More Delta cancellations even as operations get back to normal

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first_imgMore Delta cancellations even as operations get back to normal << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Tags: Delta Air Lines, Travel Alert Sharecenter_img LONDON — The number of cancellations is decreasing but Delta Air Lines still expects to ground at least 90 more flights globally before operations return to normal later today. Other estimates put the number as high as 150.Since Monday Delta has cancelled over 1,700 flights. A power outage at its base in Atlanta affected its global computer systems.“We will have a small number of cancellations [Wednesday] morning as our operation restarts, so we continue to ask our customers to check their travel plans and flight status,” said Dave Holtz, Senior Vice-President for Operations and Customer Centre.On Delta’s website, the airline advises “if your flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, you are entitled to a refund. Even if your flight is not cancelled, you may make a one-time change to your ticket without fee if you are scheduled to travel … on Delta, Delta Connection, or Delta-coded flights.” The updated policy now applies to all Delta flights with impacted travel dates Aug. 8 – 10. Tickets must be reissued on or before Aug. 21 and rebooked travel must begin no later than Aug. 21. Travelweek Group Posted bylast_img read more

Scenic announces Ultimate Voyages for 228passenger Scenic Eclipse

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first_img Wednesday, August 22, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Scenic announces ‘Ultimate Voyages’ for 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse Sharecenter_img VANCOUVER — The brand new series of Scenic Eclipse Ultimate Voyages includes guaranteed early bird savings plus a free helicopter or submarine excursion.The shortest itinerary is more than two weeks – it’s the 17-day Ultimate Mediterranean Discovery, that puts the history and cultures of the Portuguese, Moors, Spaniards, French, Romans and Greeks on display.The longest cruise in the new series, the 30-day Ultimate Chilean Fjords & Antarctica, uses Lima and Buenos Aires as bookends to a journey through the Patagonian Fjords and the Antarctica Peninsula.Scenic says it wants to make booking these Ultimate Voyages “even more enticing” by adding extra perks: guaranteed Early-Bird Savings and a choice of a helicopter or submarine exploration excursion, plus guests can take advantage of any current promotion. Special flight offers are also available for bookings made by Oct. 31.All in all there are 12 new Ultimate Voyages available on Scenic Eclipse, including the 24-day Ultimate Baltics & Arctic Circle combining Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Germany and Norway with off-the-beaten-track Spitsbergen.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise rates“Guests on these incredible sailings will see and do more on these two- to four-week sailings than most people do in years of travel,” says Scenic’s VP of Sales & Marketing Canada, Lisa McCaskill. “The Scenic Eclipse is as luxurious as they come but what really puts it over the top of five stars are the efforts of the onboard Discovery team, who pass on their knowledge of and passion for these amazing places.”The 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse has 114 all-verandah suites, ranging in size from 345 square feet to 2,659 square feet, as well as 10 dining optionsScenic’s 2019/2020 season introduces several new itineraries across Scenic’s fleet of Discovery Yachts, she adds. New Arctic destinations join the Med, South American and European itinerary lineup, including the Russian and Canadian Arctic, and an expansion of Scenic’s European Arctic itineraries, as well as new cruises along North America’s East Coast.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyScenic has also introduced new departures of its Antarctica in Depth cruise and Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Islands itinerary. Posted by Tags: Scenic Tourslast_img read more

Iran erases 164 million of Nicaraguan debt

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first_imgMANAGUA – Iran remitted $164 million of Nicaraguan debt in a gesture to strengthen economic relations with the government of Daniel Ortega, Iranian Vice President Ali Saeidlo said during a visit to Managua this week.“I wanted to take this trip to announce this news to you personally,” Saeidlo said on Tuesday. “We are ready to forgive Nicaragua’s debt.”The debt forgiveness was one of the agreements that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised Ortega after the Nicaraguan leader’s return to power in 2007. Ortega thanked Iran and said his government is “also ready” to boost trade and investment between the two nations.Nicaragua’s $58 million debt was acquired during Ortega’s first term in the 1980s and grew to $164 million with interest.Saeidlo arrived in Managua on Monday night from Cuba and plans to continue his tour of other allied countries in the region, including Ecuador. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Officials defend controversial communications law

