China Ghana detains 90 Chinese for illegal mining

first_img Top Stories BEIJING (AP) – China says Ghana has detained more than 90 Chinese citizens on suspicion of illegal gold mining and that one has died.The Foreign Ministry said Sunday it has expressed serious concern to Ghana over the death and detentions. It said it understands Ghana will deal with the matter according to the law and protect the safety and rights of Chinese citizens.The ministry gave few details in an online statement. It said Ghanaian authorities have cracked down on illegal gold mining this year and arrested the Chinese “recently.” Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Last month, the Chinese Embassy in Ghana announced that 40 Chinese had been detained on suspicion of illegal gold mining. Thirty-eight were deported.China is eager to be seen as capable of maintaining the security and rights of its citizens abroad.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

USDA relists Canadian meatpacking plant

first_imgTORONTO (AP) – A Canadian meatpacking plant involved in a large recall of contaminated beef products over E. coli bacteria concerns is again being allowed to ship products to the U.S.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Friday that the U.S Department of Agriculture has relisted the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta, effective immediately.Canada revoked the plant’s permit to export beef to the U.S. on Sept. 13 at the request of the USDA after several of the company’s beef products were recalled. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img A massive recall was also implemented in Canada after 16 people became ill.The Canadian food inspection agency restored the plant’s operating license on Oct. 23.The plant’s operations have been taken over by JBS USA, the American subsidiary of a Brazilian-owned enterprise that has an option to buy the plant.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Protesting Macedonians demand governments resignation

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The government of the tiny, landlocked Balkan nation of about 2 million people is reeling from a massive, long-running wiretap scandal and a shootout a week ago between police and ethnic Albanian gunmen that left 18 dead in a border town. In a region with a long and bloody history of ethnic conflicts and political instability, the developments have caused consternation both domestically and abroad.The great majority of the protesters in Skopje departed Sunday night, but hundreds of opposition supporters have put up tents outside the government building, intending to stay for days.“Freedom and democracy have no price for us. No price. And we will not stop until we see this dictator resigning,” said opposition supporter Mirjana Janov.The crowd outside the government building in Skopje chanted “goodbye Gruevski” and “resignations, resignations,” and a poster was held aloft showing Gruevski behind prison bars.“We have come for our future. I am sending a clear message: Gruevski, don’t procrastinate. leave!” Zaev told the crowd. Former diplomats, human rights activists and journalists also spoke.Majority ethnic Macedonians and minority ethnic Albanians mingled together in the crowd. Parents, stop beating yourself up Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Tens of thousands of protesters gathered Sunday in the center of the Macedonian capital to demand the resignation of conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.Zoran Zaev, leader of the opposition Social Democrats and the keynote speaker in the rally, claimed that more than 100,000 attended the incident-free rally.“More than 100,000 citizens were here today and we got support from different ethnic groups of our country. This could not possibly have been organized by only one party,” Zaev told The Associated Press. He said the rally was “a strong message to our government and to the prime minister to submit their resignations.” Comments   Share   “I am here to say goodbye to Nikola. I want this government to leave immediately because people have suffered for too long under his regime”, said Blagica Nikolova, 52, who was in the crowd.Mirjana Najceska, a human rights activist, said the protest was about freedom: “the same freedom that my father took up arms to fight fascists for when he was 17 and who has come again here today now that he is 90.”Zaev is demanding the formation of a caretaker government that will organize new elections.In January, Zaev began releasing a cache of wiretapped conversations, and claimed that Gruevski was behind the mass wiretapping of more than 20,000 Macedonians. The conversations are claimed to reveal corruption at the highest levels of government, including mismanagement of funds, spurious criminal prosecutions of opponents and even attempted cover-ups of killings.Zaev said those conversations were leaked to him by “patriots” in the domestic intelligence service.Gruevski, who has won successive elections since 2006, angrily rejects the accusations. He accuses Zaev of participating in a coup plot backed by unnamed foreign spy agencies.Richard Howitt, a British MEP and former European Parliament rapporteur for Macedonia’s EU accession, said in a written statement that he hoped his presence with other international representatives would help promote calm, following last week’s events where anti-government protests turned violent and the deadly attack in Kumanovo. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy A pro-government protest has been called for Monday evening in front of the Macedonian parliament building, less than 1 kilometer (3,000 feet) from the government building. The government hopes it will be at least as massive as Sunday’s opposition rally.Police say they will put many officers on the ground to ensure attendees in the two rallies do not come in contact.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories “Current events must not allow a return to inter-ethnic violence in a country which we see as our partner, now and in the future,” Howitt said.The government says it’s doing what it can. Three government officials who were among Gruevski’s closest aides — the interior and transport ministers, Gordana Jankuloska and Mile Janakieski, and intelligence chief Saso Mijalkov, a relative of Gruevski — resigned last week, saying they did so to calm the situation. The three were the voices most heard on the recordings.Zaev said the resignations aren’t enough.“There is nothing that Nikola Gruevski can do except to leave this (government) building behind us,” Zaev said.He also called for the resignation of Macedonia’s chief prosecutor, new leadership for the national TV broadcaster, and the formation of a caretaker government to organize free and fair elections.Zaev told the AP that he will meet Gruevski on Monday, adding that he hopes that “through dialogue Gruevski will be persuaded to submit his resignation.”Zaev and Gruevski have been invited by the European Parliament for talks to resolve the crisis on Tuesday in Strasbourg. Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Blasts at Kurdish party offices in Turkey injure 6

