Goat yoga actually exists – and it is glorious Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Share ALBANY, OR — We’ve all heard of Downward Dog – but Downward Goat?A free-spirited woman in Albany, Oregon has come up with a revolutionary – and adorable – new way to practice traditional yoga – with a goat.Yes, you read correctly.Lainey Morse’s goat yoga classes have become so popular, says CNN, that there’s currently a 1,200-person waiting list – and it’s growing each day. Morse teaches classes at her Oregon farm – No Regrets – where eight of her goats have open access to yogis. Participants are encouraged to snuggle, pet and generally ‘be one’ with the animals, some even going so far as to let the goats walk all over them.According to Morse, people are coming from states away, all for the chance to lift their spirits.“It may sound silly, but goat yoga is really helping people,” she told CNN. “People come in that have anxiety, depression, they’re recovering from cancer or illness. It’s not curing diseases, but it’s helping people cope with whatever they’re going through.”More news: Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksAnd for people who just love animals, plain and simple, goat yoga has just been added to their bucket lists. Where do we sign up? Tags: LOL, Wellness Travel Posted by Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 Travelweek Group Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Sunwing has added Cayo Largo, Cuba to its growing roster of destinations from Toronto, available starting this winter.The tour operator is expected to be the only carrier to offer direct flights between Toronto and Cayo Largo this winter, which will operate Fridays between Dec. 15, 2017 and April 13, 2018. With this new flight service, clients departing from Toronto will be able to choose between eight different destinations in Cuba.“Cuba has always been a favourite choice amongst Canadians for winter escapes, so we’re very pleased to be adding a direct service to Cayo Largo to provide Torontonians more choice and greater accessibility in reaching their ideal beach getaway this coming winter,” said Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations.Craig Bradbrook, Vice President, Aviation Services at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, added: “We are delighted to see the addition of Cayo Largo to Sunwing and Toronto Pearson’s growing list of sun destinations. Sunwing shares our passion for putting the passenger first in everything that we do, and we’re proud to be partnering with them to bring the sun and fun of Cayo Largo to our travellers’ doorsteps.”More news: AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsIn Cayo Largo, Sunwing offers a wide range of accommodation packages. Clients can stay in bungalows on stilts at Sol Cayo Largo, known for its ecological excursions, while families with little ones will love the shallow waters at Hotel Pelicano. Also available are Iberostar Playa Blanca, located just five minutes from Playa Sirena beach, as well as Villa Iguana, ideal for couples and singles seeking a quiet getaway.Just off the southern coast of the Cuban mainland, Cayo Largo boasts over 25 kilometres of beaches, 32 diving sites and over 200 sunken ships that date back to the 16th century. All Sunwing packages include return flights on Sunwing Airlines. Tags: Cuba, New Routes, Sunwing Sunwing adds new flights to Cayo Largo, Cuba
Thursday, January 31, 2019 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> By: The Canadian Press Toronto airport runway setup poses serious crash risk, safety board finds Tags: Safety, Toronto Pearson Airport TORONTO — Air safety authorities say the runway setup at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport poses a serious risk of crashes.The Transportation Safety Board says there were 27 runway incursions between June 2012 and November 2017.Incursions occur when an aircraft finds itself on the wrong runway.The board says the incursions all involved aircraft that landed on an outer runway but ended up on an adjacent inner runway.The incidents occurred despite instructions from air traffic control to stop before entering the second runway.The report cites design problems with the airfield and busy flight crews missing various cues.“All 27 incursions examined involved flight crews who understood they needed to stop, and that they were approaching an active runway,” Kathy Fox, chairwoman of the board said in a statement.“Despite all the visual cues, including lights, signage and paint markings, professional crews were not stopping in time as required, thereby risking a collision with another aircraft on the other runway.”More news: Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthThe board report makes four recommendations, including better instructions to flight crews and changes to the runway layout.
No related posts. Costa Rican authorities on Saturday shipped nearly 24 tons of cocaine and heroin to the United States on a U.S. military plane for the drugs’ destruction.The Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) of Costa Rica made the announcement on Monday, having secretly shipped the illicit drugs to Miami, Florida, in a former U.S. Air Force cargo plane.The Spanish-language online daily CRHoy.com first reported the story on Monday, with comments from OIJ.“No, it’s not normal,” CRHoy.com quoted an OIJ official as saying. “It’s something extraordinary. Right now we do not have a place to destroy the drugs, particularly considering the amount that was shipped.”OIJ said Costa Rican authorities typically destroy drugs with the assistance of a cement plant, Holcim. In a Tuesday statement, OIJ said they feared the destruction would contaminate the environment. OIJ said the drugs were destroyed on Monday, in a five-hour process. The exact amount was 23 tons and 780 kilograms.OIJ and the U.S. Embassy said Costa Rica coordinated the operation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.“The removal of this much cocaine for destruction demonstrates the successful joint operations the U.S. and Costa Rica undertake in the fight against organized criminal networks as well as our ongoing co-operation,” U.S. Embassy spokesman Eric Turner said in a statement.Costa Rica has become one of the major transit countries for cocaine shipped from South America to North America, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).“According to Costa Rican authorities, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the quantities of cocaine seized on the sea route, involving Costa Rican nationals mostly working in the fishing industry and operating under the direction of Colombian nationals, using fishing boats with Costa Rican flags to transport illicit drugs,” a 2011 UNODC report said.Twenty-three tons and 780 kilograms of cocaine would have a wholesale value in the U.S. of between $297 million and $773 million, according to UNODC estimates. That same amount would fetch approximately $5 billion when sold in retail amounts on U.S. streets. UNODC estimated the global cocaine market between $75 billion to $100 billion in 2009.Heroin fetches an even larger sum, by the gram. Facebook Comments
Buy artwork. Pick up a raffle ticket. Send promising young students to the United States. Not bad for a night’s work. It all goes down at the Costa Rican-North American Center in San Pedro on Wednesday night.For many young Ticos, no dream is more enticing than a chance to study in the U.S. There are plenty of prestigious schools in Costa Rica, but the U.S. offers a variety of schools and specialty majors that do not exist here. Yet the U.S. is expensive – according to the National Center for Education Statistics, undergraduates at public schools spend an average of $13,564 per academic year, never mind Ivy League students.You can help these dreams come true thanks to the Opportunity Fund, a collaboration between the Costa Rican-North American Center and Education USA, a study-abroad organization. Started in 2006, the fund distributes money to promising Costa Rican students who hope to enroll in a U.S. school. While the fund doesn’t pay the student’s full tuition or living expenses, it greases the wheels, covering visa applications, document translation, placement exams and transportation to the school, among other things.To raise money for the fund, the Center will host a benefit on Wednesday,Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m., in its San Pedro headquarters. The soiree will include raffles and an art auction, among other activities. Patrons can peruse and purchase the work of Costa Rican artists, who will donate a percentage of their revenue to the Opportunity Fund.More than 100 academic institutions in the U.S. have admitted Costa Rican students through the program. Last year’s recipients were Jimmy Rojas, who is now studying at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, and José Ángel Rodriguez, who is attending Virginia Tech. This year’s selections are Jorge Isaac Sandoval and Joselina Chacón, who are still applying to schools. Stay in the loop to find out where they go. Facebook Comments No related posts.
