London: Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar has been inducted into the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Hall of Fame alongside South African pace legend Allan Donald. Tendulkar became the sixth Indian to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame, the previous bigwigs being Sunil Gavaskar, Bishan Singh Bedi, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid. Joining Tendulkar and Donald in the Hall of Fame was two-time World Cup-winning Australian woman cricketer Cathryn Fitzpatrick. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open”It is an honour to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, which cherishes the contribution of cricketers over generations. They have all contributed to the growth and popularity of the game and I am happy to have done my bit,” Tendulkar said at the induction ceremony held here. He thanked his family and coach, who has supported him in his journey in international cricket for close to two and half decades. “On this occasion, I would like to thank all of those who were by my side over a long international career. My parents, brother Ajit and wife Anjali have been pillars of strength while I was lucky to have someone like coach Ramakant Achrekar as an early guide and mentor,” the maestro said. Tendulkar, the most prolific batsman in history, was inducted immediately after becoming eligible for induction, which requires that a player should have played his last international match at least five years before. The 46-year-old former right-hand batsman is regarded the greatest to have played the game along with Sir Donald Bradman and remains the top run-accumulator in both Tests and ODIs.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is remaining mum on the ratification timeline for the new North American free-trade agreement but he says Canada will be aligning itself “very much” with the pace of the American legislative process.Trudeau says the trade pact between the U.S., Mexico and Canada is a “good deal” for Canadians and the government will keep moving forward on its ratification.“We’re going to be aligning ourselves very much with the pace of the American administration but the deal as it is is a good deal for Canadians is a great deal for people across the country,” Trudeau adds.Read more: Canada still enjoys old NAFTA benefits as new deal awaits ratification: Freeland“We’re looking forward to having a great conversation with moving forward with the ratification process,” he adds.Trudeau’s remarks came prior to a cabinet meeting this morning and after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled a motion in the Commons on Monday, laying the groundwork for ratifying the pact.Freeland has said the full lifting of the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on Canadian imports has helped to pave the way for a formal approval of the deal.Read more: Canada and U.S. reach deal on steel tariffsShe is expected to update her cabinet colleagues on plans to table the necessary legislation to ratify the deal that was signed on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires last November.On Thursday, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence will be in Ottawa, where he is expected to exchange views with Trudeau and Freeland on the legislative way forward in their two countries.-With files from Cormac Mac Sweeney
“If we take up the challenge, the positive impact will reverberate far beyond better access to clean water,” Mr. Ban said in a message to mark World Water Day, which is celebrated today. This year’s Day also coincides with the International Year of Sanitation.“Every dollar invested in water and sanitation yields an estimate seven dollars worth of productive activity. And that comes on top of the immeasurable gains in cutting poverty, improving health and raising living standards.”The Secretary-General described it as unconscionable that a child dies on average every 20 seconds because of sub-standard sanitation conditions – a situation endured by an estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide, or more than a third of the global population – that are preventable.“Poor sanitation combines with a lack of safe drinking water and inadequate hygiene to contribute to the terrible global death toll. Those who survive face diminished chances of living a healthy and productive existence. Children, especially girls, are forced to stay out of school, while hygiene-related diseases keep adults from engaging in productive work.”Halving the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) devised at a global leaders’ summit in 2000, but the world is far behind the pace to achieve that by the target date of 2015, Mr. Ban said.“Experts predict that by 2015, 2.1 billion people will still lack basic sanitation. At the present rate, sub-Saharan Africa will not reach the target until 2076.”This year’s World Water Day also coincides with the International Year of Sanitation.Population growth, widespread poverty and insufficient investment are among the key obstacles, but the Secretary-General noted that “the biggest culprit” is the lack of political will.Events are being held around the world this weekend to highlight World Water Day, including the staging of a public toilet queue demonstration to raise awareness about the sanitation crisis around the globe. A similar event was held in New York’s Central Park on Thursday. 22 March 2008A lack of political will remains the greatest obstacle to efforts to drastically reduce the number of people without access to basic sanitation and clean, running water, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling on the international community to take firmer and faster steps to tackle the problem.
“I am very shocked and distressed by this act of terror against school children,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara A. Otunnu, said. “It is unacceptable that any children anywhere should be subjected to these practices of brutalisation.”He called on the international community to focus on and make the protection of children a common cause. “We must mobilize all levels of international pressure to end these practices and ensure the ‘era of application’ for the protection of children,” he said.Mr. Annan yesterday called the hostage-taking “this criminal act directed against the most vulnerable members of society” and called for the immediate release of the victims estimated to number in the hundreds, many of them children.The Security Council issued a similar demand, calling the incident a “heinous terrorist act.” And UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Carol Bellamy added: “If we don’t respect the sanctity of childhood, then we have nothing.”
