Grand jury indicts Puerto Rico drug lords lawyer

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first_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 The indictment does not say who provided the money, but authorities said the funds were derived from drug sales.Rodriguez said prosecutors had no evidence that any officials, including judges, politicians and police officers, were ever approached with a bribe offer by anyone involved in the alleged scheme.A total of 56 people have been arrested in Figueroa’s case and more than 3 million tons of drugs seized, said Angel Melendez, Puerto Rico-based special agent for Homeland Security Investigations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.“This investigation is quite extensive and is still ongoing,” he said.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – A Puerto Rico lawyer has been arrested on allegations he collected funds meant to bribe a judge to overturn a life sentence for a drug dealer once dubbed the “Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean,” officials said Tuesday.Ramon Negron Colon, an attorney for Jose Figueroa Agosto, was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said Negron had received at least $590,000 in cash for the scheme, though there is no evidence that any bribe was actually offered to any official. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Also indicted was legal broker William Barreto Ortiz, who in addition is accused of lying to the FBI.Both men were arrested Monday afternoon at their homes and pleaded not guilty during a court appearance Tuesday afternoon.Figueroa was convicted of murder in August 1995 and sentenced to 208 years in prison in Puerto Rico. But he escaped to the Dominican Republic in 1999 after forging his release papers, only to return to Puerto Rico a decade later.He was arrested again in July 2010 after a high-speed chase and was accused of shipping Colombian cocaine to the U.S. mainland through Puerto Rico.Rodriguez said that more than a year before Figueroa’s return to Puerto Rico, Negron sought to obtain up to $3 million to help nullify Figueroa’s conviction through bribes and had received an initial payment of at least $440,000 stuff in a suitcase.After Figueroa’s 2009 arrest in Puerto Rico, Negron told his client he would seek a new trial and said it would be granted if the presiding judge was offered a $300,000 bribe, according to the indictment. Authorities said Negron received an additional $150,000 in cash, only to return $125,000 of it in 2011 after failing to secure a new trial for Figueroa.last_img read more

Using a smartphone microscope to detect parasites in blood

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first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Men’s health affects baby’s health too Comments   Share   How it works: Squeeze a finger-prick of blood into a small tube and slide the tube into the 3-D printed base. Click the smartphone on top, its camera lined over the blood sample. Touch the screen to start an app and an image-processing system analyzes wriggling motions that are the size and shape to be of concern, and reports a count.When used on 33 potentially infected people in Cameroon, the results were comparable to standard microscope testing, the researchers reported Wednesday. Next, Nutman said the team hopes to test the devices in a study of at least 30,000 people in Cameroon this summer. He estimates the devices could be manufactured for $50 to $100, not including the phone.The work was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NIH and other groups.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies WASHINGTON (AP) — Prick a finger and have the blood checked for parasites — by smartphone? Scientists are turning those ubiquitous phones into microscopes and other medical tools that could help fight diseases in remote parts of the world.In the newest work, University of California, Berkeley, researchers used a smartphone-run video microscope to target a challenge in parts of Central Africa — some devastating infections caused by tiny parasitic worms. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Wednesday’s research targets a public health dilemma: A drug named ivermectin can fight two kinds of microscopic worms, spread to people through insect bites, that cause debilitating infections in much of Africa — river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, a disabling swelling. Mass campaigns to treat affected communities are underway in many areas.But in certain parts of Central Africa, the treatment campaigns had to be suspended because some people also harbor a third worm, named Loa loa, that can trigger a potentially fatal neurologic reaction to the medication, said Dr. Thomas Nutman of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. For now, the only way to tell who’s at risk requires manually testing blood samples, taking hours and specially trained workers that simply aren’t available during mass treatment programs, added Nutman, who worked with the Berkeley team on a faster alternative.The researchers created a handheld device that converts a smartphone into a video microscope and uses custom software to record and analyze movements in blood cells that signal worm larvae are wriggling, said UC-Berkeley bioengineer Dr. Daniel Fletcher, who led the work.“We’re using this phone not just as computer power or for its camera, but to run the test,” Fletcher explained.center_img Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How do cataracts affect your vision? Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Sponsored Stories A small pilot study in Cameroon showed the device could measure within minutes certain worms wriggling in a finger-prick of blood, rapidly identifying who is a candidate for an important medication — and who’s at risk for a severe side effect from that drug.If larger studies pan out, the so-called “CellScope Loa” could help revive a program to eliminate diseases that cause blindness and disability in the region, the team reported Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.Essentially, the instrument acted as a cheap, portable laboratory — no lab technician required — part of a trend in medical uses for smartphones that goes far beyond simple tasks like measuring heartbeats or emailing your doctor photos of a suspicious mole.“This is a very important technology,” said Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Peter Hotez, a well-known specialist in neglected tropical diseases who wasn’t involved in the new research.“It’s very practical,” by eliminating the need for specially trained health workers and pricey equipment in remote villages, he added.It’s the latest in a string of attempts to harness smartphones as mini-labs. Columbia University scientists recently created a device powered by a smartphone to detect signs of HIV and syphilis in blood, pilot-testing the tool in clinics in Rwanda. At Massachusetts General Hospital, doctors are researching a tool that clips over a smartphone camera to detect cancer in blood or tissue samples. Hotez said still other researchers are using phone cameras to detect intestinal parasites in stool samples.last_img read more

