Heres your first look at Lufthansas new Business Class coming 2020

first_imgTags: Lufthansa Here’s your first look at Lufthansa’s new Business Class, coming 2020 Tuesday, November 28, 2017 FRANKFURT — Lufthansa is promising the “finest and most peaceful sleep above the clouds” with its brand new Business Class concept, which will be available for the first time in 2020 with the rollout of the Boeing 777-9.Compared to its predecessors, the Boeing 777-9 features a considerably wider cabin. In the new Business Class, all passengers will have direct access to the aisle, made possibly by a 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 seat configuration.The new Business Class seats, which were developed exclusively for the German premium airline, stretch to a length of 86.6 inches, with backrests that make it possible for the shoulder to sink in while lying on one’s side. This allows for the spine to stay straight while lying down. Moreover, seats feature an increased amount of personal space, more privacy as well as generous storage compartments.Depending on their personal needs, passengers can choose between a variety of spatial configurations. For example, they can choose to have an extended-length bed or a seat with tice as much desk space.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionPlus, due to digital interfaces, all functions of the seat, as well as the in-flight entertainment system, can be controlled using the passenger’s personal device. Smartphones and tablets can be recharged at the seat using wireless technology. And in the future, anyone who wants to watch movies from the extensive entertainment program will be able to watch blockbusters on much larger screens, in full HD.“The new, ultra-modern Lufthansa Business Class creates a new global benchmark. It offers our passengers a unique travel experience,” said Harry Hohmeister, Member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “We have consistently and continuously refined our range of premium products for our guests and modernized Lufthansa. Our focus is and has always been on the wishes of our customers and their specific needs. We want to provide them with the perfect travel experience. The new Business Class showcases the full innovative capacity of Lufthansa.”In the upcoming year, there will already be certain innovations in the existing Business Class that will significant improve comfort. These include mattresses geared to aid in sleep-wellness on long, intercontinental flights as of early 2018. Plus, not only will Business Class passengers be offered new, lined blankets, they’ll also be provided with sleepwear upon request, which have thus far only been available in First Class. Posted bycenter_img Travelweek Group Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Fly for free to Europe with ACVs latest offer

first_imgFly for free to Europe with ACV’s latest offer Posted by Travelweek Group Wednesday, November 7, 2018 MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has launched a new limited-time offer with Celebrity Cruises that allows cruisers to fly for free to Europe.Until Nov. 25, when clients book a Celebrity Cruise to Europe departing from Rome, Barcelona, London, Athens or Venice, the first and second guest in the stateroom will fly for free and pay only flight taxes.This offer is valid when booking an oceanview stateroom or higher for select sailings between March 1 and Oct. 31, 2019.With nonstop flights from Toronto, clients can take advantage of itineraries like a seven-night Eastern Mediterranean & Adriatic cruise package aboard the Celebrity Infinity departing on Aug. 17, 2019 from Rome to Venice, inclusive of flights and starting at $2,199 per person, double occupancy.The promotion is based on Economy class service with a maximum flight savings of $299 per person from Toronto or Montreal. Guests are responsible for paying the flight taxes, which are approximately $600 per person.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthThe offer is only applicable to non-discounted fares, open jaw flights and new bookings with a minimum seven-night stay.ACV is also reminding agents of its checked baggage policy with Economy Basis fare, in which the first bag is free when booking a Europe cruise package with ACV.center_img Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Celebrity Cruises, Europe, Offers Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Canadian travellers safe after witnessing kidnapping of American tourist in Uganda

first_img Share Tags: Canada, Uganda Friday, April 5, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> KAMPALA — An elderly Canadian couple came face-to-face with armed gunmen while on safari in Uganda this week, but managed to escape unharmed.Global Affairs Canada confirms two Canadian citizens were present during an ambush of tourists in the country on Tuesday.Spokesman Richard Walker says the couple are safe and have been provided with consular services.Ugandan security forces are searching for a U.S. citizen and a local driver who were abducted in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and authorities say the kidnappers have demanded a $500,000 ransom.Police say the kidnapped American is a 35-year-old woman.Abductions in Uganda’s protected areas are rare. Queen Elizabeth National Park, in southwest Uganda along the porous border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a popular safari destination. Canadian travellers safe after witnessing kidnapping of American tourist in Uganda By: The Associated Presslast_img read more