The World CupThe moment has arrived: Costa Rica battles Uruguay this Saturday, kicking off the first weekend of the 2014 World Cup. Expect raging parties, manically honking taxistas and nationwide excitement. Stay tuned for The Tico Times’ World Cup coverage.Costa Rica plays Uruguay on June 14. Game will be televised live at 1 p.m. England plays Italy the same day at 3 p.m. The United States plays Ghana on June 16 at 4 p.m. Visit our schedule for local broadcasts and times.Music: Guadalupe UrbinaSolo musician Guadalupe Urbina celebrates the third anniversary of Casa del Arcoiris art space.Guadalupe Urbina performs June 13 at Casa del Arcoiris, downtown San José. 7 p.m. ₡7,000 in advance, ₡8,000 at the door. Info: Red Cultura. Music: SYELAs part of its “music salon,” Jazz Café hosts the understated band SYEL for sophisticated listeners.SYEL performs June 16 at Jazz Café, San Pedro. 9 p.m. ₡2,500 ($5). Info: Red Cultura.Film: “Repulsion”One of Roman Polanski’s most disturbing films, “Repulsion” tells the story of a damaged young woman descending into madness.“Repulsion” screens on June 14 at the Joaquín García Monge Museum, Desamparados. 6:30 p.m. ₡2,000 ($4). Info: GAM Cultural.Dance: “Mosaic Illusions”The National University showcases works by its dance school students.“Mosaico Ilusiones” performs June 15 at the Melico Solazar Theater, downtown San José. 10:30 a.m. & 3 p.m. 3,000-3,500 ($6-7). Info: GAM Cultural. The Creole Chicken Festival features traditional music and dance. Courtesy Silencio del QueposNational Creole Chicken FairThis fair celebrates all things poultry, taking place on the bucolic farm of Silencio del Quepos.La Feria de la Gallina Griolla takes place June 13-15 at the Silencio del Quepos cooperative farm. Fri.–Sun., 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Info: Farm’s website.Music: Minguet QuartetClassical strings receive a new interpretation by this German quartet.The Mingette Quartet performs June 13 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, San Pedro. 5 p.m. Free. Reserve at firstname.lastname@example.org. Info: RedCultura.Art: “The Day We Became Contemporary”The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design celebrates 20 years of cutting-edge arts with a comprehensive, retrospective showcase.“El Día Que Nos Hicimos Contemporáneos” continues through Sept. 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Downtown San José. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Residents ₡1,000 ($2), foreigners ₡1,500 ($3), students ₡500 ($1). Info: MADC website.Drawings by Fernando CarballoMaster draftsman displays his diverse body of work at Casa del Artista.Exhibit continues through June 30 at Casa del Artista, Guadalupe. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Free. Info: Official website.Art: “A Family Portrait of Helvetica”This dual exhibit features a fascinating exploration on the typeface Helvetica, by artist Mimiam Hsu.“Retrato Familiar en Helvética” and “Ojalá el Sol Me Esconda” display through June 28 TEOR/éTica Gallery, Barrio Amón. Free. Info: TEOR/éTica website.Art: Great Painters ExhibitPaintings by Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and Andy Warhol arrive in Costa Rica. Presented by the National Gallery, this collection incorporates 158 artworks and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture, based in the former penitentiary.“Herencia del Arte” takes place April 28–June 28 at the National Gallery in Barrio Mexico. Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Free. Info: National Gallery website.Theater: “Journey to the Center of the Earth”The classic Jules Verne science-fiction story receives an innovative Spanish-language adaptation at Teatro Espressivo. Enjoy this family-friendly afternoon adventure.“Viaje al Centro de la Tierra” takes place May 8-July 13, Teatro Espressivo, Tres Ríos, Cartago. Sat. & Sun., 3 p.m. ₡6,000 ($12). Info: Teatro Espressivo website.Theater: “Baroque Café”A variety of Spanish-language one-act plays make up this comic revue.“Café Barroco” takes place through July 6, Teatro Espressivo, Tres Ríos, Cartago. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡5,000-10,000 ($10-20). Info: Teatro Espressivo website.Art: “Mayo en Verde”Celebrate the coming of the green season with these colorful landscapes, painted by a variety of Costa Rican artists.“Mayo en Verde” takes place at the López Ecarré Gallery, National Theater, downtown San José. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Free. Info: Gallery website.Enamorate de tu ciudadYes, you can get gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring Enamorate de tu ciudad, or Fall in Love With Your City, a year-long celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Check back for games, workshops, presentations and surprise performances.Fall in Love with Your City takes place on Saturdays in various parks in downtown San José. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Info: Enamorate de tu Ciudad website. Facebook Comments Related posts:Final World Cup showdown, viral theater, and other happenings around Costa Rica Comedy homage, massive DJ party and other happenings around Costa Rica Whale festival, rugby tournament, and other happenings around Costa Rica Lionfish tournament, peach-palm fair, and other happenings around Costa Rica
Related posts:Nearly 14,000 sickened banana workers to receive payment for pesticide exposure Costa Rica banana workers affected by Nemagon still waiting on compensation A Paris climate change talks primer for Costa Rica Costa Rica boosts measures against Zika, rules out risks for tourists To sustain its massive fruit plantations, Costa Rica uses more agrochemicals per hectare of cultivated land than any other country in the world, according to the University of Costa Rica’s weekly newspaper,Semanario Universidad.Data from the Regional Institute for Studies in Toxic Substances (IRET) showed that Costa Rica uses an average of 18.2 kilograms of agrochemicals per hectare. This is more than both China, which sits at number two with 17 kilograms, and the U.S., which uses an average of 2.5 kilograms per hectare. Since 1977, Costa Rica has imported more than 185,000 metric tons of agrochemicals. In that same time period, the country’s consumption of these substances has more than tripled.The use of these chemicals in Costa Rica has been linked to health problems in humans. According to data from Costa Rica’s Social Security System (Caja), 146 people were admitted to public hospitals due to poisoning from agrochemicals in 2010. Twelve of those people died.In April, banana workers protested in front of the Legislative Assembly to demand compensation for their exposure to the toxic pesticide Nemagon. The chemical has been linked to cancer, sterility and genetic deformations.Related: High levels of fungicide found in pregnant women living near banana plantations Facebook Comments
