Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories The expert said most bombs strapped to girls and women are triggered by remote devices, which they have no control over.Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds of girls and women in a nearly 6-year-old uprising aimed at enforcing the group’s strict version of Shariah law across Nigeria, whose population of 170 million is divided almost equally between Christians and Muslims.Police commissioner John Opadokun confirmed Wednesday that the three women bombers died near Auno village, 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Maiduguri. He said they intended to attack the city.The bomb expert said three other women died last week when their explosive vests detonated as they were approached by soldiers while boarding a bus near the Maimalari Barracks, on the outskirts of Maiduguri. Several soldiers were injured, he said.Eight soldiers were killed on June 4 when a suicide car bomb hit a checkpoint outside the same barracks. Other suicide bombs have exploded outside a mosque and in markets in Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeast Nigeria and the birthplace of Boko Haram.The surge in attacks began after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the military command center for the war on Boko Haram to be moved from Abuja, the capital in central Nigeria, to Maiduguri, at the heart of the insurgency. Buhari was meeting Thursday in Abuja with leaders of neighboring countries about strengthening a multinational regional force fighting Boko Haram.—Associated Press writer Michelle Faul contributed to this report from Lagos, Nigeria.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Quick workouts for men Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) — Three women wearing explosive vests blew up near Maiduguri in an apparent failed suicide bombing attack on Nigeria’s beleaguered northeastern city, police said Wednesday.Dozens of people have been killed in suicide bombings in Maiduguri last week, all blamed on the extremist Boko Haram group.A police bomb expert investigating Tuesday’s blasts said the women’s bodies were cut in half by the explosions, which took place on the highway leading to the city. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not supposed to give information to reporters. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes
LONDON (AP) — A Rwandan military general was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport and will appear in court later this week, British police said Tuesday, prompting an angry response from Rwandan leaders.Police said the warrant for Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, head of Rwanda’s intelligence and security service, was made on behalf of authorities in Spain.Karake, a close ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, was one of 40 members of the Rwandan military indicted in 2008 on charges of terrorism and genocide by Spanish national Court Judge Fernando Andreu. Sponsored Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility In 1998, a Spanish judge indicted former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet and managed to have him arrested while Pinochet was visiting London, but the British government refused to extradite him to Madrid, saying Pinochet was in poor health. Pinochet died in Chile in 2007.____Kagire reported from Kigale, Rwanda. Ciaran Giles from Madrid also contributed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Spanish magistrates have used the principle of universal jurisdiction several times to go after current or former government leaders or terrorism suspects, even indicting Osama bin Laden over the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But extraditions and convictions have been rare.On Twitter, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo called the arrest “an outrage,” adding “Western solidarity in demeaning Africans is unacceptable.”Rwanda and Britain “are talking to resolve the matter,” Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said, insisting that Spain’s indictment of Karake was illegitimate and politically motivated.Police said Karake was arrested Saturday, had a brief hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that day and will be back in court on Thursday.A spokesman for Spain’s National Court said it was now up to British authorities to decide whether or not to extradite Karake. He spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with court policy.Andreu began considering the Rwanda case in 2005 after a complaint was filed by an African human rights group. Others indicted include James Kabarebe, now the defense minister in Rwanda.In the 182-page indictment, Andreu said he also had evidence implicating Kagame, who led the rebel forces that stopped the genocide in 1994, but could not charge him because as a sitting president Kagame has immunity. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Taxi drivers in South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, met on Tuesday to discuss how to compete with Uber, after rivalry led to drivers of the international ride-hailing service being harassed and intimidated.The drivers decided Uber should not be allowed to work without an affiliation to a local taxi association or a running meter, said taxi driver Daniel Sejamoholo.“These people are absolutely out of order,” said Sejamoholo, who has owned a small cab service with his wife Julia since 1996, but has seen profits decrease as Uber’s popularity has grown. The meeting followed a march to Uber’s Johannesburg office last week. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Cabdrivers have intimidated Uber drivers, accusing the internet-based service of undercutting their profits, South African media reported. The incidents were isolated but Uber sent security to risky routes, they said in a statement. The San-Francisco-based company said it was trying to work with local drivers.With Uber, a 30 kilometer (just over 18 miles) trip from Soweto, to Johannesburg’s city center would cost 200 rand, or $16 — a journey that would cost between 300 and 350 rand, about $24 to $28, with metered cabs.This saving has made Uber popular with passengers, and the company says it has increased its rides from 1 million in 2014, to 2 million in the first half of this year alone.In Cape Town, more than 20,000 people signed Uber’s online petition and tweeted their preference for the service with the hashtag CTNeedsUber after city authorities impounded over 200 Uber taxis for operating without a permit. Officials in both cities said they were working on policies to regulate Uber.Uber has faced opposition from cabdrivers in other cities including Paris, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, with conflict between cabbies and Uber drivers sometimes turning violent.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches
Source = SITA SITA, the air transport IT specialist, was named Airport IT Solutions Provider of the Year at the 2011 Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Aerospace & Defense Awards ceremony in Singapore. It is the second time in three years that SITA has received a Frost & Sullivan Aerospace & Defense Award, highlighting the strength of SITA’s position as the preferred IT solutions provider for airports in the Asia Pacific region which handle over 1.2 billion passengers and are experiencing 4.9% annual growth. The focus of the award is the use of integrated IT solutions, which play a crucial role in the optimisation of airport processes, in particular recognising the development of SITA’s ‘Intelligent Airport’ concept. Over the past year, SITA has secured a number of major contracts for integrated solutions with airports in the growing Asia Pacific region, including in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Taiwan and Thailand.Damian Hickey, SITA Regional Vice President South Asia and India, said: “Improving the passenger journey is central to the SITA Intelligent Airport vision. By tracking, managing and sharing real-time information, we can help airports be proactive and predictive. It means passengers have access to better information, both through information display systems and their own smartphones. It also means the airport and airlines can manage staff more efficiently, to ensure they have the right resources in the right place, at the right time, which in turn means shorter queues, for example at check-in and security.”The Intelligent Airport also involves a number of other elements, including further use of common-use self-service for check-in, bag drop and baggage tracing; the increased use of passengers’ mobile devices for a wide range of services, from car parking to special offer promotions in the retail areas, and guidance through the airport; and more sophisticated workforce mobility technology to ensure the entire workforce is used as efficiently as possible.Frost & Sullivan examined a wide range of criteria, including SITA’s product suite and innovation, the suitability of the products for the market, as well as SITA’s position in the market. Its wide product portfolios have enhanced its position at the forefront of providing cutting-edge technology solutions to its growing global customers. Community initiatives by SITA have also resulted in products and processes widely used by various air transport communities, such as WorldTracer, iBorders Gateway Services, Cargo Community System and AirportHub. Cheong Chern Wai, Senior Consultant with Frost & Sullivan’s Aerospace & Defense practice, Asia Pacific, said: “As Asia Pacific’s leading technology solutions provider in the airport industry, SITA has assisted many of its customers to improve their business efficiency through the use of cost-effective technologies. Their industry experience and strategic know how makes them one of the most highly sought after IT partners.” SITA is one of the world’s most international companies. Its global reach is based on local presence, with services for around 550 air transport industry members and 3,200 customers in over 200 countries and territories. In Asia Pacific, SITA employs over 760 employees in 27 countries to provide services to the air transport industry.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Proposed amendments to the Qantas Sales Act would not only restrict the carrier’s leap into outside markets but also put the airline “in jeopardy”, according to chief executive Alan Joyce.Following the suspension of union strikes against the carrier after the entire fleet was grounded over the weekend, a Bill was proposed by unions to adjust the current Act and keep the carrier from “offshoring” jobs. While the Act was originally mounted to ensure Qantas remained a majority Australian owned company, proposed changes would see Qantas restricted from creating new airline ventures outside of Aus. Mr Joyce said passing the Bill would not only “handcuff” the carrier but put the “business in jeopardy… [and] threaten Australian jobs”.“Qantas will always be owned by Australians, will always be proud that the vast majority of our operations are based in Australia and will always call Australia home,” Mr Joyce said.He stressed that currently up to 92 percent of its employees are based in Australia and it is still the only major airline to do the majority of its maintenance down under.“The Bill being proposed would not do more to protect Australia’s Qantas,” he explained.“It would not make us more Australian. “It would not protect Australian jobs. “The Bill represents a significant threat to the viability of Qantas and the growing number of Jetstar airlines operating in Asia – even those that don’t fly to and from Australia.”The carrier’s head added that the airline had and always will comply with the requirements of the act which currently details that foreign ownership of the airline cannot exceed 49 percent, foreign airlines cannot own more than 35 percent of the carrier, Qantas must always form parts of the carrier’s title, head office and principle operations must be in Australia as well as two thirds of the director must be Australian citizens.“Would Australia seriously consider applying these principles to other great Australian companies such as ANZ, BHP or Westfield, who also invest and employ in overseas markets?” he added.“Like Qantas, these are great Australian companies who have sought out new markets, created jobs, grown opportunities and wealth for this country.”
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The online company has announced the formation of a new business to be based in Dubai and serve as an international hotel aggregation platform in Dubai, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.Unveiled today, Lots of Hotels will be headed by 30-year Middle Eastern travel veteran, Ossama Wagdi, and will operate under the existing Webjet aggregation model.Expected to produce a total transaction value of $20 million within its first full year of business, Webjet managing director John Guscic stressed the new platform was not “an experiment” but a tried and tested business.“We have recruited tried and tested staff with a wealth of experience and intimate knowledge of the region,” Mr Guscic said.“This positions us well to capitalise on the growth in tourism intra-region as well as inbound and outbound.”As part of operations, a contracting team and service centre will also be established in Dubai which will also feed back to consumer hotel offerings through Australia, New Zealand, Asia and North America.
