The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) approved the fifth decrease in fuel prices of the year, sending the order Monday for publication in the official newspaper La Gaceta.“Super” gasoline will decrease from ₡757 to ₡689 ($1.43-1.30), “Plus” gasoline from ₡720 to ₡655 ($1.36-1.24) and diesel from ₡636 to ₡607 ($1.20-1.15). Liquefied petroleum gas also will drop from ₡336 to ₡310 ($0.34-0.59) per liter.The decrease – the last of the year – likely will take effect on Wednesday or Thursday, and according to ARESEP spokeswoman Carolina Mora, it was approved primarily because the U.S. registered an increase in reserves during November.New prices match those requested by the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) in mid-November.The previous decrease in fuel prices was approved in October, when ARESEP approved reductions ranging from ₡16-₡21. Facebook Comments Related posts:Regulatory authority approves drop in fuel prices RECOPE asks for fourth consecutive decrease in fuel prices This year’s first price increase at the pump could start next month Gas prices to drop in August
Panamanian prosecutors demanded a 21-year sentence for spying against ex-President Ricardo Martinelli during an indictment hearing in the capital, Panama City.Martinelli, who was extradited back to Panama last month from self-imposed exile in the United States, is accused of “giving orders” to his Security Council to “illicitly intercept many citizens’ communications” between 2012 and 2014.The 66-year-old was detained a year ago in Miami after an international arrest warrant was issued against him. Panama accused him of graft and spying on his political foes, and submitted an extradition request to the United States.He is accused of intercepting emails, telephone calls, memory cards, phone books and audio recordings of confidential conversations. Related posts:Former Panama VP arrested in widening corruption probe Another former Panamanian minister arrested in graft probe Panama court orders detention of ex-President Ricardo Martinelli Renewal in Panama might be coming at a high cost Prosecutor Henry Diaz, who on Monday read out 30 pages of accusations, said Martinelli conducted “political espionage” without judicial authority against opponents, union leaders and civil society groups that constituted “a continued and systematic violation of intimacy and human rights.”President from 2009 to 2014, supermarket tycoon Martinelli fled to the United States in 2015 to avoid arrest. He denies the accusations, claiming they are politically motivated.He is also accused of helping to embezzle $45 million from a government school lunch program as well as other cases of extortion, bribe-taking, misappropriation of public funds and abuse of power Panama court orders detention of ex-President Ricardo Martinelli Facebook Comments
Dr. Khosrow Farahbakhsh is a former professor of sustainable engineering from Canada currently residing near Cahuita, Limón with his wife.They’re living off the grid and produce their own food and host workshops on sustainability. Facebook Comments IntroductionWhat is sustainability Related posts:In search of sustainability in Limón: Challenging our assumptions Court hears testimony from key witnesses in the Jairo Mora murder trial Defendants in Jairo Mora murder trial allegedly attack courthouse guard High-pressure system to bring tall waves to Costa Rica’s Caribbean, North Pacific coasts I still remember the day I was asked to teach thermodynamics to a class of third year engineering students. I was terrified because I hated the topic when I took it as an undergrad. Years later, it was still one the most dreaded courses among the students.Thankfully, I resisted the urge to argue for an easier course or a smaller class. What I learned in the process was truly transformative.There are two main laws of thermodynamics.The first basically says that the total amount of energy in the universe always stays the same, which seems like good news.The bad news, and that’s where the second law comes in, is that although the quantity of energy remains the same, its quality always degrades. This is like saying that even though I have the same number of muscles in my body, they become less effective as I age.Often called the “second law of everything,” its application is universal. The second law imposes limits on what we can do and perhaps this is why many tend to resent it. You may ask why I started by telling you about the second law of thermodynamics in an article about sustainability.Well, sustainability at its simplest is “the ability to endure,” and to endure, we must understand our limits.Our limits, according to the second law, are defined by the degradation of the quality of resources we depend on. For example, the total amount of water in the world — in all its forms — stays the same but its quality degrades with use or through human impact. Excess rainwater from the spare rainwater harvesting tank provides for a refreshing outdoor shower. (Dr. Khosrow Farahbakhsh/The Tico Times)I often hear folks lament about loss of quality; “they don’t make ’em like they used to,” people say about everything, from food to cars to homes to relationships. In our haste toward progress, we seem to have lost sight of sustaining quality.We have done well in increasing the amount of what we use at the expense of diminishing quality. For example, we now produce more food — measured by calories — than ever before, while nutrition — a measure of food quality — has continued to decline.Overall, we earn more money but our wealth — measured by the buying power — has diminished. We live longer, but many argue that our quality of life — measured by emotional well-being and wealth inequality — has gone down. We are connected to hundreds of people on social networks, but it seems that the quality of relationships has lessened.At first, it may seem obvious that we must pay attention to sustaining the quality of what we do and produce. But in this simple concept lie complex and often poorly explored implications. Part of our resistance in discussing quality is the less tangible nature of it. It is easy to measure and report things as kg, liters, calories, etc., but far more difficult to measure their qualities.After all, qualities like beauty, can be in the eye of the beholder. The lack of consistent ways to measure quality also points to the fact that we have placed less importance on it.For example, when discussing the water crisis, we read that on average, a person in the United States uses 340 liters of water per day. This is alarming, but what’s more alarming and less discussed is that all this water is of a very high quality — highly purified.So, it’s bad enough to use so much water, but it’s even worse to use so much purified water for purposes that often do not demand it: flushing toilets, washing cars, watering lawns, etc. This is also true with energy and other necessities. Excess rainwater from the roof fills a tilapia tank with over 