first_imgTags: Alitalia, WTF Alitalia has gone bankrupt but at least they’re getting snazzy new uniforms << Previous PostNext Post >> Source: The Associated Press MILAN — Never underestimate the power of a new pair of shoes, or a brand new wardrobe for that matter.The bankrupt Italian airline, Alitalia, has commissioned the Alberta Ferretii fashion house to design new uniforms, the timing of which has raised a few eyebrows. The crew restyling comes as the Italian government evaluates binding offers for all, or part, of the airline with the intent of completing a sale by spring.Perhaps the airline is putting their best foot forward (in designer pumps, no less) to shake the stigma of bankruptcy?Alitalia has said the uniform update won¹t create any new financial burdens, and that it came at the request of cabin and ground crews for ‘greater comfort’.Ferretti has pledged to design a collection combining elegance with convenience to ensure that all personnel are “comfortable in each working environment and throughout any season.”The airline last updated its uniforms in 2016 with a burgundy-colored retro look for the first new uniforms in two decades.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthAlitalia said the new uniforms should be ready by summer. Share Thursday, November 30, 2017 last_img read more

first_imgHolland America’s ‘View & Verandah’ promo is back Posted by Travelweek Group Share Tags: Holland America Line, Promotionscenter_img SEATTLE — Holland America Line has brought back its popular ‘View & Verandah’ promotion, which gives passengers perks like stateroom upgrades, onboard spending money and more.Available on cruises embarking from March 28, 2018 through March 23, 2019 (excluding Grand Voyages and Grand Voyage segments), the promotion allows guests who book an eligible cruise to receive a stateroom upgrade, up to $500 per stateroom in onboard spending money (depending on cruise length and stateroom category), and up to 10% off select EXC Tours (shore excursions). Moreover, those who book a suite will receive prepaid room gratuities.“Our promotions are created to help travellers plan their dream vacation with added value, and we continue to bring back View & Verandah each year because our guests appreciate added premiums like upgrades and a credit to spend on board,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We extend the offer to cruises well into 2019 so those who like to plan early have incentive to book now and can take advantage of the benefits.”More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksAs part of the View and Verandah offer, guests can book an ocean-view stateroom for the price of an interior and a verandah for the price of an ocean-view. Depending on the length of cruise and category of stateroom, guests can receive onboard spending money up to $400 per stateroom and $500 per suite. The onboard spending money is available to the first and second guests in a stateroom and can be used for specialty dining, spa services, gift shop purchases, beverages and more.Guests who reserve select EXC Tours can take advantage of up to 10 % savings if booked by March 15, 2018. More than 1,500 EXC Tours are eligible for the savings. As an added bonus, suite guests also receive prepaid room gratuities in addition to the onboard spending money and discount on EXC Tours.Cruise destinations featured in the View & Verandah sale include Alaska cruises and Land+Sea Journeys, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, Canada and New England, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and South America, as well as holiday sailings. Thursday, December 7, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> By: The Associated Press Tuesday, May 8, 2018 Air France’s stock sinks as government warns on its future Share PARIS — Air France’s share price dived Monday after its CEO quit and the French government warned that the country’s flagship carrier might collapse.A new strike Monday over wage demands, meanwhile, prompted the cancellation of about 15% of Air France flights worldwide. The number of striking staffers appears to be slightly declining as the airline enters its 14th day of walkouts this year, but the labour action has already cost the company more than 300 million euros ($360 million) in a matter of weeks.Amid questions about its future management and direction, Air France’s share price plunged nearly 13% at the open Monday but recovered as the day went on. By early afternoon Paris time, Air France shares were down 9.7% at 7.31 euros.The share price woes follow the resignation Friday evening of Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac after workers rejected the company’s latest wage proposal.The Air France drama is posing yet another problem for President Emmanuel Macron’s government as he marks one year in office. The airline’s labour dispute come as separate strikes over Macron’s labour reforms are hitting France’s national railways.