Tourism jumps in Europes 2nd most popular destination Spain

first_img MADRID — The number of tourists visiting Spain jumped by 12 per cent in the first six months of 2016, as a mix of economic concerns and fears of extremist attacks continued to drive foreigners away from rival Mediterranean destinations.Spain’s National Statistics Institute said Friday that some 33 million tourists arrived between January and June.Britons continued to top the list at eight million, up 17 per cent. The figure for Germans, at 5 million, was up 7 per cent while French visitors increased 8 per cent to 4.6 million.Spain, Europe’s most popular destination after France, hosted a record 68.1 million tourists in 2015, almost 5 per cent higher than the previous year.Tourism represents some 11 per cent of the Spanish economy. Tourism jumps in Europe’s 2nd most popular destination Spain The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Share Friday, July 29, 2016 last_img read more

An unforgettable cruise a legendary ship first impressions of the new Queen

first_imgTags: Cunard By: Toby Saltzman An unforgettable cruise, a legendary ship: first impressions of the ‘new’ Queen Mary 2 ONBOARD THE QUEEN MARY 2 — Remastered with exquisite art deco details and sumptuous comfort after a $150 million investment by Cunard, the Queen Mary 2 is truly the world’s most beautiful ocean liner, an icon in the cruise industry deserving of its excellent reputation for style and service.Upon boarding and entering the lofty Grand Lobby, with its high chandelier, walls clad in three dimensional murals, and reams of carpets in royal hues of blue, gold and crimson, you feel an immediate sense of arrival.The Champagne Bar speaks volumes of the ship’s design. Art deco details harken to the heritage of the original Queen Mary, while two gorgeous Lalique vases flank the entrance. Black and white paintings include images of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman among other movie stars. Photo credit: Toby SaltzmanAlthough this regal vessel is known for its class system – meaning that dining is allocated by class of accommodation – while mingling with all classes of passengers on my trans-Atlantic crossing, I learned that whether passengers are ensconced in two-tiered suites in the Queen’s Grill category, in Princess balcony suites or the variety of Britannia cabins, they share similar sentiments: for first timers, sailing the QM2 has long been their dream, often to celebrate a special occasion.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesRepeat passengers enjoy the leisurely crossing on a solid vessel with good stabilizers; many avoid flying by sailing the loop voyage between New York and Southampton, often extending the cruise within the loop to experience other destinations, this time, Norway.The New York City skyline from the Queen Mary 2.Photo credit: Toby SaltzmanMost importantly – as everyone has access to the varied common eating areas, lounges, swimming areas, bars, entertainment – they express satisfaction with their class of cabin, with no complaints.Admittedly people-watching from a cushy couch in my favourite bar – the gorgeous Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar that borders the upper circle of the Grand Lobby – I am reminded that, when it comes to the QM2, and indeed other first-class vessels, the most crucial thing a travel agent can do to gain and maintain client loyalty is to place the client on the ship appropriately.More about that and the QM2 in an upcoming edition of Travelweek Daily. Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

This video of a renegade suitcase racing down the runway will be

first_img Friday, March 16, 2018 Travelweek Group Share Posted by This video of a renegade suitcase racing down the runway will be the funniest thing you’ll see all daycenter_img Tags: LOL, Video, WTF ATLANTA — Stop that suitcase! A rogue piece of luggage went off the rails recently at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, evading grounds crew and seemingly defying physics when it spun out of control down the runway.Flight attendant Michael Orsini caught the entire episode on video, during which passengers can be heard laughing and pondering how the suitcase could be capable of reaching such speeds and travelling so far.It can first be seen leisurely swiveling away from the aircraft, but then picks up steam shortly after as it spins towards the airport. At one point, it crosses paths with a driver in a black pickup truck, who either didn’t see the renegade luggage fly by or was too bewildered to put a stop to it.One passenger marvelled over the quality of the suitcase’s wheels, while another simply asked, “How is this happening?!”We have no idea how, but sometimes the greatest mysteries of life are best left unexplained. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Could Costa Rica become another Greece

