No related posts. A Finance Ministry analysis of financial statements from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) shows a steady decline of revenue, especially in the last year.The report notes that in 2011, ICE closed the year with a loss of $43.7 million and a profitability of –2.1 percent, according to an audited financial statement, the daily La Nación reported Tuesday.The report included the company’s two main businesses, electricity and telecommunications. ICE’s biggest losses were registered in the telecommunications sector, with a loss of almost $30 million in 2011. This sector shows “a downward trend in net incomes,” decreasing from $167 million in 2007 to $7.1 million in 2011, La Nación noted, citing the Finance Ministry report. The report also warns of an alarming increase in the company’s debt, which grew by 184 percent in four years, while incomes increased just 26 percent in the same period.ICE’s executive director, Teófilo de la Torre, told La Nación he was concerned about the financial situation, but described the loss as “small” when compared with the company’s total assets. However, he said ICE is committed to reducing costs by $160 million by year’s end by cutting travel expenses and overtime pay and freezing hiring. De la Torre attributed ICE’s fiscal problems to the opening of the telecommunications market in Costa Rica.Not another CajaShortly before departing for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, President Laura Chinchilla said ICE will not become a “Caja 2,” referring to the troubled Social Security System, or Caja, which accrued a $92 billion deficit last year, resulting in the Caja board of directors voting unanimously to request the resignations of all six top department managers. Chinchilla said her administration is paying “much attention to ICE’s financial problems,” and are in the process of “ensuring that [ICE] will not face the financial problems the Caja is facing.”She also stressed that De la Torre is already implementing corrective measures. Facebook Comments
No related posts. Bogotá, Colombia – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Colombia on Sunday as he launched a six-day tour that will also take him to the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil.The visit –Biden’s fourth to the region since becoming vice president in January 2009 – will see him discuss bilateral, regional and global issues with key leaders.The trip will be a chance to discuss “economic growth and development, access to energy and our ongoing collaboration on citizen security,” the White House said in a statement.It also comes just days before Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to travel to Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago on his way to a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama on June 7-8 in Rancho Mirage, California.Senior Obama administration officials dismissed concerns that Xi’s visit and potential new Chinese investments in the region he may be announcing would undercut Washington’s commitment to Latin America.“We don’t really see ourselves as being in competition with any particular actor in the Americas,” a senior administration official said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.“We’re very pleased with the type of trade that we engage in throughout the Americas, a very diversified … type of trade. It’s a trade that emphasizes the value-added products from many countries throughout the region.”Biden’s regional tour follows President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Mexico and Costa Rica.On Monday, the U.S. vice president will meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, then visit a flower farm outside Bogotá. Cut flowers are one of Colombia’s most valuable exports, and the United States is its biggest market.Biden landed in Bogotá just hours after the government and leftist FARC rebels announced they had reached a deal on land reform, one of the most contentious items in negotiations aimed at ending five decades of insurgency.In Trinidad and Tobago, Biden will meet with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and talk with other Caribbean leaders about energy, economic integration and citizen security, the White House said.On Wednesday, Biden will deliver a speech in Rio de Janeiro showcasing Brazil as a strategic U.S. partner, and meet with Brazilian business and community leaders.Those meetings will include a tour of a site managed by the semi-public Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.Biden will also meet with President Dilma Rousseff and Brazil’s vice president to “discuss ways to deepen our economic and commercial partnership,” the White House said. Facebook Comments
Related posts:Costa Rican government presents national budget for 2014 Unions call for nationwide protest against proposed budget cuts Costa Rica’s Solís denies secret agreement with unions on Monday’s strike Chinchilla calls public-workers strike a ‘shameful act’ The Legislative Assembly on Wednesday passed in a second and final round of voting the 2014 national budget for ₡6.6 trillion ($13.1 billion).The amount is equivalent to 24.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) – estimated at $45.1 billion in 2013 – and represents a 3.1 percent increase over the 2013 budget. Approved at ₡6.4 trillion, that 2013 budget was 7.5 percent higher than that in 2012.A majority of 27 lawmakers voted in favor while 19 voted against. Costa Rica’s Constitution requires lawmakers to approve the national budget by Nov. 30.Lawmakers from the Libertarian Movement Party and the Citizen Action Party voted against, taking issue with how the budget stipulates that 42.7 percent of government spending next year will be financed by loans.Social Christian Unity Party representatives also voted against the budget because the amount allocated for education will be of 7.2 percent of GDP, while the country’s Constitution establishes that it should be at least 8 percent.Although it did not meet the 8 percent requirement, education accounts for the largest chunk of the spending, as the budget assigned 29.1 percent to that area, followed by 10.6 percent for public sector pensions, 5.3 percent for the Judicial Branch, 5.2 percent for the Labor Ministry and 4.5 percent for the Public Works and Transport Ministry.The spending plan allocates some 50 percent of the budget for social sectors including education, health, housing, culture and recreation. Facebook Comments
U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Central American leaders, including Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís, during the Summit of the Americas on April 10 and 11 in Panama, according to Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel González and U.S. sources.President Solís confirmed Wednesday that he and Obama would have a brief face-to-face meeting sometime on Friday.Solís said he would make the case to Obama to include Costa Rica in the proposed $1 billion aid package designated for the so-called Northern Triangle countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala.The aid package, which has yet to be approved by the U.S. Congress, is currently aimed primarily at improving public security and creating economic opportunities in the hopes of decreasing illegal immigration from those countries to the U.S.Solís said he and Obama would also discuss combating extreme poverty, U.S. policy in Latin America and pending issues from Obama’s previous visit to Costa Rica in May 2013 to meet with then-President Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014).He said they might also discuss Russia’s newly-invigorated military ties with Nicaragua.The two world leaders will participate in three events in total during the summit, including one with members of the Central American Integration System (SICA).Solís and Obama have only met once, at a reception during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in September 2014.The 7th Summit of the Americas’ theme is “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas.”AFP contributed to this report. Facebook Comments Related posts:Cuba, Venezuela likely to overshadow Central American issues at Panama summit Cuban dissident held briefly in Panama ahead of summit Presidents Obama, Solís meet at Summit of the Americas After 23 years, the US is dropping its claim that Cuba sponsors terrorism. Here’s what it means.
