NY enacts toughest restrictions on Airbnb with fines of up to 7500

first_imgNY enacts toughest restrictions on Airbnb, with fines of up to $7,500 ALBANY — New York state enacted one of the nation’s toughest restrictions on Airbnb on Friday with a new law authorizing fines of up to $7,500 for many short-term rentals.The measure signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo applies to rentals of fewer than 30 days when the owner or tenant is not present.Supporters of the measure say many property owners use sites like Airbnb to offer residential apartments as short-term rentals to visitors, hurting existing hotels while taking residential units off the already expensive housing market in New York City.“Today is a great day for tenants, seniors, and anyone who values the safe and quiet enjoyment of their homes and neighbourhoods,” said Manhattan Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger, a co-sponsor of the bill. “For too long companies like Airbnb have encouraged illegal activity that takes housing off the market and makes our affordability crisis worse.”Airbnb said it would immediately file a lawsuit challenging the law.“In typical fashion, Albany backroom dealing rewarded a special interest – the price-gouging hotel industry – and ignored the voices of tens of thousands of New Yorkers,” said Josh Meltzer, Airbnb’s head of public policy in New York.Enforcement of the new laws will be a challenge. Thousands of short-term apartment rentals are listed for New York City despite a 2010 law that prohibits rentals of fewer than 30 days when the owner or tenant is not present.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterThe new law won’t apply to rentals in single-family homes, row houses or apartment spare rooms if the resident is present.The complicated rules mean many New Yorkers may not know whether they can legally rent out their homes – and Airbnb says it does not have the ability to remove listings that violate the 2010 law.Supporters say the imposition of fines will likely be driven by complaints from neighbours. Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said the intention is to go after commercial operators who rent large numbers of vacant units in multi-apartment buildings.“That’s who we’re targeting,” said the Manhattan Democrat, who sponsored the bill in the Assembly.Airbnb mounted a last-minute campaign to kill the measure and this week proposed alternative regulations that the company argued would address concerns about short-term rentals without onerous fines.Most people who list a rental on Airbnb are looking to make a little money while they’re out of town, according to Chris Lehane, head of global policy for San Francisco-based Airbnb. The company says the 46,000 Airbnb hosts in New York City have generated more than $2 billion in economic activity.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North America“It’s baffling to us in this time of economic inequality that folks would be looking to impose fines of as much as $7,500 on a middle-class person looking to use the home that they live in to help make ends meet,” Lehane said before the bill was signed.A spokesman for Cuomo said the administration gave the bill careful consideration.“Ultimately, these activities are already expressly prohibited by law,” said spokesman Rich Azzopardi.An investigation of Airbnb rentals from 2010 to 2014 by the office of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found that 72 per cent of the units in New York City were illegal, with commercial operators constituting 6 per cent of the hosts and supplying 36 per cent of the rentals.Schneiderman vowed to fight any legal challenge to the new law.“The law signed today will provide vital protections for New York tenants and help prevent the continued proliferation of illegal, unregulated hotels, and we will defend it,” he said in a statement.As of August, Airbnb had 45,000 city listings and 13,000 others across the state. Monday, October 24, 2016 Share Posted by The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

How a Trump White House could impact global travel tourism

first_img TORONTO — In what is being called the “biggest upset in U.S. history”, Donald Trump’s stunning victory over Hillary Clinton last night in the U.S. presidential election has sent shockwaves around the world. Global markets plunged, the loonie tanked a whole cent in less than four hours, and travel experts are predicting a colossal impact to global tourism.Stock markets around the world took early morning hits — the U.S. stock futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.1%, while stocks in London plunged over 4.3% before recovering some of the losses. The Mexican peso was one of the world’s hardest-hit currencies, tumbling 12% to a record low of 20.5708 to the dollar early Wednesday. And at 11:48 p.m. ET, the loonie was worth US$0.74119, according to XE.com. It lost more than a cent in early trading the day after the vote, falling to $0.768 for its biggest drop in 18 months.So what does all this mean for travel and tourism? According to many experts, a Trump win is both a good and bad thing, depending on where you are in the world. The Telegraph in the UK says that a weaker dollar over the longer term could lead to cheaper holidays not only in America but around the world. Since oil is priced in U.S. dollars, this could mean a price drop in airfares and other transportation, while cruises – many of which are costed in dollars – can also see a dip in prices.Mexico tourists are the second largest source market for inbound travellers to the U.SOn the flip side, a Euromonitor paper published earlier this week said Trump’s America-centric platform, his threat to ban Muslims or residents of terrorism-afflicted countries and to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico will have devastating consequences on the travel and tourism industry. It said that Mexico tourism, which is the second largest source market for inbound travellers to the U.S. behind only Canada, would be particularly hit, and that companies like Airbnb and Expedia, both of which rely heavily on the Mexican market, would be among those negatively affected.A Travelzoo poll taken before Trump’s victory found that 20% of Brits said they would not travel to the U.S. following a Trump win, and that although inbound tourism to the States would suffer, Canadian tourism would enjoy a boost.“We know that the USA is perennially the most popular long-haul destination for British holidaymakers, with New York being the most searched-for city in the world, but the reality of a Trump White House may drive further uncertainty. It could mean Brits delay booking their stateside holidays until the dust settles or even consider switching to an alternative destination, such as Canada,” said Andrew Shelton, managing director of Cheapflights.co.uk.One agent on the Facebook travel industry page Travel Gossip said clients have already told her they will be boycotting the U.S., reports TravelMole. “I have at least two clients so far that won’t go to America now he’s in. The positive for us is that it will make the Caribbean and anywhere else based on the dollar better value for a while but Gold help America, they will need it,” she said.Another agent based in Ontario tells Travelweek that a client has already backed out of a Disney vacation in light of Trump’s win. The client told her that they “in good conscience, cannot put any money into the U.S. economy” and that there is “too much uncertainty regarding the direction the country will take in 2017 for us to plan to travel there at this time.”Trump as president could also mean devastating consequences in Cuba, where the Obama administration has spent the last two years negotiating normalization after more than 50 years of Cold War hostility, setting off a tourism boom. Trump has promised to roll back Obama’s opening with Cuba unless President Raul Castro agrees to more political freedoms.WTM London’s annual survey results, which were revealed earlier this week at the annual trade show, showed that an overwhelming majority of industry professionals – 60% – think that Clinton would be better for global business than Trump, who registered a mere 7%. Despite Trump’s ownership of leisure and hospitality businesses around the world, which includes 15 Trump Hotels, spas and golf courses, many of his proposed policies are a sign that travel to the U.S. might become problematic.His approach differs greatly to outgoing President Barack Obama, who oversaw a number of initiatives during his tenure that encouraged visits to the U.S. He paved the way for Brand USA, the public-private partnership promoting inbound travel to the U.S., which was launched at WTM London in 2011.Trump’s policies sit uneasily with Brand USA’s efforts to welcome 100 million international visitors to the U.S. by 2021, up from 70 million in 2013.In other related news, the official website for ‘Citizenship and Immigration Canada’ has crashed, apparently due to the sheer number of Americans looking to emigrate to the country following last night’s results. Canada’s official Twitter account even made reference to the election result in a tweet posted last night. It read: “In Canada, immigrants are encouraged to bring their cultural traditions with them and share them with their fellow citizens.”In Canada, immigrants are encouraged to bring their cultural traditions with them and share them with their fellow citizens. pic.twitter.com/MOuStZbSX7— Canada (@Canada) November 9, 2016 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Donald Trump, Trend Watchcenter_img Travelweek Group How a Trump White House could impact global travel & tourism Wednesday, November 9, 2016 last_img read more

