first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology The run featured bulls from the Conde de la Maza breeder — weighing in between 1,235 and 1,367 pounds (560-620 kilograms).Despite their large size, the bulls hurtled along the 930 yards (850 meters) from a holding pen on the edge of town to the central bullring in two minutes, 27 seconds — a fast time.The amount of runners on Sunday appeared to be larger than previous days. Viewed from above, the narrow cobblestone streets of Pamplona showed very few spaces among runners jostling alongside the muscle-bound bulls as they sped along.Although the beasts pushed and shoved runners aside as they thundered through the streets, there were no serious incidents. The last time Conde de la Maza bulls ran in Pamplona was in 1981.The nine-day fiesta, held annually to honor the northern city’s patron saint, dates back to the late 16th century. It became world-famous after Ernest Hemingway featured it in his 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises.”Most of the tens of thousands of tourists attracted to Pamplona each year come from the U.S., Britain and Australia.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Comments   Share   A ”recortador” jumps over a bull during a competition at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, Saturday, July 11, 2015. Revelers from around the world arrive in Pamplona every year to take part in some of the eight days of the running of the bulls. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) — The number of thrill-seeking revelers at the sixth day of the San Fermin festival’s running of the bulls in Pamplona swelled to more than 3,000 but no one was gored Sunday.Red Cross spokesman Alfonso Contin said initial reports indicated a possible broken arm in the bull run, but the injury to a 22-year-old Spaniard from the northwestern city of Oviedo was later confirmed to be a shoulder dislocation. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories last_img read more

first_imgBEIRUT (AP) — Kurdish fighters besieged members of the Islamic State group Thursday in the northeastern city of Hassakeh as they pushed forward under the cover of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, an activist group and the main Kurdish militia in Syria said.Kurdish fighters have been on the offensive in northern Syria since January, capturing large areas from the extremist group and controlling a long stretch along the border with Turkey. The IS group attacked several government-held southern neighborhoods in Hassakeh last month and troops have since failed to retake the areas. YPG fighters joined the battle, recently capturing several villages south of Hassakeh.Syria-based Kurdish official Mustafa Bali said members of the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, have cut all the roads linking Hassakeh with nearby IS strongholds in the province.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the YPG said Kurdish fighters captured a juvenile prison and a power station south of Hassakeh on Thursday.“Daesh fighters are besieged inside the city,” Bali said by telephone using an Arabic acronym to refer to the Islamic State group. “The aim of YPG is to liberate Hasssakeh.”The YPG said on its Facebook page that “our fighters are now surrounding the mercenaries from all sides in the city.” It added that streets on the southern edge of Hassakeh are full of bodies of dead IS fighters and others have been taken prisoner.“Our units are advancing and have captured several strategic areas,” the YPG Facebook statement said.Before IS captured parts of Hassakeh last month, the city had been split between government and Kurdish forces. The Islamic State group holds a self-declared caliphate across roughly a third of Syria and neighboring Iraq.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L China Eastern Airlines has commenced talks with the industry’s three largest alliances in hopes of joining one, a senior executive said last week.Speaking to Reuters, a China Eastern senior executive, who asked not to be identified, said the carrier was looking to join either Star Alliance, oneworld or SkyTeam in order to boost its profile.He said the carrier did not have a preferred partner so far despite Shanghai Airlines, which China Eastern recently acquired, being a part of Star Alliance.”We are holding parallel discussions with all three groups currently. We hope to join one of them eventually but we don’t know which one yet” he said.China Eastern spokesman Luo Zhuping confirmed the reports on Thursday but declined to say when a decision on which one to join would be made, the Wall Street Journal reported.The Chinese carrier is the only one of the country’s top three carriers not to be part of an alliance. Air China is a member of Star Alliance while China Southern Airlines is a member of SkyTeam.last_img read more

first_imgAn estimated 720,000 MICE visitors will hit Thai shores in 2011, including 24,000 visitors from Australia, according to the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). Promoting its “Believe in Thailand” marketing campaign, the TCEB followed a fruitful AIME 2011 with a cruise on Sydney Harbour for local MICE and media interests. Guests on the cruise were treated to drinks and canapés, and following a performance by a Thai dance troupe, were addressed by the Thai Consulate General Kiattikhun Chartprasert. “Thailand is a country renowned for its hospitality, love of peace and friendliness of people,” Mr Chartprasert said, adding that “the Australia Thailand relationship is long lasting.” As the 40,816 MICE visitors from Oceania in 2010 only represented 6 per cent of the total MICE market in Thailand, TCEB president Akapol Sorasuchart said that there was “a lot of potential for growth” from Australia. “We are confident tonight will help kick off growth in MICE from Australia,” Mr Sorasuchart said. According to Mr Sorasuchart, Thailand is “a natural gateway” to the ASEAN market place and is “2nd to none” in Asia for events facilities. “The only thing we don’t have are waves at our beaches,” the TCEB president joked. When asked about the political stability in Thailand, Mr Sorasuchart said in no uncertain terms that all differences had been sorted out. “360 days a year are normal business days.” These sentiments were echoed by the Consulate General, who added that “Thailand is not only Bangkok” and that there are “other players” in the country. As well as vying for the 2020 World Expo, which according to Mr Sorasuchart would bring “25-30 million visitors within 6 months” to the country, Thailand is hoping it will soon secure its first Formula 1 Grand Prix.“Red Bull is actually a Thai company,” Mr Sorasuchart said, in reference to the World Champion Red Bull Racing team.Click here to view the photo gallery Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