PUERTO VIEJO, Limón — Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez has a life story with more twists and turns than a Cold War thriller, a Hollywood movie and a conspiracy buff’s fondest dream.The 53-year-old New Yorker, now living in Puerto Viejo on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, is the daughter of the German spy Marita Lorenz, dubbed “the Mata Hari of the Caribbean,” who had an affair with Fidel Castro and then was recruited by the CIA to assassinate him.When that failed, her next mission involved deposed Venezuelan dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez, with whom she had another affair and became pregnant with Monica. Marita Lorenz with young Monica. (Courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez)Lorenz’s CIA handler, Monica says, was none other than Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis, who had his own connections to Castro, and allegedly to the John F. Kennedy assassination.As if all that weren’t enough, Monica’s story gets really strange when she says she tried to shoot Sturgis in New York in 1977 — when she was a 15-year-old girl — because she believed he was about to kill her mother. Frank Sturgis’ mug shot after Watergate break-in arrest. (Google Images)The Tico Times interviewed Monica on the property she shares with her boyfriend in Puerto Viejo. A transcript of the conversation follows, edited for length, with material in [brackets] added for clarity and background.TT: So where do we start this story? Can you tell me how your mom, coming from Germany, ended up becoming a spy for the CIA?MMPJ: My grandfather, Heinrich Lorenz, was captain of the ocean liner The Bremen, which used to sail from Germany to Cuba and other places. My mother would sometimes stow away on the ship. She was a young, beautiful, 19-year-old girl. When the ship docked in Cuba, my grandfather was asleep, and my mom welcomed Fidel onto the boat. That’s how she met Fidel. Marita Lorenz, the German lover of Fidel Castro, who was recruited by the CIA to assassinate the Cuban leader. (Courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez)Why did Fidel come onto the boat?Because the boat was in Cuban waters.What year was this?This was in ’59.He came to power in ’59, right?Yeah, he came to power in ’59. Fidel came onboard the ship and met my mother. They made an instant connection. Mom went back to New York and then she was called back by Fidel to work as an interpreter. She went back to Cuba, and that’s how her relationship started with Castro. Marita Lorenz with Fidel Castro. (Google Images)She became pregnant with Castro’s child and had a life-altering experience. She was drugged in her last trimester and woke up with no child. This brutality caused her to go back to the United States. And that is when the CIA recruited her.Do you mean she had an abortion?She would not choose to abort so late, as she was excited to be a mother. Castro would not have kept her around if he wanted to have the child aborted. I don’t know for sure. All I know is what my mother has told me. Castro was away when this happened to her — she was in her eighth month, and she was given something to drink, and she woke up and there was no child.So the presumption is that Castro’s people forced an abortion?When you’re in that late of a term, you can also be clinically induced and have the baby taken out of you still alive.You mean you don’t know if the child was —My mother believes the child was born alive. I cannot say for sure. Let’s remember this was before my time and this is Marita’s story to tell. Either way, she was a vulnerable young woman sent back to the United States sick and childless. That is when the CIA got ahold of her and started mind control.Because the CIA found out that she had a connection to Castro.Right. And they wanted to remove Castro.So what do you mean ‘mind control’?The means they used to brainwash my mother to go back to be an assassin were inhuman, to say the least. They used a combination of drugs, sleep deprivation and stimuli, consistent audio and visual stimuli. They would play recordings of baby cries, they would show her pictures of dismembered fetuses and they would say, “This is what Castro did to your baby. OK, now you need to go back and kill him.” Everything was in the name of God also … God wanted her to kill Castro. The U.S. government has stated that it had a program called MKUltra that used these kind of tactics to turn people into assassins.So the CIA has now created the perfect assassin … or so they thought.They gave her poison pills?Yes, they gave her botulinum toxin pills to poison Castro.To poison his food.Or his drink or whatever. She couldn’t bring herself to do it. She loved him. She was 19, and Fidel was the very first person that she ever loved. But once you’ve been recruited by the CIA, you have to continue working for them.Like the mob.Right, like the mob. You’ve already been schooled, you’ve already been trained. The cross-ties between the mob and the CIA at that time were very strong — especially when we go into the Kennedy assassination, which is another thing my mom has ties to. I sat through the House Assassination Committee hearing while my mother testified.Really?I actually fell asleep during some of the testimony. I was a teenager and my mother didn’t want to leave me home, fearing my life would be in danger. I remember it was really boring, I had to sit there for hours and it was killing me — a big room and a bunch of talking heads.So your mom met Lee Harvey Oswald? Reputed Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. (Google Images)There are pictures of her with Frank Sturgis and a man she called Ozzie. Frank Sturgis, the Watergate burglar, was my mother’s handler. But let me tell you how she got to the Kennedy thing.My mom, after her failed Fidel mission, was still useful, but not on that level. So she was sent to my father [deposed Venezuelan President Marcos Pérez Jiménez] to pick up funds for the CIA. My father got thrown out of Venezuela for stealing money from the country and other crimes. They booted him and his family out and he went to the U.S. Venezuelan dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez on the cover of Time Magazine. (Time Magazine)Now at that particular point, he’s worth $600 million, one of the richest men in the world. So he was in Florida and had to pay off the government in order to stay in the U.S. So my mother was picking up the money. She didn’t know who my father was when she met him, because he went by “General” Marcos Pérez Jiménez. Nor did she know he was married. A little thing my father forgot to mention.She said she figured out who my father was