Kurdish leader reiterates his forces need for arms

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first_img Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Top Stories “We have been given assurances from the U.S. administration that they care about this issue … and they assured us that the peshmerga will receive the necessary weapons.”Barzani also said the Kurds still want to have a referendum on becoming independent from the rest of Iraq, but said he won’t push it while the nation is embroiled in a fight against IS militants.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Speaking through an interpreter, Barzani told a group of reporters that despite pledges from Baghdad made several years ago, his forces did not receive “a bullet or a piece” of weaponry from Baghdad.The House Armed Services Committee last week supported the authorization of the president’s request of $715 million for security assistance to Iraqi forces battling Islamic State militants, but stipulated that 25 percent of the funds be given directly to Kurdish and Sunni forces involved in the fight. That drew opposition from both Obama and — ironically — an influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, an opponent of the U.S. military between 2003 and 2011.The cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, threatened to attack American interests if the U.S. sends arms directly to Sunni and Kurdish fighters. The Iraqi government in Baghdad also rejected the provision. It said the move would only foster more division in the region at a time when Iraq is trying to reconcile factions in the country, especially in response to the threat from IS.“I would like to reiterate: If it were up to us, we would like to get them directly,” Barzani said, thanking U.S. lawmakers for crafting the legislation. “We have not backed down from our position. We insist that the weapons get to the hands of the peshmerga. Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani, left, walks to West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 5, 2015, where he is scheduled to meet with Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona WASHINGTON (AP) — The leader of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq said Friday that he has not backtracked on his request for the U.S. to bypass Baghdad and directly supply weapons to his forces, but said he wouldn’t interfere in a disagreement over the issue between Congress and the White House.Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq, said the Obama administration this week reassured him that the Kurdish military, known as the peshmerga, would get the weaponry it needs. The peshmerga has been a major force in repelling the Islamic State group’s onslaught in recent months, but it complains it is not getting enough weapons from the Iraq federal government in Baghdad.last_img read more

EU seeks to keep partnership with exSoviet nations on track

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first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies But German Chancellor Angela Merkel dampened the hopes of some that the talks would pave the way for EU membership, saying the Eastern Partnership is not a tool for the bloc’s enlargement policy.“We should therefore not raise any false expectations that we cannot fulfill later,” Merkel told lawmakers in Berlin before heading to Riga.The EU’s Eastern Partnership program engages the bloc with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It suffered a major setback at the end of 2013 as Ukraine’s then-president Viktor Yanukovych withdrew from signing an association agreement and opted for closer links with Moscow and President Vladimir Putin.Since that meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, the pro-EU government elected after Yanukovych’s ouster has learned the costs of turning away from Moscow: Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, large swaths of eastern territory bordering Russia are embroiled in conflict and the nation is in deep economic decline.“Under these circumstances the idea of the Eastern Partnership is even more important than ever,” Merkel told German lawmakers.She said eastern nations still had many challenges to overcome, including improving justice systems and economic structures and fighting corruption. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Sponsored Stories ___Associated Press writer David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober In Riga, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said his country was “ready to demonstrate a real fight against corruption and improve the investment climate.”On the eve of this year’s summit, Russia again drew the line on how far neighbors could go.“We don’t see our neighbors’ aspirations to strengthen ties with the European Union as a tragedy, but to make those processes develop positively they mustn’t hurt the interests of the Russian Federation,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the upper house of the Russian parliament.For dinner Thursday, almost all of the EU leaders, including Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, will line up for sobering talks with their counterparts or top officials from Eastern partners.Putin will be nowhere in sight, but is still expected to dominate discussions.Since the Iron Curtain came down, many former communist nations have been pulled out of Moscow’s orbit, including summit host Latvia and Baltic neighbors Estonia and Lithuania — former Soviet republics that are now EU and NATO members. Under the leadership of Putin, opposition has stiffened and turned into sometimes open political conflict. Top Stories RIGA, Latvia (AP) — European Union leaders on Thursday will seek new ways to bolster ties with six post-communist nations in Eastern Europe, a year and a half after a previous summit of the Eastern Partnership ended with a fateful standoff over Ukraine.Just ahead of the two-day summit in the Latvian capital, Riga, the EU promised grants of 200 million euros ($223 million) over the next 10 years to promote small and medium-sized businesses in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The EU said the grants were expected to unlock investments of 2 billion euros by companies for the three countries. Carl Bildt, then Sweden’s foreign minister, was a key player at the Vilnius summit, seeing the hand of Moscow behind Ukraine’s sudden about-face to dismiss the EU. He said the Riga summit will reaffirm ties between the EU and the post-communist states rather than yield any headline-grabbing new agreements.“With everything from massive disinformation to tanks and soldiers thrown against the Eastern Partnership since 2013, just staying the course is a powerful sign of success,” Bildt wrote Wednesday on the Project Syndicate website for international opinion pieces.Instead of a joint approach to the six nations, the EU must go forward with piecemeal action, since Armenia and Belarus have decided to join Moscow’s Eurasian Economic Union.Belarus and its authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko have also been kept at arm’s length because of political and human rights complaints that earned the nation the moniker of the last dictatorship in Europe. Icy relations have somewhat warmed recently and Belarus is expected to send its highest delegation yet, though it won’t include Lukashenko himself.“It’s important to stress that countries can make this progression individually, according to their own circumstances and demands,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said. “I think that’s one of the strengths of this partnership.” How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Supreme Court allows use of child abuse evidence

