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first_imgBAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Gunmen ambushed a U.N. convoy in conflict-wracked northern Mali on Thursday killing six peacekeepers and wounding five others, the U.N. said. All the victims were from Burkina Faso.The U.N. mission in this west African nation has the highest number of casualties of the world body’s 16 far-flung peacekeeping operations. The latest attack raised the toll to 42 peacekeepers killed and 166 wounded since the Mali mission was established in April 2013. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the latest violence saying it won’t alter the U.N.’s determination to support the Malian people and efforts to restore peace. The U.N. Security Council also strongly condemned the attack, calling on Mali’s government to swiftly investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice, and reaffirming the need to combat all “acts of terrorism.”Tuareg rebels took over Mali’s north in 2012 following a military coup, but al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists hijacked the offensive, prompting a French-led military intervention in 2013. It pushed the extremists from the major cities and towns in the north, but the country has grown increasingly unstable, and U.N. troops are struggling to maintain peace.The convoy was attacked Thursday morning about 45 kilometers (27 miles) south of Timbuktu while patrolling on the road between Goundam and Timbuktu, the mission said. The U.N. said two vehicles were destroyed and the mission was evacuating all the peacekeepers.It was unclear who staged the attack, but Tuareg camp residents in the area said they saw a jihadist flag on the attackers’ vehicles.The Mauritanian Al-Akhbar news agency, which regularly carries credible claims of responsibility by jihadist groups, reported that al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility. The group said it killed seven peacekeepers, one more than the U.N. reported. Comments   Share   How do cataracts affect your vision? New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of ___Associated Press Writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United NationsCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more


first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — President Juan Manuel Santos said Friday that Colombia’s second-largest rebel group is likely to blame for two bomb blasts in the capital that wounded 10 and rattled city residents who have become unaccustomed in recent years to such acts of violence.The homemade explosives were detonated Thursday outside two offices of local pension fund Provenir, one of them a branch in the heart of Bogota’s ritzy financial district, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos listens in during the closing ceremony of the Business Summit in Paracas, Peru, Thursday, July 2, 2015. The Business Summit of the Pacific Alliance is taking place on parallel with the 5th Presidential Pacific Alliance Summit which starts on Friday. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) In the aftermath of the blasts, speculation had been rife that the attacks were orchestrated by the FARC. The group in May suspended a unilateral cease-fire and has been stepping up attacks across the country.With apprehension running high, camouflaged combat troops carrying assault weapons patrolled several streets downtown Friday, randomly inspecting backpacks and asking pedestrians for their IDs.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Santos, after a meeting with top security officials, said that preliminary investigation points to the National Liberation Army, or ELN, but presented no evidence to back up the assertion. Authorities have said the group is responsible for seven explosions in less-conspicuous parts of the capital over the past year.He said the attackers may have been seeking to torpedo peace talks taking place with the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, negotiations which the ELN has been invited to join.“I don’t know what the people launching these explosives are looking for, but they’re not going to move even a centimeter the government’s will and this president’s will to seek peace,” Santos said.Of the 10 injured in Thursday’s attack only one remains hospitalized and is in intensive care on a respirator.Authorities have offered $40,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.Gen Humberto Guatibonza, the head of Bogota’s police, urged the city’s 10 million residents to remain vigilant. He said there had been a number of false alarms reported in the past hours but that authorities have no indication another attack on the capital is being planned. Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosteronecenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more


first_img Comments   Share   Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities have distributed 100,000 photographs of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to highway toll booths since his weekend escape from a maximum security prison, the interior ministry announced Wednesday.A ministry statement outlined actions taken so far.It said 10,000 agents of various components of the federal police remain on high alert across Mexico and authorities have established 101 checkpoints on major highways throughout the country Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Hospitals, hotels and funeral homes are being checked. Forty-eight canine teams are searching passenger and cargo vehicles. Airports are on alert, closely reviewing passengers on private planes.Guzman is once again Mexico’s most wanted criminal since he escaped late Saturday through a mile-long tunnel dug to come up under the shower of his prison cell.The U.S. Embassy in Mexico said Wednesday that U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne had met with Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong the previous day to discuss how the two countries could cooperate to recapture Guzman.A Mexican government official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said representatives of the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration met with Mexican officials in the capital Monday to discuss the search for Guzman.DEA documents obtained by The Associated Press on Monday showed that U.S. agents had seen signs that work on plotting Guzman’s escape began almost immediately after his arrest in February 2014.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Federal Police stand guard near a half-built house near the Altiplano maximum security prison in Almoloya, west of Mexico City, Monday, July 13, 2015. A widespread manhunt that included highway checkpoints, stepped up border security and closure of an international airport failed to turn up any trace of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman by Monday, more than 24 hours after he escaped through an underground tunnel leading from his Altiplano prison cell’s shower area. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) Top holiday drink recipes Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more


