Turkeys travel agent association manages to get Bookingcom blocked

first_img Share Thursday, March 30, 2017 ISTANBUL — A Turkish court has ordered the travel website Booking.com to be blocked in a dispute with the country’s main travel agency association, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Wednesday.The Anadolu Agency reported that a commercial court in Istanbul ordered the move against Booking.com as a “precautionary measure” while the case is ongoing.Lawyers for the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies had argued that Netherlands-based Booking.com was engaging in unfair competition in the marketing of hotels in Turkey.Anadolu said that government authorities are expected to block access to the website as soon as they receive official notification from the court.In a written statement, Booking.com said it disagreed with the ruling and would appeal.“As an e-commerce and technology company, we are convinced that we contribute to healthy competition in the market by offering Turkish consumers a transparent and easy platform to compare and book accommodation all over the world,” the company said.It added that Booking.com also helps 13,000 Turkish businesses offer accommodation to consumers. Source: The Associated Press Turkey’s travel agent association manages to get Booking.com blocked Tags: Booking.com, OTAs, Turkey << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Intrepid launches 9 new trips its most adventurous to date

first_imgIntrepid launches 9 new trips, its most adventurous to date << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Monday, December 11, 2017 TORONTO — Clients looking for one-of-a-kind experiences abroad should take note: Intrepid Travel has just launched nine brand new itineraries as part of its annually released range of Expedition tours.Set to depart in 2018 and 2019, the itineraries explore areas like the Congo Basin’s tropical rainforests and will be the newest and most adventurous trips in the company’s portfolio.“We created the Expeditions to innovate and test new product in the continuously growing adventure travel sector,” said Leigh Barnes, Intrepid Travel’s director of North America. “As adventure travel has become increasingly popular, we find our limited-edition Expedition trips continuously sell-out as people are wanting to have cultural experiences in destinations few have had the opportunity to explore, for travellers these trips are the ultimate bucket-list items.”The Expeditions introduce two new Expedition destinations to the company’s product range, Paraguay and Vanuatu, and include visits to untapped cities within well-visited countries such as India, Argentina and South Africa. These include:Embarking on “Russia Expedition – Winter Trans-Siberian Adventure” via the great Trans-Siberian Railway with stops at the ‘Old Believers Village,’ which has seen little change since the 1800sEncountering the world’s largest group of western lowland gorillas on “Republic of Congo Expedition – Gorilla Trek,” led by expert trackersWandering through the Ima Keithal, a market run solely by women and the largest of its kind in Asia, on “India Expedition – Tea & Tribes”Venturing to where few visitors to South Africa go—the northern corners of Kruger National Park—to spot cheetahs, lions and elephants by foot on “South Africa Expedition – Kruger Walking Safari”Trekking unspoiled Patagonian landscapes and sleeping under the stars on the homestead of a 200-year old Andean mountain house on “Patagonia Expedition – Andean Crossing”More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthLed by local leaders, the new trips offer interactions with community members like staying in Paraguay’s San Rafael National Park with the family who runs the conservation organization, Pro Cosara. They will add to travellers’ favourite Expeditions like Morocco Expedition – Walking with Berber Nomads and Russia Expedition – Footsteps of the Reindeer Herders.Departures for the new Expeditions are priced as low as $2,735 CAD per person. For more information on the tour range, visit intrepidtravel.com/ca/theme/expeditions. Tags: Adventure Travel, Intrepid Travellast_img read more

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first_imgSamper’s organization, Animal and Earth Resistance Front (FRAT), has opposed the zoo’s existence since its foundation in 2011 and has held two other demonstrations outside the institution’s gates in the past two years.This demonstration comes less than a week after the Environment Ministry announced that it will close the zoo and convert it into a botanical garden. Though Samper and other environmental groups have applauded the decision, the zoo’s administration has taken the ministry to court, claiming the government has a contractual obligation to keep the zoo open.“It’s a great decision, but the zoo keeps coming up with all of these excuses,” Samper said. “We are going to continue protesting until these animals are taken to a better location.” Facebook Comments Animal rights activists crashed the Simón Bolívar Zoo’s 97th anniversary party Sunday in San José’s Barrio Amón to protest what they considerunfit conditions for the zoo’s animals. The protest, attended by approximately 30 people, ended in the arrest of three of the demonstrators.“We marched against the exploitation of all animals,” said Edgar Samper, the protest’s organizer. “Simón Bolivar Zoo is the largest institution of animal exploitation that we have in this country.”According to a police press release, the arrests occurred three blocks from the zoo’s entrance after a man hurled a rock at a passing car. Two other protesters joined him in disrupting traffic and after zoo security officials intervened, one of them smashed a guard’s radio.The rock thrower, identified by the last names Mireno Solano, has been charged at the Flagrancy Court, and the two other men, identified by the last names Chavarría Rojas and Valverde Méndez, are now free but charged with misdemeanors. Police arrest one of three protesters Sunday at demonstration at the Simón Bolívar Zoo in San José. Courtesy of the Public Security Ministrycenter_img Related posts:Redefining Costa Rica’s zoos San José zoo administration to file complaint after Costa Rica Environment Ministry inspection Free the animals! Costa Rica’s cage-free wildlife ambitions extend beyond public zoos Court approves zoos’ injunction against Costa Rica Environment Ministrylast_img read more