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first_imgNo related posts. Officials responded Tuesday to public backlash following the passage of the “Ley Mordaza,” or “gag law,” stating that the new law would not limit press freedom.“The fact is that people will be able to do investigations the same way they always have,” Communications Minister Francisco Chacón said Tuesday at Casa Presidencial. “Everyone will still have access to public records. The intention is not to restrict the access of journalists.”According to Chacón the legislation is not new, but rather an expansion of a law from the 1940s that made the release of state secrets illegal. The new wording, the minister said, is intended only to extend those same principals to electronic communications that did not exist when the law was passed. The minister promised a formal clarification to be released as early as Wednesday to further explain the law’s intent. His response comes in the wake of criticism from the Costa Rican Journalists Association and rights groups, which claim that the law is designed to cover up government corruption.“According to this law, the publication of political secrets using tools like email, social media, video or any digital recording that is or can be damaging is subject to police persecution,” said Journalists Association President José Rodolfo Ibarra in a video on the group’s website.Ibarra said that recent investigations into government corruption would not have been possible under this law. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Libertarian lawmaker files criminal complaint against President Chinchilla over Peru trip

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first_imgLibertarian Movement Party (ML) lawmaker Patricia Pérez on Wednesday filed a legal complaint before the Chief Prosecutor’s Office against President Laura Chinchilla for an alleged conflict of interest and for allegedly receiving gifts from the Canadian firm THX Energy.The controversy began last weekend when the president made a previously unannounced trip to Peru to attend the wedding of Vice President Luis Liberman’s son.Chinchilla and her entourage traveled in a private jet owned by THX Energy. The president was accompanied by Communications Minister Francisco Chacón and his wife, Anabel González, Costa Rica’s minister of foreign trade.On Tuesday, Chacón said “there is no conflict of interest, because the Canadian firm’s only [commercial interest] in Costa Rica is a failed agricultural project for the production of palm oil,” the daily La Nación reported. “Chinchilla’s administration is not currently promoting gas exploration in the country,” he added. He also stated that the jet was provided via “collaboration” from the Canadian firm.Pérez said it is her responsibility as a public official to report any wrongdoings, especially when they are “this clear and obvious.”The government Public Ethics Office also announced on Tuesday that it would open its own investigation of ministers Chacón and González for the same reasons.Chinchilla said her trip was of a private nature, as she initially planned only to attend the wedding on Saturday, but then decided to use the trip to briefly meet with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala on Monday to talk about trade, security and investment, and to seek Peru’s support for Costa Rica’s entry in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).On Wednesday, during an official event to inaugurate new rail service to the colonial capital of Cartago, Chinchilla fielded only three questions from reporters, saying that all other expenses related to the trip, including food and lodging, were paid on her credit card, La Nación reported.“This trip followed the same parameters as other trips,” Chinchilla said. “I can guarantee that everything was paid on my credit card in a manner that not one cent of Costa Ricans’ money was touched.”  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rica establishes carbon market

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first_imgCosta Rican President Laura Chinchilla signed a decree on Tuesday morning announcing thefirst carbon market in the developing world. The market is the latest effort to bring the country toward its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2021.The Costa Rican Voluntary Domestic Carbon Market, or MDVCCR, aims to establish guidelines for the generation, issuance and exchange of carbon credits, called Costa Rican Compensation Units (UCC) from projects or activities originating in Costa Rica.Under the cap-and-trade scheme, companies will trade UCCs for the right to release carbon dioxide into the air to compensate for any emissions that cannot be reduced, according to a statement from the Casa Presidencial.The UCCs are tied to reforestation and conservation efforts that capture and sequester carbon dioxide, along with projects designed to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency.The Department of Climate Change will oversee the market’s administration, registration of projects and other technical needs.The carbon market is domestic and not currently open to foreign traders.The newspaper El Financiero reported Tuesday that the first trades could begin toward the end of 2014.  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Only God can save our souls says resident of Gaza area pounded

