Police release Zimbabwe pole dancers

first_imgPolice detained the women after complaints that their routines exceeded the country’s deeply conservative attitudes towards public obscenity.The promoter says the dancers do not strip naked and that police found no case against them. He says weekend shows will be held for the dancers’ night club audiences.The dancers say they introduced “gymnastic-style, exotic” pole dancing in Zimbabwe for the first time two years ago.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   center_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – A Zimbabwe entertainment promoter says police have released two popular dancers without charge after questioning them under the nation’s strict indecency laws.Happers Mapimhidze said Friday the women, both in their 20s and known for routines that triggered a pole dancing craze across Zimbabwe, held performance licenses and their scant costumes were approved by the state Board of Censors. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Kerry off to Vienna for Iran nuke talks as deadline looms

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — With next week’s deadline for an Iran nuclear deal fast approaching, Secretary of State John Kerry headed back to the talks in Vienna, Austria, on Friday, this time leaning on crutches.On his first overseas trip since breaking his leg earlier this month, Kerry left Washington amid mounting debate over the wisdom of an agreement with Iran. Critics of the emerging deal accuse the Obama administration and its partners of conceding too much in the talks. U.S. officials insist their positions remain unchanged and that Iran must agree to their demands by Tuesday’s deadline. Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Kerry used a mechanical lift to board his plane and walked through the converted Air Force 757 on crutches. He traveled with a State Department physician, as is customary, but this time also was accompanied by a physical therapist, officials said.Kerry said Thursday he is “always hopeful” but would not say he is optimistic about getting a deal. Other officials have suggested the deadline may slip in the same manner that a March 30 deadline for a framework accord was extended two days.A senior U.S. official, meanwhile, said an end was in sight that could lead to an agreement. The official said the U.S. believed that technical solutions exist to resolve every issue that remains on the table, but those solutions would require “very critical choices” by Iran’s leadership. The official was not authorized to discuss the negotiations by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.Kerry’s meetings in Vienna will begin on Saturday. In addition to talks with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, he is also expected to see French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Foreign ministers from the four other nations at the negotiating table — Russia, China, Britain and Germany — are also expected to join in as they try to bridge differences between the sides on the limits Tehran must accept on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home But with Iran apparently backtracking on key points, the talks could go past the target date. In a speech on Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected a long-term freeze on nuclear research and insisted that Iran will only sign a deal if international sanctions are lifted first.He also repeated that military sites and Iranian nuclear scientists will be off-limits to U.N. experts, who would monitor Iranian compliance to any deal while trying to kick-start a moribund probe of suspicions that Tehran worked on atomic arms — allegations that Iran denies.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

From Syria to Phoenix Syrian family shares harrowing story about coming to

first_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home They were shocked when soldiers searched the family, including the children, and its home for weapons while armed government loyalists were left alone.“When the army would come my kids would be frightened, and I would tell them to calm down, cool off, it’s going to be all right,” Alsorani said. “But it’s difficult because you see weapons, you see everything coming in through your house.”The violence and war was a great stress on the children, Albitar said. There would be days when they weren’t able to eat, because of the stress. She hoped to give them toys so they could play and forget about the bad living conditions.Eventually, Albitar would not let her children go to school or leave home because of the dangers.“There was a lot of kidnappings, there was a lot of rapes, so I was really afraid for them. Even me, I would not go out,” she said.After three months of constant searches, the family decided to leave Syria. First, they took a taxi from Homs to Damascus, and then another cab from there to a small village near Syria’s border with Jordan.Once they were at the border, the Free Syrian Army, an opposition group that has defected from the Syrian regime, escorted them across the border into Jordan. The family came under fire during their journey, and were forced to wait on the ground until it had stopped. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Since the attacks on Paris, Syrian refugees have been under extra scrutiny. Several governors, including Gov. Doug Ducey, have called for a halt to resettling Syrian refugees in their states. As of Nov. 17, there are more than 4.2 million registered Syrian refugees, according to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.The Syrian Civil War has gone on since unrest began in early 2011. Opposition groups have risen up against the regime controlled by Bashar al-Assad. Multiple opposition groups have been fighting for control of the country, leaving much of it to waste.The Alsorani family lived in Homs, a city in western Syrian. Alsorani said the, “people would go out to protest, and the government would retaliate with bullets.”The protests were against the mayor and local government, they were peaceful, during the first days, and the people did not have guns, Alsorani said.After some time, there was shelling from heavy artillery, and many people would die to be left in the streets, Alsorani said.“You could not pick them up,” he said.He and his wife, Rana Albitar, have five daughters and one young son aged 5 to 16. Eventually they had to leave their home and moved to a safer area in Homs where people loyal to al-Assad lived. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall PHOENIX — Bombs would explode in the street, spraying shattered glass at anyone nearby. They lost their home in a fire. And they were being subjected to constant searches and oppression by armed soldiers.So Abdulrafae Alsorani and his family fled Syria leaving everything behind.“It became very difficult to live there, difficult to get food and bread for the children,” he said, through a translator.Alsorani, his wife Rana Albitar and their six children took refuge in Jordan before coming to the United States and Phoenix in search of peace and prosperity away from the horrors of war. They have been in the United States for just two months and have not learned English. Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up The Alsorani family waited for more than a year in a Jordanian refugee camp. They first went to the United Nations to seek asylum, and when they were called they went through rigorous interviews with the United States’ Department of Homeland Security.During the interviews they were asked every little detail about their lives by United States officers, before they were granted access to the United States.Here in Phoenix, the children are finally able to play and go to school as the family settles into its new home.Rania, their oldest daughter, is very happy to be in the United States. Here she can finally study hard in school and have a hopeful future.“My friends are better here than Jordan, everything is better here than in Jordan or Syria,” she said.The family received help from Arizona Muslim Community, a nonprofit, to help them resettle. Alsorani was an electrician when he was in Syria, and once he learns english he hopes to find work.Alsorani wishes everyone could see the horrible conditions in the refugee camps before deciding they don’t want Syrians to resettle in the United States.“I wish the American government and people would change their mind, and bring the Syrian people from Jordan, because they are really living in a tragedy, a misery,” he said. Abdulrafae Alsorani, left, and his wife Rana Albital have been in their two home in Phoenix for two months, glad to be away from the horrors in Syria. (Photo: Lauren Michaels/Cronkite News) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Grace Hotel launches customisable 10rooms

