Can a person OD on Vitamin D

first_imgVitamin D is needed for the health of bone and teeth, as well as absorption of calcium. It plays a role in immunity, can help reduce inflammation and is being investigated for use in treating cancer. Over the years, headlines have linked vitamin D deficiency with chubby children, childhood asthma, auto-immune diseases, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, slower healing bones and age-related macular degeneration (deterioration of eyesight). Low levels of vitamin D have also been documented in populations of cancer patients. Groups most vulnerable to deficiency are children under 5 and adults over 65, pregnant and lactating women, dark-skinned individuals and those who do not expose their skin to the sun.  While only the term vitamin D is generally used, you may have heard D2 and D3 mentioned, so what are these and which version should we take? The general consensus is that D3 (cholecalciferol) is the more biologically active form although many supplement companies still churn out D2 (ergocalciferol) in their formulations, and food manufacturers tend to fortify products with it. Still, the addition of vitamin D2 to milk was a key factor in the elimination of childhood rickets in the U.S. Thus, we can conclude that both forms are viable, with D2 perhaps needing a higher dosage. Vitamin D can be obtained naturally from oily fish, eggs, dairy products and the sun. Ultraviolet rays act on cholesterol in the skin to form an intermediate product, which is then processed by the liver to produce an active form of the vitamin. Approximately 20 minutes of sun a day can be enough to prevent deficiency. Interestingly, in Costa Rica it used to be customary for people to put their babies out for a half hour in the early morning sun. Grandmother does often know best!Note that in the same way dark skin blocks a percentage of these rays from filtering through, slapping on the sun block can similarly impair the effectiveness of vitamin D synthesis. Realistically, 20 minutes in the sun is unlikely to be damaging, as long as you avoid the intense 11a.m.-2 p.m. period. The amount of vitamin D that we can get from the sun is self-regulated with a built-in system that prevents you from overdosing. Supplementing with tablets or sourcing your vitamin D from fortified foods has no such protection mechanism. Toxicity is important, as a recent report from Copenhagen University linked people with both very low and very high levels of vitamin D in their blood with higher death rates than those with moderate levels. With the sunny climate of Costa Rica, there should be little need for supplementation. If you do decide to go this route, be aware that D2 is synthesised from plant sources whereas D3 comes from animal sources. As always there is much debate on levels, but children’s daily allowance is set at 400-600iu and adults’ at 600-800iu. If you feel that you need more than this, consult your doctor or nutritional therapist, who can assess your overall health and make the necessary recommendations.  Julie Godfrey BSc (Hons) is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and full member of the British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT). See www.foreverhealthyco.com or email jgodfrey@foreverhealthyco.com Facebook Comments Julie Godfrey Lately there has been a flurry of reporting about vitamin D deficiency and how this affects health. But as people rush out to stock up on supplements, which type of vitamin D do we need?Is there such a thing as having too much?center_img No related posts.last_img read more

Teachers public workers protest against salary cuts

first_imgNo related posts. Thousands of public workers and teachers marched Friday in the Costa Rican capital to oppose a government bill to eliminate extra salary benefits.The demonstrators gathered at 11 a.m. at La Hispanidad roundabout in San Pedro, east of the capital, and then rallied some 2 kilometers to Casa Presidencial in the southeastern district of Zapote.Banners, balloons, flags and bands were used by protesters to prevent the approval of the bill that would cut extra-salary bonuses negotiated decades ago by unions.Benefits include bonuses that are exclusive to educators, including higher severance pay than most public workers, annuities, extra pay for work outside of the classroom and “exclusivity” pay, which is a salary bonus so that teachers don’t take a second job. These payments, according government officials, “create inequities among public workers.”The Labor Ministry drafted the bill, known as the “Public Sector Salary Bill,” which was supposed to be discussed with union representatives. But union reps refused to attend a meeting scheduled for Thursday. “We will not discuss any elimination of acquired rights,” said Beatriz Ferreto, president of the High School Teachers’ Association.“We are here to oppose the approval of a bill that would cut nearly 40 percent of our salaries by eliminating bonuses earned on the streets many years ago, and that will affect employees from the entire public sector,” said Henry Morales, a high school principal.Union leaders claim tax exemptions to large companies represent 6 percent of the gross domestic product, yet the government insists on blaming teachers’ wage benefits “as responsible for the country’s huge fiscal deficit of 5 percent of the GDP.”Unions threatened a general strike if the government decides to move forward with the bill in the Legislative Assembly.Alberto Font and AFP contributed to this story. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Ricas top prosecutor Judicial branch must get better at policing drug