first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Southwest Airlines has announced its acquisition of AirTran Holdings for USD$1.4 billion in a cash and stock merger of two of the biggest discount carriers in the US.Southwest is to buy AirTran for USD$7.69 per share, a premium of 69 per cent to AirTran’s Friday closing price, Airwise.com reported.The deal is comprised of a USD$3.75 per share cash component and 0.321 Southwest shares for each existing AirTran share.Southwest said the transaction value is about USD$3.4 billion, after taking account of AirTran’s existing debt and capitalised aircraft operating leases.”The acquisition of AirTran represents a unique opportunity to grow Southwest Airline’s in key markets we don’t yet serve and takes a step towards positioning us for future growth,” Southwest’s chief executive, Gary Kelly, said.These key markets include Atlanta – AirTran’s hub and the busiest airport in the US – Washington DC, New York and Boston.Southwest said the deal would create “hundreds of additional low-fare itineraries for the travelling public” and would help drive down prices in the industry through tougher competition thanks to its greater scale. last_img read more


first_imgA recent study has found that an increasing number of British holidaymakers are heading to faraway destinations as they look to stretch their pound sterling further. Tracking the top 25 currencies British travellers purchase each quarter, the American Express Currency Index has revealed a particular rise in popularity of countries like Mauritius, Mexico, and Jamaica. “When the pound fell during the start of the financial crisis, it became more expensive for Britons to holiday with the Euro and the US Dollar,” American Express Global Foreign Exchange Services director Terry Perrin said. “Therefore, when looking at the prices of holidays, Britons began to realise it would be more cost effective to look further afield and book holidays to destinations that previously may have been overlooked.” Also growing in popularity throughout 2010 were European destinations outside of the Eurozone like Turkey. “In this austere economic environment, it is very possible that many households will opt to take just one holiday this year and will likely visit an all-inclusive destination outside of the Eurozone.” American Express Global Foreign Exchange Services has also announced the launch of TravelMoneyNow.com, offering travellers a convenient way to order currency online. Turkey is becoming increasingly popular with British tourists Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more


first_img‘Transformers: The Ride-3D’ opens Steven Spielberg shakes hands with Optimus Prime Universal Creative SVP Thierry Coup with Chick Russell Steven Spielberg was among those present at the launch of Universal Studio Hollywood’s (USH) latest attraction, “Transformers: The Ride-3D”, which was officially unveiled at a red carpet event at the Los Angeles theme park last week.The ride, which opened to the public on May 25, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, is the latest offering from USH, fusing 3D-HD media and flight simulation technology with original action sequences and a new storyline.   The Transformers have come along way since their inception as a line of toys in Japan some forty years ago. From comic books to animation, video games to films, and now to what USH describes as “the next generation of immersive themed rides”, it seems the franchise knows no limits. And that is what the new ride sets out to achieve: an experience that goes beyond the boundaries of conventional rides, according to Universal Creative show/ride producer Chick Russell.Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard at the premiere, Mr Russell said the new ride set out to really make you “feel as if you’ve actually entered into the Transformers world”.“It’s not enough for us just to see Megatron attacking you: we want you to feel what it’s like to have Megatron attack you,” he explained.“Our ride vehicle is a flight simulator on a track, so when Megatron reaches out in 3D with his giant claw it looks like he’s really coming out to grab you.“And when he shakes the vehicle, the vehicle actually shakes, so once you’re on this attraction, you don’t feel like you’re looking at media anymore.” Calling the ride a “completely new experience”, Mr Russell said there would be plenty to keep the ride goers coming back for more – perhaps even after the movie franchise had gone the way of the Dinobots (former Transformers characters). “If you make the ride very physical and very visceral and very thrilling people will come back and ride it over and over again,” he remarked.“Even on an attraction like this, that hasn’t even opened yet, we’ve had people go back multiple times to see things and experience things they couldn’t appreciate the first time.”   Attending the launch was USH president, Larry Kurzweil, who said the ride was a “perfect match” for the park.  “Transformers represents a perfect match for our theme park: an exhilarating blockbuster, non-stop action and astonishing special effects. “It has all the elements to become one of the world’s most dynamic theme park thrill rides and a centerpiece attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood.”   And did the ride live up to expectations? By all accounts, yes. “You will be a little bit scared: it’s a very intense ride,” Mr Russell told e-Travel Blackboard. “When you have 38-foot tall Decepticons chasing you and attacking you it really is a frightening experience; but a lot of fun at the same time.”View our photo gallery from the ride launch here Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more


