New leadership for Merit as Merrithew steps down Sproul appointed CEO

first_img Travelweek Group TORONTO — Merit Travel is transitioning its leadership team as Merit founders Louise de Grandpré and Michael Merrithew have announced their intention to leave the company, effective at the end of July.H.I.S – Merit Travel says Phil Sproul will become CEO effective immediately.Sproul joined Merit Travel Group in January 2016 and was most recently President, Merit Loyalty Services. Sproul is well-known in the industry, with stints including President, Kensington Tours (2012 – 2014), President, TPI (2008 – 2012) and VP, Sales & Customer Experience for ACV (2002 – 2006).“We want to congratulate Louise and Michael for their incredible accomplishment in building an industry leading company over the past 27 years,” said Hideo Hatano, Global Business Development Director, H.I.S “Going forward, the team led by Phil Sproul will drive our growth trajectory across our Loyalty, Corporate and Leisure travel businesses by providing customers with unmatched access to new programs, resources, support and services.”Michael Merrithew added: “It has been an incredible journey for Loulou and myself. We are so very grateful to the hundreds of team members who helped us build a remarkable company and contributed to our shared success. It’s never easy to step away, but this is the right time for the future of the company and its employees. We’ll be taking some well-deserved time off until we move on to the next chapter of our careers.” Thursday, July 19, 2018 Share New leadership for Merit as Merrithew steps down, Sproul appointed CEOcenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Departures, Merit Travel Group Posted bylast_img read more

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Trafalgar says thank you with 50 off agent rates

first_imgTags: Trafalgar TORONTO — Trafalgar is giving travel agents something extra special to close out Agent Appreciation Month. To thank its most loyal agent partners, the company is offering a limited-time 50% discount on select 2019 Europe and Britain summer trips for agents and a companion. Below is a selection of available trips and departure dates: • Best of Croatia and Slovenia (July 21 departure)• Bohemian Highlights (July 13 departure)• Highlights of France and Barcelona (August 16 departure)• Best of Italy (June 19, July 26 and August 13 departures)• European Interlude (June 30 departure)• Scenic Scandinavia and its Fjords (August 29 departure)• Spain, Morocco and Portugal (August 3 departure)• Best of Ireland (July 9 or 19 departures)This offer applies to selected trips and is available on a first come, first served basis until sold out. The offer includes 50% off the brochure price for select Europe and Britain Summer departures for a travel agent and their companion, or a travel agent travelling solo, as well as 30% off the brochure price for any additional travelling companions. More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaFor more information and full booking conditions, visit https://travels.trafalgar.com/agents/. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group center_img Share Trafalgar says “thank you” with 50% off agent rates Friday, May 24, 2019 last_img read more

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San José Traffic Police director arrested

first_imgJudicial Investigation Police (OIJ) agents on Tuesday arrested the director of San José’s Traffic Police, Marvin Jiménez, on charges that he used public equipment for personal use.According to the OIJ, on March 11, a fellow Traffic Police officer was vacationing at the Pacific beach of Puntarenas when her personal vehicle broke down. Jiménez allegedly sent a tow truck from the Public Works and Transport Ministry to tow the vehicle and the officer’s family to San José, Francisco Segura, director of the OIJ, said.Jiménez was processed may remain in custody. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img

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Festival de la Luz comes to San José Saturday

first_img Lindsay Fendt Facebook Comments Saturday an expected 1 million spectators will flood the sidewalks of San José’s Paseo Colón and Avenida Segunda for the annual Christmas parade, The Festival of Lights.Since 1996, the municipality of San José has united the country’s best marching bands and pitted businesses against each other in a float making competition. The top prize goes to the float that “shines the brightest.”The country’s World Cup bound soccer team, “La Sele” will be the parade’s grand marshals.The parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the National Gymnasium on the eastern end of La Sabana park and wind its way down to the National Museum. A puppet pre-show begins at 3 p.m. No related posts. Festival de la Luz is one of the most enchanting events of the year. last_img read more

