Police question exFrench PM in alleged hotel scam

first_imgPARIS (AP) – Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has been questioned by police investigating a suspected financial scam involving a network of luxury hotels.BFM-TV said Villepin was questioned for seven hours Tuesday about the affair, which centers on a suspected embezzlement scheme by Regis Bulot _ the former head of the Relais & Chateaux chain and a friend of the politician.Villepin said in a statement that he is “in no way implicated … in this sad affair.” Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   ErrorOK ErrorOKBulot, who ran the chain until Dec. 2005, has been charged with fraud for allegedly embezzling some (EURO)1.5 million ($1.92 million).French daily Le Monde has reported that police suspect Villepin tried to influence judicial inquiries into Bulot.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Top Stories center_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

GM CEO reassures workers at European unit

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Top Stories The vital role family plays in society Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Akerson said GM “needs a strong presence in Europe.” It is pinning hopes in part on new models such as the Mokka small SUV and the Adam small car.Akerson pointed to cost-cutting efforts and said “there are several positive signs that demonstrate that our corporate plan is starting to work.” He added that the company is “not counting on a tailwind from the markets.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Four benefits of having a wireless security system Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of BERLIN (AP) – General Motors Co.’s chief executive has told workers at the struggling Opel unit that there are signs the company’s effort to turn around its European operation is starting to work.GM is trying to make its European business profitable after years of losses. Opel said Thursday GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson attended an employee meeting at its headquarters in Ruesselsheim, near Frankfurt. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Police posted at Venezuela synagogue after protest

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of His organization has said about 50 people demonstrated outside the synagogue on Thursday to protest Israel’s airstrikes in the Gaza Strip before a cease-fire this week.The Jewish confederation called for Venezuela’s government to guarantee security at places of worship after the demonstration.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) How men can have a healthy 2019 CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Police have been posted outside a synagogue in Venezuela’s capital to step up security after an anti-Israel protest during which Jewish community leaders say demonstrators hurled fireworks and shouted anti-Semitic slogans.David Bittan is the president of the Venezuelan Confederation of Israelite Associations. He says more than 10 national police officers were sent to provide security at the largest synagogue in Caracas on Friday.center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

13 injured in bus attack in Nepal ahead of vote

first_img 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) – Suspected opposition activists attacked a passenger bus defying an opposition-called transport blockade with gasoline bombs, injuring 13 people on board, police said Friday.The attackers hurled the gasoline bombs at the bus, which was part of a convoy being escorted by police after midnight near Basamadi village on the Mahendra highway in southern Nepal. The area is about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of the capital, Katmandu. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Police official Birendra Khadka said after the bus was hit, the driver lost control of the vehicle and it flipped on its side. The passengers managed to escape by breaking the rear windows. There were 40 people on board the bus at the time of the attack.The attackers fled in the darkness. Police believe they were supporters of the alliance of 33 opposition parties who have been attacking vehicles to enforce their nine-day transport blockage since Tuesday aimed at disrupting next week’s elections in Nepal.A similar attack on a passenger van on Wednesday in Katmandu left nine people injured.The opposition alliance is demanding a stop to next week’s elections and a change in government. They ordered the nine-day transport strike after enforcing a general strike on Monday that brought much of the country to a standstill.The Nov. 19 polls to elect a Constituent Assembly are the second national elections since Nepal’s 10-year civil war ended in 2006. A previous assembly was tasked with writing a constitution in 2008, following the overthrow of the centuries-old monarchy. But the assembly was riven by political battles and never accomplished its task.The current interim government was formed by the major political parties and is led by the Supreme Court’s chief judge. The opposition alliance is demanding the current government be disbanded and a new government with representation from all the political parties be formed to conduct elections at a later date. Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Confidential UN report positive on Iran nuclear commitments

