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Found 54 results

  1. MANAGUA (Reuters) - Thousands of Nicaraguans took to the streets in protest for a second straight day on Thursday as discontent grew over controversial changes to social security that will increase worker and employer payments and reduce future pensions Students in the capital Managua took over of the National University of Engineering, hurling stones and Molotov cocktails as they faced off with riot police, who responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets. The protests grew in intensity as pensioners were joined by businessmen and university students in several cities. Nicaragua’s vice president and wife of President Daniel Ortega, Rosario Murillo, justified the police response as legitimate defense against “tiny groups.” In Masaya, a stronghold of Ortega’s left-wing Sandinista movement, hundreds of marchers were attacked with sticks by government supporters, leaving some injured. Local television station “100% Noticias,” which was broadcasting the protests live, had its signal abruptly cut. The television station took to Twitter to call the move “arbitrary and illegal.” With the changes which were signed into law earlier this week, employees will now have to contribute 7 percent of their salary to social security, up from a current 6.25 percent. Employers will have to contribute 22.5 percent of salaries from a current 19 percent. Pensioners will also have 5 percent of their pension taken out to be used for medical expenses. The changes to the pension system are aimed at shoring up Nicaragua’s social security system. Reporting by Oswaldo Rivas; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Tom Brown Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
  2. Nicole

    Nagarote, Nicaragua

    From the album: Conmemoración 2018

    Vía @Chelita
  3. Con la excusa de que se deben acabar las noticias falsas y el acoso en las redes sociales, el Gobierno y los diputados sandinistas en la Asamblea Nacional preparan un paquete de reformas a varias leyes, incluido el Código Penal, para controlar, a través de la penalización, la información que circula en el internet. Los cambios llegarían a afectar a los periódicos, la televisión y la radio, puesto que se pretende que no publiquen denuncias que los usuarios hagan en las redes sociales, cuando esas informaciones contradigan el modelo de familia y de seguridad del país que conceptualiza el Gobierno. Leer más:
  4. In Nicaragua we call it chiltoma I've heard in other countries it is called "pimientos" are similar to chiles I love the color of them in this photo
  5. From the album: Testigos de Jehová

    con Syliph Nos anima ver como nuestros jóvenes están buscando maneras de expandir su servicio a Jehová Por jwguestroomsuite
  6. From the album: Testigos de Jehová

    con Syliph Nos anima ver como nuestros jóvenes están buscando maneras de expandir su servicio a Jehová Por jwguestroomsuite
  7. The British royals have another wedding to look forward to in 2018, as Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank have revealed the happy news that they're engaged . Jack chose quite the breathtaking location for the moment too, as Buckingham Palace revealed that the couple got engaged during a getaway to winter sun hotspot Nicaragua. No doubt he had his pick of spectacular landscapes to choose from, as the country in Central America boasts everything from picture-perfect fine sand beaches to dramatic volcanic scenery. Then of course there are the romantic hotels and resorts in Nicaragua which have drawn in honeymooners and couples - especially those who love to go exploring. Nicaragua doesn't disappoint. There's plenty to see and do, from eye-catching landmarks such as the Leon Cathedral, to the sweeping scenery that can be found in the nature reserves and Apoyo Lagoon. We take a look at the highlights in this breathtaking country where Princess Eugenie and Jack celebrated their engagement... Read more:
  8. En la mía solamente es por las mañanas y usualmente a las 10 am casi todos se van a revisitas o a preparar el almuerzo, mayormente la razón es por los rayos del sol. Vivimos en una región bastante soleada y cálida
  9. Dijeron que estaría listo en Diciembre y nada aun, ya tiene más de un año de estarse construyendo. Me hace llegar tarde a casa ¿Por qué no trabajan de noche y fines de semana como en otros países para avanzar? Así se ve el paso a desnivel de Las Piedrecitas desde arriba. LAPRENSA/J.FLORES
  10. Chelita


    "No gastar la pólvora en zopilotes" No gastar tiempo, energía y recursos en personas o cosas que no valen la pena, como un cazador no gastaría balas, pólvora en una presa que no es deseable o que no le serviría, como un buitre.
