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Grand Caymans first new hotel in 10 years opens its doors

first_imgGrand Cayman’s first new hotel in 10 years opens its doors Share Travelweek Group GRAND CAYMAN — Kimpton’s first Caribbean property, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, is now open on Grand Cayman’s famed Seven Mile Beach.Not only does Seafire mark the boutique hotel company’s first foray into the international luxury resort market, it’s also Grand Cayman’s first new hotel in more than a decade.The resort pays tribute to the classic Caymanian culture and authentic aesthetic while introducing modern elements and “sophisticated-yet-playful” amenities aimed at leisure and business travellers alike, says the hotel company.One-bedroom oceanfront king suite, Courtesy of Kimpton Seafire Resort + SpaAve, the resort’s signature restaurant, Courtesy of Kimpton Seafire Resort + SpaPerched 24 feet above sea level, nearly every one of Seafire’s 266 guestrooms has a private balcony with pool, ocean and landscape views. Seafire’s three free-standing beachside bungalows offer loft-like one- and two-bedroom layouts, enhanced amenities and exclusive vantage points of the beach and ocean.“Grand Cayman was the perfect choice for Kimpton’s first island resort, with an ideal location right on Seven Mile Beach,” said Seafire General Manager, Steven Andre. “Seafire embodies the spirit and culture of the destination, and will allow guests the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in island life.”More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthFrom its signature restaurant Ave to its casual beach bar Coccoloba, all three of Seafire’s diverse destination restaurants are helmed by Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca. Foodies will gravitate to Avecita’s nine-seat chefs’ bar. Seafire’s two pool bars serve up creative cocktails for surfside sipping and light bites for open-air noshing.The resort’s indoor and outdoor meeting space includes the 7,076-square foot Aurea Ballroom, the 10th-floor Presidential Suite overlooking the beach and Caribbean Sea, and the expansive Seabridge Green event lawn for beachside daytime or evening occasions.The 8,500-square foot Spa at Seafire features seven treatment rooms as well as a Turkish-style Hammam, the only one of its kind in Grand Cayman. Seafire also offers a 1,770-square foot fitness centre and weekly group fitness classes. And, parents can truly relax thanks to Camp Seafire, the property’s interactive and well-planned programs for children ages four to 12. Posted bycenter_img Tuesday, November 15, 2016 Tags: Cayman Islands, Kimpton << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Intrepid grants agents 247 access with new phone line live chat

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Thursday, May 25, 2017 center_img TORONTO — In a move that reflects its dedication to the agent community, Intrepid Group has extended its hours of operations and will now service travel agents 24/7.The new system will connect Intrepid’s North American sales office in Toronto and Petaluma, California with regional sales teams in London and Melbourne. This will allow agents to reach out directly to a reservations agent for client bookings or questions on over 1,500 Intrepid Group itineraries around the world.According to an official company statement, creating a “global system” will allow agents to service client requests at all hours of the day and significantly reduce call wait times.“Intrepid Group has a customer-first mentality, which extends not only to our travellers but to our agent community,” said Leigh Barnes, Director of Intrepid Group in North America.In addition to a 24/7 phone line, the company has added a Live Chat to their site that will be serviced by a North American Digital Sales team. The Live Chat feature is currently available for the Intrepid Travel brand and will create a direct two-way communication between the reservations team and travel agents.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’ns“Live Chat was an important addition for us to give agents another channel and option for communicating with our team,” added Barnes. “The Intrepid experience starts from the very first point of contact right up until the end of a client’s adventure and beyond. We want to help ensure this process is as seamless as possible for travel agents in Canada.”Agents can reach the Intrepid Group 24/7 at 1-866-915-1511. Intrepid grants agents 24/7 access with new phone line & live chat Tags: Intrepid Grouplast_img read more

Iberostars new Star Camp kids program launching this summer

first_imgIberostar’s new ‘Star Camp’ kids’ program launching this summer Wednesday, July 11, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Family Travel, IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts MADRID — Iberostar Hotels & Resorts’ new Star Camp gives a boost to the hotel company’s family-friendly offering with a new program that emphasizes both education and entertainment.This program will launch this summer at all Iberostar hotels.An extensive program of creative activities has been designed to enable children to develop all of their talents and abilities, “turning them into mini journalists, chefs, artists or film directors while enjoying a unique holiday experience in a fun environment created especially for them”, says Iberostar.The program even gets its inspiration from the Scout movement. The Star Camp kids’ program includes more than 140 activities divided into 12 categories: physical leisure activities; precision and accuracy activities; team sports; social events; group challenges; outdoor; artistic expression; arts and crafts; board games, learning activities; scientific activities; and technology-based activities.It’s educational entertainment, says Iberostar, that encourages children’s integral growth and development based on values that form part of Iberostar’s philosophy: cooperation, empathy, healthy habits, the development of technological awareness, the value of diversity and environmental care.More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaThe Monkeys group includes children ages four to seven years. Dolphins is for kids eight to 12, while 13 to 17-year olds are in the Eagles group.Highlights for the kids include cooking programs; recreating artworks; guessing the ingredients in the dishes featured in the Sensory Menu; filming their own short movie; becoming journalists or publicists for the day or star in their own impromptu videoclip; working with clay to bring out the artist in them and taking eco-friendly hikes.The educational initiatives for children on the Star Camp program also include one day a week dedicated entirely to the oceans. Activities include hunting for microplastics on the beach or crafting sessions using recycled materials, in line with the company’s commitment to sustainability reflected through its ‘Wave of Change’ initiative. Sharelast_img read more

