More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk The prime minister’s office had originally hesitated at the president’s call but eventually came around. The dismissal had created a rift between the two men, who come from different parties in the ruling coalition.Representatives of Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali’s powerful Islamist Ennahda party, which dominates the assembly, argued for Nabli’s dismissal, making the vote in the assembly a foregone conclusion.Still, the heated debate over Nabli’s fate lasted for hours and in his defense, the former World Bank economist warned against an attack on the independence of the bank and Tunisia’s international credibility.“It is the credibility of Tunisia on the global stage that is at stake,” Nabli said, warning against “a danger that could sink the institutions of the state and the stability of the country.”Nabli has led the central bank since Tunisians overthrew their longtime dictator in January 2011 and was known to pursue a very independent policy from the government.He presided over a period of economic shock, including 2 percent negative growth rate last year. The economy has been reeling since tourists deserted this once-popular destination following the dictator’s ouster, and strikes have crippled the mining sector. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Comments Share Associated PressTUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – Tunisia’s elected assembly approved on Wednesday the president’s move to fire the head of the central bank.President Moncef Marzouki fired central bank Governor Mustapha Kamel Nabli on June 27, alleging that the financial official had refused to bring the country’s monetary policies in line with its economic needs.Of the 217-person assembly, 110 voted Wednesday in favor of the dismissal and 62 against, with 10 abstentions. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates In recent months, however, there have been nascent signs of a recovery and in May, Nabli was named best central bank governor on the African continent by the African Banker Awards for keeping the finances together during the post-revolutionary turmoil.Nabli, however, has been criticized for not doing enough to reform the country’s ailing banking sector, which is burdened by a heavy weight of non-performing loans and poor management.He also pursued a strict monetary policy at a time when the government preferred a more pro-growth strategy to create much-needed jobs.Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, which sparked similar uprisings across the Middle East, was, in part, fueled by high unemployment rates, which a year and a half later have yet to be addressed.Nabli will be replaced by 79-year-old Chedly Ayari, who served as economy minister in the 1970s under former President Habib Bourguiba. He later headed the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories
3 international destinations to visit in 2019 NIG’s lawsuit focuses on a Carlyle investment fund that was one of the earliest casualties of the financial crisis when it collapsed in 2008. The fund has been the subject of multiple lawsuits against Washington-based Carlyle.In a motion filed this month with a Delaware court hearing the case, NIG argues that the dispute should be heard in Kuwait because Carlyle lacked the legal basis to pitch the deal there in the first place.Selling foreign securities or shares in investment funds in Kuwait requires a license from local authorities, according to a declaration by lawyer Ahmed Zakaria Abdel-Magied filed by NIG attorneys. He added that marketing such investments without a license makes the underlying deal invalid.NIG said Sunday it believes it is entitled to the return of its $25 million investment under Kuwaiti law.“Carlyle was more than happy to conduct its sales presentations in Kuwait and close its deals in Kuwait,” NIG’s general manager, Ahmed Hassan, said in a statement. “But now that the moment has come to deal with the ugly aftermath … Carlyle would prefer to try its luck in Delaware.”Carlyle has tried hard to woo clients in the oil-rich Gulf Arab states. It opened an office in the Mideast financial hub of Dubai in 2006, and its shareholders include Mubadala Development Co., an investment company owned by the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi. Sponsored Stories Like many Gulf companies, it has struggled to meet its debt obligations in the wake of the financial crisis. Faced with a looming $475 million loan repayment due earlier this month, it approached its lenders about reworking the terms on the debt so it could repay over a longer period.Just days before the Aug. 16 repayment deadline came due, NIG announced it was calling off the effort to adjust the repayment terms because it had managed to line up new financing.___Schreck reported from Baghdad.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressKUWAIT CITY (AP) – A Kuwaiti company suing the Carlyle Group over a $25 million investment that went bad is now accusing the private equity firm of marketing the deal without a license as it seeks to have its case heard in Kuwaiti courts.The latest claim by Kuwait’s National Industries Group adds a new twist to its more than two-and-a-half year legal challenge to Carlyle, and could complicate the American company’s relationships with other wealthy Mideast investors. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The Carlyle fund involved in the Kuwait case, known as Carlyle Capital Corp. Ltd., went bust in March 2008. It used high levels of debt to invest in securities backed by bundles of home mortgages that had been given a seemingly safe AAA rating by credit rating agencies.Carlyle declined to comment on the case Sunday. It has previously said it will fight NIG’s suit.“We believe these claims are without merit and intend to vigorously contest all such allegations and are currently unable to anticipate what impact they may have on us,” Carlyle said in its most recent quarterly report, filed on Aug. 14.Private equity firms such as Carlyle raise money from big investors and then use that money to invest in companies or other investments. The industry is under close scrutiny because of the U.S. presidential election and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s former role as an executive at another private equity firm, Bain Capital.Kuwait’s NIG started out in the 1960s as a building materials company and later began investing across a range of industries.It is partly backed by the Kharafi clan, one of Kuwait’s most prominent merchant families. A branch of the Kuwaiti government, the Public Institution for Social Security, is a minority investor. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top holiday drink recipes
