YYC opens new International Terminal

first_imgYYC opens new International Terminal Tuesday, November 1, 2016 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> CALGARY — Calgary International Airport’s new International Terminal officially opened for business yesterday morning, marking the completion of the largest single infrastructure program in the airport’s history.The new 186,000 square metre terminal at YYC adds 24 aircraft gates and incorporates numerous technologies and processes designed to streamline the passenger experience throughout the airport. These include North America’s first call-to-gate passenger boarding system, North America’s first full CATSA Plus enhanced passenger screening system, enhanced U.S. and Canadian customs technology, a state-of-the-art Crisbag tote-based baggage system, and the YYC LINK, a custom-designed and Canadian-build passenger shuttle service that transports passengers between the domestic and international facilities.“In 2014 we opened Canada’s longest runway and today we welcome the world to the most advanced airport terminal in Canada,” said Garth Atkinson, President and CEO of The Calgary Airport Authority. “Our new International Terminal not only ensures YYC Calgary International Airport remains a major contributor to the economy of western Canada, it also represents a significant new contribution to Canada’s transportation infrastructure overall.” Tags: Calgary Travelweek Group last_img read more

Holland America celebrates 70 years in Alaska

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Share Posted by Friday, April 21, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img SEATTLE — Holland America is celebrating 70 years of Alaska exploration this year with special experiences and events on every Alaska cruise and on the popular Land+Sea Journeys.“Celebrating 70 years in Alaska — or any destination — is a milestone that isn’t often seen in our industry. We are especially proud to have been the first tour company in Alaska back in 1947, showing the beauty and greatness of this region to travelers, said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Going into 2017 we wanted to mark our anniversary in a memorable way with special experiences that add an extra dimension to our robust Alaska programming and bring even more of Alaska to our guests.”In partnership with BBC Earth, the cruise line will debut a new Alaska in Concert multimedia production, which combines live music set against a backdrop of footage from the BBC Earth television series ‘Wild Alaska’. Plus, Holland America continues its long relationship with the Huna indigenous people of Glacier Bay to showcase Native Voices, a program of Huna cultural interpretation while cruising through Glacier Bay National Park.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsThe anniversary will also be commemorated with a new Alaska-centric menu and exclusive culinary offerings. America’s Test Kitchen will feature top tips to select and prepare regional favourites through its Every Salmon shipboard cooking show, while Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff will be on hand to create ‘Midnight Sun’ cocktails.The main dining room will showcase customized menus that celebrate the cruise line’s Alaska heritage with new dishes created by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin and the company’s Culinary Council. A 70th Anniversary Baked Alaska will be the culmination of the celebratory meal.Moreover, brewing beer – though not easily done in Alaska – is growing in popularity and has become one of the more popular highlights onboard. Holland America currently features beers by Alaska Brewing Co., both on the menus and during tastings. For the 70th anniversary, the company will introduce a customized Holland America Pale Ale, while another exclusive anniversary beer by Denali Brewing Company will be available at Denali for guests on Land+Sea Journeys.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyOther special anniversary touches on 2017 Alaska cruises include a themed bon voyage party with a champagne toast, and a commemorative backpack for Land+Sea Journey guests.Starting this spring, ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms NOordam, ms Oosterdam, ms Volendam and ms Zaandam will offer a total of 135 Alaska departures, more than any other cruise line. Holland America Line will feature 126 seven-day cruises and nine 14-day Great Land Explorer sailings beginning in late April and running through late September. Holland America celebrates 70 years in Alaska Tags: Holland America Linelast_img read more

TravelBrands promotes new long stays with prize giveaway

first_imgTravelBrands promotes new long stays with prize giveaway Wednesday, June 20, 2018 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> MISSISSAUGA — Through July 9 TravelBrands Specialty by Exotik Journeys is giving travel agents a chance to win one of three prizes including a $500 allowance on any fam trip hosted by TravelBrands, $500 in marketing money to help boost agents’ businesses and $250 in Loyalty Rewards.To take part agents must share any of Exotik Journeys’ long stay program flyers.“We have fine-tuned Exotik Journeys’ products to satisfy all travellers. Our long stay programs are one of many products that offer a unique vacation experience,” says Nathalie Tanious, Vice President, TravelBrands. “This giveaway allows agents to promote these unique vacation types to their clients while giving them a chance to win some valuable prizes.”Ten agents will be selected after the contest period to receive one of the prize options available. To qualify for the giveaway agents can do at least one of the following:Share any of Exotik Journeys’ long stay program flyers to their social media pages (i.e. Instagram and Facebook) and add “#ExotikJourneys” to the postAdd a long stay flyer to their own websiteShare any long stay flyer with their databaseShare the Exotik Journeys Facebook page to their own followers and encourage their clients to ‘like’ the pageMore news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsTravel agents are asked to send proof of participation to Sonia Fabris, Commercial Analyst, TravelBrands at Sonia.fabris@travelbrands.com.Flyers will be available through the Access platform, under the e-flyers page. The flyers will also be posted on the ‘Your TravelBrands BDM’ Facebook page.For more information about this contest and to access the qualifying long stay program flyers visit travelbrandsaccess.com.center_img Travelweek Group Posted by Tags: Exotik Tours, TravelBrandslast_img read more

Sandals announces latest winner of Sandals Cash Splash

first_img Monday, February 25, 2019 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Alfonso DiPlacido from Travelpoint Enterprises Inc. in Richmond Hill, Ontario is the latest winner of Sandals Cash Splash.Launched in October 2018, the company’s largest and longest cash incentive for Canadian travel agents awards monthly cash prizes to those who make a booking direct with Unique Vacations Inc. The incentive runs until Sept. 30, 2019.Each new direct booking of three nights or longer to any Sandals or Beaches resort in any room category, for travel through Dec. 18, 2019, equals one entry for monthly cash prizes. $500 is awarded for each booking in any room category, $750 for each Club category booking, and $1,000 for each Butler category booking.There are multiple prizes awarded each month. Each new direct booking equals one contest entry, with no limits on the number of entries per person, so more bookings equal more chances to win. Certain restrictions apply and it is not valid in Quebec.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthDiPlacido accepted his prize of $500 from Robert Smith, Business Development Manager, Eastern Ontario, Unique Vacations Canada Inc. For more information go to taportal.sandals.com or call 1-800-545-8283 ext. 1. Tags: Sandalscenter_img Travelweek Group Sandals announces latest winner of Sandals Cash Splash Sharelast_img read more

