Moodys downgrades SAfrica fears for stability

first_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Moody’s cited uncertainty about policy decisions ahead of a December ruling party congress that will decide if President Jacob Zuma gets a second term to preside over Africa’s largest economy.It said recent strikes highlighted high unemployment and wide disparity between rich and poor.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Patients with chronic pain give advicecenter_img JOHANNESBURG (AP) – Moody’s is downgrading South Africa’s bond rating to a negative Baa1 from A3 citing concerns for political stability amid labor unrest and socio-economic stresses.Moody’s said an important factor is its decision Thursday to downgrade the country’s institutional strength from high to moderate, reflecting a diminished capacity to handle political and economic problems.Analyst Peter Attard Montalto of NOMURA International in London said the downgrade comes much earlier than expected. He predicted further downgrades from other agencies as strikes spread to other mines and other sectors. Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   last_img read more

Pope issues first appeal for Chinese Catholics

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Patients with chronic pain give advice Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis has issued his first appeal directed at Catholics in China, long the source of concern for his predecessor Benedict XVI.Francis urged special prayers Wednesday for China’s faithful that they may “live their daily lives in service to their country and their fellow citizens in a way consistent with the faith they profess.”The occasion was a feast day that is celebrated in particular in Shanghai.center_img Top Stories China has an estimated 8 million to 12 million Catholics. Despite official requirements, around half worship in congregations outside the control of the officially sanctioned church.The Communist Party ordered Catholics to cut ties with the Holy See in the 1950s, and persecuted the church for years until restoring a degree of religious freedom. Tensions remain, however, over appointments of bishops.(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 Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technologylast_img read more

Earthquake hits Russias Far East

first_img Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories MOSCOW (AP) – A powerful earthquake on Friday hit Russia’s Far East with tremors felt as far away as Moscow, about 7,000 kilometers (4,400 miles) west of the epicenter, but no casualties or damage were reported.Marina Kolomiyets, spokeswoman for Obninsk’s seismic station of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told The Associated Press the epicenter was in the Sea of Okhotsk, east of the Russian coast and north of Japan, and was 130 kilometers away from the nearest village. She said the quake registered 8.0 on the Richter scale. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude of 8.3. The epicenter was in the Kuril-Kamchatka arc, one of the most seismically active regions in the world.Emergency agencies in the Far East issued a tsunami warning for Sakhalin and the Kuril islands, but lifted it soon afterwards. Kolomiyets said the earthquake originated 600 kilometers (375 miles) under the sea bed and with the tremors so far down they have the potential to spread quite far.The Emergency Situations Ministry said they have not recorded any casualties or damage from the quake.A big aftershock came about nine hours after the first quake. The Russian Academy of Sciences measured it at 7.0, while the U.S. Geological Survey put it at magnitude 6.8.Russian news agencies reported that residents of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Okhotsk Sea felt the first quake for about five minutes. Residents ran out of the buildings. School children were evacuated.Tremors from the first quake were felt in Moscow, prompting some people to evacuate from buildings across the city.Tremors are extremely rare in Moscow, the last recorded instance was in the 1977. The Russian Meteorological Service confirmed these reports but said they did not have immediate information about the magnitude of the tremors of Moscow. How do cataracts affect your vision? Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Russian news agencies also cited eyewitnesses reporting strong tremors across Siberia.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Egypt court bans popular hardcore ultra soccer fan clubs