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Aftershocks this morning have continued to rock Christchurch, as the city lies disrupted following Saturday morning’s earthquake.New Zealand’s second-largest city lies in tatters after the earthquake, which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, forced authorities to impose a curfew on 372,600 residents of the city between 7pm last evening and 7am this morning, news.com.au reported.The aftershock, which measured a comparatively timid 3.8 on the Richter scale, came as tens of thousands of people tried to return to work this morning, but were actively discouraged by army and police.Dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake has been a nightmare for authorities, as people try to leave the city amidst a tangle of dislocated infrastructure. About 80 police officers from Auckland had been rushed to the south island to assist in law enforcement, as people demonstrate panic and frustration at petrol stations as they try to evacuate the city. Fears of looting, contaminated water, and power cuts hung over the city last night and into this morning, in the wake of what seemed to be a ghost town with little car or pedestrian traffic.”The scale of what has happened here is enormous,” Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said, before adding that it was miraculous that no-one had been killed in the natural disaster.The damage bill could be as high as NZ$2 billion (AU$1.6 billion), Earthquake Commission chief executive Ian Simpson said.Christchurch International Airport reopened at about 1.30pm on Saturday after hundreds of passengers were temporarily stranded by the airport closure, reported RadioNZ.There was superficial damage in both terminal buildings, including cracked walls, collapsed ceilings and broken glass, the airport’s chief executive, Jim Boult said.But the buildings are all structurally fine and 100 percent operational, he added.Christchurch, a tourist gateway for New Zealand, hosts tens of thousands of Australians each year.Some of Christchurch’s CBD hotels including Heritage, Millennium, Marque, Quest, Copthorne Central and Novotel are all up and running. The Copthorne Durham is speculated to be closed. Food deliveries are all normal and power has been returned to the CBD area since Saturday afternoon. A small section of the CBD area is cordoned off due to safety issues and to prevent sightseers from endangerment.
SALA Resorts & Spas is pleased to announce that SALA Phuket Resort and Spa is a proud recipient of the 2011 Excellent Labour & Welfare Award from Thailand’s Department of Labour.This award, given annually, recognizes excellent cooperation between employers and employees in the promotion of employee welfare in the workplace. In achieving this honour, SALA Phuket employees demonstrated their ability to work effectively with management in the creation and implementation of policies to advance employee welfare at SALA Phuket Resort & Spa.These policies involved skills training in areas such as fire prevention and fire-fighting, English language, Workplace organization methodology as well as creation of a pleasant working environment for employees.SALA Resorts & Spas is proud to receive such a prestigious award, recognizing the commitment of its management and staff to the development and promotion of excellent labour welfare policies and practices.SALA Resorts and Spas (www.salaresorts.com) is a home grown Thai hospitality company which owns and operates three luxury resorts in the Kingdom, and has plans for further expansion domestically and internationally. SALA is also the majority shareholder of the Six Senses Hideaway in Koh Samui. The company ’s first resort, SALA Samui, has become one of Koh Samui’s most successful resorts, voted among the world’s Top 10 most romantic resorts in the world, and the most romantic in Thailand, in the Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Awards in 2006 and 2009. The resort features a total of 69 luxurious villas and suites of which 53 have private swimming pools. SALA Phuket was opened in 2007 and features 79 luxurious villas and suites, 63 with their own spacious private pools. Both the villas and the SALA Spa have already been selected as one of just a handful of top new hotels and resorts worldwide featured in the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler “Hot List” 2008. The resort has also won the DestinAsian Luxe List award in 2008 and the Siam Architects 2008 silver medal design award.sala khaoyai opened in November 2009, and with only 7 very special intimate accommodations, it is the first of a new “small, exclusive boutique properties” brand for the group.For more information contact SALA Resorts and Spas.19 Fl. Thaniya Plaza Building, 52 Silom Road, Suriyawaong. Bangrak. Bangkok. 10500. THAILAND.Email: email@example.com Tel: +66(0)2 231 2588 Fax: +66(0)2 231 2589 Source = SALA Resorts & Spas
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Controversial ascent may be banned. Image: Stefano Veneziani Scaling Uluru in Australia’s Northern Territory may soon become a thing of the past, as climber numbers have dropped dramatically since 2010. Two years ago only 38 percent of visitors trekked the impressive cultural icon, while a survey released in June this year has indicated that these figures had almost halved.Parks Australia will reportedly cease offering the climb once numbers fall below 20 percent, according to News Limited.The organisation has promised to consult the public and tourism operators before any decision is made to close the climb and plan to offer alternative activities for visitors to the area.Uluru’s traditional indigenous owners ask visitors not to climb the monolith for cultural, environmental and safety reasons.The journey to the summit has taken the lives of 36 climbers since 1958.
