Sounds from Sámara

first_imgFrom opening day in August 2010, the wholesome Thai food at Kaibella Restaurant in central Sámara has proven to be a big hit, with mouthwatering dishes and a welcoming atmosphere. The delightful owner, Belle Richardson, is a Canadian transplant who chose to use her abbreviated personal motto, “Keep At It, Belle,” as the restaurant name; she says it’s a good way to keep herself focused.She discovered Sámara while vacationing and returned to follow her dream. Kaibella opened with seating for just 12, but soon expanded to host 30 guests. Belle also brews Kombucha, a delicious and amazingly healthy fermented tea. For reservations or takeout, call 8722-2394.Samára Infocenter (SIC) celebrated its one-year anniversary last week. Brenda Draggone’s indefatigable effort and enthusiasm have made the SIC the go-to resource for information about the Sámara area.If you are a shutterbug and would like an opportunity to have a photo published, the Del Sol magazine’s photography contest may interest you. The winning photo will appear on the upcoming magazine’s front cover with a photo and interview of the photographer on an inside page. Pictures should be taken in the Sámara/Nosara/Carrillo area; the specific requirements are at You may send questions and submit your entry to  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Nicaragua ups volcano response as San Cristóbal rumbles

first_imgNo related posts. MANAGUA – Nicaragua boosted its responses to volcanic activity in the northwestern region Saturday, as the San Cristobal volcano acted up for the second time in a week.Authorities installed 43 radio communication stations along the Pacific coast to monitor San Cristobal and Telica volcanoes.The radio posts aim to “ensure improved monitoring of seismic and volcanic behavior in the area,” said civil defense chief Colonel Nestor Solis, enabling authorities to issue more accurate warnings sooner.A number of towns near San Cristobal, located some 135 kilometers (83 miles) northwest of the capital, were evacuated last week after the volcano began rumbling, sending a column of smoke and ash high into the sky, before subsiding.On Saturday, the 1,745-meter (5,725-foot) volcano again spewed “abundant gas emissions moving toward the northeast” and increased seismic tremor and sulfur concentrations, according to the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies.Sulfur dioxide monitoring showed levels of the compound – considered a measure of volcanic activity – were nearly double the readings from previous days, said the director of national disaster prevention and relief agency SINAPRED, Guillermo González.Last week’s explosion caused fractures on the southern wall of the volcano and blockages preventing gas from passing out of three of five vents situated on the south wall of the internal crater, according to Nicaraguan and Salvadoran experts who visited the site.San Cristobal, the tallest of Nicaragua’s seven active volcanoes, is believed to have erupted for the first time in 1685. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Normalized relations between Cuba and US could have drastic impact on MLB

first_imgU.S. President Barack Obama’s move to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba will resonate through baseball. The trickle of dazzling talent that already flows from the baseball-crazed island could turn into a geyser, a stream of available players that would force Major League Baseball to frame and police how teams acquire Cuban players. The political thaw would also eliminate the dangerous back channels of defection. The impact on the sport could be immense and, in the words of one team official, “drastic.”Even with a political blockade between Cuba and the United States, players born in Cuba have shaped the game. White Sox designated hitter José Abreu earned last year’s American League Rookie of the Year. Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has won the past two Home Run Derbies. Outfielder Rusney Castillo signed a $72.5 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig received a nickname — “The Wild Horse” — from no less of an authority than Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.A new burst of talent may arrive from Cuba’s highest level into the majors and the upper levels of the minor leagues in the United States. Scouts would flock to youth tournaments in an attempt to discover teenaged players with huge potential and sign them on the cheap. Within a few years, baseball academies may spread across the island covered in the logos of major league teams, same as the patchwork of diamonds clustered around barracks-style dormitories strewn over the Dominican Republic.​ José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox bats in the first inning during a game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 16, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. Ed Zurga/Getty Images/AFPOn the day President Obama announced his intention to end the 53-year standoff, the league still waited for the situation to develop. Multiple high-ranking team officials declined comment, underscoring the topic’s sensitive nature.“Major League Baseball is closely monitoring the White House’s announcement regarding Cuban-American relations,” the league said in a statement. “While there are not sufficient details to make a realistic evaluation, we will continue to track this significant issue, and we will keep our clubs informed if this different direction may impact the manner in which they conduct business on issues related to Cuba.”The changes could come fast, because baseball prepared for this day. One Latin American scouting director, who has worked with Cuban baseball players since 1990, said he already has plans for the logistics of how to scout players on the island and the optimal place to build an academy. “I know what I would do,” he said. “I would just have to get approval from ownership.”Latin American talent already saturates the sport, and the potential for a system in which teams can openly acquire talent from Cuba will only bolster the region’s influence. The Dominican Republic, with a population of roughly 10.4 million, accounted for 9.7 percent of the players on major league opening day rosters, according to MLB figures. The talent pool in Cuba, the scouting director said, is “on the same plane” as the Dominican Republic. The country has a population of roughly 11.3 million. Within a decade or so, baseball could see a demographic turnover of its talent pool of 10 percent or more.“It would be a huge boon for the U.S.,” the Latin American scouting director said. “It would be another island that’s fertile. Then it gets confusing.”Related: Costa Rica’s major league concern Cuban players celebrate after winning the Gold medal against Nicaragua during the final game of the XXII Central American and Caribbean Games, in Veracruz, Mexico, on Nov. 21, 2014. RONALDO SCHEMIDTMajor League Baseball would need to determine what set of rules it implements for teams acquiring Cuban players. The league would hope for Cuban officials to allow it to use the same set of rules that apply in other Latin American countries: players over 23 would be considered free agents, and signing bonuses for players under 23 would be subject to spending limits per team.But the Cuban government, as raised by Ben Badler of Baseball America, may provide complications. Cuba could put in place a system in which MLB teams bid for the right to sign top Cuban players, similar to the posting system used by Japan’s top league, except the money would flow to the government as opposed to a private league.Cuban baseball already has made a lasting impact on the major leagues. Of the 186 players born in Cuba to reach the majors, 25 appeared last season. Their achievements created a Cuban golden age. Livan Hernández lifted the Florida Marlins to the 1997 World Series and threw the first pitch upon baseball’s return to Washington. The Cincinnati Reds’ Aroldis Chapman throws more 100-mile-per-hour fastballs than any pitcher alive. Outfielder Jorge Soler is at the core of the Chicago Cubs’ rebuilding efforts.But as more players defected, the stories of how they arrived turned grimmer. For years, Cuban baseball players morphed into a dark cottage industry, a black market unto themselves, their talent inviting danger as it created opportunity. Smuggling and secrecy have imperiled defectors’ safety, robbed them of money and chiseled at their dignity. Former Florida Marlins pitcher Livan Hernández pitches against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the World Series on Oct. 23, 1997 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio. Timothy A. Clary/AFPShadowy figures rubbed up against the baseball apparatus — prior to his arrival in the United States, Puig famously spent weeks in Mexico under the watch of men associated with the Los Zetas drug cartel. In 1999, pitcher Danys Baez snuck out of the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg without telling his family, friends or teammates, fearful of consequences. “You can’t tell anyone,” he said.For years, the Cold War chill between the U.S. and Cuba left some of the most talented players in the world alone and vulnerable to exploitation. Now there is a real chance doors will open. Lourdes Gourriel, one of the top players still in Cuba, may now play in the majors without sacrificing his safety. His father, also named Lourdes, and his older brother Yulieski never had the chance. After Wednesday’s announcement, those kinds of missed opportunities may soon disappear.Read all our Cuba coverage here© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Obama’s surprise opening to Cuba sparks cautious reaction among US travel execs Major League Baseball gets in on US-Cuba thaw US says next round of Cuba talks to take place in Havana on Monday PHOTOS: Cuba, US reopen embassies to end 54-year estrangementlast_img read more

