Monthly archives: August, 2019

Trafalgar announces new commission voucher for agents

first_img Posted by Tags: Agent Incentives, Trafalgar Tuesday, September 26, 2017 TORONTO — Trafalgar is putting #agentsfirst with a new strategy designed to enhance every Canadian agent’s chance of increasing their earnings.In joining what the tour operator refers to as its ‘Trafalgar Tribe’, agents can earn a simple $50 booking commission voucher per booking from now until Dec. 31, 2017. The voucher is applicable with all 2018 Europe and Britain trips and valid on all bookings departing until Dec. 31, 2018.Plus, Trafalgar has developed a range of tools to enhance opportunities to secure sales. These include a redesigned Europe & Britain brochure, and a 100% Definite Departures on all 2018 Discoveries and all 2017/2018 Autumn, Winter, Spring 2017/2018 itineraries. Meanwhile, a new web booking engine and new agent site that will speed up response times, while an opportunity to sell ‘bleisure’ travel will also lead to new bookings, with Berlin and Madrid now added to the successful Explorer series.“We’ve had an extremely successful 2017, for which we extend a huge thank you to our partners for the critical part they played. In responding to their honest feedback, we pledge to make 2018 even more effortless, fun and successful for them, thanks to the tools we’re equipping them with. Join the Trafalgar Tribe and watch this space for more transparent air deals across all 97 of our trips, an enhanced brochure, a new agent site, an expanded range of itineraries and countless opportunities to sell and earn more. Rest assured that when it comes to delivering simply the best holiday for your clients, our goal is to provide the real thing, without either of you having to worry about a single thing.”More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoNew for Trafalgar Europe and Britain 2018:Best of Norway – Clients enjoy a nine-day journey through one of the current travel hotspots, taking in the spectacular wildlife and wilderness, including Geiranger Fjord.Wonders of Italy – This 11-day roundtrip adventure from Rome takes in Florence, Lucca, Cinque Terre, Verona, Venice and Assissi.Great Iberian Cities – Created due to demand for Spain and Portugal, this nine-day adventure is full of buena vistas for lovers of history and culture.In addition, Trafalgar is offering clients an Early Payment Discount offer, available for a limited time. Clients can pay early and save by receiving 10% off if they book and pay in full by Jan. 11, 2018. Trafalgar announces new commission voucher for agentscenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Sharelast_img read more

Earn bonus commission on Celebrity Equinox bookings with ACV

first_imgEarn bonus commission on Celebrity Equinox bookings with ACV Tuesday, September 18, 2018 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Celebrity Cruises, Commission, Promotionscenter_img Posted by MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has launched an exclusive new offer with Celebrity Cruises that includes bonus commission for travel agents.Running from now until Oct. 3, the tour operator is offering 2% bonus commission for Celebrity Equinox bookings, valid on select sailings from June to September 2019. This offer applies to oceanview category staterooms or higher, booked under a non-refundable deposit promotion code EQ4P NO REF DEP.Plus, the first and second guest will receive Four Perks: Premium Beverage Package, Wi-Fi, $150 onboard credit and Prepaid Gratuities, and 50% off cruise savings for 3rd, 4th and 5th guests.Moreover, free transfers from the airport to seaport will be offered until Sept. 30.Christine Chiang, Manager, Product Development Cruises, warns clients to book early. “The beverage package perk is upgraded to a Premium Package at no additional cost!” she said. Sharelast_img read more

10000 vacations go on sale with Sunwings latest promotion

first_imgTags: Promotions, Sunwing Share Monday, September 24, 2018 TORONTO — A total of 10,000 premium all-inclusive vacations are now on sale with Sunwing as part of its new ‘Vacation Better’ promotion.The limited-time promotion runs until Sept. 28 and prices vacations at just $1,295 per person, taxes included. Packages are available to over 45 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, with departures from 33 airports coast to coast.Savings are also available on select cruise packages with sailings across the Caribbean from various ports.Top-rated resorts and excursions are the first to sell out, said Sunwing, which is why agents are encouraged to book early to ensure clients get the vacation they want at the best prices.Also, said the company, there’s no need to wait until the last minute to ensure a great deal, as its Best Price Guarantee allows Sunwing to match lower prices and refund clients the difference.Included in the sale are popular resorts for families and adults, including the Grand Sunset Princess All Suites and Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Activities here include archery, kayaking and snorkelling, plus there’s a supervised kids club and numerous freshwater swimming pools.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsAlso available is Riu Montego Bay in Jamaica featuring spacious rooms designed to accommodate families of five or more. Amenities include a large pool with a swim-up bar, kids club, daily activities and evening entertainment programs. Alternatively, couples can head to Riu Republica, a lively adults-only resort in Punta Cana featuring an adults-only water park (the only one of its kind in the Caribbean), nine restaurants, nightly evening entertainment and RIU-topia perks like in-room liquor dispensers and reservation-free dining at specialty restaurants.There’s also the adults-only Sanctuary at Grand Memories Varadero in Cuba where guests can enjoy personalized butler service, an adults-only pool, specialty restaurants and access to neighbouring Grand Memories Varadero.The number of vacations priced at $1,295 are limited. Ten adults travelling together can receive special prices, added values and reduced deposits. Travelweek Group center_img Posted by 10,000 vacations go on sale with Sunwing’s latest promotion << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Anguilla to benefit from more flights this winter