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first_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories The case involves Darius Clark, a Cleveland man convicted of beating his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son. Clark says the trial court denied him the constitutional right to confront his accuser when it said the boy didn’t have to testify, but still considered statements he made to preschool teachers describing abuse.The Supreme Court reversed a lower court and upheld Clark’s conviction.The court’s ruling resolves a split among lower courts about the role played by teachers, social workers and others who have a legal duty to report suspected child abuse that they notice in the course of their work. Ohio’s highest court had ruled that the duty to report abuse effectively turned teachers into agents of the state for law enforcement purposes, even though no police were initially involved.Writing for the court, Justice Samuel Alito said the fact that teachers have a legal duty to report child abuse suspicions to authorities does not transform a conversation between a concerned teacher and a student into a law enforcement mission aimed at gathering evidence for prosecution.“Their questions and (the child’s) answers were primarily aimed at identifying and ending the threat,” Alito said. It was nothing like “formalized station-house questioning” or police interrogation. WASHINGTON (AP) — Statements that children make to teachers about possible abuse can be used as evidence, even if the child does not testify in court, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday.The ruling is expected to make it easier for prosecutors to convict people accused of domestic violence. The justices said that defendants don’t have a constitutional right to cross-examine child accusers unless their statements to school officials were made for the primary purpose of creating evidence for prosecution. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories center_img Alito added that it is “extremely unlikely” that a 3-year-old child would intend his statements as a substitute for trial testimony.The case began in 2010 when preschool teachers at a Head Start program asked the boy about bruises and welts they saw around his left eye. Asked who caused the injuries, the boy said “Dee,” referring to Clark.Clark was later indicted, and the court allowed the teachers to testify at trial about statements the boy made identifying Clark. The boy was deemed “incompetent” to testify. Clark was convicted of felonious assault and child endangering.A state appeals court overturned Clark’s conviction and the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed, ruling that teachers who are legally bound to report possible cases of abuse are in the same position as law enforcement officials when they question children.Rejecting that view, Alito said the teachers’ “pressing concern was to protect (the child) and remove him from harm’s way.”Forty-two states filed a brief supporting Ohio. They argue that excluding from evidence the statements children make to teachers, counselors and others who must report abuse will only protect abusers and impair the ability of states to protect children. Comments   Share   The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers submitted a brief arguing that children are susceptible to suggestion and giving unreliable testimony. The group said defendants have a constitutional right to cross examine witnesses, even when they are children.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Check your body, save your life Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

DriveAway Holidays Visit USA

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first_imgWHEEL AMERICA! Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Rosanna and Adriana Visit USA this week hosted a seminar for DriveAway Holidays, responding to an overwhelming demand by industry professionals for more training on driving holidays in the US. Complete with Major League Baseball gear and ‘dunkin’ donuts’, the seminar was attended by over 40 DriveAway Holidays staff, some dressing as memorable Americans. The main purpose of the training session, entitled ‘Wheel America’, was to aid Visit USA’s on-line training programmes. “Nearly 40 per cent of Australians who visit the USA today, rent cars, motorcycles or recreational vehicles – a whopping increase over past years,” Visit USA media chair Mark Sheehan told e-Travel Blackboard. “Savvy wholesalers and travel agents are calling out for training about driving in the great USA.” Mr Sheehan underlined the commitment of Visit USA to the training of travel professionals, saying that the organisation is “consistently engaging the wholesale and retail travel community with new programs.” “And don’t forget, every travel professional in Australia has been granted a full scholarship via the Visit USA website and with each module they complete, their name goes into the hat for some great fam and educational opportunities in the USA.” Looking ahead, Mr Sheehan is expecting “massive roll-ups” to the Visit USA Expos in February, but has stressed Visit USA’s ongoing commitment to regional initiatives. “Just today the Board has opened up discussions for taking more in-field training to cities that don’t traditionally get the Visit USA Expos every February,” Mr Sheehan told E-Travel Blackboard. “On-going regional training will only be enhanced and increased, and plans are already underway for special USA-oriented events rolling out in 2011.” “The Visit USA Board is very active.”center_img Caroline, Mark, Adriana, Romina Mark (Visit USA), Patrick, Joe, Adriana, Caroline, Rominalast_img read more

