FILE – In this June 21, 2012 file photo, former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, right, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger speak as they take part in an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Primakov, whose career included journalism, diplomacy and spycraft, has died at age 85. The Kremlin said Friday, June 26, 2015 that President Vladimir Putin has offered condolences to Primakov’s family. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File) Primakov also continued to wield considerable influence as the chairman of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, a Russian business advocacy group, the post he held from 2001 to 2011.___Vladimir Isachenkov contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known.With his slow, rumbling speaking manner, hooded eyes and a face whose default expression was a sly smile, Primakov, a seasoned political scholar and Middle East expert, looked like the embodiment of an insider operative for a country full of opaque intrigues.Primakov began his career on a classic Soviet path. Trained as an Orientalist, he worked as a journalist for a decade-and-a-half in the Middle East for Soviet radio and the Communist Party newspaper Pravda, positions widely seen to be cover for espionage work.He later moved through an assortment of senior academic positions and joined the political scene in 1989, when he became chairman of one of the chambers of the Soviet parliament, helping spearhead Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s political reforms.As the international drumbeat for war against Iraq increased in 1990, Gorbachev sent Primakov as envoy to Iraq, drawing on his deep knowledge of the Middle East. He was said by some to be the outsider whom Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein knew best and trusted the most.In 1991, he was named head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service and held the job for five years before becoming foreign minister. As Russia’s top diplomat, he was regarded as a firm but pragmatic supporter of Russia’s interests as the country agonized over its loss of superpower status. He worked hard to dilute the United States’ perceived unilateral dominance of world affairs. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MOSCOW (AP) — Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, whose career included desperate but unsuccessful diplomatic efforts to avert wars in Iraq and NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia, has died. He was 85.President Vladimir Putin on Friday offered condolences to Primakov’s family, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. He added that the president saw Primakov as “a statesman, a scientist and a politician who has left a very big heritage” and that he always wanted to hear Primakov’s view on global issues. After being appointed prime minister in 1998 following Russia’s bruising financial crisis, Primakov tried to prevent the NATO air war against Yugoslavia over the Kosovo crisis. He was heading to the United States on official visit in March 1999 when he learned that Washington decided to launch the air raids, and ordered his pilots to turn the plane back while it was already halfway over the Atlantic, a bold move that helped bolster his popularity at home.Primakov lost the premier’s job in May 1999 while the NATO bombing campaign was still going on. By many accounts, President Boris Yeltsin feared Primakov’s rising influence and popularity.Primakov was widely seen as a top contender to succeed Yeltsin, but sensationalist criticism of him and his alleged poor health on television controlled by supporters of Putin deflated his aspirations. By the time Putin became acting president when Yeltsin stepped down in the closing hours of 1999, Primakov’s chances of election had vanished.Putin nonetheless continued to tap on Primakov’s expertise in tackling global crises. He made Primakov Russia’s top envoy to Iraq to try to stave off the brewing war in 2003. Primakov also was among those who tried to mediate with Chechen terrorists who seized a Moscow theater and hundreds of hostages in 2002. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation
Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Mesa family survives lightning strike to home HSBC says in a statement it had fired those involved in the “abhorrent” video as soon as the Sun brought it to their attention. The company apologized for any offense the video caused.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories LONDON (AP) — HSBC has fired six employees who staged a mock Islamic State group-style killing during a team-building exercise.The Sun newspaper reported Tuesday the footage posted online showed five workers wearing overalls and balaclavas laughing as a South Asian colleague wearing an orange jumpsuit knelt at their feet.One held a coat hanger as a pretend knife while another held the kneeling man by the shoulders. One employee then yells “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great” — a phrase often used before IS hostages are slain. Comments Share Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology
Top Stories Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Mesa family survives lightning strike to home WASHINGTON (AP) — The general tapped to be the next Army chief of staff said Tuesday that if legal issues could be resolved he thinks it would be appropriate, in some cases, to arm soldiers manning recruiting stations.At his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Mark Milley responded to questions about the deaths of four Marines and a sailor who were killed Thursday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Authorities said Kuwait-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, of Hixson, Tennessee, unleashed a barrage of fire at a recruiting center in Chattanooga, then drove several miles away to a Navy and Marine reserve center, where he shot and killed the Marines, and wounded the sailor, who later died. Abdulazeez was shot to death by police.“I think under certain conditions on both military installations and … recruiting stations … we should seriously consider it,” Milley said. “In some cases, I think, it’s appropriate.”Tucked in strip malls in rural and suburban communities and in high-traffic city spots like New York’s Times Square, military recruiting and reserve stations are designed to be open and welcoming to the public. The troops inside aren’t allowed to carry weapons.The ban is largely due to legal issues, such as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prohibits the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. U.S. forces don’t routinely carry guns when they are not in combat or on military bases. And Pentagon officials are sensitive to any appearance of armed troops within the United States. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Check your body, save your life The U.S. military has outlined security upgrades for recruiting stations, reserve centers and other facilities.Military officials said security at recruiting and reserve centers will be reviewed, but Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s current chief of staff, has said it’s too early to say whether the facilities should have security guards or other increased protection. He said there are concerns about accidental discharges and other security issues related to carrying loaded weapons.Just outside Atlanta, a recruiter accidently shot himself in the leg with his personal .45-caliber pistol while discussing the Tennessee shootings with one of his recruits. Officials said he showed the sailor the unloaded gun, then reloaded it and inadvertently discharged it as he was putting it back in his holster.Milley currently is head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Prior to taking the Forces Command job in August 2014, Milley was the commander at Fort Hood, Texas. He was in charge when a soldier being treated for mental illness gunned down three people and wounded 16 others before shooting himself.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
class=”articletext”> Source = Korean Air Korean Air’s Lounge at Incheon International Airport Concourse A has been named “Priority Pass Lounge of the Year 2010” in Asia Pacific by Priority Pass, a UK-based company that provides worldwide cross-airline airport lounge access.In a survey of its one million-plus members worldwide this year, Priority Pass says Korean Air’s Incheon lounge was voted No.1 among 109 candidates in the Asia Pacific region. Commenting on the award, Mr. Chi Chang-Hoon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Korean Air, said “We are very pleased that our efforts in providing our customers with a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience have been recognized by this prestigious award. We would like to thank our customers and all Priority Pass members for their continued support.”“This award serves to remind all of us at Korean Air to continue to work towards providing the best travel experience to our customers from ground to air. It also sits well with our ‘Excellence in Flight’ corporate slogan,” continued Mr. Chi. “Priority Pass Lounge of the Year” was created to honor excellence in airport lounge services worldwide and encourage enhancements.Korean Air has partnered with Priority Pass since 1999 and currently has 13 lounges in the program, including New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Qantas are currently flying five A380 aircraft and are anticipating the delivery of two new planes early next year. The fifth aircraft returned to service on Friday 24 December, after repairs were finalised by Lufthansa Technik. Strict inspection rules imposed on A380 operators Qantas, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines have been eased in regards to the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) now requires airlines to check the engines after 200 flights, with subsequent examinations every 100.EASA had required checks every 10 flights, later revised to every 20.
Contiki has announced the launch of its first ever ANZAC dedicated tour after receiving overwhelming demand from young travellers to participate in the Gallipoli experience. Commencing in Istanbul, the ANZAC Odyssey will take Australians between 18-35 on a four day tour following the footsteps of soldiers and paying tribute to their arrival in Gallipoli in 1915. Contiki Holidays sales and marketing general manager Deanna Marrocco said ANZAC is a significant day on the Australian calendar and for many young Australians it is about reconnecting with ancestors who died on the battlefield. “Travelling to Turkey to experience the Dawn Service at Gallipoli is becoming an important rite of passage for young Australian and New Zealanders, and with the 100th anniversary in 2015 growing ever closer, Contiki has responded to the increasing customer demand by releasing this four-day itinerary that allows travellers to pay their respects, as well as discover some important sites of their personal history,” Ms Marrocco added.Starting at AU$365 per person the ANZAC Odyssey will depart from Istanbul on 23 April 2011 and will take tour participants through the battlefields, sleep under the stars, visit Lone Pine and Chunik Bar as well as pay respects at the annual Dawn Service. Source = e-Travel Blackboard