300 fish. (Dr. Khosrow Farahbakhsh/The Tico Times)Sustaining quality has many implications and applications. A simple implication is to try matching the quality of supply to that of demand. For example, using a lower quality water to flush toilets or water gardens results in more sustainable water management practices.It also leads to a more diverse approach to managing water with improved flexibility and adaptability. Of course, this does not negate the attempts to reduce the amount of water used, but it goes far deeper than basic conservation.If you apply this principle to heating and cooling buildings, you may realize that heat pumps are far more sustainable means of climate control than typical air conditioning and conventional heating systems.Incorporating quality into our understanding of sustainability implies that we must find better ways to define and measure quality, and more diverse approaches to prevent its rapid degradation.Although I don’t feel that I have defined sustainability in this short article, I am hopeful that you may find ideas relevant to your own search for sustainability.In the next article, I will offer a basic examination of the assumptions that we often take for granted and how they have a significant impact on our understanding of sustainability.As always, I do appreciate your feedback via email@example.com.Read more of Dr. Farahbakhsh’s “In search of sustainability in Limón” series here:
4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Among the munitions confiscated were 138 grad rockets and some 7,000 rounds of ammunition, according to Ibrahim, who called the bust the “biggest” in the history of the Interior Ministry.He said the weapons were smuggled from the Libyan city of Sirte, the hometown of the country’s late dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the last regime stronghold to fall in the Libyan civil war last year. He added one of the smugglers said the weapons were bound for Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and from there to the Gaza Strip.During the eight-month conflict that led to the toppling and killing of Gadhafi, Libyan citizens-turned-fighters stormed weapons storehouses and military camps to arm themselves, and the country is awash in everything from machine guns to mortars. Since then, the country has become a key source of illicit arms.A flood of weapons from Libya has added to security concerns in Egypt, where police have yet to fully return to the nation’s streets since disappearing early in last year’s uprising.Authorities fear the weapons most often fall into the hands of Islamist militants in Sinai who have moved swiftly to exploit the security void, carrying out almost daily attacks on security forces. They enjoy near complete control over parts of border towns like Rafah. Elsewhere in Sinai, they have taken advantage of long-standing grievances by the area’s Bedouin inhabitants over services and development to recruit and whip up anti-government sentiment. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Israeli officials also have expressed concerns about looted weapons from Libya, saying that munitions, including longer-range Scud missiles, are being smuggled from there through Sinai and into the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.In April, two rockets believed to have been smuggled from Libya were fired from Egypt’s Sinai desert toward the Israeli resort town of Eilat. No one was hurt and Egypt denied that the rockets were fired from its territory.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) CAIRO (AP) – Egyptian security forces on Friday seized a large stash weapons, including rockets and automatic machine guns, smuggled into the country from neighboring Libya and allegedly bound for the Gaza Strip, Egypt’s interior minister said.Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim said security forces acting on a tip uncovered the weapons in a car and truck on the highway near the Mediterranean resort city of Marsa Matrouh, which is along the coastal highway that runs to the Libyan border. After chasing down the vehicles, one of the smugglers was killed in an exchange of fire, Ibrahim said. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments Share Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family
Men’s health affects baby’s health too Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories “This is not an issue that only pertains to women,” said National Party congressman Pablo Abdala. “We can’t forget about the conceived (baby) … with organs, DNA, a heart. And then there’s the father. This law doesn’t take into account the opinion of the father.”Several Uruguayan celebrities and sports figures participated in radio and television spots ahead of the consultation ballot urging people to vote to require a referendum that would allow “profound discussion to reach a decision that truly represents the majority.”About 20 feminist organizations and unions waged a counter-campaign using the motto “I won’t vote. What about you?” They argued that a ban would not curb abortions, but only keep women from getting proper care.About 400 abortions a month have been conducted since the law took effect, Deputy Health Minister Leonel Briozzo said.It’s unclear how many were carried out before the law.“We don’t have trusted statistics because it is a social practice that is not accepted and up until recently it was a crime,” Constanza Moreira, a ruling-party lawmaker, told local radio. 0 Comments Share Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement ErrorOK ErrorOKOpponents needed 655,000 voters, a quarter of Uruguay’s electorate, to cast ballots Sunday calling for a referendum. But with nearly all votes counted late Sunday, the electoral council said on its website that only 226,653 people participated.Feminist groups and abortion-rights advocates celebrated.“The fact that it wasn’t enough for a referendum clearly shows that the Uruguayan society is willing to continue moving forward,” the activist group Woman and Health said in a statement.Passage of the law was widely seen as a landmark for a region in which many countries outlaw abortion in all circumstances. Other than Uruguay, only Cuba and some local governments make early abortions accessible to all women.The governing Broad Front coalition of President Jose Mujica argued that the law would save many women from the risk of death or complications from illegal abortions.