Day: August 19, 2019

Watch this couple miss their cruise ship by mere seconds

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Royal Caribbean International Share THE BAHAMAS — Stop that boat! A new video of a couple missing their cruise ship by mere seconds in The Bahamas has gone viral and it’s almost too heartbreaking to watch.The YouTube channel Reel Focus recently posted the six-minute video, which was shot by an onlooker from the top deck of the neighbouring Norwegian Bliss. According to Reel Focus, the Symphony of the Seas, which the down-on-their-luck couple was sailing with, waited approximately 20 minutes before shutting down the gangway.While dock workers are pulling the ropes off the boat, the tardy couple arrives and is seen attempting to wave down the ship as it sails away from the harbor. “Nooooo!” the woman can be heard yelling while onlookers laugh.The couple then walks towards the stern of the ship where they start pleading with a cruise line representative standing onboard. But all hope is lost when the ship’s thrusters are turned on, leaving the couple in the dust.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesTo add insult to injury, the ship’s horn happily blasts three times while the couple stands forlornly on the dock.With the ship long gone, the man can still be seen pacing along the dock, yelling at crew members onboard. We doubt he was wishing them all bon voyage.Let this be a lesson to all cruisers – always arrive early or risk missing the boat! Watch this couple miss their cruise ship by mere secondscenter_img Posted by Monday, February 25, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Health Ministry closes industrial park in Alajuela

first_imgRelated posts:Fun, action on Alajuela Museum tour Aerocasillas opens new store in Alajuela Alajuela’s first vegetarian restaurant missing key ingredients Alajuela schoolchildren paint historical murals Health Ministry officials ordered the closure and evacuation Thursday of all employees in some 40 companies located at BES Industrial Park and Free Zone, in the province of Alajuela, west of San José.The closure measure was filed by the Environmental Court after an investigation determined there was a mysterious white foam on the waste-water treatment system in the free zone.The analyses were made by the National Water and Sewer Institute (AyA), and indicated that the foam was being poured down the walls and deposited in the storm-water pipes. The closing of the industrial park was requested by the Environmental Court two weeks ago, after environmental groups claimed that the industrial park companies were pouring foam into Siquiares River. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Human rights court orders Costa Rica to legalize in vitro fertilization

first_imgThe San José-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a ruling Thursday night against the government of Costa Rica condemning its ban on in vitro fertilization. The court ordered the country to legalize the practice, which was outlawed in March 2000 by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV.The ruling is obligatory for the country, Communications Minister Francisco Chacón said.In 2001, a group of 18 affected families filed an appeal before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and in September 2010, the commission recommended Costa Rica reverse the Sala IV’s ruling.Costa Rica failed to implement the recommendation, and in October 2011, victims’ families filed a suit in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.The ruling also demands the state indemnify, within one year, all of the18 couples who filed the lawsuit with amounts ranging from $5,000-$20,000.The court found that there was a violation of victims’ rights, as well as psychological damage. The court ordered the state to provide up to four years of free and immediate psychological treatment for victims.“The ruling will be complied with in its entirety, as our country is respectful of international law. We will report on the government’s actions in coming weeks,” Chacón said.Ileana Balmaceda, executive president of Costa Rica’s Social Security System, said in a press release that “the agency is not prepared at this time to assume a situation like this, and therefore, we need time to acquire the appropriate equipment and to train our staff.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica welcomes first IVF baby after 16-year ban Costa Rica high court admits challenge to IVF decree Costa Rica responds to human rights court on IVF suspension Following legalization, just 1 clinic signed up to offer IVFlast_img read more

