MSC has gift cards for agents, savings for clients with new campaign Tags: MSC Cruises Thursday, September 28, 2017 Share FORT LAUDERDALE — MSC Cruises is offering bonus commission incentives for travel agents and a special deal for clients to get 50% savings on Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and UAE sailings, all part of CLIA’s Plan a Cruise Month starting Oct. 1.Travel agents will receive a US$50 gift card for each stateroom booked in the MSC Yacht Club onboard MSC Divina from Oct. 1 – 31. To redeem, agents need to send an email to email@example.com with their booking number once the deposit has been made.The consumer promotion also runs right through the end of October, and offers discounted cruise fares as well as extra perks in the Caribbean including between US$50 and $150 in onboard credit, free WiFi packages and drink packages. Plus, kids 11 and under sail free on select sailings.Here are more details:MSC Cruises Two for One plus Caribbean dealGuests can save up to half off 7+ night sailings in the Caribbean between December 2017 and March 2019 on MSC Divina and MSC Seaside, arriving in Miami in December 2017. Passengers also get bonus perks like $50-$150 onboard credit, free WiFi packages and drink packages, depending on category of stateroom booked.Sample itineraries for sailings on MSC Seaside and MSC Divina include:MSC Seaside – Dec. 23: Guests can experience the first 7-night Caribbean sailing of the revolutionary MSC Seaside as she departs for the first time from Miami with ports of call in St John’s, San Juan and Nassau. Prices start at $958 per person.MSC Seaside – Jan. 27, 2018: 7-night cruise departing from Miami with ports of call in Ocho Rios, Georgetown and Cozumel. Prices start at $589 per person.MSC Divina – Feb. 15, 2018: 11-night cruise departing from Miami, with ports of call in Pointe-a-Pitre, Basseterre, Fort de France, San Juan, Bridgetown and Freeport, Grand Bahama. Prices start at $829 per person.More news: Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureMSC Cruises Two for One Mediterranean, Northern Europe and UAE cruise dealsCruisers can save 50% off brochure rates, and reduced deposits of $99 for all Mediterranean, Northern Europe and UAE sailings.Mediterranean: For those looking to explore the Mediterranean, 50% savings apply to all sailings between November 2017 to November 2018, including MSC Cruises’ newest ships — the sparkling new MSC Meraviglia, which debuted in June 2017, and MSC Seaview, which will debut in June 2018 — as well as MSC Orchestra, MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia, MSC Musica, MSC Opera, MSC Poesia, and MSC Sinfonia.Sample itineraries for sailings in the Mediterranean include:MSC Meraviglia – Jan.19, 2018: 7-night cruise departing from Barcelona, Spain with ports of call in Marseille, Genoa, Civitavecchia, Palermo and Valletta. Prices start at $439 per person.MSC Seaview – June 17, 2018: 7-night cruise on MSC Cruises’ newest Seaside-class ship, arriving June 2018, departing from Genoa with ports of call in Naples, Messina, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseille. Prices start at $908 per person.More news: Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaNorthern Europe: Northern Europe sailings from March 2018 through October 2018 are eligible for half off, including MSC Meraviglia, which after sailing her inaugural season in the Mediterranean will be repositioned to Northern Europe for the summer 2018 season. Sailings are also available on board MSC Magnifica, MSC Orchestra and MSC Preziosa.Sample itineraries for sailings in Northern Europe include:MSC Meraviglia – May 20, 2018: 11-night cruise departing from Hamburg, Germany with ports of call in Kirkwall, UK; Akureyri, Iceland; Isafjordur, Iceland; Reykjavik and Invergordon, UK. Prices start at $1,329 per person.MSC Magnifica – April 23, 2018: 7-night cruise departing from Southampton, United Kingdom with ports of call in Le Havre, Zeebrugge, Amsterdam and Hamburg. Prices start at $429 per person.United Arab Emirates: Cruises to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and MSC Cruises’ newest private destination, Sir Bani Yas Island Beach Oasis, are also reduced by 50% between December 2017 and March 2019 on the magnificent MSC Splendida.Sample itineraries for sailings in the UAE include:MSC Splendida – Feb. 3, 2018: 7-night cruise departing from Dubai with ports of call in Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Muscat and Khor al Fakkan, UAE. Prices start at $499 per person. MSC Splendida – Feb. 10, 2018: 7-night cruise departing from Dubai with ports of call in Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Bahrain and Doha. Prices start at $499 per person. Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>
Share Travelweek Group TORONTO — Michele Paige, President of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), could not have stressed it enough: “The Caribbean is open for business,” she said repeatedly during a press conference that provided media with cruise industry updates following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.“The FCCA has been working tirelessly with partners in supporting recovery and building efforts, because Caribbean destinations are not just our partners – they are our family,” she said.Paige noted that the vast majority of the region – which spreads an incredible one million square miles – was unaffected by the hurricanes. Of nearly 100 ports in the Caribbean, almost 85% are open and fully operational, with this number expected to rise to over 90% in the coming weeks. The ports hardest hit– St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. Maarten, and San Juan – are quickly recovering.“Public perception has been affected by the storms,” she said, “but this perception cannot be further from the truth.” Paige encourages all travellers to “support recovery efforts in the best possibly way” – by booking a cruise to the region.Her impassioned plea is particularly significant considering that a single cruise season generates US$2.4 billion to the Caribbean, and that a single cruise call represents half a million dollars in economic impact. “Cruising is vital to the region’s growth and opportunities,” she added.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesAlso on the panel was Arnold Donald, CEO and President of Carnival Corporation, and Chair of CLIA. “People ask, ‘Is it a good time to go to the Caribbean, or should we wait?’ The answer is simply, ‘Yes, it is a great time to go’,” he said, noting that Carnival Corporation currently has 60,000 guests in the region on 20 full ships.