when she saw a coin, and the coin had my father’s face on it.So now she meets this man, and as she likes to say, “with a bottle of nice fine Rhine wine,” she conceived me and became his amante, or mistress, in Miami. My father put her up in her own place while she was pregnant.Mama wanted out of the CIA. She wanted a normal life. She thought that she couldn’t have children anymore, then she gets pregnant with me. She just wanted to nest and have her baby and this man was willing to give her a normal life. She was 22 and my father was in his late 40s.When I was about 1 and a half, I lived a life of being a president’s daughter until he was extradited back to Venezuela to be imprisoned. Now my father had recognized me and that’s why I have my name. He had left me a large trust fund at that time.What’s a ‘large’ trust fund?In the hundreds of thousands…. I try not to think about it. Deposed Venezuelan President Marcos Pérez Jiménez is extradited from the U.S. to his home country to face embezzlement charges in 1963. (Courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez)Why was he extradited? For being a dictator?Yes. For stealing money from the Venezuelan people and other crimes, which is why he was thrown out. When Papa was extradited, his lawyer, David Walters [who was appointed U.S. envoy to the Vatican by President Carter in 1978] was in charge of my trust fund.So once my father went to jail, we were left to the lions. There was a clause in my father’s trust fund that you couldn’t reveal the unknown donor, because he was married. The lawyer told my mother, “The only way you’re going to save this man is if you sue him for paternity. That will keep him in the country.”I just read that online, that his extradition was delayed because of a paternity suit by your mom.Marita loved my father and was desperately trying to help him from being extradited, so she followed David Walter’s advice. So, my mother sues him for paternity and now she’s in the public arena with his love child and my father is in jail in Venezuela.Now, with the paternity suit comes the media. I have pictures where my mom is walking into court, beautiful blonde, and there are pictures of me with her. There’s a huge one in the spy museum in Germany. I am the spitting image of my father, spitting image. They used to call me “the little dictator” because I looked just like him. It was funny, but not to his wife. I can understand her anger but not her cruelty. I was just a baby. Marita Lorenz with daughter Monica. Note the resemblance between Monica and her father, below. (Google Images) Venezuelan President Marcos Pérez Jiménez pumping iron. (Google Images)So my mother goes to visit him in jail, but when she comes back there is an attempt on her life. She is also pregnant again, with my father’s second child, which she loses. The only people with motivation to remove us was Mrs. Pérez Jiménez and David Walters. She’s publicly embarrassed, and she’s the wife of a dictator.She’s used to getting her way.And she is a scorned woman. So what happens is, on the pretense that my mother’s going back to visit my father, which she did one time before that, we boarded a small airplane to see him again.This was about 1964-ish?Right. Mama tells me how we get on the airplane, and when we are up in the air she notices that they’re going towards the jungle, and the airplane lands in the middle of the Amazon jungle in Venezuela somewhere.There’s just the pilot and us. It was an old emerald mine, that’s all Marita remembered. He landed on the strip and he took a gun out and he told her, “Get out. Get out and take your kid with you. And whatever you do, don’t smile — it’s considered a sign of aggression.” (The natives considered smiling aggressive because it shows teeth, and when animals show teeth it’s a sign of aggression.)You were 1 and a half?Yeah, 1 and a half, 2-ish. I do have one memory of this, which is interesting. I remember my mama being deathly afraid and me holding her leg, and I could feel the fear in her leg. And I remember all the green around me.So they left us there, and a tribe of Indians came, and my mother tells me the story of how she got very sick with malaria and they took care of her. She said I had lederhosen on at the time. “They took the lederhosen off you, they stripped you,” she goes. “They sewed [the lederhosen] up and made a water bottle out of it and carried water with it. And they cut your hair, bowl cut, they put paint on you.”They put paint on your face?I was darker. I’m darker than my mom — remember, I’m half Latin, so they just took me in as one of their kids while my mom was lying deathly ill.These are like Yanomami type of aboriginal people? A Yanomami girl and child (for illustrative purposes). (CMacauley via Wikimedia)Yeah. We spent months in the jungles until my grandmother sent the Red Cross, which finally found us. My grandmother was also aware of my mother’s activities. She had started a search for us.Before we got dropped in the jungles, my mother knew that my father’s wife was trying to have us eliminated, and she had contacted her CIA people again and said, “I need help.” They said, “Well, if you want help to keep you alive, keep you away from Mrs. Pérez Jiménez, you’re going to have to do a little something-something for that.” So that was when she had her Dallas trip. She was by accident in Dallas, to be a woman decoy with a group of men.[Lorenz has said she met Kennedy’s reputed assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in the fall of 1963 in Miami, where she said Oswald, Sturgis and other men were studying Dallas street maps. Lorenz says she traveled with the men to Dallas carrying “rifles and scopes,” but left the day after they arrived. Kennedy was assassinated shortly afterward in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.] A photo said to show Lee Harvey Oswald, left, and Frank Sturgis. (JFKMurderSolved.com) Photo from the same day said to show Lee Harvey Oswald, Frank Sturgis and Marita Lorenz. (educationforum.ipbhost.com)Years later — now we’re going to jump from when I’m about 4 to when I’m about 15. Throughout those years, I grew up in New York City with my mom working for CIA, FBI, different agencies. It was me, my mom and my grandma until my brother Mark came along in ’69. My grandma would take me to ballet lessons, trying to give me a normal life. I loved her very much.Then around the age of 15, which is ’76, ’77, my mother is subpoenaed to the House Assassination Committee for Kennedy. [The House Select Committee on Assassinations first convened in 1976 and reported in 1979 that Kennedy’s murder was probably the result of a conspiracy, disagreeing with the Warren