Costa Ricas foreign minister skeptical about Nicaraguas ambitious canal dreams

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – The proposed transoceanic canal being hyped by Nicaraguan PresidentDaniel Ortega could benefit Costa Rica, but Manuel González, Costa Rica’s foreign minister, warned it could also wreak unintended environmental damage on both countries.In an interview with The Tico Times last Friday in Washington, D.C., González said the Ortega government’s insistence on building the 278-kilometer waterway with Chinese funds is a $50 billion gamble shrouded in secrecy.“I’m skeptical about the project. I have my doubts about how real and how serious it is,” he said. “But I have nothing against the project itself as long as Nicaragua respects the rule of law.”González, speaking to us at the Costa Rican Embassy immediately following his first official meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, explained why Costa Rica’s relationship with Nicaragua is “tense” – even without the proposed canal.For one thing, about 10 percent of Costa Rica’s 4.9 million inhabitants are immigrants from Nicaragua. “A lot of them have been in Costa Rica illegally for many years. That has put a lot of pressure on our economy,” he said.Added to that economic strain is what González says is a growing military threat from Costa Rica’s neighbor to the north, aided by the Kremlin.“This is serious. If it were just a discussion about borders, it would be different,” he said. “Nicaragua has been buying heavy military equipment from Russia. They just publicized the purchase of MiG-29s, supposedly to fight drug trafficking. Well, we’ve been very effective in fighting drug trafficking, and we don’t need MiGs to do that.”At the moment, Costa Rica and Nicaragua are arguing three legal disputes at the International Court of Justice at The Hague. One involves the invasion by the Nicaraguan military of Isla Calero, a small, protected wetland that both countries claim as their own.Nicaragua then filed a counterclaim against Costa Rica for the construction of a 160-kilometer border road that runs parallel to the Río San Juan, which separates the two countries. Costa Rica then filed another claim over maritime limits. That case was prompted by Nicaragua’s efforts to grant oil-drilling concessions in a disputed area.Pointing to a map of Costa Rica’s border with its northern neighbor, González offered an analogy of sorts: “Some people talk about sitting down and having a dialogue and lots of nice things, but one has to recognize the origin of the current conflict,” he said. “This was an invasion by one country, Nicaragua, of another, Costa Rica. It’s like if your neighbor enters your house and robs you. Are you then going to invite him over for drinks?” Nicaragua’s proposed canal route. (Screengrab from the “Proyecto de Desarrollo Integral del Gran Canal de Nicaragua”)Who is HKND?The little-known consortium behind the canal project, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Group (HKND), says its waterway will be able to accommodate ships of up to 23,000 Twenty-Foot-Equivalent Units, or TEUs, once it’s finished in 2019 (if it’s finished). That compares with the 13,000 TEUs that the Panama Canal will be able to handle after its $5.2 billion expansion is completed in 2016.But shipping experts question whether the Nicaraguan waterway is economically viable, and others wonder who’s behind HKND, which generally avoids the media.Last month, a Nicaraguan delegation representing nearly 40 civil-society groups and political parties traveled to San José, Costa Rica, during the annual meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. Their mission: to galvanize opposition to the proposed canal’s construction. The group criticized the project’s lack of transparency and the threats it may pose to indigenous land rights as well as Lake Nicaragua, also known as Lake Cocibolca.Like the protesters, González worries that Costa Ricans will also be affected by the environmental consequences of the project on the two countries’ shared watershed.“Whatever happens in the lake may affect the Río San Juan, which will eventually affect the Río Colorado,” he said. “It’s a cascade effect and that’s our main concern. We do have a base for environmental concerns.”He added: “We have a right to request environmental studies, which we have done twice already last year, but no response. So I understand the justification of the Nicaraguan people to be concerned – not just for Costa Rica, but the whole area.”On the other hand, Costa Rica could benefit from the canal “if the conditions are there,” said González, leaving the phrase open to interpretation.“Nicaragua uses our port on the Atlantic to export 80 percent of their goods,” he told The Tico Times. “We have nothing against prosperity for Nicaragua if it helps Costa Rica. We want the Nicaraguan people to be in a better position so they could buy more goods. We’d have less immigration, and we could sell more products there.”See also: Driving the Nicaraguan riot police Facebook Comments Related posts:A canal across Nicaragua: Is this for real? Costa Rica asks Nicaragua for environmental impact studies on proposed interoceanic canal Nicaragua Canal opponents call on Costa Rica to join fight to save lake Nicaragua can’t stop dreaming of a canallast_img read more