“Most of the Caribbean was untouched by the storms. Recovery is happening very quickly due to the widespread efforts of locals. Everyone is being very supportive,” he said. “Every destination is expected to be up and running in the upcoming weeks.”Adam Goldstein, Chair of the FCCA and President and COO of Royal Caribbean who also took part in the conference, was in St. Thomas just last week and reported good progress was being made with regards to infrastructure and shore excursion operations. He credits USVI’s governor, who he refers to as “bullish”, for spearheading relief efforts, and is optimistic that the island will be back in good order by mid-November.Things are looking so good that Royal Caribbean has announced that Adventure of the Seas will return to St. Thomas on Nov. 10, the first time it has sailed to the island since early September. In addition, the cruise line will return to San Juan and St. Maarten by the end of November, and by Dec. 1 all scheduled calls to the three islands will operate as planned.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Goldstein, who also paid a visit to San Juan last week, reported that the Old Town looks “completely fine” and that ports, though having suffered some impact, are already being utilized.“To some extent, New Orleans is still recovering from Katrina, which happened 10 years ago,” he noted. “This happens, there is recovery, people will feel an impact for years to come. But the most supportive thing we can do is to visit the Caribbean now.”To keep cruisers updated on recovery efforts, and to promote the region as being open to tourists, the FCCA has launched a new website, caribbeanisopen.com, which is now live. Travellers will find island updates, traveller testimonials, and links to cruise line and travel partners.For more information, check out the lead article in Travelweek’s Oct. 26 issue. To subscribe, click here. Posted by Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Every destination in Caribbean will be open in upcoming weeks, says FCCA Tags: Caribbean << Previous PostNext Post >>
TORONTO — Aimia has signed new Aeroplan partnership agreements with two more Canadian airlines – Air Transat and Flair Airlines – while at the same time leaving the door open for an Air Canada deal.The partnerships, effective July 2020, will allow customers to earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles on all Air Transat and Flair Airlines flights, as well as on Air Transat’s vacation packages.Air Transat offers some 60 destinations in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. Flair, which launched no-frills scheduled services to several cities last year from a hub at Edmonton International Airport, also just announced that it is pulling out of Hamilton on Oct. 27 for Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, with plans to launch its first flights to the U.S.The news comes on the heels of another deal announced last Friday that would make Toronto-based Porter a preferred Canadian airline for Aeroplan, also effective July 2020 when the current arrangement with Air Canada ends.Despite rejecting Air Canada’s takeover bid just hours before Thursday’s deadline, Aimia says it remains open to negotiating a fair deal for the purchase of its Aeroplan loyalty program.“We never stop negotiating. Should the consortium want to engage with us in a constructive dialogue, we would be happy to entertain that,” Rabe said Friday during a conference call. “At the same time, we feel very confident about our future plans. So either or, we’re happy to go down either path.”More news: War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upRabe insisted that Aimia didn’t reject the Air Canada group’s offer, but said it was very conditional and didn’t fairly value the business.The consortium – which includes Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada – initially offered $250 million cash and the absorption of $2 billion of mileage liability, but subsequently raised the offer to $325 million, still short of the $450 million Aimia believes would be a fair price.“We have a number of shareholders that are frankly pretty upset that we offered a number that low,” Rabe said.One of those shareholders – Cetus Capital – said it is frustrated by the consortium’s lower offer.“We’re scratching our heads as to why the offer is so low in light of the significant and substantial strategic and financial benefits to Air Canada and the consortium partners,” Bart Stout said during the call, outlining a series of strategic benefits to the airline and its credit card partners.They include the significant cash Aeroplan generates for Air Canada, the valuation discount relative to other airlines that would decrease by having its own in-house loyalty program and a lower risk for the credit card partners who may not be chosen as a partner for Air Canada in a stand-alone plan.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA Sales“We continue to believe that Air Canada is acting very penny-wise pound-foolish as it relates to their tactics here. They should be more than willing, more than excited to acquire Aeroplan. Frankly, we believe the value that they should be acquiring Aeroplan for should be significantly more than $450 million.”Rabe said Stout was “spot on” with his assessment.“We felt like $450 million was a very, very reasonable number. And if there was a real willingness to engage from the consortium, that would have been accepted and then it just kind of leaves you wondering if there was really a real willingness or not.”The future of Aeroplan, which has more than five million members, has been in doubt since Air Canada announced in May 2017 that it planned to launch its own loyalty rewards plan in 2020.Aimia announced Thursday it is also in partnership talks with the Oneworld airline alliance, a major competitor to the Star alliance, of which Air Canada is a member. On Friday, news of the Porter deal broke. Under terms of the deal, Porter’s existing VIPorter loyalty points will be converted into Aeroplan miles.WestJet Airlines said it has no interest in joining Aeroplan after 2020. Aimia adds Air Transat, Flair, remains open to “fair deal” with Air Canada Tuesday, August 7, 2018 Posted by Tags: Aeroplan, Aimia, Air Canada, Air Transat, Flair Airlines, Oneworld Travelweek Group Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