Commission report that Oswald acted alone.] The House Select Committee on Assassinations. (Wikimedia)Prior to that, her old handler, Frank Sturgis, started to come around more, was buddy-buddy. He had exposed himself in the media for whatever reason and he was taking my mom down with him. [Sturgis had been convicted in 1973 of the Watergate break-in and served 13 months in prison.]This is how my life crosses from being a normal girl into being forced to be part of my mom’s cloak-and-dagger lifestyle.First of all, I’m a physical product of one of her assignments. That’s the first thing. I’m now exposed as a tool to help a president not get extradited when I’m 1, 2 years old. Now I’m 15 years old, and Frank Sturgis is out there talking to Geraldo, talking to this one, talking to that one, exposes my mother as a CIA agent, exposes her and now she gets subpoenaed. Great! Now Frank doesn’t want my mom to say certain things because they implicate him and his buddies.So my grandma — a very strong, lovely, beautiful woman, 60-something years old at the time — takes a little stumble and hurts her shoulder. They [Sturgis’ associates] take her to one of their doctors and my grandmother gets an injection. Now my grandmother is dying of an unknown paralysis. She also knows everything.This is a message to my mother, Marita — we got one of your family, we’re going to get more of them unless you change your testimony, and make sure you say what you need to say. Now that would be perjury. Now you’ve got somebody threatening your life and wanting you to lie under oath.It was Halloween of 1977, and Frank was threatening my mom to change her testimony, and my grandmother is dying in the other room. [Monica’s grandmother died shortly afterward.] Photos of Frank Sturgis. (Wikimedia)So he calls up very aggravated and he’s starting to indirectly threaten my mother, in terms I knew were threats. My mother tapes every single phone call. And when I hear this, I know what’s happening now. OK, you already got my grandma, now you’re going to take my mama too? No, you’re not.So being raised with Marita Lorenz, I had in my basement a firing range, a shooting range, with BB guns and everything. From very early on I was raised knowing guns. Marita always made sure that I knew about weapons. I was taught to be able to defend myself with or without weapons. I would set listening devices in our apartment for parties where there were people of interest. I was being trained for that work. And I was privy to Mom’s little Minox cameras and numerous other spy techniques — Mommy was a spy. I just wanted to be a kid.When she worked for the FBI, she used to pick out documents from the garbage, and my brother, we’d have to put them together like puzzles: “OK, who gets the first page together gets a prize.” [Monica’s brother Mark, eight years her junior, was born to Lorenz while married to an FBI agent named Louis Yurasits.] That’s how we were raised.And so by the time I was 15, I knew how to fire a gun, I knew how to take a gun apart and put it back together, and I was a pretty decent shot.So when I knew Frank was going to come talk to my mother about [how she was going to testify], I truly thought he was going to kill my mother.So I waited outside for him with a gun because I was planning on shooting him as he walked into our apartment building.Frank Sturgis. Frank Sturgis. He was arrested for coercion, and when they arrested him going up to my mother’s house, he had weapons in his bag.The only reason he got arrested was because, when I was downstairs waiting for him with a gun, somebody saw me, a little girl with my Catholic girl school uniform, brandishing a gun.What kind of gun? It was a .25 automatic. So, 15-year-old, .25 automatic, I think I’m going to take down a known CIA big shot, but I don’t take into consideration range, I don’t take into consideration shooting across an avenue. So a man was coming down the block, and I actually shot at him, but it was not Frank.Did you miss him, I hope?I did miss him. My intention was to, à la Mafia, try to take him out from below the waist, to try to stop him from walking into the building. I did not want to kill him, but I was prepared, if that were to happen.Now there’s a man walking into the building to kill my mother and I ****ed up and didn’t hit him, so now I’m freaking out.Now I see a cop car that’s all the way down at the end of the street and it’s blocking the street. And then as I’m getting up I see that there’s no traffic anymore and then I see that there’s another cop car down the street. So now everything around me is blocked off, because somebody saw me shooting across the street and now there’s a sniper.I don’t have the chance to do anything else. My neighborhood is blocked off and now there are cops everywhere. Then a cop comes towards me, Terry, who happened to know me and who was a friend of my mother’s.And he said, “Do you have a gun?” And I was like, “Yes, I have a gun. But you need to get upstairs because there’s a man upstairs about to kill my mom.”While I was cuffed in the police car, Terry takes my gun from the pocket of my Catholic school uniform jacket, over my skirt, and in my other pocket I have bullets and Fireball candies, so get that visual.When I was arrested I was released into my mother’s custody because I was a juvenile. And I was not arrested for attempted murder, I was arrested for possession of a loaded firearm, a lesser charge, thanks to the officer who knew me. Terry wiped the gun off and took the bullets. He said to me, “You never fired this, just remember that,” and I said, “OK.” And this officer saved me because he knew what kind of dirt-bag Sturgis was and that I was a good Catholic girl, just trying to protect her mama.So, on Oct. 31, 1977, while other kids my age were out trick-or-treating, I was getting arrested and interrogated. Then he [Sturgis] shows up and he also gets arrested. So now I have accomplished what I wanted to do — I stopped this man from getting upstairs to my mama.Because you told the police that he was coming.Right, and they waited for him.