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Celestyal Cruises adds Haley Chiappino to Canadian sales team

first_imgTags: Celestyal Cruises, People << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tuesday, August 23, 2016 TORONTO — Celestyal Cruises has announced the appointment of Haley Chiappino to the new position of District Sales Manager, Eastern Ontario. Chiappino’s role will focus on promoting and selling the cruise line’s signature Aegean and Caribbean three-, four- and seven-day cruise experiences.In addition to Chiappino’s new appointment, the Celestyal Cruises Canadian sales team now includes VP Sales and Marketing, Canada, Christine Chiang, and District Sales Manager Maritimes, Quebec and Ottawa, Yannick Schutt.Chiappino can be reached at h.chiappino@celestyalcruises.com. Chiang and Schutt can be reached at c.chiang@celestyalcruises.com and y.schutt@celestyalcruises.com, respectively.center_img Celestyal Cruises adds Haley Chiappino to Canadian sales team Posted by Travelweek Group last_img read more

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Creepy cargo Philippines seizes 757 tarantulas from Poland

first_imgTags: Animals, Cargo << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Creepy cargo: Philippines seizes 757 tarantulas from Poland Wednesday, April 3, 2019 center_img Share Posted by MANILA — Philippine customs officials were astonished when they opened nicely gift-wrapped boxes of cookies and oatmeal flown in all the way from Poland and found a hair-raising contraband: hundreds of live tarantulas.Bureau of Customs personnel seized the 757 tarantulas at a mail exchange centre near Manila’s international airport Monday and later arrested a Filipino man who tried to claim the long-legged and venomous spiders, which were declared as “collection items.”Many of the baby tarantulas were concealed in small plastic vials punctured with holes for air while bigger spiders were shipped in see-through plastic containers. Officials estimated the value of the unusual shipment at 310,000 pesos (US$5,900).Philippine wildlife laws prohibit the trading, collection and possession of such spiders, which are popular pets among arachnid enthusiasts, without permits.Despite threats of hefty fines and imprisonment, a startling array of wildlife have been seized by the hundreds by airport customs inspectors in Manila since last year, including geckos, iguanas, chameleons and a popular reptile called bearded dragons.last_img read more

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Coast Guard chases down boat carrying at least 14 metric tons of

first_imgThe Costa Rican Coast Guard captured a boat Monday that ferried at least 1.4 metric tons of marijuana, according to a Public Security Ministry press release. Yesterday evening, a U.S. P3 maritime surveillance plane spotted a suspicious boat some 100 kilometers off the coast of Limón. When authorities pursued the vessel, its crew began throwing packages of drugs overboard into the Caribbean, the ministry stated. The Coast Guard was able to recover 1,355 kilograms of “high red” marijuana, both on board and in the surrounding waters.Coast Guard officers arrested three Costa Ricans surnamed Ortega, Zúñiga and Muñoz. Muñoz was wanted on a previous weapons charge. Police also arrested a fourth suspect from Nicaragua.U.S. authorities involved in the operation said the boat captured Monday evening had the same call numbers as another boat that escaped the Costa Rican Coast Guard on Sept. 12, after its crew threw an additional 1.4 metric tons of marijuana overboard.At the end of August, Drug Control Police reported 2.9 metric tons of marijuana confiscated during 2014. That total is now doubled. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican Coast Guard seizes ‘historic’ 4.1 metric tons of cocaine Costa Rica takes custody of 3 suspected cocaine smugglers nabbed by US Costa Rican Coast Guard seizes nearly 2 metric tons of marijuana Costa Rica Coast Guard seizes more than 1 metric ton of cocaine on high seaslast_img read more

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Costa Rican cities overrun with adorable coatis

first_imgRelated posts:The plight of the Costa Rican manatee Costa Rica battles invasive species with lionfish consumption campaign Costa Rica joins Ecuador in calling for more protection of endangered shark species PHOTOS: Every Costa Rica sloth image you will ever need to see Facebook Comments They are coming for your food, for your pet’s food and for your garbage. With their cute little turned-up noses, bushy tails and adorable squeaking sounds, the coatis (Nasua narica) are coming in droves.“It’s not exactly an overpopulation,” said Jorge Hernández, a wildlife expert with the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). “But we are seeing unprecedented numbers in urban areas. It’s starting to cause some problems.”Migrating down from the mountains, coatis, or pizotes as they are called in Costa Rica, have made their way into the urban landscapes of the country’s Central Valley. Once welcomed by residents and tourists in the area, the cute creatures are now causing problems for business owners and flooding SINAC offices with complaints.“At first people think they’re cute and try to keep them around,” said Ronald Mora, head of SINAC’s Heredia office. “When they start to become a problem is when they call us.”While developing a new management plan to deal with the pizote explosion, SINAC has identified 27 problem areas where populations have become aggressive. The hot spots, mostly in Heredia and Escazú, tend to be in river canyons, which pizotes use to guide their migrations.But according to SINAC, its not the pizotes’ fault.“This is an entirely human-caused problem,” Hernández said. “People do not dispose of their trash properly, or worse, they feed the pizotes.”According to Hernández, feeding has brought on the vast majority of the Central Valley’s pizote problems. A coati that has been repeatedly fed will start to associate humans with food, and over time will become aggressive towards people who do not feed them. Feeding wild animals has been banned in Costa Rica since April of 2013, but SINAC officials still struggle to enforce this regulation.The homes and businesses that failed to heed the law are now paying the price. Coatis have begun busting into homes in search for food and invading trash bins. Business owners near the toll booths in Escazú began feeding pizotes to attract tourists, and now the area is overrun with at least 86 of the fluffy creatures.This human mismanagement is now flooding SINAC with coati complaints, and forcing the organization to consider drastic measures. The law permits relocation and castration in extreme cases, but wildlife experts hope that education will help to avoid these measures.Earlier this month, SINAC held a workshop in Heredia to teach students and biologists about proper coati interactions, and a group of students at the University of Costa Rica has begun designing pizote-proof trash bins for problem areas.“But in the meantime,” Mora warns, “don’t feed the coatis.”last_img read more