first_imgRelated posts:Top Limón judge arrested on suspicion of collaborating with drug traffickers Limón judge accused of conspiring with drug traffickers back behind bars Costa Rica makes first large marijuana seizure of 2015 Costa Rica takes down suspected drug trafficker ‘Macho Coca,’ on the DEA’s radar for years Facebook Comments Mexican and Colombian drug cartels have infiltrated Costa Rica’s judicial system, bribing and possibly threatening judges, the country’s top prosecutor said Friday, following the arrest of a high-profile judge accused of working for drug traffickers.Early Friday morning, Judicial Investigation Police arrested superior court judge Rosa Elena Gamboa and charged her with influencing cases on behalf of drug traffickers in the Caribbean province of Limón, an important trafficking route for marijuana from Jamaica and cocaine headed north from South America.“I said it three years ago, and I’ll say it again: Mexican drug cartels are behind every operation that you see us dismantling. … And that influence leads to local criminal groups confronting each other with AK-47s in the Mexican tradition of controlling territory. If you control the territory, you control the market,”  Chief Public Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría said Friday morning.Chavarría said Costa Rican judges need more supervision, better training and higher pay to crack down on cartel influence, an increasing concern throughout the country’s justice system.“We’ve got a serious problem recruiting personnel,” Chavarría said. “Not only is it that people are badly trained coming out of the universities, but it’s also an issue of young people not willing to work in [drug trafficking regions] because they’re scared.”Chavarría said “both coasts are penetrated by drug traffickers, including the Southern Zone, which is on the verge of becoming another Juárez,” a reference to the violent border town between Mexico and the U.S. that in recent years has been plagued by violence related to the illicit drug trade.In Costa Rica’s Southern Zone, Mexican and Colombian drug cartels meet and negotiate “massive quantities” of cocaine shipments, and “in Drake Bay, boats are all over the place transporting tons of cocaine. Floating barrels of gasoline delivered to traffickers by Ticos are frequently discovered, and the same thing happens in the Atlantic,” he said.“Both coasts and the Southern Zone require an aggressive institutional policy to strengthen quality standards [in the judicial branch], and for that we need special incentives in terms of personnel,” he said.Friday’s arrest of judge Gamboa was the result of a three-year investigation in which several officials from the Prosecutor’s Office and the judicial branch approached Chavarría to warn of Gamboa’s alleged links to traffickers in the Limón area.But Chavarría said that corruption cases involving judges are hard to prove, due to the independence judges exercise and poor oversight by judicial inspectors, particularly in areas outside Costa Rica’s capital.“We’re very concerned, and we think that instead of judicial review after rulings are made, there should be more supervision and control over what these judges are doing. The current system of judicial inspections isn’t working, and we can’t keep doing what we’re doing. We need to overhaul the system to face current reality,” Chavarría said.“When we’re dealing with the quantities of drugs that we’ve seen – a ton captured at sea, for example – that’s called being caught in the act. It’s a flagrancy court issue, yet suspects are being released on minimal bail amounts, and some of these are people with no known residence in the country,” Chavarría said. “We’re very aware of these types of rulings, and we will continue investigating.”In response to the case, Justice Zarela Villanueva, president of the Supreme Court, announced a bill to centralize the prosecution of organized crime and drug trafficking in San José.The prosecutor said Gamboa operated openly in Limón, allegedly approaching fellow judges to urge them to release drug trafficking suspects with the argument that “they are good people who live in the area; I know them.”“Prosecutors have been complaining about this type of behavior. These prosecutors are spending their resources, and sometimes we make gains, but it’s not enough,” Chavarría said. “We’re dealing with a difficult situation, which is the independence of the judges. So what needs to be done is a review of the arguments judges use in their rulings to see if they’re valid or not.“But we’re not only dealing with corruption, we’re also dealing with fear,” he added. “Maybe some of these judges are being threatened.”last_img read more

No free dental checkups for selfemployed workers who owe the Caja Sala

first_imgRelated posts:Faulty electrical system forces closing of all operating rooms at San José’s Hospital Mexico Caja to offer emergency care only on Holy Thursday, Friday Costa Rica court refuses to hear sex reassignment case Number of obese Ticos has almost quadrupled in four decades Public hospitals in Costa Rica can refuse non-emergency care for self-employed workers who are behind in payments to the Social Security System, or Caja, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, ruled this week.The ruling responded to a complaint by a man with the last name García against a medical director at Tibás’ public hospital, northwest of San José. The plaintiff accused the hospital of violating his right to health because he was behind on Caja payments.According to the Sala IV’s press office, García had requested an appointment at the hospital for several non-emergency tests and dental procedures.Hospital officials denied the request, but offered to provide the services if the man paid for them up front.Caja Legal Director Mario Cajina said García owes the Caja more than ₡1 million ($1,850) in monthly payments.“In this particular case, hospital staff determined that the patient had requested routine tests and a dental checkup, which do not constitute an emergency situation. Therefore, there is no obligation to provide those services for free, because the plaintiff currently is in debt to the Social Security System,” Sala IV justices stated.Cajina noted that the Sala IV had issued a similar ruling 11 years ago. “We have been acting accordingly ever since,” he said.Caja rules require patients at public hospitals to provide all necessary documents to prove affiliation with the agency, except in emergency situations, he said.That rule also applies to self-employed workers, “who must be current on monthly payments to request health services at a public hospital,” Cajina said.Workers who depend on a delinquent employer, however, are allowed to receive health care at public hospitals as long as social security receipts are still valid. Under Costa Rican law, a worker is covered by the Caja for up to six months after leaving a company.Caja’s director of special health care coverage, Miguel Cordero, said workers covered by a delinquent employer will receive health care in both emergency and non-emergency situations.“Article 36 of Caja’s legislation states that all health care costs in these cases will be billed to the employer,” Cordero said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