first_img Share Anguilla to benefit from more flights this winter Posted by ANGUILLA — The sun-soaked island of Anguilla is anticipating a busy winter season, thanks to increased air connectivity from Canada’s top airlines.Beginning this month and continuing through February, WestJet, Air Canada, Sunwing and Air Transat will all be rolling out additional flights to Saint Martin’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM).Since Anguilla does not receive direct flights or cruise ships, Saint Martin serves as its main gateway. Travellers then take a ferry to the secluded island.“We’re thrilled that more Canadians will have the chance to enjoy the hospitality and comfort of Anguilla this winter,” said Cardigan Connor, Anguilla’s Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism and Sports. “We welcome more visitors from Canada each year than almost any other country, and we’re happy to report that our combination of brilliant beaches and inspired cuisine keeps them coming back.”Here’s a roundup of winter flights:WestJet has added an additional flight every TuesdayAir Canada is rolling out an expanded flight schedule starting Dec. 15Air Transat will resume weekly Saturday flights to SXM on Dec. 22Sunwing will introduce weekly Thursday flights from Feb. 28 onwardsMore news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedWith 33 white sand beaches and a variety of luxury accommodations, Anguilla is a destination of choice this winter season. It was recognized in the 2018 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, retaining its top spot as the #1 island in the Caribbean for the second year in a row.For more information go to ivisitanguilla.com. Friday, November 23, 2018 center_img Travelweek Group Tags: Anguilla << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Air Canada opens new Maple Leaf Lounge in St Johns

first_img Posted by Air Canada opens new Maple Leaf Lounge in St. John’s Wednesday, December 19, 2018 JOHN’S — Just two weeks after unveiling its new Maple Leaf Lounge at LaGuardia Airport, Air Canada has cut the ribbon on yet another lounge, this one at St. John’s International Airport (YYT).Opening today, Dec. 19, the facility is located in YYT’s recently expanded departures area of the terminal building, and features panoramic views of iconic Signal Hill. Replacing the previous St. John’s airport lounge, the new contemporary space offers 77% more room, 46 additional seats, a business centre, self-serve bar (including Canadian wines and Lavazza specialty coffees) and light snacks. Guests can also make use of complimentary Wi-Fi and access to more than 7,000 digital newspaper and magazine content via the PressReader app.On the look and feel of the new lounge, Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product at Air Canada, said: “This unique space has been created to enhance the overall travel experience of our premium customers. Showcasing contemporary design and artwork, the lounge features maple wood screen walls, Canadian-made furnishings and we are also proud to host local art and crafts that reflect the charm of Newfoundland and Labrador’s landscape and people.”More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesThe Maple Leaf Lounge is the only lounge available to travellers departing from YYT and has the capacity for up to 84 customers.Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, said, “Tourism and visitation depend on high quality experiences, and having this new Maple Leaf Lounge at the recently upgraded St. John’s International airport will help advance our goals to attract more visitors and build our province’s reputation as a first-class destination.”With this new opening, Air Canada now offers eligible customers access to 23 Maple Leaf Lounges worldwide, including 17 at Canadian airports. Tags: Air Canada, Lounge, St. John’s International Airportcenter_img Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Canada Jetlines delays launch again

first_imgCanada Jetlines delays launch, again << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, April 4, 2019 VANCOUVER — Canada Jetlines says its launch date for commercial service is now targeted for Dec. 17, 2019.While the would-be ultra low-cost carrier has made a flurry of announcements about gateways and destinations in recent months, it has yet to get off the ground and has now delayed its launch again.Back in 2015 the ULCC was aiming to start service in Western Canada. A couple of years later it was touting June 2018 as the start date. Those plans folded too with a March 2018 announcement.Most recently the airline was targeting a summer 2019 launch.If Canada Jetlines ever does take flight it will face competition from LCCs that already have a toehold in the market, including Air Canada Rouge, Swoop and Flair.Meanwhile at least two LCCs serving the transatlantic market from Canadian gateways, Primera and WOW Air, have ceased operations.Canada Jetlines says it plans to operate flights across Canada and provide nonstop service from Canada to the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, to sun spots including Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Puerto Plata and Samana. Sharecenter_img Posted by Tags: Canada Jetlines Travelweek Group last_img read more