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Comments   Share   5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Check your body, save your life CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Saturday banned the country’s hard-core soccer fan clubs, known as “ultras,” over terrorism accusations.The ultras took part in protests during and after the 2011 uprising, and frequently clash with police in and around stadiums. The ruling by the Court of Urgent Matters in Cairo appeared to be the latest effort by the judiciary to prevent demonstrations.During the 2011 uprising that forced out President Hosni Mubarak, ultras often provided muscle, directed demonstrators and led chants. They are considered one of the most organized movements in Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government outlawed as a terrorist organization following the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Authorities said at least 19 people were killed in February when police fired tear gas into a crowd of fans waiting in a fenced, narrow corridor trying to enter a match. Many of the dead suffocated or were crushed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “They see themselves as a buffer, a channel that offers frustrated, despairing hopeless youth a chance to vent pent-up anger, frustration, and protest peacefully, rather than leaving them with the option of either apathy or violence,” said James M. Dorsey, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies who closely follows the ultras.He called the ruling a “dangerous gamble” for the government.The case was filed by Mortada Mansour, the head of the Zamalek Football Club, one of Egypt’s most popular teams. Mansour has long been at odds with his team’s ultras organization, known as the White Knights.Last month, 11 fans were sentenced to death in a retrial of over 70 defendants accused in a 2012 soccer riot that left 74 people dead. An initial verdict in 2013 set off violent protests by fans in Cairo, who torched a police club and the soccer federation’s headquarters.Since the 2012 stadium violence, authorities have sharply limited attendance at matches.“Egyptian soccer clubs are hurting,” Dorsey said. “They’ve either not been playing for the last four years, or a good part of the past four years, or they’ve been doing it in empty stadia.”last_img read more

Polish election winner officially named presidentelect

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Quick workouts for men Top Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 must play golf courses in Arizonacenter_img Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Poland’s President-elect Andrzej Duda, left, attends a state ceremony confirming his electoral win at the Wilanow Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, May 29, 2015. A member of the conservative Law and Justice party, Duda, a 43-year-old lawyer, ousted President Bronislaw Komorowski in May 24 runoff, in an outcome that is seen as a warning to the establishment of public discontent with course of events in Poland.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Andrzej Duda, the conservative winner of Poland’s presidential election, was officially named president-elect in a solemn state ceremony Friday.Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, some state officials, and Duda’s parents, wife and daughter attended the ceremony to see the 43-year-old lawyer receive the official document confirming that he won the election. His five-year term starts Aug. 6. Comments   Share   The national anthem played and then the head of the State Electoral Commission handed Duda the documents.He and his wife, Agata, later met with a group of supporters waiting outside the Baroque Wilanow Palace with white-and-red flags to chant his name and sing the national anthem.In a speech, Duda appealed to the government to make no major policy or constitutional system changes until he takes office. He vowed to work for national unity after the election revealed voters were almost evenly divided between him and President Bronislaw Komorowski. Some 45 percent of people eligible to vote did not.Poland’s president has limited power, most of which rests with the prime minister and the Cabinet. He is the supreme commander of the armed forces and can propose and veto legislation. In foreign policy, his role is mainly ceremonial.Until the campaign, Duda was little known in Polish politics, though he has been a deputy justice minister and a member of the presidential office under President Lech Kaczynski. He became a European Parliament member in 2014, but resigned that post Wednesday to become president.Duda is a member of the Law and Justice party, which mixes traditional Catholic and national values with social concerns. His unexpected victory against Komorowski of the ruling pro-business Civic Platform was seen as a warning for the establishment ahead of parliamentary elections later this year.last_img read more

Afghan teachers strike shuts down at least 27 schools

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories It was not immediately possible to resolve the conflicting accounts. Kabul has a total of 284 schools.Teachers in Afghanistan are poorly paid and often do not receive their salaries for months on end because of the government’s cash-flow problems. The Education Ministry has said it is holding daily meetings with teacher representatives to try to resolve the latest dispute and reopen the schools.The teachers have expressed sorrow over cancelling classes, but say they feel they have no other choice.Ahmadullah Alkozai, a striking teacher from Kabul’s Ghazi high school, said he has been teaching for 27 years and still doesn’t own a home. He is among 180 teachers at the now-closed school, which has 4,500 students.“I am so upset for my students that the school is closed, but I had no other choice,” he said, adding that the strike will continue until the teachers’ demands are met.“The strike will continue until we get our rights from the government,” said Fazel, the head of the teachers’ council.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A teachers strike demanding higher pay has shut down at least 27 schools in Afghanistan’s capital, officials said Tuesday.Fazel Ahmad Fazel, the newly appointed head of a national teachers’ council, said Tuesday that 80 schools were closed in Kabul alone, and that teachers were on strike in at least 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.But Fazel Ahmad Harderi, deputy head of Kabul’s Department of Education, says just 27 schools in the capital are closed, down from 55 at the start of the protests last week. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Fazel Ahmad Fazel, first right, newly appointed head of the national teachers’ council talks during an interview with the Associated Press in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, June 23, 2015. A teachers strike demanding higher pay has shut down at least 27 schools in Afghanistan’s capital. Fazel Ahmad Fazel, said Tuesday that 80 schools were closed in Kabul alone, and that teachers are on strike in at least 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini) Patients with chronic pain give advice Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Saudiled airstrikes killed 20 Yemeni civilians this week