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksFrench Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Sunday said the government, which owns 14% of Air France, would not rescue the airline.He urged striking pilots, crew and ground staff to be “responsible” and said “the survival of Air France is at stake.”“Air France will disappear if it does not make the necessary efforts to be competitive,” he said on BFM television.The strikes have taken a heavier toll on Air France than management and investors expected, and the company last week forecast a “notably” lower income this year compared to 2017.Unions want a 5.1% pay rise this year, arguing that the company is making enough of a profit to meet their demands. They noted that their wages have been frozen since 2011 as the airline cut jobs and restructured.The company argues that the union demands would wipe out hard-earned gains from the restructuring, which was aimed at stemming years of losses and keeping Air France afloat, as well as jeopardize efforts to win back market share from low-cost airlines and big-spending Mideast and Asian carriers.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthAfter protracted negotiations, management last week offered a 2% pay rise this year and an additional 5% over 2019-2021.Employees rejected that offer Friday, prompting the CEO’s decision to step down. He called the dispute a “huge waste that can only make our competitors rejoice.”The Air France-KLM board asked Janaillac to stay on until May 15 when it will put a transitional leadership in place. Tags: Air Francelast_img read more

first_img TORONTO — WestJet says it is working on contingency plans to minimize any impact to its passengers in the event of a pilots strike and says that WestJet will offer passengers a full refund if travel plans are disrupted.The latest statement from Lyell Farquharson, Vice President Sales & Distribution, WestJet Airlines also notes that if the ALPA’s Master Executive Council (MEC), the union representing WestJet’s pilots, decides to call for a strike, they are required to provide WestJet with a 72-hour notice of the strike. “Strike mandates are a relatively common collective bargaining tactic. It does not mean that a strike will take place,” says Farquharson, adding that the strike authorization does not include WestJet Encore.As reported earlier, to support the progress being made at the bargaining table the ALPA has committed to WestJet that no industrial action will take place over the Victoria Day long weekend. “This will allow the bargaining teams to meet every day next week, working towards reaching a mutually-supported agreement,” says Farquharson.He adds: “I recognize and appreciate the frustration this uncertainty brings. We are working diligently towards a negotiated settlement.”WestJet’s pilots union may be armed with a strike mandate but both the union and the airline are still negotiating in good faith and the ALPA says it’s committed to staying at the bargaining table for as long as it takes to get a first collective agreement.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesThe latest statement from WestJet echoes the union’s determination to hammer out a deal. “We remain at the negotiation table to drive a sustainable agreement, in the best interest of our pilots, 13,000 WestJetters and the 70,000 guests who fly with us daily,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO.Sims added: “We acknowledge the outcome of this vote and recognize the mandate WestJet pilots have given ALPA.”As reported yesterday WestJet pilots voted overwhelmingly to give their union a strike mandate, and could walk off the job starting May 19.The Air Line Pilots Association says members voted 91% in favour of strike action. About 95% of WestJet’s 1,500 pilots and WestJet Encore’s 500 pilots voted.The result was announced with eight days remaining in the 21-day cooling-off period after which the union can launch a strike or the airline can lock out employees.Although the pilots will be in a legal position to start job action on May 19, the union says it has committed to not strike over the Victoria Day long weekend as bargaining continues.“We are certain our guests will appreciate that this update confirms their travel will be unaffected over the Victoria Day long weekend,” said Sims.WestJet and its pilots have been in contract negotiations since September. A major issue for the union is the company’s hiring of outside pilots for its new ULCC Swoop, set to launch in June.