Whats open and whats closed during Easter Holy Week

first_imgFor Ticos,Semana Santa, or Holy Week – Costa Rica’s most important Catholic celebration – means vacation from work, and most government offices and banks are closed, transportation services are reduced, and non-tourism-related commerce comes to a halt during Holy Thursday and Good Friday (April 5 and 6).According to a Labor Ministry decision last week, most public institutions will be closed the entire week. Others will work as usual but only from Monday through Wednesday.As for a dry law – which prohibits the sale of alcohol from midnight Wednesday to midnight Saturday – lawmakers approved earlier this year a reform that allows each municipality to decide if whether or not to implement it. The following is a list of what’s open and what’s closed during Semana Santa:Government offices: Following an order from Casa Presidencial and the Labor Ministry, all ministries, the Legislative Assembly and Supreme Elections Tribunal will be closed April 2-6. Public institutions such as Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) and National Power and Light Company (CNFL) will be open until Wednesday.The Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and courts from the Judicial Branch will be closed, except for domestic violence court.Hospitals and pharmacies: Caja hospitals will be open Monday through Wednesday only, but emergency rooms will remain open 24 hours a day all week. The Red Cross (1028 or 911) and National Insurance Institute (INS, 800-800-8000) also will attend to emergencies at all hours.The emergency rooms and pharmacies at private hospitals Clínica Bíblica (2522-1000), in downtown San José, Clínica Católica (2283-6616), in the northeastern suburb of Guadalupe, and CIMA (2208-1000), in the western suburb of Escazú, also will be open 24 hours a day.Banks: Most BAC San José (2295-9797), Scotiabank (2210-4000), Banco Nacional (2211-2000), Banco de Costa Rica (2287-9000) and Banco Popular (2211-7000) branches will operate as usual Monday through Wednesday and will close Thursday and be back in operation on Monday, April 9. HSBC branches will be closed from 3 p.m. Wednesday until Monday. Citibank branches will be closed Thursday through Saturday; its shopping-mall branches in Multiplaza del Este, Multiplaza Escazú, Paseo de las Flores and Terramall will be open as usual on Sunday, April 9. Call Banco Promérica (2505-7000) and Bancrédito (2551-3011) for their schedules.Shopping Malls/Cinemas: Multiplaza (East and West) will be closed on Thursday and Friday. The food courts will be open from 12 noon to 8 pm and cinemas will be open as normal. Paseo de las Flores and Terramall open these days but many of their shops will not. Supermarkets: All places where the dry law will be in effect, bars will be sealed shut and restaurants and supermarkets will be prohibited from selling liquor, including wine and beer, from Wednesday at midnight through Saturday.Auto Mercado stores (2257-4242) in the Central Valley will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, except for the Multiplaza and Los Yoses stores, which will close at 9 p.m., and the downtown San José store, which will be open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. On Friday, all stores will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., except the downtown San José and Los Yoses stores, which will be closed.Muñoz y Nanne (2253-4646), in the eastern suburb of San Pedro, will operate as usual except on Friday, when it will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saretto (2228-6703), in Escazú, will be closed Thursday and Friday.Most Más x Menos (2243-7100) stores will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, except for the store in Jacó, on the central Pacific coast, which will be open until 10 p.m. Thursday and until 9 p.m. Friday. Stores in Cuesta de Moras in San José and in Alajuela, northwest of the capital, will be closed Thursday and Friday. Walmart (2286-0033) stores will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Most Palí stores (2243-7100) will close Thursday and Friday.Call the Megasuper supermarket chain (2246-0400) for its schedules. PriceSmart (2283-4494) stores will be closed on Friday only.Mail and shipping: Correos de Costa Rica (2202-2900), Aerocasillas (2208-4848), DHL (2209-6000) and FedEx (800-463-3339) will be closed from Thursday until Monday.Embassies: The British Embassy (2258-2025), the Canadian Embassy (2242-4400), U.S. Embassy (2220-3939) and French Embassy (2234-4167) will be closed from Thursday until Monday.Veterinarians: The National University (UNA) veterinary hospital in Barreal de Heredia (2260-9234) is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Dr. Bitter’s clinics in San José and Escazú (2227-5017) will be closed Thursday and Friday. Dr. Adrián Molina (2228-1909) in Escazú will be closed Thursday through Saturday. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rican Coast Guard detains another speed boat with cocaine

first_imgThe Costa Rican Coast Guard on Monday nabbed an Ecuadorian speedboat with an undetermined amount of cocaine on board.The boat, about 10 meters long, was detained near the coastal area of Punta Burica, in the Southern Pacific border with Panama, and officers arrested four members of the crew – two Costa Ricans and two Ecuadorians.Drug Control Police found the drugs concealed in a double lining of the boat, and officers are measuring packages to determine the total amount of drugs seized.Costa Rica’s anti-drug commissioner, Mauricio Boraschi, said that the method traffickers used is becoming increasingly common. “They [drug traffickers] use small speedboats aboard larger boats, usually fishing boats, and at a certain point on the route, they transfer small amounts [of cocaine] into the smaller boats.”Boraschi said that intelligence for the  operation was conducted in conjunction with U.S. Coast Guard officials. Officials said the seized boat carried enough fuel to reach any country in Central America.Coast Guard boats from Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Colombia are currently patrolling the Punta Burica area, in search of the main fishing vessels that are transporting drugs, Boraschi said.Last Tuesday, drug traffickers abandoned a boat with 1.5 tons of cocaine after being pursued by a Costa Rican Coast Guard patrol at the Caribbean beach of Manzanillo. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Blue Flag program outlines broad environmental goals for next five years

first_imgNo related posts. Since 1995, the Blue Flag program has helped Costa Rica clean up polluted rivers, beaches and oceans and mitigate the effects of climate change. It has convinced business owners and communities of consumers to use less electricity, fossil fuels, water and paper. And it is constantly expanding with new environmentally responsible initiatives.This week, members of the National Blue Flag Commission, which oversees the coveted Blue Flag award program, announced goals for broadening the program in the next five years.By 2017, the commission hopes to increase the number of local committees participating in the program by 66 percent, from 2,216 to 3,681. They hope to boost the number of beaches flying the Blue Flag from 114 to 124. And they plan on registering 290 homeowners in a new category – sustainable housing – which represents a 700 percent increase in the next five years. The commission already has awarded 40 Blue Flags for sustainable housing since the category was created.“The Blue Flag program has shown in its 18 years that it is an excellent tool for development, and improving public health and well-being in harmony with nature,” Blue Flag National Commission coordinator Darner Mora said on Tuesday, at a conference at San José’s Hotel Crowne Plaza.A sustainable projectThe Blue Flag program awards beaches, communities and schools that uphold certain environmental standards. According to the commission, the program helped reduce electricity consumption in 2012 by the equivalent of 33,996 tons of carbon dioxide. Also, fossil-fuel use decreased by 942 tons, water consumption by 112,920 cubic meters, and paper use by 5.7 tons, the commission said.As the tourism industry grew in Costa Rica in the 1990s, beaches became popular destinations for tourists, real estate speculators and hotels hoping to cash in. The result was increased pollution and degradation at some of the country’s most precious coastal areas.The Blue Flag program was created as a response to the destruction by convincing communities, organizations and businesses to protect natural resources. That helps draw more sustainable business.“The program’s philosophy is to award those who do things well, and to make them an example for others to follow,” commission member Alberto Quintana said.It started with beach-protection efforts, but today, the Blue Flag program has several award categories that include communities, schools, protected nature areas, watersheds, climate-change mitigation, sustainable homes and special events.A commission administers the program and is composed of various government agencies, including the Costa Rican Tourism Board, Environment Ministry, Health Ministry, Costa Rican Electricity Institute, Education Ministry, and several others.Some 1,500 schools in Costa Rica proudly display the Blue Flag. The commission hopes to boost that number by 1,000 in the next five years.The commission also hopes to train more municipal officials in environmental conservation, so that they can guide their communities through the process.“Local governments should participate in the Blue Flag program to improve public health in their communities,” Mora said.On Tuesday, Mora also announced two projects to help finance the program in coming years: public and private sponsorship programs to help with logistical support and to buy needed items, and a funding partnership with Banco Nacional.Another major goal of the commission in the next five years is to clean up the heavily polluted Virilla-Tárcoles river basin. The Tárcoles River, which originates in the Central Valley and empties into the Pacific Ocean, is the most polluted river in Central America. It flows through five of Costa Rica’s seven provinces – San José, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago and Puntarenas.“The [Virilla-Tárcoles] watershed is the most polluted in Central America. Although there is liquid waste, it’s mostly polluted with solid waste. The only way to clean it up is through education and getting people involved in the project,” Mora said.To win a Blue Flag, communities must form a committee, register with the commission and present an annual plan with specific steps to protect natural resources.At the end of each year, candidates must demonstrate progress to commission members, who issue the awards.Companies also use the program to meet social responsibility goals through waste-treatment and water and energy conservation, Quintana said.For more on the Blue Flag program, see: www.banderaazulecologica.org. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica and the United States face nightmare groups in the World