VIDEO Disfigured toucan awaits 3D printed beak

first_imgEven today, Grecia the toucan is sociable and energetic. This is shocking, considering a group of assailants beat and mangled the toucan last January, permanently disfiguring him.But thanks to animal sanctuary Zoo Ave and a team of engineers, Grecia could receive a prosthetic beak. Whatever the outcome, Grecia has sparked outrage and hope around the world. This is his story. Facebook Comments Related posts:Dancer who lost a leg in Boston Marathon bombing finds solace in Costa Rican scuba diving Turrialba Volcano spews more ash over Costa Rica’s Central Valley in Easter eruption New traffic signs aim to reduce wildlife deaths on Costa Rica’s roads Sea Shepherd publishes vegan cookbooklast_img read more

In heroin fight White House tries to break down walls between public

first_imgRelated posts:White House seeks nearly $1.2 billion for drug prevention, treatment, overdose response It’s time to end the war on drugs Medical marijuana in Costa Rica? The time has come, says La Nación Canada’s next big move? It may be legalizing pot. Related: Duh: DEA finally admits marijuana is safer than heroinWASHINGTON, D.C. — As heroin overdoses and deaths soar in many parts of the United States, the White House plans to announce on Monday an initiative that will for the first time pair public health and law enforcement in an effort to shift the emphasis from punishment to the treatment of addicts.The experiment, initially funded for one year in 15 states from New England to the Washington, D.C., area, will pair drug intelligence officers with public health coordinators to trace where heroin is coming from, how and where it is being laced with a deadly additive, and who is distributing it to street-level dealers.Two senior officials described the initiative to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity because the program was not scheduled to be announced until Monday. The new program is a response to a steep increase in heroin use and deaths in much of the nation, especially in New England and some of the Northeastern states covered in the new program. The death rate from overdoses has quadrupled in the past decade, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.From local police to federal law enforcement agencies, two constant frustrations in the battle against the spread of heroin have been an inability to get solid, timely information about where the drug is coming from and who is distributing it, and widespread ignorance among first responders about how to recognize and handle overdoses.The new effort, proposed by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, one of 28 such federally funded law enforcement initiatives nationwide, seeks to address those problems by hiring 15 drug intelligence officers and 15 health policy analysts who will collect overdose data, find patterns and get intelligence about trafficking trends to street-level law enforcement far more quickly than the current system allows. In addition, the initiative will train first responders on when and how to deploy medication that can reverse opioid overdoses.“Our approach needs to be broad and inclusive,” a senior White House official said. “Law enforcement is only one part of what really needs to be a comprehensive public health, public safety approach.”Twenty-six states have passed overdose-prevention legislation that allows police or fire-and-rescue officers to administer naloxone, which quickly counters the effects of a heroin overdose, and that clears the way for people to call for help for an overdosing addict without facing arrest for their own drug use.And the Obama administration this year proposed $133 million in new spending to curb overprescription of opioid painkillers, the drugs that have proved to be the primary gateway to heroin use, and to expand the use of suboxone and methadone, drugs that are used as more benign substitutes to wean addicts off the powerful urge to return to heroin.By comparison, the $2.5 million being committed to the latest program by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is a small investment, but a senior law enforcement official involved in developing the new strategy said the pairing of public health workers and police is a key step toward “both reducing crime and reducing the number of people who end up in emergency rooms.”The new funding will pay for hiring “a cop and a health data analyst” in 15 of the nation’s 28 High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, which cover about 17 percent of U.S. counties and about 60 percent of the population, the official said.The new hires will work under a law enforcement coordinator who will use the data to identify targets for police to go after across state lines, and a regional health coordinator who will analyze trends in the overdose data and devise strategies for combating spikes in drug use.The official said he proposed the initiative to overcome bureaucratic hurdles that make it difficult for information about overdoses and trafficking to cross state lines and get to police in a timely manner. “If somebody from Brooklyn is arrested with heroin in Burlington, Vermont, we may not hear about it for months, when that information could allow us to see a trafficking pattern that lets us focus on who to go after,” he said.Public health data often is not widely distributed for many months, if not years, after the events that originate it. The initiative would allow public health agencies and law enforcement “to see where fentanyl-laced heroin is turning up, in real time, so we can react,” the enforcement official said.Fentanyl, an opiate that in its legal, prescription form is used to treat post-surgery pain, has been turning up as an additive in the heroin that has caused a growing portion of overdose deaths in recent months.“Heroin is killing people,” the enforcement official said, “and too often, public health goes one way and law enforcement goes the other. Often, grants create silos in government. This program is designed not to create any new agency but to bring people together to break out of those silos.”© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Municipality of San José revives streetcar project for the capital