Tamarindo Talk

first_imgNo related posts. Looking for a private chef? Try Jay’s Private Chef Services of Tamarindo/Langosta. Owner Jay Ferreira, a graduate of the Culinary Business Academy, offers culinary services for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As an added amenity, Jay will also give cooking classes for the kitchen-challenged. Check out his website, privatechefjay.com, or call 8578-1578.Lorena King is offering private yoga therapy and retreats in the Tamarindo area. She uses a holistic approach to her practice, and is certified in Bikram yoga, reiki and macrobiotic nutrition. Private sessions include a nutritional assessment, meditation and breath work with Thai massage, and reiki body work incorporating Hatha yoga poses. Lorena offers raw food, vegetarian and vegan catering with a private raw-foods chef. If you want a more rigorous yoga session, Lorena works with a certified Ashtanga teacher to fulfill those requirements. Information can be found at www.yogatamarindo.com and you can email her at lorena@yogatamarindo.com.El Coconut Restaurant is on its annual vacation. It will reopen June 5. El Coconut Beach Club in Potrero is also on a break, and it will reopen June 8.Tomorrow, The Village in front of Country Day School will have a flea market from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and an organic market on Tuesday from 2-6 p.m.Lots of news from CEPIA. The annual Robert August Surf & Turf, which took place last April and drew participants from Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia and Costa Rica, raised $13,000 for the organization. The money will go to activities like the After-School Program 2012, which offers classes to 240 kids. In addition, CEPIA offers popular free courses for those 16 and older who want to learn haircutting, massage, English, crafts, cooking, computing, yoga and how to make eco-jewelry.–Ellen Zoe Goldenellenzoe@aol.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rican presidents State of the Nation speech focuses on security trade

first_imgIn her annual State of the Nation speech before members of the Legislative Assembly Wednesday night, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla pushed forward the message that despite overwhelming public disapproval of her administration, her government has had achieved several major accomplishments. Yet in a tone that has become common for the unpopular president of the dominating National Liberation Party – which earlier in the day secured the presidency of the Assembly in an annual May Day vote by lawmakers – Chinchilla acknowledged that “there is still a lot of work to do and challenges that we have not been able not overcome.”Speaking to lawmakers, Cabinet members and invited dignitaries for 75 minutes, Chinchilla admitted her administration still faces high rates of unemployment and poverty, and officials have been unsuccessful at reducing a social-economic gap among citizens.Chinchilla, who took office in 2010 as Costa Rica’s first woman to hold the presidency, also cited progress, including 5 percent growth in the national economy, “the highest in the last 15 years,” as well as a drop in interest rates and the blockage of short-term investments that threatened the country’s economic balance.She highlighted an earlier and successful issuance of Eurobonds that helped reduce the country’s staggering fiscal deficit, which last year topped $2 billion, or 4.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The speech also addressed foreign trade by highlighting an increase of 10 percent in exports and positive performance by companies, which helped Costa Rica surpass by $200 million a $2 billion annual export goal. That positive news came mostly because of high-technology and free-zone companies.On social development, Chinchilla said the most notable accomplishments include poverty rates that leveled off for the first time in five years and actually began decreasing (by 1 percent). She also highlighted the success of one of her flag projects: a national daycare program that increased coverage by 75 percent, with 79,000 new children added. Public security was another of the president’s main focuses. The president, who campaigned on the issue in 2010, reported a decrease of nearly 50 percent in homicides in 2012, of 15 percent for car theft, and 10.6 percent for home invasions. She said “local police forces were able to disrupt some 350 criminal organizations.”As for what is missing, Chinchilla said three factors are preventing her administration from moving forward: “First, our democratic system is not responding to the timing and quality demanded by our citizens,” she said.She cited limited management and technical skills in most public institutions, as well as a complicated system of rules that encourage paralysis in public administration.A second problem is caused by an incapacity for dialogue and the polarization of public debate, the president said. “The prevalence of antagonistic interests and the radicalization of positions hinders the necessary negotiation process for democracy to move forward,” she stated.Finally, the president refered to “despicable acts of corruption in public administration that have been generating a deep distrust of politics” referring probably to scandals such as the construcion of a road along the border with Nicaragua, that ended with the dismissal of several officials.Chinchilla ended her speech by asking lawmakers to increase dialogue in order to expedite bills in the Assembly, proposed government programs and public works projects. Those stalled bills include reform on in vitro fertilization – which Costa Rica must implement following a recent Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling – and granting same-sex couples equal rights under the law.The president asked opposition parties to exercise “the unavoidable task of political control, which is essential yet taxing, and something with which the government is obliged to comply.”“My government does not ask for less, and expects no less,” Chinchilla said. No related posts. Facebook Commentscenter_img Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla delivers the annual State of the Nation address on Wednesday to lawmakers, administration officials, dignitaries and other invited guests at the Legislative Assembly in San José. Courtesy of Luis Navarro/La Naciónlast_img read more