Fire breaks out at Grand Bahia Principe Tulum

first_img Travelweek Group Fire breaks out at Grand Bahia Principe Tulum Share MAYAN RIVIERA — Guests at Grand Bahia Principe Tulum in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera were definitely feeling the heat over the weekend, not from the sun but from a large fire that broke out late Friday night.A resort employee confirmed to Global News that the area was evacuated due to the fire, and that the resort resumed normal operations on Saturday. The resort also confirmed in a release that “the situation was kept under control at all times.”No injuries were reported, while damage to the resort was “limited to material losses,” the statement said. The statement also noted that the fire started as a “result of an unfortunate short-circuit.”Popular among Canadians, Grand Bahia Principe Tulum offers 978 rooms, three pools, five restaurants and seven bars. It is located approximately 100 kilometres from Cancun. Monday, January 16, 2017 center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Mexicolast_img read more

Zemi Beach to be first fivestar hotel reopening in Anguilla postIrma

Tags: Anguilla Share << Previous PostNext Post >> SHOAL BAY EAST, ANGUILLA — An official reopening date for one of Anguilla’s most luxurious hotels has been set following last year’s devastating hurricanes, a sign that the badly hit island is well on its way to a full recovery.Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa, the luxury boutique hotel nestled on world-famous Shoal Bay Beach, will be the first five-star property to reopen on the island. Its developer, Fountain Beach Residence, has set the opening date for Feb. 15 and has confirmed that the hotel has returned to its award-winning five-star status.Repairs made at the property include the transformation of the 300-year-old Thai House spa, an authentic Thai Rice Barn, into a luxury spa. Guestrooms were also brought back to their high standards, with suites and beachfront villas getting an upgrade of soft goods. Internet, cable TV and telephone connections were restored, plus the lush grounds have been re-landscaped back to its original beauty.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsIts beachfront was redone with additional sand brought in, and the pool areas were also restored. What’s more, Zemi Beach House’s restaurants – Stone and 20 Knots – will reopen with all-new menus.Immediately following Hurricane Irma, the Zemi Beach House team worked with several real estate owners and private employers on the island to create Anguilla Stronger, a relief effort designed to provide the most effective relief support to the permanent residents of Anguilla as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thus far, the fund has helped raise over US$1 million for the island and its people.Other island development updates can be found on irma.ivisitanguilla.com, the central portal launched by The Anguilla Tourism Board to share updates on the island’s recover post-Irma. The user-friendly site also provides up-to-date information on access to the island via air and sea, ground transportation, proposed reopening dates for restaurants and attractions, and updates on essential services like telecommunications, banking and medical facilities. Tuesday, January 16, 2018 Zemi Beach to be first five-star hotel reopening in Anguilla post-Irma Travelweek Group Posted by read more