first_imgThe Parramasala Festival 2013 will be held from 4 – 7 October at the Allphones Area Homebush. “In addition to international visitors, we are also expecting SRK and the Temptation Reloaded show to attract more than 5,000 people from Sydney and interstate,” Mr O’Farrell explained. According to the Tourism Minister, Mr Khan has featured in up to 75 films, has more than four million Twitter followers and even ranked in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list after earning US$37.7 million in 2012. Bollywood legend, Shahrukh Khan has been recruited to attend the fourth annual Parramasala Festival in Parramatta this year, to expose NSW to the growing Indian tourism market. Announced by the NSW Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Barry O’Farrell this week, Mr Khan aka ‘the King of Bollywood’ is due to arrive in Sydney for the event in October and is expected to attract an audience of not only Indian origin, but also fans from Fiji, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Attracting India’s growing tourism market. Image: commons.wikimedia Source = ETB News: NJlast_img read more


first_imgSource = AccorHotels AccorHotels showcase drives excitement as Travel Manager wins new Peugeot 208AccorHotels showcase drives excitement as Travel Manager wins new Peugeot 208One of AccorHotels’ key client’s Celeste Burk, Travel Manager from Corporate Traveller in North Sydney claimed the keys to a new Peugeot 208 worth over $30,000, at last night’s AccorHotels Showcase extravaganza.In its 13th year, the AccorHotels annual showcase invites over 800 travel industry attendees to partake in the event business card draw, with five lucky finalists called on stage by Channel Seven celebrity emcees Melissa Doyle and Larry Emdur to select a key at random and try their luck to unlock the Peugeot.Fifth in line with key in hand, Celeste stepped towards the shiny red Peugeot and with one twist the car unlocked, lights flickered and horn sounded. Celeste’s face filled with disbelief and glee as it finally dawned on her that she would be driving the car out of Sofitel Sydney Wentworth’s Grand Ballroom.The Peugeot was one of a whole series of accommodation and travel prizes drawn during the evening with Erin O’Shannessy from American Express Meeting and Events walking away with a trip to Hong Kong staying at The Pullman Park Lane and Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon hotels including business class flights thanks to Qantas.Over 100 AccorHotels’ sales and marketing executives were in attendance, as well as AccorHotels Asia Pacific Chairman & CEO Michael Issenberg and AccorHotels Chief Operating Officer Pacific Simon McGrath who were quizzed by host of ABC’s Insiders TV program Barrie Cassidy, offering insight into the group’s FRHI acquisition, new developments, products and key industry topics.For the first time, the event showcased the group’s newest acquisition brands Fairmont, Raffles, Swissotel and One Fine Stay to industry clients and partners.Attendees were richly entertained throughout the evening, with music from one of Australia’s favourite house DJs Kate Monroe, while Robert Oatley wines ensured that guests were fully hydrated.last_img read more