Eventually the canal was too small to accommodate larger Post-Panamax and Super-Panamax ships, and it needed to be expanded. The new ships span more than 400 meters in length and 50 meters in width, the equivalent of four soccer fields. These larger ships can transport 12,000 containers, nearly triple the size of the largest ships that traverse the canal today. They represent 30 percent of the world’s current cargo fleet, and that number is increasing. “The influence of the Panama Canal expansion will be felt in various market segments, which will generate economies of scale in maritime transport,” Canal Administrator Alberto Alemán said.“Those segments include grains, iron and coal. Plus, vessels can triple their capacity through the new locks,” he added. At a cost of $3.2 billion, the new locks – which act like elevators for ships – are a centerpiece of the expansion. When finished, the waterway’s annual capacity will be double, from 300 million tons to 600 million tons. “The influence of the Panama Canal expansion will be felt in various market segments, which will generate economies of scale in maritime transport” –Panama Canal Administrator Alberto Alemán The plan also includes raising the level of Gatún Lake, widening access channels and deepening the canal itself at a section known as “Corte Culebra,” or Gaillard Cut, a 13-kilometer artificial valley cut through the continental divide.Coinciding with the canal’s expansion, U.S. ports in the Gulf of Mexico and along the eastern coast are adapting to receive the giant ships. The United States is the canal’s principal client, transporting 144 million tons through the canal in the last year, followed by China (53 million tons), Chile (28 million) and Japan (22 million).The expansion project has suffered setbacks – its inauguration will be delayed six months due to a dispute with contractor UPC, a Spanish, Italian, Belgian and Panamanian consortium, over quality of cement used to build the new locks. UPC said the modification could cost an additional $573 million. The U.S. built the canal after Panama’s independence from Colombia in 1903, a move orchestrated in Washington, D.C.“To build the Panama Canal, a plot was devised to promote Panama’s independence. So, the creation of the Republic of Panama was linked to construction of the canal,” historian Luis Navas told AFP.Panama finally took control of the canal from the U.S. at noon on Dec. 31, 1999, in compliance with an agreement signed in 1977 by Panamanian de facto leader Omar Torrijos (1986-1981) and U.S. President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981).During the presidency of Martín Torrijos (2004-2009), son of Omar Torrijos, the decision was made to expand the canal to guarantee its viability for another century. Since Panama took control of the canal, the country’s treasury has received more than $6.1 billion in revenue. But many complain that the descendants of the thousands of people who lost their lives during the canal’s construction – mostly Afro-Antilleans – do not share in the benefits.Said sociologist Gerardo Maloney: “The role that workers played, as well as their descendants, has not been taken into consideration, even today,” and many continue living in poverty, despite the millions of dollars generated by the canal they helped build. Facebook Comments No related posts. Construction of new locks moves forward. An expanded canal will be inaugurated in 2015 at a cost of more than $5.25 billion. José Rodríguez | AFPs By Juan José Rodríguez| AFPPANAMA CITY – The Panama Canal is set to revolutionize world trade yet again, this time in 2015, when it will open transit to Post-Panamax and Super-Panamax ships with nearly triple the cargo size of previous cargo vessels. The multi-billion-dollar expansion of the canal will change history, as it did when it was inaugurated 98 years ago. Today, some 5 percent of the world’s commerce passes through the canal.“We are going to make history as the country that revolutionized maritime industry,” Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli said Monday, during a visit to the mammoth canal expansion site, expected to cost $5.25 billion when finished. The project started in 2007. “[The canal] is going to be of great value not only for Panama, but also for all the world’s residents,” Martinelli said. Since it’s opening in 1914, more than a million ships have used the interoceanic route, avoiding a 14,000 kilometer journey around Cape Horn – the southernmost headland in South America – thanks to the engineering marvel, which elevates ships 27 meters to allow them to pass over the continental divide.
Facebook Comments No related posts. How do you rate Costa Rica’s response to the quake? Excellent. Years of training and practice paid off. Poor. Response was disorganized and we’re lucky it wasn’t worse. No response. September 5 quake The latest report from the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Ovsicori), released Monday morning, states that 1,650 aftershocks have been registered sincethe magnitude-7.6 earthquake that hit the country last Wednesday.The strongest aftershock was felt Saturday, with a magnitude of 5.6. However, it was felt only in the Central Valley.Ovsicori seismologist Walter Jiménez said the aftershocks will continue in upcoming days, but he also stated that the magnitudes and frequencies of them will go down, ranging from 2 to 3 in magnitude.Tico Times Poll:
No related posts. There is a lot of talk around town – and we know how that goes! – that the Municipality of Santa Cruz is planning to get together with the Public Works Ministry (MOPT) to put an asphalt layer on the 220-meter road that goes from Tamarindo to Langosta. They are supposed to get this underway in about two months. Although the sub-base was finished a couple months ago, with the rain it has already developed new potholes. At the time, MOPT had planned to pave the road, but there was a bureaucratic error made that prevented this from happening. Let’s see what happens now.Frijoles Locos in Playa Grande has initiated a great new idea. For $75 per person, they will arrange a Playa Grande Day Pass, which is a lot more interesting than it sounds. Of course, you may say, “I can go to Playa Grande for free.” However, with this Day Pass, Frijoles Locos provides a tent for shade, a boogie board, cooler with ice, bicycle, a surf lesson and lunch. To get in on the deal, call 2652-9235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.What could be better than a new shoe store? Head out to Huacas, in a spot diagonal to Banco Popular, and you will find Kaytes. They have shoes for men, women and children with discounts of 10 to 50 percent. Open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The phone numbers are 8394-1640 and 2653-6202.-Ellen Zoe Goldenellenzoe@aol.com Facebook Comments