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first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica expresses outrage to Israeli ambassador over Gaza violence Israel, Hamas agree to 72-hour truce Israel, Palestinians accept midnight truce in Gaza Israel launches ground operation in Gaza GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — All night, the people of Gaza heard rumors of what was happening in Shijaiyah, the town glowing orange on the horizon, the scene of the most intense Israeli bombardment of the 13-day-old conflict.Then, during a brief cease-fire Sunday, they got a closer look.After a few hundred yards, Shijaiyah’s main boulevard became impassable for vehicles because of shredded trees and downed power lines. House after house showed signs of heavy damage and raging fires from sustained shelling by tanks and artillery.Shattered glass and household belongings — a stuffed animal, a pair of undershorts, a bag of mangos — were strewn on the sidewalks. Charred automobiles and at least two abandoned ambulances blocked the way.The earliest responders found bodies in the streets.The Gaza Health Ministry, run by Hamas, says that at least 70 Palestinians died in the Shijaiyah offensive, including at least 17 children and 14 women. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were also slain, seven of them when a mine blew up under their armored vehicle, military officials said.Reporters who arrived in the midafternoon during the cease-fire, arranged by the Red Crescent humanitarian organization, witnessed chaotic scenes of ambulance drivers struggling to fill their bays with wounded. On one street, seven stretchers were carried out of the rubble in 10 minutes. Some of the injured looked near death. Armed militants dashed down the street, their faces covered by checkered scarves.Journalists who arrived a little later were turned back by a man firing an automatic rifle into the air and screaming, “Only ambulances!”Israeli military officials said that Shijaiyah was an important and legitimate target — a stronghold for militants and a launchpad for constant rocket fire at Israel, with a dense urban population living atop a warren of tunnels used by militant wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Palestinians evacuate a young boy who was injured following an Israeli strike in Gaza City, on July 20, 2014. Mahmud Hams/AFPCapt. Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said the assault on Shijaiyah was intended to destroy Hamas tunnels and was not part of an effort by Israeli troops to move into the urban core or reoccupy the Gaza Strip.The district is less than a mile from the Israeli border, he said, and many of Hamas’s tunnels are that long. The militants, he added, were fighting back fiercely.Sami Abu Zohri, a Hamas spokesman, called the Israeli offensive in Shijaiyah “a massacre against civilians and a war crime.” He promised that “it will not break the people’s will. The resistance will continue.”In the early morning, thousands of panicked residents were fleeing the overcrowded community of shops and homes and heading into Gaza City.“I saw dead and injured on the street. I couldn’t help them. I couldn’t carry them. I had my arms full with my own children,” said Jalal Ghoula, an unemployed police officer who sat slumped in the shade of a brick wall outside the Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical center.Ghoula said that residents had been warned by the Israelis to evacuate but that many would leave the area briefly and then return. The United Nations is offering refuge in 60 vacant schools but provides the barest minimum — temporary safety, potable water and a floor to sleep on.“One of our neighbors ran out of his house and left behind his son,” a 4-year-old, Ghoula said, explaining that the man was confused and terrified. “He forgot him!”Ghoula left on foot with 32 relatives, including 19 children. “Only God saved our souls,” he said. A relative mourns among comrades of Sergeant Banaya Rubel, an Israeli soldier killed during the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, during his funeral in the city of Holon, near Tel Aviv on July 20, 2014. David Buimovitch/AFPInside the hospital, emergency rooms were overflowing with patients.“We’re completely full,” said Sohbi Skaik, a surgeon and medical director. “We are operating in the corridors.”Asked what kind of injuries he was seeing, Skaik said, “All kinds! Everything. Every way they are dying.”“This is the worst I have ever seen,” the physician said. “They are targeting whole families. Killing whole families. The number of children, the number of women. This is against life. This is inhumane.”In Gaza City, evacuees who arrived from Shijaiyah were being allowed to shelter in the lobbies of buildings, in corridors. They were exhausted, desperate, afraid and asking for food.Washington Post staff writer Ruth Eglash in Kfar Aza, Israel, contributed to this report.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Expansion of monoculture farming could mean extinction for some tropical birds