Left, Sabah Homestay Assosciation president Jeffry Cobra with lucky prizewinner Tourism Malaysia marketing manager Aliastair Manihera with Wendy and Balljid Left, Fieldskills Adventure director Simon Amos with lucky prizewinner Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P Travellers today have a whole new set of demands and expectations that the tourism industry needs to be aware of and keep up with, according to Tourism Malaysia.Speaking at the Tourism Malaysia Adventure Backpacker cocktail seminar this week marketing manager Alastair Manihera explained that travellers are now looking for the “next avenue, that next aspect to capture their imagination”.Talking to a room of travel agents Mr Manihera introduced the travel industry to various offerings Malaysia has on hand that cater to the new traveller and suggested agents look to modern and adventurous companies including Fieldskills Adventure and Sabah Homestay Association when booking trips for their clients.“We have brought these two companies as they offer experiences that take you out of your comfort zones and allow you to experience something you can take with you for the rest of your life,” Mr Manihera said.Fieldskills Adventure offers thrill seeker travellers, families, school groups and team building groups an opportunity for adventure travel in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.Fieldskills Adventure director Simon Amos and his team specialise in mountain biking, jungle trekking, camping, kayaking, white water rafting, to name a few, the adventure company also offers low impact activities and caters for both large and small tour groups.“It’s a great experience for everyone, we take a lot of families we even had a three year old, we set up a tent for the child as most people stay in hammocks,” Mr Amos said.“It’s a popular place for team building activities and school groups.”Mr Amos added Sabah is a fantastic rock climbing destination everything from simple children’s climbs to the more adventurous 150 meters high climbs, which he added, has sparked a lot of interest as it has not yet been climbed.“Rock climbing is the new thing to do in Sabah,” he explained. While, Sabah Homestay Association president Mr Jeffry Cobra, offers travellers a unique chance to stay among local families and be a part of their culture and daily routine in clean, modest accommodations.“From Mt Kinabalu to the depths of its oceans, travellers get to experience many of the different lifestyles and culture of the local communities,” Mr Cobra said.Mr Cobra explained how each one of the many different ethnic groups offers its own specialty including wildlife, jungles, historical sites, native festivals and cultural traditions to name a few.Tourism Malaysia, Director Mr. Shahrin Mokhtar added no trip to Malaysia is complete without experiencing six unique activities to the country; tasting rice wine while visiting a longhouse, joining a head hunter trail, a trip to the Pinnacles and bat watching in the Mulu National park, visiting the orang-utans and enjoying live music at the annual Rainforest World Music Festival all made the list.The cocktail party was on the back of Tourism Malaysia’s successful Adventure Travel and Backpacker Expo.
Australia’s accommodation industry has attacked the current workplace relations scheme, claiming it has failed to consider small accommodations businesses. Accommodation Association chief Richard Munro was displeased with the results of the Fair Work Act Review.“While we are still digesting the detail of the report, the Accommodation Association notes that there’s no recommendation to change the definition of a small business which currently stands at less than 15 staff (total number),” he said.“In our submission, we called for the definition to be changed to being one which has 20 or less full-time equivalent employees.” Mr Munro was pleased that the Fair Work Act Review had had some success with individual flexibility arrangements, unfair dismissal and adverse action claims.“Recommendations that there is scope for greater cost recovery in unfair dismissal cases in certain circumstances, and that the intention of the employer in adverse action claims will be taken into account, will assist,” Mr Munro said.“Employers will also benefit from the Fair Work Ombudsman being notified of the existence of individual flexibility arrangements and having a defence available if they believed on all reasonable grounds that the legislative requirements of these arrangements had been met.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T
Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport recognised as best airport hotelStamford Plaza Sydney Airport recognised as best airport hotelStamford Plaza Sydney Airport is honoured to be again awarded Best Airport Hotel – Australia/Pacific at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2017; winning the title for a fourth consecutive year.“It is such a privilege to again receive the top award for Airport hotels in the Australia/Pacific region, and the fact that these awards are based on travellers’ votes is even more humbling and rewarding for the team,” said Timothy Buckton, General Manager or Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport.“Winning this award for the fourth consecutive year, and for the fifth time in the past seven years, shows the ongoing processes and improvements the entire team at Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport has been implementing continue to create the best accommodation experiences for our guests. While we are all extremely proud of this achievement, the award is also a great motivator to continue offering our guests an exceptional experience.”Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport hotel first received this award in 2011, before being awarded consecutively in 2014, 2015, 2016 and now 2017. The hotel has also been the highest ranked Sydney Airport Hotel in the Skytrax World Airport Awards for seven consecutive years from 2011 – 2017.Stamford Plaza‘s spacious and comfortable accommodation rooms overlook Sydney Airport’s runways, ideal for plane spotting enthusiasts and the proximity makes it the perfect choice for business and leisure travellers alike to break a long-haul flight or to relax before a long drive home. The hotel features a dedicated conference floor with 11 meeting rooms able to accommodate meetings up to 400 delegates; with state of the art audiovisual through Staging Connections – also means Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport is a perfect conference hotel for delegates in Sydney, from interstate, or overseas.The Skytrax World Airport Awards are the most prestigious accolades for the airport industry voted by customers in the largest, annual global airport customer satisfaction survey. The 2017 Awards are based on 13.82 million airport survey questionnaires completed by 105 different nationalities of airline customers during the survey period. The Airport Hotel Awards are based on Guest surveys which assessed hotel standards to include: Overall experience at the Hotel, Access to and from the Airport to Hotel, Friendly and professional Reception Service, Warmth and Friendliness of Hotel Staff, Treated as a valued customer, Cleanliness of Bedroom and bathroom, Bedroom enabled a good night’s sleep, In-room amenities, Leisure, Fitness and Spa facilities, Quality of Food, Quality of Restaurant Staff Service and Value for Money.Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport is the Sydney Airport precinct’s finest star rated hotel offering an ideal home for the frequent traveller, holiday maker or busy corporate executive who appreciates the close proximity to one of Australia’s largest travel hubs – Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International and Domestic Airport without compromising on style and quality. As partner of WORLDHOTELS, they share the commitment to defy ordinary, providing quality accommodation and incredible guest experiences.Stamford Hotels and Resorts . . . Exceptional in Every Sense Source = Stamford Hotels and Resorts – Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport
AVANI Hotel Suites & Branded Residences BedroomAVANI Hotels & Resorts announces third property in DubaiAVANI Hotels & Resorts is thrilled to announce an exciting new addition to its growing pipeline with the signing of AVANI Hotel Suites & Branded Residences currently being developed in Dubai by ALFAHIM, one of the UAE’s largest conglomerates.Scheduled to open in 2020, the 48-storey new-build property will be the third AVANI in Dubai and will represent the launch of AVANI residences in the region. Offering great visibility for the brand, AVANI Hotel Suites & Branded Residences will be located in a prime area of the city, directly overlooking the iconic Palm Jumeirah, adjacent to Dubai Marina and Media City and half an hour from Dubai International Airport, with many of Dubai’s other leading attractions and beaches close by.The new AVANI Hotel Suites & Branded Residences will total 527 keys, comprising 263 AVANI Residences and 264 AVANI Serviced Apartments. The Residences, which will be marketed to investors as a sale and lease-back product, will be a mix of one, two, three and four bedrooms, the latter offering an impressive 425 square metres of contemporary living space. Designed by AECOM, the suites and residences will offer floor-to-ceiling windows, interactive living and private terraces featuring sweeping views of The Palm or the city. The AVANI Hotel Suites & Branded Residences range from 45-square-metre studios, up to 180-square-metre three-bedroom units. With the location in one of Dubai’s most sought after areas, AVANI Hotel Suites & Branded Residences will cater to a mix of leisure, corporate and extended stay guests.Ownership at AVANI Hotel Suites & Branded Residences would grant an exclusive residential access with attentive service details and modern amenities, in addition to upscale hotel facilities. For active residents, AVANIFIT will offer gym facilities as well as a lap pool and guided fit programme. Guests can re-energise at AVANISPA with its simple yet rejuvenating programme designed around four pillars of Boost, Balance, Calm, or Purify. Additional facilities will include an all-day dining restaurant, a casual dining outlet and a bar connected to the swimming pool.“When it opens in 2020, the impressive AVANI Hotel Suites & Branded Residences will be our third property in Dubai, signalling the brand’s steady growth in the region as well as around the world. Residence owners and guests will be able to enjoy AVANI, starting from the brand’s designed sleep satisfaction and curated honest food programme, to simply exploring the vibrant destination that is Dubai through our AVANIme lens that has been designed to interact with the new generation of travellers who are looking for a beyond the room experience,” said Alejandro Bernabe, Vice President AVANI Hotels & Resorts.Ahmed Abdul Jalil Al Fahim, Chairman of ALFAHIM, said “Our wealth of experience in property development and premium hospitality combined with AVANI’s signature interiors and deluxe service will give this unique property a distinctive edge. Furthermore, in line with ALFAHIM’s customer-focused vision and promise for constant innovation, we are confident this development will be the pinnacle of upscale living spaces that is meticulously planned to fit the high demands of the market.”Launched by Minor Hotels in 2011, AVANI Hotels & Resorts is an upscale, contemporary brand appealing to millennial minded travellers who appreciate quality and value. AVANI currently has 23 properties in operation in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Seychelles, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, the UAE, Portugal, with the brand launching most recently in Australia, New Zealand and Laos.Source = AVANI Hotels & Resorts