first_imgCosta Rica faces a nightmare group in the World Cup against three former champions: Uruguay, Italy and England.The draw occurred Friday morning in Brazil. The Costa Rican national team, known as “La Sele,” plays Uruguay first in the sweltering city of Fortaleza on June 14. On June 20, La Sele takes on Italy in Recife. Finally, Costa Rica will finish the group round against the English on June 24 in Belo Horizonte.The United States also faces an extremely tough draw against Germany, Portugal and Ghana – the African squad that knocked the U.S. out of the last World Cup. The last two CONCACAF teams, Mexico and Honduras, ended up with much easier draws. Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, CameroonGroup B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, AustraliaGroup C: Colombia, Greece, Cote d’Ivoire, Japan Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, ItalyGroup E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, HondurasGroup F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, NigeriaGroup G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Lonely Planet guide documents a changing Central America

first_imgA couple of weeks ago, I was riding in the back of a van through rural Guatemala, and I noticed the German guy next to me flipping through a heavy guidebook, “Zentralamerika für Wenig Geld.” I had the exact same book, albeit in English: Lonely Planet’s “Central America on a Shoestring.”“What do you think of it?” I asked. Can the legendary travel guides keep pace with Costa Rican development? (Courtesy Lonely Planet)His face soured, as if he had swallowed a tree frog. “I don’t like it,” he huffed. “You see this? Für wenig Geld. For less money. But it has listings for $300 hotel rooms. It has luxury resorts. How is this for less money? And I am sure it is wonderful to take a $1,000 tour, with horseback rides and whitewater rafting and perhaps a helicopter, but this is not for backpackers.”His reaction was sobering, for I had seen the same outrageous recommendations, far too expensive for a budget traveler crashing in hostels. But it led me to wonder: Is the problem Lonely Planet’s editorial direction, or is it the nature of Central American travel that’s changing?I should preface this by saying that I am a diehard Lonely Planet fan, and I have carried its guidebooks through dozens of countries around the world. There are scads of excellent travel publishers, from Frommer’s to Not For Tourists, but I have always felt most comfortable with Lonely Planet.To explain why I love Lonely Planet, I will quote from the book in question. In the chapter about Honduras, the authors describe San Pedro Sula, a place universally feared as “the most violent city in the world.” I’ve met travelers who have avoided Honduras altogether because they might accidentally end up in San Pedro Sula and get murdered by thugs in bandanas. Here is how the guidebook describes the planet’s homicide capital:Let’s be clear – few travelers will want to linger here: there are no sights, there’s little cultural life, and the sultry climate can be oppressive. … Some zones within the city obviously are violent, but you probably won’t see them: the city remains doable for travelers for a day or two. … Its restaurants and nightlife arguably outstrip those in the capital.This aptly summarizes the Lonely Planet mindset: Some places are safer, cleaner, and happier than others, but don’t write off an entire community because of a few lousy statistics. Only Lonely Planet would visit such a troubled place and start by remarking about the weather. The writing appeals to improvisational travelers, the “yes, and” type of backpacker. When I think of rambling friends I admire, like my friend Lindsey who has hitchhiked across North America alone, or my friend Jordan who spent a year in Antarctica, I associate them with the Lonely Planet attitude.The company has garnered some valid criticism. Lonely Planet’s guidebooks have thoroughly mapped every corner of the globe (if you want to find the hottest clubs in Greenland, they’ve got a book for you), so old-school adventurers often grumble that Lonely Planet has singlehandedly destroyed true exploration. The books provide a security blanket that Baby Boomers in VW buses simply didn’t have. The rucksack generation of the 1960s and ’70s allowed itself to get lost in ways that Millennials could not imagine. With a little help from Lonely Planet, Google, and an iPhone, a 20-year-old can book a hostel on a completely separate continent. Where’s the fun in that?In general, I find this attitude arrogant and pointless. The world of VW buses no longer exists, and postcolonial peoples don’t cower and bow to every Harvard dropout they meet. Developing nations are no longer the devil-may-care playgrounds of yesteryear, and visitors should come prepared. Our lonely planet has three billion more people than in 1970, and sleepy capitals like Kathmandu have transformed into tour bus Shangri-las. Love it or hate it, the world is busier and more crowded than ever, and the guidebook publishers have been scrambling to keep up.The last edition of “Central America on a Shoestring” was published in 2010, and the edition before that was 2007. When this latest edition hit bookshelves in 2013, I was rabidly awaiting my copy, but I waited until recently to shell out ₡14,000 ($28) at Juan Santamaría International Airport. The cover is beautiful, depicting a waterfall in the rain forest. The book is hefty, at 768 pages, but it still slips comfortably into a duffel’s pocket. Besides, this volume needs all that space: It covers eight different countries, including regions often ignored by Spanish-speaking Central America, like southern Mexico and Belize. Whether you dock in Cancún or ride a chicken bus into Antigua, this book should anticipate your every need.Or will it? Such fastidious guidebooks require an army of writers and months of research. In a sleepy nook like Laos, life doesn’t change that quickly. But “Central America on a Shoestring” is already critically out of date. Take Panama City: “Construction is underway to add a subway, complete the massive canal expansion and open the biodiversity museum.” Two of those items opened in the past few months, and this book has no information about them – no hours, no maps, no admission prices, nada.Closer to home, there’s San José: Establishments like El Gaff, Stiefel Pub, La Villa, Steinvorth, and Public House should be magnets for hip travelers looking for some nightlife, but none of them really existed when the Lonely Planet team was in town. The same goes for ever-evolving towns like Puerto Viejo and Jacó; the experience that this book describes is practically archival.That isn’t Lonely Planet’s fault, only an ill-timed editorial schedule. Every major guidebook will miss the latest additions.What’s more significant is the changing climate throughout the region. The book may include some pricey getaways (such as a Tamarindo hotel costing $85 per night), but that is now the reality of Central American tourism, particularly in Costa Rica. Millions of tourists pour through the isthmus, and many of them want all-inclusive resorts or the “rustic luxury” of “eco-lodges.” Smoother highways and streamlined shuttle services come at a price. Once a nation has transformed a fishing village into waterfront condos, you can’t expect the same $5 guesthouse. For budget travelers, there is no longer anything “shoestring” about Costa Rica, and its neighbors are rapidly catching up. This book is attempting to document a rapid transformation in Central American tourism, but a three-year schedule isn’t regular enough to tell the whole story.Is this a good or bad thing? It depends on your perspective. It’s bad for my German friend, who was shocked by Costa Rican prices and was already glum when he arrived in Guatemala, which was also pricier than he expected. It might not even be good for Central America, whose general population benefits little from inflated travel prices. But it does reduce the number of foreigners who call Central America “cheap.” Deliberate or not, it is demeaning to call an entire nation “cheap,” as if its value as a destination can be summarized in the price of a lunch. Central America is on the move, and backpackers can no longer take careless advantage of others’ poverty. If you can’t get by on a shoestring, it may be time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Facebook Comments Related posts:Chabad of San Juan Del Sur: A Jewish presence in a Nicaraguan beach resort 7 things to consider before retiring abroad Are you a Gringo? Driving in Costa Rica: The rules of the roadlast_img read more