Costa Rica hopes to attract adventurous eaters with new decree

first_imgRelated posts:Once Mexico’s booze of ‘drunks,’ mezcal earns respect Chef Jamie Oliver visits Costa Rica, makes tortillas Costa Rica’s best coffee hails once again from Naranjo Francis Ford Coppola wants you to come on his family vacation Vice President Ana Helena Chacón thinks that Costa Rica should be as well known for its cuisine as it is for its beaches and sloths. But will foodies add Costa Rica to a Latin American circuit alongside culinary destinations like Mexico and Peru?On Tuesday, Chacón presented a decree from Casa Presidencial naming Costa Rican cuisine a matter of public interest. The National Plan for Sustainable and Healthy Costa Rican Gastronomy acknowledges food as a cultural expression of the peoples here, and aims to protect and promote the country’s national dishes and produce. Part of the goal of the decree is to position Costa Rica as a destination of agricultural and food tourism.At this writing, there are no funds assigned to the decree.Costa Rican coffee already enjoys a coveted place abroad, and Imperial beer—for better or worse—is a reminder of hot afternoons spent on the beach here. Costa Rican food, on the other hand, often gets left off the list of memorable experiences for tourists. Some might stick up their noses at eating rice and beans multiple times a day, but hey, haters gonna hate.To celebrate the foods that Chacón and others hope will become as well-known abroad as rainforests, toucans and monkeys, The Tico Times hereby submits its picks for the Top 10 Costa Rican dishes:1. Gallo pintoPity the person who starts their day in Costa Rica without this iconic dish and a side of fried eggs. Rice and black beans fried up with onion, sweet pepper and a dash of Lizano sauce and some spoonfuls of the bean’s cooking liquor, this is definitely a meal that will stick with you the whole day—or at least until you order a casado. A typical “casado” served in a San José soda. Francesco Vicenzi/The Tico Times2. CasadoOK, it’s not really a dish, but it the cornerstone of the diet and a combination of Costa Rican staples. The casado is any combination of rice, beans, a simple salad or vegetable picadillo, fried plantains, and sometimes pasta or potatoes, crowned by a protein such as fish, chicken or beef, all on the same plate. This is a dish that will give any visitor enough energy to hike a volcano. Chifrijo: a $15-million recipe? Robert Isenberg/The Tico Times3. ChifrijoPerhaps Costa Rica’s most beloved bar food, this combination of rice, beans (notice the trend here?), chicharrones (fried pork), pico de gallo and tortilla chips is the best way to start a round of drinks with friends. Restauranteur Miguel Cordero claimed he invented the dish and sued for damages to the tune of $15 million. Worth every penny.4. Olla de carneA simple but satisfying beef soup served with chunks of chayote, squash, potato and other vegetables that would warm anyone’s bones on a cold night in the mountains.5. Rice-and-BeansA Caribbean twist on the classic rice and beans combo, “rice-and-beans” takes its name from the English patois spoken in Limón. The basic recipe has rice, beans, coconut milk, thyme and spicy chile panameño served with chicken in hot tomato or coconut sauce. Check out a recipe here.6. PatíThe iconic beef turnovers of the Caribbean trace their roots to Jamaica. Stuffed with ground beef, onion, spices, chile panameño, and fried in a flaky pastry shell, these little guys are not to be missed.7. PataconesSmashed and twice-fried plantains are the perfect delivery mechanism for anything from pureed black beans to guacamole. Bundles of tamales called “piñas” for sale. The Tico Times8. TamalesTraditionally a Christmas treat, Tico tamales stand out from the Mexican variety (except for Oaxaca tamales) with their banana-leaf wrappers. Served with coffee, these seasonal snacks are a social experience, from making them with a crew of family and friends in the traditional tamaleada, to the rounds of invitations throughout the holidays to come over and sample the finished project.9. Arroz con palmitoThe Costa Rican equivalent of macaroni and cheese. Creamy, cheesy baked rice with hearts of palm, this is comfort food at its finest.10. RondónRondón (from “run down,” as in “whatever the cook can run down”) is the quintessential coastal seafood stew, including an arsenal of tubers such as sweet potato, cassava, taro and potatoes, along with whatever seafood products are available, plus plantains and breadfruit braised in velvety coconut cream and spices.11. Bonus: Salsa LizanoSure, it’s a condiment but it’s also its own food group, right? This little bottle of “salsa inglesa” is a staple in Tico kitchens and used in many of these dishes listed. Gringos might draw strange glances from locals when putting it on eggs in the morning, but we’re still learning, OK?What did we miss? Tell us what Tico favorites are on your plate in the comments below. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Jewish studies center opens in Berlin

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up BERLIN (AP) – A new Jewish studies center is opening in the German capital to facilitate research into Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Islamic relations, Holocaust remembrance, and other aspects of Jewish history and life.The German Education Ministry is funding the new Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg with (EURO)6.9 million ($8.6 million) in support for teachers and research over five years.Berlin’s Free University said the center opened Wednesday as part of a joint project with the city’s Humboldt University, the Berlin Technical University and the University of Potsdam. The Abraham-Geiger Kolleg rabbinical seminary and the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies are also involved. Both are affiliated with the University of Potsdam. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories center_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates In addition to promoting research, the center will also be used for the academic training of rabbis and cantors.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more

