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At least 22 people have been killed in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras as Tropical Storm Nate moves north towards the US.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Central American countries, where more than 20 people are missing.

Nate has caused heavy rains, landslides and floods which are blocking roads, destroying bridges and damaging houses.

In Costa Rica, nearly 400,000 people are without running water and thousands are sleeping in shelters.

At least 8 people have died in the storm there, while another 11 were killed when it moved north and reached Nicaragua, where as much as 15ins of rain had been predicted to fall by the US’s National Hurricane Center.

Three people have been killed in Honduras, including two youths who drowned in a river, and several are reported missing.

One man was also reportedly killed in a mudslide in El Salvador, according to emergency services.

On October 5, all train journeys were suspended and dozens of flights canceled in Costa Rica.

More than a dozen national parks popular with tourists have been closed as a precaution.

Image source Wikimedia

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Nate also caused extensive damage to infrastructure in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua’s VP Rosario Murillo advised people to be cautious in the heavy rains.

“Sometimes we think we think we can cross a river and the hardest thing to understand is that we must wait,” he said on state radio.

“It’s better to be late than not to get there at all.”

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm was expected to move off the eastern coast of Honduras at 23:00 ET on October 5.

Forecasters say Nate will gain strength and become a category one hurricane before it makes landfall on the southern coast of the United States on October 8.

Residents from Florida to Texas have been told to prepare for the storm, which, if it does strike, might be the third major storm to hit the southern coast his year.

Both Texas and Florida are still recovering from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey, which hit the former in August and caused “unprecedented damage”, and Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Florida in September.

A state of emergency was declared in 29 Florida counties, and in New Orleans in Louisiana.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told people who live on low-lying ground to evacuate.

He tweeted: “There is no need to panic.

“Be ready and prepare. Get a plan. Prepare to protect your personal property.”

Oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico says they are evacuating staff from platforms which lie along the predicted path of Tropical Storm Nate.

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Caribbean storm Otto has been upgraded to a hurricane and is threatening Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua, forecasters say.

Forecasters warned that Hurricane Otto may have winds of 90 mph when it makes landfall early on November 24.

At least four people have already died in Panama in severe weather caused by the approach of the storm.

Otto is moving west at 2 mph after being almost stationary throughout November 22, experts say.hurricane-otto-2016

According to the US National Hurricane Center, Otto is now blowing at about 75 mph as it approaches northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua.

The storm is now centered east of Limon, Costa Rica. When it makes landfall on November 24 its heavy rain is expected to create numerous mudslides. It is then expected to cross over into the Pacific.

The Washington Post says that very few hurricanes have formed so late in the season – which ends on 30 November – and that across the Atlantic since 1851 only 35 storms have reached tropical storm intensity on or after November 15.

Earlier in Panama two people died in a mudslide; a girl drowned in a river and a boy died when a tree fell on a car taking him to school. His mother, who was driving, survived.

According to officials, about 50 homes were destroyed by mudslides and flights were delayed.

The governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica have issued a hurricane watch from Costa Rica’s southern border to the city of Bluefields in Nicaragua.

There is also a likelihood of dangerous surf and rip current conditions over the next few days along the coasts of Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, officials say.

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Turrialba volcano has erupted in central Costa Rica, spewing smoke and ash up to 9,840ft into the air.

Hundreds of people have been hospitalized, complaining of breathing difficulties and skin problems.Turrialba volcano eruption 2016

Some schools were shut and some flights into the country cancelled or diverted.

People in the capital San Jose, about 30 miles west of the Turrialba volcano, said layers of ash had coated buildings and cars and there was a fierce smell of sulphur.

Costa Rica’s National Emergencies Commission has advised people to wear masks and tight clothing to protect their lungs and skin.

Volcanologist Gino Gonzalez told reporters: “It seems to me to be the strongest [Turrialba] eruption in the past six years.”

Costa Rica is home to dozens of volcanoes, but most of them are dormant.

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Rising from the depths of the lush forests of Central America, Costa Rica is at the top of the list of any serious traveler. An amazing experience anyone can enjoy, this destination will be a holiday escape like no other. With endless sights, sounds and smells, appreciating the beauty of Costa Rica will come natural, but to get the best action, here are a couple of tips once you venture into this realm of wonder.

Costa Rica Guide

Planning Your Trip

When visiting Costa Rica one of the first things you need to do is plan ahead. Do the necessary research in advance, so you know what to expect once you arrive. One of the deciding factors that might influence your visit is the weather. The difference between verano (dry season – December to April) and invierno (rainy season – May to November) is a real game changer for any trip to Costa Rica. Just to be on the safe side, your bag should always contain comfortable clothes, shoes with a warmer alternative, sunblock, and mosquito repellant. And to help you before and during your trip, load up on travel tools on your phone.

