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Apollo 11 source code A small step for a woman and a

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first_imgYesterday, reddit saw an explosion of discussion around the original Apollo 11 Guidance Computer (AGC) source code. The code in its entirety was uploaded on GitHub two years ago, thanks to former NASA intern, Chris Garry. And again it seems to have undergone significant updates this week looking at the timestamps on all the files in the repo. This is a project that will always hold a special place for all software professionals around the world. This is the project that made ‘software engineering’ a real discipline. What is AGC and why it mattered for Apollo 11? AGC was a digital computer produced for the Apollo program, installed on board the Apollo 11 Command Module (CM) and Lunar Module (LM). The AGC code is also referred to as ‘COLOSSUS 2A’ and was written in AGC assembly language and stored on rope memory. On any given Apollo mission, there were two AGCs, one for the CM, and one for the LM. The two AGCs were identical and interchangeable. However, their software differed as both the LM and the CM performed different tasks pertaining to the spacecraft. The CM launched the three astronauts to the moon, and back again. The LM helped in the landing of two of the astronauts on the moon while the third astronaut remained in the CM, in orbit around the moon. The woman who coined the term, ‘software engineering’ The AGC code was brought to life by Margaret Hamilton, director of software engineering for the project. In a male-dominated world of tech and engineering of that time, Margaret was an exception. She led a team credited with developing the software for Apollo and Skylab, keeping her head high even through backlash. “People used to say to me, ‘How can you leave your daughter? How can you do this?” She went on to become the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc. and was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. Hamilton is considered one of the pioneers of software engineering, credited for actually coining the term “software engineering”. She first started using the term during the early Apollo missions wanting to give software the same legitimacy as other disciplines. At that time, it was not taken seriously but over time software engineering has become an IEEE Standard. What can we learn from the AGC code developers? Understandably, the AGC specifications and processing power are very underrated as compared to the technology of today. Some still wittingly call it a calculator, instead of a computer. Others say, that the CPU in a microwave oven is probably more powerful than an AGC. Inspite of being a very basic technology in terms of processing power and speed, the Apollo 11 spacecraft was able to complete the first ever manned mission to the moon and back. This is not just a huge testament to the original programming team’s ingenuity and resourcefulness but also of their grit and meticulousness. One would think such a bunch produced serious (boring) code that has flawless execution. Read between the (code) lines and you see a team that just enjoyed every moment of writing the code with quirky naming conventions and humorous notes inside the comments. Back to the present As soon as the code was uploaded on Github two years ago and even now, coders and software programmers all over the world, are dissecting it, particularly interested in the quirky English-descriptions of code explanations. People on Reddit are terming the code files as real programming that doesn’t rely on APIs to do the heavy lifting. People are also loving the naming convention of the source code files and their programs which were 1960s inspired light-hearted jokes. For example, the BURN_BABY_BURN–MASTER IGNITION ROUTINE for the master ignition routine, and the PINBALL_GAME_BUTTONS_AND_LIGHTS.agc for keyboard and display code. Even the programs are quirky. The LUNAR_LANDING_GUIDANCE_EQUATIONS.s, file ended up having two temporary lines of code as permanent. You can read more such interesting reddit comments. However, a point worth noting is that Margaret and by extension, women in tech, are conspicuously missing in this rich discussion. We can start seeing real change only when discussion forums start including various facets of the tool/tech under discussion. People behind the tech are an important facet, and more so when they are in the minority. You can also read The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation the inside scoop on how the AGC functioned, what kind of design decisions and software choices the programmers had to made based on the features and limitations of the AGC among other insights. The github repo for the original Apollo 11 source code also contains material for further reading. Read Next Is space the final frontier for AI? NASA to reveal Kepler’s latest AI backed discoveryNASA’s Kepler discovers a new exoplanet using Google’s Machine LearningMeet CIMON, the first AI robot to join the astronauts aboard ISSlast_img read more

Pay your respects to Inbox Googles email innovation is getting discontinued

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first_imgYesterday, Google announced that they will be retiring Inbox early next year invoking deep emotions ranging from gratefulness to anger and disappointment among existing users of the app. Inbox by Gmail is an email service which was developed by the Google team, first purely on the basis of limited invitation-only on October 2014. However, the general availability to the public was made in May 2015. Interestingly the same group of people who developed Gmail built Inbox–which served as a completely different type of inbox offering a more personalized email app designed to focus on what really matters. The platform is available on all major internet media such as Web, and mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS. It provides improved email productivity through several key features. However, lately, new approaches added to the Inbox haven’t been quite novel when compared to stellar Gmail upgrades, including the big redesign feature in April 2018. Why is Google sunsetting Inbox? Inbox has always been Google’s most bold and exciting email application. If we look at the evolution of Gmail and Inbox, Gmail has stayed the same over the years while Inbox was always full of exciting unique features. Inbox worked as a sort of incubator for trying out new approaches to email service. But recently, Gmail has been getting all the attention in terms of redesigning and the feature support on Android such as customizing swipes to mark as read, delete, snooze, and more. This has made many suspect the eminent demise of Inbox. Google, now officially announced that they will be discontinuing the Inbox by the end of March 2019. According to the product manager Matthew Izatt, the company wants a more focused approach to email, leaving Gmail as the lone survivor. This is a surprising move by the Google, especially after the announcement which was made after the big Gmail redesign. They said with respect to the upcoming new features in Gmail, there are no changes to Inbox by Gmail. It is a great product for users with specific workflows and is one which allows them to test innovative features for email. Seems like Google used Inbox to beta test the features before rolling them out to Gmail. Apparently, the beta test is now over. Makes one wonder if Google losing the advantage to experiment in the future with new email functionalities that’s tough to do with a billion-user base. Moving on to Gmail Most of the Inbox initial set of features like Smart Compose, Smart Reply, organized folder bundles, and Follow-ups are already available in Gmail. You might not lose any major functionalities when opting for Gmail instead of Inbox. After the redesign, with large buttons and a friendlier look, the interface for Gmail has become somewhat Inbox-like. Google gave Gmail a major overhaul this year which absorbed a lot of features that made Inbox special. All these features on Gmail ensure it provides a better user experience when dealing with their emails. Since there are still a few months left until Inbox disappears, Google team has provided a transition guide for Inbox users to move to the new Gmail easily. What’s next? Google is, of course, no stranger to discontinuing apps and services. If you have been using Inbox by Gmail for all these years, you will surely not be happy with this news. However, Gmail has been slowly and steadily adopting many of the Inbox’s features. You will be surprised to see how Gmail has changed over the years. But people who don’t like Gmail and are looking for an official alternative will now have to find a new email app to satisfy their expectations. Read more How to send email Notifications using SendGrid Machine learning based Email-sec-360°surpasses 60 antivirus engines in detecting malicious emails Wireshark for analyzing issues and malicious emails in POP, IMAP, and SMTP [Tutorial]last_img read more