Etihad Airways’ studies have determined a significant business opportunity on the Perth route, with WA overseas travellers averaging an annual growth rate of 8.5 percent in the last three years. The United Arab Emirates’ national carrier will commence daily flights to Perth from 15 July 2014. Almost one third of the top 300 Australian companies have headquarters in Perth, with vested commercial interests in Africa and the Middle East, translating into strong demand for the route. “Our partnership with Virgin Australia and codeshare flights to 14 towns and cities in its Western Australia regional network adds immensely to the strength of the business case for the route.” “The new services will build the first ever commercial air bridge between Perth and Abu Dhabi and will cater to the growing demand for travel between these two points and beyond to Africa, the Middle East and Europe,” Etihad Airways president and chief executive James Hogan said. Source = ETB News: P.T. Etihad Airways will launch the first ever non-stop service between Western Australia and Abu Dhabi from mid-2014, catering to the growing demand for travel between the two points and beyond. The new direct service represents the fourth Australian gateway between Australia and Abu Dhabi.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. today announced it has signed an agreement with Mary 111 Pty Ltd, to debut the Westin brand in Brisbane in the state of Queensland, Australia.The Westin Brisbane is slated to open in 2018 as part of a mixed-use development called “Mary Lane,” which will offer an array of renowned retail outlets, vibrant restaurants and stylish residences, in the heart of the central business district.“We look forward to working with Starwood on this development project and the debut of Westin in Queensland,” said Sam Chong, Director, Mary 111 Pty Ltd.“Our vision is to create a legacy five star hotel in the city of Brisbane that focuses on putting guests’ well-being first and we’re very confident the outstanding reputation of the Westin brand will appeal to the growing number of visitors to the city.”Ideally situated for business and leisure travellers, The Westin Brisbane will feature 286 guest rooms with sweeping views of the river and city skyline.“We are delighted to partner with Mary 111 Pty Ltd to bring Westin to Brisbane, marking the brand’s presence in each of Australia’s four largest cities – Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Sean Hunt, Vice President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Pacific.“With a presence in Australia for more than 15 years, Westin has developed a loyal following thanks to its differentiated positioning around wellness, and we look forward to the brand’s continued expansion in the Pacific region.”Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk welcomed the announcement of another luxury hotel offering for Brisbane and said that it reflected the growing international recognition of the city’s status as a New World City.“Visitors to Brisbane continue to grow, with a one million international visits recorded for the first time last year, resulting in a record expenditure of $1.8 billion. With the nearby Queens Wharf project expected to boost tourist numbers further, this Westin Hotel will be a great addition to our city.”Guests will enjoy signature Westin services and amenities, such as the world-renowned Heavenly® Bed and invigorating Heavenly® Bath experience.The hotel will also offer extensive leisure facilities, including the WestinWORKOUT® fitness studio, a resort style swimming pool with swim up pool bar and the Heavenly® Spa. Westin Hotels & ResortsSource = Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Source = Vivid Sydney – Destination NSW Vivid Sydney with kids: top tips for family friendly funVivid Sydney with kids: top tips for family friendly funAlready a firm favourite on the winter calendar, Vivid Sydney has even more in store for families this year, including the chance to walk with dinosaurs, a record number of light installations, new locations to explore – and an additional five days to pack it all into.With the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas set to run from 27 May to 18 June, Vivid Sydney organisers are encouraging families with children to visit early in the week and early in the evening to avoid late finishes for littlies.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said: “Vivid Sydney ticks all the right boxes for parents – it’s family-friendly, fun, and mostly free. With this year’s festival set to run for 23 days, families will have more time to take in the growing number of attractions and locations for this much loved event, and to visit more than once for the ultimate Vivid Sydney experience.”Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer and Vivid Sydney Executive Producer, Ms Sandra Chipchase said, “Vivid Sydney is magical for children of any age. We urge visiting and local families to come early and come often to enjoy the spectacle.”Top tips for families to enjoy Vivid Sydney:Come early in the week – it’s quieter Monday to Wednesday; and busiest on Friday and SaturdayArrive early in the evening – before the crowds grow and kids grow tiredCome back – don’t try and fit everything into one visitTravel by public transport – leave the car at home and take advantage of extra bus, train and ferry services during the festivalCome prepared – plan your visits beforehand. Vivid Sydney precinct and accessibility maps including transport options and activities can be downloaded at vividsydney.comThe best family fun for all ages:0-5 yearsJoin the dinosaurs at WildLight – The BioKinetic City – Step off the bus or train at Chatswood and discover a world of digital dinosaurs featuring 3D animations of prehistoric creatures playing at The Concourse. Join in by taking control of mechanical dinosaur frames at the Exoskelton Encounter created by puppetry masters, Erth.Victoria Street, ChatswoodElectric Jellyfish – Venture inside the spectacular dome and pluck, bounce or wobble electric light rings to create your own light and sound jellyfish – and watch it float across the surface.Museum of SydneyBe The Light for the Wild – Taronga Zoo lights up with giant, interactive animal lanterns ranging from the magnificent Asian elephant to the brightly coloured Corroboree frog. Families can interact with the larger-than-life lanterns