Central American Games kick off in Costa Rica with colorful opening

first_imgNo related posts. With folk dances evoking nature and pre-Hispanic times, Costa Rica opened on Sunday the 10th edition of the Central American Games, in which some 2,700 athletes will compete for two weeks in San José in 26 sporting events.Visitors to a packed National Stadium in La Sabana Park, in western San José, were treated to a show of 1,000 artists performing on a cool and windy night.“These athletes speak of a Central America that responds with a message of peace and brotherhood to the challenges of violence and criminality,” President Laura Chinchilla said at the opening of the games.The show, called “Costa Rica Pura Vida,” recreated the elements of earth, air, water and fire.Costa Rican footballer Paulo César Wanchope carried the torch into the stadium, and swimmer Silvia Poll – silver medal winner at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 – lit the cauldron, designed by renowned Costa Rican sculptor Jorge Jiménez Deredia.Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama bring their best athletes to the games, which take place in San José for the first time since its inaugural edition in 1973.Fire scare After the ceremony, fireworks sparked a blaze in an area of ​​the stadium’s roof. No injuries were reported.Firefighters brought the fire under control at 9:40 p.m. in the west wing of the stadium, evacuating a few people who remained in the stadium after the inauguration ceremony.“It was a fire in a small area of the roof’s acrylic tiles,” Fire Chief Héctor Chávez said, adding that it was under control a few minutes later. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US grants funds to fight drugs and domestic violence

first_imgNo related posts. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William R. Brownfield arrived in Costa Rica this week to confirm donations his government approved for funding programs to combat organized crime, illegal drugs and family violence.On Tuesday, Brownfield met with Public Security Minister Mario Zamora and Anti-Drug Commissioner Mauricio Boraschi to confirm “the U.S. government will provide some $6-$7 million to be used for the training of prosecutors and investigators, the professionalization of police corps, for border control tasks, and for supporting anti-drug police units during land and sea operations.”Brownfield also said that the U.S. Embassy will implement a special program to fight domestic violence in Costa Rica by donating $1.6 million for government institutions and local NGOs.Ambassador Anne S. Andrew emphasized the embassy is clear that “in order to help Costa Rica improve security problems, to ensure economic growth and to meet education and health challenges, it is necessary to pay more attention to the fight against domestic violence.”Brownfield, who arrived in the country after visiting Honduras, said that he hopes the funds can help Costa Ricans “achieve more successful lives, safe and free from any form of violence.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica signs organic food agreement with Canada

first_imgCosta Rican organic producers will have increased opportunities to export their products to Canada following an arrangement reached between officials from the two governments.A press release sent Friday by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency states the Canada-Costa Rica Organic Equivalency Arrangement is “the outcome of an extensive analysis of both countries’ production and certification systems.”The agreement will allow for easier import and export of certified organic products between the two nations without the need for additional certification, thus reducing costs and red tape for the industry.“This arrangement with Costa Rica eliminates trade barriers to give organic producers a competitive edge,” said Canada’s Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Canadian consumers will also benefit by having increased access to organic food options.”Costa Rica and Canada have had a free trade agreement since 2002, and it was updated last September. According Costa Rican Foreign Trade Ministry data, total trade between the countries has increased from $102 million in 2002 to $273 million in 2011, a cumulative increase of 168 percent. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Delta to add new MinneapolisSan José flight

first_imgRelated posts:Delta Airlines to offer nonstop flight between San José and Los Angeles New Costa Rican airline offers to operate routes eliminated by TACA Avianca-Taca drops five nonstop flights to Costa Rica, lays off 261 employees New Costa Rican airline, Ticos Air, now hiring Delta will increase its flights to Costa Rica in December with the launch of a new seasonal Saturday nonstop flight between Minneapolis and San José, the U.S. airline announced Monday.The new route will operate from Dec. 21 to March 29, 2014, and will use an 180-seat Boeing 757-200 aircraft.This will be the only nonstop service offered between San José and Minneapolis, the company said on its website, and it will complement Delta’s existing services between San José-Atlanta and the new San José-Los Angeles route scheduled to begin on July 1.Delta’s announcement of new routes comes days after Avianca-Taca airlines reported the closure of five nonstop flights to Costa Rica, a move that angered local tourism officials, business owners and frequent-flying passengers.Last month the National Tourism Chamber described Avianca’s decision as “inappropriate and disrespectful to Costa Rica,” and said it would create a deficit of some 8,000 direct visitors who likely would stop coming to the country, as well as a monthly decrease of some 180-220 flights.Delta’s new route is already available for booking through the airline’s website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Climate change in Costa Ricas cloud forest