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Panama takes the reigns of the Central American Integration System

first_imgFinancial transparency and creating a unified approach to anti-drug policy dominated discussion on Thursday at the 41st Central American Integration System (SICA) summit in San José, Costa Rica.Presidents from across the region met at the Hotel Real InterContinental, in Escazú, southwest of the capital, as Costa Rica handed over the reigns to Panama after a six-month term as president pro tempore of the regional integration organization.Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said she is pleased with her country’s accomplishments during its presidency and felt that SICA was a stronger system for them.Chinchilla listed adding the Dominican Republic as a full member of SICA, making power-sharing more equitable within the system, and strengthening regional security and gender violence laws among Costa Rica’s accomplishments.“Integration is not an end in itself, but rather a dynamic for economic development,” Chinchilla concluded in her remarks.Costa Rica’s presidency focused mainly on internal reforms to SICA, especially improving financial transparency. Costa Rican Foreign Minister Ernesto Castillo told reporters Thursday afternoon that the disparate organizations within SICA complicate reporting funds.“No one knows how much money SICA has,” Castillo told reporters earlier, according to crhoy.com.The minister noted that reforms signed during the last two days of meetings would include more auditing of system funds, but stressed that no one was currently under investigation for any kind of impropriety.Alongside financial reforms, security played a key role at the meeting as leaders discussed cracking down on the illegal flow of drugs through the region while loosening border restrictions for individuals and services.Public Security Minister Mario Zamora argued for the need to unify criminal codes across the region regarding drug-related crime, adding that the isthmus’ varying sentences contribute to impunity. The minister highlighted SICA’s cooperation as a way to explore draft legislation to bring members states into greater alignment on the issue.Zamora called Central America the most dangerous region in the world because of illicit drug trafficking.Panama and Costa Rica already allow their citizens to travel between countries without passports. There was no mention if or when Costa Rica and Nicaragua might exchange such benefits. Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, was one of the only SICA presidents who did not attend Thursday’s summit. Costa Rica and Nicaragua remain embroiled in an international border dispute involving Isla Calera, a swampland along the northeastern Costa Rican border.News of another waterway in Nicaragua, however, also made news. The country’s $40 billion planned inter-oceanic canal ruffled feathers following a press conference given by the project’s Chinese builder, HKND Group, on Tuesday.Castillo said that Costa Rica is wary about the canal’s potential impact on the San Juan and Colorado rivers, both of which are important transit routes for the country.“We are worried that the canal will pass through Lake Nicaragua and Lake Nicaragua feeds the San Juan River, where Costa Rica holds navigation rights,” Castillo told reporters.The minister said that his country has no intention of filing any kind of complaint at the moment, considering there are no firm plans about the canal’s route and doubt over whether the “canal will be built at all.”SICA’s new leadersAccepting the president pro tempore position from Chinchilla, Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli said that observers could look forward to more tangible reforms to the system, including greater economic and migration integration during his country’s term leading the system.“We used to speak of Central America and Panama,” Martinelli said, “this marks Panama’s full integration into Central America.”The president added that he would work to ensure SICA members benefit from the recently signed free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association.SICA also elected a new secretary general, Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez. The system’s new leader said that he would focus on SICA’S five main goals during his term: security, climate change, regional integration, fighting poverty, and strengthening democracy in the isthmus.Martínez added that he would work to expand SICA’s economic participation with other regional blocs, including the Caribbean Community, the European Union, and Asian organizations.Today’s meeting was attended by presidents Chinchilla, Martinelli, Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina, Mauricio Funes of El Salvador, Porfirio Lobo of Honduras and Danilo Medina Sánchez of the Dominican Republic. Vice President Moisés Omar Halleslevens Acevedo represented Nicaragua and Ambassador José Antonio Martínez, Belize.  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Costa Rica marks 65 years without an army