Le clair de Lune : un précieux allié pour l’oiseau pétrelPubliant son étude dans PLoS ONE, une équipe française a mis en évidence la façon dont le Pétrel de Barau, un oiseau marin habitant l’Océan Indien, utilise la lumière de la lune comme signal de départ pour sa migration vers les sites de reproduction.Afin d’étudier les mœurs du Pétrel de Barau (Pterodroma baraui), vivant dans l’Océan Indien, l’équipe de Patrick Pinet, de l’Université de La Réunion (France), a fixé aux pattes de spécimens de cette espèce d’oiseau marin des petits capteurs enregistrant la durée des périodes d’immersion de l’appareil (quand l’oiseau barbotte à la surface), ainsi que la quantité de lumière absorbée par le dispositif. Soit de quoi tracer la localisation et l’activité de ces pétrels, sans leur occasionner de gêne.À lire aussiCette perruche imite à la perfection R2-D2, le robot de Star WarsContrairement à de nombreux autres volatiles, les pétrels de Barau migrent en longitude (parallèlement à l’équateur), et non en latitude, et ne peuvent donc compter, pour leur ‘timing’, sur les différences entre heure du lever (ou du coucher) du soleil en hiver, et heure du lever (ou du coucher) en été. Ces oiseaux monogames synchronisent donc leurs déplacements en utilisant la pleine lune comme une sorte de signal pour leur indiquer qu’il est temps de s’accoupler. Chacun se déplace alors vers les sites d’accouplement, sur l’île de la Réunion. Or, la date d’arrivée dans ces colonies, pendant la saison des amours, coïncide avec la pleine lune.D’autre part, durant les nuits de pleine lune, les pétrels se montrent beaucoup plus actifs, passant 80% de leur temps en vol, au lieu de se reposer sur l’eau. L’équipe d’ornithologues suppose qu’ils sont alors à la recherche de proies plus faciles à repérer au clair de lune.Le 3 décembre 2011 à 17:36 • Maxime Lambert
UNDERWOOD, Wash. — Closed since the late October breaching of Condit Dam, fishing for hatchery steelhead in the lower White Salmon River resumes Wednesday.The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Tuesday the river will be open from the confluence with the Columbia to a closed, former county bridge downstream of the Condit powerhouse.The daily limit is two hatchery-origin steelhead. The old bridge is about two miles up the river.John Weinheimer, a state fish biologist, said 20,000 young winter steelhead were stocked in the river in 2010 and will be returning. The stream also got 24,000 summer steelhead.A good number of fin-clipped winter steelhead have been noted passing Bonneville Dam, he said.“I expect fish to be around,” Weinheimer said. “It’s going to hunt-and-peck type fishing in brand new water. It will be interesting to see how it goes. The locals who have the time will figure it out. I’d not count on just fishing the historical spots.”Condit Dam, 125-feet-high, was breached on Oct. 26.Weinheimer said the stream continues to change as almost a century of silt from behind the dam moves downstream.With deep snow falling in the mountains and warmer rains expected to follow, the White Salmon River might change significantly in the next 10 days.“This is a start,” Weinheimer said about sport fishing in the river.Upstream of the former county bridge, including the former Northwestern Reservoir, remains closed to angling.
Half (51%) of UK employer respondents have recently checked their pay arrangements to ensure they are meeting equal pay obligations, with a further 29% of respondents planning to do this in the near future, according to research by Willis Towers Watson.Its survey of 1,949 worldwide employers, including 79 based in the UK, also found that 23% of global respondents report that gender pay equality is an important factor in base pay decisions.The research also found:93% of overall respondents have either already taken steps this year to promote flexible working arrangements, or are considering taking such action over the next three years.47% of global respondents are planning to review their recruitment and promotion processes in order to reduce conscious and unconscious bias and meet equal pay obligations.87% of worldwide respondents have either already started to increase their communications or activities to promote an inclusive culture this year, or are considering taking these steps over the next three years.58% of UK respondents cite gender pay equality as an important factor when making individual base pay decisions.Hazel Rees (pictured), UK leader, executive compensation at Willis Towers Watson, said: “The pressure on [organisations] to do more to promote fair pay and diverse talent in the workplace is not going to go away. The new disclosure requirements on [chief executive officer] pay ratios will reflect another dimension of fairness in the workplace. Likewise, the predicted changes to the UK Governance Code will stress the importance of a diverse pipeline into senior roles and give employees a greater voice.”Tamsin Sridhara, UK leader, rewards and talent at Willis Towers Watson, added: “The many debates that we are having in the UK around fairness are being reflected in the workplace. Employees want to know they are being paid fairly and have the same chances for promotion. The gender pay gap reporting requirements raised lots of questions for employees and in boardrooms. As a result, we are seeing leading UK employers committed to doing more and leading the way for global peers.”