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first_imgOlder birds on the evolutionary tree are struggling more than the younger members of their feathered family when it comes to adapting to areas affected by agriculture. According to a new study published in the magazineScience on Friday, forest-dwelling birds in Costa Rica, like the trogon or resplendent quetzal, are especially struggling to adapt to areas converted into intense monocultures, like sugarcane and pineapple.Luke Frishkoff, a doctoral student at Stanford University, said the research was based on studies over 12 years looking at how to best preserve biodiversity in the tropics given that agriculture isn’t going away if humans want to keep eating. The collared trogon (Trogon collaris) is an evolutionarily distinct bird that declines in agriculture landscapes but thrives in tropical rain forest. Daniel Karp/ScienceThe study observed that birds with a longer evolutionary history were generally less able to successfully adapt to areas where people had cleared forests for agriculture, even if the farms had a variety of flora. Researchers observed the greatest variety of birds was in native forests, but that figure dropped by 15 percent in diversified farmland — plots with a several types of crops or other vegetation, like trees — and 40 percent in monocultures. Birds in the trogon family, ant birds, and ground-dwelling birds were among those most affected by human agriculture. Because forest-affiliated birds tend to be older and less successful adapting to diversified and monoculture agricultural development, the study concluded that preserving forests is essential to protect evolutionary history.Biodiversity can be a boon to farmland productivity if farmers take steps to preserve habitats. Birds that thrived in agricultural lands also tend to be more closely related than the more evolutionarily distinct forest-dwelling birds.“Think about it in terms of the stock market,” Frishkoff told The Tico Times in a telephone interview. “You want a diversified portfolio.”Frishkoff said the same logic works for the environment. Biodiversity plays an important role in agriculture with different species offering different ecological services to humans. One important contribution for agriculture is pest control, for example. The more kinds of birds in a given area means that humans could rely on them for a variety of services, like gobbling up several kinds of pests instead of just one.Frishkoff pointed out that biological diversity, something for which Costa Rica is famous, also has its own aesthetic value and contributes to the country’s famous wildlife tourism.Planting trees, “living barriers” of other vegetation to separate crops, or using a combination of crops on the same land were some steps that farmers could take to support more biodiversity on their land.“A little bit goes a long way to shift the balance between a total biological wasteland and something that some species are able to use,” Frishkoff said.The Stanford University lab will next look at why it is that some birds can more successfully adapt to these altered environments. The team hopes to develop a model that could help predict how birds would fare in different kinds of human-affected environments. Facebook Comments Related posts:Nearly 14,000 sickened banana workers to receive payment for pesticide exposure Costa Rica’s erupting volcanoes may help slow global warming Perplexing ‘platypus’ dinosaur discovered in Chile Sea Shepherd’s R/V Martin Sheen lands in Costa Rica for 4-month research missionlast_img read more