Haitis first cardinal will tell pope of countrys woes

first_imgRelated posts:Haiti cholera victims file new lawsuit against UN How the Clintons’ Haiti development plans succeed – and disappoint Pope Francis to visit Cuba in latest move to support US-Cuba relations Pope Francis asks ‘forgiveness for the scandals’ PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – For the first time, a Haitian has been named a cardinal – and he’s vowing to “bring the reality” of his tiny, impoverished Caribbean country “into the heart of the Vatican.”Chibly Langlois, 56, is one of 19 who will be formally appointed to the Catholic Church’s College of Cardinals on Saturday at a ceremony at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.Just like the others, he was first named in an announcement by Pope Francis on Jan. 12.But for Langlois, the day already held special significance as the fourth anniversary of a massive earthquake that devastated Haiti.Langlois said he was moved by the pontiff’s choice of date for the announcement.“We understand that, with this nomination, the pope wants to invite us to cultivate joy even in the midst of sadness,” he said. “The joy, the suffering, the pain of the Haitian people are equally those of the Haitian church.”Nearly 170,000 people in Haiti remain homeless after the 2010 earthquake shattered the country and its basic infrastructure and killed 250,000 people.These days, Haiti is also weathering political strife, with President Michel Martelly currently in talks with the opposition and parliament to end a months-long stalemate over holding parliamentary elections, which were due to take place two years ago.Langlois, as the head of Haiti’s Catholic Church, is involved in both issues: what he calls a “major economic crisis” and a “political and institutional crisis.”He told AFP he would take all this experience with him to Rome.“I’m bringing the reality of the Haitian church to the heart of the College of Cardinals,” he said, adding that the church’s reality “is also Haiti’s reality.”“I am going to share with the pope the reality of Haiti: speak to him of our riches, of our weaknesses and our limits,” Langlois said.Haiti in crisis“We are in a society where there are many difficulties on the economic front. And the church is not from outer space — it is part of reality. What the people experience, the church experiences as well,” he emphasized.Critics — both from the opposition and from the church — have attacked the government for the slow pace of reconstruction after the quake.The devastation is still keenly felt in Port-au-Prince, the teeming capital of the Americas’ poorest country, where many are still living in makeshift housing, in very precarious conditions and sometimes facing eviction.“There are a lot of problems in families. People don’t have the means to meet their needs, to take on their responsibilities,” Langlois said.Haiti has recently seen an increase in anti-government protests, giving rise to clashes.Protesters are calling for the resignation of Martelly, who has been in office since 2011, as well as for better living conditions.Meanwhile, Langlois is working as a mediator in talks to help negotiate an agreement leading to new elections.He said the process is difficult, but emphasized that the discussions are crucial for the future of the country.“We don’t want to have a crisis that brings us to cry again for deaths in the country,” Langlois said.But — despite the difficulty of arriving at a political agreement — he remains optimistic.“I believe that we are on the right path. We are confident because all the conditions are there for us to sign this agreement,” Langlois explained.“What we are hoping for is that any accord reached be respected — for the good of all the stakeholders and for the good of the country in general.”Haiti’s president will attend Saturday’s ceremony at Saint Peter’s Basilica along with a group of 50 Haitians from across the country.Langlois said he also planned to invite Pope Francis to visit Haiti. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Volcano beer returns to the beach