first_imgSydney Harbour, credit Destination NSW10 million visitors expected to head to Sydney this SummerThis Summer, more than 10 million overnight and day trip visitors are expected to visit Sydney to make the most of the warm weather, world famous beaches, globally recognised icons, first class dining scene and calendar of events.Over the six month period of October – March Sydney will receive 18 million visitors, with 10 million of these expected to visit during Summer*.Last year, Summer-loving tourists stayed around 29.2 million nights during the three months of the popular, warm season.NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said: “Summer is an absolutely magical time to visit Sydney and make the most of the city’s famous coastal lifestyle with more than 90 beaches on offer.“Last Summer, we welcomed more than 9.2 million visitors who spent more than $4.9 billion in Sydney, meaning tourists are taking advantage of the endless entertainment, dining and major event options after a day on the beaches.“From a day at the Test at the historic SCG to a ride on one of Sydney’s iconic ferries, summer is an exciting, vibrant and beautiful time in Sydney, and we look forward to more visitors from near and far over the next few sunny months.”The top activities for visitors to Sydney are eating out, shopping, sightseeing, and attending events. To help plan holidays, Destination NSW, the State Government’s tourism and major events agency, has developed a list of some of the top things to see and do whilst in town this Summer.Where to eat: Waterside dining is one of Sydney’s essential experiences. Visit LuMi Bar & Dining in Pyrmont for a two-hatted meal, and enjoy Turkish meze treats at Anason in Sydney’s newest waterfront development, Barangaroo. Head to Paddington’s newest restaurant, Fred’s, and head to the Light Brigade Hotel just down the road for a rooftop beverage. When in Western Sydney, book at meal at Vela Dining & Bar along the Parramatta River, or enjoy the 180-degree river views on the deck at Port Bar. For a truly iconic experience, enjoy a sunset drink at Opera Bar, along the Sydney Opera House promenade, looking at the Sydney Harbour Bridge.Where to shop: Sydney is a hotspot for shopping that caters to lovers of high-end fashion, international labels and local, boutique designers. Visit hundreds of stores in Sydney’s iconic Queen Victoria Building, The Strand, bustling Pitt Street Mall and Westfield Sydney which is full of luxury designer brands. For a boutique outdoor shopping experience, spend some time in Paddington exploring Oxford St, William St and the popular Intersection, known for its collection of Australian designers.Sightseeing musts: The world famous Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach and Manly are all absolute musts, especially for first-time Summer visitors. A walk around the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Centennial Parklands and visits to Taronga Zoo, SeaLife Manly and Sydney Aquarium are also popular.Events to plan around: Sport fans, culture lovers, and history buffs are taken care of in Sydney’s Summer calendar. The Coates Hire Sydney 500 car racing (2-4 December 2016), the New Year’s Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (from 3 January 2017), APIA International Sydney tennis tournament (8-14 January 2017), HSBC Sydney 7s rugby fix (3-5 February 2017) and Australian Open of Surfing (25 February – 5 March 2017) are all on offer. For celebrity spotters, the 6th AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel will see the stars of Australian film and television walk the red carpet in Sydney (7 December 2016) and is a great excuse to frock up. Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives will feature cutting-edge technology that reveals the secrets of mummies from the British Museum in a world premiere exclusive at the Powerhouse Museum (from 10 December 2016). Sydney Festival runs for just over three weeks (7-27 January 2017) and offers hundreds of ticketed and free events including The Beach, NUDE LIVE, and Symphony Under the Stars. Finally, New Year’s Eve and Australia Day are incredibly special times to be in Sydney to enjoy the fanfare and fireworks.Summer talking points10 million visitors is more than double the population of New Zealand of approx. 4.5 million, and equivalent to:20,661 Qantas A380s full of passengers (based on 484 passengers per flight)8,695 of the largest Freshwater Class Ferries, full of passengers217 Sydney Cricket Grounds, at full capacityMore than the number of cars that drive over Sydney Harbour Bridge every 60 days44 times the number of English words in the Oxford English Dictionary Sydneyvisit SydneySource = Destination NSWlast_img read more