Related posts:35 years after Somoza’s overthrow, not much for Nicaragua to celebrate Thousands protest Nicaraguan canal Nicaraguan opposition marches under strong police surveillance Nicaragua’s avowed anti-US leader Ortega eyes new mandate The woman who Matamoros, the shooter, says asked him to stir up the crowd is one of the disaffected (though she’s not a MRS founder). Mónica Zalaquett, who heads the Center for Violence Prevention, was once a Sandinista loyalist. But the Chilean-born, Nicaragua-nationalized writer and peace activist became disillusioned with the Sandinistas’ perceived lack of interest in women’s rights.Zalaquett founded the Center for Violence Prevention, which works with at-risk youth primarily in Managua, in 1997. Matamoros went through a program at the center and later became involved as a mentor to other troubled youth. Zalaquett told the Nicarguan news magazine Confidencial that Matamoros had stopped his involvement with the center a year ago to dedicate his free time to FSLN politics.“We’re surprised and hurt by what happened,” she said. Zalaquett also told reporters that she had thought highly of Matamoros prior to the incident.The circumstances surrounding Matamoros’ actions, and especially, his confession, are undoubtedly suspicious. First off, videos show that when Matamoros began shooting into the crowd, police officers standing nearby made no move to stop him. Local media reported that the head of transit police, Juan Valle Valle, was standing just a few meters from the shooter but later said he saw nothing.Aminta Granera, Nicaragua’s generally-respected police chief, said the officers present at the protest all had jobs to do and did them. She said National Police officers went after Matamoros and captured him minutes after he fled the scene on the back of a motorcycle. The motorcycle driver was not captured, adding to suspicion of some sort of government collusion.Matamoros — who Nicaragua’s National Police says has a rap sheet that includes aggravated robbery and theft — is accused of attempted murder, endangerment and illegal possession and use of a handgun. He was brought before a judge on Saturday. Only official media outlets were allowed into the hearing. Matamoros’ private lawyer, Darling García, also said she was not allowed into the hearing.While Zalaquett received an outpouring of support from Nicaraguan intellectuals, including writer Gioconda Belli, and government critics, Sandinista officials have party faithfuls have accepted Matamoros’ confession as truth.In an interview with government-allied Radio Sandino, Nicaragua’s human rights deputy ombudsman, Adolfo José Jarquín Ortel, said Zalquett’s alleged collusion with the shooter was “humiliating.”“We’ve been working in Nicaragua to leave the war behind, to eradicate violence. We can’t have political parties and non governmental organizations doing this kind of thing,” he said. Jarquín also suggested that protesters were paid to participate.Whatever is the ultimate truth of the shooting incident, the outcome doesn’t appear to favor the government. The protest movement grows ever stronger and with more diverse participation — mimicking the unprecedented coalition of forces that just forced a sitting president from office in Guatemala.Matamoros did stoke the fire, regardless of who, if anyone, put him up to it. Facebook Comments The bizarre tale of a man who shot into a group of protesters in Nicaragua last Wednesday — while police stood by — got even more bizarre over the weekend.On Saturday, 27-year-old Samir Matamoros appeared before a criminal court in Managua and confessed to shooting into a crowd of anti-government protesters gathered in Nicaragua’s capital on Sept. 2. He said he did it because the head of a respected violence prevention organization asked him to “add some fuel to the fire” to roust would-be protesters from their apathy. He said she had offered him something in exchange, though he didn’t specify what.“I have needs,” Matamoros told government-allied reporters — the only ones allowed into the hearing — outside the courtroom.The protesters who were there the day of the shooting and other government critics have a very different theory: that someone allied with President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) government — or perhaps even the government itself — put Matamoros up to the stunt. Luckily, no one was injured despite numerous shots fired into the crowd. Whether one believes Matamoros’ story or not mostly depends on which side of Nicaragua’s increasingly bitter, pro-anti Sandinista divide one is on. Long, long gone is the triumphant Sandinista nationalism that united much of Nicaragua’s population after the overthrow of Dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979. Long gone, even, is the defensive glue that held together the country’s left-leaning citizenry as they fended off the U.S.-backed Contras in the 1980s and other outside attempts to thwart Nicaragua’s socialist agenda.For the past several months, protesters have been gathering every Wednesday in the country’s capital to demand electoral reforms and transparency in next year’s general election. Ortega is expected to run for a third consecutive term thanks to a constitutional change, pushed through last year by his party, which scrapped term limits.Started as a citizen uprising, the recent protest movement was quickly hijacked by conservative, anti-Ortega political parties. But more and more groups are joining the protests, including the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), which was founded in 1995 by disaffected FSLN intellectuals.