“I want to defend the law because this issue has been debated for almost 100 years and many women paid with their lives,” lawmaker Monica Xavier said on the Broad Front’s website before Sunday’s results were announced.Opposition to the measure remains strong, however. Dozens of doctors have refused to perform abortions for religious or ethical reasons. About 45,000 babies are born each year in Uruguay, which has about 3.2 million people.Several polls say Uruguayans are roughly split when it comes to abortion, and abortion-rights proponents had to make compromises to pass the law. Those include a requirement that women justify their request for an abortion to a panel of at least three professionals _ gynecologist, psychologist and social worker _ and listen to advice about alternatives including adoption and support services for a child. Women must then wait five days to reflect on the decision.Cuba, which allows abortions in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, is the only country in Latin America where legal abortion is common. Argentina and Colombia allow it only in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is endangered. Colombia also allows it when there is proof of fetal malformation. Mexico City has legalized first-trimester abortions, but there are restrictions in most other parts of that country.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) – The most liberal abortion law in South America withstood a challenge Sunday as Uruguayan opponents failed to attract enough votes in a consultation ballot to force a national referendum on repealing it.The law authorizing elective abortions in the first three months of pregnancy was narrowly passed by Congress in October, and independent groups and some members of the right-wing Colorado and centrist National parties have been campaigning to overturn the measure. Top holiday drink recipes
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Nepali Congress’s main coalition partner, the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), said it would not join the government because Koirala had failed to honor an agreement to give it the powerful home minister portfolio.Both parties want to lead the Home Ministry, which controls the police force and local administrations across the nation.“We will not join the government until they honor the agreement, and have decided to boycott the swearing-in ceremony,” Bishnu Poudel of the coalition party told reporters.Koirala secured the votes of more than two-third of the members of the Constituent Assembly on Monday with the backing of the Communists, the second-largest party.He will remain in office, but it will be difficult for him to work if he does not have their full support.Koirala’s strong majority in Monday’s vote among lawmakers had led to hopes that the Himalayan nation’s long political paralysis was easing.No party won a majority of seats in the Nov. 19 national election. Nepali Congress secured the most seats but needed a coalition partner to form a government.A constitution was supposed to have been written by the last Constituent Assembly, which was elected in 2008 following the end of a 10-year Maoist insurgency and the overthrow of the centuries-old monarchy. But the assembly was riven by infighting and never finished its work. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) – Nepal’s newly elected prime minister was sworn into office on Tuesday, but his party’s main coalition partner announced it will not join the government, bringing renewed political uncertainty to the nation.Sushil Koirala, the leader of Nepal’s largest and oldest political party, Nepali Congress, was sworn in by President Ram Baran Yadav.Koirala was expected to announce a portion of his Cabinet but appointed just one minister, senior party member Ram Sharan Mahat. Parents, stop beating yourself up (Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Check your body, save your life
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L A Pacific Ocean tsunami hardly tickled the east coast of Australia yesterday despite its trigger being a devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile.The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre issued a tsunami alert on Sunday for the east coast of the country after Saturday’s earthquake, prompting the evacuation of beaches and surf lifesaving activities.However, beachgoers ignored the warnings, with many surfers riding waves in the Gold Coast and hundreds of people lining the promenade at Bondi Beach in Sydney to get a glimpse of the tsunami.27-year-old Gabby Stevenot told the Australian she had travelled more than 20km from West Ryde to watch the tsunami.”That’s why I came down here — I wanted to see the big waves and the big show but there’s not really much happening at all” she said.Luckily, the tsunami ended up travelling north-west, narrowly missing Australia’s east coast. But there were still tsunami waves recorded along the NSW, Queensland and Tasmanian coasts, with the Gold Coast seeing a 20cm increase in sea levels, the Canberra Times reported.Tasmania, Southport and Darlington experienced a 17cm increase while Port Kembla on NSW’s South Coast recorded a 14cm increase. Norfolk Island recorded a 50cm surge in sea levels.When the risk of the tsunami had passed, the alert was withdrawn and beaches reopened at 5pm.NSW Premier Kristina Keneally warned that people should have obeyed the warnings.”Next time, they may not be so lucky” she said. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2673c/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>
Exhibitions and Trade Fairs (ETF) has pulled off the Best Show Team award at the 2010 Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) awards for their planning and delivery of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exhibition, LNG16 in Algeria in April 2010.According to Jodie Richmond, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of ETF, the award recognises the world class ability of ETF including their LNG16 team. “ETF specialises in developing exhibitions for industry associations, including LNG 16 for the global gas industry. It was great to see the LNG 16 team win such a prestigious award while the depth of ETF’s skill was further recognised with our RSVP Show Team also a finalist in this category. “Our LNG team’s performance was truly outstanding having sold out the exhibition and exceeded sponsorship targets to deliver a sophisticated trade exhibition in a venue in Algeria, which was still under construction, and with the Icelandic volcano erupting only four days before opening”. “ETF has now delivered the LNG Exhibition for associations in five continents including currently for the American Gas Association in Houston in 2013. The innovations we create internationally are incorporated into the exhibitions we develop for associations in Australia”, Jodie said.ETF’s key LNG 16 team members, Exhibition Director, Rodney Cox and Operations Manager, Belinda Maund, and their team, met all of the challenges associated with managing such a complex exhibition in Algeria. In the process ETF fulfilled the EEAA’s award criteria of Accessibility, Responsiveness, Customer Service, Creativity, Innovation and Client/Show Research to win the prestigious Best Show Team award. “We believe that the reason we continue to be reappointed to manage this major global exhibition is because of our commitment to its ongoing development. Fundamentally the exhibition industry sells commercial opportunity and trust. It was the trust our team had earned with our host association and exhibitors that proved to be the vital element with such a difficult event. Under circumstances such as those we experienced in Algeria you truly discover the calibre of your team, the culture of your company and the difference “Aussie can do” makes. “One of the most rewarding things for me was the legacy we left behind in Algeria in terms of providing hands-on exhibitions and event management experience to the local university students we employed. Hopefully they will go on to use the skills they learned to help develop the fledgling events industry in Algeria,” Rodney said. Source = Exhibitions & Trade Fairs (ETF)