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Costa Ricans racked up credit card debt on TVs travel during World

first_img Facebook Comments After the blowup with Costa Rica’s once adored National Men’s Team coach, Jorge Luis Pinto, some Ticos were left with a bad taste in their mouths after an otherwise historic run in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Another thing many Costa Ricans might be grimacing from is credit card debt they racked up during those exhilarating weeks now that the first statements are due.Elena Galante, corporate social responsibility manager for BAC Credomatic, told The Tico Times in a telephone interview that Credomatic, one of the largest issuers of plastic in Costa Rica, noted spikes in purchases of flat-screen televisions and international travel during La Sele’s run to the quarterfinals in Brazil. The social responsibility manager noted that many shoppers took advantage of World Cup promotions and might have bought more than usual.“People definitely use their credit cards more when there’s euphoria, but now the fun has passed and it’s time to sit down and figure out what you owe,” Galante said.Costa Rican credit card debt has been on the rise in recent years. The Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce, which tracks credit card use, reported that the number of credit cards issued and corresponding debt have been steadily increasing here. Between July 2012 and April 2014, Costa Rican credit card debt has grown 21 percent from ₡395 billion ($728 million) to ₡480 billion ($885 million). As of April, 1,764,609 credit cards were issued in Costa Rica. MEIC’s latest credit card report recorded total Costa Rican credit card debt at over ₡804 billion — roughly $1.48 billion — up 2.37 percent from the previous report, issued in January.Some shoppers have tried to pawn their way out of their spending during the World Cup. Several local media outlets reported in July that electronics pawn shops have been inundated with flat-screen and smart TVs. The daily La Nación reported that stocks of flat-screen TVs in pawn shops jumped anywhere from 15 to 40 percent as Ticos rushed to unload them after the Netherlands eliminated La Sele on July 5.Unfortunately, used plane tickets to Brazil don’t garner much resale value.The social responsibility manager advised customers to always pay their minimum balance — and preferably more than that — to avoid tarnishing their credit score.“After you’ve spent the money, you need to assess what you owe and how you’re going to pay it. But there are ways to prevent credit card debt by planning head and setting savings goals,” she advised. Related posts:World Cup couch potatoes hurting retail sales Public workers can take recess to watch Costa Rica’s World Cup games, Solís says Costa Rica hopes La Sele will bring home a trophy, along with more tourists A rebuttal to Wall Street Journal editor’s call for US World Cup fans to ignore Costa Ricalast_img read more

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BREAKING New explosions at Turrialba Volcano

first_imgTwo new explosion of gas and ash Friday mid-morning broke a brief period of low activity at Turrialba Volcano, located in the province of Cartago, 67 kilometers from the capital San José.The new explosions follow one that occurred at 4:30 a.m. Friday and four on Thursday.The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI)’s web cameras recorded the explosions Friday. The agency reported that columns of material reached some 1,500 meters high (4,921 feet), similar to those recorded on Thursday.Spewings of ash and gases lasted for periods of some 30 minutes, OVSICORI reported. Related posts:National Emergency Commission lifts two road closures near Turrialba Volcano Turrialba Volcano vapor plumes are normal, experts say Turrialba Volcano spews ash; Rincón de la Vieja heaves vapor Turrialba Volcano again spews ash and vapor Volcanologists are currently examining samples of materials expelled by the volcano in order to determine whether there’s fresh magma, Eliécer Duarte González, a volcanologist with OVSICORI’s Volcano Surveillance Department, told The Tico Times.“So far, we don’t have any visual confirmation on magma levels rising up,” he said, “however the characteristics of the explosions suggest magma levels could be increasing inside the crater,” he said Friday morning.Earlier on Friday, National Police officers closed all main access roads to the volcano, allowing passage only to residents and workers in nearby communities.Following recommendations of the National Emergency Commission, Public Education Ministry officials suspended classes in 19 schools: 12 in Turrialba and 7 in other cantons of Cartago.False rumor of water contaminationHundreds of people reacted with alarm Friday morning to rumors circulating on social networks that the water supply in the metropolitan area had been contaminated by ash.But Costa Rica’s Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) reported Friday that the volcano’s activity had not affected drinking water.AyA Executive President Yamileth Astorga said the rumors were completely false.“At the time there is no need to issue any public alert on water contamination,” she said.Astorga said experts at AyA’s National Water Laboratory are conducting frequent monitoring at all water distribution plants. In case of any detected contamination, AyA would immediately  cut off the contaminated supply.Still, Astorga advised the population to keep fresh water on hand as a precaution, in case any increase in the volcano’s activity compromises the water supply in coming days. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Delta American and United ban shipments of big five hunting trophies