No related posts. Human rights workers, officials and advocates in El Salvador urged Catholic Church leaders on Tuesday to secure the records of the San Salvador Archdiocese’s human rights office the day after El Salvador Archbishop José Luis Escobar Sul ordered the office closed, according to Salvadoran news reports.Since its founding in 1982, the human rights office, called Tutela Legal in Spanish, has been instrumental in investigating cases of human rights violations, including the murder on March 24, 1980 of Archbishop Óscar Romero and the El Mozote massacres in December 1981, where more than 800 men, women and children were slaughtered by an elite U.S.-trained anti-insurgency battalion.El Salvador daily El Mundo said Tutela Legal possesses 80 percent of the documentation of human rights abuses in the country.Other reports in Salvadoran newspapers did not mention the archbishop’s official reason for closing the office, and an official notification has not yet been made.Human Rights Prosecutor David Morales, a government official, asked the church to ensure that historical records are properly preserved and protected.“It has contributed to saving tens of thousands of lives and protecting thousands of people,” Morales told El Mundo, referring to Tutela Legal.Tutela Legal Assistant Director Wilfredo Medrano told the online newspaper La Página that he lamented the decision to close the office and fire its 13 employees.“The archbishop has made an irresponsible decision for Salvadoran society. He closed [the office] with locks, put up security doors and hired private security as if we were delinquents. … We have ended up like villains after working to defend and promote human rights in this country. The legacy of Archbishop Romero has been destroyed,” Medrano said.Medrano added that church officials told him Tutela Legal “no longer had a reason for being” and therefore was being closed.Benjamín Cuéllar, director of the Salvadoran-based Human Rights Institute of the Central American University, told El Mundo that the country’s attorney general should take charge of Tutela Legal’s files.“I’ve heard the argument for closing, that it no longer had a reason for being, something that is completely false in a country where human rights continue to be violated,” Cuéllar said.The church’s move comes shortly after the country’s Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to 1993’s Amnesty Law, which protects many of those accused of rights abuses committed during the decade-long civil war. It also comes a month after a report was released by the U.N. Truth Commission, established by the 1992 U.N.-brokered peace agreement that ended the war, which claimed some 75,000 lives.The Truth Commission found that of the 7,000 human rights violations studied, 95 percent was attributed to the government or death squads linked to the government, and 5 percent was attributed to leftist guerrillas of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front.Recently government officials have come under pressure to reverse amnesty. The San José, Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights recommended that amnesty be lifted in a ruling last December, finding the Salvadoran Army guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the El Mozote massacre case. Facebook Comments
Some 800 U.S. citizens living in Costa Rica could lose Social Security benefits if they fail to complete, sign and return a foreign enforcement questionnaire by Dec. 30, 2013.The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica warned through a press release that it takes 45 days or longer to resume payments once benefits are interrupted.According to the press release, the Social Security Administration (SSA) regularly contacts beneficiaries with addresses overseas to verify their current status.This year, questionnaires were sent to beneficiaries whose Social Security numbers end in 50-99, an those who receive benefits on behalf of a minor or disabled person.Beneficiaries who have not responded to notices sent in July and October should return the questionnaire to the address provided on the envelope.Beneficiaries with questions can contact the Federal Benefits Section at the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica (phone number 2519-2000) or send questions or comments to SJRegion@ssa.gov listing a full name, last four digits of the Social Security number on which benefits are received, and two telephone numbers. Facebook Comments Related posts:U.S. Army medevac saves child in Honduras U.S. winding down drug war mission in Colombia Britain defends destruction of Snowden data U.S. lawmakers warn of repercussions after Russia grants Snowden asylum
Related posts:Human rights court orders Costa Rica to legalize in vitro fertilization Evangelical lawmaker Justo Orozco to preside over commission studying IVF bill Human rights court to rule on Costa Rica in vitro fertilization case New Challenge Issued To Abortion Ban A lawyer representing 23 couples who successfully sued Costa Rica at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for banning in vitro fertilization on Monday filed a criminal complaint against the country’s 57 lawmakers for failing to implement a court order to legalize the procedure.In the complaint filed with Costa Rica’s Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala III, attorney Boris Molina accused lawmakers of failing to comply with the court ruling issued Dec. 21, 2012.The court ordered the country to legalize the practice, which was outlawed in March 2000 by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV.In its ruling, the San José-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights set a one-year deadline for Costa Rica to draft and approve legislation to legalize IVF, but lawmakers haven’t even moved forward with a discussion of the bill.If the complaint is accepted, the Sala III would then send a request to the Legislative Assembly for all lawmakers to waive their immunity and face criminal charges.If found guilty lawmakers could be blocked from holding public office for at least four years.On Dec. 21, activist group the Movement in Support of In Vitro Fertilization, along with several other European organizations, will boycott Costa Rican products in Europe to draw attention to the issue.Some 15,000 Costa Rican couples qualify for fertility treatment or counseling, yet only 250 receive some type of treatment at the Women’s Hospital Fertility Unit. But the hospital is unequipped to offer IVF services or counseling. Facebook Comments
CARACAS, Venezuela – Supporters and opponents of Venezuela’s leftist government staged dueling rallies Saturday in Caracas and other cities in the latest public displays of discontent at soaring inflation and basic goods shortages.About 3,000 opponents dressed in white and carrying red, blue and yellow Venezuelan flags gathered in an affluent area of the capital of the oil-rich but economically troubled nation.They filled a plaza in the Las Mercedes neighborhood and spilled out into nearby streets, just days after demonstrations left three people dead.The protesters, mostly students, have spearheaded nearly two weeks of marches against President Nicolás Maduro. Rampant crime, soaring inflation and basic goods shortages are their main grievances.On Saturday they demanded the release of about 100 detained students and other opposition activists, and an end to police repression. The depth of the unrest on what is now the 12th day of street protests was underscored by Maduro’s decision to address a counter-rally.Speaking before thousands of supporters gathered in downtown Caracas, the president accused conservative Colombian President Álvaro Uribe of “funding and directing” the “fascist movements” he blames for the protests.Maduro’s government has also taken Colombian news channel NTN24 off the air, saying it was inciting anti-government violence.Protests have taken place in different cities in Latin America and on Saturday, dozens of activists, many of them youths, rallied in front of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington.They carried banners reading “SOS Venezuela,” “We say no to dictatorship” and “Venezuela is not alone.” Many wore clothing in the colors of the Venezuelan flag.A handful of pro-government protesters held banners at the embassy gates that read “We are with the Bolivarian revolution.”Crackdown after violenceTwo anti-government protesters and a pro-Maduro demonstrator died in a rally Wednesday, in violence that raised alarm throughout Latin America and as far away as Europe. Some 60 people were also injured.