Football Day of FIFA reckoning for Blatter Platini

first_img Facebook Comments ZURICH, Switzerland — FIFA’s ethics watchdog will on Monday give a verdict against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini with both facing lengthy bans over a suspect two million dollar payment. The FIFA president, 79, and vice president, 60, were suspended after Swiss prosecutors started a criminal investigation into the cash transfer that Blatter approved for Platini in 2011.The FIFA judges’ ruling is set to have far-reaching repercussions.It could bring an inglorious end to Blatter’s 17 year reign over world football. A ban for Platini would deal a fatal blow to the European football chief’s hopes of taking over when an election for a new president is held on February 26.FIFA investigators have sought life bans against Blatter and Platini and both men have signalled that appeals will be made.Blatter told Swiss newspaper Blick on Sunday that he was told corruption charges against him have been dropped but he is still believed to face charges of mismanagement and conflict of interest.Multiple scandals that have hit world football have intensified the spotlight on the inquiry into a two million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment that the FIFA leader authorized for Platini.The money was for work that the French football legend carried out as a consultant from 1998 to 2002.There was no contract and details of the sum owed only appeared in FIFA’s accounts after it was paid in 2011.Blatter was then seeking support for a fourth term as FIFA leader and facing a challenge from Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar. Platini endorsed Blatter for the presidency but he has insisted there was no link between the payment and the election.Combative accusedBoth men deny corruption and say there was an “oral contract” for the payment because Platini’s whole salary for his work could not be made at the time. No explanation has been given for the delay however.Chief FIFA Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert held hearings for the two men last week.Blatter gave a lengthy defence while Platini boycotted the hearing and had his lawyer read out a statement saying: “I am already judged, I am already condemned.”Blatter has already announced that he will give a press conference at 10:00 a.m. on Monday in a Zurich restaurant, the Sonnenberg, that used to be FIFA’s headquarters.The Swiss powerbroker has combatively attacked the FIFA action against him saying that it was like “the inquisition.”But he also faces a Swiss criminal inquiry into the case. Prosecutors have called the cash transfer a “disloyal payment” and accused him of criminal mismanagement.The allocation of television broadcasting deals is also being investigated.Blatter and Platini can attack any ban at a FIFA appeal tribunal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and even in a Swiss civil court.Blatter would be fighting for his reputation. For Platini, a ban would almost certainly rule him out of the FIFA election.The deadline for candidates to be registered and pass an integrity check is January 26.With FIFA’s reputation in tatters after the arrest of several top officials, Blatter announced four days after winning reelection to a fifth term in May that he would stand down and call a new election.Seven FIFA officials were arrested in a luxury Zurich hotel two days before the election congress.Now U.S. authorities have charged 39 football officials and sports business executives over more than $200 million in bribes for football television and marketing deals.Costa Rica’s Eduardo Li pleads not guilty in FIFA corruption scandalSwiss prosecutors are in parallel investigating FIFA’s management and the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.Facing pressure from governments and the International Olympic Committee for major reforms, there are currently five candidates to take over FIFA: Asian football head Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain, South African politician and tycoon Tokyo Sexwale, former FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan, UEFA general-secretary Gianni Infantino and Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA assistant general secretary from France.center_img Related posts:Football: Platini fails to get FIFA suspension lifted Top US sponsors of FIFA urge football body to enact reforms Platini deal was ‘gentleman’s agreement’ – FIFA’s Blatter Platini withdraws bid for FIFA presidencylast_img read more