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Costa Rica seeks Nobel Peace Prize for abolishing its army

first_imgOn Monday, the Legislative Assembly passed a motion to nominate Costa Rica and Japan for a Nobel Peace Prize for their decision to abolish their armies as permanent institutions, according to a lawmaker.The bill was proposed by lawmaker Ottón Solís, co-founder of the governing Citizen Action Party, and accepted by the legislature.“Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the people of Costa Rica and Japan would serve, first, to encourage these people to never eliminate the articles from their constitutions, and second, to encourage other countries, poor or rich, tropical or temperate, to abolish their armed forces,” Solís said.To support the bill, a “pro-Nobel Peace Prize” commission will be convened with three lawmakers tasked with writing the appeals that will be presented in February to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.“The motion’s approval should be a sign to the world about the force and endurance of the values of peace and the unequivocal promise to peacefully resolve Costa Rica’s conflicts despite some external threats,” read the approved motion.Last Monday, Costa Rica celebrated its 66th anniversary of the abolition of its army after a brief civil war triggered by election fraud in 1948.The decision taken by the victorious leader, three-time President José Figueres Ferrer, was the start of an accelerated economic and social modernization that raised Costa Rica’s indicators in health and education to some of the best in Latin America. Since ending the army, there has not been an interruption in the constitutional order.Japan agreed to renounce its armed forces as of 1945, following the end of World War II. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican veterans reflect 66 years after abolition of army Costa Rica’s president criticizes growing military spending in Latin America Costa Rica celebrates 67 years without an army Puerto Rican independence front and center at CELAClast_img read more

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US removes Cuba from terror blacklist in landmark move

first_imgRelated posts:No opening date for US, Cuba embassies; more talks set As talks with US begin, Cubans anticipate changes in their lives US food producers see bonanza in Cuba, but steep barriers remain Cubans fear new diplomatic relations with US could change special rights as immigrants Related: There’s a real estate boom in Cuba, but for now, only Cubans can buyThe United States removed Cuba from its blacklist as a state sponsor of terrorism on Friday, in a landmark move aimed at paving the way towards normalizing ties frozen for half a century.The decision means Cuba will now have better access to U.S. banking facilities and aid, and a ban on arms exports and sales is also lifted.It also wipes out an international stigma that Havana — on the blacklist since 1982 — has long contended was groundless and unfair.U.S. President Barack Obama had notified Congress earlier this year that he intended to remove Havana from the list, giving lawmakers 45 days to object, which elapsed Friday.Now Secretary of State John Kerry “has made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015,” the State Department said in a statement.“The rescission of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission,” the statement said.“While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism designation.”It is just the latest ground-breaking development in a fast-moving rapprochement between the Cold War foes, after Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro agreed in December to restore relations that have languished in the doldrums since 1961.Obama paid a surprise visit on Thursday to a Miami religious shrine popular with Cuban exiles to “honor the sacrifices that Cuban-Americans have made in their pursuit of liberty and opportunity, as well as their extraordinary contributions to our country,” a White House spokeswoman said.The visit had special significance, recognizing the role of the Catholic church and Pope Francis’s efforts to improve ties between Havana and Washington. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with Father Juan Rumin Dominguez as he visits the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Miami to pay his respects to the Cuban-American diaspora who worship at the church on May 28, 2015. Nicholas Kamm/AFPSticking points remainObama has already made it easier for 12 categories of U.S. citizens to visit the communist island, no longer requiring them to apply for a license before traveling.But regular tourism remains off-limits. Trips are limited to specific visits including education, sports, culture or journalism.Those allowed to visit Cuba can bring back home $100 worth of cigars or rum, and pay for purchases on the islands with credit cards.U.S. companies are now allowed to invest in Cuba’s tiny but growing private sector, which emerged under modest economic reforms launched by Castro.In March, the two countries re-established a direct telephone link, and the U.S. Treasury Department removed sanctions on some 60 individuals, shipping companies and trading firms.So far teams from the two countries have met four times seeking to work out the terms for reopening their embassies.Officials say the talks have made progress, but nothing concrete was announced at the last round, held in Washington a week ago, and sticking points remain.The communist authorities in Havana have been particularly angered by U.S. democracy programs and have so far not met demands that U.S. diplomats be allowed to meet freely with dissidents.The island is still subject to a U.S. trade embargo put in place in 1962, which Obama has called on Congress to lift.Friday’s decision means only Iran, Sudan and Syria remain on the State Department’s blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.The diplomatic path has been advancing since December, and Castro and Obama also held a historic meeting in Panama in April on the sidelines of a regional summit.Castro traveled earlier this month to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis, who was instrumental in helping Washington and Havana break the ice.In the early days of the communist regime in the 1960s, Raúl’s brother Fidel Castro expelled some 100 religious figures and nationalized numerous Church properties after it opposed the new regime.For more on what this means, see: After 23 years, the US is dropping its claim that Cuba sponsors terrorism. Here’s what it means.Read all of our Cuba coverage here Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Heres what Wall Street is saying about Fed interest rates remaining unchanged