Aussies are rediscovering Australia in a ‘road trip’ style of discovery, with new figures showing caravanning and camping trips are on the rise.Despite a tough economic dollar slowing down domestic travel, Caravan RV & Accommodation Industry of Australia (CRVA) research found that between 2008 and 2011 up to 14.7 percent more travellers took their vacations to the road with over 474,000 registered RV products throughout Australia. Of the Australian states, Western Australia held the highest combined caravan and campervan registration per 1,000 people to 29.8 per 1,000 followed by Tasmania and South Australia. Citing better value in ‘on-the-road’ vacations, CRVA chief executive Stuart Lamont said people see if as the “most affordable holiday” with the bonus of lifestyle and health benefits.“It’s the freedom from daily routines that is so appealing about a caravan and camping holiday,” Mr Lamont explained. “Bonding with like-minded people over happy hour, swapping recipes and travel stories and making friends for life- these priceless experiences you have on the road are what matters most.”The company’s head added that Caravan and Camping holidays are also playing a role in maintaining domestic holidays and the number of Aussies exploring their homeland.“Caravanning and camping promotes Australians holidaying at home, and offers one of the best value holiday options in Australia today, in many cases supporting regional communities due to the locations of caravan holiday parks, and the nature of caravanning and camping,” he said. According to the company’s findings, up to seven million Australians have visited a caravan holiday park in the last two years with a further 9.3 planning a holiday in the Caravanning and Holiday Parks Industry over the coming two years. Source = e-Travel BlackboardL N.J
Virgin Australia said granting Qantas and Emirates interim authorisation for an alliance would allow the airlines to “step beyond the line” and become anti-competitive.Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd has submitted an eight-page report to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), claiming interim authorisation would allow Qantas and Emirates to obtain a large segment of market share without proof of the benefits to consumers, The Australian Financial Review reported.Virgin said the limited interactions between Qantas and Emirates did not warrant an interim authorisation. The ACCC will make its final decision regarding the proposed alliance early next year.Qantas recently made a submission to the ACCC declaring it may have to condense international operations if the proposed agreement with Emirates is not approved. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T
Tony Douglas appointed Chief Executive OfficerTony Douglas appointed Chief Executive OfficerThe Chairman of Etihad Aviation Group, His Excellency Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, today confirmed the appointment of Tony Douglas as Group Chief Executive Officer, who will join the company in January 2018.Mr. Douglas joins Etihad from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, where he has served as CEO of the Defence Equipment and Support department, responsible for procuring and supporting all the equipment and services for the British Armed Forces.In the UK, he held senior positions with airport operator BAA, and as Chief Operating Officer and Group Chief Executive designate of Laing O’Rourke. His roles under airport operator BAA included Managing Director of the Heathrow Terminal 5 project, Group Supply Chain Director, Group Technical Director, and CEO of Heathrow Airport.Previously, Mr. Douglas held senior positions in the UAE, most notably as CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports Company and as CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports Company where he was responsible for the successful delivery of Khalifa Port.H.E. Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of Etihad Aviation Group, commented: “We are delighted to have Tony return to Abu Dhabi to lead Etihad. He has guided the transformation of large organisations in the UAE and the UK, and he understands the UAE and the region. He is also deeply knowledgeable about commercial aviation and keenly familiar with Etihad’s challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing industry.”As Group CEO, Mr. Douglas will work with the Board and leadership team to expand and implement a range of strategic initiatives to position Etihad for sustained success in an increasingly competitive regional and global aviation market.Mr. Douglas commented: “Etihad is a force in global aviation that must continue to adapt and evolve on its own and with industry partners. It is an economic and employment engine for the UAE and the region. With new infrastructure and attractions like the expanded airport, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi Global Market, Etihad has a central role in supporting the UAE’s position as a global hub of transportation, tourism, commerce, and culture.”Ray Gammell, who has served as Interim Group CEO since May 2017, said: “Etihad and its talented workforce have helped to reshape global and regional aviation. With new challenges and new opportunities, Tony will guide the company into the next phase of itsdevelopment.”Mr. Douglas will be supported by an experienced group leadership team which includes Ray Gammell, who will return to his position as Group Chief People & Performance Officer; Ricky Thirion, Interim Group Chief Financial Officer; Kevin Knight, Group Chief Strategy & Planning Officer; Mana Mohamed Saeed Al Mulla, Chief Group Support Services Officer; Henning zur Hausen, General Counsel; and Amina Taher, Vice President Corporate Affairs.The divisional CEOs will report directly to Mr. Douglas, including Peter Baumgartner, CEO of Etihad Airways; Chris Youlten, Managing Director of Etihad Airport Services; Abdul Khaliq Saeed, CEO of Etihad Airways Engineering; Gavin Halliday, Managing Director of Hala Group; and Robin Kamark who joins as CEO, Airline Equity Partners in October 2017.Source = Etihad Aviation Group
Source = PARKROYAL Penang Resort A refreshed stay experience at Penang beach’s leading resortA refreshed stay experience at Penang beach’s leading resortPARKROYAL Penang Resort celebrated in style today, unveiling a refreshed resort after an MYR55 million transformation. More than 200 guests witnessed this milestone as the Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, launched the resort’s newlogo identity to mark a new chapter for the resort.Located on Penang Island’s famous Batu Ferringhi beach since 1990, PARKROYAL Penang Resort has undergone several refreshments over the years to stay relevant in Penang’s hospitality landscape. Over the past year, MYR55 million was invested to fully refurbish the resort’s public guest areas, rooms and suites, all-day dining restaurant and lounge.The resort is ready to welcome discerning leisure and business travellers as a premium deluxe resort. Reservations can be made on www.parkroyalhotels.com/penang or by calling 1800 220 021 or +60 4 886 2288.Seamless Arrival ExperienceUpon arrival, guests will receive a warm welcome at the resort’s porte cochere and reception, which open out to the palm-fringed sea. With an elevated