first_imgAccording to NBC News, a United spokesman said Monday that the airline was also prohibiting big-game shipments. The airline did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment Tuesday morning.The bans by the three major U.S. carriers were announced amid mounting international outrage over the hunting death of one of Africa’s most iconic lions, Cecil, who was killed in Zimbabwe by a U.S. big-game hunter. Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, has said he had “no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite.”“I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt,” he said last week in a statement obtained by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.See also: Rich US tourists kill hundreds of lions each year, and it’s all legalDelta isn’t the first airline to take such action. Emirates Airlines announced a similar ban earlier this year, for example.“Lions, elephants and the other species that make up the Africa Big Five belong on the savanna, not on the walls and in home museums of wealthy people who spend a fortune to kill the grandest, most majestic animals in the world,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement. “Delta has set a great example, and no airline should provide a getaway vehicle for the theft of Africa’s wildlife by these killers.”The Humane Society had urged the airline industry “to join the international fight to end trophy hunting.”As The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham reported, wealthy U.S. tourists account for the majority of lions killed for sport in Africa. A 2011 report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare found that between 1999 and 2008, Americans brought home lion trophies (including heads and pelts) representing 64 percent of all African lions killed for sport during that period.And that number is rising: “Of these trophies, the number imported into the U.S. in 2008 was larger than any other year in the decade studied and more than twice the number in 1999,” the report found.“In Africa overall,” the report says, Americans “make up the greatest number” of big-game hunters targeting the big five, as well as animals such as antelopes and zebras — “particularly in countries where hunting safaris are expensive.”The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, a nongovernmental organization, believes that Cecil was lured off the Hwange National Park — land on which he was protected.In the aftermath of the hunt, protesters gathered at Palmer’s dental practice, and his membership to Safari Club International was suspended. He’s largely remained out of sight, though a representative has made contact with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials.On Sunday, Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority accused a second U.S. doctor, Jan Seski, of illegally killing a lion in April. The wildlife authority said Seski killed the animal — without approval — with a bow and arrow on land where it was not allowed, near Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, according to the Associated Press.Washington Post staff writer Peter Holley contributed to this article.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Effective immediately, we will no longer transport buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhino trophies.— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) August 4, 2015 Related posts:US dentist named as killer of Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the lion Rich US tourists kill hundreds of lions each year, and it’s all legal US government sued over sea turtles snared in shrimp nets To conserve the Amazon, the forest must become an economic ‘asset’center_img Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines will no longer allow the shipment of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo hunting trophies, the U.S. carriers said Monday.Delta, which announced its ban first in an afternoon statement, said it was “effective immediately.”“Prior to this ban, Delta’s strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species,” the carrier said. “Delta will also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments.”Late Monday night, American Airlines announced its own ban on shipments of trophies from the animals that comprise what hunters frequently call “the big five.”last_img read more

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Fugitive selfieloving Brazilian mayor surrenders

first_img Facebook Comments Police responsible for the town of Bom Jardim in the far northeastern state of Maranhão confirmed to AFP reports that Lidiane Leite had turned herself in.Leite shot to local fame after her boyfriend, farmer Beto Rocha, ran for mayor in 2012, but stepped aside amid corruption allegations.Leite took over and won in 2013, then quickly became known more for showing off her high-rolling lifestyle than for helping the town of approximately 40,000 in the impoverished region.Social media selfies and other shots of Leite showed her posing in tight tank tops, low-cut dresses and heavy jewelery as she partied or vacationed.The pictures included her drinking champagne and appearing in expensive cars, earning her the tag in Brazilian media of “Mayor Showoff.”On August 20, after prosecutors accused Leite of involvement in the embezzlement of town school funds, she went on the run, only turning herself in on Monday, 39 days later, in the regional capital São Luis. Video on Globo news site showed her entering the police station in an unusually plain all-black outfit.According to Brazilian media reports, the school fraud and other corruption could involve a total of 15 million reais ($3.6 million). RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil —  A 25-year-old Brazilian mayor who reveled in posting glamorous pictures of herself on social media and who is suspected of embezzling from the town coffers has surrendered after vanishing for more than a month.center_img Related posts:The professor at the heart of Brazil’s market meltdown An oil scandal in Brazil complicates the race for incumbent president on eve of election Lula’s bridge to nowhere hints at global reach of Brazil graft Brazil billionaire Andre Esteves arrested in Petrobras probelast_img read more

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With Obama visit Cubans hope for home run in baseball diplomacy