first_imgANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Less than three weeks before Turkey’s general election, two separate explosions in buildings housing the local headquarters of a pro-Kurdish political party injured at least six people, the party said.The explosions in the local branches of the People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, in the southern cities of Adana and Mersin, occurred some 10 minutes apart. Six executives and workers of the party’s local offices were hurt in Adana, the HDP said in a statement. The private Dogan news agency said the explosions were caused by bombs placed in a package delivered to the Adana branch and a pot of flowers left outside the door of the Mersin branch.The HDP is expected to play a key role in Turkey’s general election on June 7.If it passes a 10-percent threshold it could prevent the ruling party from getting a sufficient majority in parliament to allow it to change the constitution — effectively thwarting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plans of turning Turkey’s parliamentary system into a system with an all-powerful president.The attack on the Mersin office came hours before HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas was scheduled to visit the city to deliver a speech and the day after he held an election rally in Adana.The HDP said the attack was aimed at disrupting the party’s election campaign.It held Erdogan and ruling-party officials responsible, saying they had turned the HDP into a target for attacks during their election rallies.Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, condemned the attack, saying it was an assault on all political parties.Kalin however, rejected the HDP’s accusations against the Turkish leader saying to make such claims before the investigation was concluded was “unacceptable.” 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

ExUK tabloid editor Andy Coulson cleared of perjury

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Coulson was accused of lying about his knowledge of phone hacking — the tabloid’s practice of eavesdropping on the voicemail messages of politicians, celebrities and people in the public eye.He was convicted last year at another trial of conspiracy to hack phones and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was released in November after serving five months.Burns acquitted Coulson Monday but legal restrictions meant the decision could not be reported until he informed the jury on Wednesday.The judge said Wednesday that even if Coulson had lied under oath, “the lies were not relevant and do not amount to perjury.”He discharged the jury and told Coulson he was free to leave the court.Outside court, Coulson said: “I am just delighted that after four pretty testing years that my family and myself have finally had a good day.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, center, leaves the High Court after he was cleared of perjury, Edinburgh, Scotland, Wednesday, May 3, 2015. Coulson, who edited the now-defunct Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid between 2003 and 2007, had been charged with lying in a 2010 trial of former Scottish lawmaker Tommy Sheridan. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like LONDON (AP) — Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was cleared of perjury Wednesday after a judge said the alleged lies he told under oath were not relevant to the trial in question.Judge David Burns told jurors at Edinburgh High Court that “not every lie amounts to perjury.”Coulson, who edited the now-defunct Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid between 2003 and 2007 and later served as Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications chief, had been charged with lying in a 2010 trial of former Scottish lawmaker Tommy Sheridan. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   The vital role family plays in society Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Tribunal UK spy agency kept data on rights groups too long

first_img Patients with chronic pain give advice Comments   Share   LONDON (AP) — A British tribunal has ruled that the electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ violated the rights of two overseas human rights agencies by failing to delete intercepted data on time.The judges of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled Monday that GCHQ kept intercepted data from The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and The Legal Resources Center of South Africa for longer than allowed.The tribunal did find that the original interception of the data was lawful and appropriate. The tribunal is charged with investigating and ruling on complaints about surveillance practices by public authorities, including Britain’s security services. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img It is requiring GCHQ, which stands for Government Communications Headquarters and is the British counterpart of the U.S. National Security Agency, to confirm within 14 days that the data has been destroyed.The ruling was in response to a complaint filed by Liberty, Privacy International and other civil rights advocates.It follows an earlier ruling in December that generally backed GCHQ’s surveillance practices.The eavesdropping agency posted a statement on its website Monday indicating it was “working to rectify the technical errors” identified in the new ruling.It said it welcomed the tribunal’s assertion that the interception of data had been lawful and that the policy breaches weren’t serious enough to warrant compensation for the agencies involved.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Specialist Holidays are all the rage for the over 50s