The Alaska Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday in a case that could have huge implications for how Alaska village residents are included — or excluded — as jurors in trials.Listen nowAt the center of the dispute is an appeal by Teddy Kyle Smith, 50, who was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 99 years in prison for shooting two men near his home village of Kiana in 2012.Smith’s trial was in Kotzebue, the closest courthouse to Kiana but still more than 50 miles away. In general, Alaska jurors are only assigned to criminal trials from communities within 50 miles of the courthouse where the trial is held.Smith’s lawyers say he was not tried by a jury of his peers, because the trial judge denied their request to expand the jury pool.Smith’s attorney for the appeal, Kelly Taylor, was in court Thursday in Anchorage and argued that decision infringed on villagers’ rights as well.“This court will have to decide whether the right to participate in jury service of village residents is violated by their categorical exclusion from the jury panel in this case, and whether Smith’s right to a fair cross-section was violated, where the people who share his experience of living day to day in a remote village location was violated,” Taylor said.Taylor and others, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Native American Rights Fund, say there is also a racial inequity component to jury selection in Alaska, because villages tend to have a higher proportion of Alaska Native residents.“Alaska Natives are underrepresented on juries and it means that non-Native residents are over-represented on juries,” Taylor said. “Being on a jury means applying the law. Your vote is an application of the law, and that discrepancy means Alaska Native residents get fewer votes.”Among other claims, Smith’s lawyers say villagers would have better understood his comments when he said he thought he was shooting at enukin: a name for the “little people” of some Alaska Native legends.But state attorney Ann Black argued that legend is also shared by people who live outside of villages, including some Kotzebue residents. Likewise, Black and the state court system say jurors from Kotzebue are not so different from residents of villages as to be unfair to a defendant.The state also says the cost of getting jurors to a courthouse more than 50 miles from where they live presents a logistical and financial burden for the court system.In court Thursday, Black argued that selection of jurors in Smith’s case was fair according to a past decision by the Alaska Supreme Court.“The Supreme Court recognized mile radiuses need to be drawn. It’s going to happen,” Black said. “And so long as those lines are drawn in a manner that does not deny a defendant a fair cross-section of the community on his jury venire, then they’re constitutionally sound.”A three-judge appellate court panel heard both sides’ arguments. It’s unclear when they will hand down a decision.
Hyderabad: Lack of initiative by successive governments to increase bed strength is making the State-run AYUSH hospitalsdifficult to compete with their counterparts in the private sector when it comes to insurance supported in-patient treatment. According to sources in the State AYUSH Directorate, the Union AYUSH Ministry had issued specific guidelines recommending the benchmarks of treatment for various ailments and the duration of treatment and the charges for the same. Also Read – Thimmapur villagers pledge to go plastice-free Advertise With Us Speaking to The Hans India, a senior AYUSH official said that it was based on those guidelines the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) had notified a list of 15 General Insurance Companies (GIC) and Standalone Health Insurance Companies (SHICs). These companies have been offering various products covering one or more system of AYUSH treatment. Also Read – Opposition leaders exhort farmers to step up agitation Advertise With Us The benchmark guidelines of the Union Ayush Ministry says that medical services rendered at four kinds of hospitals are eligibility for AYUSH medical claims. That apart, the hospitals should have a minimum of fifteen beds, minimum of five qualified and registered doctors, an adequate number of qualified paramedical staff, dedicated therapy sections and daily maintenance of medical records. Advertise With Us It was against this backdrop, the officials said that the 11 AYUSH hospitals in Telangana have maximum bed strength of around 800. However,the number of hospitals where the patients could get medical claims reimbursements by joining as inpatients are only a few, he added. For example, in the case of Ayurveda, Hyderabad has two hospitals with the bed strength of 200 and one hospital in Warangal has the bed strength of 100. That apart, the Medak hospital has only a bed strength of 9. The Unani hospital located in Hyderabad has the bed strength of 180. The remaining two, one located in Nizamabad and another in Warangal has bed strength of five each. Similarly, in the case of homeopathy, the two hospitals located in the State capital have the bed strength of 100. The one at Nalgonda has the bed strength of 10 only. Likewise, the State has only one Naturopathy hospital located in Hyderabad with the bed strength of 184. This makes only three Ayurveda, one Unani, one Homeopathy and one Naturopathy hospitals where inpatients can join and get medical claims from the insurance companies. Giving details of how the AYUSH medical claims are important for people to avail the inpatient medical services a faculty member from the Gandhi Naturopathic Medical College in the city said, “patients facing from general to serious conditions like asthma, chronic respiratory disorder, cancerrehabilitation, amenorrhoea and several others are covered under the AYUSH benchmark guidelines for taking inpatient treatments under all AYUSH systems,” he said. The State has a large network of 440 State government-run dispensaries and 394 more dispensaries functioning under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) extending outpatient services in Telangana. But, unless the bed strength at different hospitals is not increased at all the 11 AYUSH hospitals it is the private hospitals which will have an edge over the government-run hospitals, the sources said.