first_imgNo related posts. On the steps of the former Bellavista Fort, now the National Museum, President Laura Chinchilla marked the 65th anniversary of the abolishment of Costa Rica’s army on Sunday.“There are no weapons stronger than truth, justice, and liberty,” said Chinchilla Sunday afternoon, standing on the steps of San José’s National Museum where President José Figueres Ferrer announced the disbandment of Costa Rica’s armed forces on Dec. 1, 1948. “Our children are innocent of the errors of war, and our youth have not been called to serve on the battlefield. We instead founded schools, churches, orchestras, dance companies, while countries living in misery in the rest of the world continue investing in weapons of destruction,” the president said, according to a statement from the Casa Presidencial Monday.Chinchilla also honored the Costa Rican National Olympic Committee for its contributions to development and peace.The president added that there was a “Costa Rican way” of resolving problems nonviolently, based in part on international organizations like the United Nations and the world court at The Hague.The International Court of Justice levied its latest judgment on Nov. 22 in Costa Rica and Nicaragua’s protracted border dispute over the Isla Portillos, requiring Nicaragua to cease new dredging operations in the area and clean up any environmental damaged to the wetlands protected by the Ramsar Convention.However, the slow pace of international mechanisms like the world court has led some Ticos to call for the mobilization of armed civilian militias.In October, CRHoy.com reported on the formation of the self-styled “paramilitary” force “Patrulla 1856,” or 1856 Patrol, an “apolitical group whose purpose is to serve the motherland in support of the defense of Costa Rica’s sovereignty.”In late September, former head of the Costa Rican National Police Col. José Fabio Pizzaro told Repretel that 4,000 Ticos answered his call to receive survival and defense training, including the use of AK-47 assault rifles, in the event that Nicaragua were to invade Costa Rica.Pizzaro told the television news crew that the force would serve at the pleasure of the Public Security Ministry, which recoiled at the idea.Recent conflicts aside, in her speech Chinchilla emphasized Costa Rica’s peaceful record and investment in education – more than 7 percent of gross domestic product – versus military spending.Figueres announced the end of a standing army in times of peace in 1948, following a civil war over a disputed election. The decision became the law of the land in the 1949 Constitution.Costa Rica retains a National Police, however, to enforce laws and investigate crime.Today, Costa Rica is one of the only countries in the world without a standing army. Neighboring Panama abolished its armed forced in 1990. Other countries without armed forces include Monaco, Haiti, the Vatican City and Iceland. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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USAIDs Cuban Twitter draws criticism derision