first_img“People were afraid to come to the rescue of those injured because of the airstrikes,” added Salami, who had seen the remains of the victims as he drove by the bus on Wednesday. He said bodies of some of the children were still in their seats.The highway is used by Houthis to send reinforcements to Aden, witnesses said, adding that there were at least 10 vehicles carrying fighters that were also hit in the airstrikes, not far from the bus that was struck. The number of Houthi casualties remained unknown and the witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.In Sheikh Osman, another war-torn area on the outskirts of Aden, at least five other vehicles carrying Houthi fighters were set ablaze when missiles hit them Monday, officials said. Two people in the private car and the farmer also were hit and killed by airstrikes Monday in a nearby area, officials and witnesses said.And in Aden, a nearly empty residential building in a northern district was hit by missiles Wednesday, killing two civilians, the officials said.In the southwestern city of Dhale — which anti-rebel forces recently captured from the Houthis — at least 20 of the anti-Houthi fighters were accidentally killed as Saudi-led coalition warplanes targeted the rebels there Tuesday, several fighters said. The casualties underscore the losses and dangers faced by Yemeni civilians, increasingly caught in the crossfire as the Saudi-led coalition targets the country’s Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, in a bid to stop their advances. The Saudi-led campaign and ground fighting have killed more than 1,000 civilians and displaced more than a million people since mid-March, according to UN estimates.The latest incidents were confirmed by a senior military official running an operations room in Aden allied with the Saudi-led coalition. He told The Associated Press over the phone that he had complained to the Saudis about the incidents.The Iranian-backed Houthis seized the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, last year and much of northern region. The U.S.-backed coalition launched its airstrikes campaign on March 26.The Houthis have been joined by soldiers loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh in battles pitting them against tribesmen and fighters in southern provinces.The bus was struck Tuesday on the highway between Aden and the city of Taiz. The bodies of the passengers lay strewn by the roadside in the area of al-Rabat for a whole day, before they were retrieved and brought to Aden, said a resident in the city, Walid Salami. There were children and women among them, he said. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How men can have a healthy 2019 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Shiite rebels known as Houthis wearing army uniforms stand guard in front of Yemen’s Defense Ministry building after it was damaged by Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. A series of airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition on Tuesday struck the building, which is under the control of Shiite rebels who last year seized the capital, Sanaa, officials said. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The officials and anti-Houthi fighters spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A Saudi-led airstrike earlier this week hit a public bus on a highway in southern Yemen linking the city of Aden with the north, killing at least 20 passengers, witnesses and officials said Thursday.Another set of airstrikes hit a family traveling in a private car, a farmer driving a pick-up truck loaded with potatoes, also near Aden this week, as well as a group of anti-rebel fighters in a southwestern city. How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