first_imgRevived project The streetcar project is not a new one for longtime mayor Araya.In 2012, the French government donated an initial feasibility study that estimated the $200 million cost of opening the streetcar system. At the time the plan was to finance the project through a public alliance between the Executive branch and the municipality to create a trust fund.Araya stepped down his post in June 2013 to run for the presidency of Costa Rica with the National Liberation Party. Following his departure, Mayor Sandra García tabled the project until she left office last May.Now, back in the mayor’s seat, Araya has made the project a priority once again.His plan is to present the initiative as a complement to an INCOFER plan to implement electric train service that will connect the four provinces in the Central Valley: Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago and San José.The streetcars will be 100 percent electric and will reduce CO2 emissions in San José expelled by some 20,000 buses and more than 300,000 vehicles that enter the city everyday, according to MOPT.San José had a streetcar service for 51 years between 1899 and 1950. One of those streetcars is currently on display at Pueblo Antiguo, at the National Amusement Park. Facebook Comments TheMunicipality of San José is moving forward with the feasibility studies required to open a streetcar system for the capital, designed to ease traffic and make it easier to get around the city.The new streetcar route would extend for 10 kilometers between Pavas, west of the capital, and the Atlantic Train Station, just east of downtown. The route would have 16 stops and run alongside main downtown streets such as the Paseo Colón and Second Avenue.Mayor Johnny Araya said the city is currently in the process of hiring a consulting firm to conduct feasibility and cost studies for the project, initially estimated at some $200 million. The selected firm would have to take into account the results of a study conducted in 2012, during Araya’s previous term at the Municipality. The studies should be ready within seven weeks after the public bid is granted.The Municipality does not have legal authorization to carry out public transportation projects, but the goal is to propose the project to the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT).Public Works Minister Carlos Villalta has said he believes the Ministry would prioritize the streetcar plan if the results of the feasibility studies are positive. Villalta noted, however, that those studies should include an updated assessment on passenger demand in San José.He also recommended submitting the project for consultation with the Costa Rican Railroad Institute (INCOFER) to verify that the streetcar project will not interfere with other projects from that agency.See an animated video of the proposed plan outlined in 2012:center_img Related posts:San José cracks down on street vendors Legislative Assembly passes bill to jumpstart electric train system San José to get nearly 100 new security cameras Train service in Costa Rica resumes Wednesday following strikelast_img read more

Cycling 12 riders caught taking EPO in Costa Rican race

first_imgRelated posts:You can do it, Andrey! UPDATED: Six cyclists struck by car during Guanacaste race Canadian team wins Costa Rica’s first international ice hockey tourney Twice as nice: Güity wins second gold at Grand Prix PARIS, FRANCE – Twelve cyclists, including the race winner, tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO during last month’s Tour of Costa Rica, the Union Cicliste Internationale (UCI) announced on Wednesday.The doping controls were carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, an independent body in charge of overseeing the sport’s anti-doping strategy, with the assistance of Costa Rican sports authorities.Juan Carlos Rojas, who won the 10-stage event, was among those notified of an adverse analytical finding.Eleven of the 12 riders implicated returned positive tests for the third-generation blood booster EPO-CERA, while the other provided a sample with EPO.The group has been provisionally suspended until the matter is resolved. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Israel to fund nonOrthodox rabbis for 1st time

first_img How men can have a healthy 2019 The Justice Ministry said religious councils could employ liberal rabbis, but they would be called “community leaders,” not rabbis.Unlike in North America, the two liberal streams of Judaism in Israel are tiny compared to the stricter Orthodox.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s Attorney General has announced that non-Orthodox rabbis serving their communities will receive state funding for the first time.Up to now the state has recognized and supported only Orthodox rabbis, leaving the more liberal clergy and their congregations without state funding.The decision was in response to a 2005 appeal by the Reform movement for one of its rabbis, Miri Gold. She welcomed the decision in an interview on Army Radio Tuesday. “This is a historic move of justice in our country.” she said. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories center_img Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Quick workouts for men Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