The Port Douglas Peninsula Boutique Hotel has taken out the hotly contested 4.5 star luxury accommodation category in the Accommodation Association of Australia’s 2011 national accommodation industry awards for excellence held in Sydney last Friday night.The luxury accommodation field had the most finalists of all 37 categories, and the Four Mile beachfront boutique property took the Gold award from a field of 15 which included national brands such as The Sebel Group, Radisson, Crowne Plaza, Accor and Novotel runners up Novotel Barossa Valley Resort (Silver) and Novotel Woollongong North Beach (Bronze) Owner Sheryn Blundstone said the association had sent a mystery shopper to the property in May, to assist in the evaluation which included service, facilities, location, inclusions and attention to detail.“We didn’t know the mystery shopper visited, but we treat all our guests with the same attention and respect,” she said. “My husband Phil and our entire staff are focussed on not just providing great accommodation and service but ensuring our guests experience the essence of this incredible place by the top class tours which showcase the natural beauty of the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef.’’Sheryn Blundstone said the property would use the win to promote the destination in every possible way. “We are the leading holiday destination in Queensland and Australia – unaffected by flooding or cyclones and operating as business as usual particularly now through to December when we are experiencing such beautiful warm sunny days and balmy tropical nights,” she said.Doug Ryan, executive officer of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree, agreed the recognition served to promote the excellence of the region’s tourism product, saying the Gold award was a great result for a fantastic property in an amazing location.”Winning this prestigious award shows the quality of product in our destination. Peninsula Boutique Hotel are one of the leading examples of accommodation with friendly personalized service, attention to detail, and most importantly a ‘can-do’ attitude, always ensuring the guests needs come first,” he said.The Accommodation Association is recognised as the leading authority in the accommodation sector within Australia.The Accommodation Association represents a cross section of industry members including hotels, resorts, motels, motor inns, bed & breakfasts, boarding houses, backpackers, caravan parks, timeshares, chains and independent operators in metropolitan and regional Australia adding up to a membership base of over 2000 properties and some 110,000 guest rooms. Source = Port Douglas Peninsula Boutique Hotel
Poland is planning a $2 million upgrade at Adolf Hitler’s Wolfsschanze aka Wolf’s Lair, to draw in young explorers and more history buffs.Located near Ketzryn in north Poland, Polish forestry office senior official told the AFP that it is looking to organise tenders to inspect the dictator’s former 250 hectare command headquarters in a bid to increase the site’s current 180,000 and 200,000 visitors a year by 20 percent. “The new contract will include clauses obliging the management to draw children, as much as history buffs,” he explained to media. “We don’t want tourists to be coming just for a couple of hours.”Originally used to orchestrate the Nazi attack on Soviet Union in between 1941 to 1944, the site now lies in the midst of an overgrown forest.The base served as his command post for the majority of the war and was also the location of a failed bomb plot orchestrated by members of the German military in 1944. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Dubai showcases a multitude of different ways to experience the emirateDubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) will use this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), to showcase why Dubai’s breadth of offer and its appeal to a diverse range of audiences continues to drive the growth of tourism numbers to the Emirate.The Dubai stand at ATM (Dubai World Trade Centre, 4-7 May 2015), will portray a multitude of different ways to experience the city through a series of content and on-stand activations. Present on the stand will also be more than 100 of the destination’s tourism industry stakeholders, from governmental partners to hotels, tour operators and destination companies. Particular focuses will include the cultural heritage of Dubai, family attractions and the city’s year-round calendar of events.During the exhibition, Dubai Tourism will also be releasing its inaugural Annual Visitor Report, a collation of key tourism metrics, trends and insights that provide background into why Dubai continues to rise through the ranks of most-visited global tourism destinations.Visitors to the stand, who will include among them the most influential decision makers in the global tourism industry, will be able to experience the extraordinary views of Dubai offered by Dubai 360, the online interactive tour of the city launched in January this year. Immersive ocular technology will enable visitors to virtually discover Dubai from above, and then dive into the city via hundreds of pieces of panoramic video and photo content.Providing a completely different perspective, 12 mini-documentaries following the journeys of 12 of the world’s most popular instagrammers experiencing tailor-made itineraries of Dubai will be on show. Titled ‘MyDubaiTrip’, the project was a partnership between Dubai Tourism and social-travel experts Peeta Planet, and saw the instagrammers visit Dubai in late 2014 to experience itineraries curated by 12 of the Emirate’s most popular social-media storytellers.With a view to showcasing the cultural aspects of Dubai, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) will have a dedicated area on the stand, where SMCCU representatives will give various presentations on all aspects of Emirati culture throughout the four days of the show, including raising awareness of the unique attraction of Ramadan as a period to visit Dubai. Meanwhile, a special gastronomy area will showcase homegrown dining concepts as well as authentic Emirati and fusion restaurants, complete with daily food tastings for guests.With events one of this year’s key focuses, Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of DTCM, will be on the