first_imgNo related posts. Facebook Comments The old Ronald Reagan-era slogan, “Government is not the solution, government is the problem,” has unfortunately become very applicable to Costa Rica. A look at the numbers and salary levels of Costa Rica’s public sector employees shows that out-of-control expansion of the government payroll is now the biggest internal threat to Costa Rica’s prosperity and economic stability.The above chart outlines the basic drivers of the fiscal problem caused by Costa Rica’s public sector payroll. First, whereas private sector job growth rises and falls with economic conditions, the public sector payroll expands regardless of economic conditions. Second, public sector manual, clerical and middle management jobs pay more than twice the private sector equivalent. The result is that among workers insured by the Costa Rican Social Security System, or Caja, the public sector headcount is 26 percent of employees, but these take home 45 percent of payrolls.There are two government offices most directly involved in budgeting and monitoring public sector spending: the Finance Ministry and the Planning Ministry. The 2013 Costa Rican national budget presented by Finance Minister Edgar Ayales is ₡6.4 trillion ($12.8 billion), a 7.5 percent increase over 2012, with a deficit at a projected 5.26 percent of gross domestic product, the third year in a row over 5 percent. This budget is now under evaluation in the Legislative Assembly. The Planning Ministry, in charge of coordinating Costa Rica’s ever-growing public sector (now up to 344 institutions) is the best place to go to try to understand the nuts and bolts of how the various parts of the government interact. It is so strategic that the list of past planning ministers is a Who’s Who of Costa Rican politics: Ex-President Oscar Arias, ex-President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, National Liberation Party President Bernal Jiménez and Citizen Action Party founder and three-time presidential candidate Ottón Solís. The incumbent planning minister is Roberto Gallardo. With a political science background, Gallardo launched his career in 1981 as a professor, and later, adviser to the rector at the University of Costa Rica. He is well-experienced in economic planning, serving as planning minister in the second Arias administration (2007-2010). In President Laura Chinchilla’s government, he started as communications minister before moving back to the Planning Ministry in 2011. The Tico Times visited Gallardo at his San Pedro office on Oct 1. Excerpts follow: TT: Thanks for having us, Mr. Minister. I saw the photos on the wall of past planning ministers when I came in. That’s quite a list.RG: Yes, it is. I’m a political scientist by training, and this ministry has been a fascinating learning experience as to the inner workings of the Costa Rican public sector.Here’s how we’ve analyzed the public sector payroll problem (shows chart above). Any comments? Based on your Caja data for health insured workers, your 26 percent of the national payroll in the public sector overstates the situation. We should consider private sector uninsured workers, which would drop the public sector portion down to about 15 percent.Fair enough. Since we couldn’t get data on the uninsured workers, we went with Caja-insured public and private sector workers only. Within this limited sample, we still consider public workers with a 26 percent headcount participation getting 45 percent of the total payroll a telling disproportion. What makes public sector salaries so high?The factor most affecting public salaries is all the “plusses” added to the base salary, which don’t exist in the private sector. For a private sector worker, if you give him a 5 percent salary adjustment, it’s 5 percent. But public sector workers acquire all kinds of special incentives on top of their base salaries. Things like seniority payments, “exclusive dedication” [committing to hold no other job], housing subsidies, “zoning” [for working in distant provinces], etc. So, for public-sector workers, a 5 percent increase in their base pay triggers equal increases in all their salary bonus categories. A 5 percent base-salary increase turns into an 8 percent or 9 percent real-pay increase. Are salaries and plusses consistent in the public sector?No, not at all. Each individual worker, depending on his profession and working conditions, can have a unique salary-plusses profile within a given institution. And the institutions themselves vary widely, not just in plusses, but also in base salaries and annual increases. Take a receptionist. We have detected salary ranges from ₡273,000 ($546) per month to ₡754,000 ($1,508) per month for similar positions within different government entities. For annual increases, programmed adjustments vary from 1.9 percent for central government workers to 5.5 percent for the University of Costa Rica.With all these benefits, is there accountability?Theoretically, yes. There are annual performance reviews in which work effectiveness is supposedly analyzed. In 2010, our office reviewed these evaluations. It turns out that of 160,000 performance reviews that we catalogued, only 13 were negative. Now, I am sure that the great majority of public employees are conscientious people who try to do a good job. But this disproportion of positive reviews [99.99 percent] shows that so-called performance reviews have come to be automatically positive.So what can be done to control the public payroll?This ministry is trying to take a first step with a bill to address the problem of the salary plusses. It’s called the Bill for Ordering of Additional Payments Attached to the Base Salary in the Public Sector. A draft is under evaluation in the Legislative Assembly.Public sector unions have already come out hard against the proposed law. They have talked about “the mother of all strikes” in October.Public sector workers should keep in mind that the law as structured will recognize acquired workers’ rights and apply to new hires by the government. We are purposely trying to force discussion on necessary homogenization of public payroll benefits. What we have now is not sustainable.The government is certainly being brave in this. There are only 20 months to go in President Laura Chinchilla’s administration. She could have left this fight to the next administration.President Chinchilla is nothing if not brave and principled. She fought the good fight for the tax package and it wasn’t approved. So, yes, that will be for the next government. But with this issue of taming the public sector payroll, too much is at stake. Right now, 48 percent or 49 percent of government revenues go to public sector payrolls. If this problem isn’t dealt with, our projections have that proportion increasing to 60 percent by 2016. This level of structurally built-in public payroll costs would push fiscal deficits to unmanageable levels. Costa Rica would then be in danger of turning into another Greece.last_img read more

RACSA launches online movie service

first_imgState-owned Radiográfica Costarricense (RACSA) on Wednesday launched a new on-demand movie service for $7.50 per month, with an initial offering of 3,000 movies, TV series, music and the option to access social networks.New subscribers will receive a free month to the service, called “One Play,” which will compete with similar plans offered by Neflix and cable companies.RACSA expects to attract some 50,000 customers by the end of 2013. The new service aims to provide content for the fiber optic network the company built to confront an ongoing financial crisis.Orlando Cascante, RACSA’s manager, said the company will keep the title catalog updated, and he said “users will be able to view content from any device: computers, tablets, phones and TVs. We also plan to add other services such online apps and high-definition television.” Movies will be offered through a partnership with TotalMovie, part of Mexican Grupo Salinas (TV Azteca). Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Comedy homage massive DJ party and other happenings around Costa Rica