first_imgRelated posts:Major League Baseball gets in on US-Cuba thaw Obama, Castro hail ‘new day’ for US-Cuba relations Costa Rica winds down humanitarian mission for Cuban migrants with presidential send-off Obama promises human rights talk with Castro HAVANA, Cuba – Cuba’s communist government is trying an unusual diplomatic tool to crack the economic trade barrier with the United States: baseball.The Castro regime, the Obama administration and Major League Baseball have been privately talking for months to figure out how to allow Cuba baseball players to come to the United States legally to play in the big leagues.It’s a move that all sides believe could bind the two countries together over their shared love of the game and be a step in normalizing relations, which President Obama has said he wants to make “irreversible” before leaving office.After five decades of estrangement, the United States last year removed Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism and reopened its embassy in Havana. This year, airlines are preparing to resume regular service between Cuban and U.S. cities. A steady stream of U.S. officials, including Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) have trekked to Havana, making connections in anticipation of future investments and business opportunities.This month, Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1928, a mission billed largely as a gesture of good will.But the Cubans are pressing for something beyond symbolism.During his historic visit, Obama plans to attend an exhibition game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays, only the second such game played on Cuban soil since the Cold War.The sight of a U.S. president watching a baseball game in Havana – once unthinkable – could be just the pivot point needed for a deal, said top Cuban baseball officials interviewed recently by The Washington Post.“This is extremely important to the future of Cuban baseball, to the relationship between our two countries,” said Heriberto Suárez, Cuba’s commissioner of baseball. Suárez is intensely focused on preparations for the March 22 game. The day the game was officially announced, Obama tweeted “Play ball!” Suárez said the two sides should take advantage of the moment. “We are very optimistic; it is possible,” he said, referring to a deal. “Obama loves baseball.”Related: Major League Baseball gets in on US-Cuba thaw Workers are renovating the stadium in Havana where U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to watch a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team on March 22. Washington Post photo by Bonnie Jo MountSenior officials with Major League Baseball, which is spending millions to refurbish a rusted Havana stadium and help put on the game, say the rare face time with Cuban officials will be beneficial. But it is unlikely that an agreement can be reached in the short term, they warned.Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser and an avid baseball fan, has encouraged baseball diplomacy as a vehicle to reopen ties with Cuba. But for now, Obama simply plans to enjoy a ballgame, he said.“Beyond policies and programs, this trip is about marking an historic milestone with the Cuban people and going to a game that represents our shared pastime is a way for the President to share this moment with them,” he said. “He’s pleased that MLB is engaging the Cuban people and hopes it’s just one more step in normalizing relations in a way that benefits our peoples and increases the bonds between them.”Behind the scenes, several people with knowledge of the negotiations said money – specifically, how much could flow from MLB to President Raúl Castro’s government – is the reason a deal remains elusive. The trade embargo, in place since President John F. Kennedy was in office, blocks U.S. companies and citizens from doing business in Cuba, baseball contracts included.The Cuban government wants Obama to effectively exempt baseball players, which would allow them to sign MLB contracts without having to renounce their Cuban citizenship.The Obama administration has used executive action to ease some restrictions governing Cuba, but ballplayers remain problematic because they are represented by the Federación Cubana de Beisbol, the government-run league. A statue of Armando Luis Torres Torres – Cuba’s greatest baseball fan – at the stadium being renovated in Havana. Washington Post photo by Bonnie Jo MountPeril on the way to big leaguesCurrently, Cuban players have to defect, establish residency in another country and, once in the United States, sign affidavits that they are no longer welcome or that they do not plan to return to the communist island before they can join a U.S. roster.Often, athletes flee with the help of smugglers or steal away when the team is playing in international tournaments. That’s how most of 20 Cuban athletes playing for U.S. teams found themselves guaranteed more than $130 million in salaries this year, including Chicago White Sox first baseman José Abreu, New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes and teenage Boston Red Sox shortstop Yoán Moncada, who received a $31.5 million signing bonus.In the 14 months since Obama announced his intention to restore ties with Cuba, there has been a surge in the number of Cuban players – more than 100 – who defected, mostly to play in the United States.The route can be perilous, putting ballplayers at the mercy of human traffickers, gangs and cartels as they cross Central America and Mexico in attempts to reach the United States.Seattle Mariners center fielder Leonys Martín was held at gunpoint in Mexico and his family confined to a house in Florida while smugglers tried to extort money from the player, according to the Los Angeles Times. Smugglers threatened to use a machete to cut off the arm or fingers of Dodger Yasiel Puig if he did not give them a share of his future major-league salary, Los Angeles Magazine reported.Cuban officials and MLB think that securing a new deal would increase safety for players.But it is unlikely that the league could move forward with a deal until its players contract expires in December, since it would have to address the number of Cuba baseball players who could enter the league and who would represent them, said Dan Halem, MLB’s top lawyer.“This is an involved and complicated issue, but our ultimate goal is to have everybody agree on a process that will allow us to have Cuban players who want to play in the U.S. to have that opportunity without having to endure many of the hardships that have been reported,” Halem said. “We’re trying to be creative and think of possible avenues that would fully comport with our law, with Cuban law and potentially allow this to go forward.”Cuban officials say the deals they recently struck for athletes to play in the Japanese league offer a model for contracts with the United States.When star Cuban infielder Yulieski Gourriel was allowed to sign a one-year, $1 million deal with a Japanese team in 2014, the Castro regime took 10 percent as compensation for his Cuban government-paid instruction, player development and the loss that his talent represented for the island league.That is not unlike the financial transactions between MLB and other nations in exchange for international players. But no such agreement with Cuba has been approved by the United States, and the decision will be up to an obscure Treasury Department office that enforces the trade embargo,the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC.MLB has filed a series of proposals over the past year with OFAC, seeking a way to clear both the regulatory hurdles and political opposition from those who would view a deal as a new revenue source for the Castro regime.To assuage those concerns, MLB recently asked OFAC to approve a U.S.-Cuban nonprofit-like entity that would take a percentage of the salaries paid to Cuban players and spend it on new baseball facilities, youth sports programs and other sports-focused efforts, Halem said. Men gather every day to argue about baseball, most often about the Yankees and the Red Sox. Washington Post photo by Bonnie Jo MountCuba baseball: ‘It is time’In Havana, Cuban officials see the next two weeks as their best opportunity to press for a deal.In Estadio Latinoamérica, the rusted blue stadium where Fidel Castro used to throw out the first pitch at games,the sounds of banging hammers and whirring electric saws echo against the scoreboard. Above home plate, crews are busily ripping out seats and constructing a VIP box for Obama.MLB has dispatched one of its top field gurus to Havana to help make sure the coming game with the Tampa Bay Rays goes off without a hitch.In Havana’s central park, where men gather each day to argue about baseball, the talk on a recent afternoon is about the Yankees and Red Sox, not the domestic Cuban league, where the caliber of play has fallen demonstrably as defections have risen.A deal here to lift the sagging fortunes of Cuban baseball can’t come soon enough for the government or the fans.Back at the stadium, Suárez and Higinio Vélez, president of the Cuban Baseball Federation, stay on message about the need for an agreement. “It is time,” Vélez repeatedly says.But Suárez and Vélez did not endorse the proposal pending with the Treasury Department. They did soften some earlier demands, such as requiring that players going abroad return to spend the off-season in the island’s storied winter league.And instead of routinely shaming Cuban players who have defected, the Cuban government has been muted in its response to one of its most embarrassing losses – the disappearance last month of Gourriel, regarded by many as the country’s best player, and his younger brother, both of whom reportedly resurfaced last week in Miami.Peter Bjarkman, who recently completed a book on Cuban player defections, believes a decision about a baseball deal has the full attention of the Cuban vice president, a sign of its importance.“The Cuban government is watching its baseball league disintegrate before its eyes, and it knows it has to change, but it still wants an arrangement on its own terms,” Bjarkman said, adding that if and when a deal is reached, the biggest question may be how many players Cuba allows to go to the United States.“They haven’t figured out how they can do it without losing their baseball entirely, and that’s the issue,” he said.Juliet Eilperin and Barry Svrluga in Washington contributed to this report.© 2016, The Washington Post Facebook Commentscenter_img Play ball! https://t.co/S4DhVYa4Ef— President Obama (@POTUS44) March 2, 2016last_img read more