Spotify hit by new 200 million copyright suit

first_imgFerrick said that her songs have been streamed or temporarily downloaded one million times in the past three years over Spotify but said the company did not license them as required.Ferrick’s lawsuit sought at least $200 million on behalf of copyright holders from Spotify, a private company which says it has more than 75 million users and has been valued at $8 billion.Spotify was hit in late December by another lawsuit seeking a class-action suit filed by David Lowery, the leader of alternative rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven who is also an academic.Lowery, whose lawsuit sought at least $150 million, also accused Spotify of failing to seek permission for copying or distributing songs.His lawsuit had a slightly different argument, accusing Spotify of ignoring mechanical rights — the permission to reproduce copyrighted material. LOS ANGELES, California – Streaming leaderSpotify has been hit by a new copyright lawsuit seeking $200 million, in the second such case within weeks.The lawsuits, each filed by individual artists in a U.S. federal court in Los Angeles, ask a judge to create a class-action suit in which other alleged victims can collectively seek damages.The latest lawsuit was filed Friday by Melissa Ferrick, the Massachusetts-based indie folk singer who teaches at the prestigious Berklee College of Music and rose to prominence as Morrissey’s last-minute opening act on his 1991 tour.Ferrick accused Spotify, which boasts of providing a massive selection of on-demand music, of failing to inform copyright owners when it created phonorecords, the files used to provide the instant music online.Ferrick charged that the Swedish company, not wanting to delay its growth – including its U.S. launch in 2011 – took “a now familiar strategy for many digital music services — infringe now, apologize later.”“Spotify chose expediency over licenses. Thus, while Spotify has profited handsomely from the music that its sells to its subscribers, the owners of that music (in particular, songwriters and their music publishers) have not been able to share in that success because Spotify is using their music for free,” the lawsuit said. In response to Lowery’s lawsuit, Spotify said it was trying to compensate every rights holder but that data were often missing.“We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny,” Spotify spokesman Jonathan Prince said at the time.Spotify says it has paid back $3 billion to music-makers, has set aside money for future payouts and is working to find technical solutions to avoid future problems.Streaming, both on Spotify and competing services such as Apple Music and Tidal, has been rapidly growing and contributed to a net rise in music consumption in the United States last year. Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Apple working to complete streaming music deal with record labels before June 8 Grooveshark co-founder dead at 28 Apple unveils streaming music, improvements to iPhones, Watch software US panel forces online radio services like Pandora to pay more to stream songslast_img read more

Tico climber Warner Rojas reaches highest European peak on Costa Rican Independence

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Costa Rica humiliates the United States 4-0 in World Cup qualifier Costa Rica’s Laurens Molina wins Los Angeles Marathon Costa Rican pitching prospect signs with MLB’s Houston Astros Warner Rojas, themost accomplished mountaineer in Costa Rican history, carried the country’s flag to the top of Mount Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Russia and Europe, while his countrymen were celebrating Independence Day on Thursday.Rojas took five days to acclimate to the high altitude before taking two more days to summit Mount Elbrus, which stands at 5,642 meters, or 18,510 feet.“The weather was extremely cold, so much so that I couldn’t feel my toes for much of the time and I feared frostbite, though luckily nothing happened,” Rojas said.As one of the Seven Summits, or the highest peaks on each continent, the mountain located in southern Russia is highly sought-after by professional mountaineers looking to go down the continental checklist. Rojas has also climbed the highest points in Asia (Mount Everest) and South America (Aconcagua in Argentina). In addition, the 44-year-old hiker from San Antonio de Escazú has tamed the tallest seven mountains in each of the Andean countries in South America.He is currently on the tail end of a project to be the first person, along with Guatemalan climbing partner Jaime Viñals, to summit the 10 tallest volcanoes on the planet, which are all located in the Andes.Rojas reached Elbrus’ peak at 11:34 p.m. Costa Rican time Thursday, just in time to make it on Independence Day. The Tico climber said he made the final push from base camp to the summit without help from a guide or other hikers, noting that almost no one on the mountain spoke Spanish or English.After making his way down from the top, Rojas shared a message with his country on its special day: “We have a beautiful country and we need to take care of it for generations to come, for those yet to be born and for our children,” he said.Rojas will return to Costa Rica on Sept. 29.The Tico Times hiked with Rojas in January’s inaugural trek of the San Jerónimo trail up Cerro Chirripó, the highest peak in Costa Rica. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Body of tourist Carla Stefaniak identified suspect detained