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”On April 27 Farquharson has released a letter to the airline’s partners to ease concerns. “Our President and CEO, Ed Sims, is committed to negotiating a successful agreement with ALPA and I can assure you that our flight operations continue uninterrupted.“We remain focused on working with ALPA and continuing the momentum we have achieved through the bargaining process, which is scheduled to continue in April, May and June. We are confident we will reach a successful conclusion.”Soon after the strike vote results were announced Air Canada sent out a statement saying it was adding capacity on key transcontinental routes by up-gauging aircraft on certain flights from Toronto to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax, from Vancouver to Calgary, Edmonton, and from Calgary to Montreal.Meanwhile WestJet’s negotiations with the ALPA continue in Halifax.“We’re making progress on some of the smaller issues that we hoped to clear up quite some time ago but I believe we’ll be addressing a lot of the major issues in the coming week,” said Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of the WestJet association’s master executive council.With files from The Canadian Press Clock is ticking as WestJet, ALPA head back to the bargaining table Tags: WestJet Share Friday, May 11, 2018 center_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group last_img read more

first_img Share Tags: Profit Report, Statistics, WestJet Wednesday, December 5, 2018 By: The Canadian Press TORONTO — WestJet Airlines Ltd. aims to lift its profits over the next four years, predicting earnings growth of 40% on a per share basis between 2019 and 2022 after a turbulent year.Soaring fuel costs, labour unrest and steep competition at home and abroad caused Canada’s second-largest airline to incur its first loss in 13 years during the second quarter, followed by a steep year-over-year drop in the third quarter – which nonetheless bounced back into the black.Revenues and efficiency were “nowhere near” the airline’s potential, chief executive Ed Sims said at a WestJet investor conference in Toronto Tuesday.Strong demand, more branded fares and higher ancillary fees will boost its revenue per available seat mile to between two per cent and four per cent in 2019, Sims said.Branded fares bundle various perks – such as pre-reserved seats and baggage checks – at a higher total price.Earlier this year, the airline launched transatlantic service on the first three of an expected 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in a bid for business passengers that challenges Air Canada’s transatlantic dominance.A crowded domestic market resulted in “over-supply” and weaker revenue per available seat mile – a key industry metric that divides operating income by passenger carrying capacity.A freshly expanded Flair Airlines, soon-to-launch Canada Jetlines Ltd., and Air Canada’s low-cost Rouge are all crowding the budget airspace that WestJet has flown into with its four-month-old, ultra-low-cost Swoop.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamThe market saturation means WestJet will “step back from profitless volume,” Sims said.The airline aims to grow passenger capacity by between 6.5 per cent and 8.5 per cent next year, mainly through three Dreamliners embarking on non-stop service from Calgary to Dublin, Paris and London’s Gatwick Airport this spring.Only a sliver of the beefed-up capacity will come from the domestic realm, where Swoop plans to expand its fleet to 10, WestJet said.The airline is battling with Air Canada on a number of fronts. Its Encore regional service goes up against Air Canada Express and its ultra-low-cost Swoop airline recently launched flights to the U.S. and the Caribbean, in competition with Air Canada’s six-year-old Rouge unit.On top of a long-range fleet that still dwarfs WestJet’s, Air Canada’s recent deal as the lead of a consortium to buy the Aeroplan reward program from Aimia Inc. represents another potential advantage Sims hopes to reduce through a travel rewards partnership with Mastercard and the Royal Bank of Canada.Sims appeared undaunted by his biggest competitor’s purchase of Aeroplan, announced Nov. 26.“I don’t have a concern,” he said in an interview Friday.