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=ada84479″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Specialist Holidays are becoming increasingly popular with the over 50s, according to AA Travel Insurance.Popular niche holidays among this demographic include yoga and meditation breaks, hobby holidays such as cooking or painting retreats, sports tourism, cycling holidays, wine tasting tours, festivals and fiestas, wildlife tours, adventure holidays and health spa breaks. There has also been an increase in demand for accommodation designed to take large groups of friends and family amongst the over 50s age group. In recent years, the home away from home hotel accommodation has become increasingly popular with the over 50s, and this trend is expected to continue. An AA travel insurance spokesperson said, “More and more people from the so-called baby boomer generation are beginning to want something a little different and challenging from their holiday adventures. “Before the internet travel boom, most people would be restricted to what their local travel agent had to offer, whereas the present-day holidaymaker has a virtually unlimited choice. “While many people still just want to relax on a beach for a couple of weeks to recover from the stress of their working lives, people of and approaching retirement age are increasingly looking for something a little more energetic and stimulating from their time away.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

Asian nominees announced for World Travel Awards

first_imgThe nominations for the World Travel Awards in Asia have been announced. A record number of Indian travel and tourism companies are in the running to receive an accolade at the World Travel Awards Asia and Australasia Ceremony in October.  Regional winners will then go forward to compete against some of the finest travel operators in the world in the 17th World Travel Awards 2010 final in London.The nominees from the Asia/Australasia region are among 5, 000 nominated companies, spread across more than 1, 000 categories, including airlines, cruise companies, destinations, resorts and hotels in 162 countries.Graham E. Cooke, Founder and President, World Travel Awards, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the tremendous response to self nominations this year, which have grown a phenomenal 50 per cent on 2009.”“The quality and quantity of nominees within the Indian categories has surpassed all previous years. With the largest number of dedicated country categories within the Asia Awards, Indian is undoubtedly a very strong competitor for the 2010 awards.””The surge in nominations, in the face of a global recession, demonstrates the vital role that World Travel Awards now plays within the travel industry. “More multinational companies than ever, ranging from Etihad Airways and TAP Portugal to InterContinental Hotels, Universal Studios and Disney, are spearheading their global marketing campaigns with their award victories,” he added.Winners of the Asia & Australasia Ceremony will be announced at the The Claridges Surajkund, Delhi, on Sunday 17 October. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Walk in the footsteps of Wilde and Beckett at Trinity College

first_img“We receive approximately 600,000 visitors to Trinity College per year of which less than 10 per cent are from Australia,” said Paul Corrigan, Retail and Marketing Manger, The Old Library, Trinity College Dublin. “Currently a number of Australian agents aren’t aware of the massive tourism potential associated with the College, which is a challenge we are trying to overcome.” Located in the heart of Dublin City, Trinity College Library Dublin is one of the world’s great research libraries. The College also houses the Book of Kells – a 9th century gospel, revered as a work of art and famous throughout the world – which is on view alongside other important manuscripts in the “Turning Darkness into light” exhibition in the treasury. Visitors are also able to walk through the Old Library, which is the oldest surviving building in Trinity College, built between 1712 and 1732. The main chamber of the Old Library, the Long Room, houses over 200,000 of the library’s oldest books and was said to have inspired George Lucas’ final battle scene in the “Jedi Archives” during the film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Trinity College is open seven days a week and entry tickets are valid for a 24-hour period to ensure that visitors get the most out of their visit as possible. Boasting incredible alumni including Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and Bram Stoker, Trinity College should be included as a ”must see” on the itinerary of all visitors to Dublin. The Long room The book of Kells Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

Hoteliers optimistic occupancy will rise

first_imgAustralian property managers remain positive that bookings will pick up in the year ahead, despite occupancy rates averaging at 30 percent between April and June this year. According to a Stayz Group Accommodation Index unveiled earlier this month, hoteliers cited economic conditions and weather disruptions for the affected conditions.Despite low occupancy levels, Western Australia and Queensland saw the highest rates of 39 percent and 36 percent, while Victoria and New South Wales filled up 25 percent and 29 percent of their properties.The slow mid-year is expected to pass with up to 38 percent of accommodation owners predicting trading conditions to be slightly better or much better over the next 12 months.The average national occupancy rate is expected to pick up to 35 percent between July and September this year and a further 38 percent between April and June next year.“The Australian tourism market has been impacted by a number of factors recently, including destructive weather, a high Australian dollar and poor global economic conditions,” Stayz Group general manager Kirsty Shaw said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Kylie is coming to Mardi Gras

first_imgKylie has announced she will be coming to Australia to celebrate all the glitter and excitement of Sydney Mardi Gras with all her loyal fans this year.The announcement comes as the superstar is also celebrating her 25th anniversary as a music icon, otherwise known as K25, 25 years of Kylie. Kylie told a Mardi Gras spokesperson “I’m coming home for Mardi Gras and I simply can’t wait to be there for it,”“Your support over the years has been phenomenal and being there for Mardi Gras is going to be a beautiful way to celebrate 25 years of this relationship.” A spokesperson for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras said they will be producing further information on the announcements that portray both the excitement and pride they share with strategic partners at Destination NSW over the exciting news.“Kylie’s visit is not just wonderful news for our LGBTQI community and Sydney at large, but also for her multitude of fans around the world. As such, this becomes of great economic value to our tourism industry and a feather in our cap as a premier international destination that knows how to treat visitors to an unforgettable time,” a Mardi Gras spokesperson said.“While we were busy preparing to share Sydney’s best kept secret with the rest of the world this week, Kylie sent us an “I can’t wait to see you” video and personally asked us to share it with you all.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