Related posts:The Black side of the story: Afro-Costa Rican MC Huba Watson Blues artist Jose Ramírez returns to San Pedro Meet Sarai González, the inspiring Tica in Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo” video 5 questions for a Costa Rican musician: blind artist Gerardo Mora Read also: Desamparados, 1984 and Prince – A TributeMy compassionate husband must have sensed by my laughter at 7pm on Christmas Day that I had not yet heard. As I was just settling into my home office, checking holiday emails, he called me into our bedroom and quietly shared the news: George Michael was dead at 53.I, of course, denied it, confident that it was a media ploy – my hubby had certainly fallen prey to the tabloids. I chewed my nails as I went back to my office and opened Facebook; the knot in my throat already there as I began reading the outpouring of sorrow. I finally accepted this horror as tears coursed along the crevices of my lips and the full brutality of 2016’s sharp claws seized my heart.George Michael, along with Prince, were the musical bookmarks of my entire adolescence, and their songs etched the narrative textures of my growing life. Their deaths, within a single year (among countless others), cause me deep pause about what 2017 will hold. Yet the only way not to despair is to go back into my trove of memories to savor the power and passion of George Michael.Imagine: It is May 1988 in sweaty Brooklyn, New York. Already the temperatures have risen into the high 80s as the humidity leaves us limp, especially in the coarseness of Catholic school uniform skirts which dust past the knees. I am 17 and a senior in an exclusive all-girls high school, one of six girls of color in my graduating class. The anxiety that plagued many of us all year was not the anticipated college acceptance (I had my Vassar College admission in hand by January of that year) but who would we take to prom? What young, virile man, holy and forbidden in the walls of my school yet a creature of much interest, apprehension and daydreams, would hoist us out of the daily grind of academic competition within this cloistered enclave? Prom was only a month away.Alas, on that May day, I was filled with joy. Not only was I on the way for a fitting with my dressmaker but I had also won the golden ticket – a prom date! A fellow Latina classmate of mine had managed the unthinkable: she had a slew of male cousins who has a friend, a Costa Rican living in Brooklyn, who readily agreed to take me to Prom.With his power-bar mustache and slicked back black hair and dimply smile, Rafi (not his real name) was the tangible manifestation of success for me, as dating has never been part of the parental language of my Tica mom and Panamanian dad. It was my “Tica-ness” which made him willing to accompany me, a stranger, to prom.I did not know how to embrace that newly acquired identity as an Afro-Latina as I was carried along in the current of a new world of Spanish-speakers, fully embraced as if I had always belonged in a Brooklyn-stew of Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Costa Ricans, Panamanians and Cubans. I was amazed, shy, unsure, new as an “insider” in Brooklyn Latinidad.Rafi and I began to meet at the dressmaker’s during my fittings. Our stilted conversations outside of the dressmaker’s window, fighting for space above the loud cumbia music playing in the background over police sirens, were all about matching tuxedo colors and limos.The rest is a fast forward in vagueness: my mom taking “cute” couple pictures of us. Me in my turquoise and black satin flamenco styled handmade dress with enough black lace to have made Madonna proud, accessorized with black gloves and kitten heels, swept hairdo with curls and enough blue eyeshadow and mascara to have given Cindy Lauper a run for her money. Breathless giggles carrying me into the waiting limo with my best girlfriends inside – each with a live, male prom date alongside. I decided on that evening to leave my glasses at home and the world was a haze of shapes, sounds and feelings. I remember a lovely hotel ballroom, laughter and the blaring DJ.As the night progressed, the dance floor cleared, under the pressing eyes of Sister Margaret and Sister Carissa, when the fast paced pop music turned into a slow, melodic hum. And there it was, my song, the first strains lifting the hair on the back of my neck. George Michael’s “One More Try.” Rafi stood in front of me, hand raised in an invitation. My hands, covered in black elbow length satin gloves (how can we find fault with the 80s?), shook as I followed him to the dance floor. We were the solo couple, the focus of every gaze, but the only thing I remembered as I sang in my head lyric after lyric, “Cause teacher, there are things that I don’t want to learn/and the last one I had/made me cry” was my first kiss; a gentle statement.With that, I entered the world of “those who had been kissed.” I had made it to the other side: a seemingly innocuous moment that in the world of a sheltered 17-year-old brown girl in a Catholic all-girls school in the 1980s was rather revolutionary.George Michael’s searing lyrics in their tender, time-worn repetition from that day until December 25, 2016 has been a gift of innocence, embodying the possibilities of our youth and maturity. His music grew alongside my life, always the go-to on YouTube for the all-night paper grading sessions I dread as a professor. Thirty years later, my sister and I can still easily collapse into giggles on Skype talking about our Wham-loving days: she in Brooklyn, I in Costa Rica.I bow today, in sorrow, to the light that has gone out. George Michael, singer, songwriter, icon, human who inspired us to remember our life force as we sing along with his songs that span decades of mastery. And so it is a bittersweet goodbye.Rest well, young George. You have been taken from us too soon. Facebook Comments
Researchers, students and volunteers gathered in La Sabana Park, west of downtown San José, over the weekend to count and classify animals, insects, trees, and other species that can be spotted there.The species count, or “Taxathon” (Taxonomic Marathon), seeks to evaluate the impact of a six-year-old project to replace non-native tree species predominant at the popular park with native species in order to promote biodiversity and bring Costa Rican wildlife back to the park.The initial results? While La Sabana is known as the home of the National Stadium as well as other sports facilities, preliminary Taxathon data show the park is also home to 347 species of plants, mammals, birds, insects and molluscs.Researchers from various universities are currently evaluating the results and will issue a final report in late April. They say, however, that the survey is already showing an impressive spike in the number of species at the park, some of them never seen before in the area.The group found 290 species of plants that were new to La Sabana; 41 species of birds; four species each of bats and dragonflies; three species of snails; two species each of flies and two of mammals; and a new shrimp and aquatic mite species.New resident speciesArmando Soto, a botanist and the project’s technical coordinator, hired by Scotiabank, told The Tico Times that the count shows the tree-replacement project is indeed paying off.He said that, for example, a species count conducted in 2008 found only 13 species of birds at La Sabana.