first_imgRelated posts:The beer revolution comes to Costa Rica 3rd annual Craft Beer Fest offers a taste of the future in Costa Rica Brewery Treintaycinco wins silver in Brazilian beer competition 3rd annual Craft Beer Festival happening Saturday TAMARINDO, Guanacaste – This summer, taking a six-pack of Imperial to the beach may not be the only option for surfers and sunbathers hitting the sand for a day of fun in the waves.Beer lovers in Tamarindo and its surrounding beach towns can thank Joe Walsh, longtime resident and owner of Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, for broadening beer selection in the Guanacaste region.“First and foremost, I’m a surfer,” he said over the phone between sets on a surf trip in the Osa Peninsla. “I’m a brewery owner second.”But this diehard surfer and California native knows a thing or two about the beer industry.After establishing Witch’s Rock in 2001 – a company that started out of the school bus Walsh drove from California as he surfed his way through Central America to land in Tamarindo – he spent the next 10 years building his brand. In 2011, Witch’s Rock was a thriving business, but something still didn’t feel right.“I started Witch’s because I felt like it was the thing missing at the time,” Walsh recalled. “That’s sort of what happened with Volcano Brewing Company – I always joked this place would be perfect if only they had pale ale, but good beer was really still nonexistent.” Suzanna Lourie/The Tico TimesIn the 2000s, Walsh and countless other nostalgic expats watched the microbrew industry explode across the U.S. and Canada. Bars donned row upon row of taps pouring artisanal brews from across the globe. Costa Ricans, however, continued to happily swig Imperial and Pilsen – craft beer wasn’t on their radar.Years passed. Sick of waiting for that magical pale ale to suddenly show up on the supermarket shelves, Walsh decided to take matters into his own hands.In 2011, he became one of the pioneers in Costa Rica’s budding microbrew industry by opening the doors of Volcano Brewing Co., a combination hotel and pub brewery on the shores of Lake Arenal in the Northern Zone. Good beer, it seemed, was the only thing that could tear Walsh away from the waves – just for a little bit.“I’m not really into the whole driving away from the waves to the mountains kind of thing. It’s beautiful up there – don’t get me wrong. But it was temporary. The goal was always to get back to the beach,” he said.Finally, after three years of mountain-beach travel, Walsh was ready to bring Volcano Brewing Co. back home to Tamarindo, where is it now housed under the Witch’s Rock umbrella.“Everything takes longer than it should, … especially in Costa Rica, but we’re excited to finally be back at the beach and have everything in one place,” Walsh said.Moving to Tamarindo also meant closing the Arenal Hotel, a sad, but necessary move that allows Walsh more time to focus more on his two passions – beer and surfing – while getting back to his original vision for Volcano Brewing Co.When he started the company three years ago, craft-brewing equipment was scarce in Costa Rica. So in 2011 when Walsh received an offer to take over the lease to a hotel with built-in brew facilities, he jumped at the chance. The out-of-the-way location on the far shore of Lake Arenal kept the operation small, allowing the company ample time and space to master the brewing process and work out any kinks before expanding.Up to this point, the beer has only been served only at the onsite Arenal brewpub and Eat at Joe’s and El Vaquero in Tamarindo. But next week, Volcano Brewing Co. will celebrate an important milestone when Sharky’s Sports Bar in downtown Tamarindo becomes the first non-Witch’s Rock venue to sell Gato Negro Dark Ale and Witch’s Rock Pale Ale on tap.Sharky’s is the first step of a plan to bring Volcano brews to the area. Over the next few months, distribution will begin in Tamarindo, starting with restaurants and bars that already have a tap system, such as Pangas Beach Club in Tamarindo and Lola’s in Playa Avellanas. From there, distribution will continue throughout Guanacaste in upscale hotels such as the Four Seasons in Papagayo and nearby towns like Playas Flamingo and Potrero.“We actually don’t even have enough to serve everyone who wants to buy it right now, but it’s awesome to be growing in that direction,” Walsh said. “It’s a huge honor to know people want to sell our beer.”As the company expands, Walsh says Volcano Brewing will begin the canning process – a novel idea in the craft beer industry, but something Walsh feels is essential for a beach beer. Glass isn’t ideal for tossing in the cooler or the back of a pick-up truck, Walsh explained.“Cans aren’t necessarily the main packaging for a high-end beer, but that’s starting to change,” he added. “People are realizing quality beer can come in a can.”Another reason to can is the ease of distribution, particularly to bars that do not yet have tap systems in place. “There have definitely been hurdles,” Walsh says, “but it’s exciting to be part of an industry that is still in its infancy in this country.”He will also stay loyal to the surf world with Volcano Brewing’s planned distribution route – a path mirroring a traditional Costa Rican surf road trip beginning in northern Guanacaste and running down the Inter-American Highway all the way to the Panamanian border.“That’s basically our mission – to grow from Tamarindo, down the Coast and in San Jose as well,” Walsh said. “We’re a Tamarindo brand at heart, but there are a lot of thirsty surfers (and non-surfers) up and down the coast.”To stock Volcano brews in beach bars spanning over 500 kilometers from Witch’s Rock to Pavones, Walsh realizes Volcano Brewing still has a ways to go. Future plans include additional facilities, although the Tamarindo brew house will remain the Volcano Brewing Co’s showpiece at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo.As things move forward, Wash and his 80-plus team at Witch’s Rock expect to refine the Tamarindo facilities even further – opening up the brewery to connect to El Vaquero, add a third beer-focused bar and add a large thatched-roof rancho to shade large event groups and parties.“It’s happening in a couple of steps, but getting back to Tamarindo was the major part,” Walsh said. “We need to stay true to what we’re all about and that’s the beach.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Beyond the carrot and the stick persuasion hacks that get results