NewLeaf is officially renamed look for new logoname at airports

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first_img Travelweek Group Posted by Tuesday, July 25, 2017 Share Tags: Flair Airlines, NewLeaf Travelcenter_img NewLeaf is officially renamed, look for new logo/name at airports KELOWNA — A year following its first ever flight, NewLeaf Travel Company is being officially renamed Flair Airlines.The rebrand follows the acquisition of NewLeaf’s assets by Kelowna-based Flair. Today’s announcement falls on the one-year anniversary of when Flair and NewLeaf launched their first flights in Canada.“We are starting a new chapter in the airline industry. Today, we celebrate a significant milestone of successfully reaching our one year mark, and we are excited to now move forward with a new brand that better reflects who we are as one unified company,” said Chris Lapointe, Vice President, Commercial Operations, Flair Airlines.Over the past year, Flair has flown 320,000 passengers and completed more than 2,600 flights throughout Canada with a commitment to offering low fares. Over the coming weeks, the airline plans to expand its route network.“We are focused on growing not only our destination list but are also widening our view of the travel industry as a whole,” said Lapointe. “We look forward to sharing more information regarding these offerings in the coming weeks.”More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaCelebrations with passengers will be held at airports where Flair is departing from today. In addition, the airline is offering Canadians an incentive of 11% off all bookings made today.With its new name, passengers should now look for the Flair Airlines logo and name at all airports. Information on their boarding passes will also indicate the name change. Anyone who has a flight booked will not experience any disruption of service and the current schedule will continue to be operated as planned. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Ryanairs OLeary admits they made mistakes amid cancellations crisis

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first_img Thursday, September 21, 2017 By: Danica KirkaSource: The Associated Press LONDON — Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary admitted mistakes to disgruntled shareholders Thursday as the airline struggles to overcome a scheduling crisis that is costing the company millions of euros.Speaking at Ryanair’s annual general meeting, O’Leary said he planned to force pilots to give up a week of vacation time this year to prevent further flight cancellations. Pilots will be told that the airline will “make it up to you.”“We make mistakes,” he said. “This time we made a major boo-boo.”Ryanair, a no-frills airline based in Dublin that is Europe’s biggest carrier by number of passengers, is cancelling 2,100 flights over the next six weeks because it “messed up” the allocation of annual leave as it shifts to a new holiday scheduling system. Compensation for passengers forced to re-book could reach 25 million euros. Passengers, meanwhile, are reporting problems in gaining compensation, inundating the firm’s Facebook page with complaints.O’Leary’s statement comes amid reports that flight captains and first officers have rejected Ryanair’s offer of bonus payments in exchange for taking on more hours. The Guardian newspaper also reported that Ryanair pilots are trying organize a protest under which they would refuse to do any work beyond what is required by their contracts, which would cause more scheduling headaches for the airline.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckO’Leary later insisted there were no problems between the company and the pilots and that if they misbehave “that will be the end of the goodies.”“I don’t even know how there would be industrial action in Ryanair,” he said. “There isn’t a union.”The Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association says the real problem is that Ryanair failed to plan for the implementation of new European safety regulations that take effect Jan. 1 and require all airlines to use a regular calendar year for calculating pilot flight hours and working days. Until now, Ryanair has used a 12-month period beginning April 1, which gave it a competitive advantage in scheduling pilots during the busy summer season because hours accumulated from January to March didn’t carry over into the new scheduling year, the IALPA said in a statement.“Since there is no requirement in aviation regulation to provide annual leave per se, it is unclear what is compelling Ryanair to provide any leave to their pilots at this time,” the association said. “It seems clear that Ryanair has failed to plan properly for the implementation of the regulations.”The association also says Ryanair is struggling to cope with a high turnover rate among pilots as the airline expands its fleet.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsLoizos Heracleous, a professor of strategy and organization at Warwick Business School, said it is surprising that a company so focused on optimizing operations “could be caught out like this,” and that it is mushrooming into a much bigger problem.“The bigger issue is that this debacle is opening the floodgates for pilots to demand better pay and working conditions,” Heracleous said. “Ryanair is recruiting new pilots and will probably have to sweeten the deal to reduce pilot turnover, in particular countries where the package is less competitive.”Former Ryanair pilot James Atkinson, writing in the Guardian, said the airline uses divide and control tactics to keep pilots on different kinds of contracts and to prevent them from organizing.“There’s an underlying problem at Ryanair, which is quite simply that the company cannot replace pilots as fast as they quit,” he wrote. “The head of the company, Michael O’Leary, openly insults his pilots, and has consistently maintained a policy of heading off any attempt to achieve a collectively bargained contract.” Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Low-Cost Carriers, Ryanair Ryanair’s O’Leary admits they made mistakes amid cancellations crisislast_img read more