first_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Comments   Share   The report indicated that only several hundred pounds of the oxide that is the end product had been made. But a U.S. official told the AP the rest of the enriched uranium in the pipeline has been transformed into another form of the oxide that would be even more difficult to reconvert into enriched uranium, which can be turned into the fissile core of nuclear arms.The official said that technical problems by Iran had slowed the process but the United States was satisfied that Iran had met its commitments to reduce the amount of enriched uranium it has stored. He demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the confidential review process.Iran’s meeting conditions of the preliminary deal is an important benchmark as the talks go into the final stage of talks on an agreement meant to put long-term caps on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief of economic penalties.Violations by Iran would complicate the Obama administration’s argument that U.S. negotiators are holding the line on demands for a verifiable deal that extends the time Iran would need to make a weapon to at least a year. Tehran says its nuclear program is meant only to fuel reactors and for other non-military purposes. Sponsored Stories An IAEA probe of allegations that Iran worked secretly on nuclear arms has been essentially stalemated for nearly a decade, with Iran dismissing them as phony evidence planted by the U.S. and Israel.Kerry’s meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was the first since world powers agreed to extend the talks until July 7.“We will continue and we will make progress,” Zarif said. “We have made progress and we will make progress and we will use every opportunity to make progress.”Kerry also spoke of progress despite “some very difficult issues.”The June 30 deadline originally had been envisioned as the culmination of nearly a decade of diplomacy aimed at assuring the world Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons, and providing the Iranian people a path out of their international isolation.But officials said over the weekend they were nowhere near a final accord.In Washington, President Barack Obama there will be no nuclear deal with Iran if inspections and verification requirements are inadequate.“I will walk away from the negotiations if, in fact, it’s a bad deal,” Obama told reporters.Beyond the level of IAEA inspections on Iranian sites, significant disagreements persist on how quickly the West would roll back sanctions and what types of research and development Iran would be permitted to conduct on advanced nuclear technology. The report did not say where the rest of the material was. But it appeared to confirm the U.S. official’s description of the material being somewhere in the conversion line. That’s because the figures provided by the IAEA indicated that it was not added to Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium.Low-enriched uranium can be enriched further for weapons purposes. The interim accord capped Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile at 7.6 tons. If it went over that limit, it would have to convert the remainder into oxide.The IAEA report said that stockpile was just under that level as of Tuesday.The report was circulated among the 35-nation IAEA board and the U.N. Security Council as the IAEA chief left for Tehran to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met again in Vienna with Iran’s foreign minister.In his talks in Tehran on Thursday, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano hopes to “accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, including clarification of possible military dimensions,” the Vienna-based agency said in a statement. Iran’s Mehr news agency said Amano will “receive Iran’s alternative proposal” to the proposed questioning of its nuclear scientists, a step Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called a red line. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home VIENNA (AP) — Iran has met a key commitment under a preliminary nuclear deal setting up the current talks on a final agreement, leaving it with several tons less of the material it could use to make weapons, according to a U.N. report issued Wednesday.Obtained by The Associated Press, the confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report said more than four tons of the enriched uranium had been fed into a pipeline that ends with conversion of it into oxide, which is much less likely to be used to make nuclear arms. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches ___Associated Press writer Bradley Klapper contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano of Japan arrives at the Palais Coburg where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Talks continued Tuesday on Iran’s nuclear program. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)last_img read more

Officials Iraqi forces retake Anbar University near Ramadi

first_img The vital role family plays in society Troubles first began for Anbar University in June 2014 when militants stormed the campus, briefly taking students hostage before withdrawing from the school amid gunfire. Ramadi was long under the protection of the local tribes and government-backed forces, which managed to hold on to the city longer than most others in the province.—————-Yacoub reported from Amman, Jordan.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Parents, stop beating yourself up Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Men’s health affects baby’s health too Athal al-Fahdawi, a provincial councilman said a number of buildings in and around the university complex have been badly damaged or destroyed, but that the militants retreated. Another Anbar councilman, Faleh al-Issawi, told The Associated Press that about two dozen Islamic State fighters were killed in the clashes. He declined to provide more details.The Iraqi military launched a large-scale operation this month to retake Anbar province, in which most of the biggest cities are held by the Islamic State group. The loss of Ramadi in mid-May recalled the collapse of Iraqi security forces last summer in the face of the Islamic State group’s blitz into Iraq that saw it capture a third of the country, where it has declared an Islamic caliphate.A U.S.-led coalition has launched more than 3,000 airstrikes in Iraq, many of them in Anbar province. The fall of Ramadi was the latest defeat on the ground calling into question the Obama administration’s hopes of relying solely on airstrikes to support the Iraqi forces in expelling the extremists.Government-backed forces, which include the Iraqi military, Shiite militias and Sunni tribes, are also currently assembling around the militant-held city of Fallujah, which was the first major city in Iraq to fall to the militant group in early 2014. Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi government forces recaptured Anbar University from the Islamic State militant group Sunday after hours of fierce clashes, provincial officials said, as part of its push to reclaim territory across the embattled province.The university, located 5 kilometers (3 miles) south of Anbar’s provincial capital, the militant-held city of Ramadi, was under the full control of government forces, which had entered the complex early Sunday amid intense combat with the militant group. Top Stories Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Air NZ given green light for direct Rarotonga services from Sydney

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/201a2/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> The Cook Islands government late last week announced that it had given Air New Zealand the rights to operate a direct Sydney–Rarotonga–Sydney service from July next year.Robert Wigmore the Cook Islands Minister for Tourism, indicated that Air New Zealand would first be undergoing a “trial” period of four months with a Boeing B767 aircraft.In a statement John Dean, Cook Islands Tourism CEO, has praised the Government for supporting tourism’s proposal to grow the economy through increased visitor arrivals, particularly from a market the size of Australia.  The Cook Islands Government has also cleared the Tourism arm for an increase in marketing spend in conjunction with the trial services from July to October. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more