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Fleeing Nicaragua The escape

first_imgRelated posts:Fleeing Nicaragua: Joining forces against the government Fleeing Nicaragua: Fight another day Refugee program for Central Americans ‘still on the drawing board’: US official Immigration Police detains man linked to human trafficking operation La Cruz, Guanacaste— It had all happened so quickly.Lesly Antonio Mayorga says that last December on the streets of Jinotega, Nicaragua, a man approached him offering illicit drugs. Moments later, they were surrounded by police, and the supposed drug dealer was also accusing him of robbery. To fund the investigation and pay off the dealer, Mayorga says he had to sell part of his property.When, months later, Mayorga joined fellow Nicaraguans in demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega, he was soon detained for what he says are false crimes including terrorism and robbing a police inspector.Mayorga says he fled to Costa Rica because he feared for his own safety and that of his family. Lesly Antonio Mayorga, a former Sandinista soldier, is now considered a terrorist in Nicaragua. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)Sitting in a Costa Rican refugee camp just four miles from the Nicaraguan border, the 48-year-old recounted how Nicaraguans like him have learned to either support President Ortega and his totalitarian government or face dire consequences.Mayorga says that since he began opposing the government, his apartment has been burned to the ground, he has been targeted by police, and he has been forced to sell his possessions to maintain his freedom. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)It is because he has no other reasonable alternative that Mayorga left Nicaragua, and he is not alone. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), nearly 23,000 people fleeing turmoil have sought asylum in Costa Rica. UNHCR calls on nations to respect “the obligation not to turn back at the border or expel from the territory any person claiming a risk of serious harm.”It is not difficult for Nicaraguans to cross into Costa Rica. In many places, the border is denoted by a short barbed-wire fence; in others, by nothing at all. Migrants crossing the wall that separates Costa Rica and Nicaragua. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)According to UNHCR, approximately 100,000 Nicaraguan families lived in Costa Rica prior to this year’s crisis, so many refugees have moved in with friends or family. Those without a safety net but with the resources to do so travel to San José to file applications for asylum.But those with nothing stay here, in shelters constructed by the Costa Rican government, where their lives have been put on pause and they beg the international community to support their fight.Part 2: Joining forces against the governmentPart 3: Fight another day Stories like these are made possible thanks to contributions from readers like you. Please donate to support our reporting and keep it independent. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Eclectic electric Ocaso Music Festival rages in Tamarindo