[Charges against Sturgis were dropped within a week when the prosecutor told the judge there was no evidence that Sturgis coerced or harassed Lorenz.] News story in 1977 saying charges against Frank Sturgis had been dropped. (Google News)Before this my mom was earning money working for the government. After that happened, everything was cut off and we went on welfare, we went all the way down to homelessness. I lived on the top of my girlfriend’s roof. Now mind you, I go to the welfare office and they say, “What’s your last name? Pérez Jiménez, really? Your father’s worth 600 million dollars, right?” And I’m like, “Yeah, I’ve never seen a penny.”What happened to your trust fund? It was taken away when my mother revealed the unknown donor. I went to Spain to see my father twice before his death. I was greeted with threats of arrest by his family. All my attempts were met with venom. So the last time I ever saw my father was when I was a baby, before he went to prison.So the FBI, the CIA, you had no more support from the government after that?No. I started working at a very young age as a waitress. I didn’t finish high school, but tested my way into college later on in life. Once the Sturgis thing happened, I was kicked out of my high school because I didn’t make them look good. The New York Daily News, I was on the front page, 15-year-old girl goes after Watergate burglar. They put my school picture on the news. Monica on the front page of the New York Daily News after she tried to shoot Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis, right. (Courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez)***Monica ended up working in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, working with such celebrities as model Cheryl Tiegs, actors Gregory Hines and David Keith and musician Herbie Hancock. Monica in a bodybuilder pose. (Courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez)She appeared topless in Playboy with other female athletes in a 1991 pictorial called “Flex Appeal.” She became a bodybuilder and fitness athlete and placed seventh in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first Miss Fitness World competition in 1994, representing Latin America. Monica in Playboy (cropped). (Paul B. Goode/Playboy)She became a musical theater actress and television stuntwoman in New York, working on HBO’s “Oz,” and developed a distinctive style of jumprope she calls the Mercedes Method, a combination of dance and jumprope skills. Monica came in seventh in the 1994 Ms. Fitness World competition. (Courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez)She appeared with her son in a 2011 episode of “Fear Factor,” where she had to eat five scorpions, and where she came within one flag of winning $50,000. Monica shows off her jumprope skills. (Courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez)In yet another connection to infamous historical events, she married one of the sons of Orlando Letelier, the Chilean socialist who was assassinated a few blocks from the White House by the Pinochet regime’s secret police in 1976. With Los Angeles artist Francisco Letelier, she had a son, Matias Orlando Letelier, who is now an assistant director and producer in L.A. and is the light of Monica’s life. Monica’s son Matias Letelier with his grandmother, Isabel Morel Letelier, widow of Orlando Letelier. (Courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez)After three marriages, she met her current boyfriend, Augusto Polo (“my fourth and last relationship”) and they came to Puerto Viejo a year and a half ago to leave behind the hectic pace and glitzy lifestyle of New York and L.A. She hopes to start a charity here to help young single mothers and to open a fitness studio “where women can come to feel empowered and nurtured.” Monica with Augusto Polo, her “fourth and last” relationship. The “M” tattoo over her heart stands for her son Matias. (Courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez)She says people have often doubted her fantastic story about being a “spy kid,” the child of a German CIA operative and a Venezuelan president. She and her mother once went on a show called “Lie Detector,” and her mother passed two lie-detector tests confirming that the story was true.Then she made contact with the eldest daughter of Marcos Pérez Jiménez, who remembered her from when she was a baby, and who agreed to submit a DNA sample to test Monica’s paternity. (The former president died in exile in Spain in 2001.) Monica has yet to meet the sister who helped her confirm her identity, but she looks forward to giving her a hug one day and visiting her father’s gravesite in Spain.“I have forgiven all involved, as that is the only thing that can free a person from the chains of pain and anger,” she says. “I choose love, as did my mother.”The results of the DNA test showed a 99.7 percent probability that Monica was “The Dictator’s Daughter,” which she thinks would be a good title for the memoir she plans to write.She has the results of her DNA test— “99.7%” — tattooed on her right shoulder. Monica’s “99.7%” tattoo represents a DNA test showing the probability that she is the daughter of ex-Venezuelan President Marcos Pérez Jiménez. The tattoo on her back suggests the double helix of DNA and the seven stars (now eight) on the Venezuelan flag. (Erik Erikson, courtesy of Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez) Facebook Comments Related posts:Cuban-born ex-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles hospitalized after crash US Senate panel votes to release CIA interrogation report White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan In Castros’ home region, Pope Francis praises Church ‘sacrifices’
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday put on hold President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants pending a legal challenge.A coalition of 27 U.S. states is suing in a lower court to halt Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and petitioned the Supreme Court to suspend its implementation until the case is resolved.Most of the states involved are run by Obama’s Republican adversaries.Tuesday’s ruling, backed by five of the nine Supreme Court justices, deals a significant blow to Obama’s efforts to rein in manmade climate change.The court’s four liberal voices contested the decision to halt the emission rules, which would require the power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions to be slashed by at least 32 percent compared to 2005 levels by the year 2030.The far-reaching regulations issued last summer by the Environmental Protection Agency form a core of Obama’s efforts to reduce overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.But many U.S. conservatives deny that climate change is caused by human industry and agriculture, and have opposed emissions controls designed to slow global warming. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica says it will support new shark protections despite agreements with fishermen Warming oceans are turning sea stars to goo and killing lobsters, scientists say Costa Rica votes to ratify Paris agreement on climate change Victim testifies in Jairo Mora murder retrial