Great Keppel Isle ecoresort to boost TQ

first_imgQueensland’s tourism industry is pegging on the approval of a planned $600 million eco-resort at Great Keppel Island to not only attract new travelers but create hundreds of new jobs.  Announced yesterday, the proposed great Keppel Island re-development on the Capricorn Coast will see a low-rise eco-tourism resort built over a period of 12 years, according to Tourism Queensland (TQ) chief executive Anthony Hayes.Mr Hayes said despite it being a challenging couple of years this new resort would be a huge show of confidence in the future of Queensland’s tourism industry that seems to be bouncing back with a range of tourism developments and refurbishments and new airline routes and capacity.“The process Tower Holdings has undertaken also shows the company’s commitment to the project and to the tourism potential that an eco-resort of this standard will bring to Queensland,” TQ’s head said.In the past two years, Queensland has been focused on investing, developing and improving the tourism industry.  The gold Coast saw multi-million dollar upgrades to the Marriott, Sheraton Mirage and Paradise Resorts.Hayman Island in the Whitsundays reopened in August last year after a multi-million dollar refurbishment and Lindeman Island was purchased earlier this year by a Chinese media group before currently undergoing a major upgrade.After Cyclone Yasi in the Tropical North, Orpheus Island saw a multi-million dollar upgrade before re-opening last October.  Dunk and Bedarra Islands are currently being rebuilt also following Yasi.Millions of dollars have been injected into the Cairns and Port Douglas region, including a $5 million upgrade of Silky Oaks Lodge; $6 million to transform the former Rydges Port Douglas into QT Resorts; $10 million on upgrades to the Cairns Hilton and Holiday Inn and $20 million for Ports North’s redevelopment of the Cairns Cruise Ship Terminal.On top of that an additional $25 million is about to be spent to upgrade the hotel and Cairns Pier precinct while the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park has plans to upgrade with investment.Castaways at Mission Beach had a $3 million refurbishment following damage from Cyclone Yasi and an upgrade on Townsville Sealink Magnetic Island ferry service vessels will allow possibilities to further diversifying tourism.Increased flights will see more travellers access Queensland in domestic and international routes. The recent announcement by China Eastern Airlines will see direct flights from Shanghai to Cairns and Singapore Airlines’ low-cost off-shoot Scoot is flying into the Gold Coast.“The Queensland Government has named tourism as one of the four pillars of the state’s economy and the Great Keppel Island development, should it gain final approval, will be another plank in our fantastic tourism product and experiences,” Mr Hayes concluded. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img read more

IATA releases Airline Financial Monitor

first_imgThe International Air Transport Association has released the November and December results in the Airline Financial Monitor and worldwide airline share prices rose four per cent in December.For the year as a whole share prices were up 40 per cent which was helped by the decline in crude oil and jet fuel prices over recent months.Crude oil prices halved by the end of 2014 and have fallen a further 17 per cent in January, IATA have said this is reflecting the appreciation of the US dollar as well as continued growth in supply.Quarter three financial results showed improvements in the US being partially offset by weakness in other regions, however US passenger yields remain up on a year ago.Strong trade growth in Asia Pacific has boosted air freight volumes and the trend in air travel growth remains positive.For November there was growth in all available seats, but it was still below the pace of growth in demand, which should support aircraft utilization rates.Passenger load factors trended sideways in November, but air freight load factors continue to show steady improvement, this was supported by solid expansion in volumes.The report from IATA stated the year 2014 finished on a high, however it could have been better, for 2015 the international air transport body believes the growth will continue throughout. Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Anaheim Visitor Convention Bureau changes name