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Mexico to purge corrupt cops in violent state

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s 3-pronged strategy scores high against drug trafficking, says Coast Guard chief Mexico captures most-wanted ‘drug-cartel kingpin’ New Generation cartel is Mexico’s latest menace Alleged Mexican drug lord pleads not guilty in US court NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – Mexico’s government decided Tuesday to increase military control over security in the northeastern border state of Tamaulipas and purge corrupt police to reverse a surge in drug cartel violence.Clashes between cartel gunmen and troops as well as street gunfights among gang members have left more than 80 people dead in the state since April 5.Authorities have blamed much of the recent violence on an internal power struggle within the Gulf cartel following the arrests of key leaders, but the gang has also been at war with the rival Zetas cartel in recent years.After a national security meeting in Reynosa, which borders the U.S. state of Texas, Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong announced a “new phase” to break up gangs, seal off drug trafficking routes and ensure residents can count on trustworthy police.He said Tamaulipas will be divided into four security zones with a military officer in charge of each.The authorities will widen the use of intelligence gathering to combat cartels and boost security at ports, airports, border crossings and roads.Authorities will conduct reviews of the state and municipal police forces as well as the Tamaulipas prosecutor’s office to get rid of bad apples.“We will not tolerate any public servant who has links with organized crime or who has committed acts of corruption,” Osorio Chong said.Osorio Chong insisted that the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto had made progress against organized crime, detaining eight of the 12 most wanted men in Tamaulipas.The violence in the state “can be explained in large part by the breakdown within these groups caused by the strong actions of the Mexican state,” the minister said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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PHOTOS Public employee unions protest in Costa Rica

first_img Facebook Comments Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Timescenter_img Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Related posts:Costa Rica’s Solís: No more taxpayer-funded parties at public agencies Administrative Court suspends dismissal of Costa Rica’s Railroad Institute president Administrative judge suspends sanctions against lawmaker Walter Céspedes For Solís, next key issue is striking workers in essential public services Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Timeslast_img

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Costa Rica installed railroad crossings one damaged within hours

first_imgDriving in Costa Rica can be notoriously difficult. Motorcyclists weave in and out of lanes, people pass with reckless abandon on hills and curves, and blocking traffic seems completely acceptable so long as you turn on your four-ways.And don’t get us started on the infrastructure, which has been rendered wholly inadequate by the recent explosion of vehicles in Costa Rica. (Not that unpainted roads that can’t quite fit two lanes of traffic are safe regardless of the amount of traffic.)The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) does have several ongoing — if slow-moving — projects to help improve Costa Rica’s struggling road infrastructure. Among them is a network of grade crossing signals with gates to help prevent collisions between vehicles and trains. MOPT promoted the features of its new railroad crossings on social media. Via MOPT on FacebookMOPT inaugurated the first set of these railroad crossings Monday morning to great fanfare featuring television cameras and an appearance from President Carlos Alvarado.Within six hours, a reckless driver had blown through one of the intersections, knocking over the gate and rendering it inoperable until a MOPT team came to reinstall it promptly. The person in question was fined 52,227 colones (about $85) and will also be billed for repairs.Elsewhere this week, several of the crossings have been impacted or damaged as a result of carelessness and vandalism, according to the President.“The gates are there to save lives and keep us safe,” he wrote. “Let’s take care of them!”A tan solo 3 días de su puesta en funcionamiento varias agujas han sido chocadas o dañadas producto del descuido y vandalismo. Las agujas están ahí para salvar vidas y protegernos.¡Cuidémoslas!— Carlos Alvarado Quesada (@CarlosAlvQ) December 19, 2018The incidents promoted this public-relations statement from MOPT, which concluded with a bolded plea to drivers:“From MOPT and COSEVI, a call is made to everyone who shares the road with trains to be attentive to these types of devices, placed in order to save lives,” the statement read, “and above all to stop at the crossing when a train approaches, which on average constitutes a wait of just 30 seconds.”From all of us at The Tico Times: Remember that even if you blow through a railroad crossing, you’re bound to hit traffic or a suspension-rattling pothole shortly thereafter anyway. And being 30 seconds later to your destination will put you right on time — a la hora tica. Facebook Comments Related posts:Polls reveal Ticos thoughts on Chinchilla, crime and the environment Hablando paja: What if Jesus had been born in Costa Rica? Government pledges to speed up construction of San Carlos highway President Solís demands explanation for spike in traffic jamslast_img read more