Silversea goes all in with new allinclusive package fares to Asia

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Share Friday, June 8, 2018 Travelweek Group Silversea goes all in with new all-inclusive package fares to Asiacenter_img Posted by Tags: All Inclusives, Asia, Silversea Cruises MIAMI – Silversea is offering Asia for less in 2018 and 2019 with a new ‘All-Inclusive Package’ promotion now available on new bookings.The promotion includes free economy roundtrip air or business-class air upgrade for Can$3,299 each way, for flights from select Canadian and U.S. gateways; free one-night, pre-and post-cruise hotel stay; free transfers between airport, hotel and ship; and at least one free shore excursion in every port. Plus, an Early Booking Bonus saving of 10% is available on select departure dates.Nearly 20 new options in Asia include:Bangkok, Thailand: Thai history is revealed in a single location during the panoramic, half-day ‘Ancient City Park by Tram’ excursion to the Ancient City – home to reconstructed and relocated historical buildings.Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: During the eye-opening, full-day ‘Kayaking in the Mangrove Forest’ adventure, guests are immersed in the exquisite natural beauty of the Can Gio Mangrove Reserve.Hong Kong: The half-day ‘Tai Chi, Tea & Dim Sum’ cultural outing introduces guests to the local Hong Kong lifestyle through exercise, eating and drinking.Koh Samui, Thailand: Guests can relax in a hammock, stroll on the beach, swim in a shimmering pool, and enjoy complimentary drinks and a Thai lunch during the half-day ‘W Koh Samui Luxury Resort Getaway.’Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia: The spectacular flora and fauna of the Klias Wetlands are explored during the full-day ‘Klias Wetlands River Safari,’ an exciting river-cruise excursion with dinner.Muara, Brunei: The ‘Brunei by Night with Local Dining Experience’ explores the local culture and specialties of Brunei during a memorable evening excursion with dinner.Singapore: Guests are immersed in the spectacular lights and sights of Singapore during the ‘Evening Spectacular’ excursion to this vibrant city island.More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedTraditional favorites:Coron, Philippines: The ‘Coron Exploration’ showcases the exquisite natural beauty of Coron Island by boat, through an incredibly scenic and memorable sightseeing cruise.Ha Long Bay, Vietnam: The ‘Ha Long Bay Kayak Exploration’ spotlights the breathtaking seascape of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, during a kayak adventure to explore amazing caves and a fishing village.Tianjin, China: The full-day ‘Forbidden City’ excursion to the historic city of Beijing reveals two extraordinary landmarks: the Forbidden City and Beijing Olympic Green.Yangon, Myanmar: An impressive landmark by day, Shwedagon becomes a stunning vision by night, as the ancient, jewel-encrusted stupa is illuminated with light. Guests can explore the temple, home to major Buddhist relics, on the ‘Shwedagon by Candlelight’ evening tour.An experience exclusive to Silversea: The ‘DMZ and the 3rd Tunnel’ excursion invites guests to discover the storied past of a nation divided by civil war for nearly 60 years.All-Inclusive Package fares with the Early Booking Bonus start from $4,680 per guest, based on double occupancy. Voyages range from 7 to 17 days. Sample itineraries include:Silver Muse departs Nov. 19, 2018, on a 12-day voyage from Hong Kong to Singapore with calls in Manila, Romblon Island, Coron Island, Palawan Island, Kota Kinabalu, Muara, and Kuching (Borneo).Silver Muse departs Dec. 1, 2018, on a 12-day, roundtrip voyage from Singapore with calls in Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown, Phuket, Yangon, and Langkawi.Silver Shadow departs Feb. 1, 2019, on a 7-day, roundtrip voyage from Hong Kong with calls in Ha Long Bay, Chan May (gateway to vibrant Da Nang and Imperial Huế), and Sanya.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthFor further details on the All-Inclusive Package offer, please visit https://www.silversea.com/best-luxury-cruise-deals/asia-cruises-ft.html.last_img read more

Guanacaste Having it all in Playa Conchal

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionTake “Dirty Dancing,” add five decades, the tropics and the Pacific Ocean, and subtract the botched abortion. There you have the Westin Resort & Spa in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.Ensconced on a 2,400-acre compound by the aptly named Playa Conchal (conchal means shelly in Spanish, and shells are everywhere), the all-inclusive Westin, which was recently taken over by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., makes you feel as though you’re part of some eternal summer in which all things are possible. In addition to food and alcohol being included with  accommodations, there’s a nightly dance and lip-synching performance put on by a full-time entertainment team, for whom just about any guest would be delighted to carry a watermelon.Upon arrival at the towering, open-air lobby, guests are presented with virgin mojitos and plastic wristbands to identify them as the luckiest people around. Once the band is secured, a guest has access to innumerable bars and restaurants spread over the property, in addition to 24-hour room service, non-motorized water sports, tennis court usage, nightly shows and a variety of activities coordinated by the staff.The check-in process should be immediately followed by the first of many non-virgin mojitos, which can then be taken aboard the resort shuttle to one’s quarters. Housed in crème- and beige-colored, Spanish-style buildings, many of the modern, tropical-chic units feature whirlpools and ocean, garden and pool views. All include flat-screen televisions, safes and powerful air conditioning – a necessity in the toasty Guanacaste province. Royal Beach Junior Suite. Photos Courtesy of Westin Resort & Spacenter_img I stayed in a Royal Beach Junior Suite, which stood out for its multi-level marble floors and prime location across from the Abalone Sports Bar. Never having stayed at an all-inclusive before, I was overwhelmed by the idea of unlimited drinks over the course of three days (don’t ask what went down on day one, I just couldn’t tell you). Pacing oneself is key, obviously, as is continually feasting at the seven restaurants scattered throughout the property.It’s also important to reserve dinner early, as not all the restaurants are created equal, and the most popular – the Italian, the Mediterranean and the French – sometimes fill up. The lobster at Mediterra was small and underwhelming (as you might expect at an all-inclusive), but the beef Carpaccio at Faisanela was so good that I ordered it again for dessert. For breakfast and lunch, you cannot go wrong with Mitra, an open-air international buffet that has everything from ceviche to steak to a personal pasta chef.At some point – a point will be different for every guest – yet another free mojito or meal will begin to deliver diminishing returns. This is when it’s time for an activity (proof you went somewhere!), be ocean kayaking, a round of golf, a massage at the spa, a hike around the active Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, or a snorkel trip at sea, where giant rays, puffer fish and turtles can be spotted. The guys at the activity counter on the resort property will hook you up with pricy but high-quality tours, and the less-official salesmen on the beach are said to offer reasonably good, slightly more affordable iterations.Once you’ve gotten a decent sunburn, eaten yourself immobile and drank yourself incoherent, you are in perfect condition to plunk down in front of the stage and watch the attractive, agile entertainers busting moves in flashy costumes while lip synching pop songs such as Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ la Vida Loca.” There are also some Cirque du Soleil-style performances, including a stellar silk trapeze act. The show each night ends just like “Dirty Dancing,” with the performers cajoling audience members into joining the dance party, and eventually the whole place is up, celebrating the right to have and do whatever they want.Going thereRates range from $338-$1,148 a night. Sansa and Nature Air flights land you at the Tamarindo or Liberia airports, from which a shuttle will transport you for $25 and $90, respectively.For more info, call 2654-3500 or visit www.westinplayaconchal.com. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Delicious tranquility at Hotel Blue Conga