  11. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will end in January 2019 a special status given to 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants that protects them from deportation, senior Trump administration officials said on Monday. A U.S. flag flutters over top of the skyline of New York (R) and Jersey City (L), as seen from Bayonne, New Jersey, August 6, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn They also said the program known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, would be extended until July 2018 for about 86,000 Honduran immigrants, but added it could then be terminated. The decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans is part of President Donald Trump’s broader efforts to tighten restrictions on immigration.Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from across Central America live and work in the United States, but some are protected from the threat of deportation under the TPS program. Thousands from both Nicaragua and Honduras were given the special status in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America. In all, TPS protects more than 300,000 people from nine countries living in the United States. Trump’s administration was faced with a Monday deadline to announce its decision on Nicaragua and Honduras. Critics have complained the TPS program allows participants to repeatedly extend their stays in 6-month to 18-month increments in case of a natural disaster, civil strife or other emergencies in their homelands. In the case of Nicaragua, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke decided the conditions caused by Hurricane Mitch “no longer exist, and thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement. The TPS for thousands of Nicaraguans was due to expire on Jan. 5, 2018, but it was delayed by 12 months “to allow for an orderly transition.” Read more:
  12. MEETING IN NICARAGUA..... WOW, really the smallest Kingdom Hall I ever seen ❤ But I love it ALL BROTHERS & SISTERS BELONG TO OUR BIG BROTHERHOOD AROUND THE WORLD !
  13. A girl in a park in Managua, Nicaragua. The country topped the list for gains in happiness. Nicolas Garcia/AFP/Getty Images Norway can be frigid. And the winters bring lots of darkness. But it's the happiest nation in world, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report. Denmark comes in at #2, followed by Iceland and Switzerland. Finland takes 5th place. And, it turns out, these countries have more in common than a tolerance for cold. Well-being is shaped by a range of factors. "All of the top countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance," according to the report. The second tier of the top ten includes the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden (the last two tied for 9th position). The developing world has its share of unhappy countries. According to the report, some of the unhappiest nations in the world are Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti. But there are encouraging signs in low- and middle-income countries. Cameroon, Latvia, Nicaragua and Sierra Leone, for example, are all on the list of the 20 countries reporting the highest gains in happiness. Meanwhile, happiness in the U.S. has slipped a bit, according to the report. "The reasons are declining social support" as well as a decline in trust — and an increased sense of corruption, write the co-editors in a summary report. In 2015, the U.S. ranked 13th. This year, it slipped to 14th. The report draws on survey data from 155 countries. "We ask people to think of their lives as a whole," explains report co-editor John Helliwell, an economist at the University of British Columbia who studies well-being and comparative economic growth. Each year, researchers survey 1,000 people in each country. Some questions are quite simple, such as: In times of trouble, do you have family and/or friends to count on? Other questions measure people's perceived levels of freedom, generosity and trust — both in each other and in their governments and businesses. The Nordic countries have among the most generous social safety nets. "Access to higher education, access to high-quality health services are part of it, explains Jon-Åge Øyslebø, minister of communications, cultural affairs and education at the Norwegian Embassy. (We reached out to him before he had heard about the top spot his country had earned in the new report.) There are also generous social support programs. For instance, new parents in Norway are eligible for nearly a year of leave with pay. "Norway is a relatively egalitarian society with regard to both to income differences and gender," Øyslebø told us. He says he thinks this is an important part of the happiness equation. Another factor, of course, is the economy. Overall, Norway is pretty wealthy, in part due to the natural resource of oil. But even though oil prices have declined, Norwegian level of happiness has risen, at least according to the report. "Absolutely there's more to it than money," Øyslebø says. Many studies have shown that after people's basic needs are met, additional income is not necessarily a path to happiness. So what's the value of these global ranking? After all, the survey data that they're based on are pretty crude measures. And at any given time, in any nation, some people are suffering while others thrive. "The reason for taking this [report] seriously," co-editor John Helliwell told us, is that it offers an alternative to thinking of "income as the measure of progress."