OETG focuses on independent agent brand

first_imgOrient Express Travel Group (OETG) has unveiled a new tagline – “An Independent Travel Expert … Talk to Us!” for its 1ndependence agency network in 2011. OETG CEO, Tom Manwaring said the new tagline establishes that fact that the local independent agent is the “brand”.According to Mr Manwaring, 70 per cent of independent agents feel that their brand is well recognised in their local area, and 54 per cent do not want an overriding consumer brand in their shops.“So we are targeting our model to suit this reality within this distribution niche,” he said.“From earlier research and at our 1ndependence forum in Phuket early this month, agents believe the success of their businesses comes from the community association of the people owning and working in the agency shops.” he said.“Importantly, they really know the buying patterns and preferences of their local market which can vary significantly from one region of Australia to another and sometimes these patterns have no relevance at all to a national campaign of a franchise brand which is actually co-funded by the local agent,” he said. “We can empathise with and accommodate the needs of individual agents and provide each with the tools for them to build and take control of their business, they are the local experts.”The 2011 1ndependence package, which will be launched next month, will offer members the brand support tag-line –  “An Independent Travel Expert … Talk to us!” “Some agents who require a generic brand, will have that option in early 2011, the majority of independents we believe however, are ‘the brand,’” Mr Manwaring said.He acknowledged the major brand franchising system has experienced success in retail travel around the world, but “one size does not fit all”.“Independent agents, including those who are currently in and/or have tried national franchise models are quite clear, they see major brand franchise agreements as highly-formulated, authoritarian, costly and carrying onerous penalties,” he said.1ndependence is offering agents a low-cost, optional core support service with an annual membership of just $500 . This service will include the Express Ticketing suite of products, Airlines, Wholesalers, Technology, Sabre GDS, and Operations Support.1ndependence will also offer a comprehensive range of optional customised partnership services – Marketing Support, Sabre Explorer, Sabre Red, Staff Training, Marketing, Benchmarking, Conferences, Product Training, The Internet, Home-Based Consultant Services and the Branding. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

Awards Novotel Brisbane achieves Trip Advisor award for excellence

first_imgSource = Novotel Following a $12 million refurbishment and re-launch in June 2011, Novotel Brisbane has been awarded a 2011 TripAdvisor Award for Excellence.The property has received the sought after award due to receiving consistently high feedback and ratings from TripAdvisor members. The qualifying criteria for the award is to maintain an average rating of 4 or higher out of the possible 5, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor.TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site, with more than 40 million monthly visitors and 20 million members. Novotel Brisbane Manager, Ben Patten said that he was thrilled with the award. ‘Winning this award which is determined by unbiased reviews from the general public is very humbling for our property and a testament to our hard working staff who continue to strive to offer the best standard of service to all of our guests,’ said Patten. The completion of the major refurbishment is expected to contribute to the hotel’s continued success and lead Brisbane’s most popular hotel into a new and exciting era. The complete hotel makeover has seen the introduction of a new top floor Premier Room type, refurbishment of all 296 guest rooms, the Lobby & Bar and a complete new renovation of the hotel’s restaurant.last_img read more

National Travel Industry Awards night of nights

first_imgSource = ETB News: Tom Neale The National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) is set to host the highest number of winners ever assembled and the largest number of attendees ever.The NTIA Gala Dinner will be held tomorrow night at the Horden Pavillion in Moore Park at 5:30pm to acknowledge the developments in travel industry and the professionalism of travel agents.AFTA chief executive officer Jayson Westbury said that it will be a tight race for the awards, because the standard of travel agents is so high.“The calibre of finalists is extremely high this year, as it is every year – best of luck to all finalists in the running for awards – to have been acknowledged as a finalist is a huge achievement in itself,” Mr Westbury said.“On behalf of AFTA, I would like to thank all our sponsors and award nominees for their participation in the 2014 NTIA,“We look forward to a great event tomorrow night which wouldn’t be possible without all your fantastic support. Look forward to celebrating with you all,” Mr Westbury said.last_img read more