first_imgFresh fruit. The room rate includes this beautiful arrangement with coffee and toast, and I don’t know where the fruits were picked, but there are several nice trees in the garden. If you eat meat, you’ll get some savory specimens fried up as well. For other meals, you are supposed to go out and support the local economy, or order in from places nearby.Majority owner Eric Climent said he wanted people to feel at home in a quiet place, close to Puerto Viejo, close to Playa Cocles, but apart from the world as well. There’s no television or air conditioning and not many wild parties. On an ecological note, the Blue Conga features solar hot water.Climent, who is French, bought the hotel half-built in 2007, after putting his finger on the map. “It is the truth,” he said. “It is here. Never have I been in Puerto Viejo, never in Costa Rica. It is the truth.”He confirmed his geographical premonition with a two-week visit. He and a friend were supposed to spend one week on this side and one week on the Pacific coast, but he fell in love and never went to the western shores. The Blue Conga was up and running by 2009, and the pool completed the feel in June 2012.Caretakers at Hotel Blue Conga can help arrange anything you need. They’ll rent you bicycles, snorkeling gear and laundry services. Most reservations are made online at hotelblueconga.com, where you fill out an inquiry form. I was nervous that my inquiry would vanish into space, but our caretaker, Marise, responded within an hour during one of the busiest times of the year, and arranged a room for the same evening. We managed to contact her during our bus delay, and she adjusted our arrangements so we could arrive in the middle of the night with no problems whatsoever – except for children’s confusion about the proper time to sleep.Going thereRoom prices range from about $60 to $110, depending on the size and the time of year. Hotel Blue Conga is a short taxi ride from Puerto Viejo, or a ten minute walk from downtown towards Playa Cocles: look for a sign by a small road on the right. Facebook Comments No related posts. The best way to arrive at Hotel Blue Conga is probably in the dark. We did this after an extended commute from San José to Puerto Viejo: the noon bus was full, the 2 p.m. bus was full, the 4 p.m. bus was late and we hit a road obstruction near Limón. Basically, an easy four-and-a-half-hour trip to the Caribbean shores nearly tripled, and we would have been happy to sleep on a dirty piece of gravel underneath a tarp. But our kids slept on the bus, so they were ready to party when we fell into room one at Blue Conga just after midnight.It was a clean, tiled room with painted concrete walls and some varnished log furniture, the room’s nod to the standard Tico cabin aesthetic. The little ones (3 and 6) splashed in the warm shower while we stumbled around rustling snacks, dreaming of a quiet place under a tarp.Finally we did sleep, and when I opened the window in the morning, I remembered we were not in a Motel 6 in some dusty Texas town – we were on the corner of a tropical paradise, and everything was green and blue and flowered and quiet. The quietude seemed like a trick of nature, at least compared to the night rhythms of Puerto Viejo locales like Rocking J’s, just around the corner, where you can buy condoms at the front counter and rent a hammock for $7. At Hotel Blue Conga, however, the quiet seemed like a visual feature. There are 12 rooms in two main buildings, and a tropical garden courtyard with a small pool nestled against the dining area, which was both bright and shady.The space is actually rather small, but the vegetation and the way the buildings are set up make you feel you might be in a lodge miles deep into the jungle, and that the caretakers simply wandered off to forage for beautiful fruits to arrange on white plates. Paul Brohaughlast_img read more

Delika Foodshow a gourmet cornucopia

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee PHOTOS: SANSA offers new flights between San José and Limón Wendy’s leaves Costa Rica PHOTOS: Perfection in a block of wood Robert Isenberg/The Tico Times Robert Isenberg/The Tico Times Robert Isenberg/The Tico Times Robert Isenberg/The Tico Times Robert Isenberg/The Tico Times Robert Isenberg/The Tico Times Jürgen Mormels has a remarkable track record: The German native has founded several top-quality restaurants during his 34 years in Costa Rica, from the widely praised L’Escargot and London Club to his most current operation, Jürgen’s Restaurante. In 2003, Mormels opened Delika by Gourmet Imports, which draws its products from all over the world.It turns out that Mormels also loves to throw a fantastic party, as evidenced by the Delika Foodshow, which took place yesterday at the company’s warehouse in San Rafael de Alajuela. The event showcased Delika’s remarkable selection of meats, cheeses, wines and seafood, both for industry professionals and interested foodies. The event also included culinary demonstrations, live entertainment (aerialists performed gymnastic dances high above the display tables) and enthusiastic tastings.After Mormels took the microphone and thanked his staff for all their hard work, a pair of belly dancers took the stage, performing a sensual tribal dance. In its final hour, the crowd, loosened with Delika’s many wine samples, danced along to disco classics and traded name tags for complimentary bottles of Momo Kawa sake. Delika’s slogan is “tasting the good life.” It seems that the good life tastes delicious.last_img read more

US citizen dies in Jacó car crash

first_imgRelated posts:24-year-old US tourist shot in Costa Rica robbery gone wrong Life jackets not distributed before Costa Rica catamaran began sinking, killing 3, says president’s office US Coast Guard to assist in investigation of deadly catamaran accident After 80 days, investigation continues into US man missing in Costa Rica Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) reported that a 53-year-old U.S. citizen with the last name Levine died in a car accident in the popular beach town of Jacó Tuesday afternoon.According to initial reports, Levine was driving a lightweight vehicle with another passenger on the highway when for an unknown reason the car veered into oncoming traffic and collided with a truck carrying gas to San José. The impact knocked the U.S. driver’s car off the road and into a ditch. The other passenger in the car was unhurt.The truck driver passed a breathalyzer test, according to the statement.OIJ is investigating the case. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Arcadios World