first_imgComedy: “Homage to Les Luthiers”The Argentine musical-comedy group “Les Luthiers” has been the Latin American equivalent of Monty Python since 1967. Catch this homage to the classic comics at the Salazar Theater, courtesy of the Costa Rican comedy group “La Media Docena” (“Half a Dozen”) and band Editus.“Homenaje a Les Luthiers” will be performed Aug. 22-24 at the Melico Salazar Theater, downtown San José. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. ₡5,000-19,000. Info: Salazar Theater website. Ale Mora rocks the Home Lounge in Santa Ana. Courtesy Ale MoraParty: White NoiseCosta Rican super-DJ Ale Mora headlines this massive late-night party at Home Finest Lounge and Terrace.Party takes place Aug. 22 at Home Lounge, Lindora. 11 p.m. Info: Event Facebook page.Symposium: Internet Marketing TechniquesHosted by The Women’s Club of Costa Rica, this informative event features expat entrepreneur Stacey Auch as its guest speaker.Meeting takes place Aug. 23 at Tin Jo restaurant, downtown San José. 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. ₡3,000-4,000 ($6-8). Info: Event page.Performance: “Tango and Its Histories”Learn about this lascivious Argentine dance at CENAC, thanks to the creator Pablo Dell’Oca Sala.“El Tango y Sus Historias” performs Aug. 24 at CENAC, downtown San José. 1 p.m. Free. Info: RedCultura. Music: Bruce Callow, The ElephantsCanadian recording artist Bruce Callow performs acoustic covers of classic and alternative songs, along with original music, followed by Costa Rican rock band The Elephants.Concert takes place August 27 at Jazz Café, Escazú. 9 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). Info: Jazz Café website.Craft Beer TourHosted by the boozy social group Carpe Chepe, this beer tour will help you appreciate the art and tastes of cerveza artesanal.The Craft Beer Tour takes place Aug. 28 at La Sospecha Gastropub, Los Yoses. 6:30 p.m. Info: Carpe Chepe website.La Favorita Organic PartyCelebrate organic cuisine and lifestyle at this super-green party, hosted by La Favorita Executive Apartments.Party takes place Aug. 23 at La Favorita Executive Apartments, Rohrmoser. 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Info: La Favorita Facebook page.Dance: “Our Crime Each Day”Danza Universitaria presents an avant-garde performance about relationships, familial roles, and violence at The National Theater.“El Crimen Nuestro de Cada Día” presents Aug. 26 at the National Theater, downtown San José. 12 p.m. 1,000-2,000 ($2-4). Info: National Theater website.Dance: Flamenco PerformanceThe Spanish House hosts a passionate flemanco performance, starring Costa Rican musicians and dance students.Performance takes place Aug. 21 & 22 at the Casa España, La Sabana. Thu. & Fri., 8 p.m. 5,000 ($10). Info: RedCultura. Music: International Blues FestivalChicago blues legend Steve Arvey plays acoustic blues at El Sótano, along with special guest David Scott. Other acts include MG and the Blues Burners, JR Blues Band, Navil Garcia, and others.Festival takes place Aug. 21 & 22 at El Sótano, Barrio Amón. 7:30 p.m. ₡5,000 ($10). Info: El Sótano Facebook page.Sports: NCCWMA 2014 ChampionshipSeasoned athletes from around the world converge on San José to compete in the 2014 North, Central American and Caribbean World Masters Athletics Championship. None of these track-and-field stars is younger than 30, and the majority are older – but they still sprint like champions.The NCCWMA Championship takes place Aug. 21-24 at the National Stadium, La Sabana. Info: Offical website.International Book FairColossal gathering of publishers, editors, writers, and book nuts.Feria de los Libros continues through Aug. 31 at the Antigua Aduana, Barrio Aranjuez. Info: Fair website.Art: “Dirty Game”Costa Rican artist José Miguel Rojas González explores the nature of winning and losing in this subversive series. Read our review here.“Juego Sucio” continues through Oct. 11 at the Central Bank Museum, Plaza de la Cultura, San José. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: Museos Banco Central website.Theater: “Amadeus”Peter Schaffer’s masterpiece about the life of Mozart (and his bitter rival, Salieri) receives an epic production at Teatro Espressivo.“Amadeus” plays Aug. 7 – Oct. 12 at Teatro Espressivo, Curridabat. Info: Teatro Espressivo website.Theater: “Virus”What is the nature of sickness? Costa Rican playwright Ana Istarú explores this theme in “Virus,” her new drama at the Vargas Calvo Theater.“Virus” plays through Aug. 31 at the Vargas Calvo Theater, downtown San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: National Theater website.Art: “The Day We Became Contemporary”The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design celebrates 20 years of cutting-edge arts with a comprehensive, retrospective showcase.“El Día Que Nos Hicimos Contemporáneos” continues through Sept. 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Downtown San José. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Residents ₡1,000 ($2), foreigners ₡1,500 ($3), students ₡500 ($1). Info: MADC website.Enamorate de tu ciudadYes, you can go gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring Enamorate de tu ciudad, or Fall in Love With Your City, a year-round celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Check out the event site for news on games, workshops, presentations and surprise performances.Fall in Love with Your City takes place on Saturdays in various parks in downtown San José. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Info: Enamorate de tu Ciudad website and Facebook page.Art: Paintings by Fabio RojasThe artist presents a series of landscapes at the University College of Cartago.The exhibition will display Aug. 8-29 at the University College of Cartago. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free. Info: University website. Facebook Comments Related posts:Lionfish tournament, peach-palm fair, and other happenings around Costa Rica Guitar Festival, French cinema, and other happenings around Costa Rica Flamenco superstars, Soda Stereo tribute, and other happenings around Costa Rica Tico stand-up, founding father, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

Desamparados residents plead for help as the San José canton turns into

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica homicide rate hits record high 30 percent of murders in the world happen in Latin America and the Caribbean Cops seize an arsenal in Heredia and arrest a Tico linked to the Sinaloa Cartel in Colombia Costa Rica saw ‘important increase in violence,’ says OIJ director The number of homicides in the canton of Desamparados, located south of Costa Rica’s capital, has doubled in the past year, according to a report released Monday by Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) Director Francisco Segura.The report states that 38 homicides occurred in Desamparados from Jan. 1 to Nov. 18, a figure surpassed only by the Central San José canton, at 58.Last year, Desamparados ranked fourth among Costa Rican cantons with 19 homicides. That means the canton currently is second across the nation in terms of homicides, surpassing Central Limón, which had consistently ranked among the top two cantons for OIJ crime statistics. The Caribbean canton is now third, with 29 homicides, while Alajuela Central is fourth with 23.On Tuesday, several residents, students and members of civil groups demonstrated in the canton’s main streets to demand that government officials help in stopping the crime wave.Desamparados Mayor Maureen Fallas attributed the increase in violence to disputes over gang territory. Last week, she sent a formal request for an intervention to the Presidency Ministry, the Public Security Ministry and the OIJ, as gang battles are becoming increasingly violent. Perpetrators also increasingly are using heavy weaponry, including automatic weapons.“We’re asking for an increase in patrols in Desamparados, and we urge security officials to take control of the situation,” Fallas told The Tico Times on Tuesday.The mayor’s statements coincide with those of the OIJ’s director of plans and operations, Michael Soto, who on Monday described the gangs’ activities: “Victims are being tortured or mutilated, and most of these crimes occur in the streets. Previously we had information of at least six organized groups operating in Desamparados, but our intelligence now says that these gangs have merged into two major groups that are disputing control of the area.”Public Security Minister Celso Gamboa, speaking during a graduation ceremony for 392 new police officers on Monday, said 40 officers would be sent to the canton in coming days. Gamboa also agreed to attend, along with National Police Director Juan José Andrade, a weekly meeting of the Desamparados Municipal Council on Tuesday night to coordinate a security response.Business chambers and civil and religious groups on Tuesday evening announced they would join residents to demonstrate again on Wednesday morning and would march from Desamparados to Casa Presidencial in Zapote, where they hope to meet with Presidency Ministry officials.Watch a video of that demonstration: Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Obama to request 1 billion from Congress to help Central America