  14. Nuestra congregación de El crucero, Managua, Nicaragua.... todos unidos, adorando a Nuestro Jehová Dios. Fuente:
  15. Nuestra congregación de El crucero, Managua, Nicaragua.... todos unidos, adorando a Nuestro Jehová Dios.
  16. Bible Speaks

    Rio San Juan, Nicaragua Experience

    I am from Mexico, but I had the privilege of participating in a special preaching campaign in Nicaragua, where there is greater need for Kingdom publishers. Here we are in Rio San Juan, Nicaragua helping to pull the boat from the rocks. Photo shared by @alejandrodeleoncantu
  17. PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A senior North Korean delegation left Pyongyang on Friday to attend the inauguration of Nicaragua's newly elected President Daniel Ortega. Choe Ryong Hae, a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is heading the delegation as a special envoy. Choe has become something of the foreign face of the North Korean government with his relatively frequent trips lately. He is vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission, one of North Korea's most powerful institutions, and is vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Worker's Party of Korea, along with being a member of its politburo. Kim Jong Un has yet to make an official trip abroad although he has been in power for more than five years. In the meantime, Choe has served as Kim's special envoy on missions to Moscow and Beijing in past years and more recently headed Pyongyang's delegation to Cuba for Fidel Castro's funeral. Before that, he led the North's participation at the Rio Olympics. Choe's trip to Nicaragua comes as North Korea is facing increased international pressure after two nuclear tests and a satellite test launch in 2016. The United Nations imposed a new round of sanctions at the end of November last year that included measures to limit North Korea's diplomatic activities around the world. Choe, sent off by an honor guard, departed Pyongyang on Friday morning's scheduled Air Koryo flight to Vladivostok. He was expected to travel via Moscow and Cuba before arriving in Nicaragua. North Korea and Nicaragua opened diplomatic relations in 1979.
  18. A causa de trauma craneal severo murió doña María Teresa López, de 41 años, minutos después de ser arrollada por el camión placa ES 07 236, cuando esperaba taxi frente a la pulpería “La Esquinita”, en el barrio Pueblos Unidos, en el municipio de Ocotal, departamento de Nueva Segovia. Según testigos, al conductor del camión le falló la dirección y tras arrollar a doña María López, se estrelló contra la pulpería de doña Sagrario González, dejando el inmueble con varias de las paredes desbaratadas. En un intento por salvarle la vida, testigos del accidente trasladaron a doña María López al hospital Alfonso Moncada Guillén, de Ocotal, pero murió en el trayecto. Tu Nueva Radio YA conoció que doña María Teresa López, de 41 años, era Testigo de Jehová y deja dos hijos en la orfandad. Autoridades policiales capturaron al conductor del pesado vehículo para investigar a profundidad el lamentable hecho.
  19. Vilma Trujillo's husband collected her coffin from the local morgue. A young woman in an isolated part of Nicaragua has died a week after being tied up and allegedly thrown on a fire in an exorcism ritual. Family members told local media that Vilma Trujillo had been attacked by four people led by a man who said he was an evangelical pastor. Juan Rocha denied burning Mrs Trujillo, saying evil spirits had suspended her above the fire and then dropped her. Relatives found Mrs Trujillo, 25, hours later with severe burns. The police have arrested Mr Rocha and a number of other people allegedly involved in the attack. The victim's husband, Reynaldo Peralta Rodriguez, said the mother-of-two was taken inside a church last week when members thought she was possessed after allegedly trying to attack people with a machete, the Associated Press reports. "It's unforgiveable what they did to us," he was quoted as saying. "They killed my wife, the mother of my two little ones. Now what am I going to tell them?" Pablo Cuevas, a spokesman for Nicaragua's Human Rights Commission, called on the government for firmer control over religious sects in the country. "It is incredible that these things can happen today, there has to be a review by the authorities into all the different denominations and religions," he said. "We can't have things like this happening." Women's rights groups said the case was an example of fanaticism and misogyny. Juanita Jimenez of the Autonomous Women's Movement (MAM) told local media that it was also the product of a lack of state presence in isolated parts of the country and an act of barbarity. "Apart from the religious aspect, nothing justifies an act that is as cruel as burning a woman, putting her on a fire with the help of other people who you have used religion to manipulate," the activist said.