Dallas and Molly: British Airways Mum and Daughter Cabin CrewKeeping it in the familyFollowing an intensive training course, the first 84 British Airways apprentices on the UK’s biggest ever Cabin Crew Apprenticeship Scheme have started flying on the airline’s largest route network in more than a decade, including new routes to Osaka in Japan and Pittsburgh in the USA.British Airways is recruiting 2,000 cabin crew this year who will all be trained at the airline’s Global Learning Academy. Cabin crew apprentices will then continue their learning journey in the air and on the ground for a further 10-months, flying both long and short-haul routes from Heathrow and Gatwick airports.Family AffairDallas Chapman, 46, was one of the first cabin crew apprentices to receive her wings at a ceremony at the airline’s headquarters near Heathrow. Her daughter, Molly, who is also cabin crew for British Airways, was there to offer her mum support.Dallas said: “Before joining British Airways I was a social worker and I also worked in sales and marketing. It sounds like a cliché but I’ve always wanted to be cabin crew. I have four children, so I’ve always had to be near home, but now is my time.“Molly convinced me to apply. She said ‘Mum, there are so many more mature people becoming cabin crew now.’ We both chose British Airways because it’s synonymous with quality and I feel so proud every time I put on the uniform. The fact I am an apprentice is exciting; I’m really enjoying learning new skills for the next phase of my career and I feel confident I’ll be supported throughout the 12 months of the apprenticeship. It’s brilliant that I’ll have a qualification I can keep forever.”Molly added: “I’m so proud of my mum. She has always wanted to be cabin crew and she is proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. We’ve just found out we’re flying to Buenos Aires together next month; I can’t wait, it’s somewhere we’ve always wanted to go, so it’s a dream come true.”Dallas and her group of apprentices will continue to be trained and supported in achieving a new industry-recognised Level 3 Cabin Crew Apprenticeship standard. The programme will see them gain qualifications in English, Maths and Digital Skills. They will also have access to a dedicated mobile app to track their progress, plus continuous development coaching from an experienced apprenticeship coach.Quality apprenticeships for allBritish Airways has a long tradition of running quality apprenticeship schemes, with apprentices currently working in engineering, airport operations, customer service and head office roles.The airline’s Global Learning Academy holds the status of registered Employer Provider of Apprenticeships, enabling it to continue delivering specialist airline learning while also offering employees enhanced skills and professional qualifications.British Airways’ Apprenticeships & Emerging Talent Manager, Karen Hewitt, said: “I’m delighted we have presented our very first group of cabin crew apprentices with their wings, as they complete the initial part of their apprenticeship. They will now serve our customers at 40,000 feet in the air, across our huge global network, while receiving our full support to achieve their qualification by the end of their first 12 months with us.“We’re proud to welcome cabin crew apprentices of all ages and backgrounds. They’re joining the airline at an incredibly exciting time, as British Airways celebrates its centenary and invests £6.5bn for customers, and I would urge anyone who thinks they would be a fantastic fit for British Airways to apply for this unique apprenticeship opportunity today.”Source = British Airways
Wineries have transformed into magnificent examples of modern art in La Rioja. The northern region of Spain has a warm and wet climate making it a paradise for growing grapes.Source: BBC
MBA Revises Economic Forecast Down, Originations Up in Data, Origination July 25, 2013 441 Views The “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA) revised its economic forecast down and its mortgage originations and mortgage rate forecasts up in its most recent outlook released Thursday. [IMAGE]””Overall economic growth will be slower than originally forecast and we were not forecasting particularly robust growth to begin with,”” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist.Having previously announced a 2.4 percent economic growth forecast for the second half of this year, MBA now believes economic growth will be closer to 2.2 percent. Inflation “”will be sharply higher,”” according to the industry group, as a result of rising oil and housing rental prices. [COLUMN_BREAK]Brinkmann expects consumer spending to be “”somewhat higher”” in coming months. However, residential real estate investment, while likely to continue its current pace “”will not be the driver of