Climate talks teeter as developing nations cry foul

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first_imgBONN,Germany — Developing nations accused rich ones at crunch climate talks Monday of sidelining their interests, even as France’s president and the White House stepped up efforts to seal a global deal.U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said the 195-nation negotiations in Bonn were “frustrating” and “slow.”“We don’t have any ‘plan B’ because we don’t have any ‘planet B,’” he told journalists in the Slovak capital Bratislava.In Paris, French president Francois Hollande affirmed: “there will be a deal” coming out of the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 climate summit in the French capital, but cautioned against a hollow result.“The question is at what level the agreement will be reached, and whether we will be able to revise it regularly,” he said. “That’s what is at stake.”The White House hailed a pledge by dozens of major U.S. companies — whose CEOs were to meet with President Barack Obama later Monday — to back the climate accord and step up their own emissions reduction efforts.In Bonn, however, talks took a detour when a bloc of more than 130 developing nations — including China and India — rejected a slimmed-down, draft agreement prepared for their five-day parlay, the last before the Paris summit.The text, slashed from 80 to 20 pages by a pair of U.S. and Algerian diplomats leading the process, left out redline demands on finance and fairness, they complained.The text as it stands “is extremely unbalanced and lopsided,” South Africa’s climate envoy Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko told an opening session, and “jeopardizes the interests and positions of developing countries.”Diseko likened developed countries’ stance to “apartheid” and the disenfranchisement of blacks by South Africa’s racist regime.Scientists say national carbon-curbing pledges submitted by more than 150 nations so far will not reach the U.N.-backed goal of preventing global temperatures from rising by more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).As a result, many nations, NGOs and observers demand the Paris deal must include provisions for regularly ramping up ambition. These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, will be a pillar of the Paris agreement, due to enter into force in 2020.Developing nations were also up in arms about the lack of assurances on financial aid.Rich countries have pledged to cough up $100 billion per year from 2020 to boost carbon reduction efforts and help vulnerable states brace for impacts ranging from drought and superstorms to food shortages.But so far, the wording has remained vague on where the money will come from, the split between grants or loans, and how much will be earmarked for boosting resilience.The new draft “completely ignored the submissions of G77 on finance,” said Gurdial Singh Nijar, a spokesman for the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) group, which falls within the G77.‘The world is watching’The five-day huddle in Bonn offers the last chance for rank-and-file negotiators to barter on the wording of the pact meant to crown more than two decades of fractious negotiations. The draft that emerges will be taken in hand by ministers and heads of state for the hard political compromises that will be required to seal a deal in Paris.“The whole world is watching us,” Peru’s Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal told negotiators.“The (Paris) agreement must launch the transformation of our economies toward a low carbon and resilient … society.”Rather than revising the draft agreement, as scheduled, diplomats spent Monday re-submitting paragraphs and pages into the streamlined document, intended as a basis for political decision-makers in Paris.The climate pact would be the first signed by all the world’s nations.The global thermometer has already gone up by 0.8 C since the mid-19th century, and U.S. government scientists have said 2015 is likely to overtake 2014 as the hottest year on record.Based on emissions-curbing pledges so far, the planet is on course for warming of around 3 C, say analysts. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica climate avenger takes questions on Reddit Mexico sets greenhouse gas target for UN climate talks Can a Canadian firm pull carbon from air to make fuel? Weather disasters have doubled in past 30 years: UN reportlast_img read more

Documentary featuring former Costa Rica first lady premieres in San José

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first_imgSee also: Discovering Henrietta – the Alabama woman who became Costa Rica’s First Lady“First Lady of the Revolution,” the new documentary that tells the story of U.S. citizen and former first lady of Costa Rica Henrietta Boggs, holds its Costa Rica premiere Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the Cine Magaly in San José.The film is a production of the Washington, D.C.-based company Spark Media and directed by award-winning documentarian Andrea Kalin, whose previous films have brought to the screen the lives of medical pioneers (“Partners of the Heart,” 2003), trailblazing doctors from inner-city Newark (“The Pact,” 2006) and Syrian activists (“Red Lines,” 2014). The new film got its start when Kalin met Boggs at a party in D.C. and was captivated by the Alabama native’s natural gifts as a storyteller – not to mention the stories themselves.Boggs first came to Costa Rica in 1940 to visit relatives. The trip, her first ever outside of the United States, became an extended stay when she met and married José “Pepe” Figueres, the future revolutionary and three-time president of Costa Rica. She was at his side during his first forays into politics and his exile, and spent part of Costa Rica’s 1948 revolution scrambling with her young children through the Cerro de la Muerte, or “Hill of Death,” carrying her youngest in her arms over the high, cold, rough terrain to escape enemy fire. Henrietta Boggs and José Figueres in the 1940s. (Courtesy of the Figueres Family)Boggs became the first lady of Costa Rica at the age of 29, but left that life behind when she returned to the United States with her children, José Martí and Muni, as her marriage to Figueres ended. Very few people aside from Figueres himself knew that the first lady and the first children were getting on that plane never to return — at least, not in that role. Boggs went on to work with the Costa Rican delegation at the United Nations, to pursue her interest in writing, and eventually to found “Montgomery Living” magazine back home in Alabama.“First Lady of the Revolution” comes off a successful screening at Birmingham, Alabama’s Sidewalk Film Festival, where it won three awards, including the Audience Award for Best Alabama Film. Earlier this year, Boggs, now 98, delivered a speech at the TEDx Pura Vida conference outside San José, and participated in a panel discussion at a preliminary screening of the film.Following the premiere, the film will enter a limited release at the Cine Magaly (Sept. 22-28), with additional educational screenings at the Jade Museum on Oct. 3 and Oct. 10-12.Check out the film’s trailer, visit its official website, or read our feature and interview with Henrietta Boggs here. Related posts:Got 10 minutes? Get inspired with one of our faves from the SHNIT Shortfilm Festival 5 questions for film director Juan Feldman Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Facebook Commentslast_img read more