Woman caught trying to smuggle gerbils strapped to her legs

first_imgWoman caught trying to smuggle gerbils strapped to her legs << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tags: Animals, Funny Travelweek Group center_img Friday, January 18, 2019 Posted by TAIWAN — A walk says a lot about a person, whether they’re confident, shy, lazy or – in the case of one Taiwanese woman – whether they’ve got gerbils strapped to their legs.The 60-year-old unidentified woman, who had been visiting mainland China, was caught by Taiwanese customs officials on the island of Kinmen with 24 of the rodents wrapped in plastic bags, tied to her legs and hidden under her skirt.According to the Taiwan East Coast Guard, officials noticed she had an “abnormal proportion” when they pulled her aside for questioning.Credit: Coast Guard AdministrationUpon getting caught red-handed, the woman told officials she had bought the gerbils in a pet shop in China for 50 yuan for each male and 150 yuan for each female, and was bringing them back home for friends, reports the EveningStandard.However, her story apparently didn’t fly with the officers, who believe that the woman was working with a smuggling ring to test the port’s inspection procedures.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksShe was later charged by the prosecutor’s office with violating the Infectious Animal Disease Prevention and Control Act. Sadly, the gerbils were euthanized in accordance with regulations, reports Taiwan News.last_img read more

Fuel truckers to strike Tuesday

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rican fuel truck drivers plan to withhold gasoline from local gas stations across the country on Tuesday. The move is a response to a government decision not to renew permits for 100 older model fuel trucks.Reynaldo Quirós, spokesman and president for the Drivers’ Association, said the protest is aimed at the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry (MINAET), which he said “has not tried to help us to find a solution to this problem.”He said that statements from MINAET that “there will be no shortage of fuel at service stations because many of them have their own trucks” are inaccurate. Gas stations’ trucks are not allowed to enter the National Oil Refinery’s facilities, he said.Quirós said they have been working on extensions of the permits for two years, but new rules allow them to keep working no matter how old trucks are, as long as they meet certain safety conditions.“Our trucks are not time bombs on the road as MINAET officials have recently claimed in order to alarm the public,” Quirós said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Tamarindo Talk

first_imgMore than 200 people gathered at Le Beach Club to honor the life of dear, sweetTorian Alisa whose life recently came to a sudden end. Everyone gathered in the early afternoon and just before sunset many surfers paddled out to reminisce and distribute flowers including Tori’s favorite, red roses. In attendance to say a few words about their lovely daughter were Tori’s parents. The activities culminated in a fireworks display set to the tune of Taylor Swift’s song, “Trouble.”Good news on the Tamarindo Police front. According to the Association of Integral Development (ADI), the new police station in front of the Automercado is almost finished being refurbished to include space to work and holding cells. It is up to the Municipality to pay for the rent each month, and ADI is hopeful that it will come through. Currently, the police are looking for the donation of eight bicycles, because with them the area police administrator will guarantee Tamarindo eight policemen. For continued updates, go to Asociacion de Desarrollo Integral Playa Tamarindo on Facebook.Halloween is arguably the biggest night in Tamarindo. This year there will be no shortage of events going on for ghouls and ghosts. On the night itself, wear your best costume for cash prices at Hotel Pasatiempo, Sharkeys, Tamarindo Diria and Aqua. On Friday, you can try again at the Crazy Monkey Bar at the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas. Boo!  -Ellen Zoe Goldenellenzoe@aol.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Press freedom groups concerned by alleged spying on Costa Rican journalists