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Highlights from the Design Fests first Parque La Libertad edition

first_img Facebook Comments Fernanda Romano speaks about the role technology has in our daily lives. Melissa Sánchez/The Tico Times The last speaker for the evening was Ji Lee, creative director for Facebook and Instagram.“For me creativity is a myth,” Lee said. “Creativity is something that everyone has. Everybody here has it. We just don’t know how to express creativity.  People think creatives are artists, but creative people are just people who think differently. Going to work everyday, the same road, the same street and just choosing a different road just to see how it is, that is being creative. Everybody can do that.”Lee explained how he applied this out-of-the-box thinking to creating a fun new typography: he deconstructed the linear structure of the alphabet to create the Universal Revolved 3D alphabet, whose letters are rotated around their vertical axis. Ji Lee is Facebook and Instagram’s creative director. Melissa Sánchez/The Tico TimesLee said the key, for him, is to always have fun when working.“What I realized is that when I do personal projects, when I have fun with what I do, great things happen,” he said. “Not only doing, but sharing them with the world. Inspiration is always everywhere, especially in mundane things. I just try to observe wherever I go, whomever I talk to, even if I’m on the subway. I just observe things, and I have funny thoughts about it and I try to express them in a visual way.”One of his simplest projects came about through just such a focus on everyday fun. The Bubble Project began as a simple sticker in the shape of a speech bubble, which Lee pasted all over New York’s advertisements. The idea, according to the project webiste, was to allow people to write on the bubble and create a whole new message, thus “transforming these annoying corporate monologues into open public dialogues.”The project struck a nerve and has become an international sensation, with participants in 12 cities around the world listed on the site thus far.“An empowering thing I learned doing The Bubble Project was that I can do anything I want. I don’t need a lot of money. I don’t need a lot of resources around me to make a project happen. That was for me the biggest lesson,” he said. “If I have an idea and a passion, I can make that happen by myself.”For Costa Ricans seeking more ideas and more passion like those displayed at the Parque La Libertad stage, we’ll keep our eyes on the FID, in all its incarnations. The massive International Design Festival (FID) has been taking place in San José since 2009 to showcase Costa Rica as a creative hub. However, the FID’s organizers, Alfredo Enciso and Paco Cervilla, decided this year to increase the frequency of offerings, and on June 30 launched a special edition of the FID at the Parque La Libertad in Desamparados with guest speakers Ji Lee, Fernanda ‘Fefa’ Romano and Luciano Goizueta.Goizueta kicked off the event with an unusual session that combined visual and audio presentations. The artist described his recent research, in which he combines Albert Einstein’s unified field theory and the work of scientist Nassim Haramein with his artistic production.“It takes the sun 226 million years to completely rotate around the galaxy,” he told the audience. “This means that the last time the sun was where it currently is, dinosaurs were just beginning to appear. Time is space. Time is equal to movement… I created a snail-shaped staircase with 12 steps. Each step corresponds to one month. January is the first step, February the second one, and so on. There’s always a twelfth and last step that’s connected to a new snail shaped staircase, which is a new year.” The Costa Rican artist Luciano Goizueta shows his ideation process. Melissa Sánchez/The Tico TimesGoizueta plans to structure his life story with four chapters. Each chapter is equivalent to twelve years, so in total it would be 48 years in the making of a personal process through an artistic medium.Marketing and advertising specialist Fernanda Romano, of Brazil, who was named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising by Advertising Age, spoke about technology and social media. She described inspiration she drew from a speech that U.S. President Barack Obama delivered at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, earlier this year.“He talked about citizen action and how tech is the new government,” Romano recalled, adding that Obama “recruited” his audience to address social problems through technology. “That’s not what your government can do for you, that’s what you can do for your government, and now we have the tools.”She pointed to Code for America as examples of the kind of change technology can create, or the use of virtual reality in the United States to help sidestep the stigma of post-combat therapy.“VR is the newest, most important medicine, so there’s a whole new program at the U.S. army were you’re treating returning fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said. “They’re the American heroes. They don’t want to go to a shrink. They don’t want to talk to a therapist. So the U.S. army develops an artificial intelligence psychiatrist, so these guys put on a headset and talk to an imaginary person and they do therapy because they think that’s not a person, so it’s okay to show my weakness.” Related posts:Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica 2017 International Design Festival to feature wide range of guests 5 questions for Costa Rican sculptor José Sancho Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Hard Rock to open its first hotel in Costa Rica

first_imgHard Rock International will build its first resort in Costa Rica in the province of Guanacaste, the company announced on itswebsite.The all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Papagayo is set to open by early 2018. The 294-room resort will be located 30 minutes from Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport.The resort will provide travelers with easy access to the Gulf of Papagayo, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica’s northern Pacific area.Global head of hotel development Marco Roca said Costa Rica has seen a steady rise in international arrivals.“The country’s worldwide appeal aligns with our development strategy, deeply rooted in expanding into desirable locations,” he said.The Costa Rica resort will boast brand exclusive offerings such as a full-service rock spa and the music amenity program, offering free in-room Fender guitar checkouts. It will cater to multigenerational leisure travelers and will offer family-friendly offerings, such as the brand’s signature hangouts exclusively for younger guests.The company also plans to offer a vast array of dining options, ranging from an all-day buffet restaurant to four a la carte eateries, including a U.S.-style steak house, an Asian restaurant, an Italian trattoria and an “internationally inspired eatery.”“We look forward to electrifying the destination with a musically-charged differentiated product never before seen in the area,” Roca said.Joint ventureHard Rock International will develop the project through a partnership with tour operator Sunwing Travel Group, eyeing future growth within Latin America, the company reported.Hard Rock International owns the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Locations include venues in 74 countries, including 175 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos.There are two Hard Rock Cafes in Costa Rica. The first one opened in 2013 in the province of Heredia and the second opened in Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, in 2015.[Editor’s note: The original information received about the development, and published in the original version of this story, was that the resort would open in 2019. We were informed following publication by a Hard Rock representative that the resort is now slated to open in early 2018. The story has been updated with this information.] Facebook Comments Related posts:Krispy Kreme Doughnuts to open in Costa Rica Crate & Barrel to invest $4 million in its first Costa Rica store IHOP looking for investors to open in Costa Rica Construction of Discovery Costa Rica set to begin in 2018last_img read more