– / 5Houston and Houstonians celebrated on Monday the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King’s with two parades.One of them took place in downtown Houston, marching close to local landmarks like Minute Maid Park, and included the participation of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.Some members of the Houston City Council –such as Mike Knox (At Large-1)– and even members of Congress, such as Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat, Texas 18th Congressional District) and Al Green (Democrat, Texas 9th Congressional District) also attended the downtown parade.Kicking off the #MLKDay Parade in @DowntownHouston https://t.co/mRr4Cnrwfg— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) January 15, 2018The other parade, called the MLK Grande Parade, consisted of 30 marching bands and 15 floats, according to the organizers of the event and it marched through midtown Houston. Share
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Wandering the side streets of San José’s historic Barrio Amón in search of the restaurant Racó, our anticipation was building for the night’s strange meal. There would be no forks, no knives, and no sight.When we finally found Racó, tucked away at the end of a street 100 meters north of the INS building behind a blue garage door, we were surprised to discover a private world. Down the rabbit hole the restaurant opens up to two dining rooms, decorated with elegant eccentricity. Plates fixed to the wall accent the restaurant’s warm colors and three large bird nest lampshades hang from the ceiling. Were we still in San José?Chef and owner Daniel Vargas greeted us as we came down a ramp cluttered with potted plants. Vargas has the sharp features of an El Greco portrait, complete with a tightly trimmed beard. He has a bouncy, youthful energy. Racó’s head chef, Daniel Vargas. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesVargas lived in Spain for four years training and eventually working at a restaurant in Madrid. There, he heard about the blind dinners served at Barcelona’s Dans le Noir, which means “in the dark” in French and was one of the world’s first restaurants to offer the high concept dining experience: a meal served in the dark, by blind waiters.The chef was intrigued by the idea and how it forced the diner to really think about the food. Later, when Vargas moved back to Costa Rica to be closer to family, he decided to offer a similar experience at Racó.“Today, when someone sits down to eat, they do it by inertia and [they] eat, but don’t savor what they’re eating,” he told The Tico Times. Eating without seeing forces the diner to concentrate on the food without the baggage of preconceptions.“I love to play with textures,” he added. “These dinners are my most interesting food, really. I’m praying for Friday and Saturday to come because I have a great time.”Racó, which offers blind dinners with a reservation each Friday and Saturday night, forgoes the blind waitstaff and pitch black setting for chocolate-colored blindfolds that guests tie themselves. Diners are encouraged to eat with their hands but each seat is ready with a full place setting if someone is bold enough to blindly wield a knife and fork. To add a bit of sport to the affair, Vargas asked us to write down what we thought we had eaten after each course and offered a complimentary bottle of wine to the winning table.We tied the blindfolds over our eyes and waited for the first course.Vargas described his food as Mediterranean prepared with French techniques, but that offered few clues to the first plate. After locating the food, I traced a stout tower with smooth sides and what felt like a cap on top. The browned bubbly crust of broiled cheese?Blindfolded, any self-consciousness I might have felt about eating with my hands disappeared, and soon I found myself breaking one of the first table rules children are taught: Don’t play with your food.While considering a small round ingredient I couldn’t guess, I realized that my rights hand had been tracing the plate, finger painting, unconsciously enjoying the creamy feel of the sauce against my digits as I trawled for some vegetable or nut. I was sure there was a walnut there somewhere!The tower proved to be an upturned zucchini roll with broccoli, onion, petit pois (that round ingredient that stumped me), corn and other vegetables served inside, topped with mozzarella cheese and served with a homemade roasted garlic aioli that was so sweet I confused it for a tomato cream sauce.Our waiter topped off our wine glasses (Vargas said he prefers blindfolded guests drink small but frequent servings of wine) and served the next course.Vargas’ flavors really pulled the wool over our eyes when it came to identifying the rest of the meal. Daniel Vargas, the head chef at Racó, walks among the tables during the restaurant’s Cena a Ciegos event. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesI was convinced the plate was Thanksgiving revisited: a succulent, thick slice of turkey served with a cranberry, no, pear sauce. Mushrooms had to be the next ingredient, easily identified by the feel of the gills and their earthy, meaty taste, followed by Brussels sprouts that still had some bite.I was completely off the mark, and so was everyone else.After diners guessed turkey, chicken, and even pork, Vargas revealed the protein as duck, cooked medium rare and served with a balsamic reduction.“Flavor is very connected to memory,” Vargas said. “I build the plate, make sure there’s a harmony to it and wait for each person to bring their own criteria for what they experience.”The chef recommended forgoing our fingers for a spoon when the dessert came, a strawberry “soup” topped with an oatmeal crumble and a dollop of avocado pastry cream. The texture and flavor of the strawberries was easy to identify and one bite alerted me to the oatmeal topping but avocado has such a subtle flavor, it was a challenge to pick out.The waiters collected our cards and the winner of the bottle of wine was announced. Alas, we didn’t win, but when else would we get the chance to sit down to a nice meal and eat with our hands?My only complaint about the meal was, well, not knowing what was on my plate. The adventure decoding the flavors and textures was fun and a unique experience, but certain dishes, especially the first course, would have been stronger if I had known about that wonderfully sweet aioli that would have livened up the otherwise plain zucchini.That said, anyone wary about the experience should know that diners are free to remove the cloth at any time. “I want people to feel comfortable,” Vargas said.The blindfold can help some diners feel more comfortable in their own skin. There tends to be a social atmosphere during and after the meal service, Vargas said, with eaters united by their delightful confusion.