first_imgRelated posts:Obama: US will make immigration ‘more fair and just’ Immigrants find themselves torn between hope, defeat on Obama’s plans New immigration program seeks to reunite Central American families in US ‘Writing was on the wall’ for child immigrant crisis, says new study WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration hopes to increase funding to Central America to $1 billion next year as part of a drive to boost relations with southern neighbors, bolster security and stem illegal immigration.“On Monday, President Obama will request from Congress $1 billion to help Central America’s leaders make the difficult reforms and investments required to address the region’s interlocking security, governance and economic challenges,” Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday.“The economies of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras remain bogged down as the rest of the Americas surge forward,” he wrote in an opinion article published by The New York Times. “Inadequate education, institutional corruption, rampant crime and a lack of investment are holding these countries back.”With many economic migrants to the United States coming from the region legally and illegally, the U.S. has a vested interest in improving stability — which has been hit by poverty, rampant gang warfare and drug trafficking.The proposal is part of Obama’s 2016 budget plan — to be unveiled fully next week — which would first have to be approved by a hostile Republican-controlled Congress. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Passion talent and sweat dance festival takes the stage in San José

first_imgThe fourteenth edition of the annual National Contemporary Dance Festival is bringing more artistic offerings than ever to San José stages, thanks to this year’s alliance with “Mudanzas 9,” a project of the National Dance Company. The Festival will feature 17 national and two international performances, exploring themes from love and marriage to equality and loneliness.The Festival is an initiative of the Culture Ministry, which seeks to boost the professional development of Costa Rican contemporary dancers by promoting the work of local artists, as well as encouraging public interest in the art. Events kicked off on August 3 and will continue through August 12. In recent days, groups such as Colectivo Afro, Imago Danza and Corpóreos have performed at the Melico Salazar Theater and the Dance Theater, among others locales. “Cuerpos Sagrados,” a performance of the Universidad Nacional’s Chamber Dance Company, on August 4. Courtesy Luis Alvarado)One of the international guests of the Festival is Spanish dancer Victoria P. Miranda, whose dance trajectory started at the early age of 7. Victoria has studied dance at renowned academies such as Merce Cunningham, CNDC L´Esquisse Angers, The Place and Provisional Danza. As a choreographer, she has collaborated on the  production of more than 20 different projects including vertical dance, street works, and large-format pieces.At this year’s Festival, Victoria is offering various dance workshops, participating as a judge, and performing her latest piece, “I Leave the Lights on.” The piece focuses on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and what it is like to get to know and even fall in love with a woman suffering from OCD. The performance will take place tonight at 8 p.m. at the Dance Theater in downtown San José.The other international guest is the Dominican National Ballet, which is on its 2015 tour, having visited Colombia, Peru and now, for the first time, Costa Rica. The group will be interpretating the contemporary neoclassical piece “Guara ar iu filin?” on August 9 at 6 p.m. at the Melico Salazar Theater.The National Dance Company will close the Festival on August 12 at 8 p.m. at the Dance Theater with their piece “toc toc toc… Una mirada al revés” (“Toc toc toc… a Backwards Look”), which explores the idea that each person owns his or her own reality, taking the audience along the line between daily routine and fantasy as if seen through the innocent eyes of a child.Tickets are ₡4,000 (approximately $8). Find the full Festival program, locations and more info at the Festival Facebook page or at 2295- 6000 /2295-6028. Facebook Comments Related posts:Yoga Day, Father’s Day exhibit and other happenings around Costa Rica ‘Abominable Creatures,’ contemporary dance, and other happenings around Costa Rica ‘Festival Under the Stars’ to screen third edition in Puntarenas Envision Festival is officially sold outlast_img read more