first_imgThe cloud forest’s thick canopy is a special ecosystem – even minor changes can wreak havoc on wildlife and plant species. Courtesy of Larry Kraft The Kraft family on hanging bridge. Courtesy of Larry Kraft Related posts:Costa Rica presents climate change action plan U.N. climate change negotiators drink Costa Rican coffee Last minute climate change deal reached in Durban USAID, green groups target climate change in Guatemala ConnectedOne of the things one realizes pretty quickly is how incredibly connected and balanced everything is in the cloud forest. If one part of this ecosystem is disrupted, what does it do to the other parts? And since the cloud forest is so connected to the well being of the people here, and in the rest of Costa Rica, how will people be affected? What new fungi or other diseases will suddenly be able to flourish in different environments, and will they attack frogs, the food we grow, or perhaps even people directly?The people of Monteverde and Costa Rica can be seen as a microcosm of the overall impact of climate change on humanity. We’re in the midst of a grand, rapid and dangerous experiment. The climate and Earth will adapt to the changes we are causing. The question is: Will humanity be like the animals at the top of the mountain in Monteverde?There is a bit of a counterculture feel in Monteverde. In spite of the remoteness of the area, the focus on conservation, and the feeling of apartness from the politics of the West, climate change is a great equalizer. There really is nowhere in the world where one can escape from the effects of climate change. Concern for the environment can be seen everywhere. This seems to be a place where tourism has had a positive impact. Every tour operator here touts its environmentally friendly practices. Many explicitly mention that a portion of money spent goes towards preserving the forest or improving the situation for some type of animal. Sorting bins for different kinds of trash and recycling materials can be found at nearly every hotel. Composting seems to be practiced in many, if not most, homes. And as the primary business in the area is eco-tourism, the community’s livelihood depends on conservation.On the surface, it seems an unlikely place to see the effects of climate change. But dig a little deeper and ask questions of the locals, and interesting anecdotes emerge.Troubling changesOne local resident told us that you used to be able to set your clock by the heavy daily rains during the rainy season. We were there during the rainy season, and for the most part, had lovely weather with sun and minimal rain on most days. The area has had more than one recent year with not enough rain. This causes multiple problems, including water shortages within the community itself, insufficient water for farms downstream at lower elevations, and energy issues. Seventy-six percent of Costa Rica’s energy comes from hydroelectric power, much coming from this watershed. Our Spanish teacher told us of energy shortages and power outages occurring in these drier years.Though there have been some years with not enough rain, the total amount of rain, on average, is actually trending higher. But the rain is falling differently. There are more frequent and longer-lasting dry spells, followed by larger downpours. Plus the ever-present mist, which gives the cloud forest much of its unique flora and fauna, is actually starting to drift in at higher elevations.In a conversation with J. Alan Pounds, a world-renowned amphibian and climate researcher and resident scientist at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, he noted that the dry spells and reduction in mist are already having significant effects on many species. As of late, he has been studying orchids, of which there are more than 500 species here – more than any other location in the world. And he is noticing significant stresses on these beautiful plants. Quite simply, they do better when there are clouds in the cloud forest.Equally worrisome is what’s happening with animals. One of the founders of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, Bob Law, and one of the park rangers there, Wendy Brenes, told us they were beginning to see lower elevation species at higher elevations. In the Monteverde area, they are now regularly seeing the chestnut-mandibled toucan and keel-billed toucan, which in prior years were only seen at lower elevations. And they are now seeing the fer-de-lance poisonous snake at one of their stations in a lower part of their reserve, where previously it had never been seen. Now, perhaps this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but what happens to the higher elevation species that have no higher to go? Eventually, they likely die off. And if they do, what is the impact on the ecosystem?  We heard a rumor of a massive amphibian die-off, which I confirmed in my conversation with Alan Pounds. In papers published from 1999 to 2006, he showed that warmer temperatures allowed a certain type of fungus to flourish that completely wiped out certain species of frogs, including the golden toad, from the Monteverde area.center_img This August, my family and I spent a week and a half in Monteverde, in north-central Costa Rica. This is the tropics, but at an elevation of 4,500 feet (1,400 meters) or so. This well-preserved swath of forest straddles the Continental Divide, which results in clouds and weather coming up from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The elevation means it’s never very hot, and the tropical latitude means it’s never very cold. The mean temperature for any month of the year falls between 61-70 Fahrenheit (17-21 C).There is much to do here: hiking, zip-lining, learning about how coffee or chocolate is made, and visiting bat, butterfly, frog, snake and orchid exhibits. But to me there are two key things that stand out: life and conservation.Life explodes from the earth with a huge variety of plants, trees, vines, insects, bats, birds and mammals. The misty clouds drifting up from the coasts not only give the cloud forest its name, but also nourish life above the ground. All kinds of things grow on top of other things. Epiphytes grow on trees and then eventually decompose, creating a microenvironment from which more life can emerge. Some of what grows and lives in the canopy is only found there and not on the ground. About Larry KraftLarry Kraft is a former high-tech exec now traveling the world with his wife and two kids on an environmentally focused trip. In addition to teaching their kids, Larry and his wife, Lauri, are creating educational content for their kids’ school, Peter Hobart Elementary School, in St. Louis Park, and the 85,000 kids who follow the Wilderness Classroom, a nonprofit group with whom they are partnered. Larry is also a Climate Reality Leader, having been recently trained by Al Gore and his Climate Reality Organization. His first trip around the world was solo with a backpack in 1990-91. He’s since touched all seven continents and more than 60 countries. He can be reached on the Kraft blog at http://krafttrip.blogspot.com or at lkraft@hotmail.com. Facebook Comments Epiphytes growing on a tree. Courtesy of Larry Kraftlast_img read more

Costa Rica seeks arrest extradition from US of Sea Shepherds Paul Watson

first_imgAfter 15 months at sea to avoid Interpol red alerts issued for his arrest by Japan and Costa Rica, the embattled conservationist Paul Watsonfinally went ashore late last month to visit family and testify in a U.S. case brought against him by Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research.Watson, the 62-year-old founder of Sea Shepherd, arrived in Los Angeles, California, where he was welcomed by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (yes, that Robert F. Kennedy) and other supporters. He was not arrested as he passed through U.S. customs.“I have returned to the United States. The Interpol Red Notice from Costa Rica has been dropped,” Watson wrote on his Facebook page at the time.It seemed like the red notice on behalf of Costa Rica had been dropped, as Watson’s attorneys had indicated. A search of Interpol’s website turned up no notice of a red alert on behalf of Costa Rica, although a red alert issued by Japan was still active.Watson was on U.S. soil for only a week when Costa Rican judicial officials formally requested the U.S. extradite him back to Costa Rica to face charges of allegedly endangering a ship’s crew at high seas in a 2002 incident off the coast of Guatemala.On Nov. 5, Costa Rica’s First Circuit Penal Court of San José requested the U.S. arrest Watson and extradite him to Costa Rica.“Finding the accused [Watson] in the United States, we request his immediate capture, and once that has been executed the procedure for his extradition will begin,” the request from First Circuit Judge Jorge Cordero stated.A spokeswoman for Costa Rica’s judicial branch confirmed on Wednesday the request had been sent via diplomatic channels to the U.S. government. The U.S. has not yet formally responded to the request, and Watson has not been arrested.Watson’s Costa Rican attorney, Federico Morales, told The Tico Times that Costa Rica had “reactivated” an international arrest request and then communicated that decision to the U.S. Embassy.Morales said he would challenge the request, as he believes the statute of limitations on the charges against Watson “expired in 2004 or 2005.”Costa Rica claims Watson, a Canadian citizen, violated Article 251 of the country’s Penal Code, which sanctions the endangerment of a ship and its crew. If found guilty, he could face up to 15 years in prison. Watson was arrested in May 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany, where he spent a month in jail. He was released to house arrest, but fled Germany by land and spent the next 15 months at sea.Watson and his crew strongly deny Costa Rica’s charges, and point to the documentary film “Sharkwater,” which portrays the incident on April 21, 2002, involving the Costa Rican fishing vessel Varadero I. Watson and Sea Shepherd accused the Varadero I’s crew of illegal shark-finning. The fishermen said the Sea Shepherds tried to kill them by ramming their boat and blasting them with water canons.“Watson, without authorization or legitimacy proceeded to take the law into his own hands by intimidating, threatening and attacking the Varadero I,” Cordero wrote.During the incident, a finger on the left hand of Costa Rican fisherman Antonio Mena was injured, Cordero noted.Follow updates at www.TicoTimes.net Facebook Comments Related posts:Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson: ¡Viva Solís! Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson launches Facebook campaign asking Costa Rica’s Solís to drop extradition request Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson turns to human rights commission to block Costa Rica’s legal chase Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson files human rights lawsuit against Costa Ricalast_img read more