“Now you can see more than 100 species in total, including those 41 we found over the weekend,” he said. “This is mostly thanks to the more than 200 species of trees and plants, all native to Costa Rica, that now populate the park.”The tree-replacement project is also attracting new species of birds that were never spotted there.“One of them, the Fulvous whistling duck (Dendrocygna bicolor) could only be seen at the Palo Verde wetlands, and now they also come here,” Soto said. They group also found a species of hawk that is not only visiting, but also nesting in La Sabana trees. Researchers found four species of bats that now are playing a key role on pollination cycles at La Sabana. (Via UNED)One of the most exciting news was the finding of four species of bats, a species never seen here before the project. They were attracted by fruits and nectar from new trees and are now playing a key role in pollination cycles, Soto said.“Bats are also great for controlling mosquito populations. One bat is capable of eating 60,000 mosquitoes in one night. I’ve heard experts saying bats would be a great solution against dengue or Chikungunya,” he said.Professor Mery Ocampo, a researcher from the State University at a Distance (UNED)’s Green Footprint Project, told The Tico Times that the Taxathon also is bringing the general population closer to science and to scientific knowledge.She noted that these events allow people to better understand and appreciate the environment.“If people knew more about bats and how important they are to nature, they wouldn’t be so cruel as to kill them, or fear them, or spread fake beliefs that all bats are vampires and suck blood,” she said.Soto agreed, and added that there are some 120 species of bats in Costa Rica. Only one of them consumes blood, usually from cattle.Tree-species replacementThe initiative began as joint effort from public and private sector companies, lead by the Costa Rican Sports and Recreation Institute — the park administrator — and Scotiabank. Other groups and agencies since have joined the project known as “Una Nueva Sabana” (A New Sabana).The project started in 2008 with an initial assessment and evaluation of resident species. The tree-replacement stage started in 2011 to improve the park’s biodiversity by planting 5,000 trees of native species and removing non-native trees.Among other species, volunteers over the years have planted sura (Terminalia oblonga), guarumo (Cecropia obtusifolia), jobo (Spondias mombin) and Guanacaste trees (Enterolobium cyclocarpum).These trees are replacing eucalyptus trees, the predominant species within the park ’s 72 hectares. While eucalyptus trees thrive in tropical climates, they fail to attract native species of birds, mammals or insects, experts found during the first stage of the project.In another part of the plan, project managers coordinated with the Prison System to use wood from the cut eucalyptus trees to build benches and trash cans that now serve park visitors.The project is approximately 1,200 trees from its overall planting goal, Scotiabank reported.See a video of one of the tree-planting journeys (in Spanish) Related posts:Costa Rica to host third International Sustainable Building Congress Messages along San José’s streets ask people to stop littering Alleged gold miners end protest at Corcovado National Park Meet Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches Next TaxathonSoto said they this year’s species count did not include fish in La Sabana’s pond, but they will be evaluated in a future Taxathon that will likely take place during the rainy season.“We didn’t include fungi, either, as they’re not easy to find during the dry season,” he said.UNED’s Ocampo said a rainy season Taxathon will allow project leaders to establish a relation between frequency and abundance of species and their evolution according to climatic variables.The final analysis and species count is currently in the hands of researchers from UNED, the University of Costa Rica, the National University, and the Costa Rican Ornithological Association. 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Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments Share New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation LONDON (AP) – Oil company BP is selling two gas processing plants in Texas to Eagle Rock Energy Partners.BP said Monday that Eagle Rock Energy Partners is paying $227.5 million in cash for the Sunray and Hemphill gas processing plants in Texas. The plants have a combined capacity of 220 million cubic feet of gas per day and a gathering system of about 2,500 miles (4,000 km) of pipelines.Houston-based Eagle Rock Partners says the deal includes a 20-year agreement to process BP’s natural gas production from the existing wells connected to the two plants. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories CAIRO (AP) – Officials say an Egyptian court has ordered the release of ex-President Hosni Mubarak, but it’s not immediately clear whether the prosecutors will appeal the order.The Wednesday decision comes in a hearing on charges against Mubarak of accepting gifts from a state-owned newspaper, the last case that has kept the ailing leader in detention.It raises the possibility that Mubarak will walk free, a move that is likely to fuel the unrest roiling the country after the autocratic leader’s successor was removed in a military coup last month. The officials spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to speak to the media. Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top holiday drink recipes Mubarak, 85, has been held since April 2011. He’s now on trial for the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising against him and other charges.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
Four benefits of having a wireless security system His wife, Evgenia, issued a statement Thursday saying he had symptoms of poisoning and called for him to be taken to Europe or Israel for treatment.But his father and the head doctor of the hospital said Friday he won’t be sent abroad, Russian news agencies reported.Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service, died in London in 2006 after ingesting the radioactive element polonium. He had fled to Britain in 2000, where he wrote a book claiming that security service agents had coordinated the bombings of Russian apartment buildings. The bombings were blamed on Chechen terrorists and used as a justification to launch the second war between Russian forces and separatists there.In 2004, journalist Anna Politkovskaya fell ill on a plane as she was heading to try to help mediate the Beslan school hostage crisis, and poisoning was widely suspected. Politkovskaya was shot to death two years later.Journalist Yuri Shchekochikhin, who had investigated the apartment bombings and alleged corruption by security service officials, also died of an unexplained illness in 2003.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. MOSCOW (AP) — A prominent Russian opposition figure who is being treated at a Moscow hospital for a sudden, mysterious illness won’t be taken abroad for care.Vladimir Kara-Murza was hospitalized Tuesday in a serious condition. Diagnoses have varied, with doctors saying Friday that he is suffering from kidney failure. No cause for the condition has been determined.After the poisoning of defector Alexander Litvinenko and the mysterious deaths of other Russian opposition figures, some worry that Kara-Murza could have been poisoned. Kara-Murza was a close associate of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated in February, and works with a civic organization founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former oil tycoon and Kremlin opponent. Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Men’s health affects baby’s health too Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories
FILE – In this Wednesday, March 25, 2015, file photo, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, who heads the Houthi rebels’ powerful Revolutionary Council, center, attends the funeral procession of victims who were killed from triple suicide bombing attacks that hit a pair of mosques in Sanaa, Yemen. In an interview with the Associated Press the second-in-command of Yemen’s Shiite rebels has assailed Saudi-led airstrikes targeting his fighters but insists they are ready to travel to Geneva for U.N.-mediated peace talks on resolving the country’s crisis. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File) SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The second-in-command of Yemen’s Shiite rebels said Wednesday that the Iranian-backed group was ready to go to Geneva for U.N.-mediated peace talks on ending the country’s civil war, and accused the internationally-recognized government in exile of “obstructing” dialogue.Mohammed al-Houthi, who heads the rebels’ powerful Revolutionary Council, told The Associated Press that exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had derailed earlier attempts at negotiations by demanding the rebels first withdraw from all territory they had captured. Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Comments Share New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Wearing traditional Yemeni robes with a dagger thrust into his silk waistband, al-Houthi sat next to a Kalashnikov assault rifle during the interview, which was held in a lightly guarded house near Sanaa that was bare of furniture except for cushions spread on the ground.He said the new round of U.N.-mediated talks should begin where the last ones, held in Sanaa earlier this year, left off after the Houthis put Hadi under house arrest.Those talks included the formation of a new government and parliament, including a presidential council. The only outstanding issue was the “whether to keep Hadi at the top of the presidential council,” al-Houthi said.Oman, the only Gulf country that is not participating in the Saudi-led coalition, is hosting a series of meetings about the crisis. The Oman-led mediations have secured the release of an injured American journalist held along with several other Americans by the Houthis.Al-Houthi spoke Wednesday as the Saudi-led coalition launched new airstrikes against rebel positions in Sanaa, rocking residential areas and sending panicked residents fleeing into basements. The assault intensified after dark, targeting the presidential palace, a military complex and other areas that house Houthi command centers. An AP reporter counted more than a dozen airstrikes over a 15-minutes period. There was no immediate word on casualties. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy The strikes, as well as a Saudi-led air and sea blockade, have caused food, water and medicine shortages, sparking a humanitarian crisis in the Arab world’s poorest country.Heavy airstrikes also targeted the northern Houthi heartland of Saada, the eastern province of Marib that is home to Yemen’s oil fields, the western city of Taiz and Aden.“The 69-day assault has pushed the country to disaster,” al-Houthi said. “Yemen is facing a real genocide.”In the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Rageh Badi, a spokesman for the Yemeni government in exile, accused the Houthis of “systematically assaulting civilians” through random shelling, besieging cities and kidnapping activists and journalists who were being used as “human shields.” He referred to the killing of two journalists last month after the Houthis abducted them and placed them at a site targeted by airstrikes.Badi said Yemen’s “legitimate government” would return gradually to “safe zones” being set up in the country, starting next week, but did not elaborate.____________Associated Press writer Cara Anna at the United Nations contributed to this report. The Saudi-led air campaign, launched on March 26, and ground fighting have killed more than 1,000 civilians and displaced more than a million people since mid-March, the spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters Wednesday.The offensive has so far failed to force the Houthis to withdraw from any territory they hold or blunt their advance in southern Yemen.The Saudis and Western powers accuse the Houthis of receiving military support from Shiite power Iran as part of a larger proxy war between the Sunni kingdom and the Islamic Republic across the Mideast. Tehran and the rebels deny the allegations, though Iran has acknowledged sending humanitarian aid to the Houthis.“There is no Iranian intervention in Yemen and the Saudis can inspect the missiles (we fire) and see if these are made in Iran, Russia or America,” al-Houthi said. “We say that they are purely Yemeni-made.”Asked whether Iranian or Hezbollah forces fight alongside the rebel forces, al-Houthi dismissed the claims as a means to “scare others.”“We reject any sort of foreign intervention either by the Saudis, the American, the Egyptians or the Iranians,” he said. “They are putting pre-conditions to obstruct any talks that could lead the Yemeni people to a solution,” al-Houthi said, adding that the Saudi-led coalition refused to halt its air campaign to allow for peace talks. “The coalition is the one that rejects the talks and works on foiling them.”The talks were postponed last month just two days before they were to have begun on May 28 and no new date has been announced. However, Yemen’s ambassador to the U.N., Khaled Alyemany, told the AP they would begin June 14, and that an official announcement was expected shortly.A presidential aide said late Tuesday that Hadi was willing to participate in the Geneva talks. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to brief reporters, did not mention any conditions.The rebels, known as Houthis, began their advance in September, sweeping into the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and taking over government ministries and other areas. They held top officials, including Hadi, under house arrest until Hadi fled, first to the southern port city of Aden, then to Saudi Arabia as the rebels closed in backed by forces loyal to former leader President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 ways to recognize low testosterone