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican newspaper accuses government of ‘unprecedented’ spying on its reporters Court to hear newspaper spying case, orders OIJ to not interfere with complainants Costa Rica press freedoms ‘enviable,’ says Reporters Without Borders Organized crime prosecutor named new director of Costa Rica’s investigative police Several national and international press freedom groups have criticized alleged spying on Costa Rican journalists by the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).On Tuesday, the Inter American Press Association condemned the phone-records tracing by the OIJ.Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the press freedom group’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, condemned the apparent snooping and said it threw into question Costa Rica’s respect for press freedom.“This is a flagrant violation of freedom of information” which “has as its main objective intimidating news sources,” said Paolillo, the editor of the weekly Búsqueda in Montevideo, Uruguay, according to a statement from IAPA.Reporters Without Borders also issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the spying:“Such activities violate the confidentiality of the news media’s sources, which is the bedrock of journalism. They jeopardize the safety and work of the journalists concerned and, beyond that, the ability of the press to perform its watchdog role.”Monday morning, Diario Extra revealed that the OIJ had intercepted the phone records of its journalists and the owner of the media company Grupo Extra over  a 10-month period as part of an investigation to identify a leak inside the judicial branch.“Costa Rica has a double standard in freedom of expression and human rights,” Hermez González Álvarez, president of the Foundation for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, told The Tico Times on Monday.“Freedom of expression is in mourning in Costa Rica,” he added.González, who plans to file a lawsuit with the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, in solidarity with Diario Extra’s injunction, asked media outlets to put a black ribbon on their homepages to show their support for the newspaper.The Costa Rican Journalists’ Association (COLPER) released a statement expressing its support for the protection of confidential sources, citing the Office of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.“Confidentiality is an essential element of journalists’ work and of the role that they play in society of reporting about matters of public interest,” the IACHR statement read, originally in response to the U.S. Justice Department’s request for phone records from The Associated Press.Iary Gómez, general director of Grupo Extra, couched the events within a wider trend toward controlling information in Costa Rica during the press conference Monday.In 2013, demonstrators in San José protested a controversial Information Crimes Bill known as the “gag law,” which concerned COLPER and other press freedom groups because of its broad language regarding jail sentences for individuals – including journalists – in possession of “secret political information.”Lawmakers removed the article dealing with secret information after a journalist challenged it in the Sala IV.The newspaper’s complaints about spying by OIJ and the Prosecutor’s Office do not extend to the executive branch.Costa Rica hosted the UNESCO World Press Freedom day on May 3, 2013. The small republic is often lauded for its strong tradition of press freedom.In 2013, Reporters Without Borders ranked Costa Rica 18th in the world for press freedom, the second highest in Latin America and the Caribbean after Jamaica (13). Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Crocodile warning signs in Costa Rica have decreased bad encounters with tourists

first_imgRelated posts:Crocodile attacks surfer in Tamarindo Tamarindo crocodile suspected of attacking surfer will not be relocated Unidentified man devoured by crocodiles after jumping from a bridge over the Tárcoles River, Red Cross says Costa Rica’s crocodile conundrum Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Conservation Area (ACOPAC) has seen a decrease by up to 90 percent in complaints related to tourists feeding or approaching crocodiles, the Environment Ministry’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) reported this week.SINAC officials in February began placing signs warning tourists that feeding crocodiles is prohibited. The signs also list cautionary measures for observing wildlife in publicly accessible areas.Puntarenas province is one of the most popular destinations for tourists, with many beaches and protected areas including Carara and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica’s most visited national park and beach.It also is a popular spot for watching crocodiles in their natural habitat. Thousands of tourists on their way to Pacific destinations stop to watch the crocodiles, mostly at ​​the bridge over the Tárcoles River and at the river’s dock at Azul beach.ACOPAC Director of Wildlife Protection Adrián Arce Arias said many people who come to watch also feed the crocodiles to cause fights over food.“Some business owners here even used to sell tourists pieces of raw chicken or beef tied to a rope, and that affected local residents because crocodiles became accustomed to approaching humans for food,” he said.This caused several incidents of crocodiles entering private property and tourists dangerously approaching crocodiles to feed them.According to Arce, the number of complaints by locals about tourists feeding or approching crocodiles has substantially decreased since the signs were placed. He said he has received similar reports from other SINAC officials in conservation areas where warnings are placed.“We have a WhatsApp group, and we periodically report about these incidents in the province. So far this year we only have received two reports of crocodiles in populated areas: one at Jacó beach and the other near the Puntarenas dock. We haven’t received any reports about attacks,” Arce said.He said sightings are normal, particularly during mating season that runs from July to November.“[Crocodile] sightings have been reported in other months as well, and we believe changes caused by El Niño are confusing them,” he said.SINAC this week reported that it will continue placing warning signs in other areas of Puntarenas province, such as Quepos and Caldera.The agency reported that local residents are now more receptive to the campaigns. Before, they opposed the signs, believing they would drive tourists away.Earlier this year two crocodile-related incidents were reported: one in the province of Guanacaste and the other in Alajuela. Signs also are being placed at river mouths near beaches in the Central Pacific region. (Courtesy of Adrián Arce Arias) Facebook Commentslast_img read more

FIFA president Sepp Blatter faces criminal proceedings

first_imgSwitzerland’s top prosecutor said Friday that criminal proceedings had been opened against FIFA chief SeppBlatter, on suspicion that he misappropriated funds and violated his duties as the head of world football’s governing body.“Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of FIFA, Mr. Sepp Blatter, have been opened on 24 September 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement…and – alternatively – misappropriation,” said a statement from Switzerland’s attorney general’s office.“There is as suspicion that…Joseph Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties” to FIFA in connection with a contract with the Caribbean Football Union, the statement further said.Blatter’s offices were searched as part of the criminal probe.Earlier this summer, Swiss prosecutors said that they were looking into 53 “suspicious” FIFA cases. U.S. authorities have charged 14 people from North and South America accused of involvement in more than $150 million of bribes for football deals.Blatter, embattled by a corruption scandal that led to the arrest of several of the international football organization’s leaders, including Costa Rica’s Eduardo Li, announced four days after being elected to a fifth term on May 30 that he would resign.This story is developing. Check ticotimes.net for updates.  Facebook Comments Related posts:FIFA reform taskforce meets for first time Former Brazil football chief Jose Maria Marin appears in US court in FIFA corruption case FIFA: Blatter tells Putin he has ‘complete trust’ in Russian World Cup Blatter fights ban amid FIFA turmoillast_img read more