Bah humbug Beirut airports Christmas tree was so ugly it had to

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first_imgBah humbug! Beirut airport’s Christmas tree was so ugly it had to be removed Tags: LOL, WTF Thursday, December 21, 2017 Travelweek Group If only Lebanese people are shocked by the smell of garbage that greets us in #Beirut as soon as our plane lands as they are by a non-traditional Christmas tree in the airport… #Lebanon https://t.co/ZF7zM6nans— Halim Shebaya حليم شبيعة (@halimshebaya) December 5, 2017 Share BEIRUT — Can ugly Christmas trees get the same kind of love as ugly Christmas sweaters? The people of Lebanon don’t seem to think so.Recently spotted at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport was an industrial-esque looking tree made of garbage and recycled airplane parts. It was commissioned by Middle East Airlines to highlight the need for environmental protection and recycling.LEBANESE OFFICIALS !!! WHAT ARE U DOING ???? WHAT IS WRONG WITH U ??? WE ARE THE ARTISTS OF THE WORLD & THE INNOVATORS OF THE WORLD … IS THIS HOW YOU INTERPRET CHRISTMAS ??? THAT THING IS DISPLAYED AT THE GATES OF OUR COUNTRY ???? WLE SHOU BEKONE WLE #Lebanon #لبنان pic.twitter.com/XK2IkruIvs— Nick (@NickTohme) December 5, 2017Though technically not a Christmas tree, travellers were quick to claim it as such since the eyesore was erected during the height of the holidays. Not surprisingly, the “garbage tree” was trashed (ahem) on social media to the point where airport officials were forced to take it down and replace it with one more appealing to the eye.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongCall us crazy but we kind of feel bad for the ugly tree.The Christmas tree at Beirut international airport is epic. It’s absolutely perfect for a country still drowning in a waste crisis and constantly caught up in rubbish.— Jasmina Najjar (@JasminaNajjar) December 5, 2017 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

NCL is latest cruise line to pay commission on FCCs opens books

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first_imgNCL is latest cruise line to pay commission on FCCs, opens books on Encore Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Commission, Norwegian Cruise Line MIAMI — Following similar moves made by Carnival and Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it, too, will award commissions on Future Cruise Credits (FCCs).Travelweek confirmed the news with NCL, which said that beginning June 1, 2018, when guests redeem a future cruise certificate that was issued after June 1, travel agents will receive a full value of that booking’s commission.NCL becomes the latest cruise line to adopt such agent-focused policies. Last week, Royal Caribbean announced that effective April 1, agents will receive full commission when passengers redeem an FCC. Carnival Cruise Line made the same move back in July 2017.In other news, NCL is officially opened bookings for Norwegian Encore, the latest addition to its fleet and its fourth Breakaway-Plus class ship. Caribbean cruises beginning in fall 2019 are now on sale.For its inaugural 2019 season, Norwegian Encore will cruise out of Miami every Sunday, and sail seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean, beginning with its first journey on Nov. 17, 2019 through April 12, 2020.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’ns“Our decision to have the inaugural season of Norwegian Encore cruise the Caribbean reinforces our long-standing relationship with this region and strengthens our support to some of the most beautiful islands in the world,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are excited to reveal the ship’s new features and amenities over the next few months, and look forward to continuing to offer our guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ultimate cruise vacation aboard our newest ship.”center_img Posted by Thursday, March 22, 2018 Sharelast_img read more

Iberostar announces new details about upcoming Havana hotel

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first_img Share Posted by Travelweek Group TORONTO — New details have emerged about the new Iberostar Grand Packard, set to debut in Havana, Cuba this November.Following Travelweek’s report last month about Iberostar’s expansion plans in Cuba, the Spanish hotel chain has released further details of the new property, which is being billed as the company’s first luxury hotel in the heart of Old Havana.After a “sensitive restoration”, given the property’s notable architectural value and historic roots, the hotel will debut with 321 luxurious rooms, and a wide array of food and beverage experiences that includes three bars and six restaurants. It will also offer a varied entertainment program featuring musical performances and live dance shows by well-known local artists.Prior to becoming the Iberostar Grand Packard, the historic building once welcomed such notable guests as Pablo Neruda and Marlon Brando. It enjoys an enviable location in Havana, right on Paseo del Prado, which is considered one of the most important avenues in the Old Town.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaThe opening of the historic building will coincide with celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana. It will also mark Iberostar Hotels & Resorts’ 25-year presence on the island.“Cuba has always been one of our priority destinations and one of the favourites of our clients internationally,” said Aurelio Vásquez, COO of the Iberostar Group. “The Iberostar Grand Packard represents not only our commitment to Cuba and respect for its past and present, but also our commitment to excellence, quality and the customer experience.”By the end of 2018, Iberostar will have launched eight new properties in Cuba, reaffirming its commitment to the country as a key destination with a presence in Santiago de Cuba, Holguin and Havana. The company’s objective is to grow its presence on the island by reaching 12,000 rooms by 2020. Wednesday, August 1, 2018 center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Cuba, Havana, IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts Iberostar announces new details about upcoming Havana hotellast_img read more