In 2014 oddsmakers expected Costa Rica would not score a single goal

first_imgIn preparing for the 2018 World Cup, we came across this Tico Times story published just before the 2014 tournament in Brazil. It’s a good reminder that miracles do happen. This year, Costa Rica’s chances to bring home the World Cup are 250 to one, according to ESPN and the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.The odds are not in Costa Rica’s favor at the 2014 World Cup. That’s actually putting it lightly. Bookmakers consider the odds probable that Costa Rica goes scoreless in all of the team’s three group stage matches.But damn these haters, after seeing Netherlands bash World Cup defending champions Spain on Friday, Costa Rica has to be salivating at the opportunity to pull off its own stunner(s). Plus, the Ticos have have done it before during their magical run to the last-16 in Italy 1990. Costa Rica shocked the masses in its first World Cup ever by notching upset victories over Scotland and Sweden and advancing to the Round of 16 (where Czechoslovakia knocked out La Sele, 4-1).Still, in Brazil 2014, the top two teams qualifying from the region — Costa Rica and the U.S. — face a monumental task to do as much as even qualify for the knockout stage in the World Cup, according to a number of prognosticators.A Tico Times’ compilation of seven oddsmakers gave Costa Rica only a 16 percent chance to qualify out of its group that has former World Cup winners Uruguay, Italy and England. The U.S. has slightly better odds, at 33 percent, to advance out of a group with Germany, Portugal and Ghana. Oddsmakers gave the team a 1 percent chance of winning the tournament. Costa Rica’s chances are virtually zero.In fact, the Ticos’ odds are so poor that the consensus among bookmakers is that the team will lose all three of their matches. Another bet asks which Costa Rican will lead the team in goals. The top option: “No goalscorer.” Joel Campbell is second.  If Costa Rica does manage a win or even a tie, there’s plenty of money to be made by those who support La Sele.Here is what La Sele is up against. The Tico Times’ survey included four media outlets: 538, Bloomberg, The Economist and SBNation. Multinational bank Goldman Sachs was also included. Two old-school style oddsmakers – sports betting businesses – also were featured in the analysis. The graphics show each team’s odds at the start of the tournament (obviously, Spain’s chances have since decreased, while the Dutch are rising).Qualification Learn About TableauIn the opening round of the World Cup, eight groups of four teams will play a round-robin. Two teams from each group will qualify for the knockout round: a single-elimination tournament that determines the champion.One of the biggest things hurting Costa Rica and the U.S. is that fierce group. As The New York Times points out, Costa Rica drew the sixth toughest draw of the 32 World Cup teams.  The U.S. drew the 12th toughest draw. Mexico, the last team to qualify from the region, lucked out with the most favorable draw of any World Cup team.As for the tournament’s eventual champion, host Brazil is the clear favorite. The country’s odds range from 45 percent to 21 percent. Argentina, Spain and Germany are the squads most likely to challenge Brazil for the title. At least until Friday afternoon, when the Netherlands demolished Spain, 5-1, in a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final.While Costa Rica’s odds are low, at least The Ticos don’t endure the nasty wagers that English bookmakers make about England — the World Cup’s most pessimistic country. One bet asks if Uruguay’s Luis Suárez will outscore the entire England team (7/2 odds). Another wonders if England will be eliminated on penalty kicks (8/1), something the country has made a habit of doing in important matches. And then there’s: Will an English player cry when the team is eliminated (2/5)? That one includes the following fine print: “Must be real tears.”Of course, those “real tears” could fall right as a result of Costa Rica. The Ticos won’t have time for sympathy when they meet the English in the teams’ final group stage match on June 24 in Belo Horizonte. They have World Cup supremacy to overthrow.MORE STRANGE PROP BETSWill a player fail a drug test during the tournament?Which will be the first match to score 0-0?Who will referee the World Cup final?What company sponsored the jerseys of the winning team? (Lotto has the lowest odds. The sportswear manufacturer is sponsoring one team — Costa Rica) Related posts:Can Costa Rica defy the odds and conquer Group D (or at least score a goal)? Seriously? Winless England predicted by oddsmakers to beat Costa Rica The Sloth Kong dance Underdogs no more: Costa Rica seen as favorites against Greece Learn About Tableaucenter_img Champion Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Air Transat announces routes between Vancouver and Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:KLM, Air Canada increase flights to Costa Rica Costa Rica airport restricts liquids in carry-ons American Airlines expanding service to Costa Rica United kicks off couple flying to their Costa Rican wedding Canadian airline Air Transat will connect both Liberia and San José with Vancouver when it launches twice-weekly service between the three cities in December. The seasonal route will last through April 25, 2020, as part of the leisure airline’s Mexican, Caribbean and Central American focus during Canadian winters. Air Transat’s Airbus A321LR aircraft will depart Vancouver at 6:30 a.m. local time and arrive in Liberia, Guanacaste at 5:25 p.m. following a layover at Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela. The flight will leave Costa Rica at 6:40 p.m. local time with a scheduled arrival in Vancouver at 12:20 a.m. “Bringing our Airbus A321neoLRs into our fleet in winter 2019-2020 will give us greater flexibility, which will help us reinforce our leadership in Quebec, strengthen our presence in Ontario and return in force in the Canadian west,” said Annick Guérard, chief operating officer for Air Transat, in a statement. “We will therefore be adding new destinations out of Vancouver, including Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as well as Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica.”The triangle route is similar to KLM’s upcoming offering from Amsterdam to Liberia through San José. “A new stage is opening for the coordinated operation of both international airports,” said María Amalia Revelo, Minister of Tourism. “The fact that Air Transat becomes the second airline offering a triangular flight to these two airports is an opportunity to multiply visitation, generate employment and continue to strengthen Costa Rica as a tourist destination.” Air Transat currently offers seasonal flights to San José and Liberia from both Montreal and Toronto. The new Vancouver flights are available for booking on Air Transat’s website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Cuba waits anxiously for oil dreams to materialize

first_img(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Venezuela’s PDVSA and Sonangol of Angola have options to drill next, but are under no obligation if they don’t like their odds. While both countries are strong allies of Cuba, at $100 million a well, the decision to drill will likely be based solely on economics.Even if oil is found, the Scarabeo-9 is under contract to power up its eight enormous thrusters and sail to Brazil after that, with no date set for its return to Cuba. The bottleneck highlights the difficulties Cuba faces, and why it could be well into the 2020s before the island sees any oil windfall.“Assuming they’re successful in finding oil, to bring the oil to market will take years of development efforts,” said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with consulting firm Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.Once an exploratory well finds oil, companies generally drill between 10 and 20 additional wells nearby to get a sense of the reservoir’s size. The process can take several years even under normal circumstances, and circumstances are not normal in Cuba.The Scarabeo-9 was built in Asia with less than 10 percent U.S.-made parts to avoid violating Washington’s embargo, making it the only rig in the world that meets the requirement. That means no other rig could be used in Cuba without risking U.S. sanction, and the additional wells would have to be drilled by the rig one at a time, with each taking about 100 days to complete. At about three wells a year, it could take up to six years for this second phase – assuming the rig is available. Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates But Cuba has more at stake, and only a few more spins left of the roulette wheel. The enormous Scarabeo-9 platform being used in the hunt is the only one in the world that can drill in Cuban waters without incurring sanctions under the U.S. economic embargo, and it is under contract for only one to four more exploratory wells before it heads off to Brazil.“If oil is not found now I think it would be another five to 10 years before somebody else comes back and drills again,” said Jorge Pinon, the former president of Amoco Oil Latin America and a leading expert on Cuba’s energy prospects. “Not because there is no oil, but because the pain and tribulations that people have to go through to drill in Cuba are not worth it when there are better and easier options in places like Angola, Brazil or the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.”A delay would be catastrophic for Cuba, where 80-year-old President Raul Castro is desperately trying to pull the economy out of the doldrums through limited free-market reforms, and has been forced to cut many of the subsidies islanders have come to expect in return for salaries of just $20 a month.It could also leave the Communist-governed island more dependent on Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez is ailing with cancer. Chavez provides Cuba with $3 billion worth of heavily subsidized oil every year, a deal that might evaporate if he dies or fails to win re-election in October. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements After gauging a reservoir’s size, an oil company then must assess whether the economics of a field make it a prime spot for exploitation, or whether to concentrate resources elsewhere.If exploitation does go forward, complicated equipment is required to pull oil from such depths. Several industry experts said the only country that produces the necessary apparatus is the United States, although Brazil and other countries are working to catch up. Unless they do, the oil could not be removed unless the U.S. embargo was lifted or altered.“A lot of folks are looking at the energy sector in Cuba because they are looking at a Cuba of five years from now, or 10 years from now,” said Pinon. “So a lot of people are betting that either the embargo is going to be lifted, or the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba is going to improve in some way.”Still, the benefits of hitting a gusher would be enormous for Cuba, and the impact could be felt long before any oil was pumped.Because of the embargo, Cuba is shut off from borrowing from international lending institutions, and the island’s own poor record of repayment has left most other creditors leery. Cuba, for instance, owes the Paris Club of creditor nations nearly $30 billion. Comments   Share   Associated PressHAVANA (AP) – It was supposed to be Cuba’s economic savior: vast untapped reserves of black gold buried deep under the rocky ocean floor.But the first attempt in nearly a decade to find Cuba’s hoped-for undersea oil bonanza has come up dry, and the island’s leaders and their partners must regroup and hope they have better luck – quickly.Experts say it is not unusual that a 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) deep exploratory well drilled at a cost of more than $100 million by Spanish oil giant Repsol was a bust. Four out of five such wells find nothing in the high-stakes oil game, and petroleum companies are built to handle the losses. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths An oil find could change the game, with Cuba using future oil riches as collateral to secure new financing, economists say. They point to China and Brazil as potential sources of new funding, but say neither is likely to put money into the island without reasonable confidence they will get their investment back.Lee Hunt, the recently retired president of the Houston-based International Association of Drilling Contractors, said the stakes are enormous for Cuba that one of the wells hits oil before the Scarabeo-9 leaves. Hunt has worked to bring U.S. and Cuban industry and environmental groups together.“If the only rig you can work with is gone, it’s like somebody took your shovel away,” Hunt said. “You are not going to dig any holes without a shovel, even if you know the treasure is down there.”___Associated Press writer Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.___Follow Paul Haven on Twitter at An oil find, on the other hand, would potentially improve Cuba’s long-bitter relations with the United States, some analysts suggest. They say the U.S. oil industry could lobby Congress to loosen the embargo so it could get in on Cuba’s oil game. At the very least, coordination between the Cold War enemies would be necessary to prepare for any spill that could coat beaches in the U.S. and Cuba with black goo.The Cuban government has not commented on Repsol’s announcement May 18 that the first well came up dry, and declined to make any oil officials or experts available to be interviewed for this article.Next in line for using the drilling rig in Cuban waters is Malaysia’s Petronas, which holds the rights to explore an area in the Florida Straits known as the Northbelt Thrust, about 110 miles (180 kilometers) southwest of Repsol’s drill site. Wee Yiaw Hin, Petronas’ executive vice president of exploration and production, told The Associated Press that drilling has begun and he expects results by the end of July.After that, two industry experts said, Repsol is under contract to drill a second well, though it could get out of the deal by paying a penalty to Saipem, the Italian company that owns the rig. Kristian Rix, a spokesman for Repsol in Madrid, said a decision on whether to sink another well was still being evaluated. Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Survey finds foreign investors bullish on Brazil