Costa Rica aims to become major conference destination

first_imgRelated posts:Tourism entrepreneurs to present President Solís with a plan to further develop sector Upbeat outlook for Costa Rica tourism, as visitors, revenue up in 2014 Costa Rica rises in global ranking of travel, tourism competitiveness Limón sees 60 percent jump in cruise ships Facebook Comments President Luis Guillermo Solís and Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura pledged Thursday to build a major convention center in Costa Rica before the end of the president’s term in May 2018. The project is the cornerstone of a strategy to promote the country as an ideal location for meetings, conferences and conventions.Also on Thursday, the government published on the official online platform Mer-link the bidding requirements for companies interested in building the $35 million project.According to plans, the main building will have a capacity for 4,600 people and will be built on a 10-hectare property in Heredia province located 10 kilometers from downtown San José, and 8 kilometers from Juan Santamaría International Airport.The Comptroller General’s Office approved the final design for the project in 2012. The design includes extensive green building standards, such as reflective roofs, rainwater harvesting systems, automatic shut-off taps, high efficiency air conditioning systems, LED lighting and 10,000 square meters of solar panels which will provide energy for the building, the Costa Rican Tourism Board reported.Tourism Minister Ventura noted that seven private contractors are prequalified for the bid, four of them local and three international. They all have 45 days to submit their bids, after which the government has 90 days to announce the winner, as long as no companies file appeals.“We want to break ground before the next rainy season,” Ventura said.The minister said convention tourism would be a boost for the country’s tourism industry, and that the government is committed to making Costa Rica a great destination for that specialized market.During the announcement President Solís signed a directive ordering all public agencies to promote the future convention center as the location for their official events. He also signed an agreement with the Public Services Company of Heredia to provide public utilities and other services for the complex.The government’s convention tourism strategy also includes promoting the future center abroad. So far this year officials from the Costa Rican Tourism Board presented the project at specialized tourism fairs in Germany, Spain and the U.S., Ventura said.According to the International Congress and Convention Association, 120,000 conventions and congresses take place each year around the world, attracting 120 million people. Globally, the convention tourism sector generates $11 billion annually, according to the group. The Costa Rican Tourism Board released this render of how the National Congress and Conventions Center would look like. (Courtesy of ICT)last_img read more

Planetfriendly fusion cuisine a meal at Cala Luna

first_imgAll of the dishes are overseen by chef Hugo González, who seeks to unite the farm’s and sea’s varied tastes and colors in a healthy and aesthetically pleasing meal. And don’t forget dessert: the restaurant offers artisanal sorbets, mousses, cake, merengues and more.Diners interested in learning more can also visit the hotel’s farm, La Senda, and see the whole process: from the garden to your table as a finished meal. Cala Luna offers a buffet for breakfast which includes a varied selection of fruits. Jordi Louzao / The Tico Times Enjoying the breakfast at Cala Luna’s restaurant. Jordi Louzao / The Tico TimesCala Luna Boutique Hotel offers its guests the options of beach home villas with a swimming pool, parking, kitchen, suites and deluxe rooms. For more information visit their web site or Facebook page.Cala Luna Boutique Hotel donated a room to The Tico Times to support our coverage of the Ocaso Music Festival, the tour throughout La Senda Farm, news on Tamarindo, travel trends in Tamarindo and new offerings in the region. Are you a hotel owner? Contact us at cvargas@ticotimes.net / 506-4000-0838 to learn more about how to advertise or sponsor coverage of your community and special events in your region. Facebook Comments Related posts:Inside a Costa Rican microbrewery – at the beach How the Tamarindo Labyrinth was created The growth of the Tamarindo Diria Hotel Tamarindo gears up for Art Wave Festival Cala Luna, the sustainable boutique hotel in Langosta Beach, Guanacaste, has a menu on a mission.All of the dishes at the seaside restaurant are prepared with organic and locally produced foods, showcasing the agroecological methods its creators embrace. Breakfast by the sea. Jordi Louzao / The Tico Times“The owners [of the hotel] and the guests value ecological, sustainable, and organic ideology. We work directly with the owners’ farm, La Senda,” Cala Luna restaurant captain Angelo Ortiz told The Tico Times.“Many people don’t know what agroecology is,” he added. “It’s everything that you can plant and grow in a plantation without chemical products, without damaging the environment, and using all the studies that have been done about the plants as to how the plants’ roots grow, what temperature works for them, and how much water they need.” A snook fillet served with vegetables and sweet mashed potatoes. Jordi Louzao / The Tico TimesOnce this has been established and measured, the hotel uses the information to grow a varied selection of vegetables such as lettuce, zucchini, pipián, tomato, basil, sorghum, native beans, and many more.Most of these vegetables are used to accompany the main courses, which often include meat, fish or chicken. Cala Luna uses locally caught fish.“We work directly with artisanal fishermen… Our most iconic dinner dish is the fish of the day served in banana leaves. It has cashews seeds produced at La Senda as well,” and a tamarind sauce, Ortíz said. “When the banana leaf is needed in the kitchen, they just go the hotel patio and cut them.” Cala Luna’s fish of the day, snook, served in a banana leaf with a crust of cashew, sautéed vegetables with turmeric, tamarindo sauce and bean noodles. Jordi Louzao / The Tico Timeslast_img read more