New Greek prime minister to undergo eye surgery

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Greek authorities say the country’s new prime minister, Antonis Samaras, will undergo eye surgery this weekend for a detached retina discovered during a routine examination.The prime minister’s office said Friday that the test revealed Samaras has the early stages of retinal detachment and that surgery is the best option. Samaras will be operated on Saturday morning in Athens’ Attiko Hospital. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Samaras was sworn in as Greece’s fourth prime minister in eight months on Wednesday, ending a protracted political crisis that had raised fears of Greece being forced to leave the eurozone. Such a scenario would have global repercussions.He heads a three-party coalition government formed after his conservative party came first in June 17 elections, but without enough votes to form a government on its own.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The difference between men and women when it comes to paincenter_img Top Stories Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

Ousted Egypt leaders sons on trial for trading

first_img Comments   Share   Prosecutors say the two, along with seven others, made 2 billion Egyptian pounds in illicit gains through actions that violated stock market regulations. The nine are accused of conspiring to buy 80 percent of Al Watany Bank of Egypt and then selling it, knowing a Kuwaiti bank was about to buy it.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairycenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates CAIRO (AP) – The ousted Egyptian president’s two sons have pleaded not guilty to charges of insider trading at the beginning of their trial in Cairo.The two _ Gamal, once seen as heir apparent to his father, Hosni Mubarak, and businessman Alaa _ were acquitted of corruption charges on June 2. They remained in custody for the insider trading trial, which opened Monday.The case was adjourned to Sept. 8 to allow defense lawyers to read the file. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths How do cataracts affect your vision? Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Secretive past disappearances of Chinese leaders

first_imgAssociated PressBEIJING (AP) – The extended absence of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, just weeks before he is expected to be named China’s top leader, is nothing new in the Communist Party’s opaque, secretive political culture. Top leaders have vanished amid power struggles and health problems before only to resurface _ or not. Here is a sample:THE CLOSEST COMRADE: Chairman Mao Zedong’s “closest comrade in arms” and hand-picked successor, Lin Biao dropped from view in September 1971 amid the radical turmoil known as the Cultural Revolution. Turns out he had died. The government started telling ordinary Chinese about his death only two months later; some accounts say it was 10 months later. Lin’s death remains shrouded in mystery. The official version says he and his family died in a plane crash in Mongolia attempting to flee to the Soviet Union after plotting to assassinate Mao and stage a coup. Other accounts say Mao’s supporters did Lin in first. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) THE HARDLINER: When Premier Li Peng suddenly canceled a meeting with the Philippine president in 1993, the excuse the government gave was that he had a cold. Over the next four months, Li made only two public appearances. At one of them he confessed to a “minor heart condition.” When he resurfaced in August, it was on the front page of newspapers, standing in swim trunks with his hands on his hips. China scholars later wrote that Li had suffered a heart attack. Some accounts say it was preceded by scathing criticism from party elders. Li outlasted his rivals, clinging to power until 2003 after 16 years in the leadership.THE ALLY: Vice Premier Huang Ju lectured Chinese bankers in early 2006 on the importance of government control over state banks. Then he dropped from sight. Nearly two months passed before a Chinese official said vaguely that Huang had been unwell and was convalescing in a hospital. Media were banned from reporting on his condition. Because of his illness, Huang, a key ally of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, had been expected to retire in the fall of 2007. He died four months earlier. The official announcement of his death gave no cause, though reports say he had pancreatic cancer. Comments   Share   THE PARAMOUNT LEADER: After authorizing the military crackdown that ended the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement with untold deaths, paramount leader Deng Xiaoping was shown on state television congratulating martial law troops on June 9. Then he stayed out of the public eye for more than three months. Deng, 85 at the time, had retired from most of his positions but was still regarded as the pre-eminent power in a divided party. His disappearance triggered reports he was ill or near death. He resurfaced in September looking tan and healthy as he met a Nobel Prize-winning Chinese American physicist. During his absence, he met in secret with an envoy sent by U.S. President George H. W. Bush to stabilize U.S.-China ties. Deng died in 1997.PURGED REFORMER: At the height of the student-led democracy movement in 1989, party chief Zhao Ziyang went to Tiananmen Square on May 19 and tearfully appealed to student hunger strikers to go home, saying “I came too late.” The next day, the government declared martial law and Zhao disappeared. After the June 3-4 military crackdown on protesters, speculation was rife that Zhao had been stripped of power. His fate became known more than a month later, when the party fired him. Purged for supporting the demonstrations, Zhao lived in Beijing under house arrest until his death in 2005. He was occasionally spotted playing golf in the suburbs and touring the provinces, though state media never reported on him. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The vital role family plays in society Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

1 dead 11 injured in series of hit and runs in UK

first_imgLONDON (AP) – A series of hit-and-run incidents in the Welsh city of Cardiff killed a woman Friday and injured 11 other pedestrians, including seven children. Witnesses described a motorist deliberately driving into families walking home from school.South Wales Police said a 32-year-old woman had been killed, and other victims were taken to hospital for treatment. An unidentified 31-year-old man has been arrested and a van has been seized. Authorities said that there had been at least five separate hit-and-run collisions across the city.Ramesh Patel, who runs a store close to the site where the woman was killed, said customers had described how the van driver appeared to target pedestrians. “Customers have said a white van purposely drove at people,” Patel said.The incidents took place as parents were collecting children from nearby schools and walking home.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Top Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Men’s health affects baby’s health too Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