Following the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates at historic lows, there is no shortage of reaction from analysts and economists across Wall Street. Here’s a quick look at what they think about the Fed standing pat.Peter Boockvar, Chief Market Analyst at The Lindsey Group:“While the economic commentary on the U.S. was not much different than the last statement, they added ‘recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near term.’ They see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced but is ‘monitoring developments abroad.’ Jeff Lacker is the only one that stood out from the crowd with a dissent and the desire to raise 25 basis points. Bottom line, the problem now is not when the Fed will raise rates or not, it is the paralyzing discussion about when they will eventually raise rates. We get to do this all over again as the Committee continues to day trade every data point not only in the U.S. but now globally. They are the center of uncertainty and the multitude of excuses over the past few years has reached a tipping point that I don’t believe the stock market will continue to embrace.Kelsey Deshler, Fundamental Strategies Head for Credit Suisse Asset Management Alternative Fund Solutions:“I think it was the most prudent decision given the rout in commodities and emerging markets, as well as the fairly mixed domestic economic picture. Going forward, it seems to be a net positive for hedge funds, many of which stand to benefit when markets are driven more by fundamentals, rather than by central bank policy decisions.”Rob Bernstone, Managing Director in Equities Trading at Credit Suisse:“Really a question of expectations management- there is of course a lot of consensus on the direction of interest rates over the next year or so. It’s the velocity and magnitude of the move that many people are anxious to see, and therefore the commentary is the issue. So the language around any international headwinds is naturally drawing some attention. To that point, within the equity markets, there is obviously a potential divergence between the EM space and the US market- especially given recent volatility.”Phil Guarco, Global Head of Fixed Income at JP Morgan Private Bank:“I think the biggest thing is that we’re no longer just the U.S. anymore. Traditionally they have taken care of the U.S. … Now the world is our problem and they are just worried about, I think, about what it does to emerging markets. It’s definitely a dovish view…You run the risk of a policy mistake here, and that is if NAIRU is not lower and this is just a transitory period, these conditions of falling energy prices are masking what could be an overheating economy.”Andrew Grantham, Economist at CIBC World Markets:“Within the statement, the Fed seemed a little more upbeat on the domestic outlook, specifically the current trend in business investment. However, there was slightly greater concern regarding the international outlook. They are still looking for ‘some’ labor market improvement and to be ‘reasonably confident’ that inflation was on a path back to 2%. Once hikes do begin they may be even slower than had been forecasted before, with the median forecast for the end of 2016 and 2017 also 25bp lower than in the previous forecasts. What members think a ‘long-run’ rate will be was also lowered to 3.5 percent, from 3.75 percent. One member – Lacker – dissented, instead preferring an immediate rate increase. All told, it looks as if rates are still set to start rising this year, however there’ll only likely be one move and we’ll await Yellen’s comments regarding whether this is more likely to occur in October or December.”Michael Gapen and Rob Martin, Chief U.S. Economist and U.S. Economist at Barclays, respectively:“We expected the FOMC to signal a December lift-off, and the dots are one way to show conviction about lift-off this year. Although we see the statement as slightly more dovish than expected, we believe the majority of participants expect to hike rates this year. That said, we stand by our call for a March lift-off, as we continue to believe that the weak profile of inflation early next year will eventually push the FOMC out of 2015.”© 2015, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:US Fed officials emphasize gradual tightening This will be the biggest question when the Fed starts raising rates China’s slowdown, financial mayhem cast long shadow across world Economists close in on spotting future recessions read more