first_imgThe Grace Hotel Sydney officially launched its 10Rooms experience on Tuesday evening, with a tour of the concept rooms for media and hospitality agents. Host of ABC’s Collectors show, Claudia Chan Shaw, welcomed the guests gathered in The Grace Hotel’s Bar 77. “We at Collectors get excited by the Grace’s high internal ceilings, its original lifts and stairwells, marble floors and decorative framework,” Ms Shaw said after telling briefly of the hotel’s history. “We love the contemporary, new style of rooms which still manages to capture the essence of the 1930s Art Deco,” Ms Shaw said. The unique concept of the 10rooms is the customisability of the rooms themselves. Travellers who are “tired of the same repetitive interiors and generic layouts that scream ‘hotel’” can tailor their rooms to make their experience more memorable, a hotel release said. Guests at the 10rooms can select their own décor and style “from the sofa to the soap.” “10Rooms is unlike any other hotel concept. Each room is customised to suit the taste of the individual. 10Rooms is a personal experience especially for you,” general manager of The Grace Hotel, Philip Pratley said. “The furniture changes with the guest’s preferences. This concept of flexibility has been imported from our hotel in Kuala Lumpur, The Federal,” he said.Following the official welcome, media and function guests were invited on a tour of the 10rooms concept rooms, led by The Grace Hotel’s business development managers Christian Lackner and Joseph Selvan. The evening concluded with the launch of the 10rooms website, and a prize giveaway for attendees.The landmark Grace Building was built by the Grace Bros. retail empire and remains one of Sydney’s most prominent examples of pre-war architecture. ABC’s Collectors’ Claudia Chan Shaw and The Grace Hotel’s general manager, Philip Pratley Room 5 bed Room 3 loungecenter_img Room 6 corridor Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

More engine woes for Qantas

first_imgAustralia’s iconic airline is in trouble again after an engine fault was discovered on one of its superjumbo jets at a factory in France. A faulty oil tube is said to be the cause of the problem Qantas is facing in regards to the new Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine. The engine fault has caused delays in the transfer of aircraft ownership, as Qantas awaits the delivery of another A380 this month. Qantas’ fleet manager is reluctant the aircraft will be operational anytime soon. “We will be lucky to see it in service by Christmas. “One step forward and two back! We can’t take a trick in getting more aircraft into the air and back into service,” he said in an email to pilots earlier this week.Rolls-Royce is also under the hammer as lawyers from the engine manufacturing company failed to appear in Federal Court this week to hear Qantas’ compensation claims. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

New Zealand business tourism rising

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P The most recent statistics show an increase in New Zealand’s popularity as a destination for conference and incentive groups from the Australian market.The figures show a 38 percent increase for 2011 in Australian travellers compared to that of the previous year.Further to this, February 2011 has seen a 55 percent increase alone, in Australian delegates visiting for conferences and incentives when compared to February 2010.“Our business tourism industry is performing very strongly at the moment and that’s reflected in these figures,” said Conventions and Incentives New Zealand chief executive Alan Trotter.New Zealand’s close proximity to Australia and the current strength of the Australian dollar means Australians can get “much more bang for their buck,” Mr Trotter said.The annual business tourism expo meeting will be held in Rotorua next month, to promote the industry’s services and facilities to overseas conference organisers.last_img read more

Gold Coast to Host Australian Tourism Exchange in 2016

first_imgTourism Australia has announced that Queensland’s Gold Coast will play host to the country’s largest annual tourism trade show – the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) – in 2016.The announcement was made by Tourism Australia’s Managing Director John O’Sullivan whilst speaking on Wednesday (April 29) at an industry briefing on the Gold Coast hosted by Tourism and Events Queensland.The economic benefits of hosting the Australian Tourism Exchange are significant and the Gold Coast economy can expect an immediate $10 million uplift during the five days of the event.Mr O’Sullivan said it was great to see Australia’s premier trade event for attracting international tourism business returning to one of Australia’s key regional tourism destinations after the overwhelming success of the ATE14 event in Cairns.“The Gold Coast has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, with sizeable investments in tourism infrastructure and international aviation access giving the region a renewed sense of confidence ahead of hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2018,” Mr O’Sullivan said.“With its iconic beaches, stunning hinterland and fun theme parks, the Gold Coast will provide a spectacular setting for Australia’s tourism industry to showcase their products directly to tourism wholesalers and retailers from around the world.“The timing of an ATE event on the Gold Coast is particularly appropriate, with 2016 seeing much more emphasis being placed by Tourism Australia upon the international marketing of the country’s aquatic and coastal tourism experiences,” he said.Queensland Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the Gold Coast was primed and ready to host ATE16 for the first time.“The Australian Tourism Exchange is the largest tourism trade show on the industry’s calendar and will connect Queensland tourism businesses directly with 600 international travel buyers who sell Australian holidays in more than 30 countries,” Minister Jones said.“I welcome the boost this event will provide to Queensland tourism because it means more visitors and more jobs for Queenslanders for years to come.“On the Gold Coast visitors will discover perfect beaches, hinterland escapes, theme park thrills, and incredible dining and shopping experiences.“Delegates will also have the opportunity to explore other Queensland destinations spreading the benefits of the Australian Tourism Exchange around the state.”CEO of Gold Coast Tourism, Martin Winter said, ATE unquestionably represents the single largest opportunity in 2016 for the city and our tourism industry to showcase itself to key influencers of the global travel industry.“Gold Coast Tourism is delighted to partner with Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland to ensure these international travel buyers, media and our Australian tourism colleagues fully experience the fun, excitement and warm hospitality that the Gold Coast is famous for.”Further details, including the dates for the 2016 Australian Tourism Exchange, will be announced in the coming months.Source = Tourism Australialast_img read more