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The survey said direct foreign investment in Brazil has more than tripled since 2007, going from $19 billion to $63 billion in 2011.The company said the report combines an analysis of foreign direct investment since 2007 with a survey of 250 global executives on their views about Brazil as a place to do business both now and in the future.Brazil was rated by 78 percent of survey respondents as the most attractive destination for future foreign direct investment in Latin America. Eighty-three percent believed that Brazil’s attractiveness as an investment location will improve over the next three years.The survey said the information and communication technology and manufacturing sectors were the top two foreign direct investment sectors in Brazil in 2011.It said “buoyant consumer demand and easy availability of credit has also led to investment in the automotive sector creating the biggest market in Latin America and the fourth largest in the world.”Ernst & Young’s chairman and CEO Jim Turley said Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics in 2016 “will contribute to infrastructure development and act as a catalyst to attract significant additional investment.” Associated PressSAO PAULO (AP) – Foreign investors remain bullish on Brazil despite a sluggish economy, one of the world’s largest accounting firms said Friday.The country’s “stable economy, burgeoning domestic market and huge untapped reserves of natural resources have led foreign investors to become increasingly interested in Brazil as an investment destination,” London-based Ernst & Young said in its Brazilian Attractiveness Survey. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Top Stories Richard Evans, head of the British-Brazil Desk at Ernst & Young, said Sao Paulo’s bid to host the World Expo in 2020 should also help attract foreign investment for construction projects.On the downside, the survey found a shortage of skilled labor that has led to higher wage costs compared to markets such as Russia, China and Mexico.The optimism in the survey comes as the government tries to stimulate a national economy slowed by the global financial crisis.In late June, the central bank lowered its economic growth forecast for this year from 3.5 percent to 2.5 percent. The Sao Paulo Federation of Industries has said that this year’s gross domestic product will grow even less, by 1.8 percent.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

Morocco expels 19 foreigners from W Sahara

first_img Comments   Share   Check your body, save your life Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Patients with chronic pain give advice The U.N. decreed that a referendum should be held for the locals to decide if they want independence, but the Moroccans have instead advanced a plan to give them wide-ranging autonomy.Nine rounds of negotiations between the Polisario and the government have been unsuccessful, and in May Morocco criticized the special U.N. envoy, former U.S. diplomat Christopher Ross, for being biased and called for his replacement.U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon personally called Moroccan King Mohammed VI in August to resolve the situation, and Ross returned to the Western Sahara for meetings last week.Activists have criticized the government for repressing locals in the region, and in September officials from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights visited and said they were followed during their visit by secret police, physically prevented from observing an attack on peaceful protesters, and verbally abused.Last week, Morocco recalled its ambassador to Ireland for consultations after the Polisario’s leader met with top Irish officials in Dublin on Oct. 25.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Associated PressRABAT, Morocco (AP) – Morocco has expelled 19 foreigners from the annexed territory of the Western Sahara, saying they were journalists who entered without permission.The action, which underlines Morocco’s intense sensitivity over criticism of its policies in the mineral rich region, came as activists calling for the independence of the Western Sahara were preparing to mark Thursday as two years since deadly clashes outside the regional capital, Laayoune. Spanish media reported that most of those expelled were activists, not journalists.Morocco’s Interior Ministry issued a statement _ carried by the state news agency on Wednesday _ that quoted local authorities as saying the 15 Spanish and four Norwegian journalists planned to meet with “separatist” elements in Laayoune to engage in demonstrations on the anniversary of the clashes.“These journalists entered the national territory without revealing their true identities, pretending to be on holiday in the kingdom,” said the statement, which added that they had violated the laws governing foreign journalists.On Nov. 8, 2010, Moroccan police clashed with thousands of locals at the tent city in Gdeim Izek who were protesting government discrimination. Human Rights Watch said 11 police and two civilians were killed and hundreds of civilians were beaten and detained. Morocco expelled three Spanish journalists following their coverage.Morocco occupied and annexed the mineral-rich Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in November 1975 after the Spanish withdrew. The Polisario Front declared independence on behalf of the inhabitants, the nomadic Saharawi people, and battled the Moroccan army until a 1991 truce brokered by the U.N. The dispute is one of the world’s longest unresolved conflicts. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Sponsored Stories last_img read more