Best press release ever Uber finds 10 Tico names that include the

first_img Facebook Comments The Tico Times gets a lot of press releases from PR firms. A lot. Some are interesting, some are downright bland, but every now and then we get one that makes us laugh.Uber recently sent us a list of Costa Rican names that have the word “uber” in them. There are occasional news stories about Ticos with interesting names — such as Bill Clinton, Welcome Kennedy, Hyundai, Pepsi, Wisin Yandel, or MacGyver — but this is the first press release we’ve gotten related to interesting Tico names.So here they are:JauberthHuberDauberOduberDuberneyYuberDuber FelipeHubertoHubertienHaubert Related posts:Taxi drivers to stage another demonstration against Uber Government interfering in Uber taxi services now? Uber starts service in Costa Rica Friday afternoon Uber supporters say court case could legalize ride-hailing service in Costa Ricalast_img read more

A hangover brunch and a classic bloody mary at Maza

first_imgThe bloody mary is as classic as a cocktail gets. Articles and books are full of colorful stories about how it was created around the 1920s. The drink surged during Prohibition when people tried to cheat the system with drinks that didn’t look like they contained alcohol.Later, the bloody mary became famous after people discovered tomato juice was a great hangover cure. It doesn’t hurt its popularity that people also think some morning-after alcohol can soothe the hangover pain.So, for the sake of honesty and a new rereading of the bloody mary, I did arrive at Maza restaurant with a hangover.I had eaten at Maza before, but I’d never asked for their bloody mary and its impressive garnish. The glass comes adorned with a chunk of pork, baby corn, one olive, a pickle and a slice of lime.I was expecting the usual celery, but the exhibition made me excited. The assortment of toppings on Maza’s bloody mary. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)Smelling the cocktail’s meat garnish made me feel like I was cured. I loved the first refreshing sips of the drink. But in the end, the spicy flavor was too much for my stomach to handle and I didn’t finish the drink. I drank water to help my hangover instead.Chef Federico Lizano says their spiced salt is what sets their bloody mary apart. They mix cilantro seeds, mustard, cumin, and other spices before mixing it with their special homemade salt.Those details are important when you are savoring the complex spiciness of the drink, but the garnish is, at the very least, a great conversation starter. I took a picture for my Instagram and several friends sent me comments of awe and others were afraid I had bought a boozy version of the olla de carne.Even though the standardized recipe for the drink mixes tomato juice, pepper, salt, spices, Worcestershire sauce and lemon; proportions and the garnish have changed over time. “That’s how we describe our business: we serve urban funky cuisine,” said owner and Chef Federico Lizano (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)Maza’s bloody mary was designed by Bebedero’s Liz Furlong and inspired by Tico cuisine; just like the rest of Maza’s food menu.“The people that ask for our bloody mary are excited to try out new things and vary their drink requests. It’s the type of client that likes to experiment with their order,” Lizano said.Three years ago, drinking bloody marys for brunch at a restaurant in San José was unusual.It seems longer because 2018 has been particularly exhausting, but Maza opened just three years ago at the east side of Parque Nacional in San José. When I first visited, the sky vines weren’t as lush as they look right now, and the menu was scribbled on a blackboard.Later, in print menus, they started offering brunch Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The seating arrangement at Maza (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)Brunch at Maza comes, of course, with cocktails. The most popular ones, Lizano said, are the Moscow mule and the bloody mary. With nothing else in common, both cocktails are spicy and use vodka. You can also ask for virgin versions of them.Lizano still remembers that when they started, only a few places offered brunch and only on Sundays.Just like other veteran bars and restaurants in San José’s foodie scene, Lizano is already planning on changing their menu and leaving brunch just for the weekends.“We are thinking about a food concept focused on the use of the local product and that also stays casual,” he said. “That’s how we describe our business: we serve urban funky cuisine.” (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)Lizano also said they’re working on a new menu with coffee and a juice bar.The classic bloody mary will be there to stay though.What makes a classic? For books, it’s easier to define. Author Italo Calvino wrote three decades ago that classics are the kind of books in which every rereading “is as much a voyage of discovery as the first reading.”I don’t mean to bastardize a Calvino essay, but I believe that’s also how you should experience other classics, especially world-known standardized cocktails that you’ll drink several times in a lifetime.I look forward to revisiting the bloody mary again and again. Maza is on the east side of the Parque Nacional and opens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)Natalia Díaz is a freelance journalist. She likes her reading the same way she likes her music: with a side of gin and tonic. Natalia just started this new liquid diet and she’s writing all about it. You can follow her on Twitter @natdiaze. Facebook Comments Related posts:Poetry, Cacique and memories at San José’s cultural dive bar: La Bohemia Know thyself: meet your signature cocktail at Bebedero Two winning drinks with Costa Rica’s best bartender at Mil948 Cabra Negra’s warm rompope foams its way until Christmaslast_img read more