first_imgQantas trials new foodie pop-up for young flyersQantas trials new foodie pop-up for young flyersChildren travelling overseas during the school holidays can help themselves to a selection of kid-friendly snacks prior to their flight, with Qantas trialing a new ‘Kids Quisine’ buffet in its Sydney International Business Lounge.The new ‘pop-up’ station features a range of healthy and tasty treats and has been designed to appeal to the palate of the next generation of frequent flyers.The pop-up food station is currently being trialed in Sydney and, if popular, Qantas will consider extending it to other lounges for the October school holidays.Helen Gray, Qantas Head of Food and Beverage, said school holidays are an exciting time for young flyers and the Kids Quisine pop-up is designed to make their journey even more fun.“We want the lounge experience to be as enjoyable for children as it is for their parents so a dedicated kids’ food station will help get their holidays off to an exciting start,” Ms Gray said.The Kids Quisine station features a DIY-design cupcake and muffin stand where children can decorate their cupcake or muffin with a range of toppings including vanilla icing, a selection of lollies and marshmallows.Other snack options include fruit skewers, veggie jars, pinwheel sandwiches, kid-sized cold-pressed juice and for something more substantial, gluten free pasta with tomato sauce and cheese or sausage rolls. Kangaroo-shaped fairy bread is also a special school holidays treat on the menu.Kids Quisine is open from 11am daily until 21 July 2018.There is also a Joey Club Kids Zone in Sydney’s Qantas International Business Lounge, with books, toys and activities. The Qantas Joey Club helps keep young flyers entertained before they fly and onboard, and rewards them with Qantas Points when they travel. Children aged 12 and under can join for free. Find out more about the Joey Club here.Source = Qantaslast_img read more


first_imgOTM Mumbai as an entire event is really good. The arrangement, the way of interaction with customers, the areas, everything looks great. We participated for the first time in OTM Mumbai which will give lots of exposure that will give boost to our business.last_img


first_imgYatra.com has announced the appointment of Vikrant Mudaliar as the Chief Marketing Officer of the company. He will be responsible for leading marketing activities across all Yatra.com business lines and group entities. While focusing on strengthening Yatra’s brand equity in the travel category, he will be responsible for driving the marketing and communications strategy to support the company’s overall strategic objectives. The role will also have him responsible for all traffic and consumer marketing initiatives across web and mobile platforms and driving customer engagement and loyalty.Commenting on the appointment, Sharat Dhall, President, Yatra.com said, “We are extremely excited to have Vikrant as part of the leadership team at Yatra.  He belongs to a rare breed of marketing professionals who have created and built brands in new categories. Vikrant’s experience in traditional marketing and digital media coupled with his consumer understanding will be crucial in Yatra’s next phase of growth.”“Travel as a sector has always intrigued me and to work for Yatra at this pivotal time when the industry is seeing customer empowerment like never before through innovative e-commerce platforms, is absolutely thrilling,” said Vikrant. He added, “Consumers are currently expecting brands to find relevant, unique and interesting ways to interact with them. Yatra has visibility and services across travel categories and I hope to make its reach wider and measurable in a lot of ways. I am keen to adopt new digital technologies in developing marketing innovations that help travellers identify Yatra as the most obvious choice.”Vikrant brings with him over 17 years of experience and has handled leadership roles across business management, marketing, sales and strategy functions. He has experience across sectors such as e-commerce, media & entertainment, automobiles and consumer goods. Vikrant previously served as Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Lenskart.com. He has also previously worked at Tata Sky Ltd. as Vice President-Brand Marketing where he played a key role in making Tata Sky the category leader and also a leading consumer brand in the country. While his longest stint was with Tata Sky for close to a decade, he has also previously worked at General Motors India, Jumbo Electronics Dubai and Pepsi Foods Ltd.last_img read more