Holiday Inn and InterContinental Hotels Resorts retain top spot

first_imgINTERCONTINENTAL-SINGAPORE Shophouse Room Source = Holiday Inn and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts Holiday Inn voted Best Mid-Market Hotel Brand in the World and in Asia Pacific InterContinental voted Best Business Hotel Brand in the World and in Europe Holiday Inn and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts have been named winners at the 2011 Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Readers’ Poll once again, as voted by the subscribers of the magazine. Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts garnered two distinctions as Best Mid-Market Hotel Brand in the Worldand in Asia Pacific.  It has earned these awards for the 11th consecutive year. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts took home the top hotel award for Best Business Hotel Brand in the World, its second straight win, as well as the title of Best Business Hotel Brand in Europe for the third year running. David Anderson, Vice President of Brands, for Asia, Middle East & Africa and Global Resorts, shared, “Business Traveller is a leading magazine for the frequent traveller.  We are honoured by the wins of Holiday Inn and InterContinental in its Readers’ Poll awards, as they represent the views of those who are most important to us – our guests.” “For Holiday Inn, the awards come at the back of the successful completion of our global Holiday Inn relaunch programme, creating a more contemporary brand image and driving consistency in all 3,300 Holiday Inn hotels around the world. The brand’s strength in the mid-scale hotel segment has only grown stronger since then”, he said. “For InterContinental, the brand continues to expand across key cities globally, bringing to more travellers our distinctive ‘In the Know’ experiences.  Our team of concierges worldwide help guests discover the local secrets of each city”, he continued. As the global mid-market leader with 60 years of brand heritage, Holiday Inn offers today’s business and leisure travellers friendly service, modern facilities and quality amenities at excellent value. Among these are crisp beddings with a choice of soft and firm pillows, power showers, wired/wireless internet and more. In Asia Pacific, there are 134 hotels in the Holiday Inn family of brands, with 120 more in development within the pipeline. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has presence in more than 60 countries, with local knowledge that comes from over 60 years of experience. The first hotel brand to offer global destination specific concierge websites and videos, guests get to enjoy a richer travel experience by tapping into the collective local knowledge of our InterContinental Concierge Teams in more than 120 destinations. There are currently 170 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts hotels in major global cities around the world.  Some 59 more are in the pipeline, including 29 properties under development in Asia Pacific.  The 2011 Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Readers’ Poll was conducted between April and June this year, where subscribers voted online or via poll forms sent out with the magazine. The independent awards are widely recognised as one of the leading accolades for business travel in the industry. center_img Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Balilast_img read more

Alitalia looks at the future

first_imgAlitalia last night introduced its new brand, new aircraft livery and new visual identity to its employees, to the worldwide media, and to key business and institutional stakeholders.The new developments were unveiled at a major launch event at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, for more than 1,500 Alitalia staff, who were joined by a special guest of honour, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.The airline also announced product upgrades across all classes of service on its international wide-body fleet with the aim of repositioning itself on the world stage as a leader in superior service and a powerful ambassador for Italy.The new developments mark a major milestone for Italy’s national airline, as it revitalises its business across all areas of its global operations.“The new livery presented today marks a major milestone in the history of one of the most iconic Italian brands in the world,” said Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Chairman of Alitalia.“We  have also unveiled the results of the outstanding work to create more comfortable interiors and to introduce a strong, innovative service culture.“Alitalia’s livery is universally associated with Italy and viewed as iconic and highly-recognised. However, it was clear that it needed to evolve to bring Alitalia into the 21st century in a way that could meet our ambitious objectives and the most demanding market expectations.“What you see here today is classic Italian style projected into the future with a modern, fresh feel. It is about reconnecting Alitalia with Italy, and promoting Italy in the world.  Our entire company is dedicated to working together to make this happen.”After 46 years, the green band will disappear from the fuselage for the first time. At the core of the new livery is a larger tricolour ‘A’ tailfin, which serves as a powerful representation of the Italian flag across the world. A more modern typeface and non-Italic style conveys the confidence and assertiveness of the new Alitalia.A warm ivory fuselage adds an element of Italian style and elegance to the scheme, and a sense of speed is created by a refined series of bands progressively leading towards the rear of the aircraft.The vibrant and contemporary new branding will also feature in the cabin décor of Alitalia’s modern fleet of Airbus, Boeing and Embraer aircraft, allowing for fresher, more stylish, and uniquely Italian interiors which now feature the type of fine detailing and design associated with luxury sports cars. Leading Italian brands will be largely represented on board, starting from the new Poltrona Frau leather design on Business Class seats, Frette bedding, Richard Ginori tableware and Ferragamo amenity kits.The new inflight experience places considerable emphasis on greater customer choice, innovation, quality, and importantly, more personal control over how guests relax, dine and are entertained on board.Starting from today, Wi-fi connectivity will progressively be made available on all long-haul aircraft, together with revamped movie galleries and inflight entertainment.Silvano Cassano, Alitalia Chief Executive Officer, said: “Just as our new livery simplifies, clarifies and improves our Alitalia logo, so our new service concept simplifies, clarifies and improves our customer offer. It is about putting our guests right at the heart of what we do.“We have developed this new concept in a way which delivers and showcases the best of Italian style and hospitality, while also taking inspiration from the centres of excellence around the Etihad Partners network.“The result is a service concept which incorporates global best practice but which does so with a uniquely ‘Alitalian’ flavour.”According to Mr Cassano, the key driver of success for the new Alitalia would be the company’s loyal and experienced employees.“The business is now entering a new era. Our current investment in training is unprecedented in the history of Alitalia, involving thousands of Alitalia people, to ensure they have the tools to deliver the highest standards in the industry.”James Hogan, Vice Chairman of Alitalia and President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “The old Alitalia was a great brand but a challenged business. Now we are well on the way to seeing the rebirth of this iconic airline, in a new era of commercial success.“The steps taken by Alitalia’s senior management team over the last five months are to be applauded. What we see here today is a business growing in confidence. The future is bright for the new Alitalia.”The new livery Airbus A330 showcased today has been named Artemisia Gentileschi after a 17th century Italian artist.Source = Alitalialast_img read more