Andrew Chan named Entrepreneur of the Year

first_img ACI HR Solutionsfind travel jobs hereSource = Mike Parker-Brown, ACI HR PR Director ACI – HR Kathy Fatseas – Andrew Chan May 2016 – Recruitment International AwardAndrew Chan named Entrepreneur of the YearCapping off an amazing 10 month period for ACI HR Solutions, CEO & Founder, Andrew Chan has been named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Recruitment International – Australia 2016 Awards.This latest accolade follow hot on the heels of the company’s success last month in Singapore when it picked up three trophies at the Human Resources Asia Recruitment Awards 2016.This included a gold in the prestigious ‘Best Recruitment Innovation by a Recruitment Agency’ category in recognition of ACI’s ‘Get Da Job’ mobile device app designed to help candidates prepare for the job interview process.In August last year, ACI was named ‘Best Newcomer’ at the 2015 Recruitment International – Asia 2015’ awards.Mr Chan said it was “truly an honour” to be recognised by HR industry peers and “validates” the hard work and passion the entire ACI team has put in since the company launched in 2012.“But we’re not resting on our laurels,” Mr Chan said.“Continuous improvement is a journey and plans are already in place for new technology, development and expansion for ACI going forward.“More importantly though, we are proud to be representing the travel and hospitality sector and hopefully our recent success will play a role in some way in drawing attention from talents in other industries across to ours.”last_img read more

Oaks Hotels Resorts set to debut in Hervey Bay

first_imgOaks Resort & Spa Hervey BayOaks Hotels & Resorts set to debut in Hervey BayLeading accommodation provider Oaks Hotels & Resorts, a division of Minor Hotels, has set its sights on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, today announcing its imminent entry to the seaside town of Hervey Bay.Currently operating as Oceans Resort & Spa Hervey Bay, the property is set to rebrand on 1st August 2018 to Oaks Resort & Spa Hervey Bay under a new agreement, which will see Oaks Hotels & Resorts acquire the hotel management rights.Just over three hours north of Brisbane and celebrated as Australia’s ‘whale watching capital’, Hervey Bay is renowned for its enviable laid-back lifestyle and attracts visitors to its sheltered shores year round, particularly during the annual humpback whale migration from June to November.A water-lovers’ playground, the coastal hamlet offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in a myriad of marine adventures – from fishing to paddle boarding, swimming, diving, snorkelling and jet skiing – and of course, whale and dolphin spotting.Its position on the Fraser Coast also makes Hervey Bay the perfect launch pad for travellers wanting to visit the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island, while the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef is also easily accessible, with day trips running regularly from the Bay to Lady Elliott Island.Positioned in the heart of Hervey Bay in Urangan, the soon-to-be Oaks Resort & Spa Hervey Bay provides an idyllic base for Queensland holidaymakers; featuring uninterrupted views over the protected Bay and an abundance of attractions on its doorstep.Guests will have the choice of one, two and three bedroom suites, plus split level three bedroom penthouses, a selection of which feature an absolute beachfront position and expansive rooftop entertaining decks to soak up the spectacular water views.Each suite offers the luxury of space, as well as the convenience of self-contained facilities, such as fully equipped kitchens and separate laundries, open-plan living and dining areas, and private balconies overlooking the Resort facilities and ocean.Spread over six levels, the 130-room property wraps around two central lagoon pools and a timber leisure deck, complete with a children’s play zone, shaded bure-style huts and communal barbequing facilities.When it comes to keeping fit, guests can choose to workout in the onsite gymnasium, or take advantage of the 19 kilometre-walking and riding track that fringes the Esplanade, offering a bevy of natural spectacles, cafes and restaurants, and boutiques to stop off at along the way.Home to three versatile function spaces, the Resort also caters to weddings, conferences and events, while those looking to combine their stay with a touch of R&R will relish the onsite day spa, featuring six treatment rooms and an indulgent service menu.Chief Operating Officer of Minor Hotels (Australia and New Zealand), Mr Craig Hooley, said the company was delighted to add the Resort to its growing portfolio.“We are thrilled to welcome Oaks Resort & Spa Hervey Bay to our property network. We already have such a strong Queensland presence, with 25 hotels and resorts across the state, and the addition of this property will further reinforce our position in market, while also giving us the opportunity to debut our brand in a new destination,” he said.About Oaks Hotels & ResortsOaks Hotels & Resorts is one of Australia’s largest self-contained, accommodation providers, currently incorporating a portfolio of 56 properties spanning Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the Northern Territory, South and Western Australia as well as New Zealand, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and India.Providing the luxury of space, Oaks Hotels & Resorts offers a range of contemporary accommodation, from hotel and resort rooms and suites, to furnished serviced apartments, in central city locations and resort destinations. Source = Oaks Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