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Scientists figure out why female turtles are born at higher temperatures

first_img© 2016, The Washington Post In the 1980s, scientists trying to save sea turtles noticed something truly bizarre.They thought they were doing something good: rescuing eggs from vulnerable beaches and keeping them warm in incubators until they were ready to swim out to sea.But when the sea turtles were born, almost every single one of them was male. At that point, scientists had known for some 80 years that sex was determined by a creature’s chromosomes. It seemed crazy that you could skew a hatchling’s gender just by taking its egg out of the sand — just as crazy as saying that the gender of a baby depended on where its mother lived while she was pregnant.And yet here were dozens of all-male sea turtle siblings wriggling in front of them, emphatically suggesting that sex wasn’t as straightforward as it seemed.What those scientists encountered was temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), a phenomenon found in a range of cold-blooded animals. Unlike mammals, birds and other creatures, whose sex is set by the chromosomes they get from their parents, the trigger that causes turtle embryos to develop into baby boys or girls comes from outside the egg. Warmer ambient temperatures during incubation will make the hatchlings skew toward female. But keep the eggs just a few degrees cooler — as the scientists in the ’80s inadvertently did — and they’ll come out mostly male.Five decades later, scientists are still trying to understand exactly how and why that happens. From an evolutionary standpoint, it seems like a pretty risky adaptation; it would only take a few hot years full of female hatchlings to spell the end of the entire species. And from a developmental standpoint, it’s just as confusing. If an embryonic turtle’s chromosomes aren’t telling it what way to grow, what is?Turk Rhen, an integrative biologist at the University of North Dakota, has devoted much of his career to studying those questions. And he may have found an answer to at least one of them. In a study published in the journal Genetics this week, Rhen and his colleagues identify a gene that seems to be responsible for turning hot and cold temperatures into girl and boy babies.If they’re right, the find could help keep turtles safe in an ever-warming world. Turk Rhen, an integrative biologist at the University of North Dakota, and his colleagues have identified a gene in turtles that seems to be responsible for turning hot and cold temperatures into girl and boy babies. (Handout photo by Jackie Lorentz-University of North Dakota)But, “like every scientific project ever,” joked co-author Kelsey Metzger, a former master’s student in Rhen’s lab and now a life sciences professor at the University of Minnesota at Rochester, “there’s a lot of work that came before it, and there’s going to be a lot of work that comes after it.”What came before were decades of research into the sex differentiation of common snapping turtles — large, sturdy-shelled, sharp-beaked reptiles that inhabit ponds and streams from Florida to southern Canada and as far west as the Rocky Mountains. Rhen’s turtles come from Minnesota.Even though the trigger for differentiation isn’t genetic, scientists know that the developmental process that turns a sexless embryo into a male or female turtle is more or less the same as in other species: It’s carried out by genes. Past research has shown that, early in development, some of the same genes that control sex in humans are also put to work in turtles. As each gets switched on, they cause amorphous blobs of tissue to differentiate into male and female reproductive parts, setting off a cascade of reactions that eventually produces a baby boy or girl.But Rhen wanted to know where the whole process started. Those genes might control sex, but they don’t respond to temperature. Somewhere in the body, a thermometer gene must be telling them what to do.He and colleague Anthony Schroeder, the lead author on the latest paper, first identified their candidate gene several years ago: the cold-inducible RNA-binding protein gene, or CIRBP (pronounced “surp”) for short. It’s known to be involved in body heat regulation in humans and other mammals, raising and lowering our temperatures according to the rhythms of our days. But it’s also something like the project manager on the construction site that is a developing embryo; it directs the transcription of DNA (the body’s molecular master plan) into RNA (its working blueprint), which then creates the proteins that do the body’s work.In his newest study, Rhen tested to confirm that CIRBP was being turned on at the right time and in the right part of the embryo to be responsible for taking the temperature and directing the body’s response. Turtle eggs in incubators had their ambient temperatures changed by less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit during a five-day window of development when differentiation was known to take place. Then their tissue was examined to see how they responded.The reaction was almost instantaneous.“The gene expression changed within 24 hours of the shift,” Rhen said. Two days after that, the genes that scientists know are involved in sex differentiation started to spring into action.Not only that but a minute variation in the gene — swapping out just one of the molecules that make up DNA for another — changes how turtles respond to temperature. One version lowers the temperature threshold for females — which are typically born at the warmest incubation temperatures. The other version raises it.“We don’t know for sure yet,” Rhen said. “But our hypothesis is that CIRBP might be upstream and is involved in regulating expression of all those other genes” that determine sex.Rhen also has a theory to explain why turtles evolved this way in the first place — one that, like his genetic explanation, is looking more and more convincing. In 1995, he and a colleague used hormones to get female turtles to hatch at “male” temperatures and found that the females grew incredibly large, far larger than they normally would be.Paired with the knowledge that larger male turtles are usually more successful since they can fight off competition and hold down territory, a picture began to take shape: Natural selection favored male turtles born at lower temperatures because those temperatures speed up development and result in larger bodies. Those successful males then passed down their low-temperature favoring genes, and, over time, the current temperature regime took shape.Which was all fine and dandy, until the planet’s temperatures began dramatically rising.A recent report on loggerhead sea turtles in Florida found that the vast majority of nests studied produced between 90 and 100 percent female hatchlings four years in a row. Researchers studying painted turtles in Mississippi estimate that an average temperature increase of just 1.1 degrees Celsius would be enough to skew the population all female.“It’s ultimately extinction,” ecologist Rory Telemeco, lead author of the painted turtle study, told the New Scientist in 2013.Understanding the genetic mechanism will become more and more important as Earth warms, the researchers say. Knowing that some turtles have, say, the gene variant that raises the temperature threshold to skew female might help scientists to save them.“There’s a lot of discussion going around with climate change,” Metzger said. “But in the end, the question is, is there enough genetic variation that these species will be able to adapt?” Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Warming oceans are turning sea stars to goo and killing lobsters, scientists say Fishackathon invites conservation-minded techies to help solve overfishing Winners of Costa Rica Fishackathon create tool to help track fuel subsidies for fishing Santa Rosa National Park provides cutting-edge data on changing planetlast_img read more