Singapore Airlines to place US138B order for Boeing aircraft

first_imgSingapore Airlines to place US$13.8B order for Boeing aircraftSingapore Airlines (SIA) has agreed to place firm orders with Boeing for 20 777-9s and 19 787-10s, for additional growth and fleet modernisation through the next decade. SIA has today signed a letter of intent with the US airframe manufacturer comprising the 39 firm orders plus six options for each aircraft type, which if exercised will enlarge the deal to as many as 51 aircraft. The 777-9s are due for delivery from the 2021/22 financial year and the 787-10s for delivery from the 2020/21 financial year. The proposed order, which is valued at US$13.8 billion based on published list prices, includes flexibility for the SIA Group to substitute the 787-10 orders for other variants of the 787 family. “Today’s major order for widebody aircraft enables us to continue operating a modern and fuel-efficient fleet, providing the SIA Group with additional expansion opportunities to ensure that we retain our industry-leading position,” said SIA CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong. “We are continuing to invest for the future of the SIA Group. This order is also another demonstration of our commitment to further growing the Singapore hub, as we will be able to offer even more travel options for our customers.” The General Electric GE9X is the sole engine type for the 777-9s, which are intended primarily for use on long-haul routes. SIA has selected the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 to power the 787-10s, which are to be operated on medium-range routes.SIA is a longstanding Boeing customer with more than 50 current-generation 777 aircraft in service. Subsidiaries SilkAir, Scoot and SIA Cargo are also operators of Boeing aircraft, with 737-800s, 787-8/9s and 747-400 Freighters in service, respectively. This is the SIA Group’s first order for the newest 777 variant that is currently under development, the 777-9. SIA is already the launch customer for the 787-10, which is also currently in development, having placed an initial order in 2013 for 30 aircraft for delivery from the 2018/19 financial year. In addition to the 30 previously-ordered 787-10s, SIA has outstanding orders with Airbus for five A380-800s and 57 A350-900s. SilkAir has outstanding orders with Boeing for 37 737 MAX 8s, while Scoot has orders with Boeing for eight 787-8/9s and Tigerair has orders with Airbus for 39 A320neos.Source = Singapore Airlineslast_img read more