first_imgThe Director General of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), Walter Espinoza, said Tuesday that “all data that we have compiled” indicates the body they found is that of Carla Stefaniak, a tourist who had been visiting Costa Rica from the United States.Stefaniak’s father confirmed the identity of the body late Tuesday night.“Carla’s father confirmed that the body belongs to Carla,” the family wrote on Facebook. “It’s now official.”OIJ found the body Monday afternoon near the Airbnb property where Stefaniak had been staying when she went missing Nov. 27 in San Antonio of Escazú, San José.An autopsy revealed Stefaniak had died of stab wounds to the neck and extremities, in addition to a strong blow to the head.One of the security guards working at the property has been detained as a suspect, Espinoza said. The suspect, who has a surname Espinoza Martinez, is a 32-year-old Nicaraguan immigrant who has been in Costa Rica since June. He had an “irregular” immigration record, according to the OIJ Director, who cited immigration reports they had received.OIJ said the investigation remains ongoing, and the family pledged to “continue asking questions” about the circumstances regarding Stefaniak’s death.“This is a complex case, and it’s a difficult case,” Espinoza said. “The resolution of this case is very important for the country, for the victim’s family, and for society as a whole.”According to Stefaniak’s friends, she had messaged Tuesday evening that it was raining heavily and that the power had gone out. “It’s pretty sketchy here,” Stefaniak reportedly sent, before all communication ceased. The property in which Carla Stefaniak, a tourist from the United States, was renting an apartment through Airbnb. Duncan Anderson / The Tico TimesStefaniak missed her flight out of the country the next day, prompting alarm from friends and family who flew to Costa Rica to assist with the search. In addition to the OIJ, the U.S. Embassy and FBI were also alerted.“Words cannot express the devastation within her family and friends,” Stefaniak’s family wrote. “We want the world to know that we will never forget Carla. We will never forget the joy she brought into our lives, how much she made us laugh.“We will always be with her and we know she will always be with us. May god bless her soul.”  Related posts:Costa Rica pushes greater regional cooperation on Cuban, African migration Dispatch from the border: Migrants have shelter but little else President Solís: ‘If you want to get through a border, you’ll be able to sooner or later’ The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Jan. 14, 2019 The property in which Carla Stefaniak, a tourist from the United States, was renting an apartment through Airbnb. Duncan Anderson / The Tico TimesLess than a month ago, police in San Antonio of Escazú found the dismembered body of 28-year-old local Stephannye Paola Castro Mora. The OIJ has not named a suspect in the Costa Rican’s death.Stefaniak’s disappearance also comes weeks after Costa Rica’s Tourism Board launched a campaign for tourist safety.This story was updated on Dec. 5 at 7:30 a.m. with the family’s confirmation of the body’s identity. 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

India lets in Exxon Valdez if toxic disposal paid

first_img Top Stories Priya Blue Industries will abide by the ruling on the disposal of contaminated material, said Sanjay Mehta, director of the ship dismantling company based in Gujarat state.Activist Gopal Krishna, who had petitioned the court, said he felt let down by Monday’s decision.“It’s disappointing that the toxic-laden vessel has been given entry into Indian waters. The ship poses a grave environmental threat because a variety of hazardous materials are on board,” Krishna said.The court said Gujarat maritime authorities had certified that the ship did not contain any hazardous substances.On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez tanker dashed against rocks and split open in Alaska’s ecologically sensitive Prince William Sound. Millions of gallons of crude oil spilled, coating the shoreline, killing hundreds of thousands of birds, causing incalculable environmental damage and demolishing the area’s fishing industry.Its ownership and name have been changed repeatedly in an apparent effort to keep using the ship while distancing it from the disaster. It was converted to an ore carrier a decade ago and suffered more damage in a collision in the South China Sea in 2010. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Men’s health affects baby’s health too The current owner is Best Oasis, a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Priya Blue that buys old ships solely to dismantle them, reuse salvageable material and discard the rest.India has one of the world’s largest industries for dismantling ships. However, environment activists say shipbreaking companies do not follow sufficient precautions, exposing workers and the environment to toxic materials.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressNEW DELHI (AP) – India’s Supreme Court has allowed the Exxon Valdez, which caused one of the worst U.S. oil spills, to be dismantled in the country but required the owner to pay for disposal of any toxic materials found on the ship.The 26-year-old ship, now known as the Oriental Nicety, entered Indian waters in May to be broken down for valuable parts. But it was denied permission to anchor near Alang, the hub of India’s shipbreaking industry, while the court examined an environmental activist’s petition that said the vessel contained toxic substances. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

Probe Pilots of crashed Russian plane were drunk

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories ErrorOK ErrorOKInvestigators say they are looking into who was responsible for letting the pilots board.Russia has had a series of deadly crashes in recent years, rooted in lax government controls, poor crew training and neglect of safety rules. Investigators determined that the pilot of a plane that crashed in June 2011, killing 47, was also drunk.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 ErrorOK ErrorOK MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s investigative agency says both the pilots of a plane that crashed last month in Russia’s far east, killing 10 people, were drunk.The Investigative Committee said Monday that a forensic study found the first pilot of the local flight was lightly intoxicated and his co-pilot was moderately intoxicated when their An-28 slammed into a forest on the Kamchatka Peninsula on Sept. 12. Ten of 14 people on board, including both pilots, were killed. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Sweltering temperatures in India leave 750 dead in 5 weeks

first_img 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairycenter_img Daily temperatures in both states have hit between 45 and 48 degrees Celsius (113 and 118 degrees Fahrenheit). Officials have urged people to stay hydrated and remain indoors as much as possible.Blistering hot, dry winds have also swept across most parts of north and central India, wilting plants and forcing people to avoid the outdoors. In the cities, large crowds of office workers gather around stalls selling cold fruit drinks.Weather officials say the sweltering temperatures are likely to continue in southern India for at least another week. Monsoon rains, expected to arrive in the southern state of Kerala in the first week of June, should bring some respite. The monsoon season runs through September as the rains gradually cover the entire country.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement HYDERABAD, India (AP) — More than 750 people have died in southern India since the middle of April as soaring summer temperatures scorch the country, officials said Tuesday.The southeastern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana have been hit the hardest.More than 550 people have died from the unrelenting heat in Andhra Pradesh since May 13, state Deputy Chief Minister Nimmakayala Chinna Rajappa said.A top state official in Telangana, Bhambal Ram Meena, said about 215 heat-related deaths have been reported since April 15. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Greek banks to reopen after cash pledge from lenders