La Prensa publishes blank front page to protest Nicaraguan government

first_imgLa Prensa, Nicaragua’s oldest newspaper, had a blank front page this Friday for the first time in its 93 years. The special front page was protesting the government’s refusal to deliver imported ink and paper.“Have you wondered about living without information?” This is the headline at the bottom of the blank page. The newspaper’s stationery and other supplies have been held up in Customs since September.The newspaper released the following on its second page, which worked as a cover for the publication: “La Prensa Editorial has decided to release this publication today (Friday) which marks 20 weeks since the General Directorate of Customs began retraining raw material from our company that arrived in Nicaragua in September 2018.”The newspaper, which has a critical approach towards Ortega’s government, reported that “customs blocking” risks their future publications and qualifies as a “threat to the freedom of speech and access to information of Nicaraguans.”The seizure also affects the newspaper Hoy, a popular media outlet created in 2003 that’s also part of La Prensa Editorial group.Daniel Ortega’s government hasn’t commented on the Customs retention of the newspapers’ essential materials. A vendor selling newspapers holds an edition of “La Prensa” (R) which on January 18, 2019 published its cover in blank in protest against the refusal by the General Directorate of Customs (DGA) to hand over paper and ink imported by the Editorial La Prensa group, in Managua. Inti Ocon / AFPLa Prensa says that Customs has retained $132,000 worth of materials since September, including 92 tons of paper, printing plates, glue and photo developing equipment.They stated that if the government does not deliver the material, La Prensa and Hoy will be forced to report exclusively through their digital platforms.Nicaragua’s independent press has been under government siege for reporting on the protests against Ortega that started on April 18, 2018. According to humanitarian groups, the government crackdown on protests led to 325 deaths and more than 600 people arrested.Two well-known journalists are among those arrested: Miguel Mora, the director of the closed private channel 100% Noticias, and its press director, Lucía Piñeda. According to humanitarian groups, both are being exposed to abuse in jail.The Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation registered over 700 attacks against the press since the crisis began nine months ago.This article was translated by Ariana Arguedas Bermúdez.Join The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica.We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:As Nicaragua elections approach, banned opposition decries Ortega’s budding dictatorship Threats against independent journalists in Nicaragua continue Nicaraguan-Costa Rican journalist Lucía Pineda jailed and accused of inciting terrorism in Nicaragua More than 60,000 people flee Nicaragua crisis: UNlast_img read more

More than 113 million people worldwide suffered from hunger in 2018

first_imgMore than 113 million people in 53 countries suffered extreme hunger in 2018, mainly due to armed conflicts, natural catastrophes and economic crises, according to a report published Tuesday.The countries most affected by the famine were Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Afghanistan, according to the latest edition of the global report on food crises prepared by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the European Union (EU) and other international organizations.More than half of the 113 million hungry people in the world live in 33 African countries, including Ethiopia, Sudan and Nigeria.Armed conflicts continue to be the main cause of food insecurity in the world. About 74 million people, or two-thirds of the total population suffering from hunger on the planet, live in 21 countries or territories affected by conflicts.Yemen, hit by a civil war since 2015, remains the country most affected by hunger in the world. At the end of 2018, the situation reached a critical point with more than half (53%) of the total population in need of urgent food aid, according to the annual report.Despite these alarming figures, the report highlights a slight improvement in the world over 2017 due to some countries highly susceptible to climate shocks suffered less droughts, floods and temperature increases in 2018.Thus, in 2017, 124 million people in 51 countries suffered severe hunger, eleven million more than in 2018.Venezuelan RefugeesAcross Latin America and the Caribbean in 2018, there were 4.2 million people who suffer from food insecurity and who need urgent help: Haiti (2.3 million), Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and the “Dry Corridor” of Nicaragua with 1.6 million), and South America (0.4 million, including Venezuelan migrants in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru).Venezuela, which is going through a serious economic and political crisis that has triggered a severe food shortages and hyperinflation that has drastically reduced purchasing power, is not included in this report due to the lack of reliable figures, Dominique Burgeon, Head of Emergency Situations of FAO, told AFP.But it could enter the 2019 ranking of countries that face serious food crises with reliable data, said Burgeon, who expressed his “concern” about the situation in the Latin American country.The report does count instead about 1.5 million Venezuelans who have sought refuge in three neighboring countries, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and who have great difficulty in guaranteeing their food.At least 360,000 of them are going through an “acute food crisis” (phase 3 of a five-level international scale) and 600,000 are in phase 2 (food difficulties).According to the World Food Program (WFP), 30% of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia (out of a total of 1.1 million) suffer from malnutrition. In Ecuador, that number is 38% (out of a total of 221,000 that have sought refuge in that country) and in Peru 14% (over a little over 500,000).FAO also expressed its concern about the situation in Colombia, which is both a transit and destination country for Venezuelans crossing the border, and that in addition to this, it still has 487,000 vulnerable people displaced by decades of armed conflict within the country.Drought in Central AmericaAlso in Latin America, there is an ongoing food crisis in Haiti, the poorest country on the continent that was hit by two devastating hurricanes in 2017. In total, 2.3 million Haitians (32% of the population) are on the verge of famine.The document predicts that the food crisis will intensify in Haiti in 2019 after a below-average harvest last year, mainly due to droughts.Among the other areas of the region that raise concern is the Central American Dry Corridor. This area, which extends from northwest Costa Rica along the Pacific coast to Guatemala, is one of the most susceptible to climate change in the world.The frequency and intensity of droughts and floods has been increasing in recent years. “The outlook for 2019 is even worse than in 2018, as the El Niño phenomenon causes extremely dry conditions and a prolonged heat wave,” says the report.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5% Club. If only 5 percent of our readers donated at least $5 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican researchers develop new climate change-resistant beans Water and Sewer Institute announces rationing plan for up to four months Drought subjects Central America to pests, loss of crops and lack of drinking water Construction of Discovery Costa Rica set to begin in 2018last_img read more