Queen of Sheba myth comes to life in Ethiopia

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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The legend of the Queen of Sheba came face-to-face with reality this week after an archeologist uncovered vast amounts of gold and temple ruins in the Queen’s former domain.Almost 3,000 years since the Queen is said to have ruled, archeologist Louise Scholfield told media she found an enormous ancient gold mine in the land that once was Sheba, now moden-day Ethiopia and Yemen, The Guardian reported. Heading the excavation in northern Ethiopia, Ms Schofield said she knew she had struck lucky when she found a 20ft stone stele with a sun and crescent moon, the “calling card of the land of Sheba”.She explained she crawled beneath the stone were she found inscription in the language the Queen would have spoken, Sabaean.Nearby the archeologist found the first few signs of a buried temple with carved stone channels and columns, evidence of a major fight as well as ancient bones.”One of the things I’ve always loved about archaeology is the way it can tie up with legends and myths,” the archeologist said.  “The fact that we might have the Queen of Sheba’s mines is extraordinary.”Ms Scholfield explained she would now commence a full excavation of the ancient site and hopes to determine the size of the actual mine, which is currently blocked by boulders.The Queen of Sheba has made appearances in holy texts including the Bible and the Qur’an. She was also the source of inspiration for many medieval Christian mystical works as well as Turkish and Persian paintings.”Where Sheba dug her golden riches is one of the great stories of the Old Testament,” archeologist Sean Kingsley added. “Timna in the Negev desert is falsely known as ‘King Solomon’s Mines’, but anything shinier has eluded us.”The idea that the ruins of Sheba’s empire will once more bring life to the villages around Maikado is truly poetic and appropriate. “Making the past relevant to the present is exactly what archaeologists should be doing. ” Image source: Guardian.co.uklast_img read more

Brand USA keeps Australia in the marketing know

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first_imgVisit USA Expo was held at Sydney’s The Star events centre where 65 exhibitors came together to promote USA, Canada and Alaska to the Australian market. Furthermore, Brand USA will this week reveal information about its biggest Australian retail partnership this week. “However, 85% of these visits are to just four main destination so Brand USA’s goal is to continue to sustain and grow this market by showcasing to Australians the limitless possibilities that are on offer in the United States, because its not just a once in a lifetime holiday destination; the U.S. offers a lifetime of holidays.” “Visitation from Australia to the U.S. is at an all-time high with 1.2 million travellers visiting from this market in 2013,” Brand USA Australia’s strategic director, Joe Ponte.  Brand USA has released its first marketing update since entering the Australian market last year, at an industry event sponsored by United Airlines yesterday. Visit California Australia’s Tristan Freedman and Brand USA’s Alfredo Gonzalez Since entering Australia, Brand USA has implemented different training and development strategies, developed and engaged in partnership activities worth millions of dollars, organised a 50 agent strong mega-famil and launched its first ever consumer marketing campaign.  Marketing messaging focusing on the Experience Pillars of Live Entertainment, Culinary and Great Outdoors will be utilized to drive Brand USA’s future marketing initiatives. Source = ETB News: L.B.last_img read more

JNTO roadshow provides endless discovery

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first_imgThe Japan National Tourism Organisation held a roadshow previewing some of the most attractive destinations in Japan.The night featured 6 presentations from the tourism offices of Wakayama, Tokyo, Toyama, Takayama, Hiroshima, Okinawa and a karate presentation.Some of the experiences described included watching sumo wrestling in Tokyo and staying in a farmhouse out of Takayama.The JNTO also described changes to the JRail pass and a new Shinkansen track to northern Honshu.The night was topped off by a karate performance where the performers cut baseball bats in half.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img

Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts selects Discover the World

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first_imgSource = Discover the World – Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts www.movenpick.comMövenpick Hotels and Resorts selects Discover the WorldMövenpick Hotels & Resorts has selected Discover the World to strengthen its sales in Australia and New Zealand.“We are particularly impressed with the professional approach Discover uses as well as its well-structured global organization,” said Francis Bertrand, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ vice president international sales. Because Australia and New Zealand represent two important source markets for us especially for our hotels and resorts in Asia, we needed a bigger sales footprint in these two countries representing our product and service.“Our Discover the World team in Australia and New Zealand are highly motivated and possess strong market knowledge and contacts, exactly what Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts wanted in order to increase its brand in these markets,” said Jenny Adams, CEO of Discover the World. “We are very pleased to be selected by Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in these markets and trust this is just the beginning of what will be a great partnership.”For more information about Discover the World, visit discovertheworld.com or call 480-707 5566 or +44 203 598 8030.About Discover the World Discover the World has earned a reputation as a leader in global travel distribution and its success in developing a worldwide network of 85 offices in more than 60 countries capable of exceptional representation performance is unmatched. With a portfolio of more than 90 clients utilizing its sales, marketing and business process outsourcing services. Discover the World remains a dominant innovator for the travel industry.About Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, an international upscale hotel management company with over 16,000 staff members, is represented in 24 countries with 83 hotels, resorts and Nile cruisers currently in operation. Around 20 properties are planned or under construction, including those in Chiang Mai (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia) and Marrakech (Morocco).Focusing on expanding within its core markets of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts specializes in business and conference hotels, as well as holiday resorts, all reflecting a sense of place and respect for their local communities. Of Swiss heritage and with headquarters in central Switzerland (Baar), Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is passionate about delivering premium service and culinary enjoyment – all with a personal touch. Committed to supporting sustainable environments, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has become the most Green Globe-certified hotel company in the world.The hotel company is owned by Mövenpick Holding (66.7%) and the Kingdom Group (33.3%). For more information, please visit www.moevenpick-hotels.com/en/. Mövenpick Hotels & Resortsbook here Discover the Worldfind out more last_img read more