first_imgRelated posts:4 things you need to know before investing in a local startup The different flavors of starting a business Why changing too fast can hurt new businesses Money for startups: The key to creating more companies? It doesn’t matter if you are managing your own business, supervising a small department, or simply running a tight ship at home – you are always trying to influence and persuade people. You want your employees to commit to the company, your team members to adhere to some procedures and ways of doing things, or your kids to pick up their mess.From an early age, we have experienced and most likely used the old “carrot and the stick” approach, which assumes rewards and punishments generate an unequivocal causality towards promoting desired behaviors and deterring unwanted ones. At its core, the rationale behind rewarding wanted behavior and punishing unwanted behavior is not completely flawed; after all, this is how we were raised, how our schools kept us in check, and how most companies try to guide the actions of their employees. They can’t all be wrong, right?But have you ever experienced the limitations of this approach? Have you ever seen kids (perhaps even yours) disobey in spite of being fully aware of the consequences, or employees not giving their best in spite of the attractive bonuses offered? There’s no easy way to influence behavior, even when common sense would tell us that everybody should want to obtain a reward and avoid a punishment. Surprising as it may sound, we don’t always act in our self-interest, and knowing what’s best for us is not always enough.Let me share some examples of how the old ways of stirring behavior often fall short, and what alternatives we have to be more successful at making others go our way.Example 1. I told them to do it, so why won’t they? Equally common among managers and parents, the assumption is that because we told someone what to do, or how to do it, this should automatically translate into them doing it. If you think about it, although coercion can sometimes do the trick, most of the time we do things when it makes sense to us, when it makes our lives easier, or when it helps us achieve something we want.Hack #1: Reframe by showing what’s in it for them. Authority alone doesn’t fly, especially with younger generations. Instead, try to frame the situation as a choice where there’s something they can get out of it. Instead of handing down the solution, work with them finding one and make it about simplifying things or achieving more. Change is uncomfortable, and we don’t want to do it unless we see a good reason to. Help people see that reason by reframing and you’ll be more successful at influencing their actions.Example 2. They know they shouldn’t do it, so why do they?  The administration at an apartment complex was struggling to make residents comply with the rule of picking up their dog’s poop and disposing of it properly. The idea of not accidentally stepping on poop should be incentive enough for people to comply, right? Wrong. People would let their pooch evacuate freely on the lawn in spite of all the signs warning and threatening offenders.Hack # 2: Make it easier for people to act. What’s true in game and app design is true in poop-disposing habits: want people to do something? Make it easy for them to do it. It turns out most people were breaking the rule because they kept forgetting the baggie upstairs, and no sign in the world was going to make them ride the elevator and come back to pick it up. The solution? Place bag dispensers all over with a positively worded sign encouraging residents to keep it clean for the sake of kids.Example 3. We all have to do it, so why won’t they? A friend from a network marketing company was having trouble with people attending the weekly meetings. Team members always had a good excuse not to be there in spite of having committed to show up the week before. The problem was that their commitment was towards an individual (my friend), so as long as they felt they had a good alibi, they were ok with breaking it.Hack # 3: Use social proof to your advantage. Nobody wants to be a castaway, and we will go to great lengths not to feel left out. I advised my friend to work on building a team identity and make the members commit to the team instead of to a person. Making everyone feel they were part of something bigger was the first step, because that is what connects one’s identity to the higher purpose of the team. Once members feel this, it is substantially harder to bail on each other. This works equally in the military, in church and on your soccer team. The second step was to have the members publicly commit to showing up to the meetings so that, if they failed to show, they were letting down not a person – whom they could later bluff – but rather the entire team.These are just a few of the many behavioral nudges that you can use to increase your ability to influence others and to help people, or yourself, make better decisions. The old carrot and the stick don’t always deliver, and our little irrationalities could always use an extra nudge. As always, feel free to comment below to share your own experiences or contact me if you have any questions.Read more “Doing Business columns” here. Randall Trejos works as a business developer, helping startups and medium-sized companies grow. He’s the co-director of the Founder Institute in Costa Rica and a strategy consultant at Grupo Impulso. You can follow his blog La Catapulta or contact him through LinkedIn. Stay tuned for the next edition of “Doing Business,” published twice-monthly. 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Costa Rican Keylor Navas keeps historic Champions League shutout streak alive