SIA named Worlds Best Airline in 2018 Skytrax Awa

first_imgSIA named ‘World’s Best Airline’ in 2018 Skytrax Awards Singapore Airlines has been named this year’s ‘World’s Best Airline’ in Skytrax’s World Airline Awards. SIA also took the top spot in the ‘World’s Best First Class’, ‘Best Airline in Asia’ and ‘Best First Class Airline Seat’ categories in the 2018 rankings.This is the fourth time SIA has been named ‘World’s Best Airline’. The awards are based on surveys of more than 20 million travellers, who rated more than 335 airlines between August 2017 and May 2018.“Singapore Airlines is honoured to be named ‘World’s Best Airline’ in the Skytrax awards, and I dedicate it to the 26,000 SIA Group employees who focus every day on delivering the world’s best travel experience to our customers,” said SIA CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong, who accepted the top award at a ceremony in London today.“The World Airline Awards are based on direct feedback from customers, who we know have more airlines to choose from in this highly competitive global environment. The recognition will further motivate us to improve upon the three main pillars of our brand promise – product leadership, service excellence and network connectivity – to ensure we retain our competitive advantage, and continue to meet and exceed customer expectations.”Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted added: “We congratulate Singapore Airlines on this fabulous achievement, being voted the World’s Best Airline by customers for a fourth time in the awards history. A key ‘wow’ factor for customers is consistency and this proved to a real asset for Singapore Airlines who scored highly across both product and service. I am sure Singapore Airlines will also take great pride in winning the World’s Best First Class award, less than one year after they introduced their new first-class suites.”About Singapore AirlinesSingapore Airlines (SIA) has proudly serviced New Zealand for more than 40 years, and currently operates 18 weekly services from three cities to Singapore. Alongside its regional wing, SilkAir, and low-cost carrier Scoot, SIA provides access to a global network of 136 destinations in 37 countries and territories through the world-famous Changi Airport hub.In 2015, SIA and Air New Zealand established a codeshare alliance providing passengers with greater inbound, outbound and domestic travel options. The two airlines announced that from 28 October 2018 they will jointly operate a third daily service from Auckland to Singapore*.SIA also recently announced that it will deploy one of its Airbus A350-900 aircraft to New Zealand for the first time. The introduction of the A350 aircraft to Christchurch from 07 January 2019 will allow customers to experience the Airline’s Next Generation Business and Economy Class seats, as well as introduce Premium Economy Class on the route for the first time.Source = Singapore Airlineslast_img read more

Exploring the city of Darwin in Australia

first_imgDarwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea, it is the largest city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory. The city is known as a laid-back blend of frontier outpost and modern city.Source: Expedialast_img

Ghana Tourism Authority calls for setting up of a tourism committee

first_imgAkwesi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority has called for the formation of a ministerial tourism committee in order to enhance visa acquisition for tourists entering the country. Agyemang believes that the formation of such a committee would enhance service delivery at inbound countries and also ease visa acquisition for tourists coming to Ghana.“One of the things that we have proposed, which through our Ministry would be sent to the Cabinet, is the formation of a broad-based inter-ministerial tourism committee because tourism is one sector that has so many dependencies on other sectors,” he stated.He went on to add, “People come into Ghana wanting visas and sometimes if you go to the embassy in Germany, Poland and other places, it might take you more than a month to get a visa to come to Ghana and so we need to find ways to enhance service delivery at the inbound countries.”In May 2017, some hoteliers impressed on West African authorities to work to extend the visa on arrival policy to foreign tourists in a bid to boost the sector’s growth. They also argued that the move should ease the barriers restraining some tourists into the continent.“As it stands right now, most European and American tourists need visas before visiting Ghana for instance but they wouldn’t need visas to visit East or Southern Africa. As a result, these regions are still attracting huge chunks of visitors from the Americas and Europe,” said Yaw Mamphey, Sales and Marketing Manager, Accra City Hotel.last_img read more

Lufthansa and National Geographic Traveller organise unique travel meetup in New Delhi

first_imgUnderlining its commitment to enabling engaging and meaningful travel experiences, Lufthansa joined hands with National Geographic Traveller (NGT) India to organise a special meet-up in New Delhi. Hosted at Hotel Aloft in Aerocity on July 18, the live engagement initiative built on Lufthansa’s latest brand initiative, #LifeChangingPlaces and ignited several discussions about the potential of travel.Alexander Schlaubitz, VP Marketing, Lufthansa, an experienced traveller who had lived in countries straddling half of the world’s habitable continents by the age of 18, attended the event as a keynote speaker. In an engaging panel discussion comprising Alexander Schlaubitz, celebrity chef and restaurateur Kunal Kapur, NatGeo Explorer and conservation biologist Krithi Karanth and protagonist of Lufthansa’s recent marketing campaign #LifeChangingPlaces, Somnath Halder uncovered nuances of new-age travel and the eternal human quest for exploration. Together, the panellists spoke on topics such as ‘Intuition vs Search Engines’, moments of truth that all travellers eventually come across and the interaction of the self with new places and cultures.“Travel has the potential to change people, to help them uncover a version of themselves that they didn’t know existed. I have felt its transformative power in my own interactions with the people, cultures and rhythms of the cities that I have lived in and travelled to. Our latest brand initiative, #LifeChangingPlaces, captures this essence and the association with National Geographic Traveller India takes it a step further,” said Alexander Schlaubitz. “We have received a tremendous response to the launch of #LifeChangingPlaces in India, with overall exposure/views of around 1.7 billion for the campaign assets and a social media engagement rate that is more than thrice of the industry average. This clearly shows how receptive Indian audiences are to an evolved concept like #LifeChangingPlaces. We wanted to further build on this conversation through unique engagement avenues. The innovative format of National Geographic Traveller Meet-ups creates an intimate environment. It’s conducive in absorbing discussions while also reaching out live to millions of individuals through social media and online channels was suitable for our purpose.”This meet-up was attended physically by a diverse mix of influencers, photographers, travellers, writers and industry professionals and was live-streamed to a pan-India audience through various online and social media channels. With almost 1.36 million impressions on Facebook and more than 549,000 impressions on Twitter during the live-stream, the event was also quite well received by the country’s travel enthusiasts.George Ettiyil, Senior Director Sales South Asia, Lufthansa Group, also present at the event said, “Lufthansa has had the honour of accompanying the journey of the Indian traveller for over six decades and the aspirations of today’s young and global Indian is reshaping travel trends across the nation and beyond more than ever before. For many, travel experiences need to be unique and meaningfully transformative. In our endeavour to meet these aspirations today’s event in association with National Geographic Traveller India is intended as an open invitation to explore potentially life-changing destinations across the globe together with us.”last_img read more