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PHOTOS Costa Rica hosts World Meeting of Blue Zones

first_img María Gapita Chavarría Cerrano is 84 years old and Blass Angulo Chinchilla is 91 years old. They’ve been married for 64 years and live in Carrillo. Courtesy of Mónica Quesada Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacón gives her speech at the event. Mónica Quesada / The Tico Times Soledad Cantillo and Eliecer Torresdance swing criollo at the centenarian meeting after the inauguration. Mónica Quesada / The Tico Times Estebana García Pérez, 97 years old (center), is accompanied by her daughter Elizabeth García Pérez. Mónica Quesada / The Tico Times A woman from Carrillo participates in a Nicoya Peninsula water tasting organized by the National Training Institute (INA). Mónica Quesada / The Tico Times A traditional dance presentation at Nicoya’s park kiosk. Mónica Quesada / The Tico Times Dan Buettner, who spoke at the event, is a National Geographic Fellow who made the world’s Blue Zones famous through his articles and books about the regions. His presentation in Costa Rica included a series of questions to help participants determine their average life expectancy. Mónica Quesada / The Tico Times Dr. Gianni Pes of Italy is responsible for establishing Sardinia as a Blue Zone, the second zone confirmed after Okinawa, Japan. He delivered the lecture “Longevity in Sardinia: Debunking Myths and Future Perspectives.” Mónica Quesada / The Tico TimesMónica Quesada is a Costa Rican photojournalist and former Tico Times photographer. Learn more about her work at her website.  Facebook Comments Students show their love of the elderly during the event. Courtesy of Mónica Quesada The inaugural event included a musical act. Courtesy of Mónica Quesada The Marimba Brisas del Norte played during the event at Nicoya’s Central Park. Courtesy of Mónica Quesada Costa Rica hosted the World Meeting of Blue Zones from Nov. 16-18. The event celebrated regions around the world where people exceed the average life expectancy, oftentimes reaching the age of 100 or more.Costa Rica’s Blue Zone is located in the Nicoya Peninsula, encompassing five Guanacaste cantons: Santa Cruz, Hojancha, Carrillo, Nandayure and Nicoya. José Bonifacio Villegas Fonseca is 100 years and six months old. He still loves riding horses. Courtesy of Mónica Quesadacenter_img See also: Costa Rica studies the longevity of its centenarian citizens Pablo Castillo Carrillo is 95 years old and lives in Hojancha. His mother was renowned as one of the oldest people in the region: her name was Panchita Castillo Carrillo and she died at the age of 110 in December 2016. Courtesy of Mónica Quesada Related posts:Espressivo brings ‘Battlefield’ to National Theater for iconic building’s anniversary U.S.-bound – and delighted Ocean-gazing under the dome Whatcha lookin’ at up there?last_img read more

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Police probe alleged poisoning of dogs in Moscow