AP source Cleveland reaches deal with Justice on policing

first_imgNews of the settlement comes days after a white police officer was acquitted of manslaughter for firing the final 15 rounds of a 137-shot police barrage through the windshield of a car carrying two black, unarmed suspects in 2012. The suspects’ backfiring vehicle had been mistaken for a gunshot, leading to a high-speed chase involving 62 police cruisers.Once the suspects were cornered, 13 officers fired at the car.The case prompted an 18-month Justice Department investigation into the practices of the Cleveland police. In a scathing report released in December, the department required the city to devise a plan to reform the police force.The specifics of the settlement, first reported by The New York Times, were not available Monday.Messages left with Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson and the police department seeking comment weren’t returned.The Justice Department’s report spared no one in the police chain of command. The worst examples of excessive force involved patrol officers who endangered lives by shooting at suspects and cars, hit people over the head with guns and used stun guns on handcuffed suspects.Supervisors and police higher-ups received some of the report’s most searing criticism. The Justice Department said officers were poorly trained and some didn’t know how to implement use-of-force policies. The report also said officers are ill-equipped. Top Stories The Justice Department has launched broad investigations into the practices of more than 20 police forces in the last five years, including agencies in Ferguson, Missouri and, most recently, in Baltimore.Saturday’s bench verdict on the manslaughter charge against patrolman Michael Brelo led to a day of mostly peaceful protests but also more than 70 arrests.But two other high-profile police-involved deaths still hang over the city: a boy holding a pellet gun fatally shot by a rookie patrolman and a mentally ill woman in distress who died after officers took her to the ground and handcuffed her.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Mobile computers that are supposed to be in patrol cars often don’t work and, even when they do, officers don’t have access to essential department databases, according to the report.Police Chief Calvin Williams said in December that while it’s not easy to have to share the federal government findings with his 1,500-member department, he is committed to change.“The people of this city need to know we will work to make the police department better,” Williams said.The agency said supervisors encouraged some of the bad behavior and often did little to investigate it. Some told the Justice Department that they often wrote their reports to make an officer look as good as possible, the federal agency said. The department found that only six officers had been suspended for improper use of force over a three-year period.The investigation was the second time in recent years the Justice Department has taken the Cleveland police to task over the use of force. But unlike in 2004, when the agency left it up to local police to clean up their act, federal authorities this time have been negotiating a consent decree designed to serve as a blueprint for lasting change within the police department. Several other police departments in the country now operate under federal consent decrees that involve independent oversight. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   center_img WASHINGTON (AP) — The city of Cleveland has reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over a pattern of excessive force and civil rights violations by the police department, and the agreement could be announced as soon as Tuesday, a senior federal law enforcement official said.The official was not authorized to speak publicly of the settlement ahead of the official announcement and spoke Monday on condition of anonymity. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Pope tells Putin Sincere peace efforts needed for Ukraine

first_imgPutin and Francis seemed eager to start their talks, which began quite tardily. Pulling into a Vatican courtyard in a black stretch limousine, Putin arrived an hour and 20 minutes late, after flying to Rome from Milan, where he spent the morning touring the Russian pavilion at the world’s fair and meeting with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi.Despite Putin’s delay, a rare breach of protocol for VIPs paying a call on the pope, Francis greeted him cordially in German, a language the Russian knows well from his secret service days. Putin nodded silently in acknowledgement.In their talks about Ukraine, Lombardi said, Francis stressed the “need to commit oneself in a sincere and great effort to achieve peace.” Lombardi said both men “agreed on the importance of reconstructing a climate of dialogue and that all sides commit oneself to implementing the Minsk accords.”Francis also stressed that all sides work toward easing the tensions in the regions.As he has done with other VIP visitors, the pontiff presented Putin with a medallion depicting an “angel of peace,” who, Francis told the Russian, “conquers all wars and evokes the solidarity among peoples.” ___Winfield reported from Rome. Trisha Thomas contributed from Milan. Vladimir Isachenkov contributed from Moscow and Frances D’Emilio contributed from Vatican City.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Patients with chronic pain give advice Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Putin gave the pope a depiction, embroidered with gold filament, of a church which had been destroyed in the Soviet era and later reconstructed.“It was a great pleasure, an honor to meet you,” Putin told Francis as he took his leave.In Milan, Renzi heaped praise on Russia, calling it a crucial player in international anti-terrorism efforts, as the Italian premier sought Putin’s help in ending the conflict in Libya that has fueled the Mediterranean migrant crisis.Renzi didn’t voice any criticism against the country’s actions in Ukraine, saying simply that they both agreed there must be full implementation of the Minsk peace accord. Putin for his part stressed the price Italian businesses are paying for the economic sanctions lodged by the European Union against Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine during the conflict.Because of the Ukraine crisis, the leaders of the world’s industrialized democracies for a second year in a row refused to let Putin join their G-7 summit. At the summit this month, they said sanctions against Russia won’t be lifted until Moscow fully implements its part of the Ukraine peace accord, and could be increased if needed. While Francis has deplored the loss of life in Ukraine and called on all sides to respect what has proven to be a shaky cease-fire, he hasn’t publicly put any blame on Russia in an apparent bid not to upset the Holy See’s delicate and often thorny relations with the Orthodox Church in Russia, where Catholics are a tiny minority.“We think they could say something more about concern of territorial integrity, those types of issues,” Hackett told reporters. “It does seem that Russia is supporting the insurgents. And it does seem that there are Russian troops inside Ukraine.”During the few minutes that Putin and Francis greeted each other and took their leave before and after their 50-minute-long closed door talks, there was no mention of any blame regarding Ukraine, although the protracted hostilities in that Eastern European nation bordering Russia was a main thrust of the discussion.“As it was possible to predict in the context of the world situation, the talks were dedicated principally to the conflict in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East,” said a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.The Holy See is highly worried about the fate of the Christian minority in the Middle East. Pope Francis adjusts his skull cap as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to engage in “sincere” international efforts aimed at bringing peace to Ukraine as the two men met privately at the Vatican on Wednesday.Earlier in the day, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth Hackett, said his country would like to see the Vatican step up its concern about what is happening in Ukraine during the pope’s meeting with Putin, the second time the Russian leader and Francis have met since the pontiff was elected in 2013. Top Stories Russia accuses Ukraine of failing to launch political dialogue with the rebellious east and of keeping its economic blockade of areas controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Kiev, the United States, NATO and European leaders have blamed Moscow for supplying rebels with manpower, training and weapons. Russia denies the claims.Hackett, the U.S. ambassador, noted that Putin has spoken about the plight of Christians.Lombardi said Putin and Francis discussed the conflicts in the Middle East, notably in Iraq and Syria, a country where Moscow long held influence. The Vatican statement cited the “urgency” with which the international community must pursue peace efforts, “assuring at the same time the necessary conditions for the life of all components of society, including religious minorities and in particular Christians.”Ending his long day, Putin took off his dark suit jacket and got together with his old friend, ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi gave him a warm hug and two large bottles of unspecified content in an encounter at Rome’s main airport, where the Russian was to board a jet to return to Moscow, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.___(This story has been corrected to show Hackett spoke Wednesday, not Tuesday.) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   Quick workouts for men Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