UK deputy premier apologizes for tuition pledge

first_img Top Stories The leader, who had gained national popularity in the run-up to the election in 2010, has lost support from the public and his party since becoming the deputy of Prime Minister David Cameron in an uneasy Lib Dem-Conservative coalition.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Quick workouts for men LONDON (AP) – Britain’s deputy prime minister has made a public apology for breaking a pre-election promise not to back an increase in university tuition fees.Nick Clegg, who leads the Liberal Democrat Party, said in a televised video that he was sorry the party “didn’t stick to” its pledge.Clegg’s apology, shown on British television Wednesday evening, will be aired in a party political broadcast next week. The Liberal Democrats meet for an annual conference beginning Saturday. Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Patients with chronic pain give advice Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

AP PHOTOS Protesters in Brazil vow further action

first_img Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How do cataracts affect your vision? Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   President Dilma Rousseff has praised protesters for strengthening democracy in Brazil, where mass protests are rare. But police have responded to them with tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets.Here’s a gallery of images from the past week of protests.Follow AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean (AP) – Protests that began as an outcry against a 10-cent hike in bus and subway fares in Brazil’s largest cities haven’t ended with Wednesday’s announcement that the increases would be rescinded. Protest organizers have called for mass demonstrations on Thursday in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, as people express frustration with corruption and what they say are high taxes and poor public services. Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup, but protesters say that the billions now spent on soccer stadiums would be better used for education, health and public safety.last_img read more

Health law court case winner could be political loser

first_imgFILE – in this March 25, 2015 file photo, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The party that wins the impending Supreme Court decision on President Barack Obama’s health care law could be the political loser. If the Republican-backed challenge to the law’s subsidies for lower-earning Americans prevails, they’d have achieved a top goal of severely damaging “Obamacare.” (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories “That’s a win for us,” said conservative Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.One staunch defender of the law, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said a plaintiff’s victory would hurt both parties “because people across the country don’t always distinguish between the two sides.”The Supreme Court decision is expected by late June or early July.Conservatives and Republicans say the law’s wording limits subsidies to people buying coverage in states running their own insurance marketplaces. Thirty-seven states rely on HealthCare.gov, including 34 that would be most directly impacted if the court overturns the subsidies.Democrats say the law was always intended to offer subsidies for all Americans who qualify.According to government figures, about 8.8 million people have selected coverage from HealthCare.gov for this year. That includes 7.7 million who have qualified for subsidies, paid as tax credits, averaging $263 monthly.The private Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute have estimated that a plaintiffs’ victory would increase the number of uninsured people in 2016 by 8.2 million. The most heavily affected states are overwhelmingly run by GOP governors and are home to 22 of the 24 Republican senators facing re-election next year. “If we’re not prepared with a transition plan, it could be difficult to sustain the pressure that would come to cover people who all of a sudden lost their subsidy,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the No. 2 Senate GOP leader.Other damage could ripple through insurance markets, experts warn.People who purchase coverage privately are in the same insurance pool as those buying from government-run networks. Many of the healthiest low-earning patients who lose subsidies would stop buying policies while many of the sickest would remain, boosting everyone’s premiums and potentially threatening entire insurance markets.“You can just see the press on this and the events on this, people saying, ‘I had insurance yesterday and now I don’t,’” said Rob Jesmer, a Republican strategist.Cornyn and other Republicans say the GOP is moving toward a joint House-Senate proposal to provide assistance to people losing subsidies. It is also likely to weaken some of the law’s requirements, perhaps eliminating required coverage for individuals or giving states more flexibility to decide the scope of required medical coverage, Republicans say.They say the bill will be ready when the court announces its decision. But first, Republicans have to unite behind a single plan, which so far they’ve not done. “If you win the case you actually have people who lost their insurance. You now share the responsibility for fixing it,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who once led the House GOP campaign committee. “And you’ve got a lot of pissed off people. That hurts you.”Should the Obama administration win, relieved Democrats would crow that Obama’s foremost domestic achievement had stood unscathed. But some say they’d have lost a potentially powerful cudgel for the 2016 campaigns: Being able to accuse Republicans of ending the assistance and disrupting health coverage for many.If Democrats lose in court, “It completely reverses the issue and puts us back on offense on health care,” said Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., one of his party’s chief message crafters.Democrats have frequently been forced to defend the 2010 law, including over Obama’s promise that people could keep policies they liked and the snafu-plagued startup of the federal HealthCare.gov website.Not everyone thinks their party will lose politically should they win in court. Many Republicans say if the Supreme Court rules that subsidies were provided illegally, it would be the Democratic administration’s fault for doing so, not the GOP’s. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement WASHINGTON (AP) — The party that wins the impending Supreme Court decision on President Barack Obama’s health care law could be the political loser.If the Republican-backed challenge to the law’s subsidies for lower-earning Americans prevails, the GOP would have achieved a paramount goal of severely damaging “Obamacare.” But Republican lawmakers would be pressured to help the millions of Americans who could suddenly find government-mandated medical coverage unaffordable — and they’d face blame from many voters if they failed to provide assistance. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone They also have to avoid alienating conservatives who’d view any steps to ease the sting of the court’s decision as abetting a president and program they loathe. Failure to pass legislation temporarily aiding those who lost subsidies is not an option, many Republicans say, though there’s debate over whether an Obama veto might inoculate them from blame.“The question is, can Republicans thread the needle, can they put together a bill that gets most of their caucus on board,” said Dean Rosen, a health policy expert and former Senate GOP aide. “The risk for them is they can’t do that, they can’t be unified.”In a parallel attack on the health care law, the District of Columbia federal district court scheduled a Thursday hearing on a lawsuit the GOP-run House filed against the Obama administration. The suit challenges the administration’s postponement of requirements that companies insure workers and its use of funds not approved by Congress to reimburse insurers who subsidize lower-income customers.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Poachers kill ranger 2 soldiers in Congo wildlife park