Cambodian villagers honor slain environmentalist

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) – A prominent environmentalist who was fatally shot last month by a policeman after investigating illegal logging was mourned Friday by more than 500 villagers who gathered in a forest that the activist had sought to protect.The memorial for Chut Wutty was in Koh Kong province in a forest near where the activist was killed after taking two journalists to look at a logging camp where a Chinese company is building a hydropower project. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 0 Comments   Share   Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Chut Wutty’s killing on April 26 drew worldwide condemnation and highlighted conflicts over land in Cambodia.“We want to send a very clear message to the illegal loggers that we are not afraid of them,” ceremony organizer and rights activist Ou Virak said in a telephone interview.The government says a military policeman shot Chut Wutty during a heated argument, and then killed himself as a colleague tried to wrest his gun away from him.Human rights and environmental groups have demanded a full investigation.Chut Wutty was aggressive in his work, and environmentalists say he earned powerful enemies. Illegal logging is rampant in Cambodia, and often occurs under the protection of government agencies or important people, environmental groups have charged. Some protests against land grabs by influential people in recent years have been suppressed with deadly force.On Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a directive temporarily suspending new land concessions to private companies in an effort to ease political pressure over the issue.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more

The vanishing ink plot in Egypt vote

first_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   A Brotherhood spokesman, Mahmoud Ghozlan, denied the claims.The rumor gained further ground when officials suggested the plot was a reality, though they did not accuse the Brotherhood or any other group.Speaking to journalists Saturday, the interior minister in charge of security forces warned that the pens had indeed been brought in from abroad.Farouq Sultan, the head of the presidential election commission, said that “once the rumor” spread, the commission asked the Interior Ministry to provide 50,000 pens for the polling centers to use. He and the interior minister said that election workers had been instructed not to let voters use anything but the official pens. Sultan said that “as far as he knew,” some vanishing-ink pens had been discovered in circulation.An anonymous SMS sent en masse to some mobile phones Saturday repeated the accusations the Brotherhood were passing out the pens.At a polling center in the Cairo district of Shubra el-Kheima, the supervising judge was tearing his hair out over voters fussing over pens. One woman brought a pen from home because she didn’t even trust the official one. Another wanted to take her ballot outside to wait to ensure her checkmark didn’t disappear, said the judge, Mohammed el-Minshawi. Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – Rumor had it a devious conspiracy was afoot: Egyptians voting for a new president Saturday were being tricked into using pens with disappearing ink so their choice on the ballot would vanish before it was counted.“Is this the right pen?” an old man in a traditional galabeya robe shouted, holding one up to the judge supervising at a polling station in Giza, the sister city of Egypt’s capital, Cairo. Top holiday drink recipes More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Top Stories “These rumors are corrupting the national consciousness,” he said. “I am hitting the ceiling. This is a dirty election game that aims to make people lose trust in the process,” he said.___AP correspondents Maggie Michael and Sarah El Deeb contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories There was no concrete evidence for the rumors, but some voters in polling stations around the city were clearly concerned as they marked their paper ballots. Talk of a plot just deepened Egyptians’ worries that the dirty tricks rife in elections under authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak were still in play and that powers greater than them still manipulate the system, even after a revolution last year aimed at bringing transparency.The claim seems to have emerged two days before the vote. A right-wing, Rush Limbaugh-style TV host, Tawfiq Okasha, known for his backing of the ruling military, accused the Muslim Brotherhood of importing 180,000 disappearing-ink pens from India. He proclaimed that they intended to distribute the pens outside polling stations to voters they believed would vote for Ahmed Shafiq, the former Mubarak prime minister running against the Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi.“I warn everyone. I warn the Shafiq campaign. I warn all voters,” Okasha shouted on his show on the satellite channel he owns. “The voter will make his mark on the ballot with it and four hours later the mark disappears. The vote counters will open the ballot and find it blank.”last_img read more