first_imgRelated posts:10 reasons to check out the first-ever Coca Cola Fest Meet Sarai González, the inspiring Tica in Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo” video The Black side of the story: Afro-Costa Rican MC Huba Watson 5 questions for a Costa Rican musician TAMARINDO, Guanacaste— Raging the largest developed beach town in Guanacaste,Ocaso Music Festival kept Tamarindo wide awake following the turn of the year.Located on the Nicoya Peninsula on the Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the festival returned for its third year, bringing back thousands of underground electronic music enthusiasts who got to experience a party in beach paradise for six days.Ocaso aims to highlight a diverse array of artists and music genres under the house and techno umbrella, this year featuring established artists such as Damian Lazarus, Guy Gerber, Jamie Jones, and Loco Dice. (Here is the full festival lineup.)Putting six days of music together with more than 60 DJs is a process. Booking headline talent and adding everyone to that talent takes a particular type of dedication. For Ocaso organizer and founder Devin Ellis, it’s his favorite thing about the event.“I always wanted to be a DJ but never thought I was good enough to play in public,” Ellis said. “This is my sneaky way of DJ’ing by deciding which DJ plays when and where.”From Jan. 2-7, the festival was sprawled throughout Tamarindo, giving attendees a mix of sensory experiences, from having the ocean sounds in the background to the hypnotic techno, to being immersed in a mystical outdoor jungle amphitheater. The party began midday and continued early into the morning, and El Be Beachclub, Tamarindo Vista Villas Pool and La Senda took turns hosting the festivities. Scenes from the 2019 Ocaso Underground Music Festival in Tamarindo, Guanacaste. Duncan Anderson / The Tico TimesEllis, said he was flattered and surprised by the amount of Costa Ricans attending this year.“Ninety-one percent of attendees were Tico,” Ellis said. “The last thing we want at a festival is a bunch of Ticos staring at Americans in a VIP section.”Ocaso doesn’t have a VIP section, nor do they have bottle service or anything that could potentially separate people on a socioeconomic level. He said it’s this way because of the affordability of the tickets, with early bird tickets six months in advance being $49 each.The Tico Times attended the festival on the third night, which was hosted at La Senda — an outdoor labyrinth in the forest designed by architect Ronald Esquival, who specializes in sacred geometry and labyrinth design. La Senda was transformed into a jungle amphitheater for the festival, but the mystical air of the space channeled into the essence of the night, most notably seen in the visuals on screen behind the DJs.The man in charge of the mesmerizing stage lighting and production is Björn Jelinek, an Austrian living in the mountains of Croatia who produces a festival there called Modem. He got in touch with Ellis when he was visiting Costa Rica two years ago and is “one of the reasons why the event itself has taken a step up in the last two years,” Ellis said. “He took my paper napkin drawings of the stage, crinkled them up, laughed and said, ‘Wanna do this for real?’”On its biggest night, more than 4,000 people were partying at Ocaso. According to Ellis, the festival’s attendance has doubled each year.Compared to other festivals in Latin America, Ellis attributes the uniqueness of Ocaso to having an intimate, boutique feel.“What makes us different from other festivals is our total dedication to underground music,” Ellis said. “There is no commercial music or mainstream sponsors that most events have in Costa Rica.”Electronic dance music festivals usually have five to six stages and can welcome upwards of 100,000 people, which is “kind of impersonal”, Ellis adds.Costa Rican DJ Brenda Segura performed on the second night of the festival. She started DJ’ing five years ago when she was 18 years old and has been to Ocaso each year since its inception.“I fell in love with the concept of electronic music,” Segura said. “It’s something important for me. What comes out in my music is what’s in my heart and soul.”As a female DJ in a male dominant field, Segura gets a lot of attention because of her gender, but she doesn’t let it affect her integrity as an artist.“I’ve always wanted to have a DJ girl collective here in Costa Rica. The DJ scene here for girls isn’t that big,” Segura says. Duncan Anderson / The Tico TimesShe plays at venues in San José such as Vertigo and Antik, and she hopes to move to California this year to open her mind and experience life as an artist outside of her hometown.Attendees looking to channel their creative side at Ocaso had access to four immersive murals thanks to art supply production and distributor Arti Sur. Despite being painted away from the main stage, the murals were close enough to let the house and techno vibrations rumble through the brush.American artist Christopher Anway worked on a mural he described as an Aztec-style dragon monkey with blood sucking sharp teeth. Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times“I’ve been a tattoo artist for 20 years, and I’m an oil painter and sculpture as well,” Anway, who publishes his work @paintforfood, said. “I do big murals on buildings too, with some running in the Bay Area and Thailand.”Amidst the crowd of typically loud wardrobe choices seen at any electronic music festival, Kassidy Vargas stood out from afar. She was sporting a fiber fly whip as her way to express herself on the dance floor. Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times“It’s an outlet of energy,” she said.Vargas travelled from Arizona by herself just to be at the festival.“The production they did on this festival is top-notch,” she said. I’ve travelled a lot of places, gone to a lot of festivals, and this is really good.”Drugs and alcohol tend to follow music festivals wherever they go, and an emergency team was on site to ensure safety. The UNIMED Health System, which had a presence at Ocaso, said it had been quiet and that thankfully there were no accidents.Costa Rican indigenous gastronomy kept people’s bellies full throughout the festival with organically sourced food from the head chef of Sikwa and Alma de Amón — two restaurants in San José with the same owner. Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times“We basically did all the food ourselves,” Ellis said. “We didn’t have outside vendors, and we made sure that 100 percent of the product was grown organically.”In 2020, Ocaso will rage from Jan. 7-12, but be sure to check for early-bird prices six months in advance to experience the up-and-coming underground electronic scene in Costa Rica. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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first_img Comments   Share   It said, however, that the back and sides of the smaller Galaxy Tab 7.7 imitated the Apple design in an “unacceptable manner” and ordered European sales stopped.Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. are engaged in a strategic war over patents in many countries and Samsung typically responds to such rulings with design tweaks.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BERLIN (AP) – A Duesseldorf court has issued a split decision in a patent dispute between rivals Apple and Samsung over two of the Korean company’s tablet computers.California-based Apple sued to have sales of both the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 stopped.But the Duesseldorf state court ruled Tuesday that Samsung made enough changes to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in its 10.1N that it no longer infringes upon any Apple iPad patents or designs. Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Quick workouts for mencenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates How do cataracts affect your vision? Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

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first_imgFlores said Wednesday that the suspects also are accused of other crimes.Three photographers and the girlfriend of one were found May 3 dismembered in garbage bags in sewage canal.Suspect Juan Carlos Hernandez Pulido was detained last week with the credential of one victim and led authorities to the others.Sinaloa is in a fierce battle with the Zetas for the port city of Veracruz.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too VERACRUZ, Mexico (AP) – Mexican authorities say they now have eight people in custody in connection with the killing of three photographers and a girlfriend of one in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.State Attorney General Amadeo Flores Espinosa says all the suspects are alleged members of the New Generation gang allied with Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel led by fugitive Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img read more