first_imgAnaheim Visitor & Convention Bureau changes nameThe Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau (AOCVCB) today unveiled its new name, Visit Anaheim. After more than 20 years as AOCVCB, the destination marketing organization (DMO) streamlined its name and introduced a fresh and contemporary new brand that invoked the past, present and future of the destination, while encouraging travelers to do what the name suggests: Visit Anaheim.“A year’s worth of brand exploration, consumer, meetings and travel trade research told us clearly that we needed a name and brand that is reflective of our organization’s mission,” said Jay Burress, president & CEO, Visit Anaheim. “Visit Anaheim is a name that travel enthusiasts and conventioneers can easily find and understand. It evokes a sense of discovery and clearly communicates that we have an incredible, awe-inspiring destination that people should come see for themselves.”The second largest city in Orange County, Anaheim has undergone a massive revitalization and beautification effort and is home to some of California’s most exciting and prestigious attractions, entertainment and sports venues, theme parks and an exploding foodie culture and brew scene.“Our new look is bold, timeless and delights in the uniqueness of Anaheim. It also perfectly encapsulates the next stage we are entering into as an organization. We are here to help inspire the imagination of every visitor that comes to our destination – whether they’re a sports fan, adrenaline junkie, beach lover, theme park enthusiast or foodie – and change the way they see the world,” said BurressRebranding Efforts and New NameTo land on its new name and brand essence, the DMO conducted multiple focus groups and key stakeholder interviews in and around Anaheim, Orange County, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Jose to better understand how travelers perceived the destination, which includes Anaheim, Garden Grove and the greater Orange County. The findings were clear that the DMO’s broad consumer and business travel audiences were not aware of what the destination offers and what it represents. Rebranding to Visit Anaheim was a critical first step in better communicating the DMO’s distinct personality, while remaining committed to serving its Southern California partners and promoting tourism for the greater county as it has since its founding in 1961. Visit Anaheim Source = Visit Anaheimlast_img read more

Singapore Airlines confirms daily Airbus A350900 for Melbourne

first_imgSingapore Airlines confirms daily Airbus A350-900 for MelbourneSingapore Airlines confirms daily Airbus A350-900 for MelbourneSingapore Airlines today confirmed that from Thursday 11 May 2017 SQ208/207 will be operated daily by the all new Airbus A350-900.The change in aircraft will deliver Melbourne customers an increase in Premium Economy options, with three of the four daily flights from Melbourne now offering the new cabin.The Airbus A350 is fitted with 253 seats with 42 seats in Business class, 24 in Premium Economy class and 187 Economy class seats.Singapore Airlines Regional Vice President, Mr Tan Tiow Kor, said the deployment of the A350 on a regular basis to Melbourne from May was good news for Victorian customers.“We have seen good demand for our Premium Economy product in Melbourne,” Mr Tan said.“I am sure the addition of a third flight that offers our Premium Economy cabin will be warmly welcomed by customers, as will the decision to operate the A350 on a daily basis.”The deployment of the A350-900 daily from 11 May for flight SQ208/207 will see Melbourne serviced by two Airbus A350-900 aircraft until 30 June, when SQ218/217, currently operated by an A350 will revert back to an Airbus A380.Customers who fly on the new A350 will also be able to take advantage of Singapore Airlines new first-of-its-kind companion app, found within the SingaporeAir phone and tablet app.The companion app, which was developed for Singapore Airlines by MTT in conjunction with Panasonic Avionics, enables customers to review the IFE video and audio content that will be available on their flight, create pre-selected favourites lists, and control the seat-back IFE system – all using their personal electronic devices.Singapore Airlines’ KrisWorld IFE system offers up to 295 movies, over 470 TV programmes and more than 450 CD albums each month.Current features of the companion app will initially be available on the Airline’s new fleet of Airbus A350-900s.About Singapore Airlines Singapore Airlines (SIA) has proudly operated services to Australia since 1967. Over the past 50 years, SIA has grown from twice-weekly flights to Perth and Sydney to operating 119 weekly flights from six Australian cities.In 2017 – the 50th Anniversary year in Australia – Singapore Airlines will celebrate a number of milestones, including the company’s 70thAnniversary, launch of new on-board product offering, 1st Anniversary of the Capital Express, and the 10th Anniversary of the Airbus A380 (Singapore Airlines was the first airline to fly the world’s largest commercial aircraft).As part of its commitment to operate a young and modern fleet, SIA welcomed into operation six new Airbus A350 aircraft in 2016. In May 2016, Amsterdam became the inaugural destination for SIA’s new-generation Airbus A350, which was joined in July by the new A350 non-stop services to Düsseldorf. In October 2016, Singapore Airlines commenced a daily non-stop service between Singapore and San Francisco, which is now the longest route in the SIA network and also operated by the new A350.While travelling through or to Singapore, Australian customers can take advantage of the ‘Changi Transit Programme’ – offering S$20 worth of vouchers per adult and child ticket to use at more than 510 Changi Airport stores – and the ‘Singapore Stopover Holiday’ package – offering accommodation and entrance to major attractions from just AUD$49 per person twin-share. Source = Singapore Airlineslast_img read more