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Ethnic Kokang rebels fighting against government troops in northeastern Myanmar declared a unilateral ceasefire on Thursday.Rebel spokesman Htun Myat Lin told The Associated Press the Kokang fighters made the declaration in response to an appeal by China for a peace along the border region and to ensure that elections expected in Myanmar later this year are peaceful in the area.Clashes between the Kokang rebels and government troops in Myanmar since February have left hundreds dead and forced thousands more people to flee. Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility China has complained of cross-border firing several times and urged Myanmar to restore stability. A bombing run by a Myanmar plane in March killed five farmers on the Chinese side, leading to an official apology. And earlier this month, Myanmar’s army chief blamed the rebels for shells that had fallen in southwestern China.The clashes have come as the nominally civilian government is making efforts to sign a nationwide cease-fire with more than a dozen rebel groups that have been fighting for self-rule for decades.The Kokang rebels are of ethnic Chinese descent and have long operated on both sides of the border.Myanmar’s government has accused several other ethnic groups of supporting the Kokang rebels in combat, and has claimed that former Chinese soldiers have provided training. China’s government has disavowed any links with the militants, saying it respects Myanmar’s sovereignty and will not allow any group to use Chinese territory to destabilize a neighboring country.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Top holiday drink recipes Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like
Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall WARSAW, Poland (AP) — In an unprecedented move, Poland’s president has appointed army Lt. Gen. Marek Tomaszycki as commander of the nation’s armed forces in case of war.Bronislaw Komorowski said Monday the appointment was a reaction to increased threats and instability in the region. He stopped short of mentioning an armed conflict in neighboring Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russia rebels, or conflicts in the Middle East. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes The extraordinary measure stems from new regulations for Poland’s armed forces that were proposed by Komorowski. He argued that Poland, a European Union and NATO frontier country, is facing new security challenges and needs to streamline its defenses.Komorowski is the chief commander of the armed forces. The regulations give the president the right to announce the start and the end of a “time of war.”In line with the new regulations, the 57-year-old Tomaszycki is “candidate for Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces in time of war,” but would automatically be put in charge of Poland’s defense effort in case of a conflict. He is currently the Operational Commander of the Armed Forces. The appointment obliges him to take part in test range exercises, strategy games and in planning of Poland’s defense.Once a Moscow satellite, Poland is concerned over Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine and is strengthening its own defenses as well as seeking security assurances from its NATO and U.S. allies.Also Monday, Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak discussed security issues with U.S. Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah James.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona 0 Comments Share U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, left, and Poland’s Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak pose for photos before talks concerning security cooperation at the Defense Ministry in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, June 22, 2015. Poland is concerned about Russia’s role in the armed conflict across its border, in eastern Ukraine, and is seeking security assurances from its NATO and U.S. allies. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Sponsored Stories
5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Liu said the exhibition “demonstrates the bravery of all Chinese people in this anti-Japanese war and the critical role played by the Chinese Communist Party.” It also serves as “an excellent platform for patriotic education,” he added.As part of President Xi Jinping’s drive to stir patriotism, China is promoting its participation in World War II as never before. Last year, it created three new annual national holidays linked to the war.In September, China will hold a military parade to mark the anniversary of the end of the war in Asia. So far, only Russia has confirmed it will send officials and soldiers to take part in the Sept. 3 parade.On Monday, culture officials announced that “to increase patriotism,” 183 war-themed concerts, operas and other performances would be staged over the next two months, along with the screening of new movies, TV series, documentaries and cartoons.Following the end of World War II, China’s Communists and Nationalists continued their battle for supremacy. The Nationalists’ eventual flight to Taiwan resulted in the split between the island and the mainland.Taiwan’s Nationalists maintain the Communists played only a minor role in the fight against the Japanese. On Saturday, Taiwan held its own major military parade to commemorate the victory over Japan, and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said the fight was led by Chiang and that “no one is allowed to distort that.” ____AP video journalist Zhang Weiqun contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share Sponsored Stories BEIJING (AP) — China opened Tuesday an exhibition of guns and photos of massacres to commemorate the World War II victory over Japan, part of a propaganda push to stir up nationalism by observing the 70th anniversary of the war’s end in Asia with great fanfare.Soldiers and children stood in silence outside the museum in suburban Beijing at the opening ceremony for the “Great Victory and Historical Contribution” exhibition on the 78th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. A clash at the Marco Polo Bridge in 1937 is regarded as the first battle of the second Sino-Japanese war, which lasted until Japan’s defeat by the Allies in 1945. Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Relations between the two Asian giants have long been affected by what Chinese see as Japan’s failure to sufficiently atone for the suffering it caused during the war. They have also worsened in recent years over competing claims to islands in the East China Sea. China has sought to underline what it maintains is Japan’s renewed militarism, while at the same time becoming more aggressive in pressing its own territorial claims.China’s ruling Communist Party leadership also wants to highlight the Communists’ role in fighting the Japanese, though technically Japan surrendered to the U.S.-led Allies in the Pacific and then days later on the Chinese mainland to Chiang Kai-shek. He was the Allied military leader in China and head of the Nationalists, who later fled to Taiwan after losing a civil war with the Communists.With the Chinese flag flying Tuesday outside the entrance to the Museum of the War of the Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Liu Yunshan, the Communist Party’s propaganda chief, said the exhibition was to remember the “martyrs, to cherish the peace and look ahead to the future.”Inside, the exhibition includes handguns, machine guns, a cannon as well as toxic shells and gas masks said to have been used by Japanese troops. Photos show troops fighting and the aftermath of massacres by Japanese soldiers, including heads on wooden stakes. Men’s health affects baby’s health too