Costa Rica Guide

The Right Accommodations

Costa Rica is a tourist hot spot, so it’s no wonder that hotels won’t be hard to come by. Most of what you think of as classical hotels and resorts are situated in larger cities and towns such as San Jose, Cartago, Santa Cruz, Liberia and Limon. They provide tourists with both affordable and luxury accommodations to choose from. However, if you are travelling with family or friends for a longer period, and you want to balance out price and space for everyone, you should consider checking out property rentals in Costa Rica. Away from the towns in the more remote regions, you can seek out good accommodations, but services like Wi-Fi might be hard to get a hold of.

Costa Rica Guide

Moving Through Costa Rica

Getting around in Costa Rica is easy, since the exchange rate is great, and you can get amazing bus deals for as low as 3$ per person. Due to its relatively small size, all of Costa Rica can be easily accessed by road, although the environment defined the way they were built, so some trips may take longer than others. However, travelling in larger settlements on foot may prove to be challenging, as pedestrians don’t always have the right-of-way.

Costa Rica Guide

Health and Safety Tips

As a traveler, it is also good to know that Costa Rica has quality health standards, with excellent hospitals in all the major tourist destinations. It is also good to note that most of the taps in the country provide safe drinking water, so you can save up on the bottled stuff. While SIM prepaid cards are available throughout the country with great travel deals always on offer.

Costa Rica Guide

Flavors of Costa Rica

When in Costa Rica, always go for local food and ingredients. Owing to its tropical, rainforest location, the markets are an amazement of color and smell. Fruit and veg are available in enormous quantities, and if you have a chance try local varieties such as anona, grandilla, guava and rose-apples. As anywhere around the world, when searching for the best food in Costa Rica look towards the street vendors, and small tucked away dinners. Each region has its own twist on the classics, and apart from the Tamales and Empanadas, be sure to try the national dish Casado, Ceviche, Gallo Pinto, and Sopa de Mariscos.

Costa Rica Guide

Must-Sees

Hidden within the rainforests of Costa Rica, are of course, the reasons why this country should be at the top of your vacation list. For nature fanatics and especially bird watchers, one of the most beautiful forests of the world – the Monteverde Cloud Forest, is a must see. Closer to the water, Tamarindo’s world famous surf is a hot spot for water sport junkies, while Manuel Antonia National Park is an ideal family beach holiday vacation paradise. Finally, hidden among the inland volcanoes, is the surreal La Fortuna Waterfall, and the hike of a lifetime.

Costa Rica Guide

Original Costa Rica Tours

The appeal of Costa Rica is also highlighted through the unique travel tour offers. Exploring the depths of the rainforest and its wildlife, you might want to consider the Canopy Tour. High above the treetops, you will zip line, like a spider monkey, from one tree platform to the next, all the while witnessing some amazing vistas of endless forest. If you want to be more down to earth, but still seeking adventure, White Water Rafting will be your tour of choice. One of the most thrilling ways to encounter Costa Rica, you will zig-zag through the vast meandering river network, such as the Celeste River, going on a ride of a lifetime.

Costa Rica Guide

There you have it, the dos and don’ts of Costa Rica that will make the entire journey an amazing experience. Now, all that is left is to pack your bags, and make this paradise your next vacation destination. Vaya con Dios!

Costa Rica’s newly elected President Luis Guillermo Solis has passed a decree banning his name being put on plaques at public works.

Luis Guillermo Solis, who was sworn in last month, also said he did not want his portrait hung in public offices, which was until now a common practice.

“The worship of the image of the president is over, at least under my government,” Luis Guillermo Solis said.

His victory made him the first third-party candidate to govern Costa Rica in more than 50 years.

Costa Rica's newly elected President Luis Guillermo Solis has passed a decree banning his name being put on plaques at public works

Costa Rica’s newly elected President Luis Guillermo Solis has passed a decree banning his name being put on plaques at public works

Luis Guillermo Solis told reporters he thought having his name on plaques marking the inauguration of construction projects such as bridges and roads gave people the wrong idea.

“The works are from the country and not from a government or a particular official,” he told reporters after signing the decree.

In future, commemorative plaques will only bear the year the project was inaugurated rather than the name of the administration, as was usual until now.

Luis Guillermo Solis – of the centre-left Citizen Action Party (PAC) – surprised everyone by taking 31% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election in February.

In the opinion polls which followed, Luis Guillermo Solis got so much support, his main rival decided to stop campaigning and effectively drop out of the race.

Nevertheless, Luis Guillermo Solis continued to campaign until the last minute on a promise to bring transparency to the presidency and eliminate unnecessary spending.

Luis Guillermo Solis won with almost 78% of the vote.

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The worst performance at a World Cup by England, period. Eliminated just 8 days into the tournament and after only two games for the first time in the proud nation’s history.

It was never going to be easy. It wasn’t a great surprise that England were eliminated before the second round but the manner in which it happened left a bitter taste in the mouth.

Two defeats in which England had more possession of the ball, more shots on goal but allowed the opposition to score twice in each match with some of their only attempts on goal.

Manager Roy Hodgson has the backing of the English FA. Captain Steven Gerrard wants at least a week to decide over his England future. Wayne Rooney is “hurt”, apparently.