How sweet it is plants that may support diabetes treatment

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first_img Facebook Comments Some years ago, I started meeting neighbors who were very excited about a new medicinal plant that was big newsen el barrio. They called it insulina, or insulin, because of the positive role it can play in treating diabetes. Later, Telenoticias highlighted a farmer in Zarcero, Victor Julio Rodríguez Campos, who has been growing and using the same plant for treating diabetes. He sell his insulina plants in the local farmers’ market to help people with diabetes.According to Rodríguez, many years ago he bought a plant and took it home to try to treat his diabetic condition. At first he was skeptical, but after trying the insulin tea he went from taking 100 units of insulin to only 20 units. He drinks a tea made with 4 or 5 leaves in half a glass of boiling water. He lets it sit for 6 or more hours, then sips it during the morning and afternoon. He mentioned that you have to use it regularly for good results.Since diabetes is one of the leading chronic degenerative conditions many people face in their lives, I thought it appropriate to point out that various medicinal plants are helping people improve their health naturally.The scientific name the plant called insulina is Justicia secenda. It is found in many parts of Latin America, and is also used for colds and flu, as a sedative, to reduce inflammation and to eliminate kidney stones. Insulina is a member of the Acanthaceae family, as well as Justicia pectorals or tila in Spanish, a medicinal plant often used to treat insomnia.Both of these plants are easy to grow in pots and have no major insect problems or plant diseases. The plants do produce flowers and seeds, but most people propagate these plants with stem cuttings that can be planted in prepared potting soil. Keep them well watered and in partial shade until they are well rooted and sprouting foliage.Insulina grows on a wide range of soils and seems to like full to partial shade. In the dry season, they’ll need watering several times a week. Insulina is so popular these days, youíll find plants in farmerís markets and local nurseries.Another plant that also has the nickname “insulina” is stevia or Stevia rebaudiana, whose leaves have a sugary flavor, but with no sugar. Native to Uruguay and Paraguay, it is now grown in many parts of the world. It was introduced to Costa Rica around 1990 and has been gaining popularity as a natural sweetener. This non-toxic plant, which belongs to the Aster family, contains stevioside, a crystalline diterpene glycoside that stimulates our sweet taste buds but does not contain sugars or calories. Stevia also has a number of traditional medicinal uses. Several indigenous tribes of South America have used it as a digestive aid; they also apply it topically to heal wounds. Recent clinical studies have shown that stevia decreases blood sugar levels, and is much safer than aspartame (Whitaker 1994).It grows well in a potted herb gardens and can be found in many nurseries around the country. Once you have a plant, it is easy to propagate new plants with stem cuttings, as I mentioned previously, so you can have a dozen or more stevia plants around with an abundant supply of leaves to use. We use the mature leaves as our sweetener for herbal teas. Dried leaves are more potent than fresh ones; one tablespoon of dried leaves is enough to sweeten 1 L of herbal tea.So there you have it: a perfect substitute for sugar and an herb that helps in the challenge of diabetes. Many resources are available online, particularly on YouTube, that help us learn more about how we can regain our health with nutrition, herbs, exercise and a healthy lifestyle, as well as medical support when needed.Read more of Ed Bernhardt’s monthly Home Gardening columns here.For more information on tropical gardening – naturally – visit Ed at http://thenewdawncenter.info/blog.html or contact him at thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com.  Related posts:Meet your garden’s new best friend: baking soda Seed festival is a gardener’s dream come true Costa Rican plants for aches and pains Plant one of these trees for Arbor Daylast_img read more