first_img 0 Comments   Share   Most of the local residents said their dogs were former strays found either on the streets or in Moscow’s overcrowded, underfunded shelters.“I took these dogs off the street from homeless people four years ago,” said Oleg Maksimov, a middle-aged man who said he works for a construction company.“How can I wait for someone to poison these dogs, these dogs that I saved from a likely death?”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressMOSCOW (AP) – Vera Lesovets held up photographs of her dog, Yasha, a spunky 5-year-old corgi, nipping playfully at the heels of a German shepherd twice her size.But Yasha’s life was cut short this week: After snacking on something in a Moscow park, she fell into a seizure at Lesovets’ apartment and began foaming at the mouth. The family rushed her to a nearby animal clinic, where the veterinarian said this was the sixth case he had seen that week, and there was nothing he could do. “We need investigative bodies, the police, the courts, the judges to start working,” said Darya Khmelnitskaya, director of Virta, a charitable fund for animal welfare. “The legal clause already exists.”She said that one way to target dog killers would be to track IP addresses of the users who spread information about it online or shut down the sites completely. While some of the sites have been closed, information is still easily spread by individuals through websites such as Vkontakte, the largest Russian social network.According to Khmelnitskaya, only nine cases against dog hunters in Moscow have made it to court since 2011, with just one ending in a conviction.On the site Vreditelyam.net, now moved to the domain vredy.org, the owners state in their manifesto that they consider themselves keepers of the peace: Since Soviet times, the population of stray dogs, which now reaches an estimate of 25,000 in Moscow alone, has ballooned, and fear of bites and attacks has grown as well.But just as the population of strays has grown, Muscovites also have long been a friend to many of the shaggy mutts. Dog hunting has touched a nerve in a society where stray animals have traditionally been ignored by the state and instead taken in by big-hearted citizens. One group established on Vkontakte in opposition to the dog hunters has attracted almost 4,000 members. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Before the attacks, the Pyatidesyatiletya Oktyabrya park in southwest Moscow _ named to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution _ allowed residents to give their dogs a moment’s respite from cramped city living and frolic without a leash in the grass or in the snow.Owners no longer feel safe to do that, as the number of slain dogs keeps growing. Police estimates have ranged from 40 to 70 killings, based on complaints filed by owners. According to the website of one nearby veterinary clinic alone, they had received about 20 cases that week, 14 of them fatal.The police were first notified of the poisonings early this week and formally opened a criminal investigation on Friday.Masha Beshina was out walking her dog on Thursday when she discovered some pieces of ham suspiciously scattered in the part of the park where she usually walks her dog.“Unfortunately the police don’t take measures,” said the middle-aged teacher. “Because for them a dog is not really something that exists.”Russian law calls for a prison sentence of up to two years for those who kill or abuse animals, but animal rights activists say it has been rarely enforced. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project On Friday police opened a criminal investigation into what they suspect are poisonings by dog killers. Cruelty to animals is common in Russia and animal protection laws are rarely enforced, but reports of as many as 70 dead dogs this week have spurred the police to take action.While some residents suspected that a vigilante matriarch, wary of her children being bitten, might be the cause of the attacks, Lesovets was quick to suspect a more malicious culprit: dog hunters, a kind of deadly hobby gaining ground in the Russian online community.Dog hunting forums _ the most well-known of which are Vreditelyam.net and Pest.net _ are populated by those who call themselves “volunteers” and provide graphic photos of their trophy killings. The sites require extensive registration and identification processes for participants.“It’s a whole community. They have websites,” said Lesovets, an event manager. “They write how they kill them, post photographs, tell you which poison is better and where to buy it.”In the case of this neighborhood’s dogs, the poison of choice was amanita phalloides, also known as the death cap mushroom, which has no known antidote and is dangerous for both animals and humans. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

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Fashion show canceled after collection is lost

first_imgAP Fashion WriterPARIS (AP) – There’s going to be a one-hour hole in the normally tight Paris Fashion Week calendar, after representatives of label Hakaan said its entire collection had been lost.Turkish designer Hakaan Yildirim was set to present his spring-summer 2013 to the media on Tuesday afternoon.But PR company Karlaotto sent out emails Monday to all those with invitations saying the preview was canceled _ after all the clothes had mysteriously disappeared. “The whole collection is lost,” said Karen Nitsche of Karlaotto. “It was when they were being transported. We don’t know how.” Top Stories Top holiday drink recipes 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Last November, Marc Jacobs canceled a London press preview after his collection was stolen during its transfer from Paris.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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GOPcontrolled House backs state medical marijuana laws