which change colour and make sound in spectacular fashion.Sydney’s Hidden Stories at Custom’s House – A blue-tongue lizard leads a journey through enchanted forests with witches, snakes, cockatoos, gnomes and gumnut fairies in an awe-inspiring projection on the grand sandstone façade of Customs House.Customs House Alfred Street, Circular QuayCathedral of Light – Take little ones on a mesmerising walk through a 70 metre long, eight metre high tunnel made from tens of thousands of LED lights in The Royal Botanic Garden. Enter through Queen Elizabeth II Gates via the Opera House forecourt.Royal Botanic GardenVivid hot tip: Vivid Sydney at Chatswood and Taronga Zoo lights up at 5.30pm, so Vivid’s youngest visitors can get an early start (and finish).6-10 yearsSpectrum– The kids can put their own creative stamp on this interactive light sculpture by tilting a line of multicoloured rods to form unique colour and pattern combinations.The RocksShadow Wall – Your shadow has never looked so bright! Watch your shadow come to life as a multicoloured silhouette as the interactive walls mirrors your movements.Circular QuayDress Circle – The kids haven’t coloured in like this before. Add colour, light and patterns to the Circular Quay skyline using a 3D, touch-sensitive model – and see your creation light up Vivid Sydney in real time.Circular QuayIMPOSSIBLE Voyage – Take an interactive ride to strange and mysterious lands as one of Sydney’s oldest buildings is transformed into an imaginary vessel. Create a unique family journey as the light art responds to your movements, transporting you through changing landscapes.Cadman’s Cottage, The RocksSilent Disco – Sshhh! The kids can burn off energy dancing to music that you don’t have to listen to! They simply pick up a set of headphones, select an audio channel and hit the dance floor with music only they can hear.Central Park (Friday and Saturday, 6pm – 9:30pm)Vivid Hot Tip: Take advantage of Vivid Sydney accommodation deals and stay near the action. Choosing a location near the city centre, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont or North Sydney will make it easy to visit multiple precincts – and give the kids easy access to other attractions during the day.11-plusLaser-Dragon Water-Theatre – Big action for big kids. Four video-projected water-screens, 56 fountains, 22 flame jets and 10 powerful lasers create awe-inspiring forms and effects including ferocious dragons and laughing clowns on the waterfront at Darling Harbour. Darling HarbourSound Bubble – A huge, transparent, inflatable cube with an artificial brain senses when visitors approach and reacts by sending out colourful light patterns and sound effects. The bigger the crowd, the grander the display.Circular QuayU-Tube– Your family can leave a mark at this interactive sculpture, literally. You’ll form coloured shapes on the wall and leave an imprint by pushing your face, hands or whole body against the surface.Circular QuayRobowars returns – for one day only. Robots big and small and built by hand from metal, power tools and toy parts battle it out in an epic showdown on 5 June. Tickets are limited. Visit [www.vividsydney.com]www.vividsydney.comfor details.Circular QuayVivid Hot Tip: Grab a front row seat to enjoy the spectacular Water Theatre at Darling Harbour by dining at one of the restaurants along The Promenade – or get takeaway from fresh food outlets or food trucks and find a spot to watch the action on the water.Vivid Sydney is the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, which for 23 days – from 27 May to 18 June 2016 – transforms the Harbour City with its colourful creative canvas. Now in its eighth year, Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency. Vivid Sydney features large scale light installations and projections (Vivid Light); music performances and collaborations (Vivid Music including Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House); and creative ideas, discussion and debate (Vivid Ideas), all celebrating Sydney as the creative hub of the Asia-Pacific. Vivid Sydneydiscover more here
TravelManagers’ personal travel managers Trina Rynehart (left) and Melinda Rowe on the foreshore of Lake LouiseCanadian Rockies wow Personal Travel ManagersExperiencing the Canadian Rockies just like a client would, was the highlight for TravelManagers’ New South Wales based personal travel managers Melinda Rowe, representative for East Jindabyne and Trina Rynehart representative for Wagga Wagga. The personal travel managers participated on a Rocky Mountaineer educational, experiencing the First Passage to the West! one of the company’s best-selling rail journeys with the Coastal Passage add-on.The ability to share her extensive personal travel experience and product knowledge with her clients is an absolute priority for Rowe.“With most educationals, everything is pre-arranged from transport, hotels and sightseeing allowing little time to really experience the destinations as you would if you were travelling independently. For this reason I was thrilled that we got to enjoy the rail experience exactly as our clients would enjoying overnight stays in Calgary, Banff and Vancouver.”Rynehart also enjoyed the opportunity to try local restaurants outside of the hosted famil.1886 Buffalo Café in Calgary serves the most delicious home-style breakfasts!“We discovered a great little café in Calgary called 1886 Buffalo Café which served the most delicious home-style breakfast. The Waldhaus Pub & Patio at Fairmont Banff Springs is a great place to enjoy a local or Bavarian beer, the prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is great. It’s located down the hill looking over the Stanley Thomson Golf Course and if you aren’t up for the walk back up the hill, the hotel offers a shuttle service via the scenic route.”Rynehart celebrated her birthday during the famil, where she celebrated with her colleague Rowe at the Waldhaus Restaurant at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.