Killings of environmentalists appear to be on rise

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Parents, stop beating yourself up Environmental groups say it is time to build a comprehensive database of such violence and mount unified campaigns.“In Asia there has been a rise for some years but this has been off the radar of international NGOs until recently,” says Pokpong Lawansiri, Asia head for the Dublin-based Front Line Defenders. “Political rights activists usually have international connections but environmental ones are often teachers, community leaders and villagers, so they have little profile.”Robertson called for “a waves-to-the-beach strategy. It can be small and irregular but it always has to keep coming.”“Without that constant level of concern and anger, things won’t change. Governments and companies play for time and for most of the victims and their families time is not on their side,” he said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like 0 Comments   Share   More than three-quarters of the killings Global Witness tallied were in three South American countries: Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Another 50 deaths occurred in the Philippines. All have bloody land-rights struggles between indigenous groups and powerful industries.Global Witness’ figures are much higher that those that Bill Kovarik, a communications professor at Virginia’s Radford University, has been compiling since 1996. He focuses on slayings of environmental leaders and does not include deaths in protests that are counted in the Global Witness report. But Kovarik, too, has noticed a substantial jump: from eight in 2009 to 11 in 2010 and 28 last year.“For many years intolerant regimes like Russia and China and military dictatorships tolerated environmental activists. That was the one thing you could do safely, until some crossed into the political area,” Kovarik said. “Now, environmentalism has become a dangerous form of activism, and that is relatively new.”Both Kovarik and Global Witness believe even more killings have gone unreported, especially in relatively closed societies in countries such as Myanmar, Laos and China. Global Witness said there is an “alarming lack of systematic information on killing in many countries and no specialized monitoring at the international level.” Top Stories The dead last year included Rev. Fausto Tentorio, an Italian Catholic priest who fought against mining companies to protect the ancestral lands of the Manobo tribe in the southern Philippines. Affectionately known as “Father Pops,” he was buried in a coffin made from a favorite mahogany tree he had planted.In Thailand, where at least 20 environmental activists have been killed over the past decade, seven hired gunmen were paid $10,000 to kill Thongnak Sawekchinda, a veteran campaigner against polluting, coal-fired factories in his province near Bangkok. Powerful figures believed to have ordered the slaying are yet to be apprehended.In developing countries, bolder and more numerous activists have come into sharper conflict with governments and their cronies or local and foreign companies, some with low environmental and ethical standards. These are moving in to “industrialize” areas where rights of the local people are traditional rather than clearly defined by modern laws.“It is a well-known paradox that many of the world’s poorest countries are home to the resources that drive the global economy. Now, as the race to secure access to these resources intensifies, it is poor people and activists who increasingly find themselves in the firing line,” Global Witness said. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Associated PressBANGKOK (AP) – The eulogies called Chut Wutty one of the few remaining activists in Cambodia brave enough to fight massive illegal deforestation by the powerful. The environmental watchdog was shot by a military policeman in April as he probed logging operations in one of the country’s last great forests.Nisio Gomes was the chief of a Brazilian tribe struggling to protect its land from ranchers. Masked men gunned him down in November; his body, quickly dragged into a pickup, has not been seen since. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Around the world, sticking up for the environment can be deadly, and it appears to be getting deadlier.People who track killings of environmental activists say the numbers have risen dramatically in the last three years. Improved reporting may be one reason, they caution, but they also believe the rising death toll is a consequence of intensifying battles over dwindling supplies of natural resources, particularly in Latin America and Asia.Killings have occurred in at least 34 countries, from Brazil to Egypt, and in both developing and developed nations, according to an Associated Press review of data and interviews.A report released Tuesday by the London-based Global Witness said more than 700 people _ more than one a week _ died in the decade ending 2011 “defending their human rights or the rights of others related to the environment, specifically land and forests.” They were killed, the environmental investigation group says, during protests or investigations into mining, logging, intensive agriculture, hydropower dams, urban development and wildlife poaching.The death toll reached 96 in 2010 and 106 last year, said the report, which was released as world leaders gathered in Rio de Janeiro for a conference on sustainable development. The report’s annual totals for the six prior years range from 37 in 2004 to 64 in 2008. Sponsored Stories Julian Newman of the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency said the killings will only get worse because one of the key flashpoints _ land ownership _ ignites powerful passions.“To people protecting their lands, their forests, it’s very personal, and they suffer when confronted with influential forces who have protection, be it the police in Indonesia or thugs in China,” Newman said.Targeted assassinations, disappearances followed by confirmed deaths, deaths in custody and during clashes with security forces are being reported. The killers are often soldiers, police or private security guards acting on behalf of businesses or governments. Credible investigations are rare; convictions more so.“It’s so easy to get someone killed in some of these countries. Decapitate the leader of the movement and then buy off everyone else _ that’s standard operating procedure,” says Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director of Human Rights Watch.The countries where environmental killings are most common share similarities: a powerful few, with strong links to officialdom, and many poor and disenfranchised dependent on land or forests for livelihoods, coupled with strong activist movements which are more likely to report the violence. 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Tomas Sedlacek Czech general dies at 94

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project After the Communists took power there, he was arrested in 1951, convicted of anti-communist activities and jailed for life. He was released in 1960 and exonerated by the Czech Velvet Revolution in 1989.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likecenter_img PRAGUE (AP) – A Czech general who fought with the Allies in France, Britain and the Soviet Union during World War II and who later resisted the communist regimes in his own country has died.Gen. Tomas Sedlacek, aged 94, died Monday at Prague’s Motol hospital, the Defense Ministry said.President Vaclav Klaus praised him as “a true soldier.”Sedlacek, who graduated from a military academy, fled to France in 1940 when his nation was occupied by Nazi troops. After France was defeated, he joined the British army before moving to the Soviet Union in 1944 and helping liberate Czechoslovakia. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairylast_img read more

Iran urges West to take action on antiIslam film

first_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s top leader urged the West on Monday to show it respects Muslims by blocking a film that mocks the Prophet Muhammad and has touched off rage across the Islamic world.State TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying Western leaders must prove they are not “accomplices” in a “big crime.”Such an appeal falls into the major cultural divide over the film. U.S. officials say they cannot limit free speech and Google Inc. refuses to do a blanket ban on the YouTube video clip. This leaves individual countries putting up their own blocks. Khamenei noted that some nations place restrictions on expression deemed hate speech, such as banning Nazi-related sites, or legislating protections for gays or lesbians.“How there is no room for freedom of expression in these cases, but insulting Islam and its sanctities is free?” Khamenei was quoted as saying.Separately, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran will send a protest letter on the film to the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.Iranians have staged several demonstrations against the film, but none have been violent. Crowds gathered last week in front of the Swiss Embassy, which looks after American diplomatic interests in Iran.A semi-official religious foundation also increased a reward it had offered for the killing of British author Salman Rushdie to $3.3 million from $2.8 million over his book “The Satanic Verses,” which was considered blasphemous by Iranian leaders.A 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, was issued against Rushdie by Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but Iranian authorities have since distanced themselves from the order.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

17thcentury treasures being recovered in Poland

first_imgThe artifacts probably were being carried by a barge that sank, one of the many such vessels that ferried loot down the river to the Baltic Sea and to Sweden.The find is precious for Poland, which has been repeatedly plundered by neighboring armies over the centuries, including Nazi Germany and the Soviet Red Army during World War II.Kowalski said he knew about the hidden artifacts from 17th-century letters that mentioned barges that had sunk in the area.First word of where the treasures might be came in 1906 when sand barge operators discovered some items, but could retrieve only a few of them.Kowalski said his team is now busy cleaning the newly retrieved items, which are “very well preserved, given the 350 years in water.”It has not been decided yet where and when they will be publicly displayed.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) For police, it was gratifying to provide the chopper and assist Warsaw University archeologists in “this very important mission of retrieving priceless national treasures,” said Mariusz Mrozek, a spokesman for Warsaw police.Archaeologists have long known that such well-preserved treasures were located in the riverbed in the Warsaw area, but not exactly where.The archeologists and frogmen, led by Hubert Kowalski, have previously retrieved some of the stolen stone ornaments from the Vistula riverbed in three years of searching for the sunken treasures. But only now, with the river much lower than normal, thanks to recent heat waves and droughts, their findings have become spectacular.“This is a precious find. These elements were stolen from Warsaw’s royal residences and palaces,” said Marek Wrede, a historian at the Royal Castle.The valuable artistic objects _ marble floor tiles, parts of archways and columns _ were robbed from Warsaw by the Swedes who overran the nation in mid-17th century and took heavy loads of spoils from across the country. Today’s items probably came from the Royal Castle and from a royal country residence, the Kazimierz Palace. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Associated PressWARSAW, Poland (AP) – Capitalizing on low water levels in Warsaw’s Vistula River, police are teaming up with archaeologists to recover gigantic marble and alabaster treasures that apparently were stolen from royals in Poland by Swedish invaders in the mid-17th century.A police Mi-8 helicopter hovered over a riverbed on Thursday, lifting ornaments such as the centerpiece of a fountain with water outlets decorated with Satyr-like faces. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day How do cataracts affect your vision? Sponsored Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories last_img read more