England was eliminated just 8 days into the World Cup soccer tournament

England was eliminated after just 8 days into the World Cup soccer tournament (photo Nike)

The two England performances against Uruguay and Italy were barely encouraging. While England weren’t exactly favourites for lifting the World Cup, they were still expected to get one win out of two games. The exciting football that the team played was a treat and a rarity it must be said. The Sunday League defending and the lack of opportunities created were a big reason for England to catch the plane home early.

Only 8 nations at the 2014 World Cup had a younger squad than England. That included having 34-year old Steven Gerrard and now 36-year old Frank Lampard.

England took the most under-21 players to the tournament of all 32 nations – 18-year old Luke Shaw, 19-year old Raheem Sterling and 20-year olds Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ross Barkley.

Liverpool’s Sterling has already started both of England’s games at this World Cup, whilst Everton’s Barkley has made substitute appearances in both. Arsenal’s Chamberlain was not fit for either of the two previous matches, but if all four of these players are given a start against Costa Rica, alongside some of the senior players – surely this can only be a positive thing for England’s future.

Manager Hodgson admitted in Thursday’s press conference that he wanted to give as many of his 23-man squad an appearance during the tournament. 15 members of the squad have already made an appearance.

Two goalkeepers; Fraser Forster (26) and Ben Foster (31) are joined by Phil Jones (22), Frank Lampard (36), James Milner (28), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (20), Luke Shaw (18) and Chris Smalling (24) as those yet to play.

There’s a handful of names in this squad you think could be very great in two or four years’ time at the next tournaments provided England qualify. But how many of these do you predict to be World Class players?

How many of these players are going to go on to become the next Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Agüero, Franck Ribéry or Arjen Robben?

Since the decline of Wayne Rooney, the retirements of David Beckham and Michael Owen and the aging Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard – England now desperately need to be on the lookout for developing World Class players in the very near future if they’re even to consider reaching the final four of a major tournament, let-alone winning it.

Compared to the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, England simply don’t have the strength in depth and until that is developed the manager can only do the best with the blunt tools he has been given.

Costa Rica is voting to choose a successor to President Laura Chinchilla.

The governing party’s Johnny Araya, a former mayor of San Jose, is expected to face strong opposition from left-wing candidate Jose Maria Villalta.

Centre-left politician Luis Guillermo Solis is also seen as a contender.

With many voters undecided, pollsters are predicting a tight race. If no candidate wins outright, there will be a run-off on 6 April.

Johnny Araya, who served as the capital’s mayor for more than 20 years, has promised to reduce poverty and attempted to distance himself from the scandal-hit government of President Laura Chinchilla.

Costa Rica is voting to choose a successor to President Laura Chinchilla

Costa Rica is voting to choose a successor to President Laura Chinchilla

Analysts said that Jose Maria Villalta could become the first left-wing president in Costa Rican history. He was the only one of the main candidates not to attend a Sunday Mass.

“I don’t usually go to church. It would be hypocritical of me to go now, just because we are holding elections,” Jose Maria Villalta told reporters.

His opponents accuse him of being a “communist” and planning to legalize abortion.

Another leading contender, right-wing candidate Otto Guevara, promised to rebuild the “social fabric” and lower electricity prices.

Laura Chinchilla became the first female president of Costa Rica in 2010.

Correspondents say Laura Chinchilla’s successor will have to tackle not only the country’s economic woes but a deeply divided Congress.

Voters are electing both a new president and members of Congress.

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A 7.6-magnitude earthquake has rocked the north-western part of Costa Rica triggering a tsunami warning, the US Geological Survey said.

A tsunami warning is in effect for Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua.

The quake was centred about 50 miles (80 km) south of the town of Liberia and was at a depth of 12.4 miles.

It rattled buildings and cut power in some parts of the capital of San Jose, Reuters news agency reported.

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake has rocked the north-western part of Costa Rica triggering a tsunami warning

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake has rocked the north-western part of Costa Rica triggering a tsunami warning

Power and communications in much of the country were briefly knocked out, according to Costa Rican authorities.

Regional media reported it could be felt as far away as Nicaragua and El Salvador.

The US Geological Survey originally said the quake had a magnitude of 7.9, but revised it down to 7.6.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reduced the area of the tsunami warning, which had earlier included the Pacific coast of most of Central and South America to Costa Rica and its immediate neighbours.

Douglas Salgado of the National Commission of Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention told the Associated Press news agency that there were no initial reports of damage or deaths in the earthquake zone.

He said officials were having problems reaching people in the area nearest the epicentre.

 

Sloths of Costa Rica are the new internet sensation, after appearing in a documentary by Lucy Cooke.

Clips from Meet the Sloths were put on YouTube by film-maker, Lucy Cooke, and have been viewed by almost seven million people.

Lucy Cooke said the sloths have a celebrity following, with Ashton Kutcher, Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Ross tweeting about the cute creatures.

Sloths of Costa Rica are the new internet sensation, after appearing in a documentary by Lucy Cooke

Sloths of Costa Rica are the new internet sensation, after appearing in a documentary by Lucy Cooke

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