“Before, we would not go out on the street because of crime. Now, we go out to protest and they kill us,” said university student Isaac Castillo, 27.“We young people have neither faith nor hope. There are no jobs and even if we get one, it is not enough to make a decent living.”In downtown Caracas, government supporters wearing the bright red symbolizing the leftist movement of the late Hugo Chávez and Maduro, his handpicked successor, filled several plazas.Some protesters danced or did aerobic exercises to the rhythmic beating of drums played by their fellow demonstrators.And other demonstrators unfurled huge Venezuelan flags and pictures of South American liberation hero Simón Bolívar and of Chávez. Thousands of anti-government students lie on the ground during a protest in front of the Venezuelan Judiciary building in Caracas on Feb. 15, 2014. LEO Ramírez/AFPMaduro says the protests against him signal the rumblings of a coup to depose him, vowing to use force to prevent unauthorized street gatherings.The president has accused opposition leader Leopoldo López of being one of the main backers of the protests, and he is wanted for arrest.“Turn yourself over, coward! The people want justice,” Maduro said.The latest anti-government movement, launched by students with backing from some of the country’s fractured opposition groups, poses the biggest challenge to Maduro since 2013 elections, after Chávez died of cancer.A nationwide security crackdown has followed the violence in a country where the economy has been battered by inflation of more than 50 percent.The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the Venezuelan government Friday to bring those responsible for the violence to justice. The European Union also expressed concern.Seeking to quell the unrest, Maduro unveiled a 10-point plan to crack down on crime that includes disarming the population, increased police patrols and unspecified “clear rules for television.”The protesters have demanded that Maduro step down, although opposition leaders have not endorsed the request.Despite having the world’s largest proven reserves of crude oil, Venezuela has severe economic problems and a deep divide between rich and poor.And with an institutionally socialist government dependent on oil revenues in a state-led system, the nation has been hurt by a shortage of hard currency, while dwindling supplies of consumer goods have frustrated even some government supporters.The government, however, blames “bourgeois” local business interests for trying to profit from its largely low- and middle-income political base. Facebook Comments Related posts:Venezuela leader calls new rally amid rival protests Showdown looms for Venezuela, as protest leader Leopoldo López vows new march Fugitive Venezuelan opposition leader surrenders at rally Maduro picks new scapegoat for Venezuela’s problems
Current and former NBA players now know that in Commissioner Adam Silver we have a great leader leading our league.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 29, 2014 Silver’s few critics wondered how Sterling was tolerated so long by owners, given past court cases against him over questions of race, but Silver noted that in each instance, Sterling won the legal fight.And Silver asked sponsors who cut ties with the Clippers to “judge us by our response to this incident.“I’m hopeful there will be no long-term damage to the league or the Clippers. But I’m outraged so I certainly understand other people’s outrage. It will take some time and appropriate healing will be necessary,” he said.Update: New audio has surfaced. Listen to all the recordings of Donald Sterling here. Facebook Comments Related posts:Los Angeles Clippers regroup in aftermath of NBA’s decision LeBron James says he still has a lot to prove in his return to Cleveland Warriors win, ending a 40-year gap that ranks as the longest in NBA history TV exec made Mayweather-Pacquiao bout possible Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!! #BiggerThanBasketball #StriveForGreatness— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 29, 2014 Kevin Johnson, a former NBA standout acting for the players union in place of Clippers player and union president Chris Paul, said it was a defining moment in NBA history.“I believe that today stands as one of those great moments where sports, once again, transcends, where sports provides a place for fundamental change on how our country should think and act,” Johnson said.“This is also a statement about where we are as a country. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional basketball player worth millions of dollars or a man or woman who works hard for their family — there will be zero tolerance for institutional racism, no matter how rich or powerful.”Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, a superstar forward for the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat, tweeted, “Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!! #BiggerThanBasketball #StriveForGreatness.” NEW YORK – The NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him the maximum $2.5 million Tuesday for “deeply offensive and harmful” racist comments thatsparked a national firestorm in the United States.Three days after a recording surfaced of Sterling urging his girlfriend not to publicly associate with African Americans, NBA commissioner Adam Silver removed the 80-year-old billionaire from the league and urged owners to start the process of forcing him to sell the team he bought in 1981.The surprisingly tough sanctions earned swift praise from across basketball, with current and former stars lauding Silver’s decisive action on his 88th day in the job since replacing 30-year NBA boss David Stern.“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver told a news conference in New York. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage.” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver holds a press conference to discuss Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments, at the Hilton Hotel in New York, April 29, 2014. Silver announced that Sterling will be banned from the NBA for life and will be fined $2.5 million for racist comments released in audio recordings. Emmanuel Dunand/AFPThe stiff punishment following a lightning-fast investigation means real estate tycoon Sterling cannot attend any National Basketball Association (NBA) games or workouts, appear at any Clippers office or facility, or make any business or personnel decisions for the club.Silver said he will urge NBA owners to strip the team from Sterling. The market value of the team Sterling bought for $12 million is expected to approach $600 million.“I fully expect to get the support I need from fellow NBA owners to remove him,” Silver said.A three-quarters vote of owners is needed, but Silver starting the process could be enough to prod Sterling to sell to avoid the risk of him not having the Clippers to sell for a huge profit. A lengthy court fight however is also possible.“I spoke to several owners and I have their full support,” Silver said.‘Painful moment’ In the recording made public over the weekend, the man now confirmed to be Sterling told his much-younger girlfriend that he didn’t want her associating with black people or attending Clippers games with black friends.“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” Sterling says, later adding, “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want.“The little I ask you is not to promote it … and not to bring them to my games.”Silver, who described himself as distraught at the comments, apologized to NBA coaches, players, fans and business partners, adding, “This has been a painful moment for all members of the NBA family.”The announcement came only hours before the Clippers, who saw sponsors leave in droves Monday, were set to play their first home game since the controversy erupted — game five of their first-round playoff series with the Golden State Warriors, which is level at 2-2.“My message to the Clippers’ fans is that the league is far bigger than any one owner,” Silver said. “The players deserve their support. They have just been through an incredibly difficult incident.” Director and actor Spike Lee watches as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media about the investigation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on April 29, 2014 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFPPraise for ban “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins,” the Clippers said in a statement.The front page of the Clippers’ website was changed to a black screen with a team logo and white lettering saying, “WE ARE ONE.”NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, whose photo with Sterling’s girlfriend prompted the tirade that led to the owner’s banishment, tweeted, “Former and current NBA players are very happy and satisfied with Commissioner Silver’s ruling. … We have a great leader leading our league.”
There is one important reason Ukrainian authorities are so sure that pro-Russian rebelsshot down a Malaysia Airlines jet: An account on the Russian social network Vkontakte, which relays official dispatches from insurgent military leader Igor Girkin, aka Strelkov, boasted about the rebels shooting down a plane at about the time of the crash.The Boeing 777, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 295 people on board, crashed between the village of Grabovo and the mining town of Thorez in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Air-traffic controllers lost touch with it at 4:20 p.m. local time, pravda.com.ua reported.The Vkontakte account reported at 5:37 p.m. Moscow time (4:37 in Donetsk) that a large plane – identified as an Antonov An-26 transport plane – “has just been shot down near Snizhne,” a town close to where the Malaysia Airlines plane went down. This appears to be an edited version of a gloating post that is available only in screen shots now (I have one). In that initial version, the post went on: “We warned them not to fly in our skies. And here’s a video of another bird going down. The bird fell behind a coal heap, residential areas were not hit, peaceful people did not suffer.”The most realistic version of events is that the rebels thought they were aiming a ground-to-air missile at a Ukrainian transport plane. The government is using such planes to drop supplies to servicemen surrounded in a rebel-held area not far from where Flight MH17 crashed.Even if new information surfaces absolving the trigger-happy Strelkov and his men, there is no denying the fact that the conflict in eastern Ukraine is their doing. Strelkov’s top cadre includes military re-enactment enthusiasts like himself who have fought in numerous local conflicts just because they like it. Strelkov’s account is full of tales of the rebels’ clashes with the inept, bumbling Ukrainian troops: the barely trained army, the National Guard made up of recent street-revolution activists, patriotic volunteers with little fighting experience. The area is full of angry, badly trained people and serious military hardware. The rebels recently seized the Buk ground-to-air missiles, capable of shooting down planes at high altitude, from a Ukrainian base, according to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass. Self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the pro-Russian separatist “Donetsk People’s Republic” Alexander Borodai, center, stands as he arrives on the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014. The plane was shot down over Ukraine by a surface-to-air missile Thursday but it was unclear who fired the weapon, U.S. officials said. Dominique Faget/AFPBoth sides have more weapons than they know how to use. Ukraine never expected to fight a war at all, especially not with Russian nationalist fighters, apparently backed and armed by Russia. It was started by these fighters and by local insurgents unhappy about the Ukrainian nationalist government in Kiev. It is a battle of amateurs and semiprofessionals _an emotional, dirty, ad-hoc war and a major accident waiting to happen.The only solution is for professionals to intervene, separate the sides and oversee their disarmament. If the downing of Flight MH17 proves to be the work of participants in the conflict, the United Nations will have cause to send in peacekeeping troops. If Russian President Vladimir Putin resists that, he will be as guilty as those responsible for the crash.The other alternative is for shocked politicians in Russia, Ukraine and the West to agree that the conflict should end immediately. Strelkov and his fighters, however, are not quite the Putin puppets they are often thought to be. They have their own scores to settle with the Kremlin and nothing to lose. I doubt that the fighting can be stopped by political means.Bloomberg View contributor Leonid Bershidsky is a a Moscow-based writer.© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:In court of public opinion, Putin goes on trial Could the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have been stolen? Malaysian jet with 295 passengers crashes in Ukraine Passengers on downed jet span cross-section of life, experience