first_imgSingapore MICE Forum is Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers’ (SACEOS) signature annual event. As a respected and MICE industry supported professional knowledge and networking platform, SACEOS encourages delegates to participate in conversations that generate business solution.This year SACEOS is rolling out a new thought-leadership programme for Singapore MICE Forum (SMF) 2017 that will focus on a higher sense of engagement for its anticipated 450 delegates.Commenting over the development, Janet Tan-Collis, President, SACEOS, said, “Leveraging on the success of last year’s conference theme ‘re:imagine’, this year we expand the theme to ‘re:imagine – #EngagE’ where we are looking at opportunities and challenges faced by our region on a macro and micro level across 11 breakout sessions. We will also enhance the programme with a half-day Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Business School to ensure that the programme is catering to our delegates’ broad range of skill sets and business interests.”Day one of SMF 2017, slated to take place from July 27-28, 2017 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, will commence with painting and visualisation of the future, and a glimpse of what the industry could be like in the year 2050. Day two will accentuate on how the industry should respond to elements that will impact event engagement levels, followed by sessions curated for marketing, finance and talent management professionals.Sharing her views, Dr ShirlenaSoh, Executive Director, SACEOS, said, “It is a pleasure seeing the industry coming together to create thought-leadership content for SMF 2017. We are confident that this programme will suit all levels of talent, whether you are new to the industry or a veteran.  It makes our focus on driving professionalism through professional education even more exciting and relevant.”Topics to be covered during the breakout sessions include ‘The Art of Engaging Communities’ which comprises of a debate and research on the connection between reward and motivation; ‘If Digital is the Answer, What is the Question?’ which will shed light on the scope and utility of Digital in this industry; and ‘Unconventional Experiences’ which will showcase three unconventional approaches to events that engage the audience’s attention and highlights tomorrow’s possibilities.Visit www.singaporemiceforum.com for more information about the content that will help event professionals grow.last_img read more


first_imgTapping the tourism potential and promoting Bengal as an ideal shooting location, the Government of West Bengal has picked the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) as an annual event to use the silver screen as a route to drive foreign investment into the tourism sector of West Bengal. The KIFF will be held from November 10-17 and screening of films will start from the following day.“The state tourism, information and cultural affairs ministries have started working together to showcase Bengal as a shooting location to the visiting directors and producers at the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) this year,” commented singer-turned-politician Indranil Sen, Minister of State for Information and Cultural Affairs, West Bengal.Arup Biswas, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, West Bengal said that the state has a pool of technicians and services offered are at a competitive rate when compared to international standards. “Bengal has many picturesque locations and we will appeal to the foreign guests at the KIFF to visit some of these spots,” he cited.Actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Kamal Haasan are expected to attend the inaugural ceremony. Some 143 films from 53 countries will be screened at the week-long festival. Marking a first for the years of legacy, Britain has been selected as the focus country with six films of British Director Michael Winterbottom.last_img read more


first_imgHomeVestors Expands its Network of Franchisees in Origination, Servicing Agents & Brokers Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-04-10 Abby Gregory April 10, 2012 426 Views center_img “”HomeVestors””:http://www.homevestors.com/ is celebrating a strong end to the first-quarter of 2012, recently announcing that the company reached record numbers of new franchisees during the period. During the past three months, HomeVestors added 38 franchises to the company’s portfolio.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Dallas-based HomeVestors operates as a network of independently owned franchises, specializing in professional home purchases. In an official statement, HomeVestors noted that its latest franchisees are scattered around the nation, covering 30 markets in 17 states.David Hicks, HomeVestors’ co-president, said of the company’s growth, “”Thirty-nine new franchises have opened in the past three months. That number is remarkable and attests to our belief that for the first time in years, there is a true wealth of great opportunity for investors in this business.””HomeVestors’ Ken Channell, also a company co-president, added, “”The number of additional new franchisees during the first 3 months of 2012 is an indication that investors increasingly believe that there is opportunity in the market. We are committed to our franchisees to help encourage continued growth and success this year.”” Sharelast_img read more


first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank Failure FDIC Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-10-31 Tory Barringer October 31, 2013 461 Views A Florida bank became the 23rd FDIC-insured institution to fall this year, the agency announced Wednesday.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The “”Florida Office of Financial Regulation””:http://www.flofr.com/ made the call to close the Bank of Jackson County, located in Graceville. Acting as receiver, “”FDIC””:http://fdic.gov/ announced a purchase and assumption agreement with “”First Federal Bank of Florida””:https://www.ffsb.com/home.aspx in Lake City.According to FDIC’s announcement, First Federal Bank will assume all of Bank of Jackson County’s $25.0 million in total deposits (estimated as of June 30) and $23.1 million of the failed bank’s $25.5 million in assets. FDIC will hold onto the remaining assets for later disposition.The estimated cost to FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund will be $5.1 million, the agency said. The closure marks Florida’s fourth federally insured bank collapse of 2013, making it the most active state so far this year for bank failures. in Governmentcenter_img FDIC Announces Collapse of Florida Bank Sharelast_img read more