Significance of 21 December 2015 for Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel and Fair

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first_imgSignificance of 21 December 2015 for Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel and FairfaxJohn Fairfax & Sons1856 –1955The original building on this site dates back to 1856 when it was home to John Fairfax & Sons, publishers of Australia’s oldest surviving newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald. The original stone clad building was designed in Italianate style by architects Goold & Hillings and consisted of three storeys and a basement.An extension building was constructed between 1922 and 1929. Architects Manson & Pickering designed the building in the inter-war renaissance palazzo style using Bondi sandstone and Bowral trachyteto clad one of Sydney’s earliest concrete frame structures. Erected by Stuart Brothers builders and standing at nine levels with a basement the building was restricted to 150 feet (50 metres) in height by the Height of Buildings Act which limited the upward growth of Sydney between 1913 and 1956. The cupola typifies the efforts of architects to add an illusion of height to city building during that period.Bank of New South Wales1956 –1997Fairfax Press shared the upper floors of the building with commercial tenancies, many of who remained after the sale of the building in 1954 to the Bank of New South Wales, now known as Westpac. The last edition of the Sydney Morning Herald was written, sub-edited and typeset at this site on the 21st December 1955.Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney2000 –2010The Walter Construction Group carried out a number of adaptive works on the building between 1998 and 2000 with the culmination of the intimate, boutique style, five-star Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney opening in July 2000.The cupola weighing some 920 tonnes was raised 3.9 metres to its current level to maintain the aesthetic balance of the building that by now incorporated three additional levels. Whilst the interior was completely redeveloped some important architectural features were retained. The original offices of Sir Warwick and Sir James Fairfax on the Mezzanine level were restored and are now beautiful meeting rooms.The 362 guestrooms and suites were designed in a contemporary but elegant style to beautifully complement the stunning heritage sandstone façade. The original lavish public hall at the Hunter street entry is now home to Bistro Fax Restaurant & Bar. In1928 there was a gymnasium on the roof; the Health Club is now located on the Mezzanine level In 2010 and coinciding with the hotel’s 10th birthday year, the hotel undertook a multimillion dollar redesign program transforming the lobby including reception, concierge, the lounge and the hotel’s signature restaurant.Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney2010 – PresentFollowing a transformation of the public spaces in 2010, the hotel was also re-branded by Carlson as a Radisson Blu. This was part of a corporate re-alignment which saw this flagship property for Asia Pacific take on the mantle of one of a handful of hotels worldwide to meet the standards required for this developing brand.In September 2015, Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney unveiled the first phase of its $12 million redesign, the first major update of its guest rooms and function spaces since it opened in 2000.Acclaimed Sydney architects Bates Smart undertook the re-design for Radisson Blu, which focused on the function and meeting rooms, and the two authentically restored heritage rooms aptly named Sir James and Sir Warwick which once housed their offices. The Lady Fairfax room, located on the entry level, is now popular for its high tea service but can also serve as an event space.The second phase of the Radisson Blu re-design will see a complete refresh of all 336 guestrooms and 28 suites, with new silk fabrics and contemporary chrome and metal-blue colour schemes, stylish chevron patterning reflected in the lighting and upgrades to the fittings in the building’s original marble bathrooms. The Presidential Suite will be divided into two rooms, bringing the total number of guestrooms to 364. The re-design will complement the two-hatted Bentley Restaurant and Bar, which found its contemporary new home within the majestic façade and grander space of the hotel in 2013. Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydneydiscover more here Special Offersbook here and nowcenter_img Source = Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydneylast_img read more