first_imgRelated posts:USAID sent young Costa Ricans undercover to Cuba in anti-government scheme, AP reports Gross, US contractor held in Cuba, goes on hunger strike Cuban regime change starts with embargo’s death Controversial US micro-blog targeting Cuban regime operated clandestinely out of Costa Rica, angering officials On April 6, 1960, a U.S. diplomat named Lester Mallory wrote a secret memo about Cuba. Subject line: “The Decline and Fall of Castro.”Make Cubans unhappy, argued the memo, which was a precursor to the U.S. embargo. Saddle them with “economic dissatisfaction and hardship.” They’ll sour on Fidel Castro.Or, others thought, get him with an exploding cigar. Contaminate his scuba suit with tuberculosis. Have the Mafia off him.More than half a century later, the U.S. government seems to have come up with a much more modern and techie approach: Tweet him off the island.On Thursday, the United States Agency for International Development confirmed the broad outlines of an Associated Press report exposing the clandestine creation of a phony “Cuban Twitter” network that was meant to undermine the Castro government. The audacious program, set in motion through shell companies around the world, lured 40,000 unsuspecting Cuban subscribers with seemingly innocuous text messages about sports and popular music, the report said. Its creators called the network “Zunzuneo,” Cuban slang for the sound a hummingbird makes.For all its bravura, the program survived barely two years, failing in 2012 as its funding dried up. The campaign became, as so many before it, a punchline in the annals of an enduring, bizarre and frequently imagination-defying international standoff.“It’s part of our legacy of the wild and loony brainstorming we’ve been doing on Cuba going back to the ’50s,” Ann Louise Bardach, a Cuba expert and author of “Without Fidel,” said Thursday between bouts of laughter.The revelation of Zunzuneo’s existence sent official Washington into a spin. Memos unearthed by the AP make it abundantly clear that USAID went to great lengths to keep U.S. government involvement on a need-to-know basis. But White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a briefing that “suggestions that this was a covert program are wrong. … In implementing programs in non-permissive environments, of course the government has taken steps to be discreet.”Recommended: Cuba passes law to lure foreign investmentUSAID defended Zunzuneo in a statement that said: “Cubans were able to talk among themselves, and we are proud of that.” The agency’s administrator, Rajiv Shah, had the misfortune of being previously scheduled to appear Thursday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” to discuss another matter. He spent most of his time answering uncomfortable questions about Cuban Twitter. In another bit of bad luck for Shah, he is scheduled to appear Tuesday for a hearing on his agency’s budget before the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee’s chairman, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, spent much of Thursday appearing on MSNBC programs to rip the Cuban Twitter idea as “dumb, dumb, dumb.”Leahy has been deeply involved in trying to win the release of Alan Gross, a USAID contractor from Potomac, Md., who was arrested in Cuba in 2010, accused of “actions against the integrity of the state” and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The Gross family says he was on a humanitarian mission to help set up an intranet and improve Internet access for non-dissident Jewish communities. Zunzuneo was launched just months after Gross was arrested, and Leahy has said he is troubled that the timing could have imperiled negotiations to free Gross. Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro holds an Oct. 19, 2012 edition of the newspaper Granma in Havana after rumors circulated that the former leader was on his death bed. AFP/CubaDebateThe controversy has set off a kind of existential debate at USAID. The agency is generally known for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. It is publicly authorized to operate a Cuba democracy project. But setting in motion a secret Twitter project struck many Thursday as either baffling or utterly inappropriate.“It’s another example of the danger of trying to use foreign assistance as a weapon rather than to support the host government,” said Stephen Kaplitt, a former USAID legal department official who is a consultant to Gilbert, attorneys for the Gross family in pending litigation. “When they drift from their core mission, it substantially impairs trust and credibility.”This isn’t USAID’s first Cuban misadventure. In 2006, a Government Accountability Office report lambasted the agency, saying nearly all of the $74 million it spent on pro-democracy projects for the island had been distributed without competitive bids or proper oversight. In a now-legendary case of apparent abuse cited in the report, a Miami company allegedly used the USAID money to buy Nintendo Game Boy sets and Sony PlayStations, a mountain bike, leather coats, cashmere sweaters, crab meat and Godiva chocolates.Despite the agency’s problems, its programs have many advocates in the Cuban exile community. “Everything that opens the windows of the world to Cuba is a good thing,” Jose Basulto, a Bay of Pigs veteran who founded the daredevil Brothers to the Rescue airplane team, said in a phone interview from Miami on Thursday.Basulto said it is important to find means of communicating with dissidents in Cuba, where the government strictly limits Internet access and blocks many other forms of communication. In the days before Twitter existed, Basulto says he once positioned radio equipment on tall buildings in the Florida Keys to reach Castro opponents on the island.Phil Peters, founder of the non-profit Cuba Research Center in Alexandria, Va. said Thursday that he’s reviewed a video — apparently of Cuban Interior Ministry officials — warning about possible attempts to use Twitter to undermine the Castro government in 2011.By then, Cuban Twitter was quietly at work on the island. And the Castros were still in charge. The only difference today is that Cuban Twitter is gone.Washington Post staffers Karen DeYoung and Alice Crites contributed to this report.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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1 million votes or not Luis Guillermo Solís urges supporters to get