“Melinda and I had the most amazing fondue as we marveled at the stunning lake views, it was a lovely way to celebrate. For a really special occasion I recommend clients make a dinner reservation at sunset, it has to be one of the most incredible dining locations in the world!”For Rowe who has a family member and clients who need wheelchair access, the ability to see firsthand how Rocky Mountaineer caters for those needing extra support was advantageous.The Rocky Mountaineer – the best way to discover the Canadian west coast“I was impressed with the disabled access onto the train, including getting up to the upper deck of the carriages in Gold Leaf Service. There is a lift to get them onto the carriage and also there is a small lift onboard. The attendants graciously assisted people who needed help whether it was to go to the dining cart or restroom. It was never any trouble for them to do so. This experience has given me confidence that I know my clients who need that extra bit of help and support will be extremely well looked after. The service onboard the Rocky Mountaineer train was excellent!”Having done the Coastal Passage journey from Vancouver to Seattle by road previously, Rowe was impressed with the ease of the rail experience and enjoyed the change of scenery from the Rocky Mountains.“I have crossed the border from Canada into the USA both by car and coach previously and now by rail. Once we arrived in Seattle, customs and immigration officers set up their equipment onboard and one by one we each met with them to receive our stamp of entry. I can highly recommend the ease and comfort of travelling by rail, it really is the easiest way to cross the border without the hassles of queuing like you do by road or at airports. The scenery was also a change to the Rocky Mountains that we had seen on the First Passage to the West route.”For many seeing a couple of bears would be a highlight, but for Rynehart the Canadian West Coast with its dramatic landscapes and spectacular scenery provided so many memorable moments, it was hard to choose just one.TravelManagers’ personal travel managers Melinda Rowe (left) and Trina Rynehart make friends with the bellman of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise“A highlight was definitely Lake Louise and the beautiful Fairmont Resort with its spectacular scenery, great restaurants, cozy accommodation and wide range of adventure activities. Paddling a canoe across Lake Louise is great fun and a good way to get some snaps looking back to the hotel with the Lake Louise ski resort in the background. Banff is a great town, I loved seeing Cascade Mountain in the background of the main street. Local streets are named after local wildlife and it was incredible to see animals roaming the streets and nibbling on the gardens in the front yards of houses.”The TravelManagers’ personal travel manager educational programme is backed up by strong state and national support, which includes a national partnership office and local business partnership managers.“TravelManagers’ national partnership office provides access to virtual office technology, training, marketing, fares and ticketing as well as 24/7 access to all mid and back-office processes. Combined with seven state based business partnership managers and valuing key partner supplier relationships, personal travel managers have access to the broadest and most in-depth support nationwide. This type of behind the scenes central and local state-based support is crucial,” says Michael Gazal, TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599. TravelManagers Australiabecome a PTM todayAbout TravelManagers TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 490 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at thecompany’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagers Australia
SeaLink offer Free Ferry tripsSeaLink offer Free Ferry tripsTo launch the new Barangaroo to Manly Fast Ferry service, beginning Friday 8th September 2017, SeaLink is offering commuters ten trips for only $8.90, that’s nine free trips! The special 10-trips eTravelPass is valid for use from the 8th to 15th September 2017.The ‘Barangaroo Fast Ferry’ is the first ever direct ferry service from Manly to Barangaroo operating daily between Manly Wharf and King Street Wharf No.2, Barangaroo.The ferry service will depart Manly every 30 minutes during week day peak hours from 6.45am with the last service departing Barangaroo at 7.15pm. During week day, non-peak hours and weekends the ‘Barangaroo Fast Ferry’ will depart every 60 minutes.The ferry service will use a quick and easy to use ticketless system. Simply visit the App Store or Google Play Store on any mobile device, download the Captain Cook Cruises app, create an account, purchase the Barangaroo – Manly Launch Special eTravelPass, then tap and go when boarding.According to Jeff Ellison, SeaLink Travel Group, CEO and Managing Director, “SeaLink are thrilled to be starting the ‘Barangaroo Fast Ferry’ service.”“Barangaroo is a busy and growing area of the city and this Manly to Barangaroo service will provide a fast and efficient way to commute to Sydney’s best new landmark development.” Continued Mr Ellison.One way fares are available for $8.90 per adult and $6.00 per children, or an 11-Trips eTravelPass for $82.50.For further information visit: www.barangaroofastferry.com.auSource = SeaLink
INK 360, the highest bar on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc IslandINK 360, the highest bar on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc IslandRedefining the rooftop bar experience, the new INK 360 sky bar offers the most stunning panoramic sunset views on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island with the finest mixology. Australian designer Ashley Sutton has conceived a glamorous yet jaw-dropping design incorporating the aesthetic of a giant sea creature that represents the mysteries of the ocean below.From here, the 19th floor of the new InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort which opened in June, visitors are invited to sip on signature cocktails as the sun goes down over the sparkling sea, creating a magnificent sunset view second to none on the island.A sleek, sophisticated take on the consuming might and power of a mysterious sea creature, Ashley Sutton’s design is an ode to mythical maritime tales of yesteryear. The main bar and cocktail lounge uses mother of pearl and white marble to evoke the feel of the ocean floor, while the exterior Deck offers an unparalleled vista over the ocean from the highest point on the island. The shadow play and longitudinal markings of the floor pattern represent a marine chart; further enhancing the maritime theme running throughout that redefines the concept of a sky bar.A master of one-of-a-kind designs, Ashley Sutton brings a sense of whimsy and a buzzing creative energy to his interiors. From his Iron Fairies bar in Tokyo, a magical wonderland complete with hanging vials of fairy dust, to The Bookshop in Bangkok, where books are suspended in the air as if seconds from falling, and the femininity and decadence of Ophelia in Hong Kong, Ashley realises fantastical worlds for visitors to delight in. And INK 360 is no different to these unique, magical creations – fusing elegance with mythical play that entices visitors and guests to enjoy the best view and the finest cocktails on Phu Quoc.