growth that we had expected in the second half of the year,”” Brinkmann said. The economy remains vulnerable to uncertain political and economic circumstances in Europe, the Middle East, and China, according to the MBA. Having previously forecast about $527 billion in originations in the second half of this year, MBA now anticipates about $606 billion in originations. “”As we said at the beginning of the year, the big unknown for origination volumes was the timing of the market reaction to any statements from Federal Reserve officials regarding the phasing out of quantitative easing and the impact on refinance volumes,”” Brinkmann said. He admitted “”the magnitude of the rate increase was larger than we had forecast,”” but added, “”the timing of the increase and the impact on refinance volumes was pretty much in line with what we had expected.””Of the expected $606 billion in originations in the second half of this year, about $312 billion will be purchase originations, according to MBA. MBA anticipates climbing mortgage rates to reach 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter of this year, which is between 20 and 30 basis points higher than the group was anticipating earlier this year. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies GDP Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bankers Association Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-07-25 Krista Franks Brock Share
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Economists Shrink Building Forecasts in Survey Home Values Homebuilders Housing Starts Mortgage Rates 2014-06-12 Colin Robins June 12, 2014 456 Views Economists are lowering their expectations for housing starts in 2014, according to a survey performed by the Wall Street Journal. The Journal notes their diminishing optimism is among the most noticeable trend in monthly surveys of economic forecasters in the first half of 2014.To begin the year, the consensus view among economists participating in the survey was that housing starts would jump 20 percent this year, rising to 1.11 million units from a total of 924,900 in 2013.However, the harsh winter halted homebuilding across the nation in January and February, leading to an inauspicious start to the homebuilding season. Furthermore, the Journal noted that mortgage rates also posed a problem, spiking in the previous summer. Coupled with rising home values, many buyers were placed in a situation where they were effectively priced out of the new home market completely.The ongoing ramifications of increased mortgage rates and rising home values caused forecasters to lower their expectations for the year. The June survey’s consensus view calls for an amended new home start total of 1.05 million homes.If home construction meets the new expectations, it will still see a 13 percent increase from 2013’s total. However, housing likely won’t give the big growth boost that was initially expected by economists in January, the Journal concluded. Share
Share June 12, 2015 447 Views in Headlines, News, Uncategorized McLean Mortgage Hires Bethesda Branch Manager Chad FreemanMcLean Mortgage Corp. has announced that it has hired Chad Freeman as the Bethesda, Maryland office branch manager, according to a recent press release. McLean provides turn-key service to real estate agents and customers and was recently was named the 6th Largest Mortgage Lender in the Washington, DC area by the Washington Business Journal.The Bethesda branch houses a sales force, as well as processing and underwriting staff, the company says. Freeman will be supervising the existing sales staff as well as continuing to grow the office in his new role.A native of New York, Freeman has been a resident of Maryland for almost a decade. Locally, he is involved with faith-based organizations which focus on helping children with special needs. He is currently working to start a local chapter of a the National Special Needs Organization in the Rockville, Maryland area.According to the company, Freeman has served in the mortgage industry for over 13 years and has worked on both the settlement side of the industry and the production side.”In his career, Chad has assisted well over a thousand clients with their real estate financing needs and has been named one of the Top 1 percent of Originators in America by Mortgage Executive Magazine,” the company said. “His goals for the Bethesda Branch include continuing to service his clientele and referral sources, as well as assisting with McLean Mortgage Corporation’s continued expansion into the State of Maryland. Maryland McLean Mortgage Corporation real estate 2015-06-12 Staff Writer
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Cybersecurity has become an increasingly pressing issue in all industries that store personal information, particularly after a cyber-attack in 2014 against JPMorgan Chase that compromised some 83 million accounts.Protecting data has become a larger concern to mortgage professionals in recent years as the industry has become more and more digitized—many mortgage loans now are completed electronically to where no paperwork is involved at all. On top of that, mortgage lenders collect more personal information on customers than any other sector in the financial services industry, making them prime targets for hackers.Digital data security came to the forefront again this week as the CFPB made an announcement that it is seeking input from stakeholders on consumer access to their personal financial data—particularly, how much access consumers have to that data and how secure the data is when it is being shared.As digital data is becoming more difficult to protect—after all, the CFPB’s Office of Inspector General listed information security as one of the Bureau’s biggest challenges—companies that handle sensitive information are going to great lengths and expense to make sure that data is safe.