stand to promote Dubai’s world-class festivals calendar, including its upcoming summer programme that involves Ramadan in Dubai, Modhesh World, Eid in Dubai and the much-awaited Dubai Summer Surprises. Dubai Calendar will be showcasing the year-round calendar of events, continual enhancements to which have led to Dubai being crowned the winner of the Top World Festival and Events City Award by the International Festivals and Events Association.During the week, Dubai Tourism will host more than 200 industry buyers from 30 countries around the world, all of whom have never visited Dubai before, and many of whom are from emerging markets that present significant potential growth. Prior to ATM, the buyers will experience a three-day itinerary that will showcase different facets of Dubai, from activities in the desert and city, to cultural experiences; a tour of Dubai Marina on the Dubai tram and a tour of the Dubai coastline, onboard both a Dubai Ferry – in partnership with the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) – and a 65ft yacht. The buyers will also participate in a number of hotel inspections, including the newly opened Taj Dubai, located in Downtown.Commenting on Dubai’s participation in ATM, Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said: “Arabian Travel Market brings the global travel industry to Dubai, thus providing the perfect opportunity to promote our destination offering and showcase why the emirate continues to rise through the ranks of the most visited cities in the world. Month on month, the offering continues to be enhanced with new hotels, attractions, restaurants and experiences, and a vital part of our role is to demonstrate that there are many different ways to experience Dubai, and many different audiences that can create their perfect holiday or business trip here.“Our focus this year is on using different forms of content to showcase Dubai through different perspectives, whether that’s the breath-taking views offered by Dubai 360; talks about Emirati heritage and the culture of the region from SMCCU; food from the kitchens of our homegrown restaurants; or the experiences of the city as shared by its residents and visitors through His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s #MyDubai initiative.”The three-storey Dubai stand will host 100 co-participants including government bodies such as Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai Police, Dubai Culture, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Department of Naturalisation and Residency Dubai (DNRD), and Dubai Health Authority (DHA), as well as travel industry partners such as hoteliers, tour operators and destination management companies.The 2015 Dubai Pocket Guide will also be launched during ATM. This handy, user-friendly consumer guide offers a wealth of information, tips and advice, and is an invaluable resource for visitors both at the initial holiday planning stage and once on the ground in Dubai. A dedicated Theatre Room, meanwhile, will be used for various demonstrations and presentations about Dubai’s tourism offerings.Dubai Green Tourism AwardsThe Dubai Green Tourism Awards 2015, taking place at 11am on 6 May in DWTC’s Al Multaqua Ballroom, will honour and recognise the hospitality industry’s contributions to a sustainable environment. The prestigious event will see DTCM award tourism businesses that have made especially significant efforts in the sustainable and green tourism sector. There will also be a panel discussion on the Future of Eco-Tourism in Dubai.Arabian Travel Market is taking place 4-7 May at Dubai World Trade Centre. The Dubai stand is located at Stand Number UAE3140/UAE3110. Source = Dubai Tourism
Source = Air New Zealand Air New Zealand teams up with All BlacksAir New Zealand has teamed up with the All Blacks and an all-star line-up of international rugby greats to tackle the airline’s latest on board safety video, Men in Black Safety Defenders.Inspired by the Columbia Pictures global film franchise Men in Black, Air New Zealand’s latest safety installment features All Black’s Captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as Men in Black agents.Starring alongside the two long-serving All Blacks is Coach Steve Hansen, teammates Kieran Read, Keven Mealamu, Sam Whitelock and Israel Dagg who gets to test his vocals alongside Kiwi musician Stan Walker.American actor Rip Torn reprises his role as Chief of the Men in Black with Wallabies great David Campese, former England Captain Martin Johnson and former Argentinean Captain Agustin Pichot making cameo appearances.The video was created in collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Content Licensing group, with additional support from Sony Pictures Imageworks and Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Archives & Collections.“The creative concept and the parallels drawn between the All Blacks and the Men in Black are really clever. It’s been exciting to help Air New Zealand bring the Men in Black universe to life in this unique way,” says Emmanuelle Borde, Executive Vice President, Sony Pictures Entertainment.Air New Zealand Head of Global Brand Development Jodi Williams says the airline is Crazy About Rugby making the All Blacks the perfect partner for its latest safety offering.“We recently extended our sponsorship of the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby through until 2020 and thought what better way to celebrate than with a safety video.”“We’ve worked with the All Blacks on previous safety videos and thought it would be fun this time around to have them step into the shoes of the other highly trained Men in Black. The result is not only entertaining but makes people sit up and take notice of the key safety messages.”All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw says the players had a great time making the video.“We had a lot of laughs on set and were blown away by Israel’s hidden singing talent. If rugby doesn’t work out for him he clearly has a promising career as a back-up singer.”Israel Dagg says growing up he was a huge fan of the Men in Black films.“I grew up listening to the iconic Men in Black movie soundtrack song. Hopefully I’ve done it some justice.”Australian Wallabies great David Campese admitted his appearance in Men in Black Safety Defenders is likely to come at a cost.“I’m expecting to get a right ribbing from my mates for appearing in a video promoting the All Blacks, Australia’s key opponents. They’ll never let me live it down.”Former Argentina Captain Agustin Pichot and Martin Johnson, former England Captain shared his sentiment.“The All Blacks are staunch rivals of the Pumas making it especially fun to play the role of their nemesis in Air New Zealand’s new safety video,” says Mr. Pichot.“I’m a big fan of Air New Zealand so was excited to get the call up to appear in the airline’s latest inflight video. I’m sure English rugby fans will have a few words to say about my appearance alongside the All Blacks too,” says Mr. Johnson.