first_img The difference between men and women when it comes to pain New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Heavily armed poachers killed a ranger and two soldiers patrolling in a national park in Congo, a conservation group said Friday.The poachers ambushed the men on Wednesday in Garamba National Park and a second ranger was lightly injured in the attack, said African Parks, which is based in Johannesburg. The group manages the Garamba park in central Africa along with Congolese authorities, and also runs seven other parks on the continent. Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Sponsored Stories The Garamba park unit that was attacked had been deployed to reinforce another team that earlier exchanged gunfire with the poachers, African Parks said in a statement.It said rangers, the military and other security forces were trying to track and arrest the poachers, who are believed to be from South Sudan. The Garamba park is in northeast Congo, on the border with South Sudan.Garamba has long been vulnerable to poaching, partly because of regional conflict and armed groups that have operated in the area. They included the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, which used the park as a safe haven. In 2008, the Ugandan army launched an attack on an LRA base in Garamba, throwing the group into disarray.In June last year, the Garamba park director said some poachers had been shooting elephants from helicopters.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Just a kangaroo in the vineyard during Australian snowstorm

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies SYDNEY (AP) — Kangaroos are a common sight for Australian vineyard owner Bill Shrapnel. But a winter storm this week was the first time he’d seen a ‘roo in the snow.Shrapnel guesses about 30 of the “timid” and “watchful” creatures live on his 77-acre Colmar Estate vineyard in Orange, New South Wales.But before he peeked out his back window Thursday, he had never seen one of the kangaroos in the snow. “They just turned up and started to feed. The younger ones boxed with one another as if it was just another day.”A surprised Shrapnel snapped a photo, which his daughter shared on social media.Shrapnel, 62, and his wife Jan moved to Orange earlier this year from Sydney, which hasn’t seen snow since 1836.While the couple had prepared for their first winter, he says, “having it snow three times in a week is not what we expected.”The winter storm caused traffic accidents, school closures and power outages around the state on Australia’s southeastern coast.Thredbo, a ski resort in New South Wales, recorded 30 centimeters (almost 12 inches) of snowfall, and highs in Orange and other wintry towns were below 5 Celsius.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This July 16, 2015, photo provided by Bill Shrapnel and photographed through a window shows a Kangaroo on the Colmar Estate vineyard in Orange, New South Wales, Australia. The winter storm caused traffic accidents, school closures and power outages around the state on Australia’s southeastern coast. (AP Photo/Colmar Estate, Bill Shrapnel) Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top Stories last_img read more

Sofitel Gold Cost Broadbeach Wins Top Honour at the Queensland Tourism

first_imgSource = Sofitel Hotels In what has been a stellar year of award wins, the Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach is now celebrating its biggest achievement for 2011. Last Friday night, the luxurious five-star hotel was announced as the state winner for Meetings and Business Tourism at the illustrious Queensland Tourism Awards held at the Brisbane Convention Centre.This accolade firmly establishes Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach as the leading Meetings and Business Tourism venue within Queensland. Sister hotel, the Sofitel Brisbane Central, is also celebrating after being named a finalist in two different awards categories – Meetings and Business Tourism and in the Luxury Accommodation category.  2011 was tipped to be the Gold Coast Convention Centre’s third consecutive year of winning in the Meetings and Business Tourism category, which would have seen the Centre enter the Queensland Tourism Hall of Fame. Instead, the prestigious title was awarded to Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach who outshone not only the Gold Coast Convention Centre, but also the likes of Jupiter’s Townsville, Hilton Cairns and O’Reilly’s Lost World Conference Centre.Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach General Manager Marcus Hanna says, “We are absolutely thrilled. This is the second year that the hotel has entered the Queensland Tourism Awards under the category of Meetings and Business Tourism. The process of entering and writing the submission is detailed and time consuming and could not have been achieved without the combined effort of the entire team.”In saying that, I believe it is a truly eye-opening process. It allows our business to assess every aspect of our operations. It clearly outlines our strengths and weaknesses and serves as a great snapshot for what we have achieved and how the business will continue to move forward”. In a double gong for Broadbeach, the precinct’s tourism body, Broadbeach Alliance also won the state title for the Festivals and Events category with its 10th Annual Blues on Broadbeach festival. Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach has proudly been the home for the 2018 Commonwealth Games Bid delegations. Chosen for its world-class service and facility, Sofitel InspiredMeetings™ delivers personalised service, dedication to detail and allows anticipation of every need.last_img read more