Kids fly stay free in Florida with Sunwings latest promotion

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first_img Travelweek Group Kids fly & stay free in Florida with Sunwing’s latest promotion Share TORONTO — Sunwing is giving families an extra reason to smile with its Kids Fly & Stay FREE sale on vacation packages to Florida.During this limited-time promotion up to two children aged two to 12 years will be able to fly and stay free when accompanied by two paying adults. Packages include flights, hotel and complimentary car rental if booked now.The sale runs until Nov. 9, giving families the chance to save on select vacation packages available across several winter dates to Orlando, St. Pete/Clearwater, Miami and Daytona Beach, departing from Toronto, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.In Florida, for example, Sunwing offers the luxurious Sole On The Ocean Resort and Spa, situated in Sunny Isles and offering exclusive access to a private beach, plus water sports and a bistro curated by a Michelin star chef.In Daytona Beach, families can opt for the Residence Inn Marriott Daytona Beach Oceanfront, an all-suite hotel that comes fully equipped with kitchens, living rooms and balconies.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterThose heading to Orlando can choose from many family-friendly accommodations, including Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, which is centrally located just minutes from Disney.And in St. Pete/Clearwater, families can choose to stay at Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Centre, which features miles of private white-sand shores and a beachfront playground.All Sunwing vacation packages to Florida include airfare, accommodations and a mid-size rental car, plus return flights on Sunwing Airlines. Tags: Promotions, Sunwingcenter_img Monday, November 5, 2018 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Winning agents ready to make a splash at SeaWorld Parks

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first_img Tuesday, December 18, 2018 TORONTO — Cassandra Law from The Travel Agent Next Door has won a trip a four-night trip for two to Orlando courtesy of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Florida.The contest, part of a SeaWorld promotion with Travelweek, ran from Oct. 25 – Dec. 1, 2018. The prize includes return airfare for two to Orlando, four nights accommodation at a SeaWorld preferred hotel, return airport transfers and two all-day dining passes for each of SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa and Aquatica Orlando.The prize also includes two behind the scenes and up close animal tours at SeaWorld Orlando and two length-of-stay passes to SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa and Aquatica.Congratulations Cassandra! Travelweek Group Tags: SeaWorld, Winners Winning agent’s ready to make a splash at SeaWorld Parks << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

Government launches centralized digital platform for foreign trade

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first_imgExport and import processing time will be significantly reduced in the coming months with the implementation of the new platform forForeign Trade Single Window 2.0 (VUCE), government authorities announced Wednesday.The Foreign Trade Ministry and the Foreign Trade Promotion Office explained the system will allow entrepreneurs to access the platform 365 days a year, which places Costa Rica among the nations with the highest standards in the region.Foreign Trade Minister Anabel Gonzalez said this platform will be 100 percent automated nationally and internationally, allowing entrepreneurs to obtain permits in a few minutes and generating savings of ¢5,300 million (some $10 million) per year, with 90 percent reduction in processing time.VUCE system was created in 1996 and currently concentrates on 45 processes of 16 institutions. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Where to spend the last day on Earth

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first_imgNo related posts. There have been movies and books about it, outrageous prophecies and simpler ones promising the ushering in of a new era, but for better or worse, the Mayan Calendar will end Dec. 21 spurring anticipation across the world.Contrary to the beliefs of some apocalypse theorists, no Mayan prophecy ever predicted world catastrophe on Dec. 21, 2012. What the date does signify is the end to the b’ak’tun, a unit of time in the Mayan calendar containing 144,000 days – more than 394 years. This will be the end of the 13th b’ak’tun, marking the end of the fourth world.There is debate among astronomers and scholars as to what exactly this means. Some scholars even reject the idea that it is the end of the calendar at all. Despite the uncertainty, the date certainly is not going to go unmarked.Whether you’re preparing for the fiery doom of the human race, the start of a new era of peace or just looking for a good party, here is a list of events around the country where you can spend the last day on Earth.End of the World EventsAfroKon: the release party for the book, “AfroKon: Wombvoliushan Poetry,” by Queen Nzinga Maxwell, Dec. 21, 8 p.m., Teatro Laurence Olivier, 100 meters south of the Pizza Hut on Paseo Colón, 2222-1034, www.AfroKon.net.Festival Fin Del Mundo Viejo: an artisan and gastronomy fair celebrating the ushering in of a new era, Dec. 17-23, Esterones de Sámara, https://www.facebook.com/events/333091793444803/.Midnight Conspiracy: say goodbye to the world with moody rock band Midnight Conspiracy, Dec. 21, 9 p.m., El Steinworth, on Calle 1 between Avenidas 0 and 1, San José, http://www.facebook.com/elsteinvorth.End of the World Party: celebrate the end of the world with DJ Sebas Serrut and plenty of drink specials, Dec. 21, 8 p.m., Bar Nena, San Pedro, San José, 8708-4772.Solstice Gathering 2012: a gathering for prayer, meditation and special ceremonies to embrace the new era, Dec. 20-21, PachaMama, located 10 km north of Nosara off the coastal road to Tamarindo between Ostional and San Juanillo, www.pachamama.com.Fin del Mundo Metal: rock out for the end of the world with live metal bands, Dec. 21, 9 p.m., Mundoloco El Chante, the southeast corner of Banco Popular, San Pedro, San José, 2253-4125. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Retaliation Costa Rica seeks change of venue for World Cup match against