Obama and Roberts legacies intertwined in health care law

first_img Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Larry Klayman, head of the conservative group Freedom Watch, said the six justices in the majority had “violated their own long-established rules of interpretation for applying statutes to instead advance their own political objectives or burnish their public persona. … The justices abandoned the rule of law and have become merely a political focus group.”Ten years ago, when Obama was the junior U.S. senator from Illinois, he had his own reservations about the future chief justice. Obama said he feared Roberts would favor the powerful over the weak, and voted against his confirmation. He said Roberts was qualified in temperament and scholarship for most of what comes before the high court, but not for those truly difficult cases where “the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart.”Tribe speculated that Roberts is no fan of the health care law, “but I don’t think he had any difficulty voting the way he did.”___Associated Press writers Mark Sherman, Erica Werner and Julie Pace contributed to this report.___Following Nancy Benac on Twitter at and Jim Kuhnhenn at Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — The chief justice who once mangled President Barack Obama’s oath of office has once again helped rescue the president’s signature achievement, his health care law.After an awkward first encounter, these two Harvard Law graduates who rose to high positions of power from opposite ends of the political spectrum are bound together in the legacy of a law that the president says has now been “woven into the fabric of America” and that Roberts may not even personally support. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Likewise, the White House shied away from addressing the Obama-Roberts connection, with press secretary Josh Earnest referring to the “business relationship” that the two men have in their respective roles.Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser, put the ruling in a historical perspective. “There’s a long history on the Supreme Court of justices exercising their independence,” she said. “That’s part of why they have lifetime appointments. You want to free them up from feeling politically beholden.”But not everyone was ready to accept the ruling as evidence of Roberts’ judicial independence.Carrie Severino, chief counsel to the conservative Judicial Crisis Network and a former law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, said the “the two biggest losers today are the English language and the legacy of Chief Justice Roberts.”“If the chief justice is willing to join the court’s liberals in this linguistic farce, it’s time we admitted that our national ‘umpire’ is now playing for one of the teams,” she said, referring to Roberts’ description of a judge as one who impartially calls balls and strikes. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home It was Roberts who wrote the majority opinion in Thursday’s 6-3 ruling that preserved a critical element of the health care law. And it was Roberts who provided the critical vote to uphold the legal underpinnings of the Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 ruling in 2012.“This will be a part of them both,” predicted Harvard’s Laurence Tribe, the constitutional scholar who once had Roberts as a student and later hired Obama as a research assistant.Tribe, a supporter of the health care law, called it a kind of “kismet” that didn’t have to happen that way.This second ruling by Roberts may well have been easier for him than the first: This time, he was the sixth vote, with Justice Anthony Kennedy along for the ride and providing a cushion. And it only made sense that Roberts would back the law rather than gut it, when he’d already been savaged by conservatives for his ruling three years ago.Critics of the health care law were nonetheless quick to castigate the latest decision, although many of those in Congress went the route of championing Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent rather than focusing on the chief justice personally.House Speaker John Boehner, an ardent critic of the health care law, batted away a question about whether he was disappointed in Roberts, saying, “I’ll let the legal beagles around the country debate the chief justice of the Supreme Court.”last_img read more

Melbourne secures direct Air India service to Delhi

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Air India will fly daily direct services between Melbourne and Delhi, effective from 1 November this year. Premier John Brumby and Trade Minister Jacinta Allan signed the deal to make Victoria the first state to secure India’s national airline to fly direct between Melbourne and Delhi. Mr Brumby said, “Air India will also be establishing their regional headquarters in Melbourne. This Air India deal will create up to 78 jobs and see up to 123,000 new tourist and business arrivals from India to Victoria each year.“This significant move is in part due to the strong ties Victoria shared with India. With daily direct flights between Melbourne and Delhi we expect these ties to become even stronger as more Indian tourists and businesspeople discover Victoria, and more Victorians discover India.”According to Mr Brumby, Tourism Research Australia data from late last year showed a 17.4 percent rise in visitors from India to Victoria in the year to March 2010. “Victoria and India share common interests in cricket, international education, film and trade,” Mr Brumby said.“With a growing Indian community living here in Victoria we are also seeing more relatives and friends visit Victoria which is great for local jobs and the economy as tourism grows.”Air India’s arrival in Victoria highlighted the competitive strengths of Melbourne Airport compared to its interstate equivalents.“Melbourne Airport is Australia’s major around-the-clock, curfew-free international airport, accommodating international carriers at about half the operating cost incurred at Sydney,” Ms Allan said. “The airline is now one of 560 aviation and aerospace companies operating across Victoria, which collectively employ around 22,000 people and combined with the Tourism sector generate approximately $20 billion of economic activity for the state each year.”last_img read more