Beige Book Economy Expanded Modestly in September

first_img in Data, Government, Secondary Market Share October 10, 2012 415 Views The nation’s economy “”generally expanded modestly”” from mid-August until the end of September, the Federal Reserve said in its periodic “”Beige Book report””: issued Wednesday. [IMAGE]The report, the last Beige Book to be issued prior to Election Day, painted a mixed regional picture, with a “”leveling off”” of economic activity in New York and a “”slowing in the pace of growth”” in Kansas City. Meanwhile, the remaining 10 federal reserve districts reported that “”growth continued at a modest pace.””The Beige Book is prepared by the Federal Reserve eight times a year, issued about two weeks before each meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. The FOMC is scheduled to meet next on October 23. The Beige Book, which is compiled on the basis of anecdotal rather than statistical evidence, is closely watched on its release, though not usually cited in the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting for which it is prepared.Consumer spending, which represents about 70 percent of the economy, “”was generally reported to be flat to up slightly since the last report,”” according to the book.Residential real estate proved to be a bright spot amid an otherwise pedestrian report. The book noted “”all twelve Districts reported that existing home sales strengthened, in some cases substantially,”” since the last report.””Most districts reported strengthening in existing home sales, while prices were described as steady to increasing, with declining inventories noted in the Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco districts,”” the report went on to say.The report said “”selling prices were steady or rising”” Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco “”noted declining or tight inventories”” putting upward pressure on prices, tracking both the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Case Shiller Home Price Index reports.””Modest price increases were reported in the New York, Richmond, Chicago, and Kansas City Districts. New York and Richmond reported relatively strong demand at the high and low ends of the market,”” according to the Beige Book, “”whereas Philadelphia and Kansas City noted relative strength for mid-range homes.””””New home construction and sales,”” the report said, “”were more mixed but still mostly improved”” with the report noting “”increased construction and/or new home sales”” in the Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco Districts. Multi-family construction, in particular, was described as robust in the Boston, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas Districts. Residential rental markets “”continued to be characterized as strong, even in the New York and Atlanta Districts where rents increased somewhat less strongly than in recent months,”” the report said. Commercial real estate markets were described as mixed. “”Office markets, the Beige Book said, “”showed signs of softening in the northeastern Districts-Boston, New York and Philadelphia.”” New York, the report noted, has “”substantial new supply coming on the market in early 2013.”” Atlanta, Minneapolis and San Francisco noted “”some improvement,”” the Beige Book reported, while “”most other Districts reported stable or mixed market conditions.””Overall loan demand increased slightly since the last report, the Beige Book said. “”New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, St. Louis, and San Francisco reported stronger loan demand on balance, while Kansas City and Dallas reported flat demand and Chicago reported somewhat weaker demand.””Most Districts, the book said, “”reported an increase in mortgage lending, especially for refinancing purposes.””Demand for consumer credit, particularly for auto loans, was reported as “”strong in the Cleveland, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts, while consumer loan demand was more limited in New York, Richmond, Chicago, and Kansas City.””Credit standards, the report said, “”were little changed since the last report. However, New York noted some tightening for consumer loans and residential mortgages, while Richmond and Chicago reported some easing for commercial and industrial loans.””Loans were described as “”difficult to obtain for many small businesses in the Cleveland, Richmond, and Chicago Districts,”” though “”Philadelphia, Cleveland, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts reported stiff competition among lenders.”” Loan quality, the Beige Book said, “”improved in Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Dallas,”” and “”delinquency rates generally held steady or declined in the New York, Cleveland, and Dallas Districts.””The Beige Book was prepared before the Employment Situation report-which showed an improvement in the national unemployment rate in September-and found employment conditions were “”little changed since the last report.”” The New York and Chicago Districts, the report said, “”noted weaker labor market conditions, and conditions were described as mixed in Richmond”” while companies “”in the St. Louis District reported an increase in hiring plans.””””Several Districts, the report said, “”continued to report that employers were having difficulty filling highly skilled positions,”” and “”in response, a few Districts noted that firms were starting to increase training programs to meet their staffing needs.””center_img Fed,Beige Book: Economy Expanded ‘Modestly’ in September Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Federal Reserve FHFA Home Prices Home Sales Home Values Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers New York Fed Payrolls Underwriting Standards Unemployment 2012-10-10 Mark Liebermanlast_img read more

Trulia VP Joins RESO Board of Directors

first_imgTrulia VP Joins RESO Board of Directors Share “”Trulia””:, an online marketplace for homebuyers, sellers, and real estate professionals, announced it is now an industry partner for the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO), a nonprofit dedicated to standardizing real estate data in order to promote accuracy and consistency in the industry.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]In addition to the partnership, Trulia announced that its own VP of industry services, Alon Chaver, will join RESO’s board of directors effective January 1.””We’re excited to have Trulia as a RESO member, and to add Alon to our board as an additional voice from the industry,”” said Rebecca Jensen, chair of RESO’s board. “”RESO’s mission is to standardize real estate data, so working with Trulia is a natural fit with our goal to make data accessible and interoperable for all. Adding Alon to the board will help us lay the groundwork for further cooperation between MLSs [multiple listing services], brokers and developers.””””I’m very pleased to be joining the RESO board, and look forward to getting started,”” Chaver said. “”By participating in the creation of data standards, Trulia will be able to leverage its position as a technology partner to the industry and provide unique insights and drive more value to our agent, broker and MLS partners.”” in Datacenter_img December 31, 2013 425 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers Trulia 2013-12-31 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