first_imgKeylor Navas in the Champions League for Real Madrid:7 games7 clean sheets13 savesThe Costa Rican Wall. pic.twitter.com/tRpmGzbgHf— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 17, 2016 The pride of Costa Rica continues to shoot up the record books on football’s biggest stage. With a 2-0 Real Madrid win over Roma in the Champions League Round of 16 match on Wednesday, goalie Keylor Navas has extended his shutout streak to 630 minutes.Roma’s attack failed to test Navas in net for the entirety of the first half but kept the Costa Rican plenty busy in the second period.In the 54th minute, Roma’s Stephan El Shaarawy broke away down the left half of the field with a defender trailing him when Navas came far out of goal to make a sliding save that kicked the ball from El Shaarawy and kept the score at 0-0. Minutes later, Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo responded with a golazo that broke the ice for Madrid, which started to bombard Roma’s defense with constant pressure.Navas has yet to allow a goal in his five Champions League starts this season. Including two Champions League shutout starts with Madrid last year, Navas’ scoreless streak now in his Champions League career ranks as the third longest of all-time, according to noted football statistician Alexis Martín-Tamayo, aka Mr. Chip. Related posts:WATCH: Keylor Navas takes flight to make a miraculous diving save WATCH: Keylor Navas makes soaring save in Saturday’s Madrid Derby Keylor Navas puts on a show in Real Madrid win Keylor Navas’ coach at Real Madrid sacked, Spanish media reportcenter_img On several occasions during the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16, Roma nearly ended the scoreless streak by getting through the notoriously inconsistent Madrid defense. Reminiscent of Navas’ last Champions League start against Paris St. Germain, a couple shots ended up going just inches past the goal posts. In the match against Paris, Navas broke the record for the longest a goalkeeper has gone without conceding a goal since his debut. Navas is now 223 minutes, or about two and a half games, from eclipsing the longest stretch of any kind without allowing a goal in Champions League.In what was manager Zinedine Zidane’s most important game in his month and a half at the helm, Real Madrid’s defense looked somewhat improved against the Italian side.An 87th minute goal by Jesé not only put the game away, but gave Los Merengues an important two-goal lead going into the second and final leg, meaning Roma would need to beat Madrid by three goals to keep the Spanish from advancing to the quarterfinals of Europe’s most biggest club-level tournament.Madrid returns to Champion’s League action for its second game against Roma on March 8. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