Sponsored Stories It said that no bystanders were injured or killed, and that investigations were continuing.Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, which advocates Uighur rights, said that according to local sources, the suspects shot Monday were among dozens of Uighurs who had been rounded up and arrested as they were trying to flee abroad through China’s northern border.“China shot dead those who resisted,” he said. “China’s barbarian policy of shooting people dead before judicial interrogation should be prevented by the international community.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Comments Share A foreign-based spokesman for Uighurs said the people shot were among a group of Uighurs who were trying to flee China through its northern border.Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gurs) are a Muslim minority in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. Beijing has accused Uighur separatists of terrorism in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China, including a knife attack at a train station in southwest Kunming city last year that killed 31 people. The government also has accused some of them of trying to go abroad to join international terrorist groups.Uighurs have complained of harsh cultural and religious suppression as well as economic marginalization in Xinjiang, where ethnic violence has left hundreds of people dead. A report by Human Rights Watch on Monday said Uighurs were among ethnic minorities in China that found it difficult to get a passport because of a two-track system that subjected residents in certain areas to application delays of up to five years.The police statement said that during Monday’s incident, “four violent terrorists resisted arrest by wielding knives, so to prevent any harm to society, police quickly decided to shoot them. Three were killed and one was injured.” BEIJING (AP) — Police in northeastern China said Tuesday that they fatally shot three minority Muslim Uighurs in a confrontation with suspects they described as terrorists who were using knives to resist arrest.Police also injured a fourth suspect during the incident Monday in Shenyang, the city police said in a statement on their microblog. A man who refused to identify himself at Shenyang police’s criminal offenses office said the four were ethnic Uighurs. How men can have a healthy 2019 New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X Insight Vacations yesterday launched its brand new Winter Europe and Eastern Mediterranean brochure, this year expanding the offering by 13 new itineraries up to 29, utilising the best performing destinations from its summer brochure.New winter destinations include Jordan, Turkey and interestingly Israel, while the ever popular Egypt tours have been expanded even more up from the seven itineraries offered last year to nine dedicated tours and one other inclusion.“The Eastern Mediterranean is just getting more popular,” says David Farrar, Insight Vacations National Sales Manager. “Israel is going to be an interesting one, but by the time the tours go out (from November 4th) we hope to see renewed interest.”Within Europe, there’s been a refocusing on the “White Christmas” concept, with Insight Vacations set to push the traditional Father Christmas and winter wonderland into the market.“We’ve expanded our winter brochure this year to 52 pages, and there’s lots of new product on offer,” adds Mr Farrar. “There are quite a few things that we’ve taken from the popular summer brochure that we’ve included in the new winter offering.”“There is a real focus on the Christmas market this year,” he continues. “A white Christmas really has appeal in the Australian market… for those travellers who want an experience that is completely different from back home.”Insight Vacations’ 2010/11 Winter Europe and Eastern Mediterranean brochure also offers more value than ever before, with average tours 27% cheaper than their summer counterparts and an average 14% cheaper than the 2009/2010 winter brochure.“There are some fantastic deals in this brochure. It really is great value to travel in winter.”With a high level of pre-registered interest, Insight Vacations is expecting a high level of Definite Departures for the coming winter season, as it maintains that it has not seen demand from travellers drop off.Insight Vacations says that in its summer program 93% of its tours departed.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Being featured in the Oprah down under special has started to impact awareness of the Northern Territory, attracting up to 1,000 NT website clicks before the show even went to air. Northern Territory Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy told e-Travel Blackboard that spending $500,000 between the NT government and NT operators has served the region, receiving up to $9 million worth in advertisement prior to the episode’s release in the US. Ms McCarthy said the Oprah tapings gave the NT an opportunity to promote leisure tourism and the region has already received mass interest.“The NT website received about 1,000 hits before the show aired and we received 2,000 fans on Facebook from the US,” Ms McCarthy said. Ms McCarthy added that although the impact of Oprah’s visit proved successful, the territory is waiting to see the overall effect long term. The Tourism Minister said the TV hosts visit gave the region an opportunity to show off its leisure tourism which is the region’s focus for the moment. “We are focusing on promoting the NT as a leisure destination but one of the things airlines look for when they select a destination is both business and leisure travel,” she told e-Travel Blackboard.“It can’t just be all about leisure is had to include business travel.”Late last year AirAsia signed on to launch flights into Darwin, promoting the NT to the growing Asian market. Ms McCarthy said that although it was too soon to see a large impact from the relationship, “the people of Darwin are pleased to have an extra airline and that is definitely good news for AirAsia”.In a bid to expand relations with airlines, Ms McCarthy travelled to the Middle East last year, meeting with the region’s carriers to endorse the NT’s existence. “We are always lobbying for airlines to continue looking at us, so we can offer choice to travellers,” she said.“Last year the Middle Eastern carrier Etihad began a codeshare with Virgin Blue and that helped us tap into the European market and it also gives us a chance to build new relationships.”Ms McCarthy is travelling across Australia this week with the annual NT Muster.