ceiling and light-filled spaces with timber furnishings and soothing lights, as well as thoughtful touches such as local artwork which lend a strong sense of connection to the destination, the relaxing ambience at the lobby immediately puts our guests at ease within its tropical surrounds.PARKROYAL Penang Resort’s reception features high ceilings and light-filled spacesContemporary Comfort in a Tropical SettingEach of the resort’s 308 rooms, ranging from 23 to 94 square metres, has been completely renovated. PARKROYAL Penang Resort now offers ten room categories across 284 guestrooms and 24 suites, including the new Two-Bedroom Family Seaview unit, which is specifically designed to accommodate families and groups.At 50 square metres, the Two-Bedroom Family Seaview unit is larger than the One-Bedroom Family Seaview (38 square metres), and offers guests greater flexibility of space to interact and bond with one another. In addition, spacious day beds make the Deluxe Rooms, Family Seaview Rooms, Premier Seaview Suites and Pulau Pinang Suites ideal sanctuaries to lounge by the window or balcony while overlooking the sea or garden grounds.The Two-Bedroom Family Seaview room offers 50 square metres of flexible spaces for bondingFresh Ingredients for Local and Asian fare for New Dining ConceptPARKROYAL Penang Resort is also introducing Cinnamon, a 281-seater modern and casual restaurant with an inviting ambience. A new dining concept, Cinnamon emphasises fresh ingredients and the generous use of spices and herbs in its cooking to bring out authentic flavours in local and Asian cuisines. This focus on freshness is reflected in the restaurant’s interior design, which is bright, vibrant and uplifting throughout. Guests can enjoy their meals in air-conditioned comfort (with private rooms available for meetings and groups) or in the outdoors, complete with views of our expansive gardens and beautiful shorelines.Cinnamon’s communal dining table is perfect for large gatheringsUpgraded Lounge for Entertainment or RelaxationThe refreshed 80-seater Javana Lounge now features versatile seating which encourages our guests to interact with one another. Oversized, stylish fans create an airy environment, while sofa beds and spacious workstations offer spaces for guests to relax over our delicious cocktails, surf the web, or simply connect with family and friends, all while overlooking the resort’s outdoor gardens and swimming pools, which have been upgraded with enhanced LED lightings as part of our energy conservation efforts.Mr Edward Kollmer, General Manager, PARKROYAL Penang Resort, said, “Tourism is thriving in Penang. Malaysians and foreign visitors flock to Penang for its unrivalled local food, culture, and even ecotourism. The state continues to innovate and develop the tourism sector to maintain Penang’s pole position, and we are fortunate to be part of Penang’s growth. We are proud of our heritage and will keep working hard to remain one of Penang’s top resorts. As PARKROYAL’s flagship resort, we will fly the flag high in our continued commitment to celebrate the best in people as we bring our utmost to ensure unwavering sincerity in service and product.”
Source = Mojo Nomad Central Mojo Nomad Central brings change to Hong Kong HospitalityMojo Nomad Central brings change to Hong Kong HospitalityMojo Nomad Central – a ground-breaking concept designed to turn the traditional hotel model on its head- will open this September on Queens Road Central in the heart of Hong Kong. The property is the second to open from the Mojo Nomad brand, Hong Kong’s first hotel concept with shared working spaces, and a member of the Ovolo Hotels group.“Following the unprecedented success of Mojo Nomad Aberdeen, on the western shore of Hong Kong Island, we’re excited to unveil a second Mojo Nomad property in Hong Kong, this time in the city’s bustling Central District,” says Girish Jhunjhnuwala, the visionary behind the Mojo Nomad concept, and founder & CEO of Ovolo Hotels. The edgy, design-driven concept draws on the hotelier’s desire to make a difference. “We are giving modern travelers access to a multi-use space where they can be productive, collaborate, seek adventure and experience new things,” continued Girish.The first of its kind in the region, the Mojo Nomad concept combines a mix of designer rooms, from private to accommodation options for families, groups and friends, paving the way for a new type of value-driven design hospitality. Mojo Nomad’s communal spaces encourage guests to connect with new people and ideas, tapping into a thriving demographic of explorers and addressing the changing demands of the ever-evolving traveler.The new Mojo Nomad Central offers a total of 56 guest rooms ranging from size S to XL; two of the property’s rooms will offer shared accommodations. Adhering to the brand’s commitment to integrating the latest in technology and design, each room is equipped with multiple USB and traditional plug sockets, as well as international adapters. Shared rooms are fitted with individual televisions and Bluetooth headphone capabilities, as well. A flexible-use space on the property’s second floor will offer a refreshment bar and shared kitchen with additional working and lounge areas. On the third floor, the gym offers TRX equipment, punching bags, yoga mats and more.A two-story Mexican eatery, Te Quiero Mucho, will serve share-style plates and margaritas alongside a broad selection of artisanal tequilas. The bar, which also serves as the hotel’s reception desk, is decked out with eye-catching neon.“Our inspirational new hotel collection is designed for those seeking a better way of living. At Mojo Nomad, guests are able to unite around common interests and enjoy a unique style of community living, which values openness and collaboration without compromise. Whether your stay be long or short, you’ll be a part of our community,” concluded Girish.For more information about Mojo Nomad, visit www.mojonomad.com. For more information about the Ovolo Hotels group, visit www.ovolohotels.comAbout Ovolo HotelsOvolo Hotels is an independent hospitality company that owns and operates a collection of individually designed hotels. Founded in 2002, the company now runs four hotels in Hong Kong and six hotels in Australia, including in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. Ovolo also recently launched a new brand, Mojo Nomad, in Aberdeen Harbour, Hong Kong. Mojo Nomad is a cohabitation concept for global nomads that combines travel, lifestyle and community at its core and will be entering the Australian market in the near future.About Mojo NomadEstablished in 2017, Mojo Nomad is a community for global travelers who seek a new way of living. The brand’s vision is to establish a global brand that will consistently go beyond traditional hospitality concepts which allows residents to live, work and travel in an effortless home-feel environment. The Mojo Nomad micro-living hotel concept offers collaborative and fun environments that expose its residents to new people, new ideas and new experiences. Mojo Nomad strives to encourage residents to be active creators and unite them around a common interest to share space, resources, and activities, ultimately inspiring them to contribute creatively and intellectually to the world around them.