January Jones at Terrenea ResortVisit California unveiled its latest Australian consumer marketing campaign this month with a new TV spot showcasing the state’s laid-back, anything-is-possible attitude and abundance of visitor experiences.Airing in three bursts during January, February and March, the TV commercial, “Dreamers – Board Shorts,” encourages Australian travellers to “Dream Big’’ on their next California vacation.Qantas is returning as a key campaign partner and is promoting special deals and calls to action for travel to California during this period, extending the campaign reach through the airline’s marketing channels.“The new commercial shows how our fun-loving, free-spirited vibe inspires visitors to follow their dreams here to California,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California.“Dreaming big is a unique state of mind that visitors can experience throughout the state, from flying like a superhero on a jetpack in San Diego to playing princess at a castle among the vineyards of Napa Valley.”In “Dreamers – Board Shorts,” January Jones joins a cast of iconic Californians enjoying a selection of big, bold and inspiring experiences.In addition to the “Mad Men” alum, Olympic snowboarder/musician Shaun White, history-making rock climbers Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell are featured along with Hollywood icon William Shatner.“People think Californians live in our own reality,” says Jones at the start of the commercial, dressed in vintage and holding champagne next to a luxurious pool.From there, the commercial takes viewers on a journey to a number of uniquely Californian locations that showcase how far your dreams can take you in the Golden State.California experiences and locations featured in the commercial include: January Jones enjoying the pool at Terranea Resort, near Los AngelesRichie Trimble riding his nearly 15-foot-tall bicycle in front of the world-renowned Golden Gate BridgeJet packing over San Diego BayHanging out by a lighthouse on the Santa Cruz seashoreRelaxing in a huge pool at the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport BeachWilliam Shatner kidding around behind the scenes on a Hollywood setWalking through vineyards beside Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley, a 107- room castle, complete with a moat and drawbridgeSterling Johnson making large bubble art at Morro Strand State BeachKevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell rock climbing at Yosemite National ParkOlympic Snowboarder Shaun White hitting the slopes of Mammoth MountainBob Burnquist skateboarding a floating halfpipe on Lake TahoeGetting sized up by the giant Redwood TreesKerri Walsh-Jennings people-watching along the Venice Beach boardwalkGrabbing a surfboard and catching waves in Malibu like Rob MachadoThe 30-second version of “Dreamers” will air nationally for nine weeks as part of Visit California’s $4.4 million USD consumer marketing investment in Australia for the 15/16 fiscal year.It is the seventh consumer campaign that Visit California has activated in the Australian market since 2010 and the third campaign partnership with Qantas.The continued investment reflects the vital role travellers from Australia continue to play in California’s travel and tourism industry. In 2014, Australia was California’s third-largest overseas market with 589,000 visitors, a year-on-year increase of 6 percent. Visit CaliforniaSource = Visit California
Mantra Group is the largest accommodation provider on the Gold CoastOne year until the Commonwealth Games and tourism hopes run highWith one year to go until the start of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Mantra Group Chief Executive Officer Bob East is predicting Queensland tourism will hit a record high after the Games.Mr East said reputation built up during the event will help to attract record numbers of tourists to the state.“The Commonwealth Games will provide a terrific platform for promotion and profile, showcasing Queensland to would-be visitors from further afield,” said Mr East.“With just one year to go, the world spotlight is already on the state and what we have to offer.“This is our time to shine, to showcase our state and its many attractions, and position Queensland as a key and highly desirable destination.“The Games gives us an unprecedented opportunity to take tourism to the next level.”Mantra Group, Queensland’s largest accommodation provider, will play a vital role in the visitor experience during the Games.“Tens of thousands of room nights will be required for the event and demand for accommodation at our twenty-three Gold Coast properties during the Games is at an all-time high,” he said.“Our Northern New South Wales, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast properties are already benefiting from the overflow.”With Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville all hosting official events, Mr East said all four markets will enjoy renewed international and domestic interest in their leisure tourism offering before, during and after the Games.“Extensive team business has caused the average length of stay at our properties to increase substantially in the lead up to and during the Games,” he said.“In 2018, we’re predicting a strong uplift in occupancy year on year.”Mr East said, despite some rooms being committed to the organising committee, people will still be able to book accommodation at Mantra Group properties for the event.“Customers will have a number of choices when booking their Games accommodation, such as online at mantrahotels.com, through our reservations team or direct with the property.”The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place from 4 to 15 April 2018, bringing more than 100,000 visitors, athletes and officials to the state.It will be the biggest event in Australia over the next decade, with up to 1.5 million spectators expected to attend, providing a ground-breaking estimated $2 billion economic boost to the state.The event has already kick-started investment on the Gold Coast with a new light-rail system and the planned $200 million airport expansion. This capital investment, along with the actual Games themselves, will leave a significant tourism-marketing legacy and benefits are already being realised across the city and state.Already, nearly 12,000 delegates have registered for 29 sport-related conferences and meetings on the Gold Coast as a direct spin-off from the Commonwealth Games.About Mantra GroupMantra Group is the leading Australian-based hotel and resort operator. Mantra Group’s portfolio consists of 127 properties with more than 21,000 rooms in properties under management, across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii. Operating three well-known and trusted brands – Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree – Mantra Group operates the second largest network of accommodation properties in Australia (by room number). The Group is positioned to offer both leisure and business style accommodation ranging from full-service city hotels and self-contained apartments to luxury resorts and retreats. The Group successfully listed on the ASX in June 2014 and in its first year as a public company was elevated to the ASX 200: www.mantragroup.com.au; www.peppers.com.au; www.mantra.com.au ; www.breakfree.com.auSource = Mantra Group