10 killed in China trainbus collision

first_imgBEIJING (AP) – A freight train collided with a bus at a crossing in northeastern China, killing at least 10 people and injuring 11 others.The Monday morning accident came at the start of an annual travel rush ahead of next month’s Lunar New Year holiday, when millions of Chinese take to the road, air and rails to return home for family visits.The official Xinhua News Agency said the collision accident took place at a crossing near the city of Heihe in Heilongjiang province. The crossing has no gates and a guard assigned to warn vehicles of coming trains was not at his post, the report said. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous ofcenter_img Quick workouts for men Comments   Share   A team from the railway safety administration was dispatched to investigate the accident from the provincial capital of Harbin.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

Jewish meeting highlights antiSemitism in Hungary

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Objections have also been made to the government’s failure to step up against a growing cult around Admiral Miklos Horthy, Hungary’s autocratic leader from the 1920s through most of World War II. Horthy statues and busts have been unveiled in several towns.JEWISH LIFE IN HUNGARYRonald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, says “there is much more Jewish life but there’s also more hatred, more anti-Semitism” in Hungary. He fears Jews will start to leave the country if things fail to improve.Rabbi Slomo Koves of the Chabad Lubavitch Community also mentioned the deteriorating public discourse in Hungary but highlights some of the new laws meant to crack down on hate speech. While listing examples of expanding Jewish life in Hungary _ new schools, reopened synagogues, popular cultural festivals _ he warned against drawing too close parallels between anti-Semitism now and that of the Holocaust era.“We are holding far from that and I don’t like these types of metaphors because they are pretty dangerous,” Koves said. He said he preferred to focus on educating youth about the Holocaust while depending on the new laws to counter anti-Jewish outbursts. Top Stories Even if he was more critical, Lauder was also hopeful that the atmosphere will turn for the better for the estimated 100,000 Jews in Hungary, the third-largest Jewish community in Europe.“If Hungary had less anti-Semitism, it could blossom,” Lauder said.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The accusations that Orban is not tough enough on extremism mark the dramatic transformation of a leader who rose in politics as an outspoken young activist against Soviet-backed communism to a leader regularly chastised by the European Union for policies deemed autocratic. With an overwhelming majority in Parliament, Orban has pushed to centralize power, expanding his and his party’s control over the media, the central bank and other institutions.ATTACKS IN HUNGARYIn past months vandals have damaged Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials and sprayed swastikas on synagogues in Hungary.The chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Association, which promotes tolerance, was also beaten and had his nose broken by thugs at a Budapest sports stadium. Thugs attacked Ferenc Orosz on April 28 after he asked them to stop shouting the “Sieg Heil” Nazi salute during a soccer match. Although Orosz is a Calvinist, he said his attackers believed he was Jewish. The men also poured beer on Orosz’s 21-year-old son. Police are investigating the case.BOOKS AND STATUESOrban’s government has also drawn criticism for adding authors linked to anti-Semitism to the country’s school curriculum. Among them is Jozsef Nyiro, a writer who served as a lawmaker in the Hungarian parliament during its World War II alliance with Nazi Germany. BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) – Right-wing extremists shout Nazi salutes and attack a man they believe is Jewish. Black-booted militants frighten aging Holocaust survivors. Writings of authors linked to a pro-Nazi regime are recommended reading for school children. Hungary is seeing a rise in anti-Semitism, something the prime minister is now vowing to fight.Prime Minister Viktor Orban told a gathering of Jewish representatives Sunday that anti-Semitism is “unacceptable and intolerable.” The meeting of the World Jewish Congress is being held in Budapest to draw attention to a rise in anti-Semitism in this Eastern European country. Here’s a look at recent developments: Sponsored Stories BLACK BOOTSMuch of the recent trouble began with Hungary’s 2010 election, when disillusioned voters made the extremist right-wing party Jobbik the third-largest force in Parliament. Though Jobbik doesn’t have the power to pass laws, it gained a stage for its anti-Semitic _ and anti-Gypsy _ rhetoric.Jobbik lawmaker Marton Gyongyosi called last year for lists to be drawn up of government members and lawmakers with Jewish origins, claiming they could present a “national security risk.”The party also had an affiliated militia, the Hungarian Guard, whose members marched in black uniforms reminiscent of the Nazi era, intimidating Roma and elderly Jewish Holocaust survivors in Budapest and in villages. Orban’s government banned the Guard but its members still show up at Jobbik events.On Saturday the party staged an “anti-Zionist” demonstration to protest the presence of the World Jewish Congress. A police attempt to ban the rally was overturned by the court. “Only a show of strength is effective against the unscrupulous Zionist advance,” Gyongyosi told 1,000 people at the rally.THE PRIME MINISTEROrban’s party, Fidesz, competes for some of its votes with Jobbik and has been accused during three years in power of doing too little to fight Jobbik’s anti-Semitism. Recently, however, Orban has taken several steps, like a ban on certain public uses of Nazi and communist symbols such as the swastika and the red cross, and tighter controls on hate speech. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