From the outside Costa Ricas president calls for SICA reforms

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica to ‘take a hard look’ at its diplomatic missions, foreign minister says after meeting with US Secretary of State Kerry Costa Rica ‘cautiously’ rejoins SICA Costa Rica celebrates 66th anniversary of the abolition of its army CELAC should become an extreme poverty-free zone, says Ecuador’s foreign minister President Luis Guillermo Solís called on the Central American Integration System (SICA) to take up new challenges like climate change, immigration, and health concerns such as Zika during a speech in New York Sunday. The reprimand of the regional club’s narrow focus comes shortly after Costa Rica decided it didn’t want to be a full member of SICA.Along with calls for expanding the scope of the group, which is dedicated to the political and economic integration of Central American countries, Solís highlighted several longstanding problems with SICA, including a lack of transparency, accountability and a regional vision to present to the rest of the world. But despite the bloc’s problems, Costa Rica has little option but to keep working with its neighbors, international relations experts say.Costa Rica left SICA in frustration after the regional bloc failed to agree on a solution to the wave of Cuban immigration that left nearly 8,000 migrants stranded here in December. Costa Rica no longer participates in SICA’s executive committee, which oversees policy implementation and evaluation, nor does it join meetings of presidents and foreign ministers, or the Central American Security Commission. It does still participate in other parts of SICA, including forums on commerce and trade.During a trip to Guatemala in February, Solís said that Costa Rica’s return to SICA would require a roadmap for “effective and efficient integration.”Carlos Cascante, Director of the School of International Relations at Costa Rica’s National University, told The Tico Times that Costa Rica does not appear to be interested in the political project of regional integration. Costa Rica is the most stable country in the isthmus and that sense of exceptionalism has pushed the country to more developed clics outside Central America like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Alliance of the Pacific, a trade bloc of Latin America’s biggest economies.Cascante said that Costa Rica’s ambivalence toward the rest of Central America is balanced by its need to have established norms with its neighbors, especially when it comes to transportation, trade and commerce. Large trading partners, like the United States or the European Union, for example, insist on negotiating trade deals with the region as a single bloc. One reason is because of the market potential of Central America versus its individual countries. Costa Rica has just 4.8 million inhabitants while the total population of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement member states is more than 50 million.“Whether or not the countries in Central America see themselves as a bloc, the rest of the world does,” Cascante said.Paola Solano, director of International Relations at the Latin American University of Science and Technology, agreed. She said that SICA is “fundamental” for Central America, warts and all. That’s why she said that Costa Rica’s decision to “throw a tantrum” and leave the political leadership was a mistake.“Costa Rica leaving the table has weakened SICA and its own image as partner in the region,” Solano said. The “CRexit” did nothing to resolve the Cuban immigration crisis or head off later crises, like the latest wave of African migration, and has done nothing to support reforms of the regional bloc, she said.“You need to maintain dialogue with your neighbors,” she said.In the meantime, the clock is ticking before Costa Rica is set to assume SICA’s presidency pro tempore in January 2017. It’s unclear whether or not Costa Rica will find a way to re-integrate itself fully into SICA by then. Solano noted, “It would be awkward for Costa Rica to assume the presidency of an organization to which it is not a full member.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more