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first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Clinton’s trip marks the Obama administration’s most forceful engagement in the conflict that has killed more than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis, with hundreds more wounded. While the U.S. has backed Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket fire from Gaza, Washington has warned its ally against pursuing a ground assault that would further escalate the violence and could dramatically increase casualties on both sides.Ahead of Clinton’s arrival, Obama spoke by telephone for almost a half-hour with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, commending the Islamist leader’s efforts to de-escalate tensions, said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser. It was their third conversation in 24 hours.Obama wants a diplomatic solution urgently because “there would be significant loss of life associated with further conflict,” Rhodes told journalists traveling with the president from Cambodia to Japan.In Washington, two diplomats familiar with confidential deliberations said Israel was considering a possible cease-fire but might hold off on a formal announcement until after Clinton’s arrival. They added, however, that Israel would stop its operations even without a formal truce, if rocket fire from Gaza ceased. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the discussions. Comments   Share   The widening conflict distracted from Obama’s three-country tour of Southeast Asia, his first overseas trip after winning re-election. The president, after a marathon day that took him from Thailand to Myanmar to Cambodia, worked the phones with Mideast leaders into the early hours of Tuesday morning, aides said. He departed Cambodia later Tuesday, and was expected to arrive in Washington before dawn Wednesday.___Associated Press writer Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper in Washington contributed to this report.___Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC Associated PressPHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) – President Barack Obama dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Middle East on Tuesday as the U.S. urgently seeks to end a conflict between Israel and Hamas that has killed more than 100 in the last week.Clinton hastily departed for the region from Cambodia, where she had joined Obama for a summit with Asian leaders. The White House said she would make three stops, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Palestinian officials in Ramallah, in the West Bank, and Egyptian leaders in Cairo. Clinton was expected to arrive in Israel on Tuesday night and return to Washington late Wednesday or very early Thursday after making all three stops. Check your body, save your life Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How men can have a healthy 2019 (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Men’s health affects baby’s health too Israel and Hamas both have said they’re open to diplomatic mediation efforts being led by Egypt. Hamas officials signaled Tuesday that a deal was close.Clinton isn’t heading to the Middle East with any specific proposal to broker a peace deal, U.S. officials said. She’ll reassure Israel it has full American support while urging it to limit civilian casualties, and she will press members of the Western-backed Palestinian government in the West Bank to influence its brethren in Gaza to halt the rocket fire.In Cairo, Clinton will strike a similar note by reminding the Egyptian government of its peace obligations with Israel under a treaty they share, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly about the matter.Rhodes said the U.S. and Israel want to see the conflict ended “diplomatically and peacefully.” But he said Washington understands the Jewish state’s need for a “durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and restores a broader calm in the region” _ a reference to Israel’s concerns that its cease-fires with Hamas have become ever shorter in duration and increasingly tenuous. Obama and Clinton have consulted about the widening crisis throughout their three-day tour of Southeast Asia, their final joint trip before Clinton leaves her post as the top U.S. diplomat. They spoke again about the situation Tuesday morning, aides said, and made the decision for her to travel to the region. Still, it was unclear what impact Clinton’s presence would have on the violence.“There are a number of ideas that are in play,” Rhodes said, but offered no further details. He insisted the ramped up U.S. involvement was “a matter of what’s in everybody’s best interests”, not a matter of “leverage.”Obama and Clinton each have held multiple telephone calls with their counterparts in Israel and Egypt, which is at the center of negotiations to quell the violence. Because the U.S. considers Hamas a terrorist organization and prohibits contact between its members and American officials, it is relying on Egypt, as well as Turkey and Qatar, to deliver its message to the Hamas leadership in Gaza.Hamas wants Israel to halt all attacks on Gaza and lift tight restrictions on trade and movement in and out of the territory that have been in place since Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007. Israel demands an end to rocket fire from Gaza and a halt to weapons smuggling into Gaza through tunnels under the border with Egypt.last_img read more

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first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Check your body, save your life Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says Africa has the potential to be the next center of global economic growth.Obama is speaking at a White House celebration marking the signing of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The law lets sub-Saharan African countries sell products like textiles in U.S. markets duty-free.Obama says despite its challenges, Africa is incredibly dynamic and resilient, with extraordinary opportunities for the U.S. He says the trade law will continue to encourage good governance, labor rights and human rights in Africa.center_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Congress first passed the act in 2000 and reauthorized it this year as part of a package of trade bills. The act was set to expire in September.Obama travels later this week to Ethiopia and Kenya.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

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first_imgJapan welcomed a 6.7 percent increase in Australian visitors last year from 211,659 in 2009 to 225,800. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation(JNTO), Aussies are embracing the food and culture on offer in Japan and are choosing to spend their vacation time in the Asian country. “We are pleased that a number of Australians travelled to Japan to discover its wealth of attractions and beauty,” JNTO Sydney executive director Yukio Yamashita said. “For many years Japan has been perceived as an expensive country with high language barriers. “Nowadays, most Australians who have visited Japan realise that it is actually a very affordable travel destination and language barriers have been greatly reduced.” Overall for the year Japan received 8.61 million arrivals, an increase from 26.8 percent from 8.35 million in 2008.Aussies were the sixth highest arrivals into Japan last year, behind travellers from South Korea, China, Taiwan, USA and Hong Kong. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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first_imgLong Term Domestic Strategy RecognisedPositively Wellington Tourism’s (PWT) Domestic Marketing Strategy – which has seen commercial guest nights spent in Wellington by New Zealanders surge over 13% in the space of five years – is among the finalists of this year’s CAANZ Media Awards.The tourism campaign joins the Ministry of Health’s fight against depression, the national cervical screening programme and promotions by Johnson & Johnson and Telecom as a finalist in the ‘Best Long Term Strategic Campaign’ section, which recognises consistency in strategic marketing.PWT Chief Executive David Perks says while the creativity of the organisation’s campaigns have received extensive awards recognition over the years, the strategy is what really counts.“We can have the most seen, the most memorable and the most beautiful campaigns there are, but what really matters to us and our partners are the delivery on the experience, and the numbers – bums on seats and bodies in beds. Regardless of whether we win the award or not, having our team’s dedication to delivering tangible results recognised at this level is simply fantastic.”Domestic commercial accommodation guest nights in Wellington increased 13.8% in the five years to December 2010 – far exceeding a national market increase of 3.7% over the same period.“Wellington’s journey from what some might say was a ‘windy grey dump’ to the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ is well documented and well known,” Mr Perks says. “What is perhaps less known is that a heck of a lot of work and energy goes into ensuring that position stands and that New Zealanders are constantly presented with reasons to visit and inspired to return again and again.”Matt McNeil, General Manager OMD, says the media placement of the campaign has moved from a traditional TV-led strategy, to a multi-channel, multi-layered approach with digital channels increasingly coming to the fore.“This is reflective of the changing media habits of tourism audiences over the last few years. Having a strong long term strategic framework and a brave client has been critical to the campaign’s ongoing success.”The CAANZ Media Awards winners will be announced on Thursday June 2. Source = Positively Wellington Tourismlast_img read more