Asia Pacific offers 201011 opportunities Qantas AGM

first_imgQantas CEO Alan Joyce said that “significant opportunities will be unleashed” in the Asia Pacific in 2010/11. “Looking ahead, there are many challenges, but also one unmistakable opportunity,” Mr. Joyce told the company’s annual general meeting in Adelaide this morning. “In 2009, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) the Asia Pacific became the world’s biggest aviation market, five years earlier than predicted. “By 2013, IATA predicts that Asia-Pacific’s market share will grow to almost one-third oftotal global passenger traffic.” Qantas Chairman Leigh Clifford said that the airline is beginning to see a recovery that is flowing into its international business. “But it is early days and it is patchy. There remains challenges for two of our biggest markets, the US and the UK. “Domestically Qantas has an unrivalled network connecting the major cities and regional and rural Australia. Here too the recovery is underway. “The business market is certainly returning, while the leisure market has been affected by significant capacity increases.” Mr Clifford also responded to questions relating to the Board’s approach to a dividend. “The Board believes in paying a dividend to shareholders whenever possible. This year careful consideration was given to the matter. “Over the coming period the Qantas Group will need to service its very high capital requirements, including in fleet renewal, and retaining a high credit rating remains a priority. “With this in mind, the Board decided not to pay an interim or final dividend in 2009/10 and future dividends will need to be assessed against ongoing earnings performance and capital requirements.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

Samui Thailand needs more government support

first_imgSamui has attracted world-class hotels, but is still lacking solid infrastructure. Image: Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Poor infrastructure and planning is negatively affecting the long-term prospects of Koh Samui, and Thailand, says a leading tourism market analyst.According to Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks, a Phuket-based consulting firm, the main issue for Samui, and “all of Asia’s resort destinations at present”, was a lack of governmental financial support, The Nation reported.Although Samui is expected to lure more hotel and residential development, private-sector investment was simply not “being matched by government spending on infrastructure”. “Also, Thailand’s resort destinations are no longer simple idyllic destinations but are becoming urbanised, with issues now of population growth, traffic, waste disposal and crime,” he said. “Local government does not have the support for this growth.”Speaking to Samui specifically, Mr Barnett said the Thai island’s tourism potential was being limited by the tight capacity of its airport, which with an annual capacity of just 2 million, could not accommodate broader charter flights and low-cost carriers.  Despite the somewhat bleak assessment of Samui’s long-term future, Mr Barnett said that with new investors looking at the island, Samui was “benefiting from positive sentiment in the market”.   According to the C9 Hotelworks’s market update, the first half of 2012 saw 455,778 passenger arrivals at Samui Airport, which drove occupancy rates to their highest level since 2008 at 67 percent.  Thanks to this growth, revenue per available room (RevPAR) surged 12 per cent over the same period. last_img read more

Sunshine Coast tourism launches new name and direction

first_imgA new era has commenced for Sunshine Coast tourism, with the regional tourism organisation (RTO) officially changing its identity to Visit Sunshine Coast.While the region has marketed itself through the website for a number of years, the RTO has operated as Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL) since its inception in 2010.The decision to change the RTO’s name was made today at the SCDL Annual General Meeting. It will take effect from 1 December 2015.“Bringing together the public and operational identities of the organisation is crucial in this digital age,” said Visit Sunshine Coast Chair, Grant Hunt.“The key objective of the organisation is to be consumer and industry focused, and this straightforward change will help maximise the potential of our marketing and promotional efforts,” said Mr Hunt.Grant Hunt & Simon Ambrose“The new identity will build on some outstanding work and results achieved in 2014-15 by the SCDL team. We are anticipating even stronger growth for 2015-16, as a result of increased air services, a vast range of events, a record visiting cruise schedule, a highly targeted marketing and promotions strategy, and powerful business and community support.“We have the prospect of an upgraded Sunshine Coast Airport, which we are encouraging the whole community to get behind and support. It would be the ideal 50th anniversary ‘present’ for the region, as the airport has contributed significantly during the region’s first 50 years, and expanded capacity can play a major role in growing the Sunshine Coast’s position as one of the country’s most dynamic tourism, business, agricultural and residential regions.“The many exciting developments taking place in the region, including the establishment of the Kawana medical and tertiary district, and the massive residential projects in south Caloundra, make it imperative for infrastructure projects such as the extension of Sunshine Coast Airport to proceed.”During the 2014-15 year, the Sunshine Coast attracted increases of 10.6% in international visitors and 2.8% in domestic overnight visitors, with 3.1% growth in tourism expenditure. Tourism now delivers $2.4 billion annually to the Sunshine Coast economy.“The figures from the past year have demonstrated unequivocally that our marketing campaigns have created a very positive and powerful image for the Sunshine Coast, which is producing record results for all areas – from the coastal towns of Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Noosa and Rainbow Beach, through to inland destinations in the Hinterland and Gympie areas,” said Mr Hunt.In 2014-15, the website attracted 26% increase in unique visitors, while its social media sites saw even more spectacular growth led by Instagram (+ 371%), Facebook (+43%) and Twitter (+73%).Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the change in identity and congratulated the RTO on its consistently positive results.“Sunshine Coast is one of Queensland’s fastest growing tourism regions, and our reputation as a holiday, business and events destination continues to attract new markets,” Mayor Jamieson said.“That success is strengthening the Sunshine Coast economy, providing opportunities for new businesses to service these visitors and creates jobs.“Council supports the RTO’s marketing programs and operation of its Visitor Information Centres through the Tourism and Major Events Levy and the results are speaking for themselves.“The change in identity will build on that success and I congratulate the Board, CEO Simon Ambrose and his team on their achievements.” Visit Sunshine CoastSource = Visit Sunshine Coastlast_img read more

