Karismas new incentive is good for GREWPS

first_img Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Karisma’s new incentive is good for GREWPS << Previous PostNext Post >> MIAMI — Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ new promotion for groups – or rather, ‘GREWPS’ (groups, reunions, events, weddings, play, social) – offers one free room for every six paid plus a US$250 resort credit, for a limited time. “Creating custom events for groups is an integral part of Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ success and we’re excited to introduce new incentives for the deserving partners focused on this important segment,” said Faith Wishnie, Executive Director of Wedding Services, Karisma Hotels & Resorts. “We are increasingly focused on introducing our Gourmet Inclusive Experience to groups of every size from weddings and family reunions to corporate retreats, large and small. Following the recent launch of new tools and programs, it’s a terrific next step to now reward agents and meeting planners who are making Karisma’s properties top destinations for groups and meetings alike.”Once the six rooms of weeklong travel are confirmed, the extra room and resort credit can be carried over for additional client use or personal redeeming for a Karisma Hotels & Resorts experience, including wine, spa, candlelit dinners and private events. More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterThe promotion is valid for bookings until Aug. 31, 2016 for travel Jan. 3, 2017 – Dec. 22, 2017. The GREWPS promotion can be combined with several additional savings incentives including up to $1,000 in client savings, the Pick Your Perks program, complimentary private banquet events, complimentary wedding packages and a maximum of 21% commission per booking.The GREWPS promotion arrives on the heels of Karisma’s recently introduced tools affording customers, meeting planners and travel agents a variety of effective ways to optimize the vacations booking process including MICE fact sheets, digital banquet kits and customized themed events. The MICE fact sheets offer overviews on each property and specific details on every aspect of the resort. The digital banquet kits allow for meeting planners to present a variety of up to 39 customizable preset menus allowing guests to easily select or create their own delectable menu for their desired banquet or party. Additionally, the themed events tool can be used for groups to create a variety of experiences ranging from True Mexico: A Team Building Experience, featuring team-building excursions into the natural beauty of Mexico, to Gourmet Inclusive Fiesta Nights, including themed party packages ranging from Circus Royale to Route 66 that are focused on an evening of fun, covering all the details from DJs to décor.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureDetails on Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ newest promotions for groups are available at karismatravelagents.com The new MICE fact sheets, banquet kit, details on the themed events and meeting planning tools can be viewed, printed, saved and shared at karismahotels.com/Events-Groups/Corporate. Travelweek Group Share Posted bylast_img read more

Lufthansas flagship A350900 to fly Vancouver route starting May 1

first_img Thursday, January 11, 2018 Tags: Germany, Lufthansa, New Routes, Vancouver Travelweek Group Lufthansa’s flagship A350-900 to fly Vancouver route starting May 1 EAST MEADOW, NY — Lufthansa has announced it will put its new flagship aircraft, the long-haul Airbus A350-900, on the Vancouver – Munich route for the summer 2018 season.The route operates seasonally from May 1 – Oct. 27, 2018.Committing the A350 flagship aircraft to the Vancouver route during the busy summer travel season shows how greatly Lufthansa values and is committed to this market, says Tamur Goudarzi Pour, Lufthansa Group Vice President Airline Sales for The Americas.“Now, not only will our Vancouver passengers fly with Europe’s only 5-Star airline, but they will also encounter a significantly enhanced travel experience with many state-of-the-art features and an elevated level of comfort on board the A350-900,” said GoudarziPour.Billed as the world’s most advanced, environmentally-friendly long-haul aircraft, the A350-900 uses 25% less kerosene, produces 25% fewer emissions and is significantly quieter on take-off, he adds.The aircraft has space for 293 passengers with 48 seats in Business Class, 21 in Premium Economy and 224 in Economy Class. At just under 18.4 feet wide, the cabin of the new Airbus is more spacious than comparable models of aircraft.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesLufthansa’s A350-900 Business Class cabin includes a self-service area where passengers can help themselves to snacks and drinks throughout the flight.The aircraft’s Economy Class, furnished in shades of blue, features ergonomically-formed seat upholstery and gives travellers more personal and storage space, says the airline.Throughout the cabin, passengers can use their own mobile device as a second screen, as well as pre-select programs from the on-board entertainment system up to six weeks prior to flight time. The aircraft also features improved cabin pressure during the flight, as well as an LED lighting system.Munich International Airport’s Terminal 2, and a corresponding Satellite Building that opened in April 2016, are a joint venture between Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Flughafen Muenchen GmbH.A central hub for Lufthansa and its partner airlines, T2 includes five new Lufthansa lounges, as well as 27 additional gate positions that allow passengers to board aircraft directly without bus transportation.center_img Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Theres still time to sell the Shongololo with Goway

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Goway Travel, Shongololo Thursday, June 28, 2018 There’s still time to sell the Shongololo with Goway Travelweek Group center_img Share Posted by TORONTO — Goway has a limited number of cabins on the 12-day northbound Pretoria to Victoria Falls Shongololo train journey in January 2019.“These trips typically sell out a year in advance,” said Moira Smith, General Manager for Goway Africa. “This space has opened up, and we expect the cabins to sell out fast.”Africa is hot and availability is at a premium. This is particularly the case in South Africa, adds Smith.Since Rovos Rail purchased the Shongololo, the train has been completely overhauled and refitted, with extra communal carriages supplied.Likened to a “cruise on wheels”, it offers the ideal way to visit four countries in a limited time period, says Smith. Guests sleep on the train and sightsee during the day. Breakfast and lunches are included. The Southern Cross journey travels from South Africa via Mozambique and Swaziland to Zimbabwe.last_img read more

Flying ants take over London in a day of reckoning

first_img Share It is definitely #flyingantday pic.twitter.com/0QC0MIHO4Y— Luce Eleanor (@LuceEleanor) July 4, 2018 Flying ants take over London in a day of reckoning Thursday, July 5, 2018 Travelweek Group LONDON — London, England was swarmed by millions of flying insects yesterday in a scene straight of the Apocalypse.‘Flying Ant Day’, which takes place every year, is a day when queen ants first fly out from their nests in search of male ants to mate with and begin new colonies. There is no set day when the annual mating ritual starts, but the entire buzz-worthy ordeal can last a few weeks to the dismay of Londoners.Yesterday, July 4, appears to have been Day 1 of the ritual and it caused havoc across the city. At Wimbledon, players were seen swatting flying ants with their rackets, including Caroline Wozniacki who asked the umpire to contact tournament officials to see what could be done about the incessant buggers.“You want to focus on playing tennis and not eating bugs,” she told the umpire.Meanwhile, Twitterverse erupted with videos of ant colonies across the city:One minute, nothing. The next, LOADS OF THE BUGGERS! #flyingantday pic.twitter.com/TlzGmSxWlH— Karen Naiker (@karennaiker) July 4, 2018center_img Walked into a mist on the way home. It’s the stuff of nightmares. #FlyingAntDay pic.twitter.com/W6eeCjoEE9— Thomas (@tsedge) July 4, 2018That would bug out just about anyone! So if you’re heading to London in the next few weeks, it’s probably best to pack a mosquito net and keep your mouth closed the entire time. Tags: London Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Hot off the press Globus family of brands 2019 Religious Travel brochure

first_img Posted by Tags: Christianity, Globus Hot off the press: Globus family of brands’ 2019 Religious Travel brochure Tuesday, July 17, 2018 Travelweek Group center_img Share TORONTO — Globus family of brands is keeping the faith with the launch of its 2019 Religious Travel brochure, featuring a total of 10 tours that explore the roots of Christianity.Offered by both Globus and its value-brand cousin Cosmos, the escorted tours are available throughout Europe, including Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, as well as to Israel and Jordan. Cosmos has three new tours: the week-long ‘Shrines of Alpine Europe’, the nine-day ‘Shrines of Northern Italy & Rome’, and the 14-day ‘Shrines of Italy’.Tours range from six to 20 days, with many that include masses geared toward Roman Catholic travellers. Cosmos’ ‘Biblical Israel’ tour, meanwhile, caters specifically to Protestants.The company also features 14 itineraries plus one Avalon Waterways European river cruise to the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, taking place in 2020.“We are the only mainstream tour operator to have a faith-based division,” said Stéphanie Bishop, managing director for the Globus family of brands in Canada. Bishop also adds that when planning its religious itineraries, the company takes “enormous effort” to create a balance between faith and fun. For example, a tour may include a visit to the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi as well as a private boat excursion in Venice.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckWhile Globus tours feature VIP access to attractions and behind-the-scenes local experiences, Cosmos has the popular guaranteed share program whereby the company will match solo travellers of the same sex in order to save them the single supplement. There’s also the new CosmosGO app, which helps clients make the most of their free time while in destination.Discounted rates are available for groups as small as eight. The company can also customize groups for as few as 20 travellers. New this year, Globus is able to make any of its itineraries private for two to 24 passengers.As extra incentive, the company’s Early Booking Bonus program includes up to 10% off. Clients can book any 2019 Globus Europe (excluding Escapes by Globus and 2020 Oberammergau tours) by Nov. 27, 2018 to receive the discount. With Cosmos, bookings must be made by Oct. 23, 2018 to receive a savings of $50 per person.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerFor more details go to https://www.globusjourneys.ca/religious-vacations/. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Airfare hotel and ground transportation costs on the way up CWT

first_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group TORONTO — Travel prices are expected to rise in 2019, with hotel rates increasing by 3.7% and airfares going up 2.6%, according to CWT’s latest Global Travel Forecast.The annual study, in conjunction with GBTA, shows rising prices will be driven by a growing global economy and rising oil prices.Here’s a look at the highlights:2019 Hotel ProjectionsThe hotel outlook for 2019 is driven by the overall increase in air travel, which will fuel demand for rooms.Technology will also play an important part. Hotels are introducing new developments to personalize the guest experience. The increase of mobile penetration, on the other hand, is forcing travel managers to offer their travellers apps, which also serve to accommodate greater in-policy booking autonomy.More mergers – and upscale hotels competing with midscale ones due in part to a growing appetite for boutique accommodations among younger travelers – will also be on the agenda.In North America, hotel prices will go up 2.1%. In Canada the increase is expected to be 5% and in the U.S., 2.7%.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & Mexico2019 Ground Transportation ProjectionsIn 2019 ground transportation pricing is expected to rise just 0.6% in North America, while prices in the rest of the regions will remain flat. However, by Q4 2019 the industry should expect to see a concerted effort by car rental companies to raise prices. In North America, the projected increase for corporates is 6%.Next year should also see a growing preference among travellers for ride-hailing apps while interest in high-speed trains is fading, due to high network costs and low-tech distribution systems, according to the study.Mobile mobility will rise. On-demand, shared, electric, and connected cars will all become more popular. Connected car technology has the potential to change the entire automotive industry.In North America, Canada is expected to see a 3.6% increase in 2019, but the overall region will only be up 0.6%. In the U.S., the Audi-owned, app-based car rental service, Silvercar, continues its aggressive expansion. The company offers mobile-first car rental without the lines and paperwork.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growth2019 Air ProjectionsThe aviation sector will be shaped by the introduction of ultra-long-haul flights and an increasing competition from the low-cost carriers, which are not only multiplying but also fighting fare segmentation to improve yield, says the study.Airfares are likely to become more expensive due to rising in oil prices, the competitive pressure from the shortage of pilots, potential trade wars, and increasing fare segmentation to improve yield.North America will see prices rise by about 1.8%, according to projections. “In the U.S., airlines are recalibrating to reflect better areas of demand, depending on how trade relationships change with key U.S. allies and adversaries. The US aviation market is expected to see capacity compression due to expanded fare fragmentation, with premium economy and basic economy reducing available seats, as carriers target margin improvement.” Airfare, hotel and ground transportation costs on the way up: CWTcenter_img Wednesday, July 25, 2018 Tags: CWT, GBTA, Statistics Sharelast_img read more

Chávez is sick but merchandising is not

first_imgBy Alexandre Grosbois | AFP CARACAS, Venezuela – Hugo Chávez is so sick with cancer that he didn’t show up for his own inauguration for a new term this week. But the cottage industry that lives off Chávez merchandising is quite healthy.You name it, and the bombastic comandante’s face can be found all over it: T-shirts, baseball hats, jackets, earrings and much, much more.In a small market in central Caracas not far from the National Assembly, Elisa Flores de Moreno said she has traveled from Merida in far western Venezuela – sent by colleagues to stock up on Chávez gear as the country waits to see if he will pull through his fourth round of cancer surgery.The 58-year-old Chávez, who was first diagnosed in mid-2011, underwent his latest operation on Dec. 11 in Havana, Cuba, and has not been seen in public since.He won a new six-year term in elections back in October, and was supposed to be sworn in Thursday.But Chávez could not return home in time for his inauguration Thursday and will take the oath of office at a later date before the Supreme Court, the government announced on Tuesday.The announcement confirming that Chávez is too sick to make it back in time for the Jan. 10 inauguration came in a letter to the National Assembly from Vice President Nicolas Maduro.Meanwhile, Flores de Moreno, 67, said she is mad about Chávez and prays every night for his recovery.She spoke as she filled a large bag with T-shirts, hats and jackets for colleagues who are equally nuts about the ailing ruler, a garrulous populist and champion of the poor who also irks the United States regularly with anti-imperialist tirades and alignment of his oil-rich country with Iran, Syria, Cuba and other nations not in Washington’s favor.Some of the articles bear the letters PSUV, the Spanish acronym for the ruling socialist party. Others show the president’s face by itself, or with South American liberator Simón Bolivar or revolutionary commander Ernesto “Che” Guevara.But the hottest seller these days is a T-shirt with a rectangle surrounding a black and white image of Chávez’s face.“The president’s face has been a total success this year, along with the comandante doll,” said shop owner Jorge Moreno.“It is a subliminal message aimed at the opposition,” he added with a chuckle.All of these items are designed by the presidential palace and distributed to cooperatives that supply them to independent retailers. There is no copyright hassle.“We do not pay anything back to the government. It is not about capitalism here,” said Jorge Moreno, who describes himself as militantly pro-Chávez.His tiny stall is a veritable Chávez emporium: key rings, pins, pens, mugs, towels, plates and bracelets, all boasting the bright red of the ruling party and Chávez’s face and costing next to nothing.“Many customers come from around the country because they do not have access to these articles where they live,” Moreno said. Sales are briskest around election time.In another shop, located in a big Caracas hotel, the Chávez fervor goes further for those even deeper under its spell: a small bust of the comandante in military garb or his trademark red shirt, or a Baroque-style clock with a poorly cropped photo of Chávez next to a dial set under chiseled glass.Sid Marrero, a customer in his 50s, said he had stopped by to pick up some Chávez pins, which he collects.“It has become a little ritual,” Marrero said, adding that these days, with the president so ill, being pro-Chávez has turned into “a real profession.”Sonia, a 51-year-old nurse, expressed disappointment as she left the shop. It has run out of the Chávez doll.“I wanted to do it for my mother, who is a real fanatic,” she said. “She has all the key rings, the clock, the earrings. All she needed was the doll.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Tamarindo Talk

first_imgMauro Camera, who runs the successful Bamboo Sushi Club, has now opened another spot. Called Patagonia, the restaurant located just across the street from his sushi place, and features Argentinian-style grilled meats, empanadas, vegetarian plates and more. Call 2653-0612 for more info.In other news of openings, local Carl Wilson has opened Sangria Lounge Bar at the old Caroline’s location, a little west of Super 2001. The hours are 7 p.m.-1 a.m.If you don’t feel like going out, but still want restaurant food, then there’s TicoToGo, a restaurant and supermarket delivery company started by the great chef Derek Furlani (who is still cooking and doing private catering.) The service now works with more than 25 restaurants including Kahikai, Noguis, Wok N Roll, Seasons and more. For more, call 8648-6912.For the spiritually inclined, Lyle Watson at has finally launched Tamarindo Church, which now features services every Sunday at 10 a.m. The church is located in the old El Coyote restaurant on the road to Villareal. There is m ore information at www.tamarindochurch.com.Lyle and his wife Stacey are offering a Parenting Children Course this February for parents and caregivers of children ages 0-10. Email staceycostarica@aol.com for details.–Ellen Zoe Goldenellenzoe@aol.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Terror in Boston as bombs kill 3 injure more than 100 during

first_imgBOSTON, Massachusetts – At least three people were killed and more than 100 others wounded when two explosions struck just before 3 p.m. near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, sparking scenes of panic, police said.Police did not immediately say whether the explosions were part of a terrorist attack, but marathon organizers said it was a twin bombing and media outlets reported that other unexploded devices had been found nearby.The blasts left the streets littered with blood and debris, as paramedics raced off with stretchers and police locked down the area, according to witnesses, one of whom saw a man with his lower limbs blown off.Boston police initially reported two dead and 23 wounded on its Twitter feed, but those numbers were increased later in the evening.“There were two bombs that exploded near the finish line in today’s Boston Marathon,” race organizers said on the event’s Facebook page, without providing a source for the information.“We are working with law enforcement to understand what exactly has happened,” it said.NBC News, citing officials, later reported that police had found “multiple explosive devices” in Boston.A video clip posted online showed an explosion going off, apparently several feet back from the barricades and the line of national flags separating the race spectators and the street.One runner is seen staggering and then falling, while others kept going for a few more steps. Volunteers in yellow jackets covered their ears at the sound of the blast.“We saw people with their legs blown off,” Mark Hagopian, owner of the Charlesmark Hotel, told AFP from the basement of a restaurant where he had sought shelter.“A person next to me had his legs blown off at the knee – he was still alive.”“It was bad, it was fast,” he said. “There was a gigantic explosion. … we felt wind on our faces. … Police were saying: ‘Get out, get out, leave, leave there may be more bombs.’”Zara Bielkus, a 30-year-old spectator from Boston, said she heard two explosions seconds apart. Police then locked down the area.“When we heard them, everyone looked at each other and went very quiet, and within a minute police came,” she said.Local media reported a third explosion nearby, but cited police as saying it was a controlled detonation.U.S. President Barack Obama was notified about the incident, and his administration was in contact with state and local authorities, a White House official said.Obama called Boston mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to express his concern for the injured and to offer support.Security was stepped up in New York and Washington, sites of the 9/11 attacks. In the Big Apple, police said they were boosting security at hotels and “other prominent locations in the city.”The blasts in Boston rattled U.S. markets, sending the Dow and the S&P 500 down at the close.“Praying for those at the Boston Marathon today,” said one of the U.S. senators from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren.The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest annual athletic events held in the United States, with nearly 27,000 racers who must qualify to compete and tens of thousands of spectators.The race attracts world-class athletes, most of whom would have likely completed the race a couple hours before the blast went off.The video clip of the blast showed the marathon timeclock at 4:09:44.Video courtesy of The Boston GlobeStory updated at 7:08 p.m. on Monday Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

In Latin America right in retreat as left wins more elections

first_imgRelated posts:Latin American summit opens in Cuba with attack on US spying Cuba embargo under pressure as Obama urged to pull down barriers Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Obama should lift the embargo and return Guantánamo Naval base to Cuba Guatemala-Honduras customs union first step in regional development plan BOGOTÁ, Colombia — More than two decades after the Cold War, during which the United States backed anti-communist military rulers and pushed free-market policies in Latin America, conservative governments have virtually disappeared from the region.The leftward shift has been underway since the start of the millennium, but in recent years, the political axis of the hemisphere has tilted even further, as candidates who promise greater social spending and wealth redistribution win again and again. When the term of Chilean conservative Sebastián Piñera ends in March, right-leaning presidents will be in power only in small Central American nations and Paraguay.“I think it’s difficult for conservative candidates to move forward because inequality is such an entrenched issue,” said Ana Quintana, a Latin America expert at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. “And it’s hard to implement free-market, institutional reforms when you need to make sure a significant portion of the population can get enough to eat.”Latin America’s right could once identify itself as pro-business and supportive of law and order and as closely aligned with the United States. But many of the region’s leftists and centrists have co-opted some of those issues as they have become more moderate, regional observers say, leaving conservatives with less to run on.“I think the right is struggling to define itself in the new environment,” said Carl Meacham, the Americas director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.Meacham, who was a policy adviser to former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar (R), said Latin America’s conservatives could do more to emphasize “market approaches to increased social mobility,” rather than the state-oriented strategies offered by leftists.“Folks in current leadership positions on the right don’t seem to have the answers,” he said. “We need a reset and new, younger voices.”While dominant, Latin America’s leftists are hardly a monolithic bloc, and significant policy differences have emerged, especially on matters of trade protectionism and relations with the United States.But in big, geopolitical ways, the region has undergone a massive realignment. With Washington’s diplomatic attention largely focused elsewhere, on Asia and the Middle East, Latin America’s shift has resulted in declining U.S. influence.Evidence of this will be on display this week, when 33 heads of state and top officials are due to meet in Havana for a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a regional organization founded in 2011 as an alternative to the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS).The summit’s host will be Cuba’s 82-year-old leader, Raúl Castro.While the fledgling organization has played mostly a symbolic role so far, its meeting — in communist-run Cuba, of all places — is especially notable given that no date has been set for the next Summit of the Americas, the OAS-sponsored gatherings that have until now been Latin America’s most important multilateral assemblies.At the last summit, held in Colombia in April 2012, leaders from across the hemisphere’s political spectrum displayed rare consensus by insisting that future summits should not exclude Cuba, which is not an OAS member. The summit’s agenda was largely obscured by a prostitution scandal among the Secret Service agents sent to guard President Barack Obama.CELAC was partly the creation of late Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chávez, who viewed it as a vehicle for the long-lost Latin American integration dreams of his idol, 19th-century independence hero Simón Bolívar.With Cávez’s death last March, the more radical end of Latin America’s left is without a clear leader. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, is viewed as far too preoccupied with his own political survival to try to assume his mantle.“Maduro is no international leader,” said José Rafael Zanoni, a former Venezuelan ambassador to Egypt and Iran. “He’s not even a leader in Venezuela.”If anything, the strong-armed statist model that Chávez promoted during his 14-year rule has served as a cautionary tale for leftist candidates in the region.They are quicker to identify with the path charted by Brazil’s popular former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, characterized by greater social spending on the poor but also an embrace of private enterprise and global capital.The Chávez-vs.-Lula comparison became an oversimplified prism for the region’s leftist tendencies, analysts say, but it remains a useful gauge.“The two defining elements are relations with the United States and relations with the private business community,” said Carlos Romero, a foreign affairs analyst in Caracas. “Venezuela represents the extreme.”The EmbassyStill, in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, the Chávez school remains strong, as leftists in those countries have thrived through increased confrontation with Washington, the concentration of executive power and in many cases, attempts to stifle the press and political opponents.But in other countries, particularly in Central America, Washington continues to wield enormous influence. In Honduras, locals still refer to the U.S. diplomatic mission as “The Embassy,” as if it were the only one in the country.Farther south, Latin American relations have diversified, particularly as a result of booming trade with China and the emergence of Brazil as South America’s dominant economic and geopolitical power. Brazilian leftist President Dilma Rousseff is running for re-election in November, and the outcome may be partly determined by her government’s management of this summer’s World Cup soccer tournament.In Mexico, the conservative National Action Party is out of power once more after 12 years in office, but President Enrique Peña Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) have assimilated many policies that were once associated with the right. During his first year in office, Peña Nieto has opened Mexico’s government oil monopoly to private investment, worked to expand free-trade agreements with the United States and others, and weakened Mexico’s powerful unions.The future of free tradeIncreasingly, analysts say, the overarching division in Latin America is not right vs. left, but free trade vs. protectionism. While countries such as Argentina, Venezuela and, to a large extent, Brazil continue to protect domestic industries and intervene heavily in their economies, nations such as Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico are backing the U.S. proposal for a Pacific Rim free-trade zone.Colombia, a key U.S. ally, has traditionally been a bastion of Latin American conservatism. But President Juan Manuel Santos has moved toward the center, engaging in peace talks with FARC guerrillas and feuding with former President Álvaro Uribe, the standard-bearer of Colombia’s right. Santos is up for re-election in May and has a large lead in polls over a challenger from Uribe’s party.But Colombia is an outlier in the region, said León Valencia, a former guerrilla turned political analyst in Bogotá. “The winning electoral strategy in Latin America right now is left-populism,” Valencia said. “In Colombia, the left is anti-populist because it’s a radical, Marxist left that’s linked to violence.”In addition to Colombia and Brazil, presidential elections are also scheduled this year in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay and Bolivia. Leftists are strong contenders in most of the races.During the Cold War, the United States worried that Latin America’s poor masses would heed the siren call of communist radicals and Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution. With the consolidation of democratic governance since then, few nations have voted for dramatic upheaval, but they tend to back candidates who boost social spending and offer a wider safety net, said Geoff Thale, program director at the Washington Office on Latin America.“Greater political participation by the poor and middle class has led to political movements and parties that call for less extremes of inequality,” he said.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Wild World Cup morning Suárez gets four month suspension two Ghana stars

first_imgRelated posts:USA plan to go on offensive against Belgium during World Cup clash Belgium overcomes Tim Howard and the United States to reach quarterfinals In Argentina and Germany, World Cup Final features soccer royalty End Game! Germany wins 2014 World Cup Uruguay star Luis Suárez was suspended for nine matchesfor biting an opponent on Thursday as World Cup chiefs struck back with the heaviest sanction against a player in the tournament’s history.Suárez, who sank his teeth into Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during his team’s Group D win on Tuesday, was also banned from all football activity for four months and fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000).“Such behavior cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field,” FIFA Disciplinary Committee chief Claudio Sulser said.FIFA acted as a new scandal hit the tournament with Ghana indefinitely suspending top players Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng following a dispute over bonuses. Ghana play Portugal on Thursday.The Suárez suspension takes effect immediately and he will not be able to play in Uruguay’s second round match against Colombia on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, even if he appeals.The four month ban from football activity means he will also be prevented from entering the stadium for Saturday’s game. It will also hit his club career with Liverpool in England’s Premier League.The sanction was the toughest ever handed down for foul play at a World Cup, surpassing the eight-match ban against Italy’s Mauro Tassotti in 1994 for an elbowing incident that broke the nose of Spain’s Luis Enrique.It is the third time Liverpool star Suárez has been banned for biting players following incidents in 2010 in the Dutch league and 2013 in England. He also received a long ban in 2011 for racially abusing Manchester United’s French international Patrice Evra. All those factors came into play when FIFA announced the suspension.Uruguay football officials had argued against a ban, insisting Suárez had not bitten anyone and claiming the player was the victim of a media witch-hunt.Uruguayan President José Mujica had led the defense of the 27-year-old, telling reporters on Wednesday: “I did not see him bite anyone.”But the speed and severity of FIFA’s punishment reflected the widespread revulsion throughout the football world at an incident which was captured clearly on television footage.There was also photographic evidence of Chiellini’s bite mark that he tried to show the referee immediately following the incident.Chiellini himself told Italian television: “He bit me, it’s clear, I still have the mark.”Suárez sought to play down the incident in comments to Uruguayan television, claiming Chiellini had charged into him.“There are things that happen on the pitch and you should not make such a big deal out of them,” Suárez said.Two Ghana removed from teamElsewhere Thursday more controversy erupted in the Ghana camp, with star players Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng kicked out of the African giants squad following bust-ups with management.The Ghana Football Association accused Muntari, 29, of attacking a member of the management team, Moses Armah. Boateng, 27, is said to have verbally abused national team coach Kwesi Appiah.The suspension came one day after the Ghana government said it was airlifting $3 million to Brazil to resolve a financial dispute with players, who boycotted training on Monday in protest.Floods hit Recife before US-Germany World Cup showdown‎On the pitch, Germany and the United States were due to play in Recife at 10 a.m., with both teams needing only a draw to progress from Group G.Flooding hit the northeastern Brazilian city hosting the U.S.-Germany World Cup clash, blocking roads and forcing cars to slow through rising water.But the Pernambuco Arena in Recife was not affected and three buses carrying relatives of the German team arrived there without problem, a civil defense spokeswoman, Fabia Gomes, told AFP.Gomes said the heavy rain began Wednesday and could last until Friday. Costa Rica plays Greece in Recife on Sunday.About 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the stadium, some USA fans were spotted trying to hitchhike to the Arena, following reports of major traffic congestion.Group G rivals Ghana and Portugal play simultaneously in Brasilia.That result would see Portugal and Ghana eliminated from the tournament.In later games Belgium will aim to clinch first place in Group H when they play South Korea while Algeria will attempt to reach the last 16 for the first time when they face Russia. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

3 suspects arrested in Chile subway bombing

first_imgSANTIAGO, Chile – Two men and a woman were arrested early Thursday on suspicion of involvement in a recent bombing in a subway station in the Chilean capital, police said.Fourteen people were injured when a homemade bomb rocked an area with food stalls inside the packed Escuela Militar station in Santiago at lunchtime on September 8.The government has deemed the unclaimed attack, the worst to hit Chile in 24 years, a “terrorist act” in what is considered by many to be the safest capital in Latin America.Prosecutors accused the three suspects of planting the bomb.Investigators also linked the three to another subway explosion that occurred in July but did not cause any injuries.“We welcome this morning’s news of the arrests of three suspects involved in terrorist acts we have seen over recent months,” Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo told reporters.President Michele Bachelet said the arrests were “an important step” toward solving the case and punishing those responsible.The three were arrested at a house in the densely populated La Pintana neighborhood early Thursday and taken to a police station in eastern Santiago, a police spokesman told AFP.Local media said police who searched the house found clothing with traces of gunpowder and tools that could be used to make bombs.So far, an investigation has found that those detained are part of a “fairly compact and tight cell,” said Raul Guzman, an official with the prosecutor’s office.He said there was still much to be done in the case.Last Friday, authorities in the northern city of Antofagasta arrested three men carrying dynamite and other ingredients that could be used for a bomb, but “terrorism” was ruled out as a motive in that case.The September 8 attack was the most destructive of some 200 unsolved bombings that have targeted banks, gyms, embassies and restaurants in the South American country over the past five years.Recommended: Chile bombings shake Latin America’s model nation Facebook Comments Related posts:Bomb rocks packed Chile metro station, 10 injured Chile bombings shake Latin America’s model nation Islamic State terrorists talked of entering U.S. through Mexico France, allies signal major response after Paris attacks leave at least 127 deadlast_img read more

An electrifying storm over Haitis capital

first_imgLightning strikes over the sea along the coast of the Haitian capital, Port au Prince, during an evening thunderstorm on September 24, 2014. Facebook Comments Related posts:1 dead, 4 missing as flooding hits Haiti Disorder, delays mar Haiti’s long-awaited election Sad homecoming for Haitians deported from Dominican Republic Amid post-election chaos in Haiti, diplomat Kenneth Merten defends U.S. policieslast_img

Costa Rican foreign minister US independence an inspiration

first_imgEd note: Heading out to this year’s 55th annual Fourth of July Celebration Saturday at the Cervecería Costa Rica? Check out our digital flipbook event program here. –The new U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, S. Fitzgerald Haney, made his first public appearance Thursday during an Independence Day celebration at the ambassador’s residence in Escazú, southwest of the capital.Costa Rican Vice President Helio Fallas and acting Foreign Minster Alejandro Solano represented the Costa Rican government at the event celebrating the United States’ 239th Independence Day.“Over time our nation has extended equal rights and opportunities for all U.S. citizens. Our diversity is a strength and something personal for me,” Haney said as he recounted his ancestors’ participation in the American Revolution and his mother’s march for civil rights.“Beyond our own inheritance, as citizens of the world we celebrate democracy. Costa Rican democracy is a … reflection of a nation deeply committed to peace, faith, equality and respect for human rights. We are proud to be your neighbors and friends,” Haney told the crowd of Costa Rican guests and U.S. citizens.“The ties that bind our two countries, common ideals and future goals, have never been stronger,” he said.Haney’s mention of President Barack Obama’s move to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba won applause from the crowd, as did the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision granting citizens the constitutional right to same-sex marriage.Acting Foreign Minister Alejandro Solano said that the American Revolution was an inspirational example for Latin Americans who waged their own wars of independence against the Spanish Crown in the decades after U.S. independence.The United States and Costa Rica established formal diplomatic ties on July 10, 1851.Recommended: A look back at a different world: Remembering the Fourth of July Picnic, 1965 Facebook Comments Related posts:Obama lauds ‘shared democratic values’ in statement marking Costa Rica’s independence US Ambassador to Costa Rica: Embassy will remain at forefront of LGBT issues US ambassador to Costa Rica talks marijuana legalization, trade New ambassadors from Canada, EU, UK arrive in Costa Ricalast_img read more

More Cuban migrants heading to US shores says Coast Guard

first_imgRelated posts:Cubans fear new diplomatic relations with US could change special rights as immigrants Mixed emotions vex ‘Pedro Pan’ generation after Cuba move Quietly, Cuba, US have been on same team against illegal drug trade US firm Sprint signs roaming telecom deal with Cuba MIAMI — The number of people trying to defect to the United States by sea from Cuba continues to rise, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday, despite a detente between the long-time rivals.The coastguard estimates that 4,084 Cubans “attempted to illegally migrate via the sea” already in fiscal year 2015, which has three weeks remaining. This continues increases seen in each of the past several years.Cuban migrants, unlike those from any other nation, are allowed to stay in the United States if they reach land, but they are repatriated if picked up at sea.The coastguard said 116 Cubans caught at sea were repatriated to the island nation this week.Fear that this special treatment will end has triggered an increase in attempted crossings since Washington and Havana announced in December plans to restore diplomatic ties, which they did on July 20.In fiscal year 2014, 3,940 Cubans attempted to reach the U.S. by sea, often on crude rafts or overcrowded boats, up from 2,129 in the same period in 2013 and 1,082 in 2010, according to coastguard figures.The numbers represent “the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic,” the coastguard said.Cuba is about 90 miles (150 kilometers) across shark-infested waters from the southernmost part of Florida.“The coastguard strongly discourages attempts to illegally enter the country by taking to the sea,” said Captain Mark Gordon, the regional coastguard chief of response enforcement. “These trips are incredibly dangerous.”Read all The Tico Times’ recent Cuba coverage Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rican researchers develop new climate changeresistant beans

first_imgResearchers from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry have begun distributing the seeds of a new variety of heat- and drought-resistant black beans — part of a broader effort to help address the impact of climate change, as well as recent droughts, on the essential crop.They call the new variety Nambí, in honor of a Cacique (indigenous chief) by that name who ruled in the Nicoya peninsula, in the province of Guanacaste.Nambí beans are tolerant to extreme drought conditions and high temperatures, and have a shorter production cycle than current varieties grown here. Researchers also managed to improve the plant’s resistance to various diseases that attack bean crops here.UCR researcher Néstor Chaves Barrantes explained that the team has been testing the Nambí beans in various farming areas across the country for the past five years. Results showed that farmers can grow the new variety “pretty much all over the country.” However, farmers in the Northern Zone and in the Southern Pacific area obtained the best results.Agriculture Ministry officials began distributing the first seeds to farms in the southern San José canton of Pérez Zeledón in December. Evaluations showed that the new beans were more efficient both in areas with normal rainfall levels and also in areas affected by drought. (Courtesy UCR)Regional initiativeThe investigation started in Costa Rica in 2011. The original seeds came as a donation from the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture  and Zamorano Panamerican Agricultural School.Both institutes develop the seeds and began sending them to various Latin American countries. Agencies in each country then take charge of adapting the seeds to local conditions. Costa Rican researchers worked for five years with the original seeds to adapt them to local soil and weather conditions.“We conducted a lot of tests and discarded many of the resulting lines until we were able to find the best one for our country,” Chaves said.During the first testing stages, between 2011 and 2013, investigators compared yields from Nambí crops with those from another variety called Matambu. They harvested beans from both varieties produced under normal weather conditions and under drought conditions. Yields in both scenarios were in favor of Nambí.At a farm under drought conditions, Nambí produced 1,750 kilograms of beans per hectare, while Matambu produced 1,000 kg. Results from a farm with normal rainfall conditions resulted in a yield of 2,636 kg per hectare for Nambi and 2,489 kg for Matambu, the UCR reported.Following the release of the first seeds in Pérez Zeledón, researchers have been in contact with farmers to evaluate the crops. This allows farmers to get to know the variety and get used to it.“It also has given them the opportunity to suggest optimum times of the year for releasing the seeds in other regions,” Chaves said.He added that this is the first in a series of new bean varieties they plan to release in the future, all as part of a response to the effects of climate change on the farming of beans, an essential Costa Rican dietary staple.Fighting the droughtHarsh drought conditions in the country, mostly attributed to effects of an El Niño weather phenomenon, have affected the production of Costa Rica’s agribusiness sector since 2014.At that time, the government declared a national emergency as a result of the worst drought on record in 50 years.Drought in recent years has caused severe rainfall deficits of up to 65 percent in most of the country. Lack of rainfall and higher-than-usual temperatures had a negative effect on the production of key crops including rice, beans, corn, tubers and vegetables. It also caused several losses to the livestock sector, mostly in the Pacific provinces of Puntarenas and Guanacaste.In December, the National Emmergency Commission distributed ₡16,000 million ($28.4 million) among 3,500 farmers who lost most of their crops because of the drought. Earlier in 2016, the government also granted ₡561 million ($1 million) to a group of some 1,500 farmers from the Central Pacific region. Facebook Comments Related posts:Tempisque River: History of neglect threatens Guanacaste people and environment Water and Sewer Institute announces rationing plan for up to four months New heat-resistant beans could save Latin American cuisine from climate change Environment Ministry officials report increased damage of wildfires inside protected areaslast_img read more

ArcelorMittals Kazakh workers demand salary hike

first_imgTrade unions are seeking a 30 percent wage rise, but ArcelorMittal’s management says that is unfeasible and that it has to take reduced industrial output into account when considering pay increases.Local news portal eKaraganda.kz said around 3,000 workers took part in the Temirtau demonstration.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Comments   Share   The vital role family plays in societycenter_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) – Workers at a Kazakhstan plant owned by Luxembourg-based steel giant ArcelorMittal have held a demonstration to demand higher salaries.The company said that Saturday’s rally in the industrial town of Temirtau was legal and that an official from ArcelorMittal’s personnel department met with workers to discuss their grievances.Any signs of industrial dispute have been greeted with intense caution in Kazakhstan since a long-running sit-in demonstration over salaries in a western oil town culminated in December in deadly riots.last_img read more

Indias Maruti Suzuki shuts riothit car plant

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The body of Avnish Kumar, the human resources manager, was found badly charred in a conference room after the rioting. Of 90 injured managers and executives, 24 with arm and leg fractures are still being treated in hospitals, Maruti Suzuki said.“What has happened is an absolute shocker to us,” chairman R.C. Bhargava told reporters Saturday.Bhargava said a new wage accord was being negotiated with the workers’ union but there were no other outstanding labor issues.He said production would not be resumed at the factory in Manesar in the north Indian state of Haryana “until we are able to identify the causes and apply correctives” to guarantee the safety of managers and workers.The Manesar plant makes 550,000 vehicles a year, including Maruti Suzuki’s most popular cars, the Swift and the DZire.The company said the unrest on Wednesday was sparked when a worker beat up a supervisor. It said the union prevented management from disciplining the worker, blocked exit gates and “held the executives hostage.”The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, in a statement Thursday, offered a different version of events, saying a supervisor had abused and made discriminatory comments to a low-caste worker. Associated PressNEW DELHI (AP) – India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, said Saturday it will not resume production at a factory hit by rioting during a labor dispute until an investigation is complete into the causes of the violence, which killed one executive and injured dozens of others.The plant, one of two operated by the company in India, halted production on Wednesday night because of fire damage caused by the rioting. The company is a subsidiary of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top holiday drink recipes Bhargava asked the Haryana state government to assist in investigating the violence. “We want to know the cause and who was behind it,” he said.The Press Trust of India news agency said police have arrested 88 Maruti workers on charges including murder and damaging property.Labor unrest is a growing concern in India, as inflation squeezes workers’ salaries. The widespread use of contract workers by companies eager to sidestep India’s strict labor laws adds to friction.Maruti Suzuki suffered three crippling strikes in 2011 which cost it market share and blocked production of tens of thousands of vehicles.Honda, Ford, General Motors and Hyundai, among others, have also struggled with labor unrest in India.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 0 Comments   Share   last_img read more

Sick African leaders tout health until the end

first_imgIn a part of the world where presidents traditionally have ruled for life, Atta Mills is only the latest West African leader to show that “routine checkup” can be the code word for much graver troubles.Many longtime rulers in the region have feared coups or power grabs if they were perceived as vulnerable. Though even in a mature democracy like Ghana, those around Atta Mills still tried to protect his image of strength until the very end.“I think it’s a little bit about power _ when you taste it and you really don’t want to give it up whether you’re sick or healthy,” says Kwame Tufour, 36, who owns an energy company in Ghana. “I think it kind of got to his head.”Political calculation certainly plays a part in an election year, as there can be repercussions if a party’s standard bearer is seen as weak, said J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa program at the Washington-based Atlantic Council.While Ghana is an exception as a stable democracy, Pham said earlier strongmen in the region tended to concentrate power in their own hands until their deaths.“You didn’t vote for a party with a platform if you voted at all,” he said. “Leadership was viewed and functioned as the figure that you followed.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family The week before he died, the editor of a local paper was arrested after publishing a picture of the frail leader struggling to stand up. A spokesman for the president went on TV to assure the nation that Conte was not ill.The newspaper was ordered to print a photograph of Conte, showing him in good health.In Ghana, opposition newspapers in the weeks before Atta Mills’ death had started questioning whether the president was healthy enough to seek a second term in December.The late Ghanaian leader was apparently in a coma for at least a day _ possibly two _ before he died, said a government official in neighboring Ivory Coast who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.The official said the Ghanaians did such a good job hiding it that even the intelligence services of Ghana’s closest allies were not aware of his state of health.Eugene Oppong, 40, a driving instructor, said Ghanaians had started to notice recently that Atta Mills had grown lean, spoke with a raspy voice, and frequently took sips of water while giving speeches.Still, Oppong said Atta Mills was right to stay in office until his death, and he called speculation about the president’s health before his death disrespectful. Speculation on leaders’ health isn’t unique to West Africa _ 88-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe insists he’s “fit as a fiddle” despite reports he’s battling prostate cancer. Few regions, though, can cite as many examples.Only hours before the death of Gabon President Omar Bongo _ at one time the world’s longest-serving president _ his prime minister described him as “alive and well.”And Nigeria’s late President Umaru Yar’Adua grew so weak while in office he once had to be carried off a runway by a soldier during a state visit to Togo, according to a book by his former spokesman. The military officer assigned to Yar’Adua apparently draped traditional robes over his arm to conceal what was happening.State-run television was told to only film one side of his face when the other side was swollen, according to the book by Olusegun Adeniyi.The National Assembly ultimately voted extra-constitutionally to empower then-Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to serve as acting president for Nigeria.The health and undisclosed illness of late Guinean strongman Lansana Conte also was a topic of national debate for years before his 2008 death. Rumors of his death surfaced periodically, including in 2003 when he was forced to go on TV to deny them. Top Stories “So far as you still have your power and you’re alive, you don’t need to give your power to someone else,” he said.___Associated Press writers Rukmini Callimachi in Dakar, Senegal and Laura Burke in Accra, Ghana contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Associated PressDAKAR, Senegal (AP) – The rumors started to swirl around Ghana in June: President John Atta Mills was ill, maybe too sick to seek re-election, and he was going abroad to seek medical treatment. Some radio stations went so far as to prematurely report his death.Eager to deny the speculation, Atta Mills jogged at the airport upon his return in a display of his vigor. The following month, though, the 68-year-old was dead. Many lined up in the capital, Accra, where his body was laid in a casket draped in the national colors of red, yellow and green on Wednesday to pay their respects before his burial Friday. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Veteran pol expected to prevail in Montenegro vote

first_img Sponsored Stories During campaigning, Djukanovic has played a nationalist card, urging Montenegro’s more than half a million voters to let him cement the country’s statehood and take it into the EU and NATO.“The stakes are high,” he told the voters at a recent rally. “After six years of independence, our statehood is still fragile and we still need to strengthen it. We can’t give our country to those who were against its independence.”Milos Besic of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights said that “no doubt Djukanovic’s popularity and charisma are still at a high level,” despite the economic crisis and widespread accusations by opposition and some international groups that he and his family have been involved in corruption and links with organized crime.Djukanovic has repeatedly rejected such allegations, including an investigation by Italian prosecutors who had suspected his government of a multimillion-dollar cigarette smuggling operation during international sanctions imposed on Milosevic-led Yugoslavia in the 1990s’ because of the Serbian strongman’s warmongering policies.Djukanovic’s most serious opponent this weekend is Miodrag Lekic, a former diplomat and an associate turned foe. Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Men’s health affects baby’s health too Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img “By insisting on national and other divisions, Djukanovic has tried to avoid real problems,” Lekic said, describing Montenegro as “a country of captured institutions, where some individuals and groups behave as if they were outside of the legal system.”Montenegro has faced an economic downturn following a boom in the first years after the independence. Currently, unemployment officially stands at more than 12 percent, while the average salary is around (EURO)480 ($622) per month.In this week’s progress report, the EU praised Montenegro’s reforms, but added that more needs to be done to strengthen the rule of law, judicial independence and fight against crime and corruption.Even though it lags far behind the ruling coalition, Lekic’s Democratic Front hopes to forge a post-election coalition with smaller opposition groups to counter Djukanovic. The pro-Serb Socialist People’s Party is slated to win nearly 15 percent of the vote, and a newcomer, Positive Montenegro, could garner about 10 percent.____Jovana Gec and Dusan Stojanovic from Belgrade, Serbia, contributed.(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 Associated PressPODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) – A politician who has ruled Montenegro as president, prime minister and behind-the-scenes power broker could end up leading his country again, if the polls about this weekend’s election are correct.If Milo Djukanovic and his coalition prevail, he could serve as this tiny Balkan nation’s prime minister again and continue its push for EU membership, despite an economic downturn. This week’s latest poll said Djukanovic’s European Montenegro coalition is expected to win nearly half of the 81 seats in parliament in Sunday’s vote, making it one of the few governments in Europe to survive a vote during the region’s economic crisis.The main opposition Democratic Front stands to gain some 20 percent of the vote, according to the survey by the Podgorica-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights. The margin of error was 3 percent.Djukanovic and his coalition have ruled Montenegro since the late 1980s, first in alliance with Serbia’s strongman Slobodan Milosevic, then as his toughest opposition.Montenegro is a small, mountainous country of 625,000 people in southeastern Europe with one coast on the Adriatic Sea.Djukanovic, 50, served as its prime minister _ the top job_ and as president while steering Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2006 and toward opening European Union accession talks this year.Although he formally resigned and handed over the premiership to a crony in 2010, Djukanovic _ the youngest prime minister in Europe at the age of 29 in 1991 _ has continued to rule the country from behind the scenes and to remain at the helm of his Democratic Party of Socialists. He is widely expected to become prime minister again, if his coalition wins Sunday. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more