Covert toilets could be coming to Costa Rica

first_imgOutside the American Community of Police conference on Wednesday, security professionals from the United Kingdom hawked their wares for the hemisphere’s police. Everything was on display at the booths, from security cameras to canine detection training services to tracking technology to… toilets?A stout stainless steel toilet, complete with treads on the footrest, sat on display with a lighted opening in the back, similar to a vending machine. Meet the Drugloo.“When people come through customs or they’re trying to smuggle things across borders or into prisons and they swallow them or hide them in, um, other places,” explained John Baker, managing director of Drugloo, “most border agencies tend to use a bucket and a pair of gloves. So we invented [these] chemical toilets.”After the contraband enters the toilet, Baker said it gets flushed into an agitator, where it’s cleaned, disinfected, and bagged as evidence.“It’s hygienic for the employees, and for the detainees it’s a more efficient and humane way for them, opposed to sitting on a bucket,” he said.In addition to the stainless steel portable version on display, Baker listed off their other towering static models, and even a “covert” commode.“It looks just like a regular toilet like you might find at McDonald’s,” Baker said, explaining how lifting the toilet seat alerts peeping law enforcement that the unsuspecting suspect is using the water closet. While the smuggler thinks he’s flushed his contraband, police are waiting on the other side for the evidence wrapped up in a neat package.Baker said that Drugloos are already in use across airports and other transportation hubs in Great Britain, Europe, the Middle East, Canada and the United States. But in Latin America, only Peruvian police use them – so there’s no need to think twice the next time you use the loo at a McDonald’s here. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican police seize hidden arsenal and find heliport near Nicaraguan border Border police seize $68,000 in cash near Panamanian borderlast_img read more

Craft beer bonanza and other happenings in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Super Bowl/Elections and other happenings around Costa Rica Costa Rica vs. Paraguay, Oscar Festivals and other happenings around Costa Rica Arts Festival in Jacó, and other happenings around Costa Rica Tico circus, climatic film festival, and other happenings around Costa Rica Costa Ballena Craft Beer FestNot long ago, “cerveza artisenal” was a foreign concept in Costa Rica. But today, the craft beer revolution is in full swing. The Costa Ballena Beer Festival gathers together some of the most exciting brewers in the country, from Treintaycinco to Costa Rica Meadery. For them, Costa Ballena means celebrating the fruits of their toil. For you, it means tasting lots of delicious pints and enjoying the good vibes of Uvita. For concerned parties, worry not: There’s a shuttle service, taxis will be readily available and designated drivers get in free. Try 15 varieties of beer and mead at this inaugural festival. Bottoms up!The Beer Festival takes place Feb. 15 at Rancho DiAndrew, 2 km north of Uvita de Osa, Puntarenas. 1 p.m. – 10 p.m. $32. Info: Event website.Fall in Love With Your CityYes, you can get gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring “Fall in Love With Your City,” a year-long celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Starting this week and continuing every Saturday through November, Enamorate de tu Ciudad kicks off with the Lubín Barahona Orchestra. Check back for games, workshops, presentations, and “surprise performances.”Fall in Love with Your City takes place Sat., Feb. 15, in various parks in downtown San José. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free. Info: Enamorate de tu Ciudad website.Theater: “The Glass Menagerie”Put together a Southern matriarch, an angry poet, and a tortured introvert and what do you get? Find out when The Little Theatre Group stages the Tennessee Williams classic at their new location in Verdeza.“The Glass Menagerie” performs through Feb. 23 at Verdeza, Barrio Trejos Montealegre, Escazú. Fri. & Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. ₡5,000 ($10). Info: The Little Theatre Group website.Dance: The Snipers’ Pedestal”“Cold romance” is how Leonardo Aguirre describes his choreographic premiere. “The Sniper’s Pedestal” explores relationships and power struggle for three evening performances.“El Podio de los Francotiradores” takes place Feb. 14-16 at Gráfica Génesis art space, Cathedral District. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡3,500 ($7) general admission, ₡2,500 ($5) students. Info: Gráfico Génesis Facebook page.Theater: “100 Square Meters”Sara has found the perfect property, except for one thing: If she buys it, the 70-year-old owner gets to stay until she dies. But will cigarettes and booze actually kill the old woman, or will Sara wait indefinitely? Find out during Juan Carlos Rubio’s stage play is, thanks to Spain-based TIKTAKProductions.“100 Metros Cuadrados” performs through Feb. 16 at the Vargas Calvo Theater, downtown San José. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11) general admission, ₡3,000 ($6) students. Info: RedCultura site.Have a Heart FundraiserWho doesn’t love mini-golf? Bolas Locas hosts this family fun day and mini-golf tournament – third in a three-part fundraiser for Amigos de la Educación, a scholarship program in Guanacaste. Stick around for a block party and live music.Event takes place Feb. 15, Bolas Locas Mini-Golf, Tamarindo, Guanacaste. $20 adults, $7 children. Info: Amigos de la Educación website.Theater: “The House of the Spirits”Teatro Espressivo presents a theatrical adaptation of Isabel Allende’s classic novel, “The House of the Spirits.” This epic magic-realist story receives an inventive adaptation by Caridad Svich.“The House of the Spirits” continues through April 13 at Teatro Espressivo, Curridabat. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡8,000-15,000 ($16-30). Info: Performance website.Historical Cartoon ExhibitionHow better for kids to understand history than through comic strips? Eighteen works illustrate the history of Costa Rica, thanks to a comics workshop hosted by the Juan Santamaría Historical Museum.Exhibit continues through Feb. 27 at the Juan Santamaría Historical Museum, Alajuela. 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Free. Info: Museum Facebook page.Envision FestivalThe colossally creative Envision Festival commences next Thursday. If you’re only free for the weekend, visit next week’s calendar for details next Friday.The Envision Festival takes place Feb. 20-23 at Rancho La Merced, . $265 (international), $125 (with valid Cédula card). Info: Envision website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Johnny Arayas 5 biggest campaign mistakes