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Brazil suspends sales for 3 big mobile operators

first_imgSAO PAULO (AP) – Brazilian regulators have suspended sales of new cellphone plans by three big carriers because of poor service and customer complaints.Brazilian phone regulator Anatel says in a statement that carriers Oi, TIM and Claro cannot make new sales starting Monday in a varying number of states. Together, the companies represent about 70 percent of Brazil’s mobile phone market.Sales for TIM Participacoes SA are halted in 19 states. It is the local unit of Telecom Italia SpA. Oi, which is Telemar Norte Leste SA, has sales stopped in five states. America Movil SA’s Brazilian unit Claro SA has sales suspended in three states. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishescenter_img The companies have 30 days to present investment plans to regulators showing how they’ll improve service. Only after plans are approved can sales resume.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

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Experts Mayas prophesized but not end of world

first_img“The Maya long count system is like a car odometer,” Braswell wrote. “My first car (odometer) only had six wheels so it went up to 99,999.9 miles. That didn’t mean the car would explode after reaching 100,000 miles.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Comments   Share   Experts estimate the system starts counting at 3114 B.C., and will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5,125 years, around Dec. 21. Experts say 13 was a significant number for the Mayans, and the end of that cycle would be a milestone _ but not an end.Fears that the calendar does point to the end have circulated in recent years. People in that camp believe the Maya may have been privy to impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from explosive storms on the surface of the sun that could knock out power grids to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth’s magnetic field.Mexican government archaeologist Alfredo Barrera said Friday that the Mayas did prophesize, but perhaps about more humdrum events like droughts or disease outbreaks.“The Mayas did make prophecies, but not in a fatalistic sense, but rather about events that, in their cyclical conception of history, could be repeated in the future,” said Barrera, of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.Experts stressed that the ancient Mayas, whose “classic” culture of writing, astronomy and temple complexes flourished from A.D. 300 to 900, were extremely interested in future events, far beyond Dec. 21. Sponsored Stories “There are many ancient Maya monuments that discuss events far into the future from now,” wrote Geoffrey Braswell, an anthropologist at the University of California, San Diego. “The ancient Maya clearly believed things would happen far into the future from now.”“The king of Palenque, K’inich Hanaab Pakal, believed he would return to the Earth a couple of thousand years from now in the future,” Braswell wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “Moreover, other monuments discuss events even before the creation in 3114 B.C.”Only a couple of references to the 2012 date equivalency have been found carved in stone at Mayan sites, and neither refers to an apocalypse, experts say.Such apocalyptic visions have been common for more than 1,000 years in Western, Christian thinking, and are not native to Mayan thought.“This is thinking that, in truth, has nothing to do with Mayan culture,” said Alexander Voss, an anthropologist at the University Of Quintana Roo, a state on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. “This thing about looking for end-times is not something that comes from Mayan culture.”Braswell compared the Mayan calendar, with its system of cycles within cycles, to the series of synchronized wheels contained in old, analogue car odometers. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Associated PressMEXICO CITY (AP) – As the clock winds down to Dec. 21, experts on the Mayan calendar have been racing to convince people that the Mayas didn’t predict an apocalypse for the end of this year.Some experts are now saying the Mayas may indeed have made prophecies, just not about the end of the world.Archaeologists, anthropologists and other experts met Friday in the southern Mexico city of Merida to discuss the implications of the Mayan Long Count calendar, which is made up of 394-year periods called baktuns. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help 5 treatments for adult scoliosis How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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Saudi Arabia opens 585B stock market to foreign investors