Facebook Comments Today’s Pic of the Day comes to you from 1860 – the year when, on Sept. 30, three-time Costa Rican President Juan Rafael Mora Porras was executed while attempting to regain power after being unseated by a coup. A 2016 short film commemorating the event, “Final Minute: The Last Moments of President Juanito Mora,” will be screened Friday at 10 am at the Juan Santamaría Historical Museum in Alajuela, with a discussion to follow. For more information, visit the museum’s Facebook page.Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to see the sights with you. Related posts:Name that beach On the ice and Florida-bound Espressivo brings ‘Battlefield’ to National Theater for iconic building’s anniversary Turn off your phone, turn on the twinkly lights
5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories Sponsored Stories DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The families of merchant seamen held by Somali pirates for more than 18 months say the crew members are being forced to call home with warnings they could suffer further abuses unless a $2.85 million ransom is paid soon.The payment for the 22 crew members on the Malaysian-owned MV Albedo was due in April under a deal negotiated through Dubai-based Somali merchants.Families across South Asia raised some of the amount and the deadline was extended to await the remaining share from the ship’s owners. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Shahnaz Jawaid, wife of the Albedo captain, says families of the crew receive calls pleading for the money nearly every day. Jawaid spoke from Karachi, Pakistan, on Thursday.The Kenya-bound ship was hijacked in November 2010 in the Gulf of Aden.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments Share
New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Men’s health affects baby’s health too FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Fewer but bigger software deals and increased sales to financial and retail companies helped SAP AG post a 12 percent increase in earnings in the second quarter of the year.The maker of back-office business software said net profits rose to (EURO)661 million ($800 million) from (EURO)588 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenues jumped 18 percent to (EURO)3.898 billion, with double-digit increases in all regions. SAP said Tuesday it did slightly fewer software deals, but the ones it concluded were worth more. The average value of software orders increased 32 percent. It said software sales revenue rose more than 60 percent from customer companies in financial services and retail.Earnings were also boosted by growth in its businesses in cloud computing and its HANA software that lets companies quickly analyze huge amounts of data.SAP’s main business is making and servicing software that helps companies manage administrative functions such as human resources, accounting and sales. It has added businesses in mobile and “cloud” computing, which means storing and processing information on an Internet-linked network of servers rather than on just one local computer.The company confirmed its outlook for the year, predicting software and service revenue would grow 10-12 percent disregarding currency exchange rate fluctuations.SAP shares rose 0.8 percent to (EURO)49.44.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Quick workouts for men Comments Share Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements
Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix ____Darko Vojinovic contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The vital role family plays in society Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories Comments Share Sponsored Stories Associated PressBELGRADE, Serbia (AP) – Serb nationalists burned a Croatian flag Saturday to protest a decision by a U.N. war crimes court overturning guilty verdicts against two Croatian generals, and the prime minister called the decision a blow to reconciliation in the postwar Balkans.Many in Serbia are furious that appeals judges at the Netherlands-based tribunal on Friday freed Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, who had been previously sentenced to lengthy prison terms for killing and expelling Serbs from Croatia during an offensive in 1995. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Later Saturday, a separate protest by another far-right group was held in front of the EU headquarters.Even liberal Serbs have warned that Friday’s ruling created a sense of injustice and could stir nationalist sentiments. Serbia’s government has scaled down cooperation with the tribunal, while Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolic said the verdict was political.Dacic insisted “this verdict was clearly political … designed to clear Croatia of crimes committed against Serbs.”Serbian media on Friday and Saturday repeatedly carried file footages of tens of thousands of Croatian Serb refugees fleeing in August 1995 in long columns on tractors, cars and carts. Many still have not returned to their homes.In Croatia, the two generals received state honors and a hero’s welcome on Friday, with tens of thousands jubilant people gathering in the capital, Zagreb, to greet them.The country is also marking a remembrance day this weekend in the eastern town of Vukovar, which was heavily bombed by the Serb-led military in at the start of the Serb-Croat war in 1991.The war erupted when Croatia declared independence from Serb-led Yugoslavia triggering a rebellion by minority Serbs. About 10,000 people died in the conflict. “This will have serious consequences at reconciliation in the region,” Serbia’s premier Ivica Dacic said. “How can someone demand that we condemn all crimes if others are allowed not to condemn the crimes against Serbs?”Croatians, meanwhile, consider the decision proof that they were the victims in the Balkan conflict. The fighting in Croatia was part of the wars that erupted across the Balkans with the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The most deadly was in Bosnia, where Serbs battled Muslims and Croats in a four-year struggle that claimed some 100,000 lives.Hundreds of supporters of the extremist Serbian Radical Party rallied in front of the presidency building in the center of Belgrade demanding that the government abandon plans to join the 27-nation European Union and cut ties with the court in The Hague, Netherlands.The crowd carried banners reading “Stop The Hague” and chanted nationalist slogans in support of the party leader, Vojislav Seselj, whose own trial is ongoing at the tribunal for the role in the atrocities against non-Serbs.“Serbia has done nothing to help its own heroes who are jailed in The Hague,” said Radical Party official Nemanja Sarovic.
Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Public Prosecutor Ahmed Ould Moustapha said Wednesday the group leader received 10 years in prison while the other two received five and seven year sentences.Mauritania has been occasionally attacked by the regional al-Qaida branch over the last decade and has supplied some prominent recruits to extremist groups.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Parents, stop beating yourself up Sponsored Stories Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) — A court in Mauritania has convicted three men of belonging to the Islamic State extremist group and sentenced them to between five and 10 years in prison.The men were arrested last year during a demonstration and authorities said they had IS flags and photos of the group’s leader in their possession.The court convicted the three late Tuesday on charges of terrorism, terrorist activities and possessing terrorist propaganda. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Mesa family survives lightning strike to home In its veto threat, the White House said the bill would threaten the civil rights of all Americans by allowing law enforcement officials to gather immigration status information from any person at any time. The White House statement said such an approach would lead to mistrust between local communities and law enforcement agencies.As debate began on the House floor, Gowdy chaired a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the issue that included testimony from Kathryn Steinle’s father, Jim Steinle, who was with his daughter when she was shot and killed. As he did earlier this week in an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Steinle recounted his daughter’s shooting, seemingly at random, as they strolled arm in arm, and her final words asking him for help. He told lawmakers that some good could come from her death if laws could be changed to keep criminal immigrants off the street.Members of both parties endorsed Steinle’s plea but offered different diagnoses of the problem, in comments echoing the yearslong national debate over immigration. The latest chapter comes at a moment when immigration has become a hot-button issue on the presidential campaign trail, thanks to Trump’s provocative claims about Mexican immigrants being “rapists” and “criminals.” WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans pushed toward a vote Thursday on legislation cracking down on “sanctuary cities” that shield residents from federal immigration authorities. Angry Democrats accused Republicans of aligning themselves with Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant views, and the White House threatened a veto.“The Donald Trump wing of the Republican Party is clearly ascendant here today,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, said in floor debate ahead of a vote. “This bill is not about grabbing criminals, it’s about grabbing headlines.” 0 Comments Share Republicans countered that action was needed in the wake of the July 1 shooting of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by an immigrant in the country illegally despite a long criminal record and multiple prior deportations. The man, Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, had been released by San Francisco authorities despite a request from federal immigration authorities to keep him detained.“There are criminals motivated by malice and a conscious disregard for the lives of others, and there are cities more interested in providing a sanctuary for those criminals than they are in providing a sanctuary for their law-abiding citizens,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. “This is more than an academic discussion. … It is quite literally life and death.”San Francisco and hundreds of other jurisdictions nationally have adopted policies of disregarding federal immigration requests, or “detainers,” which have been found invalid in court and which advocates say can unfairly target innocent immigrants and hurt relations between immigrant communities and law enforcement authorities.The House bill, by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., would punish jurisdictions that don’t cooperate with federal requests for immigration information or prohibit the collection of immigration information, by blocking them from receiving certain law enforcement grants and funding. Some Republicans, who normally have nothing but criticism for federal immigration policies, praised federal authorities in this case for issuing a detention request for Lopez Sanchez, and blamed San Francisco officials for ignoring it.“The question remains, do we enforce or do we not?” said Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga. “Do we want to be under a rule of law, or do we want to have something else?”Democrats, on the other hand, said federal authorities should not have turned Lopez Sanchez over to a jurisdiction with a known sanctuary city policy to face a decades-old drug charge, given the strong likelihood he would be released. They said what was needed was comprehensive immigration legislation, which Republicans have blocked for years in the House, and noted that a number of mayors and law enforcement agencies have come out against the bill.“This bill reeks of prejudice. It isn’t mean to solve any problem, it’s meant to punish cities that don’t embrace the views of anti-immigrant extremists, it’s mean to demonize all immigrants as criminals,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.___This story has been corrected to reflect that Rep. Doggett’s party affiliation is Democratic. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Top Stories Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Quick workouts for men Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility
Their self-described ‘annus horribilis’ over, Air France-KLM has returned to profit, recording a 10.7 per cent jump in overall revenue.Recently released first quarter results revealed the net income of Air France-KLM rose to €736 million for the three months to the end of June, a massive jump from its €426 million loss of the previous year, one of the airline’s worst financial years on record.The increase was helped by a one-off gain made from Air France-KLM’s stake in Amadeus which raised €1.3 billion in its initial public offering in April, reported the Financial Times.However, according to the newspaper, analysts were impressed by the airline’s quicker than expected turnaround.“These figures certainly are stronger than what the market was expecting,” Deutsche European airline analyst Geoff van Klaveren told the newspaper. Despite disruptions to air travel following the Icelandic volcano eruption, the airline posted a 2.2 point growth in passenger load factor and 6.8 point increase in cargo load factor as capacity was reduced by 4.9 per cent.Air France-KLM maintained caution in its full year projections, claiming, “Our objective for Full Year 2010-11 is of operating break-even.” <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/280bb/” 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: G.A
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Qantas has applied to code share on its subsidiary, Jetstar Asia’s Thailand and Taiwan services.In a letter to the International Air Service Association (IASA), the carrier said it plans to commence the code share on up to 14 flights per week on the Thailand route and a further 2,121 weekly seats on the Taiwan route from 1 June 2011 or as soon it receives approval, for a period of up to five year.“These criteria state that the use of entitlements by an Australian carrier under a bilateral arrangement is of benefit to the public, provided that it is reasonably capable of obtaining the necessary approvals and implementing the proposal,” Qantas Airways Ltd head of government and international relations Robert Wood said. The IASA has called for submissions, with 12 May marked as the cut off date for notice of intention to make a submission and submissions to be due by 19 May.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Industry leaders have raised concerns that British Airways’ (BA) recent purchase of up to six daily British Mainland International (BMI) slots at Heathrow Airport could reduce competition on flights to and from the facility.Securing its place as the largest operator to and from the London hub, the purchase reduced BMI’s 8.2 percent takeoff and landing slots at the airport, which kept Lufthansa’s subsidiary as the second largest carrier operating out of Heathrow, Carrentals reported.Although a Lufthansa spokesperson has assured that the sale would not affect BMI’s flights, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson warned selling the slots to rival BA would leave the flights coming in and out of Heathrow “uncompetitive and unattractive” to consumers.“With BA already holding such a dominant position at Heathrow, it cannot be beneficial to the consumer in any way if BA continues to disproportionately strengthen its position and it will also undoubtedly concern BMI’s staff and pilots,” Mr Branson explained. In a bid to alert regulators, Virgin Atlantic Airways advised that it would be writing to the Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission, advising that the disposals of BMI’s assets be reviewed before sale, so as to not impact consumers.