first_img4. Firing shots at the wrong target. Araya and the National Liberation Party aimed their political artillery at the Broad Front Party and José María Villalta, reviving in the process the ghosts of communism in Costa Rica. They promoted a campaign of fear – of which they are well versed – but they targeted the wrong rival. Villalta wasn’t the greatest threat to Liberation’s dream of a third consecutive term, and in their zeal to destroy him, they neglected another candidate who struck a powerful right hook that knocked Araya out in the first round.5. Araya and the PLN seem desperate and reckless. Araya’s Feb. 2 speech had a bitter tone of defeat to it. It seemed haphazardly thrown together, with a poorly worded message of gratitude for supporters, and a weak rally call for a second-round comeback. Araya seemed incapable of inspiring Liberationists to double their efforts heading to April 6. Since then, the actions PLN operators have taken have seemed poorly calculated.The most recent example of clumsy campaign politics by the PLN occurred when Araya was paid a visit by a Tax Administration official accompanied by members of the press who asked Araya for information about supposed purchases. Araya appeared to respond with instinct instead of political calculation, admitting in a press conference that he had personally telephoned Finance Minister Edgar Ayales to demand an explanation.He admitted doing this without a hint of remorse, as if it were normal for citizens with pending tax issues to directly telephone and interrogate a government minister.Araya also failed to take into account that on several occasions he publicly stated he would keep Ayales on his Cabinet should he be elected president. In other words, the future boss was calling the future employee to hold him accountable.We all know the accurate term to describe this practice, and we all know that it is something that occurs daily. What doesn’t occur daily is a presidential candidate confessing to the press that he has just exercised an inelegant form of influence peddling.As a citizen and voter, Araya constantly surprises me. The capacity for error in political strategy that his campaign has shown is astounding, and I don’t see any evidence that they will change course and straighten the ship. In a few weeks, we’ll see at which port the PLN ship arrives. But I doubt there’s any water left at Zapote.Nancy De Lemos is a journalist and former director in Costa Rica for the news agency EFE. A graduate of the University of Costa Rica, she now works in communication for global environmental NGOs. Facebook Comments Related posts:What keeps Johnny Araya awake at night? Ex-President Abel Pacheco to back opposition candidate Solís Johnny’s historical concession speech A victory for the ages Not only is it a bad concept, but it also refers to a candidate who served as mayor of the capital city for 22 years in an administration that offered more shadows than light; the argument is simply ridiculous. The result of this “creative” publicity: Araya was ridiculed for weeks until he came to his senses and withdrew the campaign. Johnny Araya never fails to surprise me. Like most Costa Ricans, about a year ago I thought itinevitable that he would become President Laura Chinchilla’s successor, and that the opposition had little or no chance of beating him. But sometimes politics is unpredictable.Araya’s resounding descent in popularity among voters is surprising in itself, but even more jarring are the campaign decisions made by the candidate and his group of close advisers, who not only have made him more unpopular, but who also appear to be accelerating the process.Here are some of the biggest errors committed by Araya and his campaign managers in just a few months:1. Patronage. Wife Sandra León’s failed health care caravans, instead of harvesting votes from the humblest sectors, threw Araya into the eye of the hurricane at an early stage in the campaign.It seems that little by little something is changing in Costa Rica. This time around, this type of populist and insolent campaign to which we were so accustomed for many decades, and which always was an indispensible ingredient for electoral processes in the era of bipartisanship, was vehemently condemned.Araya bet on continuity and a traditional form of politics, and by all appearances, he lost. Johnny Araya and wife Sandra León after voting in the national election in San José, on Feb. 2, 2014. Ezequiel Becerra/AFP2. The absent candidate. Johnny Araya was overly confident about his advantage in the polls, and he afforded himself a luxury that is highly unusual in politics. He skipped several debates, particularly at the start of the campaign. The image of the “absent candidate” unwilling to defend his ideas and face questions gained momentum as the days passed, and voters began to question why the ruling-party candidate didn’t show his face – a tactic that had served him well in two decades as San José mayor.3. “Hire me.” “Hire me” is the worst campaign slogan we have seen in a long time in Costa Rica (except for Luis Fishman’s famous “least bad option”). ¡Usted me conoce! #contráteme https://t.co/GGwEVbrZb7— Johnny Araya (@Johnny_Araya) October 31, 2013last_img read more

Slippery When Wet Only 45 percent of Costa Rican roads are in

first_img Facebook Comments Shocking, we know, but a total of 95 percent of paved roads in Costa Rica are not of adequate quality or do not have the appropriate capacity to handle the current amount of traffic on any given day, a study by the University of Costa Rica’s National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models (LANAMME) found.The poor conditions of roads lead to higher costs for motorists who are forced to drive at reduced speeds, which increases traffic congestion and pollution, LANAMME experts said Wednesday morning, during the presentation of their sixth “Evaluation of the National Paved Roadway Network 2014-2015.”The study also found that 12 percent of the country’s paved roads need urgent attention.According to the study, only 4.5 percent of the country’s roads are in “good” condition. Most of the roads – 62 percent – are in “poor” or “very poor” condition. The others are considered “regular.”LANAMME experts also evaluated roadway surfaces and found that only 2.5 percent are in good condition. That means that 34 percent of paved roads become slippery when wet (cue Bon Jovi), and 20.6 percent of surfaces become highly slippery. Sounds dangerous.Researcher Guillermo Loría Salazar said the university laboratory recommends officials use the research as a tool for planning future investment in the national roadway network.Poor infrastructure is one of the top-cited concerns by local and international business leaders operating here. At a recent Americas Society/Council of the Americas cities conference in San José, Roberto Echandi of the World Bank said Costa Rica has fallen behind its rivals because of its lack of infrastructure investment.Tourism – a major revenue generator for the country – also suffers.“As long as we have these [infrastructure] conditions, we’re going to be holding back tourism in this country,” National Liberation Party lawmaker Antonio Álvarez Desanti acknowledged at an economic roundtable organized by the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce last year.According to the LANAMME study, the government in the past two years invested ₡17 billion ($31 million) in repairing 972 kilometers of roads in the country, but most of those repairs failed to improve their overall condition.After those repairs were made, 655 kilometers of roads currently are in worse condition than before, while 247 kilometers have partially improved and 69 kilometers have improved surface conditions.Loría said the findings are consistent with a recent study on “Population Perceptions of the National Roadway Network,” in which 67.9 percent of those surveyed said the country’s roads are in bad or very bad condition. Half of the respondents believe that the main problem of public roads is the large number of potholes.Research included the evaluation of all 5,268 kilometers of paved roads across the country. LANAMME conducts its study every two years and does not include unpaved roads or those in rural communities, the lab reported.The LANAMME report confirms what we drivers in Costa Rica already know: While on the road, we’re often…Livin’ on a Prayer. Related posts:Lawmakers to discuss San José-Cartago highway expansion Streetside billboards in San José set for removal Road to Monteverde closed starting next week Repairs to sewers will close roads in downtown San Josélast_img read more

Brexit would threaten economic national security Cameron

first_img Facebook Comments “Leaving Europe would threaten our economic and our national security,” Cameron said in a report to parliament after dozens of MPs from his own Conservative party said they will vote for Brexit, including London mayor Boris Johnson.Cameron has called for an in-out referendum on Britain’s EU membership after securing a deal on reforms at a summit in Brussels last week.“When it comes to people’s jobs it is simply not enough to say it will be all right on the night and we will work it out,” he told parliament.“We need to properly face up to the economic consequences of a choice to leave,” he said, warning that it would be “a great leap into the unknown.”Cameron also warned about global threats from Russia and the Islamic State group, saying: “The challenges facing the West today are genuinely threatening …. In my view this is no time to divide the West.”In a barb at London mayor and Conservative party rival Boris Johnson, who declared on Sunday that he would vote to leave the EU, Cameron said: “I have no other agenda than what is best for our country.”Johnson, who is seen as a potential successor to Cameron as Conservative leader and prime minister, has been accused of pursuing political ambitions with his decision.Recommended: Britons abroad: Don’t miss out on your right to vote in the EU referendum Related posts:Mud-soaked migrants fight for food as Greek border blockade drags on Europe’s pointless exercise in Greek austerity After Greece’s apparent ‘No’ to bailout terms, Germany and France call for a eurozone summit on Greece Obama, Castro hail ‘new day’ for US-Cuba relationscenter_img LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday warned that Britain’s departure from the European Union would threaten its economic and national security, as the pound plunged on Brexit concerns.last_img read more