  20. Yader Isaac Chávez Canales trabajaba como traductor y tenía novia con la cual planeaba casarse La juez Karen López Fuentes admitió la acusación y dictó prisión preventiva contra Yader Isaac Chávez Canales, quien enfrentará audiencia inicial el próximo 2 de marzo. LA PRENSA/WILIH NARVÁEZ Yader Isaac Chávez Canales dejó de usar camisas de manga larga y corbatas, y no volvió a visitar la iglesia de los Testigos de Jehová, desde que se convirtió en emo.Su cambio empezó en diciembre pasado y su exvecina Mariela Mejía nunca lo vio consumir droga. El emo de 18 años, fue acusado del parricidio de su madre Eymi Johana Canales Pérez, de 35 años, y del asesinato de su padrastro Denis Francisco Medina Moreno, de 27 años.Mejía, de 38 años, describe a su exvecino de la Zona Cinco de Ciudad Sandino como un joven educado y le sorprendió ver su cambio: uñas pintadas en color negro y el cabello un poco largo.Fue hasta el lunes que la Policía Nacional lo presentó, que ella se enteró que el joven tenía progenitora, ya que él vivía con su tío. Fue regalado “Estoy muy arrepentido”, manifestó Chávez Canales, quien compareció a audiencia preliminar resguardado por un fuerte dispositivo policial.Fernando Mejía, de 48 años, llegó a las afueras de los juzgados para tratar de ver a su exvecino que en más de una ocasión le dio de comer, luego que un tío supuestamente lo corriera de su casa. Además, asegura que el joven ha tenido una vida muy sufrida.Chávez Canales, cuando tenía cuatro años supuestamente fue regalado por su progenitora a una pareja de estadounidenses que conoció en la iglesia de Testigos de Jehová.El joven vivió 12 años en Estados Unidos, pero sus padres adoptivos fallecieron en un accidente de tránsito.Según Fernando, el joven le contó que él también iba en el vehículo, pero únicamente sufrió algunas heridas en la cabeza. Incluso le mostró algunas cicatrices.Las autoridades de ese país lo deportaron hace dos años, y supuestamente le dieron 50 mil dólares de indemnización, pero el dinero presuntamente lo habría agarrado un familiar.Chávez trabajaba como traductor, tenía novia, con la cual planeaba casarse. Tenía pocos meses de vivir en casa de su madre. Al menos siete agentes de la Policía Nacional llevaron a Yader Isaac Chávez Canales hasta los Juzgados de Ciudad Sandino, donde se realizó la audiencia preliminar para conocer los cargos que le imputan. LA PRENSA/WILIH NARVÁEZ Mazazos en la cabeza El fiscal Manuel Reyes detalló en la acusación que el viernes 17 de febrero, a las 7:30 p.m., el joven sostuvo una discusión con su progenitora, porque esta le tenía retenido su celular, ya que el acusado, el Día de San Valentín le sustrajo una plancha de cabello para comprar sustancias alucinógenas.Presuntamente, Chávez intentó agredir a su progenitora y por eso intervino Medina Moreno.Pero en el forcejeo ambos cayeron al piso de rodillas y en eso el joven aprovechó para agarrar un mazo y pegarle en par de ocasiones en la cabeza al padrastro, quien quedó desmayado.Con el mismo mazo también le pegó en la cabeza a su progenitora y al caer continuó la agresión hasta provocarle la muerte.Su padrastro trató de incorporarse, pero le propinó cuatro cuchilladas.Según la Fiscalía, el 18 de febrero, Chávez sacó los cuerpos al patio de la casa, los cubrió con ropa usada que vendía su mamá y les echó gasolina.Casi una hora los cuerpos estuvieron en llamas, al amanecer nuevamente cubrió los cuerpos con ropa y cuando pretendía huir fue detenido por sus vecinos.La audiencia preliminar estuvo a cargo de la juez Karen López Fuentes.El abogado Secundino Cuadra, defensor del acusado, pidió a la juez que al joven se le realice una valoración psiquiátrica y que se le realice una prueba toxicológica y de alcoholemia. La juez dio lugar a esta petición. Dio otra versión Yader Chávez lloró durante la audiencia y apretaba sus manos en las cuales se podían apreciar varios rasguños. En el ojo derecho se podía ver un moretón.Antes de empezar la audiencia preliminar dio breves declaraciones a los medios de comunicación. Al consultarle por qué cometió el doble crimen, respondió: “Mi padrastro estaba pegándole a mi madre y le iba a pegar con un mazo, yo para protegerla a ella, empecé a pegarle a él (a Denis Medina) y después de eso ella me empezó a agredir”, manifestó el acusado. Asimismo, manifestó que no consume droga.Entre los elementos de convicción que tiene la Fiscalía están pruebas testimoniales, acta de detención y ocupación del mazo, cuchillo, entre otras evidencias.