“Two men came in together on Saturday. I could tell they were a little uncomfortable, but once everyone covered their eyes, they reached across the table and held hands. They told me afterwards that once the blindfold was on, they felt safe and had a great time. That meant a lot to me,” Vargas said.“There’s no judgement when you can’t see.”Going There: Racó restaurant is located 100 meters north of the INS building in Barrio Amón, San José. It’s open Monday through Saturday, for prix fixe lunch (₡3,900) and dinner. Blind dinners are served Friday and Saturday nights, ₡18,000 per guest. Reservations required. Gluten intolerant diners should know that the chef avoids flour and added starches in his cooking. He also shies away from lactose and is open to customizing the blind meals to diners’ specifications, be they vegetarian or adverse to red meat. Facebook Comments Related posts:Delicious new gastropub El Gaff already becoming a thing VIDEO: Barbecuing with Lucas Withington Christmas cheer, oxcart parades, and other happenings around Costa Rica Friendship Library lends books out of Atenas restaurant
Related posts:Hablando paja: What if Jesus had been born in Costa Rica? A love letter to Costa Rica’s second language Costa Rica, The Quiz: How much has your adopted country changed you? Costa Rica, The Quiz: How much has your adopted country changed you? See also: La horma de mi zapato – on love and taxisIt was still pitch black when I sat up in bed, thoroughly annoyed.“What is that damned noise?” I asked my husband, on whom the incredible din outside our window seemed to have absolutely no effect.“The national bird of Costa Rica,” he murmured, his pride waking up even before he did.“The national what?”In response, he uttered a sequence of vowels that were unintelligible to me at the time, but which I know in retrospect must have been “yigüirro.”“Why is it making so much noise at night?”“Está pidiendo agua,” he explained, and rolled over, end of discussion. It’s asking for water. It’s asking for rain.Costa Rica is home to any number of spectacular, jaw-dropping birds, but it’s not the scarlet macaw or gorgeous toucan or lovely motmot who’s calling the shots: It’s the clay-colored thrush, a plain gray bird whose unremarkable appearance is matched by its unfortunate scientific name, Turdus grayi. I like to think that Costa Rica’s choice of the yigüirro reflects the country’s practical nature. Surrounded by so much feathered beauty, they went with the bird that knows what’s going on. They say that una golondrina no hace verano (one swallow does not a summer make) but Costa Rica does have a single bird who makes winter. At least, that’s how it feels.Every year as summer winds down and the rains approach, like clockwork, much more reliable than any groundhog, the yigüirro and its unique song “ask for rain.” María Mayela Padilla, in her book “Dichos y Refranes de los Ticos,” writes that according to one veterinarian she consulted, the birds actually sing at this time of year because it’s their time to mate – but she goes on to question that conclusion because the birds look so content when the rain does arrive and they splash around in the puddles.At any rate, while I’ve made a happy avocation of listening to the words and phrases on Costa Rican lips, one of the sounds that would remind me of Costa Rica most quickly, years and miles hence, wouldn’t be human at all. It’d be the unmistakable, slightly spooky annual reports of the country’s best weathermen.That said, there’s a whole host of words and phrases to learn when it comes to Costa Rican weather. In honor of the rainy season now beginning all around us, I’d like to offer up a few. First and foremost, it’s important to understand that rain is not necessarily rain. Allow me to explain. I once went to a conference in Toronto and, when it ended, arranged with a Panamanian colleague to split a cab from our hotel to the airport.Recommended: Ticos in a winter wonderlandOn the morning of our departure, she called my room to ask whether we should leave earlier than planned. “I checked the forecast, and it says it’s going to rain,” she said. I glanced out the window at a nondescript, heavy, gray day, and told her no, we’d left plenty of wiggle room. Later, as our taxi pulled away from the curb, a light rain was falling.“I thought it was going to rain,” she said, gazing out towards the CN Tower.“It is raining,” I said.“This?” She was shocked. “This isn’t rain! Come on, now.”I burst out laughing, not at her, but at myself, for forgetting. How many times had my husband and I had the same conversation? “Está lloviendo,” I’d say, it’s raining, and he’d correct me. This isn’t rain. It’s hair of the cat (pelo de gato), or llovizna, or está garuando. Rain, real honest-to-God lluvia, is a serious affair. Rain means that every pothole or crevice in sight – that is, thousands – overflows. Rain means that the umbrella you optimistically hold overhead keeps water away from your face, but not from the rest of your body, because sheets of water are blowing in horizontally. Rain is a plans-changer, a car-swamper, a water-oozing-down-your-walls event. When it’s really a proper show-stopper, it’s an aguacero or a chaparrón or even a baldazo – a bucketful. So when a Costa Rican gazes skyward and tells you, “Está de agua,” or “Se puso de agua,” or “Ya viene el agua,” or you’d better pay attention, ‘cause things could get real. (You might also hear “Se vino la doña de los frescos” – literally, “The lady who sells drinks is here” – in which case you should grab your umbrella, not your milk money.)Costa Rica may have only two seasons, differentiated by factors that, to a person used to ice storms and leaf piles and dog days, might seem slight. But those two seasons don’t mess around. Not only does rain come by the bucketful, but the seasons also come and go with panache, like divas given a dull script but determined to bring it to life through sheer force of will.Summer goes out with intense heat that leaves you gasping, droughts that leave the Guanacaste plains a spiky brown. Winter, or the rainy season, leaves