first_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s stock market, valued at $585 billion, opened up to direct foreign investment for the first time Monday, as the kingdom seeks an economic boost amid low global oil prices.The opening of the Tadawul Saudi Stock Exchange allows companies, particularly those that are not in the oil business, to raise money straight from foreign investors, with the goal of expanding businesses, diversifying the economy and creating more jobs for the kingdom’s growing population. Before Monday, foreigners only could access the market indirectly, through a local Saudi institution, which was costly and complicated. Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Other regulations are that qualified foreign investors cannot own more than 5 percent of the shares of any company. These investors as a whole cannot own more than 20 percent of shares in the roughly 165 listed companies.There are five companies that will be off limits to foreign investors. Most are in construction in the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, which are closed to non-Muslims.The kingdom’s stock market regulator, the Capital Markets Authority, says the decision to open the market to direct foreign investment is aimed at supporting increased participation of institutional investors and reducing the role of smaller investors.According to Tadawul, Saudi individuals make up 34.4 percent of stock market ownership, but account for nearly 90 percent of trading activity. That has exposed the market to volatility.Tadawul CEO Adel al-Ghamdi said at an economic conference in Riyadh last month that the framework was specifically customized to attract “sophisticated, longer-term” investors that take an active role in shaping and questioning the direction of the companies they are investing in, which would lead to higher standards of corporate governance.“The point of the framework was never about increasing foreign investment flow into the kingdom. It was always about trying to bring foreign investors to enhance our practices and our market infrastructure,” al-Ghamdi said. FILE – In this Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011 file photo, Saudi Arabian city view with the ‘Kingdom Tower’, background, and ‘Al-Faislia Tower’ in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange has opened up to direct foreign investment for the first time. The decision to open up the Tadawul stock exchange on Monday comes at a crucial time for Saudi Arabia, whose revenue has taken a hit from the plunge in oil prices over the past year. The kingdom is the world’s largest exporter of crude. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img However, foreign investors say they are taking a cautious approach and warn not to expect an immediate rush of foreign investment into the Middle East’s biggest market.“In the immediate to short term, the money flow will be gradual,” says Sachin Mohindra, Gulf portfolio manager for Invest AD.In fact, the index was slightly down Monday, closing just shy of a percentage point below Sunday’s closing mark. Tadawul, like other regional indexes, follows the traditional Middle Eastern work week with trading taking place Sunday to Thursday.John Sfakiankis, Middle East director based in Riyadh at emerging markets investment firm Ashmore Group, says he too does not expect a big influx of foreign investment right away. He expects a gradual flow over the next few years of $20 billion to $25 billion.One reason for the cautious approach: When local investors anticipated the opening of the market, they bid up stock prices, leaving them overvalued in the opinion of fund managers.Additionally, there are regulations in place for foreign investors and it remains unclear how many foreign institutions have been granted licenses. Only financial institutions with $5 billion or more of assets under management that have been in operation for five or more years are eligible to invest, thought the regulator says it could make exceptions. 0 Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The stock exchange’s estimated value makes it the biggest in the Middle East. Petrochemical firms make up a fifth of Tadawul, with heavyweights like Saudi Basic Industries Corp. among those listed.The move comes at a crucial time for Saudi Arabia, whose revenue has suffered from a plunge in oil prices over the past year. That lower revenue could constrain government spending, which in turn would affect the many companies relying on government projects. The kingdom has been drawing from its robust foreign reserves to maintain spending.An influx of foreign money could “help to plug some of the external shortfall and slow the pace at which Saudi Arabia is drawing down its reserves,” says the London-based analysis firm Capital Economics.The firm says Saudi Arabia has been traditionally cautious about foreign influence in its political and economic affairs. Its decision to open its stock market could be seen as part of a broader liberalization effort in the kingdom’s economy. The socially and religiously ultraconservative country is already awash in some of the world’s biggest brands and many multinational companies have their factories and facilities there. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology ___Follow Aya Batrawy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ayaelb .Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more

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