Source = InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Flagship InterContinental Hotel to anchor One Queen Street developmentFlagship InterContinental Hotel to anchor One Queen Street development at Auckland’s Commercial BayAuckland will welcome a flagship InterContinental hotel in 2022 with IHG® and Precinct Properties, the largest city centre real estate owner in New Zealand, signing an agreement to open InterContinental Auckland.InterContinental Auckland will enjoy an unrivalled location on the city’s waterfront, with a halo address at 1 Queen Street that will inevitably become a destination in its own right. It will complete the $1 billion Commercial Bay mixed-use development, which boasts the largest concentration of high quality retail facilities in the city and a new 39-level office tower with 39,000m2 of premium office space.The world-class waterfront development is also destined to become Auckland’s newest, shopping, dining and social hub, offering a vast range of food and beverage outlets that are perfectly complemented by the hotel’s luxury dining experience, which includes all-day dining and bars.The hotel will be dedicated to those who appreciate and enjoy The InterContinental Life, featuring the brand’s signature Club InterContinental experience, as well as a gym and meeting facilities. In order to give guests an unparalleled experience that shows off the best of the ‘City of Sails’, 90% of the hotel’s 244 guest rooms will offer water views.Abhijay Sandilya, IHG’s Senior Director of Development – Australasia, said: “It’s high time Auckland got a taste of the InterContinental Life, so we are very excited about this announcement. Being part of such an iconic mixed-use development ensures the hotel, dining, retail and commercial components form a symbiotic relationship. Together with Precinct Properties, we will deliver a distinctive product that inspires those travellers who are looking for the InterContinental understated luxury, both in the leisure and corporate space.”Scott Pritchard, Chief Executive Office at Precinct Properties commented: “Commercial Bay is set to transform Auckland’s CBD and reshape the waterfront area in the heart of the city, so it’s absolutely fitting that one of the world’s best-known luxury brands is part of this world-class development. The addition of the InterContinental Life further solidifies Commercial Bay as a truly mixed-use precinct, and we’re very proud to partner with IHG to bring this flagship property to life.”InterContinental Auckland will benefit from convenient access to corporate and leisure demand generators including, the New Zealand International Convention Centre, Viaduct Harbour, Britomart precinct, Wynyard Quarter, Vector Arena, the international cruise ship terminal, SKY CITY and SKY CITY Casino. It sits at the heart of Auckland’s transport infrastructure which includes train, bus and ferry, as well as being just 20km to Auckland Airport, the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand.InterContinental Auckland will be the second for the brand in New Zealand, after InterContinental Wellington, and adds an important piece to IHG’s Australasia luxury credentials, complementing InterContinental Hotels in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Sanctuary Cove, as well as the 194 globally.IHG currently has 48 hotels operating under four brands in Australasia, including: InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Innand Holiday Inn Express, with another 22 in the pipeline, including Hotel Indigo, EVEN Hotels and voco.