Aung San Suu Kyi over the years

first_img Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments   Share   (AP) – Myanmar democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi is returning to Europe this week after more than two decades, a span that saw her win a Nobel Peace Prize but also spend 15 years under house arrest for standing up to the military junta in her native country.Suu Kyi’s stops will include Norway, where she is to make a belated acceptance speech for the Nobel awarded to her 21 years earlier. She also will visit Switzerland, France and Ireland _ as well as Britain, where Suu Kyi studied and lived for years, and where she left behind her late husband Michael Aris and their two sons, Alexander and Kim, to return to her homeland in 1988 to nurse her ailing mother. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishescenter_img The European tour, expected to last about two weeks, is seen as a sign of gratitude to the governments and organizations that supported Suu Kyi’s peaceful struggle against Myanmar’s generals. It also will be a chance for Europe to get a sense of whether recent political reforms in Myanmar, where Suu Kyi won a seat in Parliament in April, truly spell the end of its dictatorship.Here are photos of Suu Kyi over the years:(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Sponsored Stories last_img read more

European leaders royalty remember end of WWI

first_img Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day In the British capital, Big Ben rang out to mark the 11th hour, when the truce took effect, and then dignitaries there and around the continent observed a moment of silence.While Nov. 11 marks the end of fighting in World War I, Britain and, for the first time France, remembered all of their war dead on Sunday.As a nod to the new ritual, the children of two soldiers who died in Afghanistan helped Hollande lay wreaths at several spots in Paris, including a plaque that pays homage to students who defied a German order not to commemorate Armistice Day in 1940, when northern France was under occupation.Poppies, woven into wreaths and worn on lapels, figured everywhere Sunday. The flowers became a symbol for the fallen soldiers of World War I because of the poem “In Flanders Field,” which describes the blooms growing over the graves of dead soldiers.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) PARIS (AP) – Politicians and royalty observed a moment of silence at tombs across Europe on Sunday to commemorate the end of fighting in World War I and remember the millions of soldiers who died in that conflict.Under Paris’ iconic Arc de Triomphe, President Francois Hollande remembered the Armistice by placing a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. King Albert II echoed that gesture in the Belgian capital. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, brought flowers to the Cenotaph in central London. Patients with chronic pain give advicecenter_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Chinese dissident gets 12 years for contract fraud

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Zhao says Li will appeal because the verdict “was not based on the facts and the prosecutors and the court violated procedural laws and regulations.”A court official confirmed Li’s hearing had taken place, but didn’t have details.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img BEIJING (AP) – A lawyer says a Chinese court has sentenced dissident poet Li Bifeng to 12 years in prison for contract fraud.Lawyer Zhao Jianwei says that Li was sentenced Monday at Shehong County Court in southwestern Sichuan province. Li was formerly imprisoned for five years for involvement in the Tiananmen Square democracy movement.Exiled dissident Liao Yiwu says Li was targeted because he was suspected of helping Liao flee the country last year _ suspicions Liao says are false. Liao launched an international appeal from Germany for Li’s release. Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Colombia suspending use of anticoca herbicide