Analytics Expert Discusses QM Manufacturing Risk

first_img in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Uncategorized Although the new qualified mortgage (QM) rules are expected to bring stability to loan manufacturing, the many nuances of compliance have resulted in doubling the cost of loan origination. This assessment was offered by Tom Showalter, chief analytics officer at “”Digital Risk””:, the nation’s largest independent provider of risk, compliance, and transaction management solutions. [IMAGE]A major part of the increased cost is attributable to a new kind of risk involved in the process, which Showalter calls “”manufacturing risk.”” During “”an interview””:–showalter-cao–digital-risk with Louis Amaya on _Mortgage Markets Today_, Showalter explained that “”manufacturing risk”” consists of a corrupted or misrepresented key data element in the loan process. “”There are several areas that could be corrupted or stated incorrectly,”” he said, “”including the borrower’s income, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and loan-to-value (LTV) comparison, which are all key elements in assessing credit risk.”” Showalter explained that QM has one particular information element that is very crucial: the ability to repay, which is determined by the DTI. A potential borrower with a DTI greater than 43 percent is considered to be unacceptable. To ensure that the loans they purchase are sound loans, the GSEs are now publishing a list of defects standards. “”There is a target defects rate for a lender’s population, and lenders have to be below that defect rate or Fannie will not buy their loans,”” Showalter said. “”Freddie is issuing similar guidelines.””In addition, Showalter said that not only are the GSEs issuing defects standards for their sellers, they are also issuing what they call governance guidelines. “”This is a new twist,”” he explained. “”Not only are the GSEs interested in the defect rate of a population of loans, they are also interested in how well the lender is organized to manage and control a specific defect rate. This means that the GSEs are not only holding the head of the QC team accountable, they are actually going all the way up to the CEO and holding him or her accountable as well,”” he said. As a result, there will be an application of penalties, fines, and other kinds of retribution should the GSEs feel that a particular lender is not following the program. To determine whether information is accurate or not, in the past, GSEs would review maybe 1 to 2 percent of the loans they received each month. “”So, you have this process where 2 percent of the loans were subject to a manual review by experts and 98 percent of the loans were not reviewed at all, and that is the current process,”” Showalter said.[COLUMN_BREAK]In order to achieve a higher rate of accuracy in defect detection, he said, “”That’s going to eventually prompt the industry to go from its current manual methods to something much higher tech that produces more efficient results without having to crack a loan file every time a defect rate needs to be calculated, “” he continued. He said that lender communities, especially the larger ones, are starting to explore such technology that will detect manufacturing defects, enabling them to take a more efficient look at a broader population of loans.Among smaller and mid-sized lenders that do not have the financial ability to purchase such technology, he said there are two trends emerging. “”One is that some are also seeking less expensive tools that will help augment their process in surveying loans electronically and therefore not expend as much labor in the process of analyzing and meeting a defect rate goal,”” he explained. “”Others are thinking about issuing non-QM qualified mortgages and selling them on the private market, therefore avoiding any dealings with the GSEs,”” he continued. However, he noted that at the present time, this segment is waiting and watching to see what may happen to the private label market. Showalter said he thinks a coming trend will be that small lenders may rely on larger ones who have invested millions in the creation of infrastructure capable of managing the new and more stringent loan requirements. “”I honestly think that the loan manufacturing requirements placed on the industry is far more than most lenders will be able to respond to quickly, especially the smaller or mid-sized ones,”” he concluded.Showalter’s forecast for 2014: “”I think you will see bigger lenders buying up smaller ones so that they can increase their market share and spread the expenses for compliance across more loans. Another reason for acquisition and consolidation is that the mortgage loan volume is not particularly high right now, and as long as it’s in the doldrums, there will be a lot of pressure to consolidate.”” He also believes that although housing prices have gone up a little and interest rates are still stable, median income and the labor participation rate continues to go down. “”This means there are fewer well-employed people who are able to qualify and buy a home,”” he explained. “”In addition, most origination now is going to be on a purchase money basis as opposed to a refinance basis, which brought in a lot of borrowers in the past several years. Now mortgage lenders are looking for purchase money candidates, and let’s face it, the number of fish in that pond is just not what it used to be.””_This year’s attendance at the Five Star Government Forum on March 25, 2014, is more critical than ever. Leaders of the Housing and Mortgage Servicing industry will engage government officials and regulators in meaningful discussion on housing and mortgage policy. This show was brought to you by “”Iserve Companies””: Please connect to us via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and at as well as February 17, 2014 481 Views Analytics Expert Discusses QM, ‘Manufacturing Risk’center_img Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Qualified Mortgage Service Providers 2014-02-17 Sandra Lanelast_img read more