“I think competition in this space is healthy. It forces both coalitions to strengthen the relationship, and I would characterize our relationship with RBC and Mastercard as every bit as strong as our competitor’s relationship with TD, CIBC and VISA.”More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughts“We fully expect a number of our passengers to be carrying both cards,” he added.On Tuesday his airline broadened its codeshare agreement with Qantas Airways, giving WestJet access to the Australian carrier’s flights between Los Angeles and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, along with any attendant reward miles. WestJet’s joint venture with Delta Air Lines, announced in July, opens up more of the southern U.S. and western European markets via flights to Atlanta and Barcelona. Nonetheless, luring high-flying passengers away from Air Canada without an alliance network to top it off could prove tough.WestJet remains outside the constellation of major airline alliances, comprised of Star Alliance – of which Air Canada is a member – SkyTeam and Oneworld.Next year, WestJet expects to spend about $1.1 billion on deposits and purchases related to the Dreamliners and Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body aircraft. It also plans expenditures of about $980 million in 2020 and $1.1 billion in 2021 on seven more Dreamliners.The company has signed a letter of intent to sell and lease back the first three Dreamliners, on track for delivery early next year. << Previous PostNext Post >> WestJet aims for turnaround after turbulent yearlast_img read more

first_img SINGAPORE — Art can be many things to many people. It can be a rare Picasso, a beautiful dance routine or, as one prankster has proven, a simple pen on the floor of an art gallery.Jack Sim, who according to his Facebook page is a teaching fellow at Singularity University in California, paid a recent trip to the Singapore National Gallery where he decided to pull off a mini experiment.He put a pen on the floor in the centre of a black outlined box and it wasn’t long before people stopped to analyze the impromptu ‘exhibit’. Accompanying a photo he posted on Facebook, Sim wrote: “I tried this experiment by putting a pen on the floor. Soon, we’ve got audience wondering how this is a piece of art and they started taking photos of my pen.”After a while, Sim picked up the pen, making people realize it wasn’t art after all (and leading many to feel pretty foolish, we’re sure).More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerSim’s little stunt is reminiscent of the one pulled off by two teenagers in 2016, who placed a pair of glasses on the floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. That, too, was gawked at and photographed, proving that art is very much subjective.LMAO WE PUT GLASSES ON THE FLOOR AT AN ART GALLERY AND… pic.twitter.com/7TYoHPtjP8— TJ (@tjohntailor) May 24, 2016 Posted by Travelweek Group Friday, April 12, 2019 Tags: Art, Funnycenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Someone put a pen on the floor of a national gallery and everyone thought it was artlast_img read more

first_imgInvestigators from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested Thursday two National Police officers for allegedly stealing ₡100,000 (some $190) from a Nicaraguan citizen.The suspects, identified as Camacho, 38, and Fuentes, 27, work at the downtown police station in San José.The investigation indicated that the event occurred on April 17 this year, when at about 11:00 pm, the victim was walking near Parque La Merced in downtown San José. Apparently, the suspects stopped him and told him to get into the police car. After a tour, they took him to Barrio Cuba neighborhood, southwest of downtown San José, where they beat him and stole the cash.OIJ authorities said in a press release the suspects could be linked to other similar crimes. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. The Security Commission for the Central American Games meets this week for a second workshop in preparation for security at next year’s Central American Games.The event, slotted for March 2013, will be the largest multisport tournament ever held in Costa Rica, and will require significant security coordination within San José. “As we get closer to the start of the games, we are focused on providing tight security for one of the most important aspects of the event,” said Jorge Villalobos, secretary general of the event. “Security plays a fundamental role for the athletes and others participating in this sporting celebration.”  The workshop’s participants include experts in event security and terrorism prevention from the United Nations, Canada and Nicaragua, among others.  Two of the workshop’s guests, Brian Powrie, from the U.N.’s Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute, and Brendan Heffernan, from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, will stick around for the weekend to observe security at Saturday’s Festival de la Luz.By the end of the workshop, the commission plans to have six possible security plans, one of which will be selected and implemented a month before the start of the games.“Our goal is to share our concerns with these security experts for massive international events in order to gain insight into the results of their previous experiences,” said Marcelo Solano, with the Security Commission. “By the end of the seminar we will have something from which to base our suggestions to improve the final national security plan for the games, which we plan to have ready in January, prior to the start of the torch relay.