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos announced Saturday he is halting use of a herbicide that has been a key part of U.S.-financed efforts to wipe out cocaine crops, saying the country will seek other ways to destroy coca plants.Santos said he was taking the move following a Health Ministry recommendation based on a World Health Organization decision to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen. Speaking at an event in the capital, Bogota, Santos said that defense and health officials should agree on a transition period, during which “spraying of glyphosate has to be replaced with other mechanisms, for example, intensifying manual eradication” of coca plants.The U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker, said a decision on whether to use the chemical is a decision for Colombia and the U.S. government respects it.More than 4 million acres of land in Colombia have been sprayed with the popular weed killer over the past two decades to kill the plants whose leaves produce cocaine. The spraying program is partly carried out by U.S. contractors.The decision to end fumigation program could have a side effect of somewhat easing ongoing peace talks with the country’s main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which has demanded an end to the spraying as part of any deal.The two sides already had agreed that aerial eradication would be used only as a last resort.The presence of the rebels was a principal reason for introducing airborne coca fumigation in Colombia because guerrilla fighters long protected coca crops, making manual eradication dangerous. Colombia already has scaled back use of aerial herbicides in favor of more labor-intensive manual eradication efforts, partly in response to criticism by farmers.Colombian officials say aerial spraying last year covered 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres), down from a 2006 peak of 172,000 hectares (425,000 acres).The government also has tried to improve safety standards by avoiding herbicide flights during strong winds, and installing GPS devices on fumigation aircraft that keep records of their movements to help determine the validity of farmers’ compensation claims.In 2013, Colombia agreed to pay Ecuador $15 million to settle a lawsuit over economic and human damage linked to spraying along their common border.___Associated Press writers Juan Camilo Hernandez and Jacobo Garcia contributed to this report.___Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The other two main cocaine-producing countries, Peru and Bolivia, have avoided use of chemical herbicides, using manual eradication instead.The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a French-based research arm of the World Health Organization in March reclassified the herbicide as a carcinogen. It cited evidence that the herbicide produces cancer in lab animals and more limited findings that it causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans.Daniel Mejia, a Bogota-based economist who is chairman of an expert panel advising the Colombian government on its drug strategy, published research last year that found higher rates of skin problems and miscarriages in districts targeted by herbicides. It was based on a study of medical records from 2003 to 2007.Monsanto and other manufacturers of glyphosate-based products strongly rejected the WHO ruling. They cited a 2012 ruling by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the herbicide was safe.U.S. and Colombian government officials have argued that cocaine does more health damage than aerial spraying.Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon recently expressed concern about calls for a ban on spraying. “Common sense should prevail,” he said. “What cannot happen is that in the absence of a more detailed analysis, we lose tools that one way or another frankly contribute to reducing drug trafficking.” Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helpcenter_img Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

FDA weighs approval of firstinclass cholesterol drug

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health regulators said Friday that a highly-anticipated, experimental drug from Sanofi lowers bad cholesterol more than older drugs. But officials have questions about whether to approve the drug based on that measure alone or wait for additional study results.The Food and Drug Administration posted its review of Sanofi’s Praluent ahead of a meeting next week to consider the drug’s approval. Praluent is the first in a new class of cholesterol-lowering biotech drugs to come before the FDA. The drugs are considered the first major advance in lowering bad, or LDL, cholesterol since the introduction of blockbuster statin drugs in the late 1980s. ErrorOK ErrorOK 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Patients with chronic pain give advice Both new drugs lower low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol more powerfully and in a different way than existing drugs. They block a substance called PCSK9, which interferes with the liver’s ability to remove cholesterol from the blood.But the prospect of approving a new class of expensive injectable drugs for such a common condition has raised concerns among providers and payers, who worry about rising drug costs. Particularly since most statin drugs, including Zocor and Lipitor, are now available as cheap generics.Sanofi has proposed marketing its drug to patients who cannot control their cholesterol with statins alone, or who cannot tolerate statins due to side effects. But the FDA notes that 70 percent of patients identified in this “statin-intolerant” group actually completed a 6-month company study in which they were randomly assigned to take statins.FDA scientists voice concerns that approving the drug for “statin intolerant patients … could promote a condition that is not well understood and encourage some patients to prematurely abandon statins, a class that has robustly established benefits.”Next Tuesday the FDA’s outside experts will vote on whether to recommend approval for the drug, which would be self-injected every two weeks. The panel’s recommendation is non-binding and the FDA is scheduled to make its final decision on the drug by July 24. More than 73 million U.S. adults, or nearly one-third, have high LDL cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients with high cholesterol have double the risk of heart disease.Across company studies, patients taking Praluent, in addition to a statin, saw their cholesterol fall 46 to 60 percent, depending on the dose taken. That was significantly more than the reduction of 20 to 22 percent for patients taking a statin alone.But FDA regulators are weighing whether to approve Praluent based on its cholesterol-lowering benefit, or whether to wait for longer-term studies designed to show whether it actually reduces heart attacks and death in patients. Those data are not expected until 2017.While the FDA has traditionally approved cholesterol drugs based on their ability to lower levels of the wax-like substance found in the bloodstream, the agency notes that such metrics do not always translate into real benefits for patients. For example, in 2006 Pfizer Inc. halted a study of its cholesterol drug torcetrapib, after study results actually showed higher rates of heart problems and death in patients taking it.The agency will ask a panel of outside experts to weigh in on the issue and Praluent’s overall benefit at meeting next Tuesday. The same panel will review a similar drug, called Repatha, from Amgen Inc. on Wednesday. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 0 Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Paris-based Sanofi developed Praluent with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Tarrytown, New York.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Top Stories last_img read more