“INK 360 was conceived in my mind once I was on top of the rooftop parting over the ocean,” says Ashley Sutton. “The shape of the building, with its accommodation wings and its crown, felt like it needed some type of maritime mythical theme. It was extremely hard to build due to each part being hand carved and then pouring in cast aluminium. The parts are huge and therefore aluminium was chosen due to weight and saltwater erosion issues.”The mixology team at INK 360 have conceived the cocktail menu with a passion for quality ingredients and an engaging flair. Combining traditional flavours, styles and textures, they are re-imagined in a series of contemporary cocktails.Handcrafted with deference and dedication, the cocktails at INK 360 create a memorable journey of taste. Each of the bespoke cocktails are inspired by the elements – land, sea and air – and each celebrates mixology as an art form, using only the finest spirits and botanicals sourced from around the globe, as well as from Phu Quoc Island itself.Signature cocktails include Uncle Ho Penicillin, with a scent that evokes the nostalgia of days gone by, including Scotch whisky, lemon juice, Phu Quoc honey, ginger syrup, Lapsang Souchong and black cardamom air. The curious Three Way Mirror is designed to be enjoyed in three ways, with a different taste sensation accompanying each sip, with London Dry Gin, St. Germain elderflower, sparkling wine, strawberry and tumeric dust. The Nobleman is smooth and complex, with Bacardi 8 rum, Sandeman Sherry PX, spiced sugar, chocolate bitters and coffee perfume. A light and herbaceous Coral Mule is the perfect aperitif, thanks to its mix of Triple Sec, Aperol, Luxardo Fernet Branca, ginger beer, Calamansi and lemon.A considered selection of fine and sparkling wines, Champagnes, beers and spirits are also available at INK 360, as well as a sharing plates menu with a Japanese Yakitori Selection of chicken & leek, bacon-wrapped asparagus, pork shoulder bell pepper and chicken gizzard served with roasted garlic, schichimi chilli and Teriyaki sauce. The Cured Meats & Cheeses plate features prosciutto, Italian cold cuts and premium French cheeses served with nuts, grapes, raisins and homemade bread. Desserts tempt with a Valrhona chocolate cup, and a citrus raspberry polenta cake with hazelnut crème, to name just two.As the highest sky bar on the island overlooking the sea, visitors to INK 360 will enjoy some of the most dramatic sunset views on the island. Sit back with a cocktail in hand and relax as the sun disappears over an endless ocean horizon.Source = INK 360
Adilabad, post the formation of Telangana, is gradually disclosing its potential to develop into a prime tourist destination. An increased flow of visitors during the Christmas vacation is a testimonial to this development.It was initially adventure sports that bade enthusiasts to visit the place, some four years back. Adilabad has emerged as an excellent place for both leisure and adventure tourism, within the ambit of eco-tourism and village tourism.Nature and culture have always been valuable genres to photographers. To foster tourism, these very genres should be nurtured besides encouraging tours to interior tribal villages like Jodeghat during the Adivasi festival season. Tourism should be planned, keeping in view the fragility of the environment and the interests of the locals.Tribal people living close to eco-tourism spots could help to offer accommodation to tourists. This would not only generate income but also make the new region sustainable in tourism.
OTM is one of the biggest travel trade show in India and this year it’s more happening than last year. We are here showcasing our products to travel agents and the response has been good. OTM is the perfect platform to network, which is why we look forward to it every year.
Yas Island, the UAE’s premier entertainment destination, is set to host the first ever ‘Yas Winterland Festival’ for an entire month, which would include family-friendly events, activities and offers to celebrate the festive season. For the inaugural edition of the festival, many activities would take place like Yas Marina’s ‘Let It Snow’ celebrations, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s ‘Winterfest,’ Yas Mall’s Festive Season, du Forum’s ‘Winterland Carnival,’ and a midnight fireworks show to ring in the New Year.Additionally, Coldplay’s New Year’s Eve live show ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ would draw a close the winter festivities on Yas Island.The island is being completely transformed into a winter wonderland as several Yas Island attractions get set to offer winter-themed activities, events and special offers, from December 9, 2016, to January 7, 2017.“Yas Island is all about exciting experiences. The month-long Yas Winterland Festival captures the best of what Yas Island has to offer in terms of events, entertainment and leisure, with a fun winter theme. Our visitors will be able to create ever-lasting memories as they celebrate the cheery, festive winter season among their loved ones, friends and family,” said Mohamed Abdulla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral.Commenting on the addition of the Yas Winterland Festival to Abu Dhabi’s vibrant events programme, His Excellency Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority said, “A partnership approach to events development and delivery is expected to stimulate upward momentum in hotel bookings from domestic tourists and those from our key overseas markets who have the propensity to travel. Abu Dhabi is a leading family leisure destination full of captivating experiences, and the addition of these festive offers and activities across Yas Island provides even more compelling reasons for visitors to enjoy the emirate’s year-round appeal.”