first_imgYellen Projections Drive Up Interest Rates in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination, Secondary Market March 27, 2014 438 Views Mortgage rates jumped up this week, propelled by remarks made at Janet Yellen’s first press conference at Federal Reserve chair.In its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac reported an increase of 8 basis points in the 30-year fixed average rate, bringing up to 4.40 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending March 27. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.57 percent.The 15-year FRM also climbed, moving up a tenth of a percentage point to an average 3.42 percent (0.6 point).Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, explained the increase: “Mortgage rates rose following the uptick on the 10-year Treasury note after comments by the Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen indicated a possible increase in interest rates as soon as early 2015.”Nothaft also pointed to relative strength in the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index, which saw an increase of 13.2 percent year-over-year.Whatever the cause, the effect means “additional pressure for those local markets that are already feeling an affordability pinch,” Freddie Mac says.Switching to adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.10 percent (0.5 point) this week, up from 3.02 percent in the last survey. On the other hand, the 1-year ARM moved down 5 basis points to 2.44 percent (0.4 point).Meanwhile, finance website Bankrate.com measured the 30-year fixed average at 4.51 percent and the 15-year fixed at 3.56 percent, both up over the week. Also increasing was the 5/1 ARM, which climbed a tenth of a point to 3.36 percent.center_img Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Bankrate Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Janet Yellen Mortgage Rates 2014-03-27 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more


first_img Share HUD Julián Castro 2015-01-07 Seth Welborn HUD Secretary to Speak on Housing Plans for 2015 HUD Secretary Julian Castro is scheduled to speak at the National Press Club (NPC) luncheon on January 13 to address the state of the housing industry and what HUD’s plans are for 2015, the NPC announced on Tuesday.Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio, became the first Hispanic to deliver a keynote speech at a national political convention when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. Considered an emerging leader for the Democratic Party, Castro was sworn in as HUD secretary in July 2014 at age 39.The event will begin at noon and end at 1 p.m. Following his speech, Castro will take questions. Questions can be submitted in advance by emailing president@press.org with CASTRO in the subject line. Questions must be submitted before 10 a.m. on the day of the event to receive consideration.The event is open only to members of the National Press Club and credentialed press.Among HUD’s goals for 2015 are securing sustainable housing for American individuals and families, preserving rental house assistance for poor Americans, ending homelessness, protecting people from discrimination in housing, and helping neighborhoods become more resilient from natural disasters. The department was given a $45 billion budget to work with for Fiscal Year 2015, according to an announcement last month from HUD.Two of the initiatives supported by HUD’s budget for FY 2015 are the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, designed to revitalize neighborhoods decimated by blight, and the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing, aimed at ending homelessness among veterans. Two initiatives that HUD announced must be put on hold due to budget constraints are the effort to end chronic homelessness by 2016 and Homeowners Armed With Knowledge (HAWK), which is a pilot program designed to further incorporate housing counseling for first-time homebuyers who are using FHA-insured financing.center_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News January 7, 2015 447 Views last_img read more