Costa Ricas La Sele unveils slick new uniforms for Copa América tournament

first_imgYears of topping the worst-dressed lists of international football are now fading into a distant, forgettable past for Costa Rica’s national team, which has finally inserted itself into the modern age with another sharp-looking kit to add to its wardrobe.The special edition uniform, designed by New Balance, is made solely for June’s Copa América Centenario tournament, the ceremonial event celebrating 100 years of the continent’s most important international football championship.The new design features a deep red body with white trims on the collar and sleeves, as well as gold numbering and lettering. A large Costa Rican flag embroidered over the left chest combines with more subtle accents, like the word “La Sele” imprinted on the sleeve and “Costa Rica” in white on the back neck, to give the kit some welcome flavor.See the new kit for yourself in the release video that New Balance published Thursday morning on its Facebook page: The Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) also published a look at the “away team” version of the new jerseys, presumably to be used in its second match against the United States in Chicago, Illinois. The white versions feature the same gold fonts as the home uniforms, while inverting the collars to red.“One-of-a-kind, for a unique event and to make history… This will be the second uniform for La Sele in the #Copa100,” FEDEFUTBOL tweeted in Spanish. Única, para un evento único y para hacer historia… Esta será la segunda camiseta de #LaSele para la #Copa100. pic.twitter.com/2HkIVfIiXW— FEDEFUTBOL (@FEDEFUTBOL_CR) April 28, 2016 Related posts:Costa Rica pummeled by U.S. 4-0 in Copa America rout Photos of new La Sele jerseys leak amid New Balance bribery accusations Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Costa Rica humiliates the United States 4-0 in World Cup qualifier Though the Copa América usually occurs every four years, the special 100th anniversary of the tournament is being held just 12 months after last year’s edition in Chile, where the host nation beat favored Argentina in a penalty shootout finale.Costa Rica will start tournament play on June 4 when it takes on Paraguay in Orlando, Florida. Two years after topping a group of three former world champions in its spectacular 2014 World Cup run, La Sele was again drawn into the “group of death” where it will also have to face the U.S. and Colombia. This is the first time Costa Rica has been invited to the South American-based tournament since 2011, where it lost in the group stages to Colombia and Argentina.Below are some more angles of the new kits and a look at the keeper uniform, courtesy of FEDEFUTBOL: A green goalkeeper shirt fit for a king. (Courtesy of FEDEFUTBOL Facebook page) (Courtesy of FEDEFUTBOL Facebook page) (Courtesy of FEDEFUTBOL Facebook page) Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Online shopping still low in Costa Rica study finds

first_imgRelated posts:Majority of companies in Costa Rica are family affairs Private sector confidence remains lukewarm Finance Ministry issues warning ahead of shopping season Employment outlook among industrial sector shows no improvement Despite having internet coverage in some 88 percent of the country, only 12 percent of consumers in Costa Rica shop online, a study on shopping habits and trends by consultant companyKantar Worldpanel found.The figure is low compared to the 31 percent average in Latin America, but is the highest in Central America, where the average is 7 percent, according to the Customer Watch 2016 report.Results in Argentina, the country that tops the Latin American list of e-shoppers, show that half of its consumers prefer to shop at online stores.Kantar Worldpanel commercial director Emma Ortiz said Costa Rica’s 12 percent must be seen as a great opportunity for growth.“The figure of online shoppers in Costa Rica is indeed low, especially by taking into account that the country has an internet coverage that doubles the average in Central America, currently at 47 percent,” she said.Online shoppers in Panama placed second at 8 percent. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador follow at 6 percent, while only 5 percent of consumers shop online in Nicaragua.Tico shopper profileThe reasons why most Costa Rican consumers prefer to shop at conventional stores is related to the shopping experience, the study found.Eighty percent of respondents said they prefer to “see and touch a product before buying it,” while 77 percent said they prefer to go to a physical store because salespeople are available to answer questions about the products.One of the main challenges for online businesses is delivery times. Three-quarters of respondents said they prefer to shop at a store because they can acquire the product immediately, instead of having to wait days or weeks for delivery.Another reason Tico consumers prefer traditional stores is they believe sales and bargains are more common than at online stores.The fifth reason cited by consumers is safety. More than a quarter of respondents — 28 percent — said they feel safer shopping at a physical store than doing an online transaction.The segment of Ticos who refrain from shopping online is formed mostly — 49 percent — by consumers 50 and older, identified in the study as baby boomers. Members of Generation X, or customers between 36 and 49, are second at 32 percent, while only 19 percent of people under 35, or millennials, say they never shop online.The technology gap represents one of the main reasons for not buying online, as 42 percent of people surveyed said they are not confident about entering personal information on a website, while 38 percent said they do not know how to use the internet or do not have access to it.“Shopping online is more expensive” was the third reason, cited by 32 percent of people polled. “Because I like being able to ask a vendor” was fourth at 21 percent, and 16 percent of respondents said, “Because I don’t understand websites.”Online shopping nichesMost online purchases in Costa Rica, and in all of Central America, are of products in the “entertainment and lifestyle” category.Kantar research found that 55 percent of people use websites to purchase electronic gadgets, 46 percent buy clothing and footwear, 28 percent shop for vacations and travel, 21 percent buy toys and 17 percent go online for entertainment options such as movie or concert tickets, food or other goods.Ortiz noted that one of the best niches for online shopping in Costa Rica is within the “fast-moving consumer goods” category, which includes food, drinks, personal care products, household products and other perishable goods.The study found that almost 100 percent of online sales within this category in Costa Rica came from personal care items.In order to cash in on selling products in this category, companies mostly should improve the speed and quality of delivery services, Ortiz said.“Options range from offering free delivery to providing faster delivery times than the competition,” she added.Businesses should also improve information to highlight the benefits of online shopping. Ortiz said they should remind people that they can compare prices easily and can create and save shopping lists to reuse later, she said.Market still open for mailbox rental companiesMailbox rental companies agree that the market’s potential among Tico consumers is more than promising. Subscriptions to U.S.-based mailbox services, mainly in Miami, have shown a solid growth in recent years.State-owned post office Correos de Costa Rica in September 2012 opened a mailbox rental department called Box Correos that already has more than 50,000 customers in all seven provinces, e-commerce director Stephanie Vargas Alvarado said.The popularity of the new service prompted the company to invest some ₡500 million (about $930,000) in new personnel, vehicles, tracking and security technology, as well as in a new building exclusively for the business unit.The post office is also investing more in advertising, “mainly around special days such as Christmas, Black Friday, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, among others,” Vargas said.The new business unit takes advantage of the company’s current infrastructure, including its 114 offices. “Our presence throughout the country allows us to offer our customers the same delivery rates in every province, and we don’t charge membership fees like other companies,” she said. State-owned post office Correos de Costa Rica offers a mailbox rental and package delivery service at all of its 114 offices and last year opened a new building exclusively for these services. (Via Correos de Costa Rica)Jetbox is another mailbox rental service that currently is undergoing a series of changes and investments aiming to cash in on e-commerce here.Marketing manager Gabriela Apuy said Jetbox believes online shopping is booming here, prompted mainly by an increase in internet penetration, both in home and mobile connections.Apuy said the growth of online shopping prompted the company to invest about $750,000 to open 10 new stores across the country just in the past two years.The company is moving forward with its expansion this year with the implementation of a micro-franchise model to offer delivery services outside the greater metropolitan area, particularly in communities in Limón, Puntarenas and Guanacaste, “where people are increasingly shopping online,” she said. The company already has seven of these distribution offices.“The growth is evident; we have 45,000 active clients and we’ve seen increases both in the number of customers and in deliveries,” Apuy said, noting that in 2015 the company recorded 12 percent more customers and 15 percent more deliveries than the previous year.She said the growth is also noticeable in the purchase value, as customers are now shopping for bigger and more expensive products.Companies’ promotional strategies, such as special tariffs or deals, are also expanding as they take advantage of major holidays and special celebrations, both here and in the U.S.Mailbox rental services in the past weeks were strongly promoting shopping sales for the Memorial Day weekend, and starting this week they will begin boosting their promotional messages for Father’s Day on June 19. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