5 questions for a Costa Rican musician dancer and model

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first_imgRelated posts:5 questions for a Costa Rican musicologist, composer and writer 5 questions for Costa Rican DJ Esteban Howell 5 questions for Costa Rican musician Debi Nova 5 questions for rising stars from La Carpio Costa Rican musician, dancer and model David Castillo has forged a short yet passionate path through the arts since he was four years old, exploring various artistic expressions and disciplines.That was his age when his mother enrolled him in piano classes at Manitas Musicales (Musical Little Hands) at the National Music Institute (IMN), the place where his early musical training began. Castillo then studied piano at the National University (UNA)’s Pre-University Program of Musical Training and the Castella Conservatory. He was one of three people to obtain a space to study piano in 2016 at the University of Costa Rica (UCR).Along the way, Castillo has also experimented with the popular Korean music genre called K-Pop; last year he joined a dance group called K-Type which has performed twice at the K-Pop World Festival Costa Rica organized by the Korean Embassy in Costa Rica. This year, K-Type won first place in the contest, which means they have a shot at attending the international final in Changwon, South Korea.Castillo also debuted this year as a model for the Costa Rican company The Aegency, which got him a gig to model for Mexican designer MANCANDY during this year’s edition of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in San José.Castillo says he hopes to build a life that he’s both proud and passionate about.“There’s always that fear that things don’t result as you expect. I’m doing all of this because I want to achieve a goal in my life. I’d like to be someone important, someone that is known as important for society. An influence. An example to follow,” Castillo told The Tico Times.On a chilly afternoon at Neshuma restaurant in San Pedro, east of San José, The Tico Times sat down and spoke with Castillo, 18, about his life and work. Excerpts follow.What did it make you feel to know that you had achieved one of the three spaces for piano at the UCR Music School?It really meant a lot to me. I was very happy and excited… I think that the fact of being so young and getting in to the [university program] made it a bit difficult to adapt to certain things. I felt a lot of pressure and stress, but in the end I got used to it and now I’m putting all of my effort in.Which musical genres do you like to play? Classical music. I think I’m good at it. What I find more difficult to play is baroque music. For example, Bach requires a lot of technique, but with classical music I’m good, especially with Mozart or Haydn.Contemporary music is something that I hadn’t explored until I got to university and the truth is that I’ve been loving it. Contemporary music breaks all the rules within the composition and all of the styles imposed by classicism. You can jump from place to place, make dissonance everywhere, and the interpretation is something super important. I really like contemporary music a lot now. Courtesy of David Castillo When you perform live on the piano, what do you feel? Before answering, I must tell you what I feel before playing, which is the most horrible thing that you can feel. You feel nervous. Your hands get frozen. You sometimes feel like throwing up and you can’t breathe, which happens more if you’re onstage behind the curtain. You see the audience.It’s the worst thing, but once you get out and play, when it’s your turn, it’s as if you forget everything that’s around you. You’re there and enter a connection between the piano and you. All of your nerves, worries and mundane thoughts disappear, and in that moment the most important thing is music itself. It’s not even the fact that you’re playing. It’s about how you transmit the music through the piano.Regarding K-Pop, what drew your attention to it and what made you start practicing it? I’ve always liked K-Pop. I started listening to a group named Super Junior and then others such as Shiny. I was only in fourth grade. I liked it a lot, but I only listened to it… When I was asked to join a group, the first dance group before K-Type, that I started acquiring more interest in this type of music.Before I was only a fan. Now I’m thinking about being more than a fan by being onstage, giving a good show to the audience and all of that. The truth is that I love it.How does your modeling differ from the academic music and K-Pop? Actually, they can all be related. They’re all opposites, but the reality is that I look how to join them.For example, at the runway you’re asked to know how to walk. You can’t walk as if you were walking down the street. There’s a certain posture, certain attitude and certain equilibrium when walking. There’s also a certain rhythm while walking as well. So music has helped me a lot in acquiring a certain ease while doing runways and I’ve been told that. David Castillo modeling a MANCANDY design during this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in San José. Courtesy of David Castillo“Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at elang@ticotimes.net. 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