QuickenLoans’ Mortgage-Fees Dispute Reaches Supreme Court Share October 11, 2011 420 Views A case over unearned mortgage fees reached the desk of the nation’s highest judicial authority Tuesday, as the “”Supreme Court””:http://www.supremecourt.gov/ accepted to hear a suit over unearned fees that mortgage lenders allegedly charged their borrowers.[IMAGE]The defendant: Detroit-based “”QuickenLoans””:https://www.quickenloans.com/, which an “”amicus curae brief””:http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/10-1042-Freeman-v.-Quicken-Loans_mtd.pdf, filed by borrowers in Louisiana, accuses the lender of failing to abide by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the 1974 law responsible for banning financial benefits for lenders and servicers involved in federal loans.The brief names Tammy Foret Freeman and other petitioners as the plaintiffs. “”_The Wall Street Journal_””:http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2011/10/11/supreme-court-to-consider-mortgage-fees-lawsuit/ reported that Freeman and her fellow plaintiffs present the case as one in which the mortgage fees charged by QuickenLoans were unallowable ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a position the Obama administration endorses by arguing a consistency of approach to the law from “”HUD””:http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD.According to the brief, their attorneys allege that “”HUD consistently interpreted [RESPA] to prohibit[COLUMN_BREAK]all unearned fees, regardless of whether those fees are divided between two or more people.””It cites a 1976 consumer information booklet that supplemented RESPA’s ban on settlement kickbacks with information calling it “”also illegal to charge or accept a fee or part of a fee where no service has actually been performed.””The brief says that HUD adopted a later regulation that reaffirmed the prohibition for unearned mortgage fees.Brian Sullivan, a spokesperson for HUD, declined to comment for the story.Spokespeople for neither QuickenLoans nor the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/, under the auspices for which RESPA now falls, could be immediately reached for comment.The case climbed to the highest court following a number of disputes among lower courts, according to the _Journal_, which reported QuickenLoans winning a case on a 2-1 vote at the “”Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals””:http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/ last year.This is not the first time QuickenLoans faces a suit over questionable fees and practices. Following several years of litigation, the embattled mortgage lender celebrated a big win following the unanimous decision by a jury to reject claims over unfair compensation charges for employees.Said the company in a March “”statement””:http://www.quickenloans.com/about/press-room/us.-federal-court-jury-rules-quicken-loans: “”Our hope is that today’s victory inspires other job-creating companies to defend against meritless lawsuits which drain wealth and productivity from our society.””The _Journal_ said that oral arguments will roll forward for the Supreme Court case in early 2012. A decision by the high court is expected that summer. in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Housing Affordability HUD Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Disclosures Processing Service Providers 2011-10-11 Ryan Schuette
Agents & Brokers Ben S. Bernanke Confidence Debt Crisis Federal Reserve GDP Home Equity House Financial Services Committee Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-07-19 Krista Franks Brock in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Fed: U.S. Economy Faces Headwinds Far and Near “”Speaking before Congress Wednesday,””:http://financialservices.house.gov/UploadedFiles/HHRG-112-BA00-WState-BBernanke-20120718.pdf Federal Reserve “”Chairman Ben Bernanke””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/bernanke.htm predicted a slow and fragile economic recovery in the United States, one that is vulnerable to financial markets abroad as well as fiscal policy at home.[IMAGE] Amid the uncertain economic atmosphere, the “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ will continue its maturity extension program through the end of this year. The program calls for the Fed to purchase short-term Treasury securities and long-term Treasury securities of equal amounts. In doing so, the Fed “”induce[s] private investors to acquire “”other long-term assets, such as corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities, helping to raise their prices and lower their yields,”” according to Bernanke. The “”Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomc.htmalso “”made clear at its June meeting that it is prepared to take further action as appropriate to promote stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability.””The housing market has revealed “”modest signs of improvement,”” according to Bernanke. He noted positive signs in new and existing home sales and construction. However, “”a number of factors continue to impede progress in the housing market,”” he stated. [COLUMN_BREAK]These factors include low levels of confidence in the market and individual economic situations, tight lending standards, negative equity, and damaged credit. After posting some gains toward the end of 2011, the economy has slowed this year. Gross domestic product rose to about 2.5 percent in the second half of 2011 but slowed to about 2 percent in the first quarter of this year “”and available indicators point to a still-smaller gain in the second quarter,”” Bernanke stated. The jobs situation has been similar. After adding about 200,000 jobs per month in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, second quarter job growth averaged about 75,000 jobs per month. “”The recovery in the United States continues to be held back by a number of other headwinds, including still-tight borrowing conditions for some businesses and households,”” Bernanke stated before Congress. He suggested the two main threats to economic recovery are the fiscal atmosphere in the euro-zone and fiscal policy in the United States.””Europe’s financial markets and economy remain under significant stress, with spillover effects on financial and economic conditions in the rest of the world, including the United States,”” Bernanke said. Additionally, Bernanke stated, “”As is well known, U.S. fiscal policies are on an unstable path, and the development of a credible medium-term plan for controlling deficits should be a high priority.””Bernanke warned that the tax increases and spending reductions set to take place early next year barring legislative action, “”a scenario widely referred to as the fiscal cliff,”” would lead to “”a shallow recession”” next year. Bernanke projects about 1.25 million fewer jobs would be created next year as a result. Amid these risks, FOMC in June reported “”a higher degree of uncertainty about their forecasts than normal.”” They predict GDP growth to be between 1.9 and 2.4 percent this year and between 2.2 and 2.8 percent in 2013. July 19, 2012 425 Views Share
Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Ex-IndyMac Execs Ordered to Pay $169M for Negligent Loans December 10, 2012 459 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies FDIC Homebuilders Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-12-10 Tory Barringer A Los Angeles jury ruled that three former IndyMac Bank officers must pay $169 million in damages to the FDIC for making “”negligent loans”” to homebuilders, according to a report from “”Bloomberg””:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-08/indymac-executives-found-liable-for-negligent-loans.html.[IMAGE]The FDIC’s suit, filed in 2010, alleged that Scott Van Dellen (former CEO of IndyMac’s Homebuilder Division), Richard Koon (former chief lending officer), and Kenneth [COLUMN_BREAK]Shellem (former chief credit officer) caused $500 million in losses by pushing for loans before the real estate crash without taking into consideration credit quality. According to the suit, the executives made loans to homebuilders that weren’t creditworthy or didn’t provide sufficient collateral.The jury found the three men liable for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.Kirby Behre, an attorney for Shellem and Koon, said in an emailed statement that the verdict “”is the result of a deliberate effort by the government to scapegoat a few men for the impact that the unforeseen and unprecedented housing collapse in 2007 had at IndyMac.”” Behre also asserted that Shellem and Koon used “”the utmost care in making loan decisions, and there is no doubt that all of the loans at issue would have been repaid except for the housing crash.””A lawyer for Van Dellen did not immediately return a call from Bloomberg requesting comment.
January 3, 2014 476 Views A recently released borrower survey on shopping habits shows increasing reliance on online tools when mortgage shopping, though many still find the learning curve too steep.[IMAGE]””Fannie Mae’s””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html Economic & Strategic Research Group released Thursday the findings from its latest topic analysis. The data was taken from “”consumer survey results””:http://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/research/housingsurvey/pdf/010214-topicanalysis.pdf from throughout the second quarter of 2013.According to the group, the collected data show higher income borrowers–those earning at least $100,000 per year–are more likely to use online applications to make their own mortgage calculations, while low earners–those [COLUMN_BREAK]making less than $50,000 annually–rely more on real estate agents, lenders, and advice from family and friends in making their borrowing decisions.In addition, when asked for suggestions in making the shopping process easier, high-income borrowers focused more on the technological side, with most saying they would like an improved way to compare multiple loan offers. On the other hand, low-income consumers were more likely to say they want easier-to-understand loan terms and costs.””Higher income borrowers are using online shopping approaches about twice as frequently as lower income borrowers, which aligns with a stronger focus on doing their own calculations and using tools,”” said Steve Deggendorf, director of business strategy for Fannie Mae’s research group.However, Deggendorf noted, all income groups said they would like to make greater use of the Internet than they currently do, “”indicating that online technology will likely play an increasingly larger role for all borrowers in the mortgage shopping process and presents opportunities for shopping enhancements.””””Enhanced online tools … could help consumers of all incomes to become better mortgage shoppers and achieve better outcomes by addressing the issues they think will make the process easier,”” he added. in Data, Origination Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2014-01-03 Tory Barringer Survey Shows Gap in Use of Online Tools Share
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Share California Housing Sees Improvements in March April 21, 2014 471 Views California Association of Realtors DataQuick Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply 2014-04-21 Tory Barringer California’s housing market looked healthier in March than it did at any other point so far this year but remained sluggish compared to last year’s numbers.Data released last week by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) shows statewide sales of existing, single-family homes totaling a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 367,000 last month, up 1.4 percent from February but down 12.3 percent from year-ago levels.It was the fifth straight month in which sales came in below 400,000 and the eighth straight annual decline, C.A.R. reported.“While the demand for housing was up from February, the market is taking a hit from lower housing affordability compared to a year ago, which led to a decline in home sales from last year,” said association president Kevin Brown.“Moreover, concerns over tighter lending standards and increased borrowing costs are also contributing factors to the sluggish market as they both negatively impact the bottom line of home buyers who obtain financing through mortgages,” he added.According to the group’s report, which compiles data from more than 90 local Realtor associations and multiple listing services around the state, the median price of an existing home in March was $435,470, coming up 7.7 percent from February and reversing a declining trend that started the year. Compared to March 2013, prices were up 14.9 percent, marking more than two years of straight yearly gains.Meanwhile, housing inventory fell between the previous month and the previous year, ending March at a months’ supply of 4 months. That figure was down from February’s Unsold Inventory Index of 4.7 months but up from 2.9 months in March 2013.A six- to seven-month supply is considered typical in a normal market, C.A.R. said.Out of those homes left unsold, many were “priced above what the market will bear and are not moving,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, VP and chief economist for C.A.R.“As such, even with improved home prices over the past year, new listings are lagging because would-be sellers who have limited options on where to move are hesitant to put their properties on the market,” she said.The association’s report came a day after DataQuick released its monthly statistics for the state. In its own findings, the company reported an estimated 32,923 transactions, slightly higher than C.A.R.’s calculated seasonally adjusted monthly average.