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first_imgNo related posts. Costa Ricans are still bitter over a March World Cup qualifying match that was played in blizzard-like conditions in Colorado. With heavy snow accumulating on the field and temperatures below zero, the TicoSele lost 1-0 in a game that local soccer fans say never should have been allowed to continue. A Costa Rican Soccer Federation appeal to FIFA to have the game annulled was quickly denied.Now, the federation promises to exact revenge by moving an upcoming September rematch to Saprissa Stadium in Tibas, north of the capital. The game originally was scheduled for the much bigger and more modern National Stadium in western San José’s La Sabana Park.Soccer federation president Eduardo Li announced last Wednesday on local radio station Radio ADN (90.7 FM) that he planned to file for the venue change with FIFA.http://ticotimes.net/Current-Edition/News-Briefs/Costa-Rica-We-were-robbed-_Saturday-March-23-2013Known as “The Monster’s Cave,” Saprissa Stadium is an intimidating venue for visitors. Visiting locker rooms are located under fan seating, and stands were built close to the field. Taunting of visiting teams by fans creates a tough environment to play in. During a previous match between the two teams in the 1990s, Costa Rican fans pelted the U.S. squad with garbage, batteries and bags of urine. Costa Rica won that match.“[Saprissa Stadium] is worse than [Mexico City’s] Azteca [Stadium],” former U.S. player Alexis Lalas tweeted in response to the announcement. Lalas played for the U.S. squad in two World Cup tournaments in 1994 and 1998.Saprissa also has synthetic turf, which can be difficult for some players.Li said stadium improvements are needed before a World Cup match could be played at the Monster’s Cave.The federation has 90 days before the Sept. 6 match to select its stadium, which must be approved by FIFA.Costa Rica walked away with a 3-1 victory against the U.S. the last time the two teams faced each other at Saprissa, in June 2009. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Police rescue starving toucan from abandoned house

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first_imgRelated posts:President Solís urges lawmakers to pass animal cruelty bill following ‘barbarous’ attacks Toucan gets 3D-printed beak after gruesome injury Following public outcry, Costa Rica temporarily blocks exports of hammerhead shark fins Rufous tree rat spotted in Costa Rica, country’s 250th mammal Officials at the Ballena National Marine Park had a new pet for a day, after members of the Tourist Police discovered a starving toucan in an abandoned home near the shore in the Southern Pacific beach town of Dominical.Police believe the toucan was being kept illegally as a pet before it was abandoned, along with the house. They are now searching for suspects in the case. After receiving emergency care at the national park, the toucan was taken to a rescue center in Quepos. The starving and abandoned toucan was found in a home near the shoreline in Dominical. (Courtesy of the Public Security Ministry) Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Too many whalewatching boats in Costa Ricas Ballena Natl Marine Park say

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first_imgAn increase in the number of whale-watching tours in southern Costa Rica’s Ballena National Marine Park has prompted officials from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) to increase monitoring and regulation in the area.A large number of tourist boats could threaten the presence of whales, dolphins, stingrays and sharks in the park, located near Uvita on the Pacific coast, environment officials said. Biologists consider the protected area a perfect location between the northern and southern hemispheres for the birth of new generations of marine mammals and other species.On their arrival, whales enter into a trance, and any abrupt change to their natural habitat could cause them to migrate to other areas with less suitable conditions for giving birth to calves – a direct threat to their species, biologists say.“Ballena National Marine Park is a maternity ward for many species that are affected by bad practices from the tourism sector, such as disrespecting the distance from which to watch the whales or the use of unsuitable boat engines whose excessive noise alters the species’ behavior,” said Zdenka Pisculich, director of the nongovernmental conservation group “Asociación Costa Rica por Siempre.”This week the NGO donated ₡40 million ($75,000) to SINAC​​ for equipment and other resources to improve surveillance of tourism vessels during the area’s high season, which reaches its peak in September.The investment is part of $240,000 that SINAC plans to spend over the next two years in the Osa Conservation Area, which comprises the protected areas of Ballena National Marine Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, Corcovado National Park and Caño Island Biological Reserve, the agency reported.SINAC’s increased surveillance also aims at enforcing the Fisheries and Aquaculture Law #8436, which calls for fines and penalties of up to three years in prison “for those who pursue, capture, injure, kill or trade marine mammals, or endangered and protected marine species.”Tourism is one of the main sources of income for the Osa region. Residents of the Ballena Bay area each year hold a traditional Whale Festival to mark the annual visit of humpback whales to the Ballena National Marine Park.The festival is held over two weekends, and this year it is scheduled for Sept. 5-7 and Sept. 12-14. Activities include whale-watching tours, athletics and cycling races, sand-sculpture contests, photography exhibits, concerts and environmental workshops and lectures.The Ballena National Park covers an area of 110 hectares of land and 5,375 marine hectares. It was created in 1989 and currently receives humpback whales, common and bottlenose dolphins, stingrays and hammerhead sharks. Facebook Comments Related posts:Giant wave overturns whale watching boat in Uvita Environmentalists demand Costa Rica block exportation of hammerhead shark fins Sea Shepherd’s R/V Martin Sheen lands in Costa Rica for 4-month research mission Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson turns to human rights commission to block Costa Rica’s legal chaselast_img read more