you drowning by degrees in endless umbrella puddles, fantasizing about afternoon walks and Christmas breezes. What’s more, both seasons, while sashaying out the door, throw in some apocalyptic events for good measure. Mild-mannered birds wake you up in the night. Little earthquakes abound, as if to toss us into the next season by the scruffs of our necks. Everyone gets terrible colds (“Ah, it’s the change of the weather,” the pharmacist will say). Volcanic ash is falling? Seems par for the course. I wouldn’t be that surprised if frogs or locusts showed up, too.I miss autumn, as I say frequently. I miss long summer nights and hot cocoa after snow and the first shoots of spring. But I’ve found that learning another weather is just like learning another language, with the same broadening of perspective, the same opening of the soul. It’s humbling to be instructed in the specific amount of precipitation that constitutes pelo de gato. It’s satisfying to feel the coming of a real aguacero. It’s comforting to find familiarity in what was once very foreign: the expressions that capture a particular feel of water on skin; the phrases that connote the sound of a storm coming at you across a thousand tin roofs; the birdsong that tells the story, without any words at all, of the ominous press of heat, the heaviness of clouds, the silence of a country at night, waiting for a change.Read previous Maeology columns here.Katherine Stanley Obando is The Tico Times’ managing editor. Portions of this column originally appeared on her blog, “Love in Translation,” where she writes about Costa Rican language and culture, and raising a child abroad. Her book by the same name was published by The Tico Times Publications Group in 2016 and is available for purchase worldwide. Facebook Comments
Award finalists recognised for fantastic holiday park hospitalityAward finalists recognised for fantastic holiday park hospitalityFive holiday parks are being recognised for the fantastic hospitality they offer their guests, being named today as finalists in the AA Traveller Spirit of Hospitality Award for 2018.This is the sector’s premier award, made to the park which excels in providing an outstanding visitor experience, Holiday Parks New Zealand Chief Executive Fergus Brown says.“To be a finalist in the award is fantastic achievement. All five finalists have demonstrated consistently high levels of customer satisfaction and have received impressive online reviews,” Mr Brown says.“The award is about businesses that consistently go well beyond what would normally be expected.”The finalists are:· All Seasons Holiday Park, Rotorua (winner of the Award in 2017).· Athenree Hot Springs & Holiday Park, Bay of Plenty.· Himatangi Beach Holiday Park, Manawatu.· Miranda Holiday Park, Firth of Thames.· Russell TOP 10 Holiday Park, Bay of Islands.“We are very impressed with both the quality and number of parks that were considered in 2018,” Mr Brown says.The winner of the Award will be announced at the Holiday Parks Conference in Hamilton on 25 July.Source = Holiday Parks New Zealand
The 3rd Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM 2019) concluded successfully at Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu attracting more than 700 delegates from 43 different countries including 150+ international delegates and national stakeholders. The four-day event is the biggest and Nepal’s premier international travel and tourism trade show organised and executed by PATA Nepal Chapter in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal Tourism Board, PATA Headquarter, Nepal Airlines and the other prominent Tourism Organisations of Nepal.The mart was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Nepal, K P Sharma Oli on June 6, 2019. Addressing the inaugural ceremony, PM emphasised the immense tourism potentialities with diversified tangible and intangible products and services including cultural heritage, art and architecture, pilgrimage, yoga, ayurveda, meditation, holistic retreats, etc. with pristine nature, unique climate and the most hospitable people which are unparalleled to attract people with various interests from around the world.HTM 2019 Conference was held on June 7 under the theme ‘The Spirit of the Himalayas’ unveiling a new way forward, new programmes, products and uncovering hidden treasures with new potentials for the Himalayan Nations with Nepal at the helm of this promotional endeavour. The delegates witnessed about 20+ world-class high-value speakers/industry thought leaders, spiritual leaders, mystics, religious gurus, influencers and international tourism experts who shared unparalleled insights on the various subjects including Spiritual Tourism, Adventure Travel Trends, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism, Digital Transformation and New Trends in Tourism, Travel Media Trends, contemporary issues, challenges and opportunities for the development of tourism for Nepal as well as the Himalayan nations.The International Travel Bloggers and Media Conference (ITBMC), an event alongside HTM brought together 40+ international travel bloggers and media as well as hundreds of local media delegates to promote Nepal as the most promising and happening tourism destination. The speakers during ITBMC put emphasis on the role of travel media and bloggers for tourism promotion of a destination and inspired the bloggers/media for creating contents and sharing their experiences about Nepal.A special International Media Briefing Session for Visit Nepal Year 2020 (VNY 2020) campaign was organised during ITBMC promoting and showcasing the country’s offerings and plans for the mega campaign. Suraj Vaidya, the National Program Convener for VNY 2020, made the presentation followed by Q/A session along with NTB CEO Deepak Raj Joshi, PATA Nepal Chairman Sunil Sakya, and NTB Sr Director Nandini Lahe Thapa.This year, the two-day B2B mart held on June 8 and 9 witnessed the participation of 58 buyer organisations from 30 different countries from the USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and CIS countries, Asia and the Gulf Region and 54 exhibitors from six different countries including Nepal, India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Tibet (China) and Thailand; felicitating the opportunity to explore, establish, strengthen or expand their business partnerships and networking opportunities.PATA Nepal Chapter will be organising the 4th Himalayan Travel Mart from June 12-15 in 2020.