Aussies in limbo over AirAsia X flights

first_imgAustralians who have booked flights to Europe and India with AirAsia X may be unsure of their actual flight plans for months due to suspended routes. The airline has told customers that they will be contacted at least two months prior to their departure date but for some that could be many months away. “Everything needs to be done in batches according to flight date and we cannot skip between different dates as it would be more time consuming,” said a spokesperson for the airline. Customers will be contacted via email and offered a full refund, re-routing to another AirAsia X destination or a move to an alternative carrier where available.The airline has also attempted to block-book seats on other airlines.The withdrawal of AirAsia X services to Europe and India was announced in January, citing an unbalanced global economy, excessive fuel costs and high taxes. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

Suntec Singapore wins Asias Leading Meetings Conference Centre

first_imgSuntec Singapore wins Asia’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre AwardSuntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre (Suntec Singapore) once again emerged as Asia’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre at the 22nd Annual World Travel Awards (WTA).Held yesterday at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, Suntec Singapore picked up the award for the tenth consecutive year, reaffirming its regional market leadership position.“Suntec Singapore is thrilled to be the leading meetings and conference centre in the region once again. This honour will spur us to greater heights to be the most innovative and client-focused venue. With our flexible, customisable spaces and cutting edge technology, we have delighted our clients by delivering a seamless customised experience where everything just works”, said Arun Madhok, CEO of Suntec Singapore.The World Travel Awards is in its 22nd year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade. The award recognises and celebrates those organisations that push the boundaries of industry excellence. The Asia &Australasia Gala Ceremony welcomed hundreds of industry professionals from around the region. The Awards will culminate in the Grand Final Gala Ceremony in Morocco.World Travel Awards President Graham Cooke: “It is a pleasure to present Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre with the World Travel Awards trophy for Asia’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre for the tenth consecutive year. This is an incredible achievement and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the wholeteam there. I look forward to welcoming Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre to our Grand Final in Morocco later this year for our Grand Final 2015.”Arun Madhok added, “It is a great honour to have received this tremendous vote of confidence and support from all our customers and partners for the past ten years. Winning this prestigious award this year is especially significant because we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary. I would like to dedicate this award to the outstanding team of MICE professionals at Suntec Singapore who have all contributed to this extraordinary achievement.” Suntec Singapore Source = Suntec Singaporelast_img read more

CEO designate Andrew Burnes reveals plans for helloworld

first_img helloworldSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson In Wellington this weekend, helloworld chief executive officer designate Andrew Burnes revealed his intentions for the company ahead of its merger with AOT Group.Most notably his plans include seeing more franchisee owners become stakeholders in the company, along with extending store trading hours in the near future.helloworld CEO designate Andrew BurnesIn his opening speech at the annual helloworld Owner Managers Summit, Burnes said he wants to see all helloworld franchisees “at least consider having a stake in the successful and ongoing transformation of this company”.“I have a fundamental belief that the core strength of this business is its franchisee and buying group networks,” Burnes said.“Before the end of January, I will be outlining plans which will see each and every owner of our franchisee network having an opportunity to own a part of Helloworld Limited and I believe these initiatives will help to align our mutual efforts to continue to grow and develop our franchise network in Australia and New Zealand.”Burnes acknowledged the company’s “tremendous competitor” that is Flight Centre, and said while they are fierce competitors on price, helloworld’s service proposition is its biggest strength.“You can compete on price…but at the end of the day, flights are just the beginning,” Burnes said.“Ninety-nine per cent of the experience is when you hit the ground and what happens when you get off the plane and I think that’s where helloworld shines.”Another change Burnes aims to implement is extending the opening hours of some helloworld branded and associate retail stores.“I think there are some places where we need to try and encourage our owners to open up a bit longer,” he said.While specific hours are yet to be confirmed, Burnes says the change will help boost helloworld’s competitiveness and says the company is also looking into online platforms to ensure the business is open 24/7.Burnes acknowledged the recent appointment of Simon McKearny to executive general manager of Stella New Zealand ahead of the helloworld brand’s launch in New Zealand in early 2016.“I know how passionate he is about the business and I’m sure that the leadership of the New Zealand side will be enhanced through Simon’s efforts,” Burnes said.Among the delegates, feelings towards the upcoming CEO are positive, after the opportunity to learn more about him and his plans for helloworld this weekend.Check out what the helloworld Owners and Managers got up to over the weekend here and here.last_img read more