Source = TravelManagers TravelManagers Wraps Up Latest Round of State Meetings 71 PTMs attended TravelManagers’ Victoria state meeting, which was held in Melbourne’s Pan Pacific HotelTravelManagers Wraps Up Latest Round of State MeetingsTwice a year, every year, personal travel managers (PTMs) from all over Australia come together for a series of state-based meetings, organised by TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office (NPO), that are designed to keep attendees updated on the direction of the company. Throughout the course of the day, participants gain insights as to what is happening at NPO, hear from suppliers and, perhaps most importantly in a network of 570 home-based consultants, enjoy opportunities to connect with their colleagues.TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says meetings were held in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide, with a webinar version made available to PTMs who were unable to attend in person.“This round of meetings focused on our planning for the future of TravelManagers,” says Gazal. “In particular, it covered new commercial opportunities, updates from our Financial, Commercial and IT departments, and there was also time allocated to presentations from several of our key supplier partners.”Melanie Carter, who is TravelManagers’ representative for Scoresby, VIC, was one of 71 PTMs who attended the Victoria state meeting, which was held at Melbourne’s Pan Pacific Hotel. Carter, who has now attended 16 state meetings during her time with TravelManagers, says she places great value on the opportunity to catch up on what’s happening in the business.“There is always something new to learn,” she explains, “and as always, it was fantastic connecting with my colleagues.”Representative for Athelstone, SA, Lucrezia Caruso, is another PTM who always makes the effort to attend state meeting meetings, and says she found the latest, which was held at the Pullman Hotel in Adelaide, to have been as worthwhile as she has come to expect.“I know the meetings will provide a fabulous opportunity to network with both the NPO Team and my SA-based fellow PTMs,” she reports. “It’s always my day to focus on my business and learn more about what the company is up to, and I walk away feeling great about having put a day aside to be there.”Representative for Attadale, WA, Donna Jones is one of TravelManagers’ newer PTMs, and she describes her first-ever state meeting as “invaluable”.“Having completed my TravelManagers induction very recently, it was fabulous to reconnect with the NPO team and meet my fellow WA-based PTMs,” she explains. “I found the Business Partnership Panel session, in which two PTMs spoke about what they do to enhance their customers’ experience, especially interesting and enlightening.”Despite being new to TravelManagers, Jones has more than 15 years’ experience in the travel industry, and notes that the state meetings already appear as a firm commitment on her calendar.“As far as I’m aware, the opportunity to network with fellow PTMs from all over the state, along with suppliers and NPO, on a regular scheduled basis is unique within our industry. It’s such a great way to ensure that the needs of the group are met in a way that is personal and meaningful.”Among the 200-plus PTMs who attended the five meetings were 23 who were each celebrating five years with TravelManagers: a milestone which Gazal says the company is happy to mark by providing commemorative plaques and bottles of champagne.“Close to half of our PTMs have been with us for more than five years,” Gazal notes. “We attribute much of our success in retention to our focus on understanding the needs of the network and maintaining constant contact with our PTMs through state meetings and through the work of our nine state-based Business Partnership Managers (BPMs).”“State meetings give PTMs the ability to talk directly to the NPO experts in fares/ticketing, digital and social media, accounting and operational processes and general marketing – both formally in each meeting and informally on a one-on-one basis during the breaks throughout the day: some of our most valuable conversations take place over a cup of coffee.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagersTravelManagers is Australia’s market leader and biggest home-based travel business operating in all States & Territories. A wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $2 billion for 2019, TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel. TravelManagers is solely dedicated to providing the best possible support to its network of more than 570 personal travel managers throughout Australia, through a dedicated team at the company’s National Partnership Office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer funds in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases. This is supported by a Trust Account Fidelity Risk insurance policy to protect all clients’ funds in the unlikely event they are missing from, or not paid into the Insured Trust Account.Held twice a year around the country, TravelManagers’ state meetings provide PTMs with a chance to reconnect with fellow PTMs and NPO team members. (L-R) Renee Millard, Michael Gazal, JP Boutefeu, Jose Cañas, Lyndy Burston, Leah McGrath
Turkish Airlines connects Košice, the urban center of Eastern Slovakia with Istanbul, one of the most important global transport hubs to the world. The flag carrier will operate flights to and from Košice three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in both directions.This way, Košice will gain strategic importance in the process of building and strengthening cultural, business and tourist activities. For Turkish Airlines, Košice is the 289th destination that its fleet will connect with the rest of the world.Introductory trip fares are available from Istanbul to Košice starting from 99 American Dollars and from Košice to Istanbul 99 Euros (including taxes and fees). Additionally, for the first 6 months of operation to the new destinations, there is a special offer for Miles&Smiles members, with a 25% reduction in the miles needed to redeem either award tickets or upgrades.
Azerbaijan recently organised a 3-city event titled ‘Discover Azerbaijan Roadshow’ in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad in September to educate the Indian market to travel to the South Caucasus region. Sachin Nene, Regional General Manager- Air Arabia, India, said, “Azerbaijan is relatively new to Indians as a tourist destination. Through these roadshows, our efforts have been centred towards reaching out to the best performing travel agents and tour operators across three cities and grow their knowledge about Azerbaijan. The destination needs a lot of promotional efforts like this to get itself acquainted with the Indian travel trade fraternity and thereby witness the good number of Indian tourist.” Ildirim Ganbarov, Business Development Manager, Pasha Travels, said, “Exhibitors from Azerbaijan focused on targeting not only the MICE traveller segment but also the leisure segment though MICE have been till now the best performing sectors from India. The exhibitors present at the roadshow not only showcased their product offerings in Baku but also exhibited other destinations like Shabran, Guba, Shahdag, Shamakha, Qabala, Sheki, Ganja, Lankaran, Nakhichevan and Naftalan.” The Indian market has been performing significantly well for Air Arabia as the airline recorded 95% passenger from this market across all 13 Indian cities from where the airline operates. Between April and August this year Air Arabia recorded 850 Indian passengers. Nene said that for Air Arabia, 80% of the Indian travellers to Azerbaijan are from the MICE segment. These travellers also prefer to add sightseeing and nightlife in their itinerary when visiting Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan Tourism Authorities are working towards engagement with members of the travel trade and media through FAM trips and is also looking at attracting the film producers to the destination. For 94 nationalities including India e-visa is issued which is valid for 90 days. “Baku has a lot to offer to Indians in terms of MICE and leisure. We are concentrating our efforts on promoting destinations in Azerbaijan as well but our prime focus remains on Baku. We are working towards tie-ups with Cox & Kings, SOTC, Thomas Cook, etc., to target the leisure traveller segment from the Indian market next year. India is an emerging market for Azerbaijan and we are hopeful that our promotional efforts will help us establish Azerbaijan as a prominent destination for the Indian travellers,” Nene concluded. Till now word of mouth publicity helped Air Arabia to record the good number of passengers from the Indian market, with this roadshow it is expected to attract more Indian passengers to visit Azerbaijan.