Along with Saudi king most Gulf rulers to skip US summit

first_img Sponsored Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — It is not just the Saudi king who will be skipping the Camp David summit of U.S. and allied Arab leaders. Most Gulf heads of state won’t be there.The absences will put a damper on talks that are designed to reassure key Arab allies, and almost certainly reflect dissatisfaction among leaders of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council with Washington’s handling of Iran and what they expect to get out of the meeting. The influential Abu Dhabi crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will lead the Emirati delegation. The president’s half-brother, he held talks with Obama at the White House last month.Abdullah, the Emirati professor, said the Gulf ties with the United States remain strong, but they have been strained during Obama’s tenure.He said Obama is seen within the region as impersonal compared to his predecessors. He also noted that recent comments to The New York Times in which Obama warned that dissatisfaction at home was perhaps a bigger threat than Iran came across as unnecessary “lecturing.”“You just pre-empted the whole meeting with this kind of statement,” he said.Among those who will be at the summit is the Kuwaiti emir, Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah. He arrived at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday, the official Kuwait News Agency reported.Also, Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is scheduled to depart Monday to take part in the meeting.___AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.Follow Adam Schreck on Twitter at www.twitter.com/adamschreck .Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The vital role family plays in society New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a professor of political science at Emirates University, said Gulf leaders were staying away from the Camp David gathering to signal their displeasure over the nuclear talks.“I don’t think they have a deep respect, a deep trust for Obama and his promises. There is a fundamental difference between his vision of post-nuclear-deal Iran and their vision,” he said. “They think Iran is a destabilizing force and will remain so, probably even more, if the sanctions are lifted. … They’re just not seeing things eye to eye.”The sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said, is among those staying away. The sultanate will be represented instead by the deputy prime minister, Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, and other officials, the country’s official news agency announced.The sultan’s absence comes as little surprise. The long-serving monarch, whose country maintains cordial relations with Iran and has served as a go-between for Tehran and Washington, returned home in March after spending several months in Germany being treated for an undisclosed illness.Health issues will also keep the president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from attending. He suffered a stroke in January last year and has not been seen publicly since. The tiny island kingdom of Bahrain said separately that its delegation would be headed by the country’s crown prince, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.Bahrain, whose leadership has close ties to the Saudis, is an important military ally of the U.S. It is the longstanding host to the Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is responsible for operations around the Arabian Peninsula and northern Indian Ocean, and is Washington’s main naval counterbalance to Iran.At the summit, leaders of Gulf nations will be looking for assurances that they have Obama’s support at a time when the region feels under siege from Islamic extremists and by Iran’s rising influence. The Gulf states worry the nuclear pact taking shape with the U.S., Iran and other nations may embolden Tehran to act more aggressively in the region.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed similar concerns, saying the emerging deal will leave too much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure intact while giving it quick relief from economic sanctions.Netanyahu has been an outspoken critic of the deal, raising tensions with the White House. U.S. attempts to reassure Israel that the deal will have strong safeguards have done little to ease its concerns. Netanyahu has claimed that moderate Sunni Arab countries see “eye to eye” with Israel on the matter, though he has not elaborated. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Rulers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman never publicly announced they would attend the summit — so officially at least, there was no reversal of plans.However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington on Monday that Saudi King Salman had formally accepted the invitation to meet with President Barack Obama ahead of the summit.Late on Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced that newly installed Salman will not be attending. The ostensible reason was because the upcoming summit on Thursday coincides with a humanitarian cease-fire in the conflict in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Shiite rebels known as Houthis.Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is also interior minister, will lead the Saudi delegation and the king’s son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is defense minister, will also attend.Obama had planned to meet Salman one-on-one a day before the gathering of leaders at the presidential retreat but the White House did not take the Saudi king’s decision to skip the summit as a sign of any substantial disagreement with the United States.The king, who took power in January after his brother King Abdullah died, has not traveled abroad since his ascension to the throne. Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Justices to take on new case over frozen assets

first_img The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Luis said the freeze includes money with no ties to the charges against her and that she has a constitutional right to use the funds to hire a lawyer to mount a defense. Lower courts ruled against her.The Supreme Court has previously upheld the government’s ability to put a hold on property and money that can be tied to illegal activity. Last year, the justices ruled that defendants do not have a right to a hearing at which they can plead for access to their money.The new case goes to whether untainted money can be frozen when the defendant needs it to hire a lawyer. The Justice Department said the assets can be frozen even if they are untainted. In this case, the government said it sought to freeze substitute assets that would be forfeited after a conviction because Luis already has spent the ill-gotten gains on luxury items and travel.The case, Luis v. U.S, 14-419, will be argued in the fall.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether the government can put a hold on untainted money and property that a criminal defendant needs to hire a lawyer.The justices said that they will review the case of Sila Luis of Miami-Dade County, Florida, who has been indicted on fraud charges involving $45 million in allegedly improper Medicare payments. On the same day Luis was indicted in 2012, federal prosecutors froze her assets. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breachescenter_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 0 Comments   Share   last_img read more