Hong Kong Tourism Board successfully concludes its India travel mission

first_imgThe Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has successfully concluded its India travel mission from August 17 to August 21, 2015 in India. The mission witnessed the participation of more than 40 delegates representing Hong Kong’s top land operators, hoteliers, and popular family attractions like Ocean Park Corporation, sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck, Ngong Ping 360 Limited and PMQ Management Co Ltd.The delegation visited Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi and met with over 800 trade representing more than 600 companies across these cities.The mission also included exclusive MICE and Cruise sessions, highlighting the diverse venues in Hong Kong for meetings and incentive groups. Besides HKTB, the Royal Caribbean International and Star Cruises were co-presenters for these sessions. Harbour City sponsored the luncheons in all the cities during the session to help broaden the dynamic of shopping experience in HK.Leveraging the 14-day visa free facility for Indian passport holders, the number of visitor arrivals to Hong Kong has reached 276,387 in the first six months for this year showing a significant increase of 6.2% over the same period last year.The Indian trade buyers were also encouraged to register at PartnerNet (PartnerNet.hktb.com/in); a B2B interactive platform dedicated to tourism trade partners, to avail exclusive benefits by joining as a Trade Partner member.last_img read more

MTDC to take forward the Hunar Se Rozgar Tak scheme

first_imgMaharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) will now be a facilitator for ‘Hunar Se Rozgar Tak’ scheme, launched by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.MTDC has tied up with identified hospitality institutions with an aim to provide economic empowerment of the youth in the remote areas of the state. To be run free of cost, the programmes will ensure economic benefit through employment generation and reduce the skill gap that affects the hospitality sector.The scheme targets at generating self-employment opportunities for students who are at least eighth pass and belong to the age group of 18-28. MTDC has carried out various hospitality courses comprising six to eight weeks which include ‘Food Production’, ‘Food and Beverages’, ‘Bakery and Patisseri’ and ‘Housekeeping utility’.Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Cultural & Tourism Affairs, Government of Maharashtra, said, “The MoT has announced a very important and effective initiative under the ‘Hunar Se Rozgar’ scheme. With MTDC being selected as a key facilitator, we have taken up an important responsibility on our shoulders to bring a positive change for these students who belong to an underprivileged background. Hunar Se Rozgar Tak is a double benefit programme as it improves the standard of living of these students as well as provides a sound resource to serve in the hospitality sector.”Employees of Infosys, Hinjewadi, on the other hand, have been provided tourism facilities under the banner of MTDC. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently inaugurated India’s first-of-its-kind project- MTDC’s Infosys Tourism Pavilion, whereby a tourism pavilion in the Infosys campus Phase II Food court 3 will be offering tourism related services to the employees on a concessional basis.last_img read more

Mumbai ranks among the worlds top trending destinations for 2017

first_imgThe financial and entertainment capital of India, Mumbai, may be set to see an increase in domestic and international tourist footfalls as a new research from Booking.com finds the city ranking among the world’s top trending destinations for 2017.The data experts at Booking.com examined the top 300 destinations based on growth in search and bookings to find the most up-and-coming places to visit in 2017. When analysed against wider trends, Mumbai recorded an increase in the volume of travel and higher than average growth in bookings, while moving up ten places among the most searched destinations compared to last year.The other top trending destinations recorded are Reykjavik in Iceland, Cairns in Australia, Savannah in U.S., Puerto Rico, Kyoto and Jericoacoara in Brazil.“Experiencing the unknown, encountering different people and cultures, and testing new limits has always been at the core of what drives us to travel and 2017 is certainly shaping up to be an exciting year,” said Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com. “2017 travellers will have an insatiable appetite for adventure but are also mindful of the impact those experiences can have on the local culture and issues surrounding sustainability. While we crave highly personalised human interaction and familiar comforts, we’re also expecting emerging technologies to enhance our experiences and get us closer to the things we care about faster and more intelligently.”last_img read more

Uttarakhand to develop a new tourist destination in each district

first_imgThe state government of Uttarakhand has decided to develop one new tourism destination in each of the 13 districts. Alongside, the locals would be roped in to provide support to environmental and tourist activities.Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has laid thrust on providing tourism based jobs to youths residing in the hills. Simultaneously, the tourism department will also lay thrust on the promotion of homestay in the state, with the booking of homestay to be included in the packages of GMVN and KMVN.The Chief Minister in a review meeting of the tourism department, was told that the work for the construction of a ropeway to Kedarnath is currently underway. While the survey and mapping work was also underway for the development of nine villages near Kedarnath.The priority list of the tourism department included the ropeways on the Yamunotri-Kharsali and Dehradun-Mussoorie route.last_img read more