“Our IT’s department’s No. 1 priority is protecting data,” said Mark Mackey, CEO of International Document Systems. “You wouldn’t risk security for anything. It wasn’t as big of a deal 10 years ago because you didn’t hear about it as much.”Mackey continued, “We try to put in as much security as we can from all sides. We put a lot of safeguards in place. Everything that can be encrypted is encrypted. We have to take everything to the extreme, unfortunately.”DocMagic CEO Dominic Iannitti said of his company’s security procedures, “DocMagic employs a multifaceted defense in depth approach to ensuring customer sensitive data is always protected. Multiple next generation firewalls are used to keep out unwanted traffic and intruders. Additionally, an intrusion detection and prevention system is used to analyze traffic and alert network security personnel of suspicious activity. Advanced encryption is used when data is transmitted to or from DocMagic servers. Secure Document Delivery to partners and third-party providers is provided through the WebDocs platform. This system utilizes a secure combination code along with a client configured challenge password that is entered prior to downloading documents.”James Deitch, CEO of Teraverde Management Advisors, noted to MReport earlier this year that it has gotten easier for hackers: “They are usually invited in by having an employee click on an email that has an attachment or go to a website which has malware contained on it. And that malware can be downloaded onto a machine simply by browsing on the website.”Should a data breach occur, Deitch said, “The first item is to do a pretty broad risk assessment and just understand what the risk elements to the company are. One can do a social engineering susceptibility test that are fairly straightforward. They can either be done by the company or independently. The second is just to go through what is called ‘patch management,’ just to make sure that all the updates on software, servers, or computers are all done. And to train employees on the techniques that hackers use to get in.” The Increasingly Intense Focus on Cybersecurity Cybersecurity Data Protection 2016-11-17 Seth Welborn November 17, 2016 726 Views Share
Ginnie Mae Announces Changes to VA Refis Ginnie Mae Lending loans MBS Predatory Lending Refinance VA veterans 2018-06-01 Radhika Ojha in Headlines, News, Secondary Market June 1, 2018 710 Views In a bid to further protect veterans from predatory lending, Ginnie Mae, a government corporation that attracts global capital into the housing finance system to support homeownership for veterans and low- to moderate-income homeowners, recently issued an All Participants Memorandum (APM). The APM announced the implementation of changes to pooling eligibility requirements for Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) insured or guaranteed mortgages under the “Loan Seasoning for Ginnie Mae Mortgage-Backed Securities,” provision. These changes affect security issuances on or after June 1, 2018, but do not otherwise affect the guarantee or composition of MBS issued before that date.Under the APM, a refinance loan insured or guaranteed by the VA is eligible for the lender’s securities only if the note date of the refinance loan must be on or after:The date is 210 days after the date on which the first monthly payment was made on the mortgage being refinanced;Or the date on which six full monthly payments have been made on the mortgage being refinanced.Refinances that do not meet the condition defined in the APM are ineligible for inclusion in any new pool or loan package in the Ginnie Mae I or Ginnie Mae II MBS Program, including refinances that closed prior to the date of this announcement.Ginnie Mae is engaging with issuers to implement a cure for pools that have been submitted with non-compliant loans. The lender expects that the law will be effective in helping curb abuses that have been identified in connection with certain refinance programs utilized by veterans.Ginnie Mae MBS programs directly support housing finance programs administered by the Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing and the Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service. Ginnie Mae is the only MBS to carry the explicit full faith and credit of the United States Government. Share
Share in Headlines, News, Technology June 15, 2018 631 Views Global property information and analytics-provider CoreLogic has announced a new agreement with Elm Street Technology, LLC to offer the Elevate Broker Operating System and Services (BOSS) platform to real estate brokers. Elevate is an end-to-end solution that includes premium websites, lead generation and management services, CRM, mobile web solutions, social media management, blogging and client retention tools. Under the agreement, CoreLogic will serve as an authorized reseller, offering Elevate through the Clareity DASH! platform to current broker clients.“We look forward to working with Elm Street Technology,” said Chris Bennett, Executive Leader of Real Estate Solutions for CoreLogic. “Both our companies are laser-focused on innovating solutions that minimize complexity for brokers and their agents. With our Clareity dashboard and Trestle listing distribution solutions, we’re already unifying and streamlining a host of common broker tasks. With Elevate, we broaden our offering to brokers even further. This new relationship reflects our commitment to offering innovative solutions that improve efficiency while increasing user adoption.”