It happened to me Scammed in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Cars, cars and more cars: Costa Rica’s worsening love affair Tico Times: Letters to the Editor (Jan. 4, 2019) Letter to the Editor: Costa Rica reflections ‘School of second chances’ opens in Costa Rica Editor’s Note: The Tico Times does not regularly publish anonymous submissions but waived that requirement because of the security concerns for the writer and the importance of this message for our reading public. To the Editor: But of course I thought it never would. Smugly, I believed I was beyond the grasp of phone scammers. I have lived here in Costa Rica for over 30 years. I tend to be a bit suspicious, hanging up immediately when I get a phone call from any kind of organization.But on this day I was already vulnerable. I was in the middle of being investigated to receive credit to buy something. Perhaps this is why I was unprepared for the call from Hacienda (Costa Rican version of the IRS). Just the fact that it was them already created a bit of fear in me. The commanding voice triggered some odd compliance in me. By the end, my thinking brain was completely hijacked. In this short article, I attempt to break down the tactics that were used to do this.First tactic: FEAR. (Government agency, possible loss of this or loss of that — credit card, bank savings, etc.) Scammers may also use HOPE (to win something), but that is not what happened to me, and I can only share my own experience. This man’s commanding manner, and the fact that he was supposedly from Hacienda, immediately made me feel insecure, tense, scared. The fear triggered compliance. Then, the LIES start: “Hacienda is no longer receiving electronic receipts from private companies. You have to give clients official Hacienda receipts.” Rapidly followed by, “We are sending someone to your house this Friday. What time is good for you? He will have an audio-visual explaining how to do these online receipts” (DISTRACTION). Already, you’re engaged, saying they can come by at 9 a.m.Then the DISARMING of resistance combined with fast questions: Me, “I’d rather go in to Hacienda myself.” His response, “Don’t worry. I won’t ask any personal questions.” Immediately followed with a direct command, “I am going to direct you to three websites (he names them). Now go to www.hacienda.go.cr” (which you know is an official site because you already do give online receipts). You follow the order, without thinking. Nervous.Fourth and most effective tactic: Rapid, commanding statements and strong ORDERS. Wham-bam-wham-bam.  “Go here, go there, go here, now do this.” High tension, a lot of anxiety and stress. Fifth and other tactics, FLATTERY, compassion. He compliments you. “You are smart.” Jokes with you a bit. He gains compassion, “Now imagine having to do this with 26,000 contributors. Most of my calls take three hours.” Something happens and you are trusting this authority figure, thinking he is helping you do something complicated.In the midst of all this, you have downloaded two sites that allow him to see what you are doing on your computer. Unbeknownst to you, you are now sharing your screen with them. (I say “them” because it is obvious that they work in teams: while one is manipulating you, the others are typing on their own screens.) They can see everything you are typing at Hacienda’s website.More strong, direct orders. “Type these numbers here. Go back there.”’ You go back to Hacienda and are filling in the forms: cédula, date of birth, expiration date of cédula. All of these forms boggle your mind, create confusion, more stress, and therefore more dependence on the orders because it is all so overwhelming.Then they ask at which bank you pay taxes. You tell them.You are now completely under this person’s spell, obediently following all orders. All rationality gone out the window. More rapid commands. Then slowing down as you fill out all the legal forms. You make  mistakes. You have to start all over. (He doesn’t care. He wants to waste time while they do all the banking transfers.)You actually type on the Hacienda form six bank token numbers, thinking Hacienda needs them for you to pay them directly.  Of course this makes no sense. But in this compliant, stressed state of mind, your mind tells you that it does. It must be the way that Hacienda will be paid by online banking. (Totally against what you already know.) Unbelievable!Needless to say, they have added themselves as a favorite account and drained all your accounts. They ask if you have another back-up bank for tax payments. Yes, you do. They send you to your other bank, and you do the most irrational things, foggily thinking that they are doing some kind of computer tricks that are necessary for your bank to be affiliated with Hacienda. Incredible!At the end, he commands you to close all tabs, “now.” You have been following orders all this time, so you do this as well. You are still distressed because you do not understand anything that has gone on. They say, “Don’t worry. Someone will be coming to your house on Friday. What time is good for you again? What is your exact address?” You give them this information again, still not particularly wanting anyone from Hacienda to come to your house. Phone call ends. You are relieved to finally be out from all the distress that was generated by the call. “Phew! Thank God THAT is over!” You have missed appointments. You need to get on with the day and carry on with that “I-just-came-out-of-a-storm’’ feeling.It took one hour and 45 minutes. All your bank accounts have been drained of your savings.After this, as you courageously share with your Facebook friends, despite your shame, you find out this kind of scam has happened to many of your good friends. And to their friends. People who are “computer techies,” and “financial wizards,” and such. Smart people who have also lived here a long time and “‘know better.’’ They say, “It happened to me.” All of us believed we were too smart, it could never happen to us. But it did. It happened to us. And due to our shame and humiliation, many do not share about this publicly.The total mind control is absolutely shocking and humiliating. I compliantly obeyed all of this man’s orders. When I mentioned to a friend that it was as if I was under his spell, she said that this is what her neighbor had said, that it was as if he were under a spell. It is as if all the stress and commands put us  in an altered state of consciousness where reason does not exist, only an instant following of commands. Scary. Like the Milgram experiment where the participants gave increasingly high-voltage shocks to “learners,” obeying the instructions of the authority figure. Yes. How humbling and humiliating it is to discover how easily one can become a puppet on a string.This “Hacienda” scam is common. Imagine: more than 20,000 contributors to Hacienda, all possible victims. Another common one is the bank scam, but I don’t know that one. Also, if you advertise an item in a newspaper, a person will call, insisting on depositing money into your account, without even seeing the item (car, motorcycle, etc). Then they do some strange maneuvers where they supposedly have a bank person on call to resolve some issue that came up. (Again, I have not been a victim of this one, so I can’t give the details.) They use fake emails and phone numbers that replicate the real phone numbers and emails of  the banks. I am lucky that I had just bought something expensive the week before, so I did not have much money to lose. Others lost hundreds of thousands, as my accountant told me. But still, I lost all the money I had to my name. All of it. The worst thing about this kind of crime is the victim blaming and shaming. We ourselves gave away all the information. The banks shake their heads when you report it. And you know what they and your other friends who have not been victims are thinking, “How could you do something so stupid?” They instruct you, “You should never give this kind of information to anyone over the phone.” As if you don’t know that. As if you don’t hear this from your bank all the time. As if it is your fault that this happened. Tsk, tsk.The words that capture the experience when it is over are: “Shocking,” “Unbelievable,” and — same meaning — “Incredible.” And that is also how people react: with incredulity that you could do something like that. Compassion is dimmed by this self-satisfied knowing that they would never do this. This will simply NOT happen to them.And, yet, sadly, the truth is, too many will say, “It happened to me.”I hope people will comment below describing some of the tactics that were used on them when they were scammed. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of scams. But it won’t eliminate them. There is too much money to be criminally gained, and these folks are brilliant at turning their victims into puppets on a string. Terrifying.It does not help to say “Do not give any financial information over the phone.” We all know this. My only suggestion is to keep your bank token in an envelope marked “Hang Up!!” away from your computer, maybe in a box somewhere so you have to go out of your way to get it. Hopefully, this will break the spell. I am not sure it will, however, since it seems like we are hypnotized during the scam. But it may.My last words are, “It is not your fault.” You were the victim of a brilliant psychological strategy that rendered you powerless to put up any resistance to someone’s manipulative commands. It is NOT your fault. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Clean energy leader Costa Rica turns attention to electric cars