Cuba seeks Mexican businessman in corruption probe

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The Gazette says the 57-year-old Mexican national is accused of bribery, but does not give further details. It adds that if he fails to appear, authorities will take additional, unspecified steps. In the past, that has meant issuing arrest warrants and holding trials without the defendants present.Capetillo’s whereabouts were not immediately clear, and phone calls to the Panama offices of his company, International ABC Import-Export, were not answered Monday.President Raul Castro’s government has sought to crack down on endemic graft in recent years, leading to dozens of criminal convictions of Cuban executives, government officials and foreign businesspeople.Authorities have used the Gazette before to announce corruption investigations targeting foreigners, as in the case of Chilean brothers Max and Marcel Marambio.The Marambios were later sentenced in absentia to long prison terms and had their local business operations taken over by the state.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Top Stories Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement HAVANA (AP) – Cuban authorities have summoned a Mexican businessman in connection with a corruption probe, echoing previous cases in which foreigners were ultimately charged in absentia and had their local businesses seized.A note published in the government’s Official Gazette says Alfredo Jaime Capetillo has until Wednesday to present himself to the Interior Ministry official in charge of the investigation. Parents, stop beating yourself up 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Central American mothers look for missing children

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories This is the seventh year the group has made the trek hoping to find their loved ones or at least bring attention to the plight of migrants who have disappeared in Mexico.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationcenter_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes GUATEMALA CITY (AP) – Fifty Central American mothers have gathered in Guatemala to begin their trek through Mexico to look for their missing sons and daughters who disappeared there on their way to the United States.The mothers from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala will cross into Mexico on Sunday, and travel as far north as the state of San Luis Potosi.Caravan organizer Elisabel Hernandez said Saturday that this year the mothers won’t make it all the way to Mexico’s northern border states because authorities say they can’t guarantee their safety. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img read more

APGfK Poll Americans divided over samesex marriage

first_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Altogether, 39 percent approved of the high court’s decision and 41 percent disapproved. An additional 18 percent neither approved nor disapproved.Poll respondents were divided over allowing same-sex marriage in their own state, with 42 percent in favor and 40 percent opposed.The poll found no surge in support for same-sex marriage since the court’s ruling June 26. If anything, support was down slightly since April, when 48 percent said they were in favor in another AP-GfK survey. An earlier poll, conducted in January and February, found 44 percent in support of same-sex marriage.___A NEW BATTLEGROUNDAs marriage rights for gay couples become settled law, divisions exist over how the law should handle those who have religious objections to same-sex marriage.When the two are in conflict, 56 percent of those questioned said it’s more important for the government to protect religious liberties, while 39 percent said it’s more important to protect the rights of gays and lesbians.People were split over whether officials who issue marriage licenses should be allowed to say no to gay and lesbian couples because of religious objections. Just under half said those officials should not have to issue the licenses, about the same proportion saying they should. Most Democrats said it was more important for the government to protect gay rights, 64 percent to 32 percent. Most Republicans said it was more important to protect religious liberties than gay rights, 82-17.And 7 in 10 Republicans, but just 3 in 10 Democrats, said local officials with religious objections should be exempt from issuing marriage licenses.___The AP-GfK Poll of 1,004 adults was conducted online July 9 to July 13, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods, and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.___Online:AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.comCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference held Wednesday, July 15, 2015 in San Diego. Kennedy’s appearance at the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference comes shortly after the nation’s highest court put an end to same-sex marriage bans in the 14 states that still maintained them and provided an exclamation point for breathtaking changes in the nation’s social norms in recent years. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) Also, 59 percent think wedding-related businesses should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples, compared with 52 percent in the earlier poll. By comparison, 46 percent said businesses in general should be allowed to refuse service because of their religious principles, while 51 percent said that should not be allowed.___RELIGIOUS DIVIDESSelf-described members of Protestant denominations were more likely to oppose than favor same-sex marriage, 52 percent to 32 percent.Catholics were more likely to be in favor than opposed, 48-32. Seven in 10 evangelical Christians opposed allowing same-sex couples to marry legally. On the other hand, 56 percent of those who do not belong to any religious denomination said they were in favor.Also, 60 percent of Protestants, 48 percent of Catholics and 76 percent of evangelicals said local officials should not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Just 37 percent of those with no religious affiliation agreed.___SHARP PARTISAN DIVISIONSThe survey found a vast gulf between Democrats and Republicans.For example, 65 percent of Democrats but only 22 percent Republicans favored allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in their state. WASHINGTON (AP) — People in the United States are evenly divided over the Supreme Court case that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.Many think local officials with religious objections to marrying gay and lesbian couples should be exempt from issuing licenses.Some things to know about public opinion on gay marriage and religious liberties:DIVISION OVER COURT CASE Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The vital role family plays in society How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more

French farmers turn back trucks with foreign meat cheese

first_img Comments   Share   Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. PARIS (AP) — French farmers angry over low prices turned back hundreds of trucks at the German border on Monday, looking for cargos of foreign meat and milk products.An Associated Press photographer at the German frontier saw farmers stopping refrigerated trucks to verify their contents on Monday, and one of the protest’s organizers said 300 trucks had been turned back since the morning. Other vehicles were allowed to cross freely. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist French farmers control trucks at the French-German border on the Rhine bridge in Strasbourg, eastern France, in order to stop importation of foreign meat and milk products in France, Monday, July 27, 2015. French farmers angry over low prices are massed on the German and Spanish borders, looking for trucks carrying foreign meat and milk products. The government last week offered a 600 million euro ($654 million) agricultural plan to back loans and delay tax payments for farmers, but they say it is not enough. (AP Photo/Christian Lutz) 5 treatments for adult scoliosiscenter_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Check your body, save your life Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Police in France tend to avoid intervening in peaceful protests, and French President Francois Hollande on Monday said he backed the farmers and called for a high-level meeting of European agricultural officials.“Between now and then, we will continue to pressure, so that the farmers are certain, protests or not, that we are at their side,” he said.German Agriculture Ministry spokesman Jens Urban declined to comment on the protest but said he didn’t think it was leading to a total stoppage of German agricultural exports to France.The farmers also blocked the Spanish and German border highways on Sunday as part of an ongoing protest against low prices caused by cheap imports and pressure from grocery chains that have put about 10 percent of livestock farms on the verge of bankruptcy, according to the government.“French agriculture is suffocating and no one realizes it and no one says anything,” Franck Sander, president of the main farmers’ federation in the Bas-Rhin region, told France-Info radio.The French government last week offered a 600-million euro ($654 million) agricultural plan to back loans and delay tax payments for farmers, who say that is not enough. France cannot give direct financial aid under EU rules.last_img read more