Centara wins ecognition of Chinese Guests with Best City Hotel Award

first_imgCentara Wins Recognition of Chinese Guests with “Best City Hotel” AwardOver 10 million Chinese tourists visit Thailand each year. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) polled many of them for the 2017 People’s Choice Awards and Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World was voted “Best City Hotel.” The poll, just completed in June, is evidence of Chinese visitors’ growing importance to Thailand, and Centara’s success in meeting their needs.Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s largest hotel operator, is making a concerted effort to appeal to Chinese guests. Their 66 deluxe and first-class properties includes 43 Thailand hotels across all major tourist destinations and another 23 located in prominent international destinations. The award-winner, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld, is one of the group’s premier properties, located in the heart of Bangkok’s central shopping district and integrated with a popular convention and shopping complex.Centara also operates properties in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Oman. The group offers diverse formats — integrating multi-ethnic restaurants, Thai spas, Kids’ Clubs, water parks, and other innovative features – that appeal to couples, individuals, families, and business professionals. Thailand’s famous hospitality culture is also a key ingredient of the brand’s recipe for success.Most Centara hotels and resorts have Chinese-speaking staff and serve Chinese meals including breakfast. Centara offers Chinese information about its hotels and destinations, promotions, and online booking on its official website, which is now hosted in China for optimum speed. The group also accepts the popular Chinese payment channel UnionPay, in addition to major credit cards, and is active on China’s leading social media applications, Wiebo and WeChat.The Centara management team led by 3 top executives; Tom Thrussell – Vice President of Marketing, Paul Wilson – Vice President of Sales and Harry Thaliwal – Group Director of Operations, recently completed a roadshow that included five major Chinese cities and Hong Kong. The tour raised awareness of the Centara brand and shared news of the group’s expansion plans into China and the Middle East with members of China’s travel industry and key trade and consumer media.“China now represents our most significant inbound market and the numbers will continue to rise”, said Tom Thrussell. “We are committed to developing a deep understanding of Chinese guests’ needs and by visiting key Chinese cities and partners, engaging with our guests and soliciting feedback, we are able to communicate more effectively, better meet their travel needs and ultimately equipped ourselves to manage successful properties in China itself.”Centara is planning to open its first properties in China in 2019.Source = Centara Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

THAI Celebrates Launch of Flights to Vienna

first_imgTHAI Celebrates Launch of Flights to ViennaTHAI Celebrates Launch of Flights to ViennaMr. Wiwat Piyawiroj (second from left), Acting Executive Vice President, Commercial, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), presided over the cocktail reception that was held to celebrate the launch of THAI’s flights to and from Vienna, Austria, where he congratulated the winner of a lucky draw. His Excellency Mr. Songsak Saicheua (third from left), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Thailand to Vienna, also granted THAI the honor of his presence at the reception, which was also attended by Mr. Viroj Sirihorachai (seventh from left), THAI Vice President, Revenue Management and Commercial Services Department, and over 250 guests from the aviation industry, travel agents from Thailand and Austria, as well as journalists at Palais Ferstel in Vienna, Austria.THAI’s direct roundtrip flights to Vienna, conveniently located in Central Europe and the gateway to European destinations, are convenient for passengers traveling within Europe and between Europe and Thailand on THAI’s network. Austrian passengers will enjoy the convenience of flying non-stop to Thailand and onward destinations in Asia and Australia with THAI and its code-share partners, with an exceptional flight frequency that will be enjoyed by business and leisure passengers.Source = THAIlast_img read more

Bangkok top city for Indian tourists in Asia

first_imgBangkok is the most searched Asian summer holiday destinations by Indians, according to a study by global travel-planning website Skyscanner.London owned the top spot globally while Bangkok ruled Asia searches by Indian travellers. Bangkok took the second spot globally, ahead of other conventional favourites such as Dubai, New York, Paris and Toronto.“We have seen a 65% year on year increase in outbound travel amongst Indian travellers this summer holiday. Based on our data, Indians are becoming more experimental when it comes to travelling abroad,” Kavitha Gnanamurthy, Senior Marketing Manager, Skyscanner India.“In the spirit of exploration, they are looking for longer, more expensive trips and are searching for newer destinations,” she said.Skyscanner revealed that Bangkok witnesses a year-on-year growth rate of 119% out of India. The ‘City of Angels’ is also well-known among Indian travellers for its ancient monuments, value-for-money shopping, authentic Thai food and world-famous nightlife. The buzzing Chao Phraya River, along with fairly new attraction Asiatique The Riverfront are other attractions that keep travellers engaged.At present, visitors from India can also look forward to unbelievable bargains at the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale which began mid-June and will continue until mid August.The survey puts the average length of the stay for Indian travellers in Bangkok at seven days. India is one of Thailand’s fastest growing source-markets. In January–March 2015, Thailand welcomed 231,012 Indian visitors, an increase of 13.73% over the same period of last year. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is projecting 1.05 million arrivals from India in 2015.Indian visitors know Thailand as a hospitable and a year-round tourism destination with a high quality of value-for-money products and services. Indians get visa-on-arrival facilities at Thailand’s international checkpoints.Soraya Homchuen, Director, TAT Mumbai said, “Indian travellers always spend a night or two in Bangkok before continuing with a Thailand itinerary. Some high end Indian travellers choose to travel to Bangkok to unwind over a long weekend – this segment does several short trips to Bangkok in a year.”  Indian production companies (for films, TV serials and advertising), MICE groups and destination weddings are also flocking to Thailand.last_img read more