Canada parliament locked down after soldier shot

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first_imgRelated posts:In the wake of attack on Paris newspaper, extremists take to Twitter to celebrate Publication attacked in Paris has history of bold satire Canada’s next big move? It may be legalizing pot. Obama tries to ease anxiety over terror attacks with Oval Office address Facebook Comments OTTAWA – Gunfire echoed through the Gothic halls of the Canadian parliament Wednesday as police swarmed in to tackle a gunman who had shot a soldier outside before storming the building. The solider later died from his injuries.Initial reports at the scene suggested that one attacker had been shot by police inside the building while up to two more were feared to be at large, as officers sealed off the area.Video footage posted online by the Globe and Mail newspaper showed police ducking for cover as they advanced along a stone hallway, loud gunfire echoing among the stone columns.Police officers outside told AFP that one or more — possibly up to three — shooters were feared to be on the roof of the building.A member of parliament, Maurice Vellacott, told AFP that House of Commons security had told one of his aides that at least one suspect had been killed inside parliament.Other lawmakers tweeted reports that an assailant had been shot.“I literally had just taken off my jacket to go into caucus. I hear this ‘pop, pop, pop,’ possibly 10 shots, don’t really know,” Liberal Party member John McKay told reporters.“Suddenly the security guards come rushing down the hallways and usher us all out to the back of the parliament buildings.”CBC radio also reported that one of the suspected shooters had been killed, but there was no official confirmation of this.Witnesses said they saw a man armed with a rifle running into parliament after the shooting at the memorial.Passers-by told reporters that a bearded man had gunned down the soldier, hijacked a passing vehicle to take him the short distance to Parliament Hill, on a bluff over the Ottawa River.One witness, parliamentary aide Marc-Andre Viau, said he saw a man run into a caucus meeting at the parliament, chased by police armed with rifles who yelled “take cover.”That was followed by “10, 15, maybe 20 shots,” possibly from an automatic weapon, he said.“I’m shaken,” said Viau.The soldier appeared seriously wounded. Emergency medics were seen pushing on his chest to revive him.Police raced to seal off the parliament building and the office of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, pushing reporters and bystanders further back and blocking roads with squad cars.Harper left the area of the shooting and was “safe,” his spokesman Jason MacDonald said.The incident came a day after 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau ran over a soldier, killing him before being shot dead by police as he emerged from his wrecked car wielding a knife.The government branded this a terrorist attack by a suspected Islamist, amid reports that Couture-Rouleau was a supporter of the so-called Islamic State, a jihadist group operating in Iraq and Syria.If the driver’s alleged jihadist sympathies are confirmed, it would be Canada’s first ever Islamist terrorist attack, although authorities have warned they are tracking 90 suspected extremists in the country.Authorities raised the security threat level from low to medium after the incident, which came as Canadian jets were to join the U.S.-led air armada bombarding Islamist militants in Iraq.“This level means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism,” the Public Safety Ministry said.Outside parliament, police were seen taking cover behind vehicles, as others expanded a cordoned off area to a city block around parliament.last_img read more

Music for movie buffs whale fest and other happenings around Costa Rica

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first_imgTheater: “Como si fuera jugando”Class struggles, workers’ rights and the ethics of technology, all explored by music, colors and wordless puppets? You’ve got to see it to believe it.“Como si fuera jugando” will be performed September 5-6 at Teatro de la Danza, CENAC, downtown San José. 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. ₡2,500 – 5,000 ($5 – 10). For more information call 2256-4838.Music: “Lo mejor de la zarzuela”The National Symphonic Orchestra and the National Lyric Choral Company present two famous operettas, “Luisa Fernanda” and “Doña Francisquita.” The show will feature Cuban soprano Bárbara Llanes, Peruvian tenor Juan Antonio de Dompablo, and Costa Rican soprano Fitzgerald Ramos, led by famed Spanish director Carlos Aransay.“Lo mejor de la zarzuela” will be performed September 4 at 8 p.m. and September 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the National Theater, downtown San José. ₡10,000 ($20). More info at the National Theater Website.Upcoming Concerts:Tribure to Korn: Hits of the band interpreted by members of bands including Adrenal CR, Akasha, Dream Of Fire, INERSIA CR, Insano, and Sight of Emptiness. September 4 at MundoLoco El Chante, San Pedro. ₡4,000 ($8). 9 p.m. For more information call to 2253-4125Resurrectio: After two years of absence, the band Niño Koi comes back, accompanied by guest band Saturno Devorando. September 4 at Hoxton, San Pedro. ₡3,000 ($6). 9 p.m. For more information call 6105-9296.The Wall: The Surrogate Band presents a special tribute to Pink Floyd and one of the legendary band’s most famous albums, The Wall. September 5 at Jazz Café, Escazú. ₡5,000 ($10). 9:30 p.m. For more information call 2253-8933.Premier of Café Surá new video:  Reggae fusion band Café Surá will be offer a concert in celebration of its new video. September 4 at Community Pub, San José. 9 p.m. Free. For more information contact info@cafesura.com / cafesuracr@gmail.com. Facebook Comments Music: “La música en el cine”The Philharmonic Orchestra is offering three concerts that bring to life Hollywood’s most famous soundtracks. Selections from the scores of the “Harry Potter” films, “Titanic,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Skyfall,” “The Bodyguard,” and, of course, “Star Wars” will make an appearance, along with music from children’s films such as “The Lion King,” “Frozen” and “Aladdin.” Special guests Charlene Stewart, Eduardo Quesada, and Grace and Sharon Abarca round out the program.“La música en el cine” will be performed September 5 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and September 6 at 6 p.m. at the Melico Salazar Theater, downtown San José. ₡10,000 – 15,000 ($20 – 30). More info: Special Ticket Website.Fashion BrunchMake your Sunday a little more fabulous with the first-ever Fashion Brunch at west-side restaurant 8ctavo Rooftop. Eight Costa Rican designers will showcase their work; attendees can purchase clothes, thereby supporting national talent, or just enjoy the brunch menu.“Fashion Brunch” takes place September 6 at 8ctavo Rooftop, San Rafael de Escazú. Free. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information call 4055-0588.Music: CamilaThe first time the band visited Costa Rica was in 2011 when they still were a threesome, now for its second visit they will come as a duo promoting their latest album,  “Elypse,” a mix of musical genres including Latin pop, funk, blues and electronic.“Concierto de Camila” takes place September 5 at the National Museum, San José. 7 p.m. ₡9,900 – 59,900 ($20 – 120). More info: ETicket Website,Festival: VII Whales and Dolphins FestivalThe seventh edition of the Festival in Ballena National Marine Park offers guided whale-watching tours, athletics, biking, family walks, a sand sculpture contest, many concerts, environmental workshops, lectures and more. “VII Festival de Ballenas y Delfines” takes place September 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20 at Ballena National Marine Park. Free. More info: Festival Website or call 2743-8562 / 8729-3624.Film: “The Vargas Brothers”As part of its monthly film series, Espressivo Theater will screen a documentary about Eduardo, Juan, Eddy and Álvaro Vargas, major figures in Costa Rican rock, and their recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol. The screening will by a film forum with special guests.“Los Vargas Brothers” takes place September 10 at Espressivo Theater, Curridabat. 7:30p.m. 3,000 ($6). More info: Theater Website or call 2267-1818. Related posts:Yoga Day, Father’s Day exhibit and other happenings around Costa Rica ‘Abominable Creatures,’ contemporary dance, and other happenings around Costa Rica San Ramón celebrates, International Guitar Festival, and other happenings around Costa Rica Patriotic tunes, Children’s Day theater, and more events around Costa Ricalast_img read more