first_imgRelated posts:Luis Guillermo Solís and Johnny Araya head to April 6 runoff after close Costa Rica vote Costa Rica elections demonstrate country’s democratic stability Ex-President Abel Pacheco to back opposition candidate Solís The real communist threat in Costa Rica Swarmed by cameras, reporters and supporters, presidential frontrunnerLuis Guillermo Solís of the opposition Citizen Action Party (PAC) arrived at the Liceo de Curridabat, east of the capital, Sunday morning to cast his vote for Costa Rica’s next president.Vuvuzelas sounded and red-and-yellow flags waved outside as the historian and son of a shoemaker – who turns 56 on April 25 – marked his ballot in a simple blue-walled school room.“Don’t kill me with love yet, there’s still much to do!” Solís told supporters. The PAC candidate is running almost unopposed after his second-round rival, Johnny Araya of the ruling National Liberation Party, stopped campaigning in a surprise decision on March 5.Solís urged citizens to cast their ballots amid reports of low turnout at the polls early Sunday, seeming to roll back his pledge to garner 1 million votes to shore up his popular mandate.“I’m not worried about getting a million votes or not. In a democracy you win with one vote,” he said. “I’m asking that those who haven’t voted, and it seems there are many according to my reports, to go and vote quickly in the coming hours. When the polling stations close at 6 this afternoon, we want the ballot boxes full of votes, full of hope.”As recently as Saturday morning, Solís said he was confident he could accomplish the million-vote goal he set after Araya suspended his campaign last month.The Supreme Elections Tribunal reported that 31.8 percent of voters stayed home for the Feb. 2 first round vote and suggested that the abstention rate could be higher Sunday, based on results from the last runoff in 2002.Jeffery Navarro, a voter outside the school, told The Tico Times he came out to vote mostly out of a sense of civic duty. “Not every country has the right to vote,” he said.Solís “is a break with traditional, normal politics. He’s closer to the people, to whom we are, the people who walk the streets, not those with bodyguards. We hope he doesn’t change his attitude,” Navarro said.The candidate will await the results of the vote in Plaza Roosevelt in San Pedro, in eastern San José, on Sunday at 6 p.m. Luis Guillermo Solís of the Citizen Action Party takes a selfie after casting his ballot for president Sunday, April 6, 2014. Alberto Font/The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Honduras concludes voter recount no winner declared

first_imgHonduran electoral authorities concluded a recount early Monday, more than a week after a bitterly contested presidential election, that put President Juan Orlando Hernández in the lead. However, they held back from officially declaring him the winner.“We have now finished this recount,” Supreme Electoral Tribunal president David Matamoros said, announcing that Hernández had 42.98 percent of the vote compared with opposition leader Salvador Nasralla’s 41.39 percent.He added that the body could take up to 22 days to declare an official winner because of possible appeals.“We urge all candidates and all parties to put Honduras first,” Matamoros said.On Sunday, Nasralla supporters in the capital of Tegucigalpa marched near the building where the count was resumed, banging on pots, blaring vuvuzelas and singing campaign songs which included insults towards Hernández.“They are stealing our votes,” a visibly angry Jesus Elviz, a 58-year-old accountant, told AFP.On Friday, 19-year-old Kimberly Fonseca was killed by a bullet during a confrontation between protesters and the police. Her family says she was killed by police, a claim the authorities said they were “exhaustively” investigating.After the violent protests erupted – with some reports of looting – the government declared a state of emergency and imposed a 10-day curfew in an attempt to curb the unrest.Hernández’s conservative National Party – which controls the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government – is constitutionally barred from a second term, but it contends that a 2015 Supreme Court ruling allows his re-election.Nasralla and his leftist coalition, the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, have denounced the incumbent’s bid as illegal.Situated in the heart of Central America’s “Northern Triangle,” where gangs and poverty are rife, Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world, though it has fallen under Hernández.What credit he claims from that progress, however, is counterbalanced by tensions over his re-election bid.It is a loaded issue in Honduras, where former president Manuel Zelaya was toppled in a coup in 2009 – notably because he was accused of plotting to change the constitution to stand for a second term. Facebook Comments Related posts:Honduran opposition protesters take to the streets Ticos show support for Hondurans as Tegucigalpa returns to normal VIDEO: New Costa Rican documentary explains forced Central American migration Hondurans form a new US-bound caravan, drawing fire from Trumplast_img read more

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