Related posts:Costa Rican prosecutors, judicial police under investigation for alleged use of police database to probe personal information of superstar goalie Keylor Navas Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas named CONCACAF’s Player of the Year Revenge eludes Uruguay as Costa Rica’s ‘Sele’ wins again WATCH: Keylor Navas makes two incredible saves, extends historic shutout streak Tico goalie Keylor Navas on Monday evening won Spain’s Best Goalkeeper award at the Professional Football League Awards ceremony for the 2013-2014 season.Navas beat out Málaga’s Willy Caballero and Atlético de Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois.The 27-year-old keeper for Real Madrid won the award for his brilliant saves and consistent performances with his previous team Levante UD, where he had 37 appearances and held 16 non-goal matches throughout the tournament. He also recorded the tournament’s best statistics: 160 saves in 38 matches and only 39 goals allowed, which earned him an effectiveness rate of 80.1 percent.Navas’ brilliant season with Levante and his outstanding performance with Costa Rica’s national team at the Brazil World Cup this year earned the Tico star his dream move to Real Madrid this season.“I want to thank God. It is a privilege to be here. I want to thank my former teammates from Levante for this award. I thank them for being there for me in difficult times and for joining me in celebration of the good times. I also want to thank my family, the ones who are there by me every day. I hope I can be here again next year,” an emotional Navas said upon accepting the award.His arrival to Real Madrid, however, has been anything but easy. Navas has played in only one official game, in which Real beat Elche 5-1 last September.“No player likes to be on the bench. I practice hard every day and try to be prepared for the moment I get the chance to play,” he recently told members of the news media who interviewed him following a disastrous game by Real Madrid and Spanish national squad keeper Iker Casillas, who has been booed by his own fans at several games, including some in Brazil.Navas’ next chance for action could happen as early as this week, as coach Carlo Ancelotti said last week that the Tico keeper likely would make the starting lineup for Real Madrid on Wednesday in a match for the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) against Cornellá. The tournament is one of four for Real Madrid this year.Navas teammate Sergio Ramos took the award for Best Defender, teammate Luka Modric won Best Defensive Midfielder, and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo took home three awards for Best Forward, Best Goal and Best Player.Watch Keylor Navas win the award and deliver his acceptance speech (in Spanish) here: Facebook Comments
Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths CAIRO (AP) – Following is a factsheet about Egypt, where Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi has been declared the winner of a presidential election runoff:_ Population: 82 million, along with another estimated 8 million citizens living abroad._ Religion: About 90 percent Muslim, 10 percent Christian._ Land Area: About 1 million square kilometers (386,000 square miles), bordering the Palestinian Gaza Strip, Israel, Sudan and Libya. Most is barren desert. The population is concentrated on about 7 percent of the land, mostly along the Nile River. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top Stories Comments Share More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements _ GDP growth in 2011: 1.8 percent._ Official unemployment rate in 2011: 10.4 percent._ Literacy: 71.4 percent._ Inflation in 2012: 8.3 percent, according to Central Bank of Egypt._ Key moments in modern history:Egypt was a monarchy until a 1952 military coup. Its first four presidents after that came from the military, starting with Mohammed Naguib, who served briefly, and Gamal Abdel Nasser. Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by Islamist militants after signing the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state. His vice president, Hosni Mubarak, assumed power.Mubarak ruled for nearly 30 years, imprisoning many Muslim Brotherhood members while allowing others to run in parliamentary elections as independent candidates but not as a party. Thousands of people were tortured and some died in the country’s notorious prisons during Mubarak’s rule.Corruption, widespread poverty and curbs on freedoms sparked the Jan. 25, 2011 uprising engineered by youth activists. Nearly 900 deaths and 18 days later, Mubarak was forced to step down, and his longtime Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, heading a council of generals, assumed power.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The difference between men and women when it comes to pain
Associated PressCANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Qantas Airways Ltd. grounded two pilots who quarreled in the cockpit of their Boeing 747 jumbo jet at a Dallas airport last week, the airline and an aviation official said Tuesday.The argument happened two weeks after Qantas, Australia’s biggest airline, grounded another pilot for attempting to fly while under the influence of alcohol.Qantas said in a statement Tuesday that the captain and second officer were grounded pending an investigation. It declined to detail their behavior. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said the pilots had a heated argument over what takeoff calculations to enter into the plane’s computer.It said Qantas flight operations managers heard about the argument after they decided to delay the flight overnight because weather delays had put the pilots close to their 20-hour duty limits. The plane, flight QF8 from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to the Australian city of Brisbane on Aug. 14, left the next day with replacement pilots.An Australian aviation official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case, confirmed the newspaper report.“It got to a point where the two of them didn’t feel they could work together,” said the official, adding that there was no suggestion of threats or violence during the quarrel.The 13,800- kilometer (8,600-mile) direct flight from Texas to Australia is close to the limit of the jumbo jet’s flying range.A Qantas pilot was grounded two weeks ago after she exceeded the limit for pilots of 0.02 percent alcohol in the blood as she was about to fly a Boeing 767-300 from Sydney to Brisbane.(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 Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision?
Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – The Kenya Red Cross says at least 200 people have been killed in violence in Kenya’s southeast since August in fighting that could be related to political tensions ahead of March elections.Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet said Saturday that in the past there had been skirmishes between the semi-nomadic Orma and the farming Pokomo communities in the Tana Delta over resources, but the current violence was unprecedented. Gullet said 36,000 people have been displaced from their homes and schools have been closed Comments Share Kenya police say the motive behind the violence could be to displace a certain tribe ahead of the elections. At least 18 people died this week in tit for tat attacks between the two groups. Leaders from the region on Saturday said they had united to preach peace.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Check your body, save your life Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of The vital role family plays in society
Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 must play golf courses in Arizona The prosecutor’s office said it had no immediate comment, and Chevron did not respond to an emailed request for comment.The official said Pirro’s ruling “brings to an end” a legal battle that lasted nearly two years.Federal prosecutors had been seeking about $20 billion in damages for an estimated 110,000 gallons (416,300 liters) of crude that seeped into the ocean near the Chevron well in Nov. 2011. The leaks resumed several months later, and the company’s production in the Frade field was suspended. The field had been producing around 62,000 barrels a day.In Aug. 2012, Chevron said it underestimated the pressure in an underwater reservoir, causing crude to rush up a bore hole and eventually escape into the surrounding seabed. Pirro said in his ruling that Transocean had no responsibility.On Feb. 2013, a federal court dismissed criminal charges filed against Chevron, Transocean and several of their executives because of the spill.The two companies and 17 of their executives had been charged with “crimes against the environment” and faced up to 31 years in prison if convicted.In April of this year, Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency authorized Chevron to resume production on six offshore wells. Comments Share Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement SAO PAULO (AP) – A federal judge in Brazil has dismissed a civil lawsuit against Chevron Corp. and driller Transocean Ltd. filed in connection with a 2011 oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.A federal court official in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday said that judge Raffaele Felice Pirro decided to dismiss the case on Friday after Chevron agreed to pay the equivalent of about $150 million in “compensatory activities.” The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of internal regulations, said the ruling was announced late Monday. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories
Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement But Nelson Wiseman, a University of Toronto political science professor, said the federal Conservatives needn’t worry about the NDP in Alberta, noting the party finished fourth and fifth in two federal by-elections last year and noting the federal conservatives don’t have to worry about a vote split on the right because there is no other federal conservative party.“The Conservatives should be happy with NDP gains because, if they come, they will be overwhelmingly at the expense of the Liberals,” Wiseman said. Most analysts believe the opposition federal Liberals pose a bigger threat to Harper’s Conservatives than the NDP in October’s federal election.Incoming Alberta New Democrat Premier Rachel Notley, in her first full day on the job, sought to reassure business leaders, saying she would call them and would work with them to build the province. Notley has vowed to raise corporate tax rates and conduct a review of the province’s royalty structure to ensure that Albertans are getting a fair return for their oil and gas resources. Alberta has the world’s third largest oil reserves, with 170 billion barrels of proven reserves.Energy stocks led Canada’s main stock exchange to a triple-digit drop Wednesday as investors weighed the potential impacts of the election of a NDP government in Alberta. The vital role family plays in society TORONTO (AP) — A meeting of Canada’s federal Conservative party was described as being like a “morgue” on Wednesday, a day after Alberta, Canada’s most conservative province, elected a left-of-center provincial government, ending a 44-year-old conservative party dynasty.Voters in the western oil-rich province chose a New Democratic Party government Tuesday. The stunning result had the federal Conservatives worried ahead of October’s federal election. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments Share Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Alberta is the base of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative party but Deepak Obhrai, a federal Conservative lawmaker, said that so-called safe seats can’t be considered safe anymore. The Conservatives hold 26 of Alberta’s 28 federal seats. Justice Minister Peter MacKay described a Conservative party meeting Wednesday as being “like a morgue.”“Someone said it was like Albertastan now,” MacKay said.Alberta is sometimes called the Texas of the North. But Alberta did what was previously unthinkable — elect a social democrat party.Few had predicted such a result just 29 days ago when the election was called by Progressive Conservative Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, a former top cabinet minister in Harper’s federal Conservative government. Prentice suffered a humiliating defeat and quit politics Tuesday night. He was previously considered a candidate to replace Harper one day.Gaffes by Prentice during the campaign, voter fatigue with Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party after 44 uninterrupted years of rule and a vote split on the right contributed to the Progressive Conservative party’s historic loss.Federal New Democrats in Ottawa celebrated the victory by their provincial party mates. “They said the NDP could never win in Alberta. Canadians want change,” NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like
Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The death toll from a blaze at a Taiwan water park party over the weekend rose to two on Thursday, with more than 200 injured still in intensive care.Taiwan’s Central News Agency said 19-year-old college student Liu Chih-wei died early in the morning after suffering burns over 90 percent of his body. A 20-year-old woman died on Monday after suffering similar injuries when colored powder sprayed from a stage caught fire at the party on Saturday night. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The report said Liu had been a design student at the College of Maritime Technology in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei.Investigators are looking into whether a spark might have triggered the explosion of colored corn powder thrown into the dancing crowd at the Formosa Water Park along the island’s west coast on the outskirts of Taipei.Among the injured was Alex Haas, 26, of New Hampshire in the United States, who also suffered burns to his lungs and over 90 percent of his body.Taiwan has since banned the use of flammable powders at all public activities.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Comments Share The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top Stories Top holiday drink recipes
<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/22789/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L The world’s tallest building was officially opened yesterday in Dubai with thousands of onlookers.In an evening inauguration ceremony, the tower welcomed itself to the city with a grand water and light show and released a shower of fireworks from its sides.The building comprises of 200 storeys and stands 828 metres high, twice the height of New York’s Empire State building.It will contain luxury apartments and offices as well as a hotel designed by Giorgio Armani. It was also named Burj Khalifa after the ruler of the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi, who had helped bail out the developer last year.The building and its 500-acre developed surroundings cost approximately $22 billion according to the Associated Press. Burj Khalifa’s opening comes at a tough time for Dubai economy which was rocked last November when one of its largest government-owned conglomerates announced it couldn’t pay off its debts.However, the building’s owners told ABC that more than 90 per cent of space has been sold.The building will open its doors to the public in February.