Sharks commence 25 milliondollar construction of Mantra Hotel

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first_imgSource = Southport Sharks – Mantra Hotels Sharks commence $25 million-dollar construction of Mantra Hotel Southport Sharks CEO, Dean BowtellSharks commence $25 million-dollar construction of Mantra HotelOne of the largest clubs in Queensland, Southport Sharks, has joined forces with leading Australian hotel and resort operator, Mantra Group, to launch a new hotel on the Gold Coast.Featuring 120 rooms and 209 carparks, construction of the estimated $25-million Mantra at Sharks commenced this week, with an opening scheduled for early-2018.After an extensive due diligence period, Southport Sharks recently engaged leading South East Queensland companies, McNab and GroupGSA.“We are very excited to partner with Mantra, and engage market-leading construction and architectural firms in McNab and GroupGSA. The decision sends a strong message that we’re serious about partnering with local business and investing locally. This project will benefit the economy of the Gold Coast, not only through the construction phase, but for years to come,” said CEO of Southport Sharks, Mr Dean Bowtell.Mantra Group Chief Executive Officer, Bob East said the Group is thrilled to partner with Southport Sharks – one of the Gold Coast’s strongest and most recognisable businesses.“Mantra at Sharks will provide a market-leading hotel offering, well positioned to become a premier corporate, meetings and leisure hotel, and its opening is well timed to coincide with strong market conditions in the lead up to and during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Mr East said.“The new hotel will complement our existing portfolio of 127 properties across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii.”Mathew Kemp, Gold Coast Construction Manager for McNab stated “one of the appealing aspects of working with the Southport Sharks is that they are very focussed on the local community. We take the same ethos when constructing buildings, with our Gold Coast office currently prioritising local subcontractors and suppliers for the build so that the local community benefits from the construction of this important project”.GroupGSA’s Queensland Design Leader, Mr Alex Hoffmann said they were delighted to be working together with Southport Sharks to design an authentic hotel experience where guests stay, are inspired and become an integral part of the club for the duration of their visit. “The design is inspired by the undulating site topography and the Southport Sharks identity, creating a striking entry statement for both club and hotel. The reception and foyer are conceived as a contemporary take on the Queensland verandah forming a shady cool connection between the new hotel and the existing club main entry” said Mr Hoffmann.Southport Sharks will utilise the services of Australia’s first, and oldest bank, Westpac, and have engaged one of Australia’s leading providers of project management services, RPS to project manage the development of the hotel.RPS Project Management General Manager, Ben Rayward said “RPS Project Management is privileged to be working with the Southport Sharks in the delivery of this landmark project. The high calibre project team includes leading firms Group GSA, Zone Planning Group, Napier & Blakeley, ADG, BRW Enterprises, Energy Air, McKenzie Group, Precise Power, and now with the recent engagement of McNab as the building contractor we are looking forward to moving into the construction phase of the project. Delivery of this project with the Sharks adds to our experience with other leading Gold Coast properties including Pacific Fair, Australia Fair, Jupiters Hotel and Casino, GOLDOC, John Flynn Hospital and the Gold Coast Airport.”The hotel provides a unique offering to the area, in addition to resolving the club’s accommodation demands from existing markets, including weddings, business events, and the growing North Gold Coast region.“We would like to thank our 50,000 members and 250 staff, who continue to contribute to our club and assist us in creating a diversified service offering. Upon completion of the hotel, Southport Sharks will become the complete entertainment and sporting destination,” said Mr Bowtell.The hotel forms a part of the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct which already boasts Gold Coast University Hospital, Griffith University, Gold Coast Private Hospital and of course the Commonwealth Games village.“As a stakeholder of the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, we anticipate many medical professionals, interstate business executives, and families visiting will make use of the hotel and general club facilities,” said Mr Bowtell.“We are confident in our capability to also tap into sports tourism, combining the hotel with our modern fitness facilities and conference capabilities.” Mr Bowtell said.last_img read more

Las Vegas breaks tourism record with 429 million visitors

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first_imgLas Vegas continued its historic visitation growth, setting a new all-time record. The ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ welcomed 42.9 million visitors in 2016, surpassing 2015’s record-setting 42.3 million.Rossi Ralenkotter, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said, “Las Vegas continues to see increased interest in the destination, and we are excited to announce that once again we are celebrating record visitation. Together with our resort partners, we look forward to aggressively marketing the destination around the world to continue attracting more visitors and break the record again this year.”In addition to hosting millions of leisure travellers, Las Vegas celebrated record-breaking convention visitation in 2016. The destination welcomed more than 6.3 million business travellers during the year, contributing to the overall increase in visitor traffic.The destination continues to enjoy industry-leading occupancy rates with an extremely large base of nearly 150,000 available rooms.last_img read more

New Director for MuniMae

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first_img A new director is taking over at “”Municipal Mortgage & Equity””:http://www.munimae.com/index.html, LLC. Frederick W. Puddester was recently announced as the company’s new director and was also appointed to its audit committee.[IMAGE]Joining MuniMae in his official capacity on August 10, Puddester brings with him more than 20 years of experience in financial services, having most recently served as the vice president for finance and administration at “”Williams College””:http://www.williams.edu/. [COLUMN_BREAK]Additionally, Puddester has worked for “”Johns Hopkins University””:http://www.jhu.edu/, and the wide range of his responsibilities prior to joining MuniMae encompassed budgeting, financial planning, financial reporting, funding development, and fiscal forecasting.Puddester has been a board member of MuniMae TE Bond Subsidiary, LLC – a company subsidiary – making his selection as director even more beneficial to MuniMae. Commenting on Puddester’s appointment, Mary K. Joseph, chariman of the board for MuniMae, said, “”We are extremely pleased to have Fred join MuniMae’s board. We are excited about the wealth of financial, functional and operational experience he brings to the table and are confident that Fred will be an immediate, valuable and contributing member of our Board.””Puddester joins other recent hires within MuniMae, including the company’s new chief financial officer, Lisa Roberts, who took over following the resignation of David Kay. The Maryland-based company specializes is meeting diverse real estate needs in the tax-exempt bond sector for the multi-family housing segment. Share New Director for MuniMae Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2011-08-15 Abby Gregorycenter_img August 15, 2011 480 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologylast_img read more