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Most Republicans opposed the idea and the Senate is in GOP hands this year, so the outcome could still be reversed. But Senate advocates of medical marijuana won a test vote in the GOP-controlled Appropriations Committee last month.On Wednesday, 67 Republicans, including libertarian-minded lawmakers such as Thomas Massie of Kentucky, combined with all but a handful of Democrats in support of states that allow doctors to prescribe pot for medical uses, such as improving the appetites of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.Almost half the states allow medical marijuana, which remains an illegal drug under federal law. But the federal government has adopted a hands-off approach to states that have adopted lenient marijuana laws. The Justice Department has issued guidance to governors in such states — including the four that have enacted laws permitting pot possession for recreational use — that it won’t challenge those laws so long as marijuana is tightly regulated.“The medical marijuana train has definitely left the station,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.The government is instead focusing on preventing distribution to minors and keeping pot profits from going to organized criminal enterprises. Still, marijuana is a Schedule I drug under a landmark 1970 drug law, meaning the government deems it to have “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government would be unable to block state laws permitting the use of medical marijuana under legislation approved Wednesday by the GOP-controlled House.But lawmakers narrowly rejected an amendment that would stop the Justice Department from interfering with states like Colorado and Washington that permit the recreational use of marijuana.The 242-186 vote on medical pot was a larger margin than a tally last year, when the House first approved it as part of a bill funding the Justice Department. Wednesday’s vote was to renew the pro-pot language as part of a bill providing funding for the coming fiscal year. The overall measure passed by a mostly party-line vote. How men can have a healthy 2019 Top Stories The underlying $51 billion spending bill only partially funds President Barack Obama’s request for new community policing initiatives, such as funding to help local police purchase body cameras to record their interactions with the people they’re assigned to protect.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   center_img How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Patients with chronic pain give advice The Treasury Department has also issued guidance intended to clarify that financial institutions can offer services to businesses that dispense marijuana, though industry advocates say most banks are still reluctant to do so for fear of prosecution.The amendment to allow recreational pot use, offered by conservative Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., was rejected by a surprisingly narrow 222-206 vote. McClintock’s measure had less GOP support and more Democratic opposition than did the amendment on medical marijuana.“This is not an argument for or against marijuana,” McClintock said. “This strictly involves the rights of citizen in various states to regulate commerce that occurs entirely within their own borders.”Voters in Alaska and Oregon last year approved ballot measures legalizing marijuana, bringing the number of states permitting legal pot possession to four.Opponents say marijuana remains dangerous even as laws get more lenient.“A study recently found that even casual users experience severe brain abnormalities … and that pot smoking leads to a loss of ambition, to lower IQs, and that it impairs attention, judgment, memory and many other things,” said Rep. John Fleming, R-La. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Pollard to be freed US analyst spied for Israel

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ACTE and MasterCard worldwide present First Annual excellence Award fo

first_imgSource = The Association of Corporate Travel Executives The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) and MasterCard Worldwide have introduced a new level of recognition honoring creative and innovative management of corporate travel spend by an individual or team.This new award, designated as the “ACTE/MasterCard Excellence Award for Management of Corporate Travel Spend,” was presented to Tamara Jones, Senior Manager, Travel – Expense Management & Accounts Payable, Dale Smith, Senior Director, Shared Services and Heather Young, Manager, Travel – Expense Management, working together as the travel management team for Capital One Financial. The award presentation was made by Ron DiLeo, Executive Director for ACTE, and Leigh Bochicchio, Vice President, Global Commercial Product, MasterCard, on 4 October 2010, against the backdrop of the association’s Global Education Conference, where 800 delegates from 35 countries participated in this annual education and networking event.“ACTE is proud to be working with MasterCard Worldwide in honoring the efforts of our colleagues…and delighted that our Global Education Conference in Berlin was chosen to showcase this new award,” said Ron DiLeo. “Tamara Jones, Dale Smith, and Heather Young typify the executives that are driving this industry.””This award honors teams who have demonstrated creativity and innovation in their approach to delivering solutions and programs that benefit their travelers and their company,” said MasterCard’s Leigh Bochicchio. “We are proud to be part of this global initiative that recognizes real innovation in corporate travel management and providing new best practices that can be followed by companies and organizations all over the world.”The Capital One team was successful in focusing attention on reducing the company’s travel and expense (T&E) outlay by creating targeted tools and associate communications to better manage expenses in this cost-conscious environment.”At Capital One, all associates play a role in ensuring we are as efficient and cost conscious as possible,” stated Rena Friske, Managing Vice President, Office of Finance Management, Capital One Financial Corporation. “Being aware of our T&E policy and how we spend is fundamental to our company’s ‘well-managed’ style.”last_img read more

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Do not cancel Whitsunday Mayor

first_imgWhitsunday Regional Council Mayor Mike Brunker is urging people to not let the damage caused by Cyclone Yasi discourage them from visiting Queensland. Focusing on travellers from New England and North West, Mr Brunker said that while certain areas were damaged and there had been a power outage, clean up was underway and operations would be back to normal very quickly, ABC News reported. The largest cyclone in Queensland since 1918 crossed the state late last week, leaving vegetation and housing damages, particularly in the town of Tully. The region made a quick recovery, with Cairns Airport resuming operations just two days after the cyclone hit. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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Canberra loses Marque Hotel

first_imgCanberra will be waving farewell to its Marque Hotel, with owners announcing its closure on 30 November this year.The Rendezvous Hospitality Group (RHG) said earlier this week that the decision to close came after lease owners decided to redevelop the site.Senior vice president of operations Geoffrey Johnstone described the closure as “unfortunate” and is looking for alternative locations for staff.“We will be taking bookings up until the 30th November 2011 and cease trading thereafter,” Mr Johnstone said. “As a course of action we are looking to place staff currently employed at The Marque Hotel Canberra within the RHG network.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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Oman Air Shines At World Travel Awards 2013