Caliber Home Loans Hires Branch Manager Sales Manager in Washington

first_img in Headlines, News, Uncategorized Caliber Home Loans Hires Branch Manager & Sales Manager in Washington Branch Manager Caliber Home Loans Sales Manager 2015-08-18 Staff Writer August 18, 2015 577 Views center_img Mike HombergScott BerngarttCaliber Home Loans, Inc., recently announced that Mike Homberg and Scott Berngartt have joined the company as branch manager and sales manager, respectively.”With Caliber’s proprietary paperless loan origination system, H20, and the Company’s ranking as one of the top 10 largest ‘non bank owned’ lenders in the nation, we have a significant opportunity to attract superior talent like Mike and Scott,” said Jim Foley, regional VP of Caliber Home Loans. “Mike and Scott possess considerable management skills and expertise in mortgage originations, and we are confident that they will play key roles in enhancing Caliber’s presence in the Washington Metropolitan area.”Homberg and Berngartt possess more than 38 years of collective experience in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and several other regions, the company says. Currently, they are licensed in Maryland, Virginia and Washington and will serve the Washington metro area.”We are excited to be part of the Caliber team,” Homberg said. “With the ongoing implementation of TRID, our industry is facing another new challenge. As such, it was imperative for me and Scott to be part of a company that has prepared for such a significant industry change. We believe Caliber is a company with a clear road map for continued success and one that is positioned to provide a great customer experience. We’re enthusiastic about working closely with the Caliber team and helping the Company extend its business in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.””Additionally, Mike and I are impressed with Caliber’s capacity to retain servicing and its ability to control products, overlays, and price—all of which are critical to offering customers the most efficient service and competitive rates. We are excited that we joined Caliber and became part of an organization that provides significant marketing support to its Loan Officers through both its in-house team of marketing professionals and cutting edge resources that will allow us to market effectively and efficiently,” Scott Berngartt noted. Sharelast_img read more

Denial Rates an Issue for Minority Borrowers

first_img Lower-Credit Borrowers Minority Borrowers Urban Institute 2017-02-14 Scott_Morgan in Headlines, News, Origination February 14, 2017 595 Views Denial Rates an Issue for Minority Borrowerscenter_img Share The denial rate for lower-credit mortgage applicants is higher than generally accepted, according to a new report by the Urban Institute released Tuesday.According to the report, the accepted method for gauging rates of denial‒‒the observed denial rate, or ODR‒‒is fundamentally flawed. ODR, the institute states, is calculated by dividing the number of denied applications by the total number of applications, and by doing so “fails to consider the variation in applicants’ credit. This calculation can produce misleading conclusions on credit accessibility.”Based on what Urban Institute calls the real denial rate, or RDR, which excludes high-credit-profile borrowers who will never be denied a mortgage and considers only those low-credit-profile applicants who might be denied, denial rates among lower-credit borrowers are higher than what are accepted by conventional ODR methods. Interestingly enough, while ODR and RDR have both dropped significantly since the late 1990s, the gap between the percentage of borrowers denied when looking at ODR and those denied by looking at RDR has increased.In 1998, for example, ODR put the denial rate at 24 percent. Meanwhile, the RDR was twice that, at 52 percent. The overall percentages of denials dropped steadily until 2007, but the difference remained relatively consistent‒‒RDR was typically around twice what ODR was.But after 2007, the gulf increased from twice to thrice as high. Observed denial rates remained between 13 and 17 percent from 2007 until 2015, but RDR remained between 30 and 39 percent. From 2011, the difference was 13 percent to 38 percent.Also according to the report, by RDR, white borrowers are least likely to be denied, compared to black, Hispanic, and Asian borrowers. In 2015, black applicants had 1.2 times the denial rate of white applicants, Hispanic applicants had 1.1 times the denial rate, and Asian applicants had 1.5 times the denial rate. The gaps have remained almost exactly consistent as denial rates have fluctuated since 2000.“In 2015, the average share of lower-credit applicants was 63 percent for black applicants, 56 percent for Hispanic applicants, 41 percent for white applicants, and 37 percent for Asian applicants,” the report stated. “Recent findings show a small improvement in access to credit in the mortgage market. This success is likely because of the strides the GSEs and the FHA have made in expanding credit, as well as the increases in the market share of nonbank lenders.”last_img read more