Starwood Hotels have revealed work is underway to for a new property in Australia to open by the first quarter of next year, and will announce by the end of 2011 which brand the investment will be representing under the Starwood umbrella as well as its secret location. The news broke at the launch of Starwood’s Villa Collection of Asia Pacific properties Australian launch, which firmly stamps the hospitality giant’s foray into the luxury market in the region. The group’s 200 properties across its three top end brands, St Regis, W Hotels and The Luxury Collection across the Asia Pacific are quickly being recognised as holiday resorts, according to visiting Director, Leisure, Luxury Sales AP, Bob Lunnon. “The new Villa Collection will only be added to the existing luxury space and brands we have,” Mr Lunnon said. With 57 luxury hotels in the pipeline worldwide, Mr Lunnon said the group’s expansion would be greater than Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons properties combined. Key growth areas include China, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, where in 2012 will catapult the group as the largest operator in Bali following the opening of a Le Meridian in beachside Jimbaran. “There is a market for travellers in the luxury space … they want villas, and it also fits well with the family market,” Mr Lunnon said, explaining the rapid expansion.“The growing traveller has emerged out of the GFC and they want to treat themselves, and we’re covering all market segments.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Starwood’s Daniella Tonetto & Bob Lunnon in Sydney
Source = Cox and Kings Cox and Kings’ business development manager Kyle Duffield is celebrating after taking out two top honours for his Bicheno beachfront property, Sandpiper Ocean Cottages, at the recent 2012 Tasmanian Tourism Awards.The stunning self-contained beachfront property just north of Freycinet National Park won Best Standard Accommodation and the prestigious People’s Choice Award. Sandpiper is owned and operated by Mr Duffield and his partner Tony McLeod. Mr Duffield has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years and when he’s not selling travel to agents in Tasmania, he’s promoting domestic and inbound tourism to showcase the magnificent east coast of the state.“These awards are such a huge achievement and we are thrilled to be recognised by both the industry and the consumer,” Mr Duffield said. “Working with travel agents, wholesalers and the public gives me a great insight into the current market, both inbound and outbound. If you love what you do it shines through, and we’ve obviously got the mix right.”The awards were announced during a gala dinner in Hobart on 9 November.
Australian designer Martin Grant with model Miranda Kerr at the launch of the new Qantas unifrom. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Qantas has unveiled its new uniform by Australian designer Martin Grant, created in collaboration with the Qantas employees.The specially-designed garbs will be the first new uniforms in ten years for the Australian airline.12,600 Qantas employees will be adorned with the outfits from early 2014.“This is a new look for a new chapter for Qantas,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.“Martin’s interpretation of the brief was developed in collaboration with Qantas employees, and the end result is a stylish and comfortable collection that will help our people feel their best no matter where they are in the world.”Mr Grant engaged with the Qantas Uniform Panel – 12 select representatives from Qantas customer service departments – receiving important feedback on functionality and wearability.“My inspiration for the uniform came from Qantas’ striking logo – the powerful red triangle and the flying kangaroo – I have always loved the Qantas logo as it’s very nostalgic for me,” Mr Grant said.“I wanted to create a uniform that reflected the glamour of flying and something that would suit every body shape.”Check out photos of the new uniforms below, or click here for more images.
An investigation by the financial crimes unit (SDOE) has confirmed that it will take more than a revived tourist market to repair Greece’s overly-damaged economy. “The most popular destinations are the ones benefitting the most from this rise, such as Mykonos, Rhodes, the Cycladic islands,” Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) boss Andreas Andreadis said. Tourism revenue in Greece has risen 38.5 percent and foreign arrivals have increased by 24 percent in the year to May 2013, The Agence France-Presse reported. The number of international visitors is expected to pass 17 million in 2013. Source = ETB News: P.T. Three quarters of the businesses on the tourist islands of Rhodes and Santorini were fined. The SDOE inquiry revealed that approximately half of the country’s one million hotels, restaurants and beaches which were inspected over the past year have been evading tax repayments. Despite the boost in overseas visitors, Greece’s second-tier destinations are more deserted than ever. Although domestic tourism remains at a standstill, international arrivals to Greece and tourism revenue have lifted since the beginning of the year. Domestic tourism slumps, whileoverseas visitors come ashore. Recent political stability, lower prices due to the economic crisis and the cancellation of tourist holidays to Turkey and Tunisia assisted Greece in raising foreign visitor arrivals. Germans, Britons, Russians and French make up the majority of tourists visiting Greece.
The ‘Flavours of Malaysia’ will run from 26 September to 13 October 2013 at the Grace Brasserie. “From 1 February Malaysia Airlines will be running three services per day from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, so there’s no better opportunity to follow up this delicious feast than to take a trip to Malaysia,” Malaysia Airlines sales executive Julia Lim said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to sample traditional Malay cuisine in the heart of Sydney,” Grace Hotel general manager Philip Pratley told attendees. Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines once again partnered with the Grace Hotel to deliver this feast of the senses, prepared by award-winning Malaysian chefs Tan Kok Siong, Sharun Ramli, Adinnin Amat Usop and Harmizie Mohamed who were flown in especially for the event. Visiting guests will also have the opportunity to win a return ticket on Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur, with two nights’ accommodation in the luxurious 10rooms at the Hotel Capitol. Source = ETB News: P.T. “Food brings us together, creating conversation and inciting happiness across all cultures… it’s an integral part of Malaysian life and we are pleased to be able to share this with Australians,” Tourism Malaysia Australia director Mohd Roslan Abdullah said. Authentically prepared dishes from Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor in Malaysia’s south will be available throughout the duration of the festival, including local recipes such as Nyonya Laksa, Melaka Satay Celup, Ayam Tempra, Rojak, traditional desserts and plenty more. The Flavours of Malaysia festival has returned to The Grace Hotel for its fourth consecutive year, introducing guests and visitors to dishes from the southern states of Malaysia.