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology August 28, 2012 435 Views “”Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation””:www.fairwayindependentmc.com/ is expanding its footprint, recently announcing the opening of a new office in the Southeast. [IMAGE]The lender’s latest location will be based in Pooler, Georgia, and Fairway’s nationwide presence now encompasses 129 branches around the country.[COLUMN_BREAK]The company’s newest office will serve clients in Richmond Hill, Savannah, and Effingham Counties. An official statement touting Fairway’s customer service offerings noted, “”One aspect that sets them apart from others is clear, constant communication. All parties are notified every step of the way. Closings occur on time and the documents often arrive early.””To support Fairway’s operations in Pooler, the company has added three new loan officers, all of whom have had extensive careers in the lending marketplace. Fairway’s recent hires for the location include Beth Jeffreys, a 17-year industry veteran and Military Mortgage Specialist; Vicki Howard, who boasts 25-plus years of experience; and Iris Bryant, who has been in the mortgage business for more than seven years.Rounding out the company’s Pooler-based staff, Fairway announced the appointment of office loan coordinator Debbie Eaton. Additionally, K.C. Shannon has been named as manager for the location. Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-08-28 Abby Gregory Fairway Independent Mortgage Expanding in Georgia
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Compliance Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Credit Availability Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bankers Association Service Providers 2013-09-09 Tory Barringer Share September 9, 2013 455 Views Lending tightened a bit in August as the mortgage market began making adjustments in preparation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) qualified mortgage (QM) requirements set to go in effect January 2014.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The “”Mortgage Bankers Association’s””:http://mbaa.org/ (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) decreased 0.7 percent month-over-month in August to a reading of 111.5–the first drop following four straight months of gains. The index was benchmarked at 100 in March 2012.According to Mike Fratantoni, VP of research and economics for the association, August’s decline was driven by decreases in availability of loans that have interest-only features and of loans with terms exceeding 30 years–two features that don’t fit into the QM rule.””As these loan features are outside of the qualified mortgage (QM) definition, these changes may reflect the beginning of QM implementation, and the fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are limited to acquiring loans that meet the QM definition,”” Fratantoni said.At the same time, “”[s]hifting borrower eligibility requirements on jumbo loan programs led to offsetting increases and decreases to the MCAI,”” MBA noted. Credit Availability Falls as QM Date Draws Near in Origination
in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, Market Studies, News September 15, 2015 542 Views Consumer expectations for the housing market are showing a mixed outlook for the U.S. economy, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data August 2015 Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) released Tuesday.The SCE contains information about how consumers expect overall inflation and prices for housing, food, gas, and education to behave. It also provides insight into Americans’ views about job prospects and earnings growth and their expectations about future spending and access to credit.The survey data found that both the perceived change and the year-ahead credit availability expectations were slightly more pessimistic in August, as a portion of survey respondents that believe credit is easier to obtain fell in both conditions.The Zillow Mortgage Access Index (ZMAI) quarterly report released earlier this month found that access to mortgage credit tightened in the first quarter of 2015 and is almost unchanged from a year ago.According to Zillow, in a survey earlier this summer of more than 100 economists and housing experts, more than 60 percent said they expect mortgage regulations to loosen further, with many expressing concern the market will become too lax over the next year.Access to mortgage credit has improved in Q1, reaching 65 and is over two-thirds of the way back to 2002 pre-crisis levels, Zillow says.”Recent market volatility is causing some lenders to be more cautious in their underwriting,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Tighter mortgage access will make it harder for people with low credit scores to get a home loan, and even people who can get approved for a mortgage will have fewer options in terms of available mortgage products.The survey data showed that the median expected home price change matched series lows in February 2015, declining slightly to 3.0 percent.Median household income growth expectations for one-year ahead rose to 2.9 percent, which was the same as spring 2015 highs. The NY Fed credits much of this increase to those with a high school or less education and incomes in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.Median year-ahead household spending growth expectations remained flat at 3.5 percent, the same as last month’s all time low since the survey began. In addition, the expected median change in tax payments dropped to a new all-time low of a 2.7 percent increase.In terms of the labor market, the expected median one-year ahead earnings growth remained stable at 2.4 percent and have stayed flat for the most part since December 2014.Job separation expectations also fell, with the probability of losing a job reaching a new low of 13.5 percent and the probability of leaving a job dropping from 22.0 percent to 20.8 percent.However, the recent jobs report found that job gains fell below expectations for the month of August, totaling less than 200,000, but wage growth finally began to show some upward pressure. Analysts are still divided on whether it will be enough to convince the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in their September meeting, however.According to the August 2015 Employment Summary released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday, nonfarm employment increased in August by 173,000, which is well below the monthly average for the previous 12 months of 247,000. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent while the number of unemployed persons in the nation fell below eight million. The unemployment rate and number of unemployed persons are down by 1 full percentage point and 1.5 million people, respectively, year-over-year in August.While wage growth has been slow for the most part in recent months, average hourly earnings for all employees jumped by 8 cents in August up to $25.09, a year-over-year increase of 2.2 percent. This increase followed a gain of 6 cents in July. For non-supervisory employees, average hourly earnings increased by 5 cents in August up to $21.07.The NY Fed also reported that median inflation expectations lowered from 3.0 to 2.8 percent at the one-year ahead mark, and fell from 3.0 to 2.9 percent at the three-year ahead mark.Click here to view the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s August 2015 Survey of Consumer Expectations.Photo courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Credit Access Economic Outlook Federal Reserve Bank of New York 2015-09-15 Seth Welborn Consumers Show Mixed Economic Outlook, Survey Finds Share