first_imgin Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Eye on the Industry 2017-08-10 Brianna Gilpin As individuals make their way through the industry and companies merge, keep watch on the important highlights in this activity update.Flagstar Bank recently announced the addition of Kristy Fercho, who was previously SVO and Customer Delivery Executive for Fannie Mae, to lead Flagstar’s Mortgage Business. In 2016 alone, Flagstar originated $32 billion in home loans. Fercho spent 15 years with Fannie Mae, originally as the VP of human resources responsible for the company’s people strategy, talent acquisition, and cultural transformation. Since then, she served in customer management roles and oversaw mortgage production of almost 2,000 lenders. As of late, she managed customer delivery strategy and business performance of all Western U.S. customers, delivering single-family home loans to the agency. She is a mortgage industry veteran with knowledge in mortgage originations, servicing, fulfillment, risk management, and regulation. _______________________________________________________________________________________Melvin Watt, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), recently announced Andre D. Galeano to Deputy Director of the Division of Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation. Prior to this position, Galeano served in various positions in the FHFA since 2002. Additionally, Galeano served as Associate Director of examinations for the FHLBanks, Associate Director of credit risk for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Examiner-in-Charge of Fannie Mae._______________________________________________________________________________________ZVN Properties has recently announced the hiring of Kiyoshi D. Hunt as VP of Strategic Partnership. Hunt has over 23 years experience working in professional sales and management with local and national organizations over multiple business segments. Utilizing his “client first” approach, he has a proven track record of high level business development and service management, problem resolution skills, and is an expert in creating efficiencies and processes to assist clients in achieving their goals.  Hunt has worked in the REO industry since 2009, and has excelled in forming strategic partnerships. Prior to joining ZVN Properties, he has successfully created synergies among multiple companies in the REO industry to protect vacant properties by working with national property preservation companies, banks, and other organizations in the industry._______________________________________________________________________________________International Document Services, Inc. (IDS), a mortgage document preparation vendor, announced recently the promotion of former Manager of Development Beckie Santos to the newly created position of Manager of New Product Development. In her new role, Santos will leverage her development experience to work closely with the IDS development team as well as operations, quality assurance, and compliance to help shape and guide future solutions. Santos joined IDS in 2004 as a developer. During her tenure in development, she became known as a go-to developer for difficult projects. In 2010, Santos was promoted to Manager of Development. In her new position, Santos will also oversee the global integrity of IDS systems. She will further work to make certain that releases run smoothly, coordinating with both customer support and development to certify that all updates are clean and efficient._______________________________________________________________________________________ClosingCorp, recently announced that Springboard Home Loans, a not-for-profit mortgage lender working to expand homeownership, has begun using its SmartFees solution, an automated fee solution that delivers real-time closing cost data from more than 20,000 individual service providers. With this move, Springboard will now be able to expedite Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure production through its integration with ClosingCorp and Ellie Mae’s mortgage management solution, Encompass. August 10, 2017 584 Views Sharelast_img read more


first_img July 23, 2018 701 Views While Home Sales Lag, Demand Grows builders Contractors Existing-Home Sales Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp. Home Sales Homebuyers homeowners homes HOUSING NAR New Homes Realtor.com Sellers 2018-07-23 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newscenter_img Despite a growing demand among homebuyers, the sales of existing homes lagged for the third straight month in June, according to the latest existing home sales data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Monday.According to the report, total existing-home sales, decreased 0.6 percent to 5.38 million in June. On a year-over-year basis, existing home sales were down 2.2 percent over the same period a year ago, NAR said.The deceleration was led by declines in the South and West, which exceeded the sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest regions, the report indicated. While the report found that the median existing-home price for all housing types was $276,900, total housing inventory at the end of June climbed 4.3 percent to 1.95 million existing homes for sale—0.5 percent above the same period a year ago. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, attributed the falling sales numbers to the severe housing shortage especially in this market segment, despite growing demand.“There continues to be a mismatch since the spring between the growing level of homebuyer demand in most of the country about the actual pace of home sales which are declining,” he said.The falling figures of existing home sales provide an opportunity for homebuilders constructing new homes, according to Tian Liu, Chief Economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance. “The impact of inventory shortage is not just a challenge for potential buyers and real estate agents, but also for mortgage lenders, contractors, and suppliers in the home improvement industry,” he said. “On the positive side, we believe that it offers a tremendous opportunity for homebuilders by addressing the largely unmet demand for new homes.”According to NAR, unsold inventory was at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, with properties staying on the market for an average of 26 days during the month.“What is for sale in most areas is going under contract very fast and in many cases, has multiple offers,” Yun said. This dynamic is keeping home price growth elevated, pricing out would-be buyers and ultimately slowing sales.”Pricing out would-be buyers is a challenge that Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com also foresees. “The shortage forces buyers to compete for the few available homes by bidding up prices or making other concessions to stand out to sellers. As a result, home prices hit $276,900—a new all-time high. This means increased buying power for owners considering a sale or remodel, but could ultimately price out some would-be buyers and potentially lock them out of homeownership,” said Hale.Learn more about existing home sales in June:What’s Causing Existing Home Sales to Decrease? Sharelast_img read more