Share Construction Industry Wavers as Home Sales Lift Economy in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing July 18, 2012 449 Views Increased home sales continue to help the United States out of its Great Recession, but uneven job growth is stunting recovery, according to “”Freddie Mac’s””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for July.[IMAGE]The report, released Wednesday, showed that record-breaking low mortgage rates and refinances through HARP 2.0 drove up housing demand, leading to increases in housing starts, home sales, and prices in many markets. Housing starts for the first five months of the year averaged an annual rate of 719,000, a 26 percent increase from the same period in 2011. New home sales jumped up 17 percent while existing home sales increased 7 percent. In addition, HARP refinances in the through May this year exceeded 78,000, more than the total of HARP refinances during all of 2011.However, flagging job growth was a major issue. The latest labor market reports show that job creation slowed in the second quarter, with a total of 225,000 new payroll jobs being reported-the lowest quarterly gain in nearly two years and a disappointment compared to the first quarter’s 677,000 job boost.[COLUMN_BREAK]Residential building construction lost 6,000 jobs in June, while employment in construction and mortgage finance continues to fall behind growth in other sectors. Over the past year, overall payroll employment across all industries was up 1.8 million, with construction making up a mere 13,000 of that total. However, housing demand has boosted hiring in the construction sector on a year-over-year basis, but although the unemployment rate for construction workers has fallen since June 2011, it remains elevated compared to the overall national figure.The report attribute’s labor market weakness to the mild winter, which shifted economic activity from the spring back to the beginning of the year. Over the first half of 2012, employment gains have averaged 150,000 per month.Strengthening of economic growth in the second half of the year is expected to rebuild job growth back to this monthly pace.Although job growth proved underwhelming in the second quarter, the report pointed out that the economy may see better days ahead, owing largely to falling mortgage rates. With lower monthly mortgage interest payments, homeowners have more funds left over to support consumer spending or savings, providing a boost to the country’s GDP and supporting a pick-up in labor force growth. Freddie Mac VP and chief economist Frank Nothaft said the housing market’s recovery should be used as a foothold to boost the struggling sectors.””While housing may not have played its traditional role coming out of the Great Recession, at the end of the day, it has turned a very large corner, and now it’s time to get this sector back to work whether through construction jobs, remodeling, or home brokerage,”” said Nothaft. Agents & Brokers Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Home Sales Housing Affordability Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Rates Private Construction Processing Refinance Residential Construction Service Providers Sustainability Unemployment 2012-07-18 Tory Barringer
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Economic Analysis Confidence Consumer spending GDP Investors Lenders & Servicers Profits Service Providers 2012-11-29 Mark Lieberman Real GDP growth for the third quarter was revised up significantly, reaching a 2.7 percent annualized growth, the “”Bureau of Economic Analysis””:http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2012/pdf/gdp3q12_2nd.pdf (BEA) reported Thursday. Economists had forecast a 2.8 percent growth rate from the first estimate of 2.0 percent reported last month.[IMAGE]In the same report, BEA said corporate profits in the third quarter rebounded to $1.752 trillion (annualized) from $1.665 trillion in the second quarter. Profits in the third quarter grew an annualized 22.7 percent after dropping 1.4 percent in the second quarter. Corporate profits on a year-on-year basis increased 18.6 percent, compared to 14.5 percent in the second quarter.The improvement in profits bodes well for increased hiring, and indeed, the nation added 171,000 thousand jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report on November jobs will be issued December 7.The report on GDP was the second of three monthly reports and billed as the “”second estimate.”” The report on profits was the first of two and labeled “”preliminary.”” Final reports on both will be released December 20.The economy grew at a rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter and 2.0 percent in the first.The make-up of the GDP growth shifted in this latest report away from demand components├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ôsales of goods├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ôto inventory investment.[COLUMN_BREAK]The revisions were largely due to higher estimates for inventories, nonresidential investments, and exports. Consumer spending was revised down, as was investment in business equipment. Estimates for residential investment and government purchases were virtually unchanged.Inflation for the GDP price index remained strong in the third quarter, revised down slightly to 2.7 percent from the initial 2.8 percent reading and up from 1.6 percent in the second quarter. Analysts forecast 2.8 percent. Excluding food and energy, inflation was 1.3 percent in the third quarter, down from the initial estimate of 1.5 percent and from 1.4 percent in the second quarter.The 2.7 percent growth rate exceeded the average of 2.5 percent since 1991, but is below the longer-term average and the 3.0 percent level need to add enough jobs to make a significant dent in the nation’s unemployment rate. In dollar terms, GDP grew $89.6 billion in the third quarter, higher than the $67.7 billion advance estimate. According to the revised report, consumer spending contributed $33.4 billion to the overall growth, down from $47.8 billion in the advance report (and from $35.7 billion in the second quarter).Government spending at all levels added another $21.3 billion–compared with the advance estimate of $22.4 billion–in the third quarter, reversing a subtraction of $4.3 billion in the second quarter.Residential fixed investment accounted for $12.2 billion in the third quarter, according to the revised report, virtually unchanged from the $12.3 billion in the advance report of the third-quarter GDP increase and up from the $7.2 contribution in the second quarter.Overall, residential fixed investment was 2.72 percent of GDP in the third quarter, up from 2.65 percent in the second.The growth in profits was led by financial corporations, with aggregate profits of $71.3 billion in the third quarter compared with a loss of 11.9 billion in the second. November 29, 2012 452 Views in Data, Government GDP Growth for Q3 Revised to 2.7% Share