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. CARACAS – Ailing President Hugo Chávez cannot return home in time for his inauguration on Thursday and will take the oath of office at a later date before the Supreme Court, the government announced.The announcement confirming that Chávez, 58, is too sick to make it back in time for Thursday’s inauguration came in a letter to the National Assembly from Vice President Nicolás Maduro.“According to the recommendation of the medical team, … the process of post-operative recovery must extend beyond January 10 of the current year, reason for which he will not be able to appear on that date before the National Assembly,” the letter, which was read by National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello, stated.The letter went on to say that in keeping with Article 231 of the Constitution, Chávez would take the oath before the Supreme Court at a later date. Chávez’s allies call the president’s swearing-in a “formality” that can be fulfilled sometime after Jan. 10.The long-expected decision came amid a storm of controversy over whether his current term can be extended beyond Jan. 10, and calls by the opposition for the Supreme Court to intervene.“I do not know what the judges of the Supreme Court are waiting for. Right now in Venezuela, without any doubt whatsoever, a constitutional conflict has arisen,” opposition leader and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said.The government plans to hold a huge pro-Chávez rally on Thursday – a reminder of the 55 percent support that won the leftist firebrand a convincing re-election.A key opposition leader, meanwhile, had called for street protests on Thursday, raising the risks of confrontation in the country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves.Throughout his illness, first detected in June 2011, Chávez has refused to relinquish the powers of the presidency, even when leaving for Cuba for his fourth and most difficult round of surgery.Chávez is suffering from a severe pulmonary infection that has resulted in a “respiratory insufficiency,” officials have said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. Not as famous as the presidential airplane “Air Force One,” the modified limousine that transports U.S. President Barack Obama is practically a war tank.The armored – and always black – Cadillac often referred to as “Cadillac One” or “Limo One” includes an impressive ammount of security measures, among them, its own system of oxygenation and an armored structure able to withstand the direct impact of bombs, grenades and sniper shots. Bottles of the president’s blood are kept on board in case he needs an emergency transfusion.“The Beast,” as the Secret Service refers to the heavily armored vehicle, is driven by a chauffeur specially trained by the Secret Service in the most demanding of driving conditions, including escape and evasion and 180-degree “J-turns.” It is transported inside a C-17 Globemaster III from U.S. Air Force.The vehicle’s body has a 12 centimeters ballistic structure of steel, aluminum, titanium and ceramic to protect the base of the car in case of explosion of bombs or rolling granades. In addition, the gas tank is shielded, for preventing explotions from a direct impact. The windows are made of 12 centimeters of ballistic glass, and armour-plated eight-inch doors are the weight of a cabin door on a Boeing 757 jet.Tires are “run flat” and reinforced with kevlar, meaning that if struck, ballistic steel rims support the 10-ton weight of the car to escape at 60 miles per hour.The driver’s cabin has a communications center with GPS, fax, wireless network, and a laptop and satellite phone connected to the Pentagon, the CIA and the vice president office.The defense system has night vision cameras, pump-action shotguns and tear gas cannons.The presidential motorcade consists of up to 45 modified limousines escorting Cadillac One.Right behind The Beast, the USSS Electronic Countermeasures Suburban is used to counter nuclear, biological and chemical attacks.The number of vehicles depends on the risk level of the destination. In Costa Rica, seven vehicles likely will escort the Limo One.This is Obama’s second presidential visit to Central America after a meeting in El Salvador in 2011. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:What keeps Johnny Araya awake at night? Following rival’s campaign exit, candidate Solís says voter abstention could delegitimate his presidency Solís seeks 1 million votes in runoff election to strengthen his mandate Video: Opposition candidate Luis Guillermo Solís casts his ballot, encourages Ticos to vote Easily surpassing his goal of 1 million votes Sunday night, Costa Rican President-elect Luis Guillermo Solís has claimed a mandate to govern, but the realities of running a government still loom, analysts said on Monday.The 55-year-old university professor who started the presidential race as a political unknown surged to a surprising first-place finish with his Citizen Action Party on Feb. 2 and claimed a record-breaking 1.3 million votes – 77.8 percent support – in Sunday’s runoff amid fears that high absenteeism would undercut his political capital. The victory interrupted over 40 years of two-party rule in Costa Rica.“He has credibility as the anti-politician because he never ran for elected office,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.“The message is that even though the country wants a change from politics as usual it’s not prepared to go a more radical route,” Shifter said. “Solís’ victory is further evidence that there is a malaise with traditional politics. He’s an example that the people are looking for alternatives, and being someone without elected political experience can be an asset and an advantage.”Recommended: Non-career politician Luis Guillermo Solís wins Costa Rica presidential runoff in a landslideAt his first press conference as president-elect Monday morning, Solís promised swift action against corruption after he takes office on May 8, including an overhaul of the country’s troubled private concessions for public infrastructure projects.Eric Olson, associate director of the Woodrow Wilson Centers’ Latin American Program, told The Tico Times Solís had reached the threshold to claim a mandate, despite the 43 percent voter abstention rate.“Forty-three percent is not unusually high, and since he set a goal of a million votes and got more than that, I think he can claim a mandate, especially since the most important political party historically essentially bowed out of the second round,” Olson said.But the mandate is not enough to wrangle the fractious incoming Legislative Assembly, one where the ruling National Liberation Party holds a majority in the 57-seat legislature.“PAC has a relatively small presence. They’re going to have to work together to see what are the priority issues and how they can build coalitions to make progress on these issues,” Shifter said.The think tank president said Solís would have to rein in the various fractions of PAC lawmakers as well as reach across the aisle to other parties.“Solís has been able to demonstrate political skills by winning his party’s nomination, which was not easy, and by running an effective campaign and winning the support of a broad spectrum of Costa Rican society. Now he’s got to face an even harder task of getting through his agenda,” he added.“The challenges and expectations that have been set are enormous,” Olson said.Solís and the PAC might have their own challenges in the coming years, but the task is greater still for the National Liberation Party, stinging from its worst defeat in the party’s history.“Liberation has a high mountain to climb to re-establish itself as the predominant political force in Costa Rica,” Olson said, adding that the party needed to revamp its leadership, develop new ideas and show that it is in touch with Costa Rican voters.Olson said that while other parties in similar circumstances might crumble, PLN would likely hold on. He noted that PLN already survived a schism that created the soon-to-be ruling PAC in 2000. The party is still in a position to leverage its majority in the Legislative Assembly, 18 seats, to rebuild its public image before the next election in 2018.The Woodrow Wilson scholar concluded that Solís’ election was a surprise that demonstrated the strength of Costa Rica’s democratic tradition. “A relative outsider from a party without much history was strong and capable of winning the campaign and so many votes,” Olson said, “That’s a positive thing.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Police find 9,400 sea turtle eggs in car trunk outside Nicoya US government sued over sea turtles snared in shrimp nets Delays and blunders: A timeline of the Jairo Mora murder trial in Costa Rica Police catch poachers with more than 300 sea turtle eggs Rings, earrings, combs and bracelets are among the items seized by officials from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) during an Easter Holy Weekcrackdown on wildlife trafficking. The 82 pieces of jewelry were made from the shells of endangered hawksbill turtles, a violation of the country’s Wildlife Law.According to a press release from SINAC, officials found the jewelry for sale along a stretch of coastline in Puntarenas popular with souvenir-seeking tourists. A marine biologist confirmed that the jewelry was made of hawksbill shells and valued the pieces at ₡300,000 ($550).According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the hawksbill sea turtle has been critically endangered since 1996. Known for its multi-colored shell, the hawksbill has long been hunted by craftsmen for jewelery. The turtles can be spotted on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast from July to October, and on the Pacific coast from July to September. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_img Facebook Comments Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is small beans compared to Puerto Viejo.Starting Thursday night and lasting all weekend, the Caribbean beach town will be celebrating all things chocolate with the Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival. The festival will bring together more than 40 chocolate vendors and local restaurants from throughout the Talamanca region to show off their tastiest chocolate creations.“Everything is going to be smothered, covered or made with chocolate,” said Sorrel Weiss, one of the festival’s organizers. “All of your chocolate dreams can come true.”Now in its third iteration, the festival is designed to bring attention to the reemerging gourmet chocolate market on the country’s Caribbean slope. For centuries, cacao was one of the dominant crops in the Caribbean, but a devastating fungus outbreak in the 1970s and 80s spurred many of the region’s farmers to abandon their cacao plantations or convert them into banana farms. With the fungus now under control, farmers are again planting cacao, and local chocolatiers are jumping on the bandwagon as well.For more on Costa Rica’s growing chocolate businesses see: Costa Rica’s chocolate comeback“The cacao grown here is of a very high quality, and what we are trying to do is make this whole coast known for its cacao,” said Tom Franklin, the owner of Bread and Chocolate, a restaurant in Puerto Viejo. “Things like this festival help businesses like mine because people will begin to see Puerto Viejo as a chocolate destination. We aren’t really doing this competitively, but more as a community.”But that community will have some friendly competition during the festival with a series of “chocolate throwdowns,” chocolate-making competitions judged by a panel of professional tasters, and, on Friday night, a people’s choice brownie bake-off that will give the general public will get a chance to try their hand at judging.The main event starts Saturday at Hot Rocks in downtown Puerto Viejo where doors open at 11 a.m. for free live music and chocolate samples from vendors. Attendees can check out the chocolate spa, featuring cacao beauty products, the beer garden, with chocolate beers and cocktails, or purchase chocolate from any of the vendors. Tickets are also available for the chocolate tasting lounge Saturday night, where chocolate professionals will teach attendees how to pair chocolate with different types of alcohol. On Sunday, the festival will wind down with a free chocolate crawl, featuring dishes from restaurants across Puerto Viejo.“The goal with this has always been to make Puerto Viejo known for its chocolate and cacao,” said Jeanne Johnson, who runs the bean-to-bar chocolate operation Caribeans with her husband Paul. “This area really has so much potential, and this festival helps show that.”For the full schedule of chocolate festival events, visit the festival’s website. Related posts:Health Ministry shuts down Chocolate Festival Delicious take-aways from the Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival Costa Rica’s chocolate comeback San José’s Feria de Chocolate highlights growth in Costa Rican chocolate industrylast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Christmas cheer, oxcart parades, and other happenings around Costa Rica Bullfights, punk bands, and other happenings around Costa Rica Cowboys, coffee, and other happenings around Costa Rica Nativity scenes, funk music, and other happenings around Costa Rica Festival de la LuzSuppose you could combine (a) Las Vegas, (b) Santa’s village and (c) The Rose Bowl into one massive party. The result would look something like the Festival de la Luz, a nocturnal carnival of color that marches its way across the city this Saturday evening. Featuring all kinds of brightly lit floats, marching bands, and (of course) a fireworks display, the “Festival of Light” is the most bombastic way to start the Christmas celebration. This parade has been a staple of Costa Rican Decembers since 1996 – and it’s especially magical for the niños.Festival de la Luz takes place Dec. 13 in downtown San José. 6 p.m. Free. Info: Festival website.Dance: Flamenco PerformanceThe story of Spanish migration unfolds in this powerful flamenco tribute by Al Ándalus.“Con El Alma Aferrada” performs Dec. 14 at the Teatro Eugene O’Neill, Los Yoses. 