Nomura RBS First to Face FHFA in Trial

first_imgNomura, RBS First to Face FHFA in Trial March 13, 2015 486 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Servicing Sharecenter_img FHFA Nomura Holdings RBS 2015-03-13 Seth Welborn The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)’s case against two of the world’s largest banks, Nomura Holdings and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), over claims of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is scheduled to go to trial next week, according to media reports.The non-jury trial in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 16. If no last-minute settlement is reached, Nomura and RBS would be the first two financial institutions to go to trial out of the 18 lenders FHFA sued in 2011 to recoup U.S. taxpayer costs following the government’s $188 billion bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008, after which the government seized control of both Enterprises. The other 16 lenders have paid a combined total of about $24 billion to settle with FHFA, including $9.3 billion paid by Bank of America in March 2014.FHFA is said to be seeking $1 billion in damages over losses the Agency suffered when the sponsor of the mortgage-backed securities, Nomura, and the securities’ underwriter, RBS, did not follow underwriting guidelines on 68 percent of a sample of a bundle of securities backing more than $2 billion worth of mortgages sold to the GSEs prior to the financial crisis of 2008. FHFA alleges that the appraised values of the loans in question were inflated by an average of 11 percent, according to reports. Nomura and RBS have reportedly denied the allegations, claiming they made no misleading statements about the securities.The banks would receive the securities back should they have to pay damages in the case. According to reports, the securities were valued at $480 million earlier this week, which is less than half of the $1 billion in damages FHFA is said to be seeking.Reports surfaced in early January 2015 that FHFA might ask RBS to pay up to the equivalent of $7.7 billion in U.S. dollars to settle a separate mortgage-backed securities case being handled by the U.S. District Court in Connecticut. RBS had reportedly set aside the equivalent of $3 billion in U.S. dollars for a possible settlement to resolve claims that it sold $32 billion worth of faulty mortgage-backed securities to the two GSEs.In June 2014, RBS agreed to pay $99.5 million to settle a separate FHFA suit claiming that the bank sold more than $2 billion worth of faulty mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007, the years of the “housing bubble” in the United States.last_img read more

Housing Remains a Challenge in Colorados Growth

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Colorado Construction Denver Home Prices homes HOUSING Wells Fargo 2018-08-09 Radhika Ojha August 9, 2018 656 Views Sharecenter_img Housing Remains a Challenge in Colorado’s Growth Higher housing costs, lagging construction, and the rise of high-end single-family homes has made affordable housing a big challenge for Colorado, a state that is otherwise outpacing the rest of the nation economically.According to a report from the Wells Fargo Securities Economics Group that outlined the factors in the rapidly accelerating economy of the Centennial State, the state received less of a lift from domestic net migration, with the state’s popularity slipping among those that chose to move there. It slid from the third largest gainer from domestic migration in 2015 to 11th in the last one year, the Wells Fargo report indicated.The slide, the report said, was likely due to the higher housing costs in Denver. Domestic migration accelerated in states with more affordable homes for sale, such as Arizona, Idaho, and Nevada in the West; as well as North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee in the South.The Mile High City, “served as a beacon for millennials in particular, as the metro area’s 20 to 34-year-old population grew by 83,162 from 2010 to 2016, which was the tenth largest gain in the nation,” the report revealed.However, that growth fueled a boom in the construction of luxury apartments that accounted for most of the price increases that the city has witnessed recently. Looking at the future, the report said that Denver’s attraction for millennials could be hampered by these skyrocketing costs in housing.”While job and income growth have also been strong, many younger persons are still struggling to save for a down payment, particularly with home prices rising so rapidly,” the report stated.'”Affordable housing is in extremely short supply. Housing remains an enormous challenge in Denver and much of the Front Range,” said Mark Vitner, Senior Economist for Wells Fargo Securities and the author of this report. “Construction has lagged population growth, and much of what has been built has been luxury apartments or high-end single-family homes.”Despite the challenges posed by the housing market, Colorado, the report found has the fifth fastest growing job market in the U.S. and is only behind Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Texas. “The state has seen an influx of tech companies from California in recent years and is also home to many rapidly growing start-ups. The growth in the tech sector has helped draw in young college graduates, making the state a magnet for millennials,” the report indicated.last_img read more

Crapo Fix Our Flawed Housing Finance System

first_img Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Ginnie Mae GSEs housing finance reforms loans Securitization Sen Mike Crapo 2019-02-01 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News After making housing finance reforms a key focus area for the Senate Banking Committee, its Chairman Sen. Mike Crapo, introduced an outline for housing finance reform legislation.The outline, according to a statement by Crapo, incorporates elements of the various “plans and principles for housing finance reform that have been previously discussed by legislators, analysts, stakeholders, and thought leaders.” It highlights five points that would help create a more sustainable housing finance system, which includes:Private companies as guarantors for the timely repayment of principal and interest to investors of eligible mortgages that are securitized through a platform operated by Ginnie Mae.Changing the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA’s) structure to run it as a bipartisan board of directors instead of a single Director to charter, regulate, and supervise the guarantorsUtilizing Ginnie Mae to guarantee timely repayment of principal and interest on securities that receive credit enhancement from guarantors that are approved and regulated by the FHFAPutting a cap on the percentage of all outstanding guaranteed eligible mortgages that a guarantor is permitted within a stipulated timeline as well as ensuring a timeline within which all guarantors are required to be fully capitalized after the enactment of the legislationReplacing the current affordable housing goals and duty-to-serve requirements with a new Market Access Fund which will provide grants, loans, and credit enhancements to address the homeownership and rental housing needs of the underserved and low-income communities“We must expeditiously fix our flawed housing finance system,” Crapo said. “My priorities are to establish stronger levels of taxpayer protection, preserve the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, increase competition among mortgage guarantors, and promote access to affordable housing. I invite my Senate and House colleagues, the Administration and all interested stakeholders to work together to enact this critically needed reform.”Additionally, he said that this proposal would create a more sustainable housing finance system that would not only reduce the too-big-to-fail risk posed by the current duopoly of mortgage guarantors but would also significantly increase the role of private risk-bearing capital while preserving the existing infrastructure in the housing finance system that works well. According to Crapo, this plan would also ensure the establishment of “several new protection between mortgage credit risk and taxpayers” as well as a “level playing field for originators of all sizes and types.””Protecting American taxpayers by ensuring the safety and stability of the United States housing finance system is a priority for the Treasury Department,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in response to the outline released by Crapo. “The outline for housing reform legislation released by Chairman Crapo is a productive first step toward that goal, and I applaud him for his efforts.”Supporting this outline, Michael Bright, President and CEO of the Structured Finance Industry Group and former Acting President at Ginnie Mae said that while the current structure of conservatorship had helped America transition from the crisis to economic growth, “A future state for housing finance should have clearly defined roles for who is taking on risk, private capital, or the government. It must also ensure that our housing market works for all Americans.”Eric Kaplan, Director of the Milken Institute of Housing Finance Program also applauded the outline saying, “Upon initial review, this outline has the potential to achieve many of the housing finance reform principles and objectives we support.”Additionally, Kaplan said that the outline was important in that it built up last year’s active legislative debate and “reflects the importance of maintaining serious housing finance reform momentum.”This legislation outline comes close on the heels of the White House’s announcement that it would announce a framework for “the development of a policy for comprehensive housing finance reform shortly,” and that it had not yet made a decision on any housing finance reform plan. The announcement was made within weeks of FHFA Acting Director, Joseph Otting’s remarks to staffers that the agency would be announcing plans to remove the GSEs from conservatorship soon. February 1, 2019 1,104 Views center_img Crapo: “Fix Our Flawed Housing Finance System” Sharelast_img read more