Hong Kong – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineMandarin Oriental Hotel Group is delighted to announce the highly anticipated opening of Mandarin Oriental, Paris on June 28 at 251 rue Saint-Honoré, in the city’s first arrondissement.To celebrate the launch of this luxurious new city hotel, the “J’aime Paris” opening offer is now available for stays between July 17 and August 28, 2011, with rates from $1,110 a night inclusive of a $435 credit per room and $725 credit per suite that can also be redeemed at the hotel’s spa or restaurants.Mandarin Oriental, Paris has the most prestigious address in the heart of this fashion capital, with the Garnier Opera, the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens all close by. The original, magnificent Art Deco façade of this luxury hotel has been beautifully complemented by chic, contemporary interiors, making this the most luxurious, glamorous, and truly Parisian experience in the city.The hotel’s 138 luxurious rooms are some of the largest in Paris, providing elegance, comfort, space and light. The design combines Parisian sophistication, with art deco details and oriental touches. The hotel has worked with the foremost international names in architecture and design. The architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte supervised renovation of the building, facade and patio. Sybille de Margerie imagined the interior design and decoration of the rooms, spa and public spaces, while Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku lent their talent to the bar and restaurants. The hotel’s vast indoor garden of oriental inspiration was created by Wilmotte & Associés, in association with the landscape artists François Neveux and Bernard Rouyer.Dining facilities include two restaurants, a live cooking counter, a bar, Cake Shop and a Garden that offer a variety of settings and moods. Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, a gourmet restaurant seating 44, is an intimate, light filled haute-couture cocoon. Open all day, Camelia serves authentic cuisine with seating for 70 people and a further 25 in the hotel’s indoor garden; specialties are prepared “live” at the Counter with seating for ten. Bar 8 seats 49 people inside and 25 in the garden. The Cake Shop serves delicious delicacies while the Garden Table welcomes six to eight guests for a unique dining experience.Entirely devoted to well-being and relaxation, the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Paris offers a holistic experience to promote complete mind-body harmony. At 900 square meters, this is one of the city’s largest hotel spas, offering exclusive Mandarin Oriental signature therapies, including holistic beauty treatments and massages. Open to guests and non-guests, the spa has seven private suites, all equipped for hydrotherapy and heat treatments, a large indoor pool and a fitness centre. Mandarin Oriental, Paris also has elegant facilities incorporating state-of-the-art technology for meetings and private events.www.mandarinoriental.com/paris
In addition to Tuesday’s announcement that a section of Spyros Kyprianou Avenue would be closed until Sunday due to the demolition of a building, which went over schedule, sections of Makarios Avenue will be closed to traffic on Wednesday evening from 5pm to 9pm.Traffic chaos is expected to ensue near the Lycavitos police station as the Maklarios thoroughfare is being closed to facilitate a visit by President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday evening to inaugurate a new citizens centre in the capital.Makarios will be closed from the Stasandrou traffic lights until Hera Street. Also closed will be Ayia Elenis and Gregoris Xenoouilou and Bouboulinas. You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndoClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: News,Photos Rep. Mike Callton reads the book “Pouncing Bobcats” to students at St. Peter and Paul School in Ionia.State Rep. Mike Callton is continuing his tradition of reading to local schools in recognition of reading month. For his first visit this year, he added a special twist while reading to students at a school in Ionia County.Callton, R-Nashville, visited St. Peter and Paul School in Ionia on March 4. He read the book “Pouncing Bobcats” by Joelle Riley to students from kindergarten through seventh grade. After finishing the book, Callton announced that the students were so well-behaved that he would be bringing in a special guest – Cosmo the bobcat.Cosmo is owned by Bill Yoder, who runs a traveling zoo out of Clarksville. The children took turns petting the bobcat and got to ask questions of Cosmo’s owner. They learned that while Cosmo is still considered a “kitten” weighing in at 30 lbs., he will grow to be more than 50 lbs. at full size.Rep. Mike Callton gets a hug from Cosmo the bobcat during a reading month appearance at St. Peter and Paul School in Ionia. 05Mar Rep. Callton brings local students’ imaginations to life for reading month A student at St. Peter and Paul School in Ionia pets Cosmo the bobcat. At left is Cosmo’s owner, Bill Yoder. Rep. Mike Callton, center, arranged Cosmo’s visit to the school as part of a “Bring your imagination to life” theme for reading month.Callton says the idea behind Cosmo’s visit surrounds his theme of this year’s reading month: “Bring your imagination to life”. “By reading a book about bobcats and then having one appear, children are able to see how they can use books to learn and experience new things,” Callton said.After leaving each of the students with a Cosmo-themed bookmark that reminds them to read, Callton promised to return next year, possibly with another surprise guest.