Mauricio Macri overcame privilege to become Argentina president

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first_imgBUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina’s new President Mauricio Macri was dismissed by rivals as a spoiled elitist, but tapped frustration with the sinking economy to put an end to 12 years of left-wing rule.The business-friendly conservative was sworn in Thursday, a sea change for Argentina after three terms under left-wing power couple Néstor and Cristina Kirchner.With a dashing smile under his piercing blue eyes, the graying 56-year-old channeled discontent among Argentines fed up with the Kirchners’ protectionist policies and confrontational brand of politics.He managed to shake off his image as a fat cat — potentially fatal in Argentina, a country with a loaded history of class conflict — to build a broad coalition of supporters around his mantra of change.Macri drew leaders of various political stripes to his cause, including from the Kirchners’ “Peronist” movement and social democrats as well as right-wingers.Fresh off a come-from-behind win in the Nov. 22 runoff election, he has promised to ease restrictions on imports and end the official exchange rate, which will likely lead to a sharp devaluation of the Argentine peso but should help curb double-digit inflation.He rose to fame as the president of Argentina’s most popular football club, Boca Juniors.“I wanted to be Boca’s number nine” striker, he once said.Instead, he led in the boardroom during the team’s most successful period, seeing it win 17 titles.That powerful position catapulted him into politics. He founded his Republican Proposal alliance, known as PRO, in 2005.Elected mayor of Buenos Aires in 2007, Macri led a movement called “Let’s Change” vowing to roll back policies that Kirchner says help the working class but business leaders say wrecked economic growth. Argentina President Mauricio Macri waves during his inauguration ceremony at the Congress in Buenos Aires, on December 10, 2015. Eitan Abramovich/AFPLife of privilege, dramaMacri was born in Tandil, a city in an eastern agricultural region, and was educated at the elite Cardinal Newman College in Buenos Aires.The son of a rich businessman, he previously managed the family firm.He is married to model and fashion entrepreneur Juliana Awada, with whom he has a 3-year-old daughter. He has two other children from a previous marriage.In the October first-round vote, Macri surprised pollsters by finishing close behind Daniel Scioli, Kirchner’s chosen successor. That enabled him to seize the momentum as the vote headed to a runoff.Macri crisscrossed the country’s poorest provinces, hugging children and grandmothers and promising not to take away anyone’s social benefits but give them the chance to work.In his inaugural address, he promised to fight “untiringly for those who need it most,” a nod to those campaign pledges.His life has been marked by dramas and scandals.In 1991, he was kidnapped and freed two weeks later after his family paid a $6 million ransom.He was cleared of smuggling charges in the 1990s and overcame accusations of links to groups of Boca football hooligans.In a more recent case, he faced accusations that he spied on opponents.His style has been compared to that of Republican politicians in the United States.On the campaign trail, he combated his stuffy image with colorful rallies, dancing the Argentine “cumbia” and imitating the singer Freddie Mercury.He has vowed to liberalize the economy, but the contest against Scioli also forced him to face up to voters’ social demands. Scioli branded Macri a “stuck-up” elitist.“In the past, [Macri] was just right-wing and proud of it,” sociologist Federico González told AFP. “Now he is like Buddha. He went out of his palace and discovered misery and sickness.” Facebook Comments Related posts:US-trained bankers tapped for new Argentine Cabinet Argentina opposition attacks Macri over Panama Papers Argentina’s Macri spars with Venezuela in first trip abroad US signs trade deal with Argentina during Obama triplast_img read more

Defendants captured aboard supposed drug vessel accuse US authorities of torture

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first_img Facebook Comments After six men were arrested aboard a boat off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast with what authorities said was more than one ton of cocaine, it took more than a week until the men were transferred to land.What happened during this time has became the subject of speculation after the men testified Tuesday morning in front of a San José judge that U.S. and Costa Rican authorities took them to the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. There, according to testimony published by Spanish-language newspaper Diario Extra, the defendants said they were tortured and largely unfed.Since the arrest took place in international waters 500 nautical miles from Cabo Blanco in the southern Nicoya Peninsula, it seems strange that authorities would have taken the boat all the way to the Caribbean. However, the men’s testimony indicated that the joint U.S. and Costa Rica operation traversed the Panama Canal to take the men to Guantanamo.Making matters even more curious, one of the six detainees died of a heart attack in front of the courthouse before entering the hearing. The deceased was identified as Jorge Damián Ferreto Gutiérrez, the 53-year-old captain of the boat who police said had a prior record for international drug trafficking.Following Ferreto’s death Tuesday morning, Director of Public Defense Marta Iris Muñoz issued a letter to chief public prosecutor Jorge Chavarría detailing the defendants’ claims of abuse.“The defendants said that since they were arrested by U.S. officials they were handcuffed to a cable and put on the boat’s deck, where they remained for days without any protection from the sun, rain, or cold at night,” Muñoz’s letter reads, according to Diario Extra. “What’s more, the defendants indicated that the U.S. officers supplied the absolute minimum amount of water and that the food they were given wasn’t fit to be consumed by a dog.”Muñoz’s letter acknowledged the defendants’ claim that they were taken to Cuba before being taken back to Costa Rica, where they landed at the southern port of Golfito. Muñoz further requested that prosecutors investigate Ferreto’s cause of death.A spokeswoman from the Prosecutor’s Office said an investigation was opened into Ferreto’s death Tuesday, even before prosecutors received the letter from Muñoz.The spokeswoman said in an email to The Tico Times, “Remember that the men were in the deep sea and not located near the coast,” when The Tico Times asked where the men were from the arrest date on April 20 until May 1, when prosecutors said the detainees were brought on land to Golfito. Citing the ongoing investigation, the spokeswoman declined further comment.Police previously identified the fishing boat as being registered by the name “Anthony” and having a 250-horsepower engine.A spokesman from the Public Security Ministry declined to comment about the details of the arrest.The press report issued by the Public Security Ministry on April 21 said the men saw Coast Guard officials and began throwing items from the boat into the ocean. In all, they were found with 20 sacks that held smaller packages of cocaine that totaled more than one ton, police and prosecutors said.On top of Ferreto, the other five arrestees were identified by their last names as Costa Ricans Mollenkamp Pizarro, Arias González, Fernández Núñez and Parras Cuendis, and an Ecuadorian named Reyes Legarda.The judge sentenced the defendants to five months of preventive prison during Tuesday’s hearing. Related posts:Men caught with one ton of drugs in Costa Rica allowed to walk free, police say Five Costa Ricans caught with 600 kilos of cocaine off Colombian coast Costa Rican drug traffickers connected to Italian mob plead guilty to shipping cocaine to the U.S. Former U.S. convict Dan Fowlie speaks out against being barred entry to Costa Rica againlast_img read more

Thai man imprisoned for antiroyalty texts dies

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first_imgAs news of his death spread, about 40 demonstrators gathered outside Bangkok’s Central Criminal Court holding signs denouncing the royal defamation law and holding leaflets saying “Uncle is dead. Who killed him?”His wife, Rosmalin Tangnoppakul, learned of his death while trying to visit him Tuesday at the Bangkok prison where he was held. Friends later consoled her at a prison reception area while she burned an incense stick and prayed.“Amphon Tangnoppakul, you can come home now,” she said. “You’re free now. Come home!”The cause of Amphon’s death early Tuesday was not immediately known, but he had complained of stomach pains on Friday and was transferred to a correctional department hospital, his lawyer Anon Numpa said. Officials planned an autopsy on Wednesday, the lawyer said.Amphon, a retired truck driver, was arrested in August 2010 and accused of using a cellphone to send four text messages to a government official that were deemed offensive to the queen. He denied sending them and said he didn’t even know how to use the SMS function on his telephone to send texts.He wept during his court proceedings, saying, “I love the king.” Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 ways to recognize low testosterone ErrorOKFree Rate QuoteCall now 623-889-0130 ErrorOK Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The vital role family plays in society Associated PressBANGKOK (AP) – A 62-year-old Thai man who became known as “Uncle SMS” after he was convicted of defaming Thailand’s royal family in text messages died Tuesday while serving a 20-year prison term.The case of Amphon Tangnoppakul, who had suffered from mouth cancer, drew attention to Thailand’s severe lese majeste law last November when he received one of the heaviest-ever sentences for someone accused of insulting the monarchy.center_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   The sentence was believed to be the heaviest ever received in a lese majeste case because of additional penalties issued under a related law, the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.Before his arrest, Amphon had lived with his wife, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren in a rented room in Samut Prakan province, on the outskirts of Bangkok.Opponents of the lese majeste law _ known as Article 112 _ have been seeking its reform or abolition, but have met with fierce opposition from royalists.“He was the victim of this draconian law, Article 112,” said Suda Rangkupan, a Chulalongkorn University lecturer and member of the group Friends of Thai Political Prisoners. “And we also want to show … to the Thai court, that this death was caused by injustice in Thailand.”The U.S. State Department reiterated its criticism of Amphon’s imprisonment.“No one should be jailed for peacefully expressing their views whether through text messaging or peacefully protesting on the street,” spokesman Mark Toner said at a news conference.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more