The Impact of a Tightening Mortgage Market

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Share The Impact of a Tightening Mortgage Market February 21, 2019 1,240 Views center_img Online loan applications are rising with 38 percent of all unsecured personal loan balances being driven by fintech loans, according to the latest TransUnion Q4 2018 Industry Insights Report released on Thursday. Despite this overall rise in lending led by fintech, the report revealed that the mortgage market continued to soften as delinquencies declined.  Despite the rise in overall consumer borrowing and the increased use of fintech, home mortgages have cooled slightly, the report noted. Data revealed that of the top 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), those with an average new account balance of over $300,000 saw a decline of 10 percent in year-over-year originations. On the other hand, those with an average new account balance of less than $300,000 saw growth of 2 percent in year-over-year originations.Average new mortgage account balances dropped to $227,376, from $228,563 in Q4 2017. “The decrease we’re seeing in new account balances could be due to a number of factors, the largest of which may be a change in the mix of mortgage originations from high priced MSAs to low priced MSAs. Of the top 20 MSAs, those with an average new account balance of over $270,000 had a decline of 17 percent in year-over-year originations, while those with an average new account balance of less than $270,000 saw only a 5 percent decline in year-over-year originations,” said Joe Mellman, SVP and mortgage business leader at TransUnion.   Though mortgage originations continue to remain low relative to past years, the report indicated a slight increase in lending activity to subprime borrowers. An increase of 2 percent was recorded in originations to subprime borrowers on a year-over-year basis—a growth trend now observed since Q1 2018. The average debt per borrower was $206,922. However, Mellman pointed out that as the mortgage market tightens, “lenders are expressing only slight interest in subprime lending—originations to subprime consumers still represent less than 4 percent of total originations.”The report indicated that serious mortgage delinquencies continued to decline. The serious delinquency rate for Q4 2018 was 1.66 percent down from 1.86 percent during the same time last year. Additionally, 15 of the 20 largest MSAs experienced double-digit year-over-year percentage declines. “Only three MSAs, Houston, Miami, and Tampa, experienced an uptick in year-over-year delinquencies. This was expected, as the comparison point is Q4 2017, a quarter when those MSAs experienced an artificially low delinquency rate due to natural disaster forbearance programs,” Mellman said. Per the Q4 2018 IIR Mortgage Loan Summary, serious mortgage delinquency rates have continued to remain low. The serious delinquency rate for Q4 2018 was 1.66 percent, down from 1.86 percent at the same time last year. In addition, 15 of the 20 largest MSAs experienced double-digit year-over-year percentage declines. Borrowers Delinquencies Interest rates Lenders loans mortgage Mortgage Rates MSAs Originations Subprime TransUnion 2019-02-21 Radhika Ojhalast_img read more