4 & 7 p.m. ₡11,000 ($22). Info: Al Ándalus website. An antique bill showcases the artwork of Tomás Povedano, the Spanish painter who would become a Costa Rican hero. Courtesy RedCulturaExhibit: “Tomás Povedano and Costa Rican Cash”The Spanish artist Tomás Povedano already had a shining career before his moved to Costa Rica and designed the national currency. Catch this numismatic retrospective at the National Bank Museums.“Tomás Povedano y Los Billetes de Costa Rica” continues through Aug. 1, 2015, at the National Bank Museums, downtown San José. Openly daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ₡1,500. Info: Bank Museums website.Chicharrón FairPrepare yourself for pork rinds – and arguably the best in the country. Chicharrón is a favorite Costa Rican food that is made almost everywhere, but the town of Puriscal is especially famous for their cuts of deep-fried pork. Savor this delicacy with thousands of like-minded folks, then enjoy music, games, dancing, a horse parade, and even some good old-fashioned bullfights. Cradled in the hills west of San José, Puriscal is the perfect place to enjoy some campesino living.La Feria del Chicharron Purisceño takes place Feb. 5-14 at the Puriscal fairgrounds. Info: SiCultura.Holiday Shopping: Tropical MarketStock up on holiday gifts at this four-day arts and crafts market in the Antigua Aduana. Stock up on everything from jewelry to gourmet coffee.Mercado Tropical takes place Dec. 11-14 at Antigua Aduana, Barrio Aranjuez. Thu.-Sun., 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Free. Info: Event Facebook page. Courtesy RedCulturaDance: “Qadim: Ancient Dances, Timeless Dances”Choreography from ancient Egypt, Syria, and Persia come alive, along with the poetry of Rumi, during this collaborative performance. Tickets sales will help fund a future performance in Switzerland.“Qadim” takes place Dec. 14 at the Aduana Theater, Barrio Aranjuez. Dance: “The Nutcracker”See Tchaikovsky’s Christmas masterpiece come alive on the National Theater’s refurbished new stage.“El Cascanueces” will be performed Dec. 5-14 at The National Theater, downtown San José. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 11 & 5 p.m. ₡16,000-32,000 ($32-64). Info: National Theater website.Theater: “A Christmas Carol”“Un Cuento de Navidad” receives its annual production at Teatro Espressivo, thanks to a stage adaptation by Paul Stebbings.“Un Cuento de Navidad” continues through Dec. 21 at Teatro Espressivo, Tres Ríos. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m. ₡7,000-10,000 ($14-20). Info: Teatro Espressivo website.Theater: “The Abominable Snowman”What do Santa Claus, a magic clock, a monstrous Yeti, and a “Labyrinth of Solitude” have in common? They are all part of “El Ogro de las Nieves,” a whimsical family comedy at Teatro Triciclo.Dec. 7 & 14 at Teatro Triciclo, Avenida Escazú. Sundays, 11 a.m. ₡4,000 ($8). Info: Teatro Triciclo website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgLONDON (AP) – One Royal Air Force crew member has died and two others are believed dead following the crash of two Tornado jets off the Scottish coast, British officials said Wednesday.The two-seat GR4 Tornado jets were flying over the Moray Firth inlet, off eastern Scotland, when contact with them was lost on Tuesday. Two crew members were plucked from the water and hospitalized. The search for the other two was suspended that night due to bad weather. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The Ministry of Defense said Wednesday that one officer from 15 (Reserve) Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, had died and another is in serious but stable condition in a hospital.Group Capt. Ian Gale, Station Commander at the base, confirmed that two personnel remain unaccounted for and that due to “extremely poor” weather conditions the search operation remains suspended.“The operation will be resumed as a recovery operation as soon as possible, but we must be realistic: given the length of time that has elapsed since the accident, there is no expectation of recovering missing personnel alive,” he said in a statement. He said the RAF has been in contact with the next of kin of all involved.Gale refrained from offering details on what caused the crash, saying only that the incident would be fully investigated.Britain’s GR4 Tornados have been involved in several crashes in recent years.The aircraft most recently saw action with the RAF over Libya and has also been used in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are not part of the Ministry of Defense’s multi-tiered defense plan for the upcoming London Olympics, which will depend on Typhoon jets to be used in London airspace. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019 Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more