  21. El Bibliotecario


    Nicaragua Predicándole a un hombre a caballo. via El Bibliotecario
  22. There's fresh impetus to explore Namibia's startling landscapes this year CREDIT:FOTOLIA 6 JANUARY 2017 • 12:31PM If your ambition this year is to try new things and explore new places, you're in luck. From Nicaragua to Tajikistan, a number of hitherto "undiscovered" destinations are increasingly catering to discerning holidaymakers, with a host of new resorts opening and experiences launching over the year to come. Read below for more on the most exciting outdoor adventures to be enjoyed around the world in 2017, or for something more sedate see our guides to 2017's best wellness and fitness breaks; 2017's best luxury beach holidays; the year's best yachting and sailing holidays; and the best cities to visit over the next 12 months. The Desert Circuit: Namibia Exclusive Lodges The four new luxury lodges on the Namibia Exclusive circuit are located in some of the most remote and beautiful northern parts of the country, each designed by architect Greg Scott and built of local materials that reflect the region’s landscapes and cultural traditions. Sorris Sorris Lodge in Damaraland has been built into huge granite boulders scattered across the desert landscape, its modern African rammed-earth structures and pool offering views over the Ugab River and the mountains of the Brandberg Massif. Sorris Sorris Lodge Omatandeka Lodge is surrounded by vast plains inhabited by the Himba people, table-top mountains and a vital wildlife corridor used by mountain zebra, oryx and endangered black rhino, while Sheya Shuushona Lodge, on the northern boundary of Etosha National Park, is surrounded by photogenic salt pans that change colour with the seasons and turn into a lake in the rainy season. Finally, Xaudum Lodge, the most recent addition, is surrounded by the sand dunes of the Kalahari, home to some 3,000 elephants. All four lodges are located in areas with indigenous communities and contribute funds so these people can continue to live in traditional ways on their ancestors’ land. The Explorations Company offers a nine-night safari, staying at three Namibia Exclusive lodges, from £8,985 per person including flights, air transfers, full board and guiding. The Italian Castle: Castello di Ugento, Puglia There are few buildings in Europe in which guests can stay above a Norman keep, dine beneath 17th-century Baroque frescoes and wander around a garden in which Bronze Age artefacts have been found. In April, on the southern heel of Italy, the (rather wonderfully named) d’Amore family will open their restored thousand-year-old Castello di Ugento to paying guests for the first time (doubles from £260). Visitors can relax within walled gardens, in which more than 100 medicinal and aromatic plants are grown for the kitchen and spa; admire the frescoes painted in 1694 to portray the noble family’s history; sample local wines in an ancient cistern-turned-cellar; and take cookery lessons in a wing turned by the Culinary Institute of America into its first European school. A maximum of 18 guests will sleep in stone-walled rooms with high, star-vaulted ceilings and views over Ugento’s rooftops, and they will feast on Puglian favourites cooked by Milanese chef Odette Fada, whose refined cuisine at the renowned Rex Il Ristorante in Los Angeles and San Domenico NY made her name as one of America’s finest Italian chefs. The nearest beaches are two miles away and Baroque towns such as Lecce are a short drive from the castle. The Urban Forest: Aman Shanghai Aman’s latest property in China (its fourth) must be one of its most anticipated to date. The Shanghai retreat (rates not yet available) is a picture of leafy tranquility – and full of surprises. If a visitor were to drop into the 100-acre property, planted with thousand-year-old camphor trees and interspersed with historic Ming- and Qing-dynasty houses, they’d never believe that they were within easy reach of buzzy downtown Shanghai. Neither the forest nor village are native to this area; both were moved here over the past 10 years from Jiangxi, some 500 miles southwest, by Ma Dadong, a pioneering businessman, when the building of a reservoir threatened their survival. Aman Shanghai Now that the painstaking replanting (which took three years) and the building of the hotel are complete, the 37 villas in the new sanctuary are being decorated with original beams, floors, sculptures and carvings from the uplifted village homes. Kerry