QA Reynolds executive development chef prov

first_img Q&A: Reynolds executive development chef prov … From the pages of Produce Business UKTechnology and trends were two key topics from the recently completed 2019 London Produce Show’s (LPS) Foodservice Forum.Yet sometimes, understanding, anticipating and even creating the next big trend requires virtually no technology at all. Just ask Jason Danciger, who is the U.K.’s managing director of the Hana Group, a company that locates Asian and globally inspired food concepts in retail environments.Danciger took attendees with him on the ride as he engagingly navigated the Forum’s program, titled “Transforming Foodservice Through Technology & Trends,” with interactive seminars, panel discussions and taste demos. Featured speakers, who range from chefs to software developers, are all on the forefront of the U.K.’s flourishing foodservice industry, while at the same time deeply committed to simple fresh ingredients like produce. It’s this combination, says Danciger, that will deliver “pure, pure business relevance” for attendees in all sectors of the industry.Carol Bareuther, RD, contributing editor of the Pundit’s sister publication, Produce Business, talked with Danciger about the U.K.’s foodservice industry trends and technological advancements.Q: Let’s start at the beginning. What influenced your passion for produce and subsequent proficiency in so many sectors of the U.K.’s foodservice industry? Any fun stories?A: I fell into hospitality at the age 14, when I started work as a waiter. There was certainly a calling to this line of work, and I loved it, because it allowed me to interact with people, which I really enjoyed and still do today. However, quite simply, the job was there. It was a part-time bit and a good way to make pocket money. That job earned me the reputation as the ‘Milky Bar kid’. With my salary, 99-pence an hour (US$1.25), versus 6 pence (8 cents) apiece for a milky bar, I could buy all my friends’ chocolate at the school snack shop.I followed as barman at age 15 in true Tom Cruise-style by shaking cocktails in the evening and studying Latin the next morning. After reading about a Michelin-starred chef (former head chef of Le Gavroche) who was opening a new restaurant, I wrote to him. His English was as rusty as my French, but I started the next week and ended up as the first-ever English sous chef at the time after a few grueling years, of course.Twice a week we would receive trays of fruits and vegetables from the markets in Rungis. It was always a wonder! The amazing salads, fruits wrapped like presents, the variety of fresh wild mushrooms, the aromas of perfect Charentais melons. I remember the vibrant colors of different vegetables and fell in love with fresh produce at first sight.Q: A quick glance at your LinkedIn resume shows a traditional restaurant start, followed by an increasingly diverse foodservice career. How have you seen trends happening at the time that were transforming the U.K.’s foodservice industry and your own career? Could you describe that journey for us?A: I was at first deeply rooted in the Michelin-starred years as that flourished in the U.K. This was followed by a desire for the less formal restaurants that kicked off the ‘casual dining’ fashion. Then, I founded café society and European bistros before being at the forefront of gastro pubs and launching hundreds of award-winning Time Out pubs.What I saw was that while people still liked to get dressed up, to go to a Michelin-star restaurant, those were more of an occasion than every day. For every day, they liked being relaxed and loved the fact that they could eat simply. That was a really early element I learned. A good example is that it used to be you had to order all three courses or the waiter would look down his nose at you. Now, we know people graze and eat at different times of the day as they balance busy work and home lives. We know someone might come in for just a starter or main dish, and we created an offer that hit on that. We’d also welcome someone, particularly in café society, who came in for just a cup of tea with as much charm as if they were ordering a meal. That’s because we knew they’d feel we were the place that really looked after them and they’d ultimately come back to dine.Then, the large retailers awoke, and in-store cafes and restaurants took off. I was lucky with Marks & Spencer to also start a new bakery trend that grew significant market share. Drawing on that experience of ‘grocerant’, I wanted to continue to create theater in food halls with hand-crafted sushi made in front of customers.We went from 0 to 90 sites in 2.5 years as well as created several new concepts with the same feel. For example, El Luchador, Little India Kitchen and Wok Street. What we found is that when cooking from scratch with fresh produce right in front of customers, we didn’t need signposts and messages to tell customers that the food was fresh and healthful. They could see it for themselves. It built trust just by watching. That was useful and intuitive.In some places, you could say some of our products are ready meals. But, they are ready meals that are cooked fresh daily with the cleanest ingredients you can imagine with a very short shelf life. In essence, better than you could make at home.Q: If you were to distill all this hands-on experience, what skill would you say keeps you passionate about the foodservice industry?A: My favorite activity is walking. As you walk, you can watch the landscape change. It’s all very dynamic. You can see what happens on the high street and you can watch customers’ reactions. It’s a skill I’ve developed and it’s helped me to recognize and ‘ride the wave’, if you will, of the growth areas consumers will ultimately desire.Q: Now, what about the technology piece, a central element of this year’s Forum. I saw that you studied E-Commerce and Corporate Information Systems at the Harvard Business School. What sticks with you most from that education?A: I learned at Harvard that technology will double every five years and that it plays a significant part in strategy. Also, that planning ahead and the skills necessary to bring that technology to fruition are key to success along with sharing a vision. We use so many tools to manage production, our teams, retail partners, waste and so much more, and embracing technology plays a huge part in business success.We have double-digit LFL (like-for-like) growth and that comes from all of the above…not just luck!Q: Could you give us an example of some of the technological tools employed within the Hana Group?A: Absolutely. There’s an app we use called Planday. All of our teams have it on their mobile phones. They can check first thing to see if teams are at work. We are a factory. We produce fresh in store daily. If we don’t produce, we aren’t making sales. The program enables the managers to move people around, if needed, and make sure we have every site staffed.Then, there’s a system called GESCOM. Each of our team managers scan every box of food waste. The system intuitively learns itself. Any items where there is low waste, the system will tell the team to make more of it on a daily basis. If a box has very high waste, it will tell teams to make less. Consider you have 100 stores, each in different areas, with different types of customers like a lunch crowd in one or family dinner types in another. The system lets you put out just what those customers want in that store and waste really goes down.What this means is that our area managers can stay home, sit on the sofa, feet up, drinking tea in the morning rather than getting stuck in traffic. First, they check on the people and secondly on the production side. These two factors running smoothly means the customer is happy. Once the manager has checked these elements, they can get out, the traffic has died down by then, and spend the rest of the day mentoring people, talking to supervisors and whatever else they need to do because the really tough stuff is done. These are just a couple of examples.Technology done right is very effective. It plays a huge role, but in the end it’s still fresh produce that we’re working with. We don’t use that technology to change a strawberry. We want that strawberry to be organic and/or from a local area and full of taste and in its raw form. So, it’s not using technology to actually keep the strawberry, but to manage the strawberry as we turn it into deliciously fresh healthful food. June 17 , 2019 You might also be interested inlast_img read more