Prudential Enhances Hospitality Holdings

first_imgPrudential Enhances Hospitality Holdings in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-08-19 Abby Gregory “”Outrigger Hotels and Resorts””:http://www.outrigger.com/Landing-Pages/your-summer-to-do-list?utm_source=google&utm_medium=Brand&utm_term=outrigger%20hotels%20and%20resorts&utm_content=Hotel-Brand-OEG-DKI_CopyPropertyOfficialBest&utm_campaign=0S-OutriggerHotels-Brand-OEG-50S&src=LeadQual_ppc_oeg_june232011_google_Brand_50states_Hotel-Brand-OEG-DKI_CopyPropertyOfficialBestSummer has new ownership, following the closing of “”Prudential Mortgage Capital Company’s””:http://www3.prudential.com/businesscenter/realestate/pmcc/home/welcome.shtml $137.8 million acquisition of the hospitality entity. Prudential Mortgage provided the major, seven-year fixed-rate mortgage loan on behalf of Prudential’s general account.[IMAGE]The Outrigger property securing the loan encompasses a 639-room hotel in Honolulu’s famous Waikiki beach, which recently went through a $113 million renovation and repositioning effort. [COLUMN_BREAK]The entity behind the resort, Outrigger Enterprises Group, is a privately-held leisure company that boasts more than 44 properties throughout the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions.””The hotel industry is in the midst of a recovery following a severe downturn, and Hawaii has enjoyed that recovery. This financing fits our strategy of investing in highly competitive and well-located hotels with superior sponsorship. The property has potential for strong growth, particularly given the operational expertise Outrigger brings to this transaction with more than 60 years of hotel industry experience. We are excited to continue this important borrower relationship,”” said Frederick van Overbeek, principal of Prudential and a member of the San Francisco-based team that helmed the financing arrangement. Also participating in the transaction was Elizabeth Velazquez, Prudential’s director of originations.Prudential operates nationally and focuses on commercial and multifamily financing divisions, for a total of $68 billion in assets as of June, 30, 2011; Outrigger’s diverse brands are equally credentialed, including international operations for bold-faced names such as Embassy Suties, Marriott, and Wyndham.center_img Share August 19, 2011 428 Views last_img read more

Prospect Mortgage Announces Massachusetts Expansion

first_img August 1, 2012 541 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2012-08-01 Abby Gregory Prospect Mortgage Announces Massachusetts Expansion Sharecenter_img “”Prospect Mortgage””:http://www.myprospectmortgage.com/ has appointed a new leader for its expanding operations in Massachusetts. [IMAGE]The company recently announced Jeff Kobold as branch manager for Prospect’s Orleans location.[COLUMN_BREAK]Kobold, who has more than a decade of lending experience, will head up the opening and operations for Prospect’s Orleans office. Additionally, Kobold will take on responsibilities for the company’s existing branch in Osterville, as well as other soon to open Cape Cod-area locations.Previously, Kobold has served as a loan officer for “”Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank””:http://www.capecodfive.com/. In an official statement, Prospect noted that Kobold “”specializes in USDA, Mass Housing, and FHA loans.””””All Prospect Mortgage decision-making will be done locally and expeditiously,”” said Prospect’s district manager, Scott Gannon. “”Prospect Mortgage has the national resources and range of home loan solutions that most lenders cannot match, and, may, in fact, be able to fund loans in this challenging economy that other lenders might deny.””””Jeff Kobold brings a level of professionalism, community understanding and business knowledge not often seen in our industry today,”” concluded Gannon. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologylast_img read more