first_imgOman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, has been announced as the winner of the ’Middle East’s Leading Airline Economy Class’ category at the prestigious World Travel Awards 2013. The awards, which recognise the commitment to excellence the airline has demonstrated over the last 12 months, are voted for by travel and tourism professionals worldwide.   Oman Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Pearce, attended the spectacular ceremony held on Sunday 5th May at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa in Dubai, where he was joined by many international leaders of the aviation industry, international media and a host of other VIPs.Wayne Pearce said:“Oman Air is honoured to have won the award in this highly competitive category, and against such worthy competitors on the eve of the launch of ATM 2013.“When Oman Air unveiled its new Airbus A330 Economy, Business and First Class cabins in 2009, we ensured that each cabin, including economy, offered fantastic comfort, space and in-flight entertainment, with audio video on demand and live satellite TV.  These levels of comfort and amenity were mirrored aboard our fleet of Embraer E175 regional jets and are perfectly complemented by our medium-haul Boeing B737 economy class service. With delicious complimentary food and drinks served on board, we can ensure that all our economy class customers can simply sit back and enjoy their journey with Oman Air and make the most of the tremendous facilities available on board.”Oman Air’s latest success continues its run of international industry award wins in recognition of the airline’s many recent developments, including the introduction of new aircraft, the inauguration of a range of exciting new destinations, the unveiling of spacious and luxurious aircraft interiors – including its A330 business class seat, named as the World’s Best at the Skytrax 2012 World Airline Awards – and the launch of state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment systems.Source = Oman Airlast_img read more

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Flight Centre expanding Escape Travel

first_img“We believe now is the ideal time to build on these foundations by expanding our offering,” Ms Waters-Ryan said. Source = ETB News: P.T. Flight Centre will expand its Escape Travel franchise to include the broader travel industry. “Already, we are being approached by agents who are affiliated to other franchise groups.” Agents will gain access to Escape Travel’s global product range, advertising, branding and marketing structures which have underpinned the brand’s success thus far. At a time when the Jetset Travel Group (JTG) is attempting to convince agents to join their new helloworld retail network, Flight Centre is offering an opportunistic alternative. Escape Travel was launched in 2005 and there are currently eight franchises operating in Australia. Franchisees will also benefit from IT systems and related support services, centralised air ticketing, training and development programs, group buying, wages and incentive structures and more. “Through franchising, we can work with experienced external travel professionals to grow this network more rapidly and, at the same, build on the platforms that are already in place,” Flight Centre chief operating officer Melanie Waters-Ryan said.last_img read more

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Adelaide Oval pitches at India

first_img“This is a perfect opportunity for the Indian Corporate and Incentive market to include a world class cricket experience as part of an incentive trip to Adelaide and is what we are focusing on with our drive into this market.” The Indian delegation was surprised to see a AUD $535 million upgrade to the oval. “In 2015, the ICC Cricket World Cup comes to Australia with one of the great rivalries, India v Pakistan playing in Adelaide March 4. “This part of the famil was certainly a highlight,” Adelaide Convention Bureau chief executive officer Damien Kitto said.  The visitors were engaged by the historic scoreboard, one of the last in the world and treated to a tour of the Bradman Museum. center_img Source = ETB News: T.N. While other parts of Australia focus on attracting the East Asian tourist dollar, South Australia is focusing its marketing on attracting Indian tourists.  Adelaide Oval and Adelaide Convention Centre have hosted a business delegation from India to build interest in the ICC Cricket World Cup, with Adelaide hosting a game in February 2015.last_img read more

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A taste to celebrate

first_imgAfter all the hard work in the masterclass, guests were relaxed in style at the exclusive Celebrity Cruises Lawn Club, a replica of the lush lawn on-board Celebrity’s five Solstice Class cruise ships, where they enjoyed specially made martinis, canapes and mingling with Chef Suley. “Our culinary team proves that dining at sea can be as enjoyable, tasteful and memorable as the best dining experiences on land and I’m delighted to share this with Taste of Sydney.”​ ​  Australia’s two highest-rates superliners, Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Century, will be based in Sydney for the 2014-2015 cruise season, making it the first time event that Celebrity Cruises has two ships based in the city. Source = ETB News: L.B. Leading the exclusive masterclass was Celebrity Cruises’ very own associate vice president of food and beverage operations, Chef John Suley, who flew in all the way from Miami, Florida especially for the event. The festival’s newest feature for 2014 was the Food and Beverage Matching Masterclass Inspired by Celebrity Cruises, where foodies and budding master chef alike were treated to a true taste experience , indulging their palate with delicious morsels matched back to perfect with a selection of fine wines, while learning all about successful food and wine pairing. “Celebrity Cruises’ partnership with Taste of Sydney highlights our continuing dedication to achieving the highest levels of consistency, quality and innovation in our onboard culinary experience,” Suley said. Celebrity Cruises enjoyed a fun filled foodie heaven at the sixth annual Taste of Sydney festival in Centennial Park over the weekend, in what was its first partnership with the popular alfresco gourmet festival.last_img read more

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