first_imgGreece’s Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos leaves after a parliament meeting in Athens, Thursday, July 16, 2015. Greece’s Parliament has approved an austerity bill demanded by bailout creditors, despite a significant level of dissent from the governing leftist Syriza party. The bill to impose sweeping tax hikes and spending cuts was approved with the support of three pro-European opposition parties. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Mesa family survives lightning strike to home In Athens, Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said banks would reopen Monday after a three-week closure, though withdrawal restrictions would remain in place.Bank customers “can deposit cash, they can transfer money from one account to the other,” but they can’t withdraw money except at ATMs, Mardas said.A withdrawal limit of 60 euros ($67) a day would stay in place, he said, though Greek authorities were working on a plan to allow people to rollover access to their funds. So if, for example, they don’t make it to a cash machine one day, the next day they can take out 120 euros.European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed that an EU-wide bailout fund would give Greece a short-term loan to cover it through mid-August. He said that would allow Greece to meet a debt repayment of 4.2 billion euros ($4.6 billion) to the ECB on Monday and to pay arrears of 2 billion euros to the IMF.In return for contributing to the bridging loan, European Union members not using the shared euro currency will be given guarantees against risk, Dijsselbloem said. The move follows strong objections raised by Britain toward helping bail out a eurozone member.“They’ve asked for a guarantee that they will not carry any risk, and I think that’s fair,” the Dutch finance minister said. “We will carry the risks.” Comments   Share   “No one knows at the moment how it’s supposed to work without a debt cut, and everyone knows that a debt cut is incompatible with membership in the currency union,” Schaeuble told Deutschlandfunk radio.However, the head of eurozone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, shot down talk of a Greek euro exit. “Schaeuble,” he said, “If you reach an agreement after such long and hard talks, you have to stand behind it, and that goes for all sides.”Germany’s insistence on tough terms for Greece even after bailout austerity deepened and extended its six-year recession has earned Schaeuble criticism, even inside Germany.A Munich-based think tank, Project for Democratic Union, said it was time for Schaeuble to resign.“Under the Schaeuble regime the eurozone is no union, it is a creditor-debtor relationship,” the group said on its website. While negotiating the Greece deal, Schaeuble “changed the political climate in Europe for the worse.”U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew met Thursday with Schaeuble and French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, and urged Greece’s creditors to make sure the struggling country emerges from negotiations with debts it can manage. In a telephone call with Tsipras, he also called on the Greeks to “fully” implement the budget cuts and economic reforms they had agreed to.center_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Patients with chronic pain give advice The ECB announced it was increasing emergency credit to Greek banks, adding another 900 million euros ($980 million) in support over one week. And eurozone lenders pledged short-term loans so Greece can cover its debts and negotiations for a new three-year bailout worth 85 billion euros ($93 billion).The news buoyed world markets and came as a relief in Greece, where banks and the stock market have been closed for nearly three weeks.Officials in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ government, however, were still reeling from the contentious post-midnight vote that saw one-in-four lawmakers from Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party vote against the raft of tax increases, pension cuts and other economic reforms.Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis said an early election was now seen as “very likely” — either in September or October.With another austerity vote planned next week, Voutsis cautioned that the level of dissent shown Thursday had fallen just short of toppling Tsipras’ 6-month-old government, which was elected on a pledge to free Greece from debilitating austerity.In Berlin, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble insisted that growing calls to ax a portion of Greece’s 320 billion euro debt mountain would not be accepted and again raised the idea of a managed Greek exit from the euro. ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece on Thursday won vital pledges of support from bailout lenders needed to keep its economy from collapsing, but officials in Athens said the painful austerity measures demanded in return were likely to force an election within months.Hours after parliament approved the tough new cuts, the government promised to reopen banks on Monday and gradually restore services — helped by higher cash support from the European Central Bank. Meanwhile, the Moody’s credit rating agency said the Greek vote meant the country had dodged imminent danger, but that it still faced risks.“The Greek parliamentary vote averts an immediate disorderly default and potential exit from the euro area, but risk remains elevated given Greece’s weak institutions and substantial political skepticism on the bailout conditions,” it said.____Associated Press writers Frank Jordans in Berlin, David McHugh in Frankfurt, Germany, and Menelaos Hadjicostis in Nicosia, Cyprus, contributed to this report.____Follow Becatoros on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ElenaBec and Gatopoulos at http://www.twitter.com/dgatopoulosCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairylast_img read more

South Koreas growth slowest in more than 2 years

first_img Top Stories The bank said private consumption turned negative as spending on services dropped while agricultural output plunged due to a drought.South Korea’s economy was expected to ebb last quarter as foreign tourists cancelled visits and people stayed home because of the MERS outbreak which began in May and has killed 36 people.No new confirmed cases of MERS have been reported in South Korea since July 4 and tourist numbers have begun to recover.To help local restaurants, retailers, hotels and tourism industries, the government has been encouraging South Koreans to spend their vacations within South Korea.Other areas of the economy including exports and private investment were also weak.South Korea’s finance ministry is seeking parliamentary approval for a $10.6 billion stimulus package to aid recovery and to achieve annual growth of 3 percent this year.But many forecasters, including South Korea’s central bank, predict that the country’s economy will expand less than 3 percent in 2015, which would mean a slowdown from the previous two years.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Top holiday drink recipes New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous ofcenter_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s quarterly growth slowed to the lowest in more than two years as a severe drought hit agriculture and an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome sapped consumption.The economy expanded 2.2 percent in the second quarter over a year earlier, the Bank of Korea said Thursday. That’s the lowest since the first quarter of 2013. Asia’s fourth-largest economy eked out 0.3 percent growth from the previous quarter. Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Quick workouts for menlast_img read more