Premium New Zealand golf destination opens luxury lodge

first_imgImage credit: The Kinloch ClubNew Zealand’s newest luxury accommodation in a premium golfing destination has opened on the shores of Lake Taupo – a spectacular outdoor playground in the heart of the North Island.For a dream golfing break, the much anticipated Lodge at Kinloch offers a collection of one bedroom suites and two-bedroom villas styled for contemporary luxury, comfort and pleasure and set in a sublime lakeside landscape.The Lodge at Kinloch opened in mid January and is a major new premium leisure development just 20 minutes by road from the tourist town of Taupo or a one-hour drive from the thermal resort town of Rotorua.Designed by New Zealand architect Andrew Patterson, who is renowned for his cutting edge style and architectural storytelling, the villas and suites sit alongside the magnificent Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course overlooking Lake Taupo – New Zealand’s largest lake and the central geographic feature of this active volcanic region.Image credit: The Kinloch ClubFamed New Zealand lodge interior designer Virginia Fisher has worked her magic inside and out, creating a gorgeous setting for guests to relax in. Keeping in tune with her trademark style, expansive spaces, huge log fireplaces, vista windows, furnished terraces and stunning details create a truly exquisite environment.“My vision was a baronial feel of lush textures – velvet, fox fur, brass and copper – but upon modern calm of whitewash, light and airy,” Ms Fisher said.An onsite world-class restaurant sources produce from the private owner’s farm and adheres to the ‘estate to plate’ philosophy where possible. Top wines from New Zealand and around the world complement the cuisine as the team at Kinloch cut no corners to provide guests with premium service.The Lodge at Kinloch’s spa facility specialises in therapeutic sports massage and organic wellness treatments. Excellent entertainment facilities, tennis courts, an infinity pool (opening late summer 2016) and a state-of-the-art gym means there is always something to do.Image credit: The Kinloch ClubThe internationally renowned golf course, the jewel in the Kinloch crown, showcases a design philosophy that aims to enhance the natural environment. With the addition of the new accommodation, Kinloch will create new heights for a golfing escape or a romantic weekend away in an unforgettable New Zealand setting.The Lodge at Kinloch – a sister property to the acclaimed Treetops Estate near Rotorua – will provide an excellent base for a holiday discovery of New Zealand’s scenic and recreational diversity.Lake Taupo is a mecca for water sports, boating and fishing, mountain biking, and lies within easy reach of winter skiing in Tongariro National Park or walking the famed Tongariro Alpine Crossing.For the serious sportsman, there is seasonal fly fishing in some of the world’s best trout streams and wild game hunting. Nearby Treetops Estate offers signature eco wilderness experiences, and easy access to the thermal wonders and Maori culture of Rotorua.The official opening of The Lodge at Kinloch was held on 15 January 2016. The Lodge at KinlochSource = Tourism New Zealandlast_img read more

THAI wins Skytrax Most Improved Airline

first_imgMrs. Phakkhra Ruangsiradecho (3rd from left), THAI Acting Vice President of Ground Customer Services Department,Mr. Charamporn Jotikasthira (Center), THAI President and Mr. Narongchai Wongthanavimok (3rd from right), THAI Executive Vice President of Finance and Accounting Department.Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) was presented two prestigious and coveted awards at the Skytrax 2016 World Airline Awards ceremony at the Farnborough International Airshow, as the World’s Most Improved Airline and the World’s Best Airline Lounge Spa Facility.THAI also placed in the top three in three categories: Best Economy Class Onboard Catering – for the quality of meals, quality of food, beverage selection, and visual presentation;Best Airline Staff Service in Asia – for staff service efficiency, friendliness and service hospitality and overall consistency; and World’s Best Airport Services.In receiving these awards, Mr. Charamporn Jotikasthira, THAI President, said, “These awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone at Thai Airways International, devoting great attention to detail in providing service to passengers and having such determination to better ourselves for improved customer satisfaction.“It is a testament that we are on the right path – growing and expanding sustainably to serve every customer, whom we value greatly.  I am indeed very proud of THAI to have achieved this recognition.”World’s Most Improved AirlinesTHAI’s focus is on being a full-service carrier – a carrier of choice with a touch of Thai identity building on traditional strengths of warm and hospitable service, a key differentiator and is considered the carrier’s DNA. THAI has made a number of changes in product offerings and services onboard and at the airports.  Since the end of 2015, route by route, THAI has been continually rolling out New Royal Silk Service for Royal Silk Class passengers.This new service concept can be herald as the icon of service.  As well THAI has embarked on an operational makeover with the decommissioning of a number of older aircraft in order to offer newer product and smooth experience onboard THAI. THAI is determined to be one of the top airlines in the world in terms of products, services, and customer experience.World’s Best Airline Lounge Spa FacilityFor the second consecutive year, Thai Airways International has won in the category of Best Airline Lounge Spa Facility.  THAI’s Royal Orchid Spa is located at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, with the spa facility and services primarily designed for THAI Royal First Class and Royal Silk Class passengers departing on international flights operated by THAI.The range of spa services, performed by professionally-trained masseuses, for Royal First class passengers include full body oil massage, neck & shoulder or foot massage, steam rooms, sauna rooms, and shower rooms in tranquil ambience.  Royal Silk Class passengers have a choice of the neck & shoulder massage or the foot massage.World Airline AwardsSkytrax World Airlines Awards are coveted quality accolades for the world airline industry.  Travelers from across the globe take part each year in the world’s largest airline passenger satisfaction survey to decide the award winners.  The World Airline Awards are a global benchmark of airline excellence, and widely known as the Passengers Choice Awards.  The airline that achieves the highest upward rating improvement across the different survey categories is awarded as the Most Improved Airline. Fly THAISource = THAIlast_img read more