New,Vericrest Selects Management Vet to Lead as Chairman, CEO in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing “”Vericrest Financial, Inc.””:https://www.vericrestfinancial.com/NoAuth/Default.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fAccountInfo.aspx, a Dallas-based financial services company specializing in residential mortgage loan servicing, announced the appointment of Joe Anderson to chairman and CEO, effective immediately.[IMAGE]Anderson will lead the “”integration””:https://themreport.com/articles/caliber-funding-vericrest-financial-announce-plan-to-combine-operations-2013-01-18 of Vericrest and Caliber Funding, LLC and assume the role of chairman and CEO of the combined organization. The transaction is expected to close within four to six months.[COLUMN_BREAK]Anderson is a well-known leader in the mortgage banking industry, carrying more than three decades of experience. His background includes expertise in production, capital markets, operations, finance, technology, credit, and governance. Prior to joining Vericrest, Anderson served as senior managing director of Countrywide Home Loans’ prime retail lending division. In that role, he led all origination channels including distributed retail branches, centralized consumer direct, strategic alliances, homebuilder, relocation, servicing recapture, and Internet lending. In previous senior-level roles with other mortgage organizations, he led capital markets functions, including hedging, loan securitization, and product development.Anderson has also held senior leadership positions at First Horizon Home Loans, CC Mortgage, SWS Mortgage, MPACT Mortgage, and Nationstar Mortgage. March 8, 2013 431 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers Vericrest 2013-03-08 Tory Barringer Share
in Origination Private Mortgage Insurance Production Slows in August Private mortgage insurers experienced a drop in business in August, though performance improved for insured loans.[IMAGE]According to monthly statistics released by “”Mortgage Insurance Companies of America””:http://www.privatemi.com/index.cfm (MICA), member companies issued 46,051 policies in August, down from 50,575 in July. Activity was still higher than last year, [COLUMN_BREAK]though, when members issued 43,949 policies. The drop came despite an increase in applications received in July.Dollar volume of primary new insurance was also down, falling nearly $1.5 billion to $11.6 billion. Compared to last year, dollar volume was up a little more than $300 million.Primary insurance in force totaled $415.5 billion as of August 31.After bumping up slightly in July, application volume fell for the third time this year, decreasing to 48,038.Meanwhile, loan performance picked up after deteriorating for four straight months. MICA members reported 18,729 cures and 20,008 defaults in August, bringing the cure/default ratio to 93.6 percent–up more than 15 percentage points in one month. The ratio topped out at 138.5 percent in March and had been on the decline ever since.Statistics came from “”Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation””:https://www.genworth.com/, “”Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation””:http://www.mgic.com/, and “”Radian Guaranty Inc.””:http://www.radian.biz/page?name=HomePage Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Cures Defaults Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp. Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. Mortgage Insurance Mortgage Insurance Companies of America Radian Guaranty Inc. Service Providers 2013-10-02 Tory Barringer October 2, 2013 472 Views
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination Lenders Realtors TD Bank 2014-09-05 Ryan Schuette Share September 5, 2014 513 Views Two-thirds of Realtors think lenders could help attract more buyers with better pricing options, according to a recent survey.Working with a public polling firm, New Jersey-based TD Bank released results Thursday from a survey it conducted with more than 150 Realtors around the United States.One in four respondents chalked up buyer reluctance to overpriced properties. By the same token, Realtors estimated that only a fifth of their buyers knew about home loan affordability programs available through lenders.When referring lenders, Realtors seemed to put a premium on certain qualities.Most said they considered closing loans on time the most important quality in a lender and felt it was easier to work with banks focused on helping homebuyers. Two in five said they looked for banks that put buyers ahead of the lending process.More than a third said they stuck with the name of a preferred lender in every real-estate deal.”What we’re hearing from Realtors is that it’s critically important for lenders to work with them to help their customers,” Malcom Hollensteiner, director of retail lending products and services for TD Bank, said in a news release.Along some of the same lines, J.D. Power released a survey last year that found first-time homebuyers expressing less confidence in their knowledge about the lending process than repeat buyers and those who refinanced their loans.The firm reported a seven-year high among customers more familiar with the process.Realtors responding to TD Bank’s own survey said roughly three out of five of their buyers came to them with questions about the lending process in recent sales.Three quarters wanted better communication from lenders with their buyers about the loan process.Hollensteiner called the “right lender” someone that outlines the lending process early and remains “accessible, responsible and transparent” to buyers.”The survey findings reveal that banks need to provide more loan choices designed to meet the needs of today’s borrowers,” he said. Survey: Realtors Want More Lender Support with Borrowers
Home Prices Grow 0.6% in July National home price growth hit a stumbling block in July as prices in some of the nation’s largest markets retreated from their upward trend.FNC, Inc.’s national Residential Price Index (RPI), a metric of prices in 100 of the nation’s largest housing markets excluding REO and foreclosure sales, grew 0.6 percent month-over-month in July, slowing again from 0.8 percent in June (which in turn was down from 1.2 percent in May).The narrower 30-metro composite index saw a similar slowdown, also declining to 0.6 percent growth, while the 10-metro composite saw a half a percentage point drop to 0.4 percent, FNC reported.The picture look the same on a year-over-year comparison: The national composite fell to 7.4 percent from 8.0 percent in June, while the 30-market composite slipped to 8.0 percent from 8.6 percent. Again, the 10-metro index declined the most, falling to 8.3 percent from 9.1 percent in June.Despite the evident slowdown, the price recovery continued strong in July in most markets tracked on the 30-metro composite. Growth was led by Tampa (2.0 percent), Sacramento (1.8 percent), Baltimore (1.6 percent), and San Francisco (1.6 percent).At the bottom of the list were Charlotte and Miami, which saw prices fall 2.5 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, in July after posting a strong first half of the year.Also showing depreciation from June to July were Cleveland (-0.8 percent) and Washington, D.C. (-0.5 percent). Prices in Portland and Cincinnati were flat month-to-month.On a year-over-year basis, all markets but three experienced ongoing appreciation, with California and Florida metros leading the way. According to FNC, Riverside was at the top of the pack as the only market to above 20 percent growth. Following that were Sacramento (18.7 percent), Orlando (17.0 percent), San Francisco (16.8 percent), and Miami (15.8 percent).The only markets to report lower prices compared to last year were Cleveland (-0.5 percent), Cincinnati (-1.2 percent), and St. Louis (-3.0 percent). Those markets also happen to be the bottom three metros in terms of recovery in the last few years. According to FNC, St. Louis has made the least amount of progress in the past two and a half years, recovering only 1.7 percent. The city’s latest annual decline in prices marks the 11th straight drop, the company reported.In other news, FNC also reported a record low in both mortgage defaults and foreclosure starts. As of July, the company estimates completed foreclosures made up only 10.5 percent of total existing-home sales.At the same time, conditions remain favorable in the for-sale markets, with the average asking price discount coming in slightly above 2.0 percent and time on market averaging slightly more than 90 days. September 16, 2014 459 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News FNC Inc. Home Prices 2014-09-16 Tory Barringer Share