first_imgAirAsia X flys into Sydney AirAsia touches down in Sydney New AirAsia X flights between Sydney and Kuala Lumpur are expected boost tourism into NSW, according to Minister for Tourism George Souris. Launching flights between the two destinations yesterday, Mr Souris said the flights meant “business for Sydney”, opening Australia up to the airline’s network with up to 78 cities. “The NSW Government, through Destination NSW, is committed to growing affordable aviation services to Sydney so more visitors can experience Australia’s most dynamic cultural and business city,” Mr Souris said. Announced in January, the new service opens the door for travel, trade and tourism between Australia and Malaysia. AirAsia forecast to operate out of five Australian cities in five years and with the commencement of flights to and from Sydney, the airline is just one city short of fulfilling its affirmation. AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani was amongst the first passengers to fly from KL to Sydney and was delighted with the opportunities this new venture presented. “AirAsia X’s presence inSydney is a game changer which will deliver more competitive fares and choice for Sydneysiders. “We are delighted with the response to the Sydney service and have recorded strong forward sales since we open the route for sale in January. We’ve also seen a solid show of support from international travellers from key international markets such as Malaysia and China keen to fly to Sydney to enjoy all it has to offer,” Mr Osman-Rani said. According to the airline’s head, the new route encompasses an ongoing strategy placing emphasis on its core markets of Australia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, China and Iran. AirAsia X is also releasing Fly-Thru promotional services, offering seamless connections to popular Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) destinations such as Bali, Jakarta, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Medan to name a few. Sydney Airport CEO, Kerrie Mather also praised the arrival of AirAsia X services to Sydney. “AirAsia X offers a great product and even more choice for travellers.” The Airbus A330-300 aircraft with a configuration of 12 premium flatbed seats and 365 economy seats will be used for the Sydney-KL route.Image Source: AirAsiacenter_img Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The airline’s first bid in foreign counterpart. Korean Air is reportedly in talks to purchase almost half of CSA Czech Airlines as means of strengthening its European presence.According to reports, the carrier is hoping to acquire up to 44 percent stake in the airline, which would give the carrier a minority stake, while leaving the managerial control to its parent company and largest shareholder, Czech Aeroholding, Asia One New reported.The purchase is the airline’s first attempt to purchase in a foreign counterpart and would expand the carrier’s network with additional European routes outside its reach.Korean Air current flies to 12 destinations in Europe, while Czech operate 26 aircraft and flies to 62 European cities in 41 countries. last_img

first_imgSource = Mike Parker-Brown, ACI HR Solutions PR ACI HR Solutionsdiscover more here ACI – AU Launch Pix Andrew Chan and Kathy Fatseas 03 Feb 2016ACI HR Solutions launches AustraliaHaving successfully established the ACI HR Solutions brand in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore over the last three years, Founder & CEO, Andrew Chan has now moved to launch the company’s first Australian division.Officially announcing the opening at a function held in Sydney’s iconic The Rocks area, Mr Chan said a move into Australia had always been part of the overall ACI HR Solutions blueprint since he founded the company in 2012.“Opening a Sydney office, along with aspirations in other markets where I have strong experience, has been in the plan since day one,“ Mr Chan said.“In the early stages while based in Asia, I wanted to consolidate what ACI has been doing well and fully establish the brand in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore before taking the next step.”“Being named ‘Best Newcomer’ at the 2015 Recruitment International Asia Awards in Singapore last year gave us the validation we were on the right track with ACI, and the time was right to open in Sydney.”Mr Chan said having a Sydney presence made perfect sense to ACI HR Solutions.“It complements our existing network of offices in Asia and offers both clients and candidates in the travel and hospitality sector a true Asia-Pacific network that not too many other specialist industry firms, if in fact any in this part of the world, can boast,” he said.“Aside from anything else, having grown up in Sydney and spending a major part of my professional career here, Sydney is most certainly close to my heart, so it feels very much like a homecoming of sorts.”Mr Chan also took the opportunity at the function to present his newest team member, Executive Consultant, Kathy Fatseas who will be based in the company’s Australian head office located in Australia Square, Pitt Street, Sydney.Pictured, ACI HR Solutions Founder & CEO, Andrew Chan with Executive  Consultant (Australia) Kathy Fatseas.About Andrew ChanAndrew Chan is no stranger to the hospitality and travel sector having held senior industry management roles before establishing the ACI HR Solutions brand in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai in 2012.Regularly invited to address travel & hospitality events, conferences and trade shows, he is a recognised point of comment on issues affecting the industry. Mr Chan has also briefed the board of the Pacific Asia Travel Association on the role professional recruitment services can play in helping to alleviate the regional tourism industry’s staffing concerns.last_img read more