Regulators Set to Adopt Finalized QRM Rule

first_img Federal regulators announced on Tuesday they have finalized a rule establishing a risk retention framework for mortgage lenders securitizing and selling loans.The so-called qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule, which was put up for consideration by FDIC’s board of directors Tuesday morning, would require banks to retain at least 5 percent of a loan’s risk when packing mortgages to sell to investors in the secondary market. The rule comes as a response to last decade’s housing bubble, when lenders let their standards slip and passed on the risk to investors, resulting in an economic crash as those mortgages defaulted.The QRM rule is one of the bigger provisions mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, with co-author Barney Frank remarking in the past that risk retention is “the single most important part of the bill.”Regulatory leaders agreed, assuring lawmakers last month that they were close to completing the rulemaking.The road to finalizing a QRM rule has been a bumpy one. Regulators—including FDIC, HUD, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)—first proposed a draft in 2011.The group released a second proposal in 2013, removing some of the more contentious provisions—in particular, a requirement that banks must retain risk on mortgages with down payments lower than 20 percent—in response to industry concerns.The finalized rule is more closely aligned with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) qualified mortgage (QM) rule implemented early this year. Both rules exclude from qualification mortgages with debt-to-income ratios exceeding 43 percent, and both prohibit loans with riskier features like balloon payments or terms longer than 30 years.In separate statements released Tuesday, regulators expressed optimism that the finalized rule will give the housing finance sector greater certainty, opening the door for more activity from private investors.”Lenders have wanted and needed to know what the new rules of the road are and this rule defines them,” said FHFA Director Mel Watt.Industry groups were also optimistic about Tuesday’s announcement, praising policymakers’ efforts to avoid confusion by lining up QM and QRM together.”This rule was required by Dodd-Frank to ensure that loans sold into the secondary market are properly underwritten, a goal which the QM rule also helps to ensure.  It is appropriate and good policy to align the two,” said Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association. “This will encourage lenders to continue offering carefully underwritten QM loans, and avoid placing further hurdles before qualified borrowers, allowing them to achieve the American dream of homeownership.” FDIC Federal Reserve FHFA HUD OCC Qualified Residential Mortgage Risk Retention U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission 2014-10-21 Tory Barringer October 21, 2014 577 Views Regulators Set to Adopt Finalized QRM Rulecenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Secondary Market Sharelast_img read more

Fannie Freddie Name CEO for Common Securitization Company

first_img Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac jointly announced that David M. Applegate will be the first CEO of Common Securitization Solutions (CSS), which was created by the GSEs to operate a new secondary mortgage market infrastructure, Common Securitization Platform (CSP).In addition to naming the new CEO, both GSEs appointed two executives to the CSS Board of Managers. The two companies also signed governance and operating agreements for CSS.Applegate has more than 20 years of mortgage banking experience, having previously been an executive with GMAC Mortgage and GMAC Bank during his 17-year tenure with General Motors Acceptance Corporation. While with GMAC Mortgage, Applegate assembled an executive team that helped transform the company into an industry leader.Immediately prior to coming to CSS, Applegate was the president, CEO, and director of Dallas mortgage servicer and lender Homeward Residential, Inc., a worldwide company with assets of $4.5 billion and a workforce of 3,000. He has also managed a financial consulting practice and served as president of Radian Guaranty, Inc., a mortgage insurer.”I am delighted that CSS will have a leader of such stature and quality. David Applegate will help ensure that CSS forms a sound foundation on which to rebuild the infrastructure of the country’s secondary mortgage market and launch a single security,” said Jerry Weiss, Freddie Mac EVP and chief administrative officer. “Freddie Mac is pleased to be playing a leading role in this important project.”CSS was created for the purpose of operating the CSP and is jointly owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Considered to be a milestone in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) goal of building a new secondary market infrastructure, CSP’s purpose is to replace certain elements of the GSE’s proprietary system with regards to securitizing mortgages and performing back-office and administrative functions. FHFA Director Mel Watt said in a speech earlier this year that the development of the CSP is one of the most important goals for the GSEs going forward.”CSS is poised to take the next steps in building a future securitization infrastructure,” said Andrew Bon Salle, Fannie Mae EVP of Single-Family Underwriting, Pricing and Capital Markets. “David Applegate is a respected leader in the industry who will bring deep expertise in mortgage finance to CSS.  Fannie Mae looks forward to working with CSS, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to lay the foundation for a strong housing finance system for the future.”The four new members of the CSS Board of Managers are: David Lowman, Freddie Mac’s EVP of single-family business; Jerry Weiss, Freddie Mac’s EVP and chief administrative officer; Terry Edwards, Fannie Mae’s VP and COO; and Rick Sorkin, Fannie Mae’s SVP of single-family pricing strategy and structured transactions.​”Today, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) announced several important steps in the multiyear process of developing the Common Securitization Platform, which will create a shared securitization infrastructure for both Enterprises,” FHFA Director Mel Watt said in a prepared statement. “As detailed in our 2014 Strategic Plan for the Conservatorships, one of our goals is to build a new securitization infrastructure to meet the current securitization needs of the Enterprises that could be adaptable for other users in the future. The Enterprises announced David Applegate as Chief Executive Officer for Common Securitization Solutions, LLC. David has the skills and experience needed at this important juncture in the development of the CSP to move it to launch.​”Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which jointly own CSS, also announced a revised governance structure and operating agreements. The new Board of Managers structure—with two representatives from each company—enhances the ability to support the Enterprises’ securitization functions. FHFA remains committed to achieving a seamless CSP launch, and I am confident the steps announced today, combined with ongoing input from stakeholders, will help ensure success.​” Share November 4, 2014 820 Views in Headlines, News, Secondary Marketcenter_img Common Securitization Solutions Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Mel Watt Movers & Shakers 2014-11-04 Seth Welborn Fannie, Freddie Name CEO for Common Securitization Companylast_img read more