AmeriBid Marketing Officer Promoted to VP

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first_imgNew,AmeriBid Marketing Officer Promoted to VP Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-04-08 Tory Barringer In Oklahoma, “”AmeriBid LLC””:http://www.ameribid.com/ announced the promotion of chief marketing officer John Pellow to VP.[IMAGE]Pellow joined the company in 2009, serving before then as director of marketing for a real estate auction and brokerage services firm, where he was responsible for the marketing and sales support of several divisions. He has [COLUMN_BREAK]also held high-level positions with a major wireless communications company and national retail sporting goods chain.In his previous role as chief marketing officer, he was responsible for corporate brand management and all aspects of marketing from strategy to implementation. In his new position, he will focus on building strong client relationships locally, regionally, and nationally.””We are thrilled to have John’s expertise and commitment to client service on the sales team at AmeriBid,”” said Stan Schreyer, CEO. “”There is no doubt he will continue to drive success within the company and achieve significant goals in the process.””””John has managed millions of dollars in marketing funds and has a deep understanding of the auction process and what it takes to see a property through from listing to closing,”” said Larry Latham, co-chairman and founder. “”We are excited about what he will be able to contribute in his next role within the company.”” April 8, 2013 417 Views center_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Sharelast_img read more

Zillow OneThird of Homebuyers Lack Basic Mortgage Knowledge

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first_img With mortgage rates low and affordability relatively high, the housing market is seeing buyers return in force–unfortunately, many of those would-be owners are woefully unprepared and misinformed when it comes to taking out a mortgage, “”Zillow””:http://www.zillow.com/ discovered in a recently released survey.[IMAGE]According to Zillow, homebuyers participating in its Mortgage Marketplace Survey answered basic questions on mortgage information incorrectly nearly one-third (32.5 percent) of the time.For example, 34 percent of first-time homebuyers are not aware that they might be able to get a home loan with a down payment of less than 5 percent. According to Zillow, the number of lenders on the company’s Mortgage Marketplace that quote loan requests with a down payment between 3.5 and 5 percent has risen by 570 percent over the past two years.In addition, homebuyers seem not to understand how to secure the best possible interest rate and loan terms. Twenty-six percent of homebuyer respondents believe–incorrectly–they are obligated to close their loan with the lender the pre-approved them. Separately, 24 percent believe the best interest rates and fees can always be found through the bank with which they currently do business.””All too often buyers focus on renegotiating a lower home price and ignore the importance of finding the right loan. If a home buyer can lower their interest rate by even half a percentage point, they can not only increase their purchasing power, but save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan,”” said Erin Lantz, director of mortgages for Zillow.Prospective buyers aren’t the only group who demonstrated a lack of basic mortgage knowledge.According to Zillow, an estimated 14 million homeowners (about one in five) said they did not believe underwater borrowers could refinance. (According to the “”latest data””:https://themreport.com/articles/mortgage-rates-continue-to-attract-harp-activity-in-february-2013-05-07 from the Federal Housing Finance Administration, nearly 2.4 million underwater borrowers had refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program as of the end of February 2013.)Separately, 47 percent of current homeowners incorrectly believe they must wait at least one year between refinancing.In an effort to educate potential and current homeowners, Zillow is offering an online “”Mortgage IQ Quiz””:http://www.zillow.com/mortgage-rates/quiz/ that contains detailed information on common mortgage misperceptions. in Data, Origination Zillow: One-Third of Homebuyers Lack Basic Mortgage Knowledge May 8, 2013 443 Views center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Customer Satisfaction Demand HARP Investors Lenders & Servicers Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers Zillow 2013-05-08 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more

MISMO Releases Reference Model Version 33 Seeks Public Comments

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first_img Share in Technology October 17, 2013 454 Views MISMO Releases Reference Model Version 3.3, Seeks Public Commentscenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bankers Association Service Providers 2013-10-17 Emily Ellis The “”Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization””:http://www.mismo.org/default.htm (MISMO) announced Wednesday the release of its Residential Reference Model Version 3.3 for public comment. The organization’s press release stresses the significance of the updates given recent changes in regulatory and reporting requirements in the industry.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]This iteration, developed by experts industrywide, “”provides the mortgage finance industry with the standards needed in today’s rapidly changing regulatory and compliance environment,”” noted Mike Fratantoni, president of MISMO. Specifically, Version 3.3 reflects changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) integrated closing disclosures, high-cost loans under the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA), the Uniform Mortgage Servicing Dataset (UMSD) used within GSEs, the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) TOTAL Scorecard, and Ginnie Mae’s Pool Data Delivery dataset.Also among the enhancements is an updated Logical Data Dictionary (LDD). Further details of the enhancement can be found in the Version 3.3 Release Notes and in the organization’s latest Residential Specifications. MISMO welcomes comments from the public regarding errors and omissions until December 16, 2013. Comments on Version 3.3 may be sent to info@mismo.org.last_img read more