first_imgChina Eastern business booms with new boomerang routesChina Eastern business booms with new boomerang routesChina Eastern Airlines (CEA) business is booming with major new flight announcements heralding their commitment to the Australian market. The announcements coincide with the airlines 60th anniversary and 20 successful years of non-stop flights between Australia and China.CEA will serve six mainland China cities from Sydney; Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing, Kunming, Nanjing and Wuhan by the end of January 2017, operating 58 flights weekly between the two countries. The rapid growth will see the introduction of new Boeing 777-300ER’s added to the Australian market.Another Australian first, CEA will launch direct services from Sydney to Kunming and Hangzhou in November 2016. The Melbourne to Shanghai service will increase to double daily flights from November 2016 to February 2017. December 2016 will see the introduction of Brisbane to Shanghai flights, four times weekly, with an increase to daily flights between January and February 2017. The Sydney to Shanghai service will increase to double daily flights from mid-December to February 2017. Sydney to Beijing services (codeshare with Qantas) will commence in January 2017*, along with the launch of a new Sydney to Wuhan route the same month.China Eastern business booms with new boomerang routes“The new CEA routes reflect surging demand with a 23% growth in Chinese visitors to Australia in 2016. It brings an additional 3,003 seats a week between Australia and China, contributing significantly to local visitor expenditure. China is Australia’s largest source for tourists and China Eastern Airlines is geared up to service this demand”, said Kathy Zhang, China Eastern Airlines General Manager – Oceania.Our investment in new routes demonstrates CEA’s commitment to extending Australia’s tourism footprint to important secondary cities in mainland China. It deepens global business opportunities, as reflected by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), provides greater connectivity for passengers and directly connects two of the world’s most respectful cultures, acting as a gateway for Australia to the globe,” said Ms Zhang.The new Boeing 777-300ER will feature on the Shanghai services from Melbourne and Sydney in 2016, offering a three-class configuration with a total seating capacity of 316 seats. The aircraft is outfitted with 6 first class open suites, 52 flatbed business class seats and 258 standard economy seats.  All seats across each class on flights Australia to China are equipped with personal TV, Wi-Fi and AC power ports.The CEA flagship lounge in Shanghai Pudong International airport offers first and business class guests exclusive access, along with complimentary Wi-Fi, traditional gourmet Shanghai cuisine and shower rooms. In Sydney, first and business class travellers will have access to the SkyTeam Alliance lounge, whilst in Melbourne and Brisbane, travellers will use the Qantas lounge.China Eastern Airlines B777CEA continues to consolidate its reputation as a global connector for business savvy travellers. The airline offers world-class service, the latest technology and amenities on-board the Boeing 777-300ER and visa-free transit valid for 144 hours for Australian passport holders who hold an onward ticket, transiting in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing. In addition, corporate business and first class guests can enjoy complimentary airport limousine pick-up services in Shanghai and Australia. The joint co-operation agreement with Qantas and alliance with SkyTeam members streamline CEA’s position as a truly global airline.“These extra services highlight the fact that tourists from China are voting with their feet, coming to NSW in huge numbers to experience the best of what our state has to offer,” said Andrew Constance, NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure.“Chinese passengers represent our fastest growing and largest inbound visitor market, and we’re determined to ensure continued growth well into the future” said Mr Constance. China Eastern Airlinesbook flights hereSource = China Eastern Airlineslast_img read more