Promote Iceland conducts maiden road show in India

first_imgPromote Iceland recently conducted its maiden road show in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.Highlighting the significance of the road show, Thorleifur Thor Jonsson, Manager, Trade Delegations, Promote Iceland said, “We have not been very active in the Indian market in the past. But now we think that Iceland has gained interest in India and we want to build on the momentum through our maiden road shows. The road show was a platform for us to meet the travel trade and understand the requirements of Indian travellers.”The event was conducted by Blue Square Consultants with over 250 travel agents from India attending the show. The Icelandic delegation included representation from companies like Gray Line, Iceland Air, Iceland Europe Travel, Tripical, Gudmundur Jonasson Travel, Iceland Travel and Terra Nova Iceland.H.E Thorir Ibsen, Ambassador of Iceland to India added, “There has been an interest among Indians to visit Iceland after the picturisation of the song Gerua from the movie Dilwale in Iceland. The locales of Iceland were beautifully captured in that song which has caught the attention of tourists in India. We want to leverage on this interest and increase the number of tourist arrivals from India. We would also like to invite more Bollywood movies to come and shoot in Iceland.”Promote Iceland’s strategy is to target the premium travellers from India. Being blessed with beautiful landscapes, roaring volcanoes, monolithic glaciers, icy mountains and deep fjords, Iceland’s beauty sometimes seem surreal and will appeal to the Indians who are looking for ‘new’ and ‘niche’ destinations.last_img read more

SWISS offering new codeshare services to Australia and New Zealand

first_imgCustomers of SWISS can now travel to Canberra on a new codeshare service operated by Singapore Airlines, which is also offering onward connections from the Australian capital to Wellington in New Zealand. Additionally, frequencies are to be increased on the existing codeshare routes to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, which were introduced last April.Travellers to these destinations fly SWISS from Zurich to Singapore and then transfer seamlessly onto their connecting Singapore Airlines flight with its SWISS flight number. Baggages checked-in in Zurich are checked right through to the traveller’s final codeshare destination. Customers on these flights can also earn or redeem miles with the corresponding partner airline under Miles & More and the further Star Alliance frequent flyer programmes.The new destinations form a further part of the commercial joint venture between the Lufthansa Group and Singapore Airlines which was concluded in November 2015 to offer customers of all the airlines concerned more connections and more destinations.last_img read more

Churchill Mortgage Expands to Houston

first_img Last week “”Churchill Mortgage””:http://www.churchillmortgage.com/ released a statement announcing its expansion into the Houston market, marking a grab for the mortgage company with branches and services in 25 states.[IMAGE] “”We are proud to grow our network of branch locations by establishing a physical footprint in Houston and I know I speak for Candace and the entire “”Churchill Mortgage””:http://www.churchillmortgage.com/ team in saying that we are eager to begin the work of serving the local community,”” said Mike Hardwick, president of “”Churchill Mortgage””:http://www.churchillmortgage.com/.[COLUMN_BREAK]The statement added that real estate veteran Candace Jones will helm the new branches and oversee a team of loan originators. With more than 20 years of experience in local mortgage markets, Jones previously served as a retail branch manager for Envoy Mortgage and Wells Fargo. She also managed real estate advertising accounts at the “”_Houston Chronicle_””:http://www.chron.com/.””Churchill Mortgage””:http://www.chron.com/ will open two new offices near the Galleria and Sam Houston Parkway in North Houston, according to the statement. The locations will allow the company to service Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties.Founded in 1992, “”Churchill Mortgage””:http://www.chron.com/ supplies “”Federal Housing Administration””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/fhahistory and “”Veterans Affairs””:http://www.va.gov/ residential mortgages. The company lays claim to its place as the only mortgage lender endorsed by nationally syndicated radio personality Dave Ramsey. Agents & Brokers Company News FHA Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-06-30 Ryan Schuette in Origination, Servicing June 30, 2011 449 Views center_img Churchill Mortgage Expands to Houston Sharelast_img read more