Cathay Pacific first to Auckland with the A350

first_imgSource = Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific first to Auckland with the A350Cathay Pacific first to Auckland with the A350Cathay Pacific has become the first international airline to operate the state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 to New Zealand as Flight CX197 arrived in Auckland today (Friday, 28 October) after making its overnight journey from Hong Kong.Prior to landing at Auckland International Airport, the flight, which was under the command of Cathay Pacific Chief Pilot Airbus Gavin Haslemore and his fellow Kiwi, Senior Captain Colin Davis, flew over the city’s Waitematā Harbour, giving many New Zealanders their first look at the world’s most modern commercial aircraft.The environmentally-friendly A350 is equipped with the airline’s latest cabin products, an enhanced inflight entertainment system and Wi-Fi connectivity in all classes, enriching the experience of passengers and helping Cathay Pacific to deliver on its promise of a “Life Well Travelled”.Cathay Pacific, which has been serving New Zealand for 33 years, has five A350s in operation, and by the end of next year will have taken delivery of a total of 22. The aircraft, which will form the backbone of the airline’s mid-size long-haul fleet, replaces the Airbus A340-300 on the Auckland route.Prior to the aircraft’s return departure to Hong Kong today – operating as Flight CX198 – Cathay Pacific Director Sales & Marketing Dane Cheng met with New Zealand’s Minister of Transport, the Honourable Simon Bridges, and other guests from the Auckland Airport community to celebrate the historic milestone in front of a large media gathering.Mr Cheng said: “New Zealand has long been an important market for our airline, so it gives us all at Cathay Pacific great pleasure that we’ll now be serving this magnificent country with our innovative A350. This special aircraft takes our passenger experience to a whole new level and I believe it will be a game-changer for travellers from New Zealand heading to Hong Kong and beyond.”Auckland becomes the third long-haul destination on Cathay’s expansive global network to welcome the A350, after Düsseldorf and Gatwick. The aircraft will be deployed on routes to Rome and Paris in the months ahead, followed by Vancouver and Tel Aviv in March next year.Cathay Pacific commenced operations to Auckland in 1983 with a weekly service operated by a Boeing 747-200 aircraft. A daily service was launched in 1998 using the Airbus A340-300, while 2010 saw the airline introduce a second daily flight during the New Zealand peak summer period. Since 2013, Cathay Pacific has been able to offer up to three flights between Hong Kong and Auckland per day.New Zealand’s Minister of Transport, the Honourable Simon Bridges and Cathay Pacific Director of Sales & Marketing Dane Cheng celebrate the historic occasion at Auckland International Airport prior to the departure of Cathay Pacific Flight CX198 to Hong Kong Cathay Pacificbook flights herelast_img read more

Six Senses Scoops Condé Nast Traveller 2017 Readers Travel Awards

first_imgSix Senses Scoops Condé Nast Traveller 2017 Reader’s Travel AwardsSix Senses Scoops Condé Nast Traveller 2017 Reader’s Travel AwardsRenowned for bountiful harvests from the organic gardens at the resorts of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, the group has harvested rewards of a different kind in the 20th Anniversary issue of Condé Nast Traveller, UK 2017 Reader’s Travel Awards.Topping the list is Six Senses Douro Valley named the Best Hotel WINNER – Europe, Turkey and Russia. Open for just two years, Six Senses Douro Valley offers a fresh design perspective that beautifully showcases its locality and the historic quinta (wine estate) dating back to 1464. The resort also came in at Number 2 – The World’s Top 100.Also in the World’s Top 100 was Six Senses Zighy Bay located in Oman. Six Senses Spa Zighy Bay was awarded Number 3 out of 20 in the Overseas Hotel Spas category. With its extraordinary setting on a pristine bay with a sand beach to one side and an impressive rugged mountain range as a backdrop, Six Senses Zighy Bay offers guests unforgettable out-of-the-ordinary experiences.Six Senses Zil Pasyon in the Seychelles opened just in time for reader evaluation and made such an instant impression that it was awarded Number 18 out of 20 – Middle East. Africa and Indian Ocean. Set on the private island of Félicité, the resort offers serenity encircled by the Indian Ocean with perpetual summer and an environment that invites reconnection.An all-time award winner over the past decade is Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam, once again recognized as one of the region’s leading properties. The readers of Condé Nast Traveller awarded it with Number 18 out of 20 – Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The resort’s white sand beach and towering mountains create the senses of being intimately at one with nature.In the category of Overseas Hotel Spas, Six Senses Spa Laamu in the Maldives earned Number 15 out of 20. The spa is set right on the beach and offers uniquely designed treatment ‘nests’ and pavilions. Six Senses Spa at Porta Elounda Crete, acclaimed as one of the most breathtaking spas in the whole of the Mediterranean, added Number 14 out of 20 – Overseas Hotel Spas, to it’s already impressive list of awards. The spa serves the Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort, the Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel and the Elounda Mare Hotel.Source = Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spaslast_img read more