D.C. Circuit Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac GSEs Treasury 2017-06-06 Brianna Gilpin FHFA and Treasury Urge Panel Not to Modify Decision June 6, 2017 776 Views Share Back in February, the D.C. Circuit panel gave the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Agency a win over the allocation of profits from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to the Treasury. This affirmed a lower court’s ruling that actions taken under the FHFA’s conservatorship of the GSEs cannot be challenged in court, however Fannie and Freddie shareholders sued the two for agreeing to the deal. They believe the profit sweep violates the reasonable expectations that they had when they originally purchased stock in the GSEs. Though a federal judge threw out most of the investors’ claims, another group of plaintiffs requested the full D.C. Circuit rehear the decision. Friday, the FHFA and Treasury urged the D.C. Circuit to not modify its ruling.The FHFA said the investors’ argument suggests that stock is a fixed contract pegged to the moment of its issuance, which conflicts with what the FHFA considered “well-established” principles of law viewing stock as an evolving contract that renews itself every time it’s traded.“When an investor buys stock in the secondary market, it acquires the contractual rights and obligations as they exist at the time of purchase,” Law360 reported the FHFA said in a response filed on behalf of itself and Fannie and Freddie, which it oversees as conservator.Using an example of a 2017 investor who purchased stock that was issued in 2000, the FHFA said the investors’ shareholder rights “are of course determined” by the law, corporate bylaws and charter that are in effect in 2017, not what may have been in place in 2000. According to Law360, having it this way is necessary to prevent investors from being able to “buy” lawsuits by purchasing stock and suing the issuer retroactively for alleged harms they were already aware of.The treasury agreed that the investors’ expectations at the time of purchase were what mattered. If there was a possibility at the time of purchase that the government might take actions that would impair their investments, they should not be able to recover damages for “regulatory takings.”“It is common sense that one who buys with knowledge of a restraint assumes the risk of economic loss,” Law360 reported the Treasury said, citing Federal Circuit precedent. “In such a case, the owner presumably paid a discounted price for the property. Compensating him for a ‘taking’ would confer a windfall.”According to Law360, the panel’s order could cut out of the proposed class those investors who bought their shares after Congress passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which the investors have argued it should not have done. That law allowed the federal government to bail Fannie and Freddie out; the value of the investors’ public stock dropped to near zero in the aftermath, and shares were swept up by hedge funds and other investors who took the bet that their value would be restored. in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Secondary Market
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Household Debt and Its Hidden Costs The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) reported a new telephone survey of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted by the Harris Poll—with results showing 73 percent of Americans living with debt.According to the report, outstanding household debt reached a record high of $12.84 trillion. Meanwhile, the nation’s consumer spending is growing at its fastest pace since 2009.“For Americans watching their debt levels rise while they struggle to make monthly payments, the situation can feel hopeless and have a serious impact on their quality of life,” said Greg Anton, CPA, and Chair of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.The telephone survey results find that 39 percent of respondents say they feel anxious at the thought of paying off their debt, and of those, 21 percent say debt is causing relationship tension with a spouse or partner—with 11 percent having misled family or friends about their financial situation.Debt has also managed to cause anxiety throughout a person’s day—with 31 percent admitting to worrying about their debt in general while 18 percent say they worry while at work, and 25 percent worry at bedtime.Additionally, 28 percent of Americans with debt say they stress about everyday financial decisions because of their debt.The survey found that debt has made the most impact on millennials, who are reportedly twice as likely to worry about debt compared to Baby Boomers. According to the results, 68 percent of millennials admit debt has had a negative impact on their everyday life compared with roughly half of Baby Boomers—at 48 percent—and 59 percent of Gen X.“Debt is taking a greater mental toll on Millennials than older generations. But the good news is that they also have the most time to do something about it,” added Anton. “Positive financial changes incorporated into a plan now can lead to a big positive financial benefit over time.”However, 71 percent of Americans with debt agreed that there is specific debt that can be a smart investment, such as payments on a home and funding an education. Although 41 percent of respondents cited their mortgage and 23 percent pointing to student loans as driving their debt.“In many cases, it makes good financial sense to invest in yourself in the form of taking out student loans for higher education or taking on a mortgage as an investment for you or your family,” said Anton. “It’s important to be realistic about the long-term costs and benefits of any debt you take on. Job markets can change and housing markets have peaks and valleys. Even so-called ‘good debt’ can linger, accruing interest and negatively impacting your entire financial life.”The good news is that 42 percent of Americans believe their debt level will go down in the next five years—representing more than twice as many as those who think their debt level will increase.In the end, the report provides a few ways to establishing a plan to live debt free in the future—and help reduce anxiety today. To view the full report, click here. american institute of CPAs Data harris poll Household Debt HOUSING mortgage 2017-12-04 Nicole Casperson December 4, 2017 599 Views Share