“CoreLogic is a natural fit for us,” said Prem Luthra, president, and CEO of Elm Street Technology. “CoreLogic has a strong presence in the broker space and a depth of unique property information that makes brokers and agents more insightful. Together, we share a vision for a unified end-to-end broker and agent marketing solution that dramatically simplifies the technology and services real estate professionals utilize to operate their businesses.”CoreLogic’s combined data from public, contributory and proprietary sources includes over 4.5 billion records spanning more than 50 years, providing detailed coverage of property, mortgages and other encumbrances, consumer credit, tenancy, location, hazard risk and related performance information. Elm Street Technology offers a portfolio of real estate technology and marketing services that provides one vendor, one point of contact, one solution fully fused into one platform to deliver a single source for new leads, client relationship management, and client retention tools for agents, teams, and brokerages. Agents Brokers Client Retention Tools CoreLogic Elm Street Technology platform real estate technology 2018-06-15 Radhika Ojha CoreLogic Partners With Elm Street Technology for Broker Platform
9 days ago 216 Views Enthusiasm in the housing market fell this week, as CNBC reports that the overall volume of mortgage applications for the week fell 1.9%. The volume, however, is still 34% higher than it was last year, and the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 4.08%. Also declining this week was refinance applications, which fell 2%, but 81% higher than in 2018.Declines could also be fell in home sales, as the National Association of Realtors (NAR) stated that existing-home sales fell by 1.7% in June month-over-month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million. Additionally, half of the major U.S. regions recorded minor sales jumps while the other half experienced greater declines.“Home sales are running at a pace similar to 2015 levels – even with exceptionally low mortgage rates, a record number of jobs and a record high net worth in the country,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. According to Yun, the nation is in the midst of a housing shortage and much more inventory is needed. “Imbalance persists for mid-to-lower priced homes with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices,” he said.One of the few areas that has seen increases is home-sales prices, which, according to Redfin, rose year-over-year by 3.4% in June to an average of $321,000, which is the third-consecutive month of growth. The report states that the growth rate of home prices was similar to May’s rate, but down 5.5% year-over-year increases in June 2018. Redfin reveals that just six of the 85 largest metros tracked by Redfin saw annual declines in sale prices. San Jose, California, was the biggest market to see decreases, with home prices falling 4.9% from 2018.Other areas that saw decreases were Oxnard, California (-4.8%), Oakland, California (-2%), Seattle, Washington (-0.5%), Lake County, Illinois (0.1%), and Los Angeles, California (-0.1%).“As national home price growth stabilizes, we’re continuing to see supply and demand dynamics play out differently in affordable inland markets than in expensive coastal markets,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. Mortgage Applications Mortgage Rates 2019-07-24 Mike Albanese Share Are Mortgage Applications on the Decline? in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination
November 20 , 2018 South African blueberry industry forecasts soaring … The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has forecast increases in South African production of apples, pears and table grapes in 2018-19, thanks in part to greater water availability.It said that the Western Cape received a reprieve from the ongoing drought with normal rainfall in 2018.The USDA said in a report that apple production was forecast to rise by 4 percent to 850,000 metric tons (MT), pears by 3 percent to 420,000MT, and table grapes by 7 percent to 330,000MT.The reasons it gave for all these increases were a rise in area planted or harvested, normal weather conditions and availability of irrigation water.Apple and pear exports are both forecast to rise by 4 percent, to 550,000MT and 240,000MT, respectively.Table grape exports are forecast to increase by 8 percent to 301,000 MT in 2018-19, based on the increase in production and “continued strong demand from Asia”.”About 80 percent of the apple and pear production in South Africa is from the Western Cape, which is a winter rainfall region. The 2018 dam levels have risen and currently stand at 66 percent, compared to 20 percent in 2017,” the report said.”Apple and pear production is not expected to return to normal production levels until in the 2019/20 MY, due to the measures that farmers undertook during the 2017/18 MY drought (e.g. farmers cut down trees and removed older orchards to reduce costs and manage irrigation water).”The recovery from the drought and return to normal table grape production is expected to be in the 2018/19 MY, due to the climatically diverse growing regions, increase in area planted, and the continued shift to higher yielding varieties.” You might also be interested in South Africa anticipating improved EU avocado mark … South Africa: Jupiter Group upgrades practices, fa … Are Tango mandarins ‘bee-friendly’? Not according …