Legislation introduced by state Rep. Kurt Heise (R- Plymouth Township) is aimed at stopping Wayne County from selling or transferring ownership of regional sewer systems already paid for by communities.House Bills 4033 and 4082 are in response to a 2014 plan by former Wayne County CEO Robert Ficano and the County Commission to force more than thirty Wayne County communities to ‘buy back’ sewer systems that the communities had already paid through their water and sewer bills, effectively helping to bailout Wayne County.The so-called ‘buyback’ plan was the centerpiece of Ficano’s failed 2014 Deficit Elimination Plan, submitted to the State of Michigan and obtained by Rep. Heise. The buyback plan would have generated $121 million, helping bail the county out of a deficit situation.None of the communities impacted by the plan, including Heise’s communities of Ply- mouth, Northville, and Canton, supported the buyback move.“The scheme, orchestrated by Bob Ficano and approved by the County Commission, would have cost our residents and businesses millions of dollars, and cheated us out of decades of investment,” Heise said. “My bill protects our hardworking taxpayers and makes sure we don’t get blindsided again by the county or anyone else.”Attorneys representing the impacted Wayne County communities were alerted to the plan through filings submitted with the state. They then wrote to the Michigan Department of Treasury stating that the communities never consented to the plan. The communities also outlined multiple legal, policy and contractual objections to the state, including whether Wayne County could claim ownership of the sewer systems in the first place.“As a result of the municipal attorneys’ complaints to the Michigan Department of Treasury, Bob Ficano was informed by the State Treasurer in April 2014 that the buyback scheme was a non-starter, primarily because the communities never consented to it,” said Heise.Heise’s bills would require that any buyback, leaseback or asset transfer of a sewer system by a county, city, drainage district or authority be approved by a simple majority of the communities served by that system, following notice and an opportunity to negotiate the terms and conditions of that sale or transfer.“My bills simply require that Wayne County – or any other governmental sewage provider in Michigan – negotiate in good faith with the customer communities who are paying the bills, and not try to pull one over on us,” Heise added.### Categories: News 03Feb Heise Bills Would Stop Wayne County from Forcing ‘Buyback’ of Local Sewers
Multi-bill package announced in response to recent Nassar scandalState Rep. Diana Farrington unveiled legislation on Monday to increase penalties for possession of child pornography.The bill is part of a 10-bill legislative package to protect Michigan’s children and survivors of childhood sexual abuse, which Farrington helped unveil at a Capitol news conference.“Our most vulnerable citizens need our protection from predators who seek to subject children to terrible, illegal and abusive acts,” said Farrington, of Utica. “There is no reason for anyone to have images or video involving physical and sexual abuse of children.”Under her legislation, the maximum criminal penalty for possession of over 100 images will be 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Repeat offenders also would be subjected to a mandatory five-year prison sentence.The legislative package:Expands the criminal statute of limitations to enable prosecutors to hold offenders accountable;Increases criminal penalties and expands definitions related to the possession of child sexually abusive material;Ends immunity for abusers and enablers of abuse;Preserves anonymity for survivors in civil lawsuits;Expands the civil statute of limitations for survivors;Increases criminal penalties for mandatory reporters, such as coaches and athletic trainers, who fail to report child abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse.The legislation is inspired by the recent sexual assault allegations against former physician Larry Nassar, who has been sentenced to up 175 years in federal and state prison for his crimes against more than 200 victims. Also attending Monday’s press conference were several of Nassar’s victims.“We must do better in Michigan to not only protect children from physical and sexual-based abuse, but also material that depicts it,” Farrington said.##### Categories: Farrington News,News 27Feb Rep. Farrington bill to protect children from child pornography