Auctioncom CoFounder Honored as Internet Person of the Year

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first_imgAuction.com Co-Founder Honored as ‘Internet Person of the Year’ Auction.com Company News 2014-11-03 Tory Barringer Share November 3, 2014 488 Views center_img Auction.com’s Rob Friedman has a new award for the mantle: The Internet Marketing Association (IMA) named the real estate marketplace’s chairman and co-founder Internet Person of the Year.According to an announcement, IMA awarded Friedman the honor based on his hands-on approach to create a marketplace where homebuyers and sellers can benefit from a transparent, efficient process.”Rob Friedman utterly embodies the total vision of the internet entrepreneur—the drive, the vision, the innovation, the risk taking,” said Sinan Kanatsiz, chairman and founder of IMA. “Combine that with his commitment to his community, employees and the development of the highest professional standards for the internet marketing industry, and the selection of Rob as ‘Internet Person of the Year’ was a decision that was impossible not to make.”With this recognition, Friedman and Auction.com join the ranks of some of the most prominent Internet entrepreneurs of the last decade, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Nativo founder Justin Choi, and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.”To receive this award is such an honor—and a testament to Auction.com’s success in providing Internet users with the most seamless process possible for transacting real estate,” Friedman said. “With more than $26 billion in residential and commercial properties sold through our platform, Auction.com is indeed ‘where real estate is moving now and into the future.'” in Headlines, News, Technologylast_img read more

Leading Economic Indicators Beat October Forecast

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first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Share November 21, 2014 429 Views A popular measure of leading U.S. economic indicators jumped nearly a full percentage point in October, topping forecasts and pointing to near-term growth.The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI), a measure of economic growth expectations for the coming months, increased 0.9 percent in October to a reading of 105.2, the group reported Thursday. The spike follows a 0.7 percent increase in September and a flat reading in August.Experts surveyed by Econoday forecast a gain of 0.5 percent for the month.”Despite a negative contribution from stock prices in October, and minimal contributions from new orders for consumer goods and average workweek manufacturing, the LEI suggests the U.S. expansion continues to be strong,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board.The continuing improvement comes as consumers express a more optimistic outlook for the economy and their own finances. Last week, the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters preliminary reading of consumer sentiment hit its highest level in more than seven years, spurred by improving labor conditions and cheaper gasoline prices.Part of the headline increase came from an improvement in one of the index’s housing-related components: Permits for new building were at an adjusted annual rate of 1.08 million in October, according to the Commerce Department, a six-year high.The Conference Board’s other indicators for the month were mixed. The group reported a 0.1 percent uptick in its Coincident Economic Index, suggesting ongoing growth is weak, while the Lagging Economic Index declined 0.1 percent—indicating a belief that reports of previous economic growth may not come out as strong in revised estimates.center_img Conference Board Consumer Confidence Housing Permits Leading Economic Indicators 2014-11-21 Tory Barringer Leading Economic Indicators Beat October Forecastlast_img read more

Shift Towards Investor Refinance Loans Leads to Higher Credit Risk

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first_img CoreLogic creditors HOUSING Housing Credit Index loans Purchase Refinance Risk 2017-12-19 Staff Writer Shift Towards Investor, Refinance Loans Leads to Higher Credit Risk Credit risk in Q3 2017 increased due to a shift in the purchase loan mix to more investor loans and a shift in the refinance loan mix to borrowers with lower credit scores and higher debt-to-income (DTI) ratio according to CoreLogic’s Q3 2017 Housing Credit Index (HCI) released on Tuesday. In Q3, the HCI increased 111.1, up 18 points from 93.1 in Q3 2016 remaining within the HCI benchmark range of 90-121.The HCI measures trends in six home mortgage credit risk attributes and indicates the relative increase or decrease in credit risk for new home loan originations compared to prior periods. The six attributes include borrower credit score, DTI, loan-to-value ratio (LTV), investor-owned status, condo/co-op share and documentation level.“The CoreLogic HCI is up compared to a year ago, in part reflecting a shift in the mix of loans to the purchase market, which typically exhibit higher risk. Looking forward to 2018, with continuing economic and home price growth, we expect credit-risk metrics to rise moderately,” Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic said. The report noted that while credit score for homebuyers increased seven points year over year between Q3 2016 and Q3 2017, rising from 739 to 746, the share of homebuyers with credit scores under 640 was 2 percent compared with 25 percent in 2001, indicating that the Q3 2017 share was less than one-tenth of the share in 2001.In terms of DTI, the report said that, the average DTI for homebuyers in Q3 2017 was unchanged from Q3 2016 at 36. In Q3 2017, the share of homebuyers with DTIs greater than or equal to 43 percent was 22 percent, down slightly from 24 percent in Q3 2016, but up from 18 percent in 2001.The LTV for homebuyers dropped by almost 2 percentage points year-over-year from 86.4 percent in Q3 2016 to 84.9 percent in Q3 2017 according to the report which also indicated that the share of homebuyers with an LtV greater than or equal to 95 percent had increased by almost one-third in 2017 compared with 2001.While the investor share of home purchase loans increased to 4.4 percent in Q3 2017 from 4 percent in the year ago period, the share of home purchase loans secured by condominiums or co-op buildings increased to 11.5 percent in Q3 2017 from 10 percent in the year ago period.The report noted that low or no-documentation loans remained a small part of the mortgage market in 2017. Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination December 19, 2017 640 Views last_img read more