first_imgCathay Pacific strengthens commitment to Adelaide with fifth serviceBoasting picturesque wine country and beaches with crystal-clear waters, Adelaide is fast becoming a popular destination for travellers looking to escape the hustle of everyday life and create long-lasting memories.Supporting the growth in tourism, Cathay Pacific will re-commence its fifth weekly service to South Australia on 5 July 2017. The additional flight will see the airline increase its capacity on the route by 25 per cent and brings the weekly number of seats to 2,500. The airline will also add space for 15 tonnes of cargo.Richard Jones, Sales and Marketing Manager of Cathay Pacific Airways Australia, said “For over 20 years, Cathay Pacific has served passengers travelling between Adelaide and Hong Kong, and beyond to over 170 destinations worldwide. We’re delighted to expand our Adelaide services, showing our dedication to the region and our continued commitment to supporting the growth in tourism”.“It’s a great time for South Australians to be travelling, whether they want to capture a glimpse of the forever evolving skyline of Hong Kong, experience the culinary delights of Asia or explore the wonders of Europe, our fifth flight offers our passengers more choice and flexibility.” he said.Adelaide Airport Managing Director, Mark Young, said the additional service was great news for international travellers.“Our customers have clearly shown their support for Cathay Pacific’s same-day connections to mainland China and this will provide further options for passengers as well as South Australian exporters,” Mr Young said.“The additional flight also means an increase in capacity for freight from South Australia including meat, chilled dairy and seafood being exported around the world.”Source = Cathay Pacificlast_img read more

first_imgCrystalbrook Collection brings over 500 hospitality jobs to CairnsCrystalbrook Collection has launched its recruitment campaign to attract over 500 jobs to the region in the next 18 months across its three Cairns based hotels.With the first property Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort, due to welcome its first guests in early November 2018, the pre-opening team are looking to fill over 150 roles in the next 100 days.From Lobby Ambassadors, Experience Curators, Food and Drink Guides to The Fix It Team, Crystalbrook Collection is on the hunt for all types and levels of experience to join the team.Crystalbrook Collection CEO Mark Davie said it was a very exciting time for Crystalbrook: “It’s hugely rewarding to now be in a position where we are able to have all these roles to fill and to bring the Crystalbrook brand to life.”Crystalbrook Collection Group Director HR and Operations, Laura Davie said: “Our environment is dynamic and entrepreneurial and we heartily believe in looking after our people. If you’re a hospitality professional who’s passionate, proactive and believes in solutions, not problems, then you’re the kind of person we want to hear from.”To launch the campaign Crystalbrook Collection is inviting everyone to join them on the Esplanade in front of Riley* between 10:00am and 1:00pm on Saturday 18 August 2018 to meet the management team, hear the latest from Crystalbrook and get a taste of what’s to come.With Riley being the first of three Crystalbrook Collection luxury resorts to open in Cairns this is just the beginning for job opportunities. Superstars wanting to submit their CV can do so at more on Crystalbrook Collection, visit*Riley is located at 137 The Esplanade, CairnsAbout Crystalbrook CollectionCrystalbrook Collection is an Australian based tourism and hospitality group. Its portfolio consists of Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, hotel and resort developments, a luxury lodge and a 90-foot motor yacht.To date, Crystalbrook Collection has committed more than AU$800 million in tourism investments within Australia.Crystalbrook Collection and Ghassan Aboud Group Crystalbrook Collection is owned by accomplished entrepreneur and philanthropist Ghassan Aboud. Ghassan Aboud Group is a multi-business conglomerate engaged in automobiles, real estate, retail, bespoke catering, media and logistics. In business for more than two decades, the group operates from its global headquarters in the United Arab Emirates with offices in Australia, Belgium, China, Jordan and Turkey.The establishment of Crystalbrook Collection in Australia marks the group’s substantial investment foray in the region – notably in the acquisition, development and management of hospitality, tourism and related assets.Source = Crystalbrook Collectionlast_img read more

first_imgThe Truffle Festival held every year in the Canberra Region from the beginning of June until the end of August marks the harvest of the Black Winter Truffle. This year’s festival features more than 250 individual events across the region, offering a rich variety of opportunities to taste and experience the magic of these prized gems.There are many species of Australian native truffles, but the one most prized in culinary circles is the Black Winter Truffle also known as Perigord Truffle.One can indulge in the special flavours and aromas of truffle dishes at local restaurants and cafes. Join a hunt and see for yourself how the talented dogs unearth truffles. Learn from chefs and other truffle experts at a cooking class or demonstration, or pop along to a farmers market and rustle up your own truffle dish.A range of truffle breakfasts, lunches and degustation dinners will be held at a variety of cafes, restaurants and bars throughout the region including Pod Food, Italian and Sons, Mezzalira, Hyatt Hotel Canberra, Conservatory Restaurant, Hotel Kurrajong, Vibe Hotel, Joes Bar and Muse– Food, Wine and Books.last_img read more

first_imgHong Kong has been one of the most popular destinations among Indians. Recently, Hong Kong has seen a rising interest among young, mid-career independent travellers who are looking for more undiscovered and lesser-known experiences. To lure more Indians to visