Paris in an uproar over new openair urinals

first_imgPour ou Contre – Nantes ?#Nantes #uritrottoir #pausepipi #street #rue #centreville #sondage #citoyen #garcon— Doucet Océane (@OceaneDoucet) September 11, 2018 PARIS — There’s nothing like the sight of the glorious River Seine… from an open-air urinal.Dubbed ‘uritrottoirs’ (a mash-up of the French words for urinal and pavement), these bright red, letterbox urinals first debuted in Paris over the summer as an eco-friendly solution to public urination. At first glance they look like chic planters with a floral display on top, but upon closer inspection you’ll notice a layer of straw to eliminate odours and an opening in the front where men can, well, do their business.Oh, and in case you miss them, each urinal also sits beneath a large sign with a caricature of a man, well, doing his business.So, what do you think – is the whole thing totally crude or creative?Parisians, as it turns out, have ‘pissed’ all over the idea, with many local residents writing to the town hall in protest.The uritrottoir on the Ile Saint-Louis, just steps from the Notre Dame and overlooking tourist boats on the Seine, drew particular ire.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youth“It’s beside the most beautiful townhouse on the island, the Hotel de Lauzun, where Baudelaire lived,” local shopkeeper Paola Pillizzari told Reuters. She also feared that the urinal, which is located approximately 20 metres from a primary school, would incite “exhibitionism”.Feminists have also spoken up, saying the urinals are sexist and discriminatory, particularly in light of the #MeToo movement. Two of the contraptions – the one on Ile Saint-Louis and another near Gare de Lyon station – were vandalized with sanitary towels and tampons.Their efforts paid off – the Ile Saint-Louis urinal has since been removed.But according to local mayor Ariel Weil, the urinals are necessary, saying: “If we don’t do anything, then men are just going to pee in the streets.”Despite the backlash, a fifth uritroittoir is in development.When using non-gendered language hides the story. It isn’t “people” who pee on the street. It’s men. that’s why the new paris solution is a urinal. Somehow women manage to hold it in.@washingtonpost— (((Katha Pollitt))) (@KathaPollitt) August 15, 2018 Paris in an uproar over new open-air urinals << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Tags: Funny, Paris Share Monday, September 17, 2018 Posted bylast_img read more

It was a recordbreaking year in cruise arrivals for Cozumel

first_img Travelweek Group It was a record-breaking year in cruise arrivals for Cozumel Tags: Cozumel Share Tuesday, February 12, 2019 center_img COZUMEL — Cozumel has announced a record-breaking year in 2018, welcoming more than four million cruise passengers to its cruise port.This represents a 4% increase and approximately 54% of Mexico’s total number of cruise passengers received last year.The news comes on the heels of a prosperous year for the island, which saw the historic arrival of the world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, in November. The destination of Quintana Roo welcomed five million cruisers and about 70% of Mexico’s overall cruise travellers, according to the General Directorate of Ports of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation.“Cozumel’s magical attractions continue drawing new visitors year after year, showing the unparalleled pull of this iconic destination,” said Dario Flota Ocampo, director of Quintana Roo Tourism Board. “We look forward to another prosperous year for this island and hope to keep breaking records with exciting innovations.”Cozumel is internationally renowned for not only being a cruise and beach destination, but also for being one of the top diving destinations in the world. It recently won a Scuba Diving Readers’ Choice Award, and offers an array of international sports events, including the full and half IRONMAN. Also not to be missed is the Cozumel Carnival, which takes place at the end of February and is considered one of the oldest carnivals in Mexico. Traditionally running the month leading up to Lent, Carnival includes five weeks of music, dance and family-friendly entertainment on the streets of the city.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsFor more information go to Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Study concludes Costa Rica is fourth in competitiveness

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rica remains one of the most competitive countries in Latin America, according to the latest competitiveness ranking developed by Aden Business School in Argentina.In April, Costa Rica ranked number four, up one spot from the previous year, in which it ranked fifth.According to the study, the most competitive nations are Chile, Panamá and México.To build the ranking, Aden experts calculated an index of competitiveness in each country and then compared them. The index took into account 123 variables, such as coverage of basic needs, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and education.It also incorporates other factors, such as access to technology and job markets.Despite the good results, there are some indicators like public perception and market competitiveness where Costa Rica faltered.The Aden Competitiveness Institute takes measurements every six months in 18 countries in Latin America. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US officials arrive to prepare Obama visit

first_imgA group of 40 officials from the United States government arrived in Costa Rica on Wednesday to prepare logistics for the visit of President Barack Obama.Obama will visit Costa Rica in early May to participate in the summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA).The president will also have a bilateral meeting with Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla.Communications Minister Francisco Chacón confirmed that the U.S. staff will analyze all aspects of the locations where the president will visit.Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo said that in the coming days Costa Rica’s government will send formal invitations to all Central American presidents, although the president of Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina, already confirmed his participation last Monday.Obama will visit Costa Rica May 3-4 after a stop in Mexico the previous day. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Rainy season increases worries over dengue fever

first_imgRelated posts:What dengue feels like Costa Rica dengue epidemic not slowing down in a record-breaking year Costa Rica dengue epidemic sets all-time record for calendar year 2013 set to be Costa Rica’s worst year on record for dengue New cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) detected this week in Parrita, in the Pacific province of Puntarenas, have Costa Rican health officials on alert.Although the country has registered 20 cases of DHF so far this year, health officials have treated more than 200 cases of dengue in that area alone.Health officials last month said that 6,898 cases of dengue have been reported in the country in 2013, a 300 percent increase from the same period in 2012.The start of the rainy season this weekend will likely increase the number of people infected.Health officials recommend residents keep backyards clean and free of containers where stagnant water can accumulate, to prevent the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of dengue, from breeding.Dengue fever causes fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles.It can develop into the life-threatening DHF, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs. Officials recommend seeing a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms occur. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Impending San José zoo closures spark court battles celebrations in Costa Rica

first_img A jaguar sits behind bars at the Simón Bolívar Zoo in San José. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times On Monday, Costa Rica’s Environment Ministry (MINAE) joined this contingent of detractors and declared that, starting in May 2014, Costa Rica will send approximately 400 animals from two Central Valley zoos to rescue centers. The second zoo to be closed is the Conservation Center of Santa Ana, southwest of the capital. The government-funded zoos will reopen as a public park and botanical garden. FUNDAZOO, the nonprofit organization that currently manages the two zoos, is fighting back in court, claiming that a clause in its contract automatically renews it for another 10 years.MINAE acknowledged the contention in a press release on Wednesday, but said that its plan to transform the zoos into cage-less nature parks is final and irreversible.“Even in the hypothetical case that FUNDAZOO wins in court and does not turn the zoo back over to the state, which is unlikely, the truth is that they will not be able to have animals in cages or replace any of their current animals that die or are returned to the wild with new ones,” Environment Minister René Castro said.This most recent battle in the judiciary branch is not the first time FUNDAZOO has appeared in court. In 2006, Marín filed a lawsuit against the zoo following a leptospirosis outbreak that left a zoo employee in the hospital for several months. The case ended with a ruling from the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court that ordered the zoo to improve its sanitation.MINAE also tried tried to terminate its contract with FUNDAZOO in 2003, but was ordered to renew by an arbitration court on a technicality. FUNDAZOO spokesman Eduardo Bolaños hopes this case will have a similar outcome.“It seems to me that what happened before is exactly what is happening now,” Bolaños told The Tico Times. “We don’t know the ministry’s intentions, but I would guess that they are responding to the complaints from different groups, mostly environmentalists, who believe that you should free all of the animals regardless of any scientific reason not to.”Although Kivu the lion was born in captivity, the two zoos’ other animals were found injured or otherwise incapable of living in the wild. And though MINAE says officials will relocate the animals throughout the country’s rescue centers, for Bolaños it doesn’t seem any different.“You could say that the zoo here is a rescue center,” he said. “We find it very strange that MINAE would want to move an animal kept under internationally sanctioned conditions to another location not beneath their authority.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Redefining Costa Rica’s zoos San José zoo administration to file complaint after Costa Rica Environment Ministry inspection Protesters clash with San José police at Simón Bolívar Zoo’s anniversary party Free the animals! Costa Rica’s cage-free wildlife ambitions extend beyond public zoos A visit to Simón Bolívar Zoo in San José’s Barrio Amón neighborhood is the closest many visitors will ever come to a lion. Born in captivity in Cuba, Kivu the African lion has been at the zoo for 14 years and his cage sits about 2 meters away from the zoo’s walking path, a short enough distance for guests to stare into the lion’s eyes, hear his roar and, in some cases, taunt the sleeping animal in the hope that it will move around.“The zoo looks like something out of the 1970s,” said Luís Diego Marín, coordinator of environmental advocacy group Preserve Planet. “The animals have so much contact with humans, they are in a constant state of stress. They don’t have their own separate habitats like they do at modern zoos.”For years conditions at the public zoo have been a point of contention among environmental groups, many of which argue that even with the best conditions, the idea of Costa Rica having a zoo at all harms its environmental image. A howler monkey in its cage at the Simón Bolívar Zoo. According to Environment Vice Minister Ana Lorena Guevara, the zoos’ impending closures mark a change in the administration’s attitude toward caged animals in general.“We want to promote wildlife in the wild, not in any other form,” Guevara told The Tico Times. “We cannot continue showing off animals in cages, instead we can see them on reserves where they are more in touch with their natural surroundings.”Guevara declined to comment on whether or not the zoos’ conditions played a role in the decision.Environmental groups opposed to the zoos have declared their support for MINAE’s plan over social media.“Today we received great news,” the group Resistance Front for Animals and the Land (FRAT) posted on its Facebook page on Monday. “The Simón Bolívar penitentiary center is going to become a botanical garden.”In a subsequent post, FRAT also announced its intention to protest at the Simón Bolivar Zoo’s 97th Anniversary celebration on Sunday in an effort to condemn FUNDAZOO’s actions in court.last_img read more

Lawmakers vote to define Costa Rica as a multiethnic plurinational country

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica prepares for first visit by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon PHOTOS: Snapshots of Costa Rica’s Independence Day Parade Casa Presidencial flies provincial flags Longshoremen suspend strike to protect paychecks After more than 10 years of debate, lawmakers approved a bill in a first round vote Wednesday to reform Costa Rica’s Constitution to redefine the Central American country as a “multiethnic and plurinational” republic. The bill would add language toArticle 1 of the constitution, which defines Costa Rica as a “democratic, free and independent” republic.“It means that Costa Rica is now a country that recognizes everyone, that recognizes the ethnic-racial diversity, that recognizes us as Afro-descendants,” said Citizen Action Party lawmaker Epsy Campbell.“It’s a historic step,” said National Liberation Party (PLN) lawmaker Maureen Clarke. “It’s fundamental to recognize our heritage.”Clarke added that the reform could serve as a platform for future legislation on the rights of Afro-descendant and indigenous peoples in Costa Rica.President Luis Guillermo Solís, who traces part of his heritage to Jamaica, previously had expressed his support for the reform bill. The president celebrated the vote Wednesday, releasing a statement saying, “We celebrate that lawmakers have taken this great step that recognizes Costa Rica as the cradle of multiple cultures and ethnicities that have enriched and made our country greater and will continue to do so.”The reform was first presented by PLN lawmaker Joyce Sawyer in 1998, but it was tabled until recently.Of 57 lawmakers, 46 voted in favor of the bill. The bill must be approved in a second-round vote before going to President Solís for his signature. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Driving in Costa Rica The rules of the road

first_imgFourth in a series of columns by Steven Ferris, a Costa Rican attorney with extensive, direct experience in the Costa Rican judicial system, now in private practice.As a tourist in Costa Rica, if you have a valid driver’s license, you are legal to drive here during your stay. Nonetheless, this is contingent upon your immigration status. Your ability to use a foreign license only applies within the time period you have been allowed to stay.For example, if your tourist visa (stamped in your passport with the number of days written in) is for 30 days, you can only use that license within that time period. If for some reason you remain in the country beyond your visa limitation, not only are you in violation of your immigration status, but also your ability to drive legally is null and void. If you were to have an accident, you will go to court as if you were driving without a license.The Traffic Police (Policia de Tránsito) are known to conduct routine stops to check documentation. If you show them your foreign license and passport, they will check to see if you’re driving within the time limit of your visa.It is often recommended that you not travel around the country with your official passport, and carry a copy of the pertinent pages instead. Recent police policy instructs officers to accept a legible copy of passports. However, it is still up to the individual officer whether to accept the copy or not. If he or she, for some reason, decides the copy isn’t acceptable, you may have to go to your hotel or wherever you’re staying, with the police officer. In almost every case this isn’t necessary, and passport copies are acceptable during routine traffic stops.It’s also important to keep in mind what the proper procedure is if you have an accident. In Costa Rica, when involved in an accident, you are encouraged to not allow any of the vehicles involved to be moved. They’re supposed to stay on the scene, without being moved, no matter what disruption you may be causing to others trying to pass. You may very well have experienced this phenomenon wherein a simple fender bender results in two or more stationary cars in the middle of the road.As soon as the accident occurs, you should call the Transit Authority at 911, as well as your insurance carrier. If you’re renting, your rental agency will probably spell all this out for you, and your insurance documents are probably in the glove compartment. You will be asked (by phone) where the accident took place and if there are any injuries. An officer will be sent, but this may take a while depending on where you are. Waits of 45 minutes to two hours are not uncommon.While waiting, you should consider writing down some information, such as the other driver’s license plate numbers, taking pictures, and getting everyone’s phone number. This could be invaluable later on.When the Traffic Inspector finally shows up, your job is to give your version of events. He or she will write everything down, including your story and all vehicle information, and ask you to sign it.You are not obligated to sign, but if everything appears to be in order you certainly should. You’ll be given a copy that you will be required to present in Traffic Court within 10 days.As far as the insurance company is concerned, their agent is supposed to show up at the accident scene. Your declaration of what happened will be documented and you’ll be asked to sign that as well. That signature is obligatory if you want your claim to be honored. If it’s a rental car, you should probably call the rental agency as soon as possible, and they’ll likely help you through the whole process.Overall, what you need to do in the case of an accident is pretty much the same as anywhere else. The one difference, depending on where you’re from, is that you’re not supposed to move your car until an officer of the law tells you to do so.No big deal! Happy driving!Steven Ferris is a member of the board of directors of The Tico Times’ parent company.Want to start a business in Costa Rica? See our three-part series on the basics of getting started:Part 1: Want to open a business in Costa Rica? Start with the basicsPart 2: Want to start a business in Costa Rica? Let’s look at the detailsPart 3: Want to start a business in Costa Rica? Getting it done Facebook Comments Related posts:Want to start a business in Costa Rica? Let’s look at the details Want to start a business in Costa Rica? Getting it done Lonely Planet guide documents a changing Central America 14 upcoming changes you should know about for Riteve auto inspectionslast_img read more

NATO ships to combat migrantsmuggling networks in Aegean

first_img Facebook Comments © 2016, The Washington Post BRUSSELS – NATO dispatched warships to the Aegean Sea on Thursday to target people-smuggling operations, marking the most direct intervention by the NATO alliance to cope with the huge wave of migrants seeking to reach Europe’s shores.The NATO mission was put in motion after receiving U.S. backing from Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter.The flotilla would put NATO ships on the front lines in combating smuggling operations from NATO-member Turkey that enabled more than 1 million migrants to enter the European Union last year — setting off humanitarian and political crises across Europe.NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg directed NATO maritime forces to immediately begin moving toward the eastern Aegean. NATO ally Greece has struggled to deal with the nonstop flow of migrants and refugees — many fleeing violence in Iraq and Syria.“It is important to respond swiftly because this crisis effects us all,” Stoltenberg said.Migrants continue to try the risky journey to islands in Greece, also a NATO ally, despite frigid waters that have claimed dozens of lives in recent weeks.Speaking in Brussels, Carter commended requests from Turkish, Greek and German authorities to create a joint-maritime mission that would patrol the eastern Aegean Sea. The U.S. endorsement was seen as crucial to the plan’s viability.“This is people’s lives and destinies at stake here and it’s important to act quickly,” Carter said.Under the plan, three NATO vessels are to be tasked with reconnaissance and surveillance of known illegal trafficking routes in close cooperation with the European Union as well as Greek and Turkish coast guards.Stoltenberg added that other NATO countries are looking to assist with the operation in the coming months.“This is not about stopping and pushing back refugee boats,” Stoltenberg said. The aim, he said, was to counter criminal activity.Stoltenberg said the new agreement ensures that Greek and Turkish forces will not operate in each other’s territorial waters.center_img Related posts:Refugee program for Central Americans ‘still on the drawing board’: US official Costa Rican police detain 9 undocumented migrants near Jacó, arrest driver Honduras to charge Syrians using false documents to get to US Mud-soaked migrants fight for food as Greek border blockade drags onlast_img read more

5 questions for a Costa Rican oxcart painter

first_imgLuis Madrigal, 48, is a Costa Rican painter from the town of Sarchí in Alajuela. His canvas: the country’s iconic oxcarts.Madrigal graduated in 1986 from the Colegio Técnico Francisco J. Orlich, after deciding to master the technique of painting oxcarts during the last two years school. He worked at the Fábrica Joaquín Chaverri in Sarchí and ever since has dedicated his life to painting oxcarts, traditional costumes, yokes, scenography and more products through the use of bright colors. In 2015, he participated in two international fairs with the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) in Berlin and Madrid. He is now working with the Culture Ministry in order to protect the oxcart tradition.On a sunny, beautiful morning in Sarchí, The Tico Times sat down and spoke with Madrigal about his life and work. Excerpts follow.Which is your process for painting an oxcart?We start by using a base color. For example, this one that’s behind me is an oxcart that’s already prepared to be decorated, with a red base. There are also orange ones. Once the base is ready, we draw the outline. Then we start giving the oxcart color: the base colors, the plane colors and then the shading of each color. Last comes the outlining of the details… Each oxcart is an original and unique piece.There are many designs. A star design is traditional for the wheels, but another design has developed over time, which is the saw-shape design. You can also combine these. Then you can play with the colochos (curlicues) on the rest of the oxcart. These elements are taken from nature: leaves, stems, flowers, pistils. Even the dots make allusion to the seeds. It’s a close relationship between the campesino and his agricultural activity, so in the end, the oxcart’s design represents the campesino’s activity and environment back then. The combination of flowers and bright colors is a characteristic of Madrigal’s work. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesHow do you prepare the color palette, and how would you define Costa Rica in color?In Sarchí, the painter has always worried about the details so that the oxcart looks its best. The paintbrush choice, the paint choice, the color tones… the sarchiseños have been taught to pay attention to all of those details. If you take a look at the oxcart, you notice that the colors are very bright and strong, vivid and striking. What we look for is for [the oxcart] to be appreciated at a long distance. We want every detail to be seen separately. Also, when you look at a painted oxcart, especially here in Sarchí, you’ll notice that what we really express is the Costa Rican true essence. Ticos, by their true nature, are warm, cheerful, and jovial. That’s what we express with an oxcart.How would I define Costa Rica in colors? First, it’s a country that’s in the tropics. It’s very interesting. When I was in [Berlin and Madrid], I was able to understand that the weather has conditioned our way of being. We’re super warm. You take a look at the oxcart and you see color everywhere. You see details everywhere and that’s how the Tico is. It’s a color palette with strong contrasts and super vivid colors. Costa Rica is like that: very cheerful, very warm, very yellow, super blue and super red. It’s the color in its maximum expression.How is the oxcart a representation of Costa Rican values?Costa Rica developed as a country thanks to its coffee and the oxcarts. The first coffee exportation took place in 1820, and since that point on Costa Rica began changing. The boyeros (oxcart drivers) made oxen caravans that went from San José to Puntarenas to carry the coffee and bring back European merchandise. It was the source of transportation back then. A boyero took eight days to get to Puntarenas and eight days to get back to San José because the oxen had the capacity to only travel a distance of 20 to 22 kilometers per day. After those 20 or 22 kilometers they gathered at a certain place to stay for the night, get the oxcarts in place and feed the oxen. At those specific points, economic activity was generated, and those points became towns. If you go from San José to Puntarenas you’ll notice that the distance between towns such as Orotina and San Mateo is about 20 or 22 kilometers because of that.Imagine all of the things that those boyeros had to have in order to survive that trip. Tenacity is the first thing. They were very brave people. Those people went through cold, heat, rain… it was something unbelievable. They had to survive that. That was the Tico from those times: brave, honest and hard-working. We try to represent all those values with our art. Madrigal also decorates chonetes with the designs of an oxcart. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Madrigal explains his handdrawn symmetry. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesBesides painting oxcarts and traditional costumes, what other things do you make?Sometimes I work for schools, scenography and different activities. I participate in local and national fairs, selling chonetes (hand-painted traditional hats) because it’s the concept of the oxcart decoration, but smaller. Besides that, the chonete is very representative of us. At the fairs I paint the hats and sometimes I personalize them. People love it! We also give workshops so that people can paint. I make all sorts of things, and it’s very hard to answer when people ask me what I do. People are hiring me more to do demonstrations, sell products or participate in workshops. It’s very interesting because I’ve diversified the services I offer. It transcends the idea of just painting.You’ve also got to get involved in things. When I go to meetings about Costa Rican heritage in San José, it’s nice to see neighbors from Sarchí such as Lidilia Arias Chaverri, who works at the National Museum and wrote a book about the Sarchí painting. There’s also Giselle Chang, who was the one who did the research so that UNESCO would declare the boyeo (the tradition of oxcart work) and oxcarts as part of World Heritage. Imagine the type of knowledge you acquire from these meetings. It has been a slow process, but we have advanced a lot. A Safeguard Committee will soon be created in order to safeguard the boyeo and the oxcart. A yoke painted by Luis Madrigal. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesWhat does it feel like to be painting something that is so representative of our country?Extreme happiness. When I’m painting, I’m doing what I love. Painting an oxcart can be an exhausting and tedious process because there are a lot of pieces; it’s many hours and repetitive, in the sense that each wheel must be painted in the same manner. But for those of us who love this, the simple sight of a finished piece and the expression on the customer’s face is everything. In the end, the money I get is symbolic. Watching the other person’s satisfaction is great. Their expression brightens up. The same thing happens to me because it’s the result of what I did.Besides that, it’s not only about painting. Now that UNESCO has declared this activity as part of World Heritage, I’ve got that responsibility not only of maintaining the tradition, but also of passing it on to the new generations. I’ve realized what this means for us. Behind a painted oxcart or yoke, there’s the series of values I mentioned before that make the Tico who he or she is. The new generations must understand this and that their roots made this country big. The idea that Costa Rica is the happiest country is true. We must not lose these values.Read more Weekend Arts Spotlight interviews here.Our “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at Facebook Comments Related posts:5 questions for Costa Rican actor Radek Lord 5 questions for Costa Rican street artist MUSH 5 questions for Costa Rican painter Man Yu Fung 5 questions for Costa Rican sculptor José Sancholast_img read more

Teatro Espressivo brings message of peace to National Theater anniversary

first_imgRelated posts:Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica ‘The Dictator’s Granddaughter’ premieres in San José VIDEO: A closer look at ‘Battlefield’ before its Costa Rican premiere Facebook Comments On many levels, it’s a uniquely Costa Rican story.For starters, it’s taking place under the roof of what is arguably the country’s most iconic building, its National Theater, which this month turns 120. But the theater’s anniversary celebrations also showcase this country’s generations of international residents. Its rich yet accessible artistic traditions. Its historic commitment to peace.And coffee, coffee everywhere, the influence of the “golden bean” permeating the event: from the coffee barons who were instrumental in erecting the theater in the first place, to Steve Aronson, the former Café Britt president who founded Teatro Espressivo and was the architect of the anniversary’s centerpiece, a special presentation of Peter Brook’s “Battlefield.” The acclaimed work will take to the National Theater stage on Oct. 18 and 19, leading up to the official anniversary celebration on Oct. 20.“It’s a reflection on the effects of war: what peace really means and what war really means for people,” Aronson told The Tico Times this week in a phone interview. “That… made me think that this is a really great play to bring for 120 years of the National Theater. [Peace] is part of Costa Rica’s contribution to the world.” Sean O’Callaghan, Ery Nzaramba and Carole Karemera in ‘Battlefield.’ Pascal Victor / ArtComArtThe work is based on the Mahabharata, a massive Indian epic eight times longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey put together. It tells the story of the conflict between the five Pandava brothers and their cousins, the Kauravas. In the work, the defeated king and his victor reflect on the nature of the conflict that has left millions dead.Brook – a legendary British theater and film director, Royal Shakespeare Company veteran, and author – has drawn inspiration from the Mahabharata for decades. In the 1980s, he famously staged a nine-hour version of the epic around the world, and made a film by the same name in 1989.Aronson said he has been aware of Brook’s passion for the work since that time.“I’d heard of it, this crazy idea,” he recalls. “People would rent a theater and stay the whole day and eat – it was an 11-hour experience. I was in Costa Rica then, but it was something that stuck in my mind.”Nearly three decades later, Brook returned to the Mahabharata in a different form: “Battlefield,” a crisp 70 minutes written by Brook and his longtime collaborator Marie-Hélène Estienne.“If we have decided to come back to this work now, it is because there was the need to find something relevant for us today,” Brook wrote in 2015 when “Battlefield” premiered. “The Indians say – and it could sound a little vain – that everything is contained in the Mahabharata and if it is not in the Mahabharata, then it does not exist… Our real audience is Obama, Hollande, Putin and all the presidents. The question is, how do they see their opponents in this day and age?” Cast members Carole Karemera, Sean O’Callaghan, Jared McNeill and Ery Nzaramba in “Battlefield.” Caroline MoreauThe play, which will be presented in English with Spanish subtitles, brings together an international cast that has garnered rave reviews around the world during its international tour (The Guardian called it “breathtaking” and “a dazzling piece of theatre”).The shows next week will include a special presentation for high-school students in the International Baccalaureate program. Expanding IB access to Costa Rican schools is another of Aronson’s passions and the second pillar of his Demain Foundation; the others are the Teatro Espressivo Association and Proparques, which supports the country’s National Parks.“The fact that we were able to have this in the National Theater and bring 850 11th and 12th  graders from public and private schools all over the country, in one place, is really great,” he said. “This was a negotiation with Des Bouffes du Nord [the Parisian theater behind ‘Battlefield’] because it’s an extra performance.”The circumstances of this production are full of historical echoes, winks and coincidences that are somehow typical of life in Costa Rica. The National Theater, whose construction was partially funded by the contributions of coffee industry leaders at the time, is hosting a work brought about by a person who has shaped that industry’s modern era in Costa Rica. The first work ever staged at the theater was, like this one, born in France: the new theater welcomed the French Opera Company in 1897. Aronson said that according to “theater legend,” Brook staged his nine-hour Mahabharata in the 1980s shortly after a lengthy visit to Costa Rica, so in a way, the work is coming home.And if Aronson has his way, this show, just like that inaugural performance in 1897, will represent a cultural tradition that is just getting started: this time, a new level of passion for theater in Costa Rica.“What we want to do over the next year or two is bring world-class theater to Costa Rica,” he said of his work with Espressivo. “By world-class theater I mean: ‘Battlefield’ is something that has been successful in New York, San Francisco, London. We want to put Costa Rica on the map of that.” ‘Battlefield’ will be staged at the National Theater in downtown San José in English with Spanish subtitles on Weds. Oct. 18 and Thurs. Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets run from 8,000 to 15,000; purchase tickets or learn more here.Take a look inside the National Theater in this Tico Times video:last_img read more

Costa Rica Rocks An evening of progressive metal at Jazz Café

first_imgCosta Rica Rocks: Sun sets on El Sotano and Amon Solar So there I was, at the fabled Melico Salazar Theater, about to experience the pleasure of seeing the Costa Rican Philharmonic’s Guitar Monsters show. It’s a collection of guitar-heavy covers arranged for band and orchestra, featuring 12 of the best guitarists in the country.It featured national axe luminaries such Aaron Retana, the Filarmónica’s official guitar player; Federico Miranda, of Ghandi; Ari Lotringer, from Time Forgetten; and solo artist Lucho Aguilar, among others.They played some of the best guitar tracks in rock history, from Clapton, Gilmour, Hendrix and more. It was beautifully arranged for the orchestra and managed with great flair by Director Marvin Araya, who oftentimes seemed to subtly invoke Argentinian comedy troupe Les Luthier with his humorous comments. However, near the end of the show I was surprised to see a familiar face: that of guitarist Jose Chanti Gonzales.It took me back, because I was sure I had seen him before. And then it hit me – just a couple of days prior, when I experienced metal so intense that it felt like the Devil himself had to resurrect me back into this mortal coil.It was Friday night, Sept. 21: Canvas in Concert at Jazz Café, along with Inner Stroke and Giant Sleeper. For those not in the know, Jazz Café is one the best and oldest live venues in the country, with two separate locales – the original, more intimate San Pedro venue in east San Jose, and the larger, more bombastic Escazú location in the west.Both are worth following to be aware of some the best events happening in the country, but I’m a beast from the east, so the following took place at the San Pedro one. Costa Rica Rocks: A night of heavy metal in Cartago Facebook Comments Speaking of shockingly good musicianship, all bets were off when Giant Sleeper took the stage. Inner Stroke upped the ante in terms of sheer intensity, Canvas took us across the cosmos with their unparalleled compositional ability, but Giant Sleeper came out guns blazing in terms of instrumental virtuosity. Each member was monstrous in their respective instrument, taking us on a journey – song after song – of face-melting solos and complex time-signature riffs, earthquaking drums, and monster grooves emanating from the bass. It was especially shocking to know that they have only been playing since last year.They’re absolutely a band to keep your eye on, along with Canvas and Inner Stroke.It was during this third act of this show that I had seen the aforementioned Mr. Gonzales: to my surprise, he was the lead guitar player for Giant Sleeper. Two great, and very different, shows in a single weekend but also with a single running thread that recalled the words of the Filarmónica’s director: “Go out and watch and support local musicians and local music – not because it’s local, but because it’s good.” It makes one wonder if Mr. Araya himself would have known that three local bands, just days earlier, had proven this axiom true with such gusto.PS: You don’t have to take my word for it – treat yourself and check out Canvas personally, along with local giants Heresy and The Movement in Codes, on October 24th in Mundoloco. I hadn’t heard of Inner Stroke and Giant Sleeper, but I did know Canvas, a band of the former vocalist for The Last Void, Adriana Muñoz.The Last Void were a well-known progressive metal outfit that unfortunately disbanded some years ago (their fantastic 2010 debut and only album, “State of Mind,” sits proudly as the first disc in my still-woefully-small-but-growing Costa Rican record collection).The first band up was Inner Stroke. By the time we reached the Jazz, they had just begun, and, boy, from the get-go I knew this show was going to be something else. If the opener was this good, we were in for a treat. The power trio began with purely instrumentals – a barrage of highly technical, odd-signature progressive metal. The trio gave way to a quartet as the singer joined a few songs in, unleashing thundering hellish growls that took the show in a more intense death metal direction.Canvas was up next, and it was a jewel of a show. While retaining many progressive metal elements, their songs dripped with the melodic influences that hearkened back to the age of early 1970s prog rock acts like Yes or Emerson, Lake and Palmer, as well as the more recent sounds of symphonic female-fronted metal.The songs showed a wide range of diversity. Some began like indie folk rock strumming before morphing into anthemic metal choruses and crushingly heavy, angular riffs. They were all peppered with some unbelievable synthesizer passages recalling some of Dream Theater’s finest early work.At some point my bassist turned to me and said “I think I’m going to go home and sell all my bass guitars.” I totally understood the feeling. There was some shockingly good musicianship on display, but perhaps best of all was the freshness in composition. The songs seemed to flow seamlessly from genre to genre, and from the highly accessible to the more musically challenging. Canvas has two songs available on Spotify right now – I would suggest, dear reader, that you stop immediately and take a momento to check them out now. Related posts:Arts, culture and Mother’s Day: the week ahead in Costa Rica 5 questions for a Costa Rican painter: How a prison sentence sparked a passion for art Jean Marc Calvet, part II: Fighting against Marco 25 Years of Glory: Instituto Costarricense Pro Música Coral to celebrate quarter centurylast_img read more

Deutsche Bank to cut 1900 jobs as profits drop

first_imgAt its investment banking division, for example, income fell as fewer companies came to the bank requesting its services to issue shares, or for advice on buying or merging with other companies. Those activities can earn lucrative fees for banks.Revenue from trading debt securities _ one of the investment categories most affected by the crisis _ was also down. The company said that was partly due to the company taking “deliberately lower levels of risk” due to subdued trading volumes. It said it would continue shedding risky assets in the months ahead.Overall, Deutsche Bank’s corporate banking and securities division, where share underwriting and debt trading are located, saw revenues fall by (EURO)451 million to (EURO)3.5 billion.“The European sovereign debt crisis continues to weigh on investor confidence and client activity across the bank,” the bank said.European governments such as Spain and Italy are struggling with high levels of debt, and the prospect they might default or need bailouts has unnerved markets. The debt crisis has made companies and consumers reluctant to borrow, spend and invest.The bank said about 1,500 of the job cuts will be in the investment banking business and in related infrastructure areas. The cutback will contribute some (EURO)350 million to an overall target of (EURO)3 billion ($3.8 billion) in savings. Shares in the bank were up 0.4 percent at (EURO)24.94 in late afternoon trading in Europe.The earnings statement was the first reported under new co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen, who took over from Josef Ackermann in May.Jain, who had run the investment banking unit before taking over as CEO, said during a conference call with stock market analysts that the debt crisis had developed “more towards our more grim scenario than our good scenario.”The bank said it was looking to change its ethics policy and compensation practices to meet the expectations of regulators, government and the public. Discussing the conduct policy, Jain said the bank would “make sure that the tone at the top is crystal clear.”The bank is facing uncertain consequences from an investigation into the alleged rigging of benchmark interest rates known as Libor, or London Interbank Offered Rate, by employees of different banks. Deutsche Bank has said it is cooperating with investigations from authorities including the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. financial market regulator.Bank officials did not take questions about the Libor investigation during the conference call. Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause said the bank has found the questionable activities were limited “to a small group of individuals who were acting on their own initiative” and have already been sanctioned. The bank has said that one trader left the firm last year. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Quick workouts for men FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Deutsche Bank said Tuesday it plans to cut about 1,900 jobs, most of them outside Germany, as Europe’s debt crisis hurt profits at its investment banking business.Germany’s largest bank, which employs nearly 101,000 people, said second quarter earnings slid 46 percent to (EURO)661 million from (EURO)1.233 billion in the same three months a year ago.Market turbulence and subdued client activity due to Europe’s problems with too much government debt were behind the decline, with revenues down 6 percent to (EURO)8.0 billion. Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Comments   Share   4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Egypt 32 migrants survive sinking boat

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   They were part of a three-boat fleet carrying Egyptians heading to Europe illegally. One boat, carrying nearly three times its maximum load, capsized Saturday night.Thousands of Egyptians make the dangerous sea journey to flee poverty and high unemployment at home.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img CAIRO (AP) – An Egyptian diplomat in Libya says 32 missing Egyptians survived a sinking boat and were smuggled into Libya. The search for seven more missing continues.Ashraf Sheiha told Egypt’s official news agency Tuesday that Libyan authorities confirmed that most of the Egyptians on the boat that capsized a day earlier entered Libya illegally.Officials had said earlier that three bodies washed ashore Libya Monday, while one survived. Sheiha said search continues for seven missing. The discrepancy couldn’t immediately be reconciled. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

Myanmar praises US decision to ease ban on imports

first_imgAssociated PressYANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Washington’s decision to ease a ban on imports from Myanmar won praise Thursday in the emerging Southeast Asian democracy, with a government official giving credit to both the country’s reformist president and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Wednesday that the Obama administration will ease import restrictions implemented against Myanmar’s previous repressive military regime. She met Wednesday with President Thein Sein on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “The president has consistently called for the lifting of U.S. sanctions and … Aung San Suu Kyi has also called for lifting sanctions in her speeches,” Maj. Zaw Htay, director of the president’s office, told The Associated Press. “This is a very positive move and also a valuable outcome of the president’s U.S. trip.”In August, Congress renewed sanctions legislation against Myanmar, but the law also allows President Barack Obama to waive its provisions. Wednesday’s announcement begins that process, though easing the ban also requires the issuance of a Treasury license.The import ban on Myanmar had been a key plank of American economic sanctions, which have been gradually lifted since the beginning of this year in response to political and economic reforms initiated by Thein Sein since he became president last year.Washington has taken a go-slow approach to guard against anti-democratic backsliding by Myanmar’s government, but is also under pressure to allow U.S. companies to compete on an even basis with competitors from Europe and Asia, which have been quicker to drop restrictions.“Such a decision not only helps the investors and businessmen but will also help the 60 million Myanmar people,” said Zaw Htay, whose country is seeking to jump-start its long-moribund economy. “The lifting of the import ban amounts to the removing of a huge barrier. The decision makes the foreign investment climate more conducive.” Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Zaw Htay said that while Myanmar-U.S. diplomatic relations have been normalized _ Washington restored relations at the ambassadorial level earlier this year after a break of more than two decades _ more relaxation is needed to normalize their trade and business relationship.Myanmar’s garment industry suffered a severe downturn after the trade sanctions were instituted in 2003. Aung Win, deputy chairman of the Myanmar Garment Association, said the industry expects to benefit from the U.S. move to ease import bans.“We have been calling for the lifting of the U.S ban since 2003 and now we are happy that the decision has been made to lift it,” Aung Win said. He said many garment factories had to be shut down and thousands of people were made jobless as a result of the ban.Myanmar exported about $558 million worth of garments in 2011, mostly to Japan and South Korea, which constituted about 72 percent of the total, Aung Win said. But he said he looks forward to getting more orders from the U.S., which had been Myanmar’s major garment market before 2003.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Check your body, save your life Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Strong home sales limited supply lift US home prices in May

first_imgBuilders are ratcheting up the construction of apartments in an effort to keep up with the increased demand. But single-family home building remains lackluster. The pace of single-family home construction has risen 9.1 percent in the past year, while purchases of new homes have jumped at more than double that pace.The sluggish rate of new homebuilding is depriving the housing market of a crucial source of supply. Much of the overall gain in homes available for sale typically comes from new home construction. Sellers of existing homes, meanwhile, frequently buy other homes. As a result, sellers of existing homes usually add little to the overall number of homes for sale.The proportion of home purchases from first-time buyers is also far below typical levels. First-time buyers create greater demand and enable current homeowners to trade up to larger homes.“Without a boost in first-timers, there is less housing market activity, fewer existing homes being put on the market, and more worry about inventory,” David Blitzer, chair of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. And separate data released by the Census Bureau Tuesday pointed to the limited impact of the three-year old housing recovery: The proportion of Americans owning their own homes has continued to decline and is now at the lowest level since 1967.Still, prices are soaring higher in some cities, according to Case-Shiller: They rose 10 percent from a year ago in Denver, 9.7 percent in San Francisco and 8.4 percent in Dallas. Washington, D.C. posted the smallest increase at 1.3 percent. Prices rose in all 20 cities from a year earlier.The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The May figures are the latest available.Sales of existing homes increased 3.2 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million, the National Association of Realtors said last week. That is the fastest pace since February 2007. Sales are up from an annual pace of just 4.8 million in January.Some of the accelerated pace has likely been driven by higher mortgage rates and an expected decision by the Federal Reserve to start raising short-term interest rates this year. Most economists forecast that decision will occur in September. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments   Share   Yet the supply of available homes hasn’t kept up with rising sales. The number of homes listed for sale rose 0.4 percent in the past year, the Realtors said, while sales have increased 9.6 percent.That has led to aggressive efforts by buyers to grab homes: The typical property was on the market for just 34 days in June, down from 40 in May and the shortest time since the Realtors’ group began tracking the data in May 2011.The current pace of home sales is roughly what might be expected in a healthy housing market. Yet other data point to some ongoing weaknesses.The percentage of homeowners continues to decline: Just 63.4 percent of Americans owned homes in the April-June quarter, down from 63.7 percent in the first three months of the year. That is below the peak of 69 percent in 2006, at the height of the housing bubble.Meanwhile, more Americans are moving out on their own, after doubling up with friends or living with their parents. That is a good sign for the economy because the creation of new households leads to purchases of more furniture, appliances and other goods.But in the past year, all the new households have moved into rentals, the Census Bureau report shows. WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose steadily in May, pushed higher by a healthy increase in sales this year.The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 4.9 percent in May from 12 months earlier, down slightly from a 5 percent pace in April, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.Home sales have jumped in recent months as an improving economy boosts hiring and enables more people to afford a purchase. Yet the higher sales haven’t encouraged more people to sell their homes, leaving supplies tight and driving up prices. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Coastal tourism untouched by Egypt protests

first_imgEgypt closes tourist access to the pyramids Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Despite ongoing public demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s coastal resorts and diving tourism remains unaffected. Located outside the main cities and away from the political turmoil, Egypt’s Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS) said in a statement that resorts for the moment are “completely unaffected by what is going on in Cairo and other cities”, Divernet reported. “[It is] not possible to predict how things will change… you pretty much would not know it was going on,” the statement read. While tourism on the outer skirts of the country remains unaffected, earlier this week the Egyptian government sealed off the pyramids in Cairo, preventing visitors from catching a glimpse of the popular attractions. According to NTD Television, the doors leading to the site were locked, forcing tourists to view the pyramids in the distance from a camel’s back. While the overall affect to Egypt’s $10 billion tourism is yet to be revealed, the Australian government continues to advise holiday makers to avoid the country during its dispute. Late last month tour operators Intrepid Travel cancelled its trips in Egypt from 1 to the 14 February. An Intrepid Travel spokesperson said the operator is monitoring reports coming out of Egypt but is focusing on the safety of its passengers first. Yesterday up to 15 of Intrepid’s customers were confirmed to fly out on the government organised Qantas charter flight from Cairo to London and Frankfurt. “We are happy to say that all of our passengers in Cairo have managed to safely fly out of Egypt,” the spokesperson said. “The safety of our passengers is our first priority and we’ll make decisions about future departures based on this.” Qantas is also keen to safely fly Aussies home announcing it will offer Australians travelling on the special flights free onward flights to Australia. “We  are  proud  to  be  able  to  help  Australians  affected  by  this  crisis  return  to  home  to  family  and friends,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said. “We  will  send  a  team  of  specialised  customer  care  and  airport  staff  to  support  passengers  on  the ground in Cairo and Frankfurt.” Qantas added that passengers must have travelled on the evacuation flights to receive the free trip to Oz.The flights are subject to availability and “passengers travelling to Australia from London will be required to make their own arrangements for transfer from Frankfurt to London. last_img read more

Mission accomplished for ITCM China

first_imgThe fifth IT&CM China concluded in Shanghai today, as MICE delegates from across Asia and beyond wrapped up formalities on the exhibition floor. With some 10,000 business appointments behind them, sellers and buyers alike were full of praise for the event and optimism for the future. “We saw a lot of agents from China’s second-tier cities, and had many enquiries about Thailand, so it is looking pretty good,” Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau project manager Saivi Ho told e-Travel Blackboard. “We also had a lot of interest from the rest of China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.” Shanghai International Convention Center sales and marketing assistant manager George Fang was similarly impressed, saying there were definitely more buyers this year and that next year’s event would be even bigger and better. First-time visitor and buyer Linda Tan of JLT Travel told e-Travel Blackboard she had “gathered really relevant information from a lot of different countries” for her business, especially from new places and destinations like Okinawa and Hainan. Echoing these sentiments, and with a word of advice for future events was Augustine Barretto, head of MICE at India’s Augustine Travels. “The programme was very good, and the event full of really nice people, but many of the Chinese sellers really need to improve their English to take IT&CM to another level,” Mr Barretto said. Making a welcome appearance on the final day of business was an additional group of 45 sought-after Chinese corporate travel professionals representing local offices of large corporations and government institutions. With a new venue confirmed for next year, delegates are already looking forward to 2012.Xie, Xie Shanghai and IT&CM China 2011. Malaysia stand Shanghai stand Sanya, Hainan standcenter_img Hong Kong stand Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

Emirates fly Dubai to Thai again

first_imgImage Source: Sangbad Emirates had announced it will now fly to a second destination in Thailand; the popular seaside resort town of Phuket, commencing services in December of this year. From 10 December, Emirates will operate a three-class Airbus EK378 on a non-stop daily service between Dubai and Phuket.“We have always had a strong affiliation with Thailand and have been operating flights to Bangkok since 1990,” Emirates president Tim Clark said.“Thailand is an important market for Emirates, we currently operate four daily flights between Dubai and Bangkok, including one with our Airbus A380 aircraft.” Emirates second Thai destination is also its second foray into South East Asia routes this year, commencing non-stop services to Ho Chi Minh City in June.“We are confident that Phuket will prove a popular destination for our passengers, especially those from the UAE, Middle East and Europe,” Mr Clark added. In related news, Emirates has reportedly been in talks with Australian carrier Qantas concerning a new partnership in response to the recent Etihad/Virgin alliance. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

Indian travellers returning to Oz

first_img“By getting in on the action early, we hope to reap the benefits as long-haul leisure travel becomes more common amongst India’s rapidly emerging middle classes,” Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said. Source = ETB News: P.T. New figures reveal a surge in arrivals over the past 12 months. Indian travellers are returning to Australian shores, becoming one of the country’s fastest growing international tourism markets, according to new research. Profiling research conducted by Tourism Australia has revealed a surge in Indian tourists to Australia, with visitor numbers rising almost 8 percent year-on-year, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Despite lingering safety concerns surrounding violence against Indians in Melbourne 2009, Tourism Australia’s research reveals that Indians’ perceptions of Australia are largely positive. “In Melbourne, in particular, it was the cool people and cool lifestyle that I liked… I’ll be recommending Australia when I get back home, I’m sure a lot of our friends will come now.”center_img 164,000 Indians visited Australia in the past 12 months, up 7.8 percent on the year to June 2012. Tourism Australia will be sending 40 delegates on a trade mission to India this week. “I saw it (Australia) on National Geographic on local television at home and it was wonderful,” Indian visitor Rajesh Oswal said. Tourism Australia estimate there will be close to 50 million outbound Indian travellers by 2020. In related news, Air India will re-commence daily direct flights from Delhi to Sydney and Melbourne on new Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s beginning Friday 30 August 2013.last_img read more