Hill, the project’s architect, has taken care to reflect traditional Chinese culture while blending in contemporary comforts and natural tones of earth, moss and creamy whites. Guests can take day trips to Shanghai, walk in the forest, sample Eastern cuisine, or relax in the spa, beside the two pools or in the Nan Shu Fang contemplation garden. The South American Sleeper: The Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru For the first time in May 2017, travellers will be able not only to traverse the Andes in one of the most luxurious trains on earth, but to sleep overnight on one. The Belmond Andean Explorer has been built to carry up to 68 passengers in en-suite cabins decorated by the South African designer Inge Moore in contemporary light woods and comforting alpaca-wool colours. Each of the train’s cars is fitted with expansive windows to frame views of the Andean plains, mountains and grand architecture, including the Unesco World Heritage Site of Arequipa. Although another two trains already operate in this area – Belmond’s Hiram Bingham, which offers day trips to Machu Picchu, and the more traditional Inca Princess – this is the first modern luxury train to offer trips from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, on one- and two-night journeys. Chefs from the Hotel Monasterio in Cusco will serve modern Peruvian cuisine in two dining cars; guests can also enjoy spacious lounge and observation cars, and an open deck. Doubles from £738 , all-inclusive, for one night. The Gorilla Camp: Bisate Lodge, Rwanda One of the key trends in Africa in 2017 is the growth of camps that offer both sustainable luxury and adventure. Hence Wilderness Safaris’ decision to open Bisate Lodge in June as a luxury base for tracking the 10 habituated gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park (doubles from £1,762 full board, excluding gorilla permits). The lodge, raised high above the forest floor in the amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, has been designed by architect Nick Plewman to echo the spherical, thatched structures that dot the hills, as well as the layout of traditional Rwandan palaces. The interiors by Caline Williams-Wynn have been inspired by the rich detail of Rwandan textiles, many of which are made using a technique called imigongo, an ancient art form incorporating geometric shapes. When the first guests arrive, they will be able not only to track gorillas, but to hike to Dian Fossey’s grave and her former research station at Karisoke, to trek to the top of a nearby volcano, and then to relax in the extensively reforested gardens. The Jungle Retreat: Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, Nicaragua Nicaragua’s first luxe mountain resort sits in the lush landscape of Nandaime, just 40 minutes’ drive from the pretty colonial city of Granada. Nekupe – or heaven, in the indigenous Chorotega language – was designed with the help of a feng shui architect to have the highest energy flow and least environmental impact possible, and the four freestanding villas and four expansive suites, with king-sized beds, made-for-sharing bathtubs and alfresco showers, are decorated in earth tones and warm woods that echo the serene setting (doubles from £720, full board). Floor-to-ceiling windows frame views over Mombacho volcano’s perfect cone, and wraparound terraces are perfect for sipping daiquiris, before farm-to-table feasts of nuevo-Nicaraguan cuisine. Nekupe will provide access to Nicaragua's underexplored nature reserves The surrounding nature reserve, which echoes with the sounds of primates and toucans, can be explored on ATVs, as well as on paths created for hikers, bikers and horseback riders, or on zip wires, which soar above the forest canopy. For those not expending energy on target-shooting, tennis and yoga, there is an infinity pool and a spa. The Cook Ski Spot: Lech, Austria Size matters to ski resorts, so the hotly anticipated coronation of Ski Arlberg as Austria’s largest contiguous ski area is big news indeed. Encompassing eight villages, including big hitters St Anton, Lechand Zürs, Ski Arlberg is already one of the best-known ski areas in the Alps. But now its four new lifts are open, linking the entire area to deliver 109 miles of pistes (three more than Val d’Isère), Ski Arlberg will join the ranks of the world’s über resorts. New developments have given Lech a leg up The four connected lifts, known as the Flexenbahn, will place Lech at the epicentre of the ski area (stealing some