to counter that year’s Nobel Peace Prize which went to jailed Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo. He is serving an 11-year prison sentence for co-authoring an appeal for political reform.Liu’s win enraged the government and Chinese nationalists, who accused the Nobel committee of interfering in China’s legal system as part of a plot to bring the nation down in disgrace.The nominees for the 2012 prize are former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, his successor Ban Ki-moon, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Bill Gates, Chinese social activist Wang Dingguo, Peking University Prof. Tang Yijie, Chinese rice researcher Yuan Longping, and the 11th Panchen Lama. The Panchen Lama is the second-highest Tibetan religious leader after the Dalai Lama, but most Tibetans do not accept him because he was appointed by Beijing.The award’s sponsors are professors and academics who say they are independent of the Chinese government.The 2010 prize went to former Taiwanese Vice President Lien Chan for having “built a bridge of peace between the mainland and Taiwan.” 4 must play golf courses in Arizona (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BEIJING (AP) – Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Thailand’s prime minister and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are among those nominated for a Chinese alternative “peace prize.”Organizers of the Confucius Peace Prize announced the nominees Sunday for the accolade that last year went to Russia’s Vladimir Putin for enhancing his country’s status and crushing anti-government forces in Chechnya. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

first_imgThe Minister of Environment and Tourism Bavo Nsamputu refused to comment on the news.The permission to explore for oil in Virunga is in contrast to the environment minister’s decision in March 2011 to suspend oil exploration in Block 5 of the Albertine Graben area of Virunga park that is home to more than 200 gorillas.(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 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   KINSHASA, Congo (AP) – The Congo government authorizes the British firm SOCO to explore for oil in Virunga National Park in North Kivu province.Minister of Hydrocarbons Crispin Atama Tabe told The Associated Press that national economic interests take precedence over environmental considerations in Virunga, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.Atama Tabe said that the exploration could take one to two years. He asserted that oil production could improve peace and security on volatile northeastern Congo. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

first_img The difference between men and women when it comes to pain CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Just try sleeping in on election day in Venezuela.In the hilly eastern Caracas slum of Petare, a truck began blaring reveille from loudspeakers before 3 a.m. and a male voice urged people to get up and vote. The man’s voice also periodically insulted opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.A few hours later, a man on a motorcycle, his face covered with a red bandana, parked in front of a Petare polling station and sounded his bugle while a comrade yelled “Long Live Chavez!” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project President Hugo Chavez faced the tightest re-election of his political career on Sunday after nearly 14 years in power and both sides have worked mightily to get out the vote.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories center_img Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   last_img read more

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories It said the attackers were armed with sticks and stones, and they suffered all the casualties, including the 23-year-old who was killed. Police responded with tear gas and warning shots, and said the young man who died was hit by a stray bullet.The attack follows an incident Wednesday at a high school near the capital, Tunis, during which three men severely beat the principal and destroyed his car, allegedly because of he refused to allow a student to enter wearing the face-covering veil of the ultraconservatives.Tunisians overthrew their secular dictatorship in 2011, in an uprising that sparked pro-democracy movements around the region, and since then there has been a surge of religious sentiment.Some groups, loosely described as Salafis by the media, have been aggressive in trying to push their more conservative views on society, attacking art exhibits, cinemas and liquor stores. A group of Salafis attacked the U.S. Embassy on Sept. 14, destroying a nearby American school.The wave of arrests that followed the incident, however, saw a dramatic drop in attacks by Salafis.Tunisia’s economy has suffered since the revolution, and nearly a third of young people are unemployed, prompting some to join extremist groups. Observers also say criminals have adopted the Salafi label as a cover for their activities. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – A mob of alleged religious conservatives attacked a Tunisian police station and clashed with security forces Friday, leaving one person dead and two wounded, the state news agency reported.Radio and television reports also identified the early morning attackers in the coastal town of Hergla as followers of an ultraconservative strand of Islam known as Salafis. They were seeking to free one of their members who had been arrested for several crimes, according to the report by the state news agency. Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ibrahim didn’t give details on the ongoing battles, but described the situation on the ground as “positive” and vowed that the Islamic State group would be pushed out of the city “in the coming hours.”On Friday, the militants swept through Ramadi, capital of the western Anbar province, launching a coordinated offensive included three near-simultaneous suicide car bombings. The militants seized the main government headquarters and other key parts of the city.Local officials said dozens of security forces and civilians were killed, mainly the families of the troops. Ten police officers and 30 pro-government tribal fighters were among those killed.U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi on Friday, promising the delivery of heavy weapons, including AT-4 shoulder-held rockets to counter suicide car bombs, according to a U.S. Embassy statement.The statement said both leaders agreed on the “importance and urgency of mobilizing tribal fighters working in coordination with Iraqi security forces to counter ISIL and to ensure unity of effort among all of Iraq’s communities.” It used an alternative acronym for the IS group. Backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, Iraqi forces and Kurdish fighters have made gains against the IS group, including capturing the northern city of Tikrit. But progress has been slow in Anbar, a vast Sunni province where anger at the Shiite-led government runs deep and where U.S. forces struggled for years to beat back a potent insurgency. American soldiers fought some of their bloodiest battles since Vietnam on the streets of Fallujah and Ramadi.Elsewhere in Iraq on Saturday, police said gunmen stormed an apartment in downtown Baghdad, killing three men and two women suspected of prostitution. Previous attacks on suspected prostitutes have been blamed on extremists from the Sunni and Shiite communities.In Baghdad’s southern Dora district, a roadside bomb struck an army patrol, killing two soldiers and wounding three others. A sticky bomb attached to a minibus exploded and killed two passengers in eastern Baghdad.Police said a bomb exploded on a commercial street in the town of Mahmoudiya, just south of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding nine others.Medical officials confirmed the casualties from all attacks. All official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The vital role family plays in society ___Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub and Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq has sent reinforcements to help its battered forces in Ramadi, a city now largely held by the Islamic State group after militants seized the main government compound the day before, a military spokesman said Saturday.The spokesman of the Joint Operations Command, Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, told Iraqi state television that the U.S.-led coalition was supporting Iraqi troops with “painful” airstrikes since late Friday. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Iraqi family members who left their hometown of Ramadi walk towards Baghdad, outside Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, May 15, 2015. Islamic State militants seized the center of Ramadi in western Iraq and raised their black flag over the government compound, local officials said. (AP Photo) Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

first_img Top Stories The new rate was the lowest level since the Egyptian government introduced an auction system in December 2012 aimed at regulating the pound’s devaluation.“It’s welcome to have, within the current context, a weaker pound because the economy is shifting toward a growth mode so one of the key ways to push this growth forward is through foreign exchange,” said Mohamed Abu Basha, an economist at regional investment giant EFG Hermes.Investors and economists see the currency as overvalued and the central bank had allowed the pound to slide somewhat before a major investor summit in March.The central bank has also allowed commercial banks a wider margin for selling and buying dollars since January, at 0.10 pounds above or below the official rate.Egypt’s government is trying to send the message that the country is open for business, after struggling since the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak. It has launched a series of ambitious mega-projects and pushed through a host of tough measures, including slashing fuel subsidies and amending the property tax law.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall CAIRO (AP) — The Egyptian pound has fallen to a new low against the U.S. dollar, the second such drop in days, the country’s central bank said Sunday, in a move that could help boost much-needed foreign investment.The central bank set a cutoff rate of 7.73 Egyptian pounds per dollar in an auction that sold $39.6 million on Sunday, compared to a previous low of 7.63 on Thursday. Before that, the pound had held at 7.53 since February. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Parents, stop beating yourself up Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more