Home Prices Climb for First Time in Eight Months

first_img Share Home Prices Climb for First Time in Eight Months June 26, 2012 427 Views The “”Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes””:http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-case-shiller-home-price-indices/en/us/?indexId=spusa-cashpidff–p-us rose for the first time in eight months in April. The 10- and 20-city indexes each rose 1.3 percent to the highest levels this year. [IMAGE]Year-over-year, the 10-city index was down 2.2 percent and the 20-city index off 1.9 percent, both improvements from March. Economists had expected the 20-city index to show a 2.3 percent year-over-year decline in April.Prices improved month-over-month in all but one of the 20 cities tracked by Case-Shiller; prices fell 3.6 percent in Detroit. Prices were up year-over-year in 10 of the 20 cities.According to the “”National Association of Realtors””:http://www.realtor.org/, the median price of an single family home rose 5.4 percent in April, while[COLUMN_BREAK]the government report from the “”Census Bureau””:http://www.census.gov/ and “”HUD””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD showed the median price of a new home fell 1.5 percent in that month.Year-over-year, the median price of an existing single-family home went up 7.8 percent in April, according to NAR. The Census Bureau and HUD meanwhile found that the median price of a new home rose 5.0 percent.Month-over-month price improvements in cities listed by the Case-Shiller index were led by a 3.4 percent jump in San Francisco, followed by Washington, D.C. (2.8 percent), Phoenix (2.5 percent), Atlanta and Cleveland (2.3 percent each) and Portland and Seattle (2.0 percent each). The price improvement in Washington came despite a 0.7 percentage point jump in that city’s unemployment rate to 9.0 percent in April. The unemployment rate fell in each of the other cities showing a price improvement, according to date from the Labor Department.The year-over-year price gains were led by Phoenix (8.6 percent), Minneapolis (3.8 percent), Miami (3.2 percent), and Denver and Dallas (2.8 percent).Atlanta has the steepest year-over-year price decline (17.0 percent), followed by Las Vegas (5.8 percent), Chicago (5.6 percent), New York (3.8 percent) and Los Angeles (3.6 percent).Even with the improvement in April, the 10-city price index is down 49.3 percent from its June 2006 peak. The 20-city index is down 49.1 percent from its July 2006 high point.center_img Agents & Brokers Asking Prices Attorneys & Title Companies Census Bureau Home Prices HUD Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Realtors Service Providers 2012-06-26 Mark Lieberman in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

360 Mortgage Group Calls for HARP 30

first_img February 18, 2013 407 Views 360 Mortgage Group Calls for HARP 3.0 Agents & Brokers Company News HARP Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-02-18 Krista Franks Brock Sharecenter_img While the revised Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), commonly referred to as HARP 2.0, has allowed far more homeowners to refinance than the original version, there remains a large group of eligible homeowners who have yet to take advantage of the program. [IMAGE]””360 Mortgage Group””:https://www.360mtg.com/, a privately-owned mortgage bank based in Austin, Texas, is calling for the implementation of [COLUMN_BREAK]HARP 3.0 based on this large proportion of homeowners who continue to pay interest rates far higher than today’s historically-low rates. While admitting, “”HARP 2.0 has been very successful in enabling a large number of homeowners to refinance at historically low interest rates,”” Mark Greco, president and founder of 360 Mortgage Group sees room for improvement as “”less than one in four eligible borrowers under the HARP 2.0 guidelines has taken advantage of this important program.”” About 2.6 million GSE-backed loans might be eligible for HARP 2.0, according to Lender Processing Services (LPS). Of these, half have prime credit scores and about 670,000 continue to harbor interest rates above 6 percent, according to LPS. Many Alt-A and subprime borrowers have been unable to take advantage of HARP 2.0, according to Greco. “”Consequently, HARP 3.0 is in order,”” he said. “”HARP 3.0 would be an opportunity to not only expand refinances to include these borrowers who have been diligent on their payments, but also to continue to rebuild our nation’s economic strength,”” Greco said. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