thunder from St Anton). While expanding its lifts, Lech has also been consolidating its position as Austria’s leading town for luxury ski chalets. In December – hot on the heels of properties like the Aurelio Clubhouse, Chalet N, Chalet 1597 and Überhaus, which have raised the luxury bar in recent years – Severin’s Alpine Retreat will open its doors. The nine-suite hotel will be fitted with only the best: Minotti furnishings, a spa with an indoor infinity pool and hypoxic chamber for altitude training, and a ski room with bespoke Indigo kit. Guests can take over the chalet, for free rein over the suites, restaurant, capacious spa and fire-lit lounges, or plump for The Residence: a sleek four-bedroom private apartment spanning two floors with a professional kitchen, cinema, bar and outdoor hot tub. The Oxford Ski Company offers a week for two people at Severin’s Alpine Retreat from £6,440, including transfers and flights. The Rugged Destination: Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan Tajikistan was the second-fastest growing tourist destination in the world in 2015, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Which is why in 2017 Edge Expeditions will be running a two-week Luxury Tajikistan tour of the country’s spectacular Pamir Mountains: one the most diverse, wild, exhilarating and least-explored corners of the planet. With a team of expert guides, a maximum of eight guests will traverse the raw wilderness by either four-wheel-drive vehicles, with a driver, or motorbikes. Journeying along the legendary Pamir Highway, travellers will spend days exploring azure mountain lakes, hidden valleys, ancient ruins and high mountain passes that very few outsiders ever get to see. The trip starts off at a five-star hotel in the capital, Dushanbe, while on the road the ground crew will prepare yurt camps with hot showers, comfortable beds, Egyptian cotton sheets and gourmet meals prepared by the expedition’s private chef. Along the way, both British and Tajik guides will interpret the layered history of the region, while astronomers with telescopes will also be on hand to explore some of the least light-polluted night skies in the world. Edge Expeditions is offering a 14-day Luxury Tajikistan journey by four-wheel-drive or motorcycle, from £9,495 full board, starting and ending at Dushanbe, including transfers, motorcycle rental or vehicle (with driver), back-up vehicles, guides and medic, but excluding international flights.
  23. Nicole

    House Hunting in ... Nicaragua

    A COLONIAL HOUSE WITH A COURTYARD IN THE CENTER OF GRANADA $1.3 MILLION This six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath house, known as Casa Blanca, is in the heart of Granada, Nicaragua, a small western city founded in the 1520s along the shore of Lake Nicaragua. The rich colonial heritage of the city, one of the oldest in Central America, is reflected in the stately architecture of this and other buildings. Casa Blanca, a colonial house with a white concrete facade and a red-clay tile roof, was built in the 1750s for a wealthy family from Spain, according to Carlos E. Gutierrez, a broker for Nicaragua Sotheby’s International Realty, which is listing the property. The two-story house, with a two-car garage, is on the corner of the pedestrian-only Calle La Calzada, near the Granada Cathedral and Central Park, the bustling city center. “It’s a pretty optimal location,” said Trevor Barran, the managing partner of the Sotheby’s affiliate, which opened for business last spring. The current owners acquired the property about five years ago, Mr. Barran said, and they spent two years renovating and upgrading it, restoring myriad architectural details throughout the 6,000 square feet of living space. Those flourishes include coffered and vaulted ceilings with tongue-and-groove, or machimbre, paneling; wood molding; and encaustic floor tiles handmade locally. The furnishings, most from the Managua manufacturer Simplemente Madera, are included in the sale. Ornate wrought-iron gates enclose the doors to the two main entrances, which open to a large central foyer with a seating area, one of three designated living rooms. The ground floor also contains four guest bedrooms, three of which have en-suite baths, and a small en-suite bedroom suitable for staff off the modern kitchen. All the bedrooms except the staff quarters have air-conditioning, Mr. Barran said. The master suite, with a TV alcove and a spalike bath, encompasses the second floor. It includes a balcony that