As for the Dolphins the offense these days more

first_imgAs for the Dolphins, the offense these days, more or less, runs through their 1,000 yard rusher from a year ago, Reggie Bush.The former star from USC did injure his knee in last week’s loss against the Jets, and was limited all week. He is currently being listed as a ‘true’ game-time decision.With or without Bush, the Dolphins are still in the process of developing their pass game with Tannehill. The problem, as illustrated on HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer, Miami never really found him a No. 1 receiver. The Dolphins main two weapons are Brian Hartline and Devone Bess this season. Not exactly an awe-inspiring receiving corps.Defense:From ESPN to NBC’s ProFootballTalk to even this very site, the Cardinals’ defense has been getting plenty of publicity this week, and for good reason.Ray Horton’s group made Vick and Brady look pedestrian the past two weeks, and impressively never took their foot off the gas. Over the past 12 games, the defense has been as good as any in all of football statistically, but also when applying the eye test.The Cardinals are ninth in passing yards/game, sixth in takeaways and second in points/game through the first three weeks. Quarterbacks:Kevin Kolb put to rest any talk about a quarterback controversy, at least for the near future, with his play against the Eagles last week. The second-year Cardinals’ quarterback looked composed in the pocket against his former team, threw two touchdown passes and most importantly, didn’t try to force anything that wasn’t there.The big number for Kolb thus far isn’t the number of touchdowns or completion percentage or passing yards, it’s wins. And since John Skelton went down in the fourth quarter of the Cardinals’ Week 1 win over the Seahawks, Kolb has been flawless in that department.It’s been a busy week for Kolb, as his wife Whitney gave birth to their third daughter, Saylor, on Thursday night. While sleep may have been an issue for the six-year veteran all week, something tells me adrenaline will kick in when he hits the field at University of Phoenix Stadium.On the flip side, Dolphins’ rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill hasn’t had an easy go of it through the first three games of his career.While Miami’s offensive line has protected him better than any rookie quarterback this season — only four sacks — Tannehill’s accuracy and ability to put points together in the red zone has been a major issue. Comments   Share   Prediction: Cardinals 20, Dolphins 9 To his credit, the Dolphins have faced tough defenses in the Texans and Jets. But for a man who doesn’t even know who plays in his own conference, don’t expect him to have a career day on Sunday against the Cardinals’ stingy unit. Offense:The Cardinals are coming off their highest scoring output of the season (27), although some of that was aided by James Sanders’ 93-yard fumble return for a touchdown.But what didn’t show up in the box score, was a level of comfort Kevin Kolb — 17 of 24 for 222 yards — illustrated in the pocket. While he was sacked three times, the Cardinals’ quarterback looked like he believed he belonged on the field. Because of it, Pro Bowl wideout Larry Fitzgerald was able to flourish with man-to-man coverage, torching Nnamdi Asomugha for nine catches, 114 receiving yards and a 37-yard touchdown.The Cardinals will be without the services of veteran running back Beanie Wells for the foreseeable future, after he was diagnosed this week with a turf toe injury. But second-year back Ryan Williams is coming off a career-day — 83 yards rushing — against the Eagles, so look for he and William Powell to be an integral part of the offense. Even without Adrian Wilson last week, and in all likelihood defensive end Darnell Dockett Sunday, the Cardinals have embraced the next man up philosophy. From Daryl Washington to Sam Acho to Kerry Rhodes and everyone in between, the Cardinals have made defense exciting again in the Valley of the Sun.The Dolphins aren’t too shabby either, especially against the run. Miami is second in the league in yards/run and third in yards/game. Their big issue is against the pass, especially after trading cornerback Vontae Davis to the Colts during training camp. While they try to employ an effective pass rush led by former Pro Bowler Cameron Wake, if opposing quarterbacks have time against the Fins, they are usually very successful. Miami is currently allowing over 300 yards passing per game. Outlook:If you’re looking for offense, this game probably won’t be for you. You’re better off watching a re-run of last night’s UA-Oregon State game. Ryan Williams will need to be effective in this game, but even if he’s not I think Kevin Kolb does just enough in the red zone to put some distance in this one. The Cardinals’ defense will continue doing what they’ve done through the first three weeks, dominate. The Arizona Cardinals enter unfamiliar territory Sunday.For the first time since 1974, the Redbirds are 3-0 to start a season. They sit atop the NFC West division and are starting to get noticed around the league.Sunday’s test at home against a 1-2 Dolphins team is just as difficult as the three that came before it, because while they won’t be facing a Tom Brady or Michael Vick, they will be facing something far greater — an expectation to win.center_img What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Top Stories Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more

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first_img – / 26 Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact How many points did the Cardinals leave on the field in the first half? How would that have changed the dynamic of the game? Who knows. But it was a factor and a big part of this disheartening loss.I’m not trying to take the focus off the historically bad protection; I am merely pointing out there were other reasons for this loss. A week ago Ron Jaworski told us that the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line play in that Monday Night game was the worst he’s ever seen. I wondered if he would care to revise that statement. I know the focus will be on the offensive line, Kolb getting bloodied and battered, the 17 sacks given up over the last five days (according to Mike Sando there are a handful of teams that have given up 17 or fewer sacks in an entire season). I’m sure some will look at the Cardinals and decide that they are, in fact, not for real. Not after that game. Not with that line. That’s where the debate will live for the next week and a half until the Bills hit town. But once you get past the obvious stuff, the fingerprints of this loss can be found in the first half. On all the missed opportunities. All the plays that, if even just a couple were made, might have changed the entire outcome of the game. A bad pass to Rob Housler, Kolb not looking to Larry Fitzgerald’s side of the field (had he, he would have seen a wide open Fitz), a Michael Floyd drop, a Jay Feely missed FG, a Janoris Jenkins breakup of a pass that didn’t quite get to Rob Housler in stride, Andre Roberts open deep but missed, penalties that negated potentially great field position on a Patrick Peterson punt return, and on and on and on. Comments   Share   Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retirescenter_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Many thoughts floated in and out of my head Thursday night: I wondered if the Philly fan – while snarfing down a cheesesteak – was thinking to himself, just how did his beloved Eagles lose to this team. I wondered if the Patriots’ fan (sub out the cheesesteak, sub in a lobster or something) was wondering the same thing about his team. I wondered if Kevin Kolb has a good dentist.I wondered if Gambo misses Levi Brown. Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more