Fannie Mae Sees Pickup in New Business

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Delinquency Fannie Mae Investors Lenders & Servicers Loan Modification Profits Service Providers 2013-03-04 Tory Barringer in Secondary Market “”Fannie Mae’s””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html Book of Business kicked off 2013 with another decline, the mortgage giant reported Friday.[IMAGE]The GSE’s total “”Book of Business””:http://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/ir/pdf/monthly-summary/013113.pdf shrank 1.8 percent in January, falling to $3.186 trillion from December’s $3.190 trillion. Though it saw a month-over-month drop, [COLUMN_BREAK]the book started off the year better than it did in January 2012, when the company reported a total of $3.181 trillion.While overall growth was negative, new business picked up. Fannie Mae reported $88.4 billion in new business acquisitions, up from $71.9 billion in December and $63.9 billion the previous year.Fannie Mae’s gross mortgage portfolio–which rose in December after more than a year of declines–plummeted in January, falling to $620.5 billion from $633.1 billion before, bringing its compounded growth rate to a negative value of 21.4 percent.Delinquency measures were mixed: The single-family delinquency rate fell 11 basis points to 3.18 percent in January, while the multifamily delinquency inched up for the first time since last August to settle at 0.35 percent.Fannie Mae recorded 14,923 loan modifications in January, up from 12,095 in December. Fannie Mae Sees Pickup in New Businesscenter_img March 4, 2013 401 Views Sharelast_img read more

Moving Up Can Cost You

first_imgMoving Up Can Cost You in Daily Dose, News, Origination Home Prices Moving 2017-04-04 Seth Welborn April 4, 2017 580 Views center_img Move-up buyers, beware: According to a new study by Zillow, selling your home and moving on to a larger one could cost you—and probably more than you’re expecting to pay. According to the study, households moving from a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom home in the same zip code can expect to spend an additional $447 per month on their mortgage—more than $5,300 extra every year. The average additional per-month cost changes by house size, the study found, so moving from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom adds $192 per month, while a three-bedroom to four-bedroom move means $614 more per month. Some markets were, of course, higher than this average, with San Jose, California, coming in with the highest costs for move-up buyers. Moving from a two-bedroom home to a three-bedroom one in this city costs a household $2,224 in mortgage payments every month.San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego also came in well above average in move-up costs, while cities like Cleveland, Philadelphia and Indianapolis were much more affordable for move-up buyers than the national average. “Those in hot, coastal markets could expect to spend upwards of $500 more per month,” the report stated. “In the notoriously expensive California markets of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose, high and rapidly growing home values likely weighed heavily on the cost of moving up. Moving to a 3-bedroom home from a 2-bedroom home in these areas added between $1,033 and $2,224 to the average monthly mortgage payment—an additional $12,396 to $26,688 per year on mortgage payments.”In Cleveland, moving from a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom home costs only $74 more per month, and in Philadelphia, that number is just $77. “In 24 of the 35 largest U.S. metro markets analyzed,” the report stated, “move-up buyers looking to upgrade from a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom home last year could expect to pay a mortgage premium that was actually less than the national average for the same upgrade. “Most of these more affordable markets were in the Midwest, South, and Southwest, allowing families to “stretch their dollars further,” the report suggested.To see more detailed move-up costs, broken down by location and home size, visit Zillow.com. Sharelast_img read more