offers views of the cathedral and overlooks the home’s lush central courtyard. Nearly every room on the first level leads to the courtyard, which is landscaped with tropical foliage like aloe and ginger plants and features an open-air dining area and a 40-foot pool. Granada, with a population of around 120,000, is about 28 miles from Managua, the capital. It is a 55-minute drive to the Managua airport and around three hours to the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica. MARKET OVERVIEW As Nicaragua’s past political turmoil has faded in memory, the country has become a popular tourist spot and a second-home destination, according to real estate agents. The real estate market “really opened up” from 2002 to 2004, when there was “tremendous growth for the country,” said Mr. Gutierrez of Sotheby’s. By 2006, “the market was booming,” he said. After the 2008 global financial crisis, “everything just went into hibernation,” he added. But sales and prices have rebounded in the last four years, agents said. “People feel confident about the country,” said Carlos Gutierrez, a residential developer and an owner of Casa Granada Properties, a real estate agency based in Granada. (He is not related to Mr. Gutierrez of Sotheby’s.) Home sales across Nicaragua are up, on average, 15 percent to 20 percent from a year ago, said Mr. Gutierrez, the developer. In Granada, “the rental market is also really growing,” he added, “because people want to try it out first before buying.” He estimated that rental volume in the city is up about 40 percent over the last five years. Although prices in Nicaragua have been rising — doubling in some beach communities since 2007, according to agents — home values remain far lower than in neighboring countries like Costa Rica. (The price for a three-bedroom, fully renovated home in Granada, for instance, typically starts at around $170,000, according to Mr. Gutierrez, the developer.) “Property values are around 50 percent less than Costa Rica,” Mr. Gutierrez of Sotheby’s said. “Nicaragua reminds me of Costa Rica 30 years ago.” WHO BUYS IN NICARAGUA Buyers from the United States, Canada and Europe have been active in Nicaragua’s housing market, particularly at the higher end, agents said, with most of them looking for second homes or development properties to hold and use. “About 10 years ago people would just buy as an investment, but there are really no speculators anymore,” said Eduardo Cabrales, a lawyer based in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Granada has had an influx of expatriate retirees, agents said, because of the city’s affordable cost of living, along with its colonial charm, walkability and shops, restaurants and other amenities. BUYING BASICS There are no restrictions on foreign ownership, except for properties near the borders “for homeland security reasons,” Mr. Cabrales said. In fact, policies and laws encourage foreign purchases, such as a residency program that offers tax incentives to retirees, he added. Foreigners, though, have fewer mortgage options available, so purchases typically are in cash, he said. It is essential for buyers to hire a good lawyer, preferably one who can provide a reliable translation of the purchase agreement and be present at the closing on behalf of the buyer, Mr. Cabrales said. The lawyer will also need to conduct the necessary due diligence, which includes the key step of reviewing the title deed, or escritura, to ensure there are no liens against the property or ownership issues. WEBSITES Nicaragua tourism: Nicaragua MLS: LANGUAGES AND CURRENCIES Spanish; Nicaraguan Córdoba (1 Córdoba = $0.034) TAXES AND FEES Each transaction typically involves just one real estate agent, who is paid a commission, usually by the seller, of 5 percent to 8 percent of the sales price. There are various other fees involved in a transaction — these are typically paid by the buyer — such as a federal transfer tax of 1 percent to 4 percent of the assessed value of the property after it is registered to the buyer. Other expenses include the annual municipal tax of 1 percent of the assessed value of the property, as well as fees for a lawyer and a notary (although many lawyers are notaries). The lawyer’s fee is typically 1 percent of the purchase price, Mr. Cabrales said. CONTACT Carlos E. Gutierrez, Nicaragua Sotheby’s International; from the United States, 305-608-0797; in Nicaragua, 505-7530-7890;
  24. 2700 attending a regional convention on a mango farm in El Viejo, Nicaragua Via