Meeting in the Middle Economics Push Residents Inland

first_img The last decade has seen many residents relocate to the East and West Coasts due to the strong job markets in those locations as well as employment and income growth. But a recent survey found that trend is likely about to change.According to Zillow’s Quarterly Home Price Expectations Survey (ZHPE) released Wednesday, job growth in the middle of the country is expected to attract more residents as businesses look for cheaper locations to expand. More than half of the survey respondents (56 percent) said that job expansion in the middle of the country and nearly one quarter (24 percent) said that high housing costs on the coasts will prompt residents to relocate to Middle America.The ZHPE is conducted quarterly by Pulsenomics and includes opinions of more than 100 housing experts on their expectations for the housing market.As to the question of whether the trend of residents moving to the coast would reverse, more than half of the experts surveyed said it has already started to reverse or expect it to reverse in the future. A quarter of the experts said they believe the shift toward Middle America is permanent; slightly more than one-tenth (11 percent) said they believe the trend of residents moving to the coast is an illusion.Job growth was the most popular reason among survey respondents believe residents will move away from the coasts and toward the middle; 20 percent cited more affordable housing was the reason, and 13 percent said they believe Americans will migrate to the middle in search of the lifestyle only that area of the country has to offer. Only 2 percent of the experts said they thought people would move away from the coasts because of climate.“Since the Recession, employment has boomed in relatively expensive coastal areas, often attributed to a shift in preferences among workers—especially millennials—but also facilitated by soft labor markets that have resulted in a plentiful supply of available workers,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Now, as labor markets tighten and the country approaches full employment, employers will have to look elsewhere to keep costs in check. For some businesses, this will mean relocating away from expensive coastal areas to more affordable interior communities. Sooner or later workers will follow the jobs, providing an impulse to local housing markets.”Survey respondents said they believe home price appreciation will be 4 percent by the end of this year and will slow down to an annual pace of 2.9 percent by 2020.“Panel-wide, the experts currently expect U.S. home values to finish 2016 with a healthy 4.5 percent year-over-year gain,” Pulsenomics founder Terry Loebs said. “This projection implies a somewhat cooler, but still solid, second half of the year. Although further price moderation is expected next year, nearly 90 percent of the panel is projecting lower home value gains in 2017. The longer-run outlook for housing market performance remains steady. Overall, the expected five-year average annual growth rate for home values actually rose, albeit slightly, for the first time in three years.” Meeting in the Middle: Economics Push Residents Inland in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News August 10, 2016 604 Views center_img Home Prices Housing Market Expectations Zillow 2016-08-10 Seth Welborn Sharelast_img read more

Pamela Patenaude Sworn in as Deputy Secretary of HUD

first_img September 27, 2017 630 Views Vice President Mike Pence delivering the oath of office Pamela Hughes Patenaude with her daughter Meghan Patenaude (holding the Bible). Official White House photo: Joyce BoghosianPamela Hughes Patenaude has been announced as the new Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Following her confirmation by the U.S. Senate on September 14th, Vice President Mike Pence administered the oath of office to Patenaude Tuesday evening.In her role as Deputy Secretary, HUD’s second-ranking official behind Secretary Ben Carson, Patenaude will lead the Department’s Disaster Management Group and play a primary leadership and operational role in coordinating recovery efforts following the recent hurricanes, according to the release.Patenaude will direct 16 program and support offices within HUD in order to assist state and local governments design and execute their recovery plans to rebuild damaged housing, business, and infrastructure.Patenaude’s role as Deputy Secretary will be the second time she’s served a pivotal role in the agency’s work. Under the administration of George W. Bush, she held the title of Assistant Secretary of Field Policy Management, where she oversaw the long-term goals of HUD, as well as managed relief efforts in the wake of both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.“At this moment when so many of our citizens are suffering, Pam will bring strong leadership when we need her most,” said U.S. Secretary Dr. Ben Carson after Patenaude’s confirmation earlier this month. “Pam’s extensive housing and community development experience will be invaluable as we embark upon the long road to recovery for communities hard-hit by disaster and I’m grateful the Senate confirmed her nomination.” in Featured, Headlines, News Pamela Patenaude Sworn in as Deputy Secretary of HUDcenter_img breaking news HOUSING HUD mortgage 2017-09-27 Brianna Gilpin Sharelast_img read more