first_imgRelated posts:This Oregon company wants to build electric cars in Costa Rica Costa Rica announces charging grid for electric vehicles Costa Rica hits renewable energy mark for fourth year in a row Kiva, Viogaz offer microloans for biodigesters in rural Costa Rica Costa Rica likes to advertise itself as an ecological paradise, where more than 98 percent of its electricity needs are met by clean energy.But in the automotive industry, it is lagging behind with just 600 out of 1.4 million private vehicles running on electricity rather than gas or diesel.Experts believe that is about to change, though.Bernal Muñoz, a director at Costa Rica’s electricity institute (ICE), insists that 600 vehicles is in itself progress, having doubled the number on the roads in 2017.“We have studies done by the University of Costa Rica with mathematical models that say the growth rate will continue,” Muñoz told AFP.“In five years, there could be 40,000 electric vehicles.”ICE is leading the way, having purchased a fleet of 100 electric vehicles to replace the same number of fuel-powered ones.“The aim of this project is to demonstrate that the electric vehicle is perfectly adapted to the topographical conditions of this country, with its rolling, mountainous terrain,” Muñoz said.Costa Rica’s state postal service has got in on the act too, purchasing 30 electric motorcycles for its employees to use on their rounds.“We have proposed the transition towards a fleet of electric vehicles, facilitating the process so that public institutions buy zero-emission vehicles,” said First Lady Claudia Dobles.An architect, Dobles has been tasked with the government’s urban renovation program, including the modernization of its transport.When President Carlos Alvarado assumed office in May, he initiated a program of decarbonization of the economy, with the transition to electric cars a key to the project. Costa Rican Roberto Quiros, owner of two electric cars, charges one of them at a Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) charging station in San Jose on December 4, 2018. Ezequiel Becerra/ AFPWorld leaderCosta Rica is already a world leader when it comes to green energy, having generated more than 98 percent of its power through renewable sources for the last four years in a row.That makes the country the ideal place to promote clean transport, according to Carlos Echeverria, a senior regional specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank.“The government wants to convert Costa Rica into a laboratory for the decarbonization of the economy, and transport is fundamental to that,” he told AFP.Transport is responsible for 66 percent of hydrocarbon consumption and 54 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.As well as the replacement of fuel-powered vehicles with electric ones at state institutions, last year, the government implemented tax exemptions for the private purchase of electric cars.It’s also planning a passenger train between major cities and a cargo locomotive to and from Limón.“What Costa Rica is doing is leading in the way of electrical mobility at a regional level,” said Echeverria.Other Latin American countries, such as Chile, Colombia and Mexico, have made progress in the electric public transport sector, according to Muñoz.In Costa Rica, there have been discussions with transport businesses to launch electric busses, but for the time being the focus is on private cars.In 2019, it will start installing a network of 40 recharging stations distributed throughout the country, with at least eight new stations to be built each year, said Muñoz.Paraguay will inaugurate in 2019 rapid-charging electric stations over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) of roads connecting its major cities, know as the “green route.” Mariano Avalos (R), owner of a car dealer that sells used electric cars imported from the United States, talks to a customer in San Jose on December 13, 2018. Ezequiel Becerra / AFPBig savingsOne person to benefit from the government’s measures is Roberto Quiros, who replaced his family’s two cars with electric vehicles.In 2017 he bought a used Chevrolet Spark from the United States and this year added a new Ford Focus.“From an economic point of view, it’s a great comfort. We were spending 140,000 colones ($233) a month in gas, $300 every four months in maintenance, oil changes and everything” else.Now he spends only $50 a month as he recharges the cars at home.There are three companies in Costa Rica importing new electric cars: Nissan, Hyundai and BMW. But at $30,000 to $50,000 per vehicle, they are beyond the means of the vast majority of Costa Rica’s middle classes.For them, the tax exemptions applied in the country’s electric transport strategy can be of benefit as used cars sell for half the price of a new one.Businessman Mariano Avalos began importing used electric cars from the United States 18 months ago and has noticed a change in the domestic market since then.“At first we’d import a Chevrolet and wait five months to sell it,” said Avalos.“Demand has changed, now we sell on average four a month and we expect to sell 10 a month next year.”He expects there to be 1,800 electric cars on the Costa Rican streets in 2019.Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Tico Times TBT Irazú Volcanos twoyear eruption

first_imgRelated posts:Tico Times #TBT: Into the millions Tico Times #TBT: Costa Rican aviation Tico Times #TBT: 2006 Arenal Volcano lava flows Tico Times #TBT: Small lake forms after earthquake In March 1963, Irazú Volcano began a period of eruptions that would last two years.The below video, via the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), is a reminder of how life in Costa Rica was affected by the volcanic activity.The first scenes show United States President John F. Kennedy’s historic visit to Costa Rica — which coincided with ash beginning to fall in the Central Valley.The whole video is well worth a watch, if only for the dramatic musical score that accompanies black-and-white footage of the eruptions.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5% Club. If only 5 percent of our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more