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first_imgQantas has received interim authorisation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for a joint business agreement with American Airlines.As part of the agreement, the two airlines have proposed a code share on trans-Tasman routes as well as trans-Pacific routes, including the Australian flag carrier’s newest Dallas/Fort Worth service.A statement from the carrier read that the ACCC said it “may” grant permission for the partnership if it is “satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment”.A draft decision is expected to be released by August or September this year and the ACCC is welcoming submissions from interested parties.Qantas also announced this week that its first upgraded Boeing 747-400 went on sale on all global distribution systems.The upgraded aircraft includes new seats as well as state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment.Paying for the carrier’s aircraft upgrades, a report compiled by IdeaWorks and Amadeus found that Qantas was among the leading carriers last year welcoming strong revenue from its retail services.The airline was the fourth highest earning big bucks on additional products, following United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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first_imgA strengthening economy and strong Aussie dollar may have contributed to the five percent increase in domestic fares across Australia last year compared to the prior year.An American Express evaluation of Asia Pacific and Australian fares found that across all classes Australian fares escalated by three percent last year over 2010.American Express Advisory Services head of Asia-Pacific region Dr Carl Jones explained the fare increase in the domestic sector emphasised higher demand for business activities in the sector.“In Australia, domestic travel continues to be the focus as companies develop local market activities,” Dr Jones explained.  “Local carriers have also pushed fares up, which has driven price increases both over the course of the year and in the last quarter.” Dr Jones said competition within the market is also cause for the extra price in flying.“With the introduction of more competition in the business class market in 2011, fares in this category have leveled both in the last quarter and compared to the same period in 2010.”Meanwhile, flights between Australia and Europe managed to fall despite the increase, with a three percent drop for the year, citing the rough economy as the cause for decline.Across the Asia-Pacific region fares across the board jumped up two percent for the last quarter of 2011 compared to the corresponding period 2010. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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first_imgSource = MEA The management and staff of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre had good reason to celebrate this week by collecting four awards at the annual Meetings & Events Australia’s national Industry Awards of excellence.Prime convention and exhibition centres in Brisbane, Adelaide and on the Gold Coast also collected major awards, highlighting the nationwide quality of finalists at the Darwin event.As many as 33 awards were presented at the gala event, other notable winners including Verve Creative Events, which collected two major crowns, ExpoNet, Victoria Park, Stadium Events – Delaware North and Business Events Sydney.The annual Platinum Award for the highest score of all submissions (except individuals) went to IML while Emma Rutledge, of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, took out the Meetings or Events Profession of the Year for the highest individual score.Honoured with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution Award was Peter Jones of Melbourne-based Peter Jones Special Events.Held in the Northern Territory for the first time, this year’s prestigious awards attracted a record number of submissions.Victories for the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre’s came in the categories of Banqueting and Catering, Event Manager of the Year (Emma Rutledge, who was also crowned Meetings or Events Professional of the Year) and In-House AV Services.“These awards have grown over the years to a highly competitive level, primarily because they encourage industry professionals to excel in the achievement of their business and personal goals,” said MEA chief executive officer Linda Gaunt.“As in previous years, the latest awards will reward those who achieved outstanding results,” she said. “In the end, the winners will enjoy a considerable profile within the meetings industry and with the general buying public.”last_img read more

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Kiwi chicks on display these school holidays

first_imgKiwi chicks on display these school holidaysBringing with them a promising future for Te Puia’s kiwi house, two special kiwi chicks have recently settled in and are now on display for visitors to catch a glimpse these school holidays.Hatched in December 2014, Sketch, a boy, is living alongside his fellow female nocturnal friend, Marama, who hatched in September 2014.Sketch was named by Kiwi Encounter after his egg code – R.Art18, while Marama, which means moon, was named by Olivia Kelsey – an eight year old girl who is bravely battling leukemia cancer.Te Puia senior husbandry officer, Vanessa Heaford, says by switching day light to night time, visitors are able to see the nocturnal birds foraging for insects on the forest floor, or via special cameras mounted in their nesting boxes.“Our little fellow Sketch has adapted well to his new home and has recently increased the amount of time he is out of his nest box, probing and foraging for insects.“Visitors still get a good look of the chicks when they’re in their nesting boxes, thanks to our camera monitor screen – they will often be seen preening their feathers, probing for insects and having a sniff around.“Marama is taking a little longer to settle in, and has been shifted to an outdoor enclosure during the school holidays to encourage her to become more active and allow Sketch access to the full enclosure.”Ms Heaford says the long awaited arrival of these special taonga (treasures) is a big achievement and has left the Te Puia kiwi team overjoyed.“Sketch and Marama are special birds and it is amazing for us and our manuhiri (visitors) to watch them grow, contributing to the advocacy and protection of our flora and fauna that is our mandate.“Conservation is a priority at Te Puia and as kaitiaki (guardians) our role is to provide a safe, natural place for our national taonga.”On 7 May, 10 year old Nohi, the last chick to hatch at Te Puia, was released into the Rangataua Forest, alongside Sketch’s father, Arthur.“Nohi’s release was a great experience and the entire team was able to attend and be a part of his special day.The release site is home to around 80 kiwi so we are hopeful Nohi will pair and breed this coming season,” says Ms Heaford.Te Puia has been displaying and advocating for New Zealand’s national bird for nearly 40 years and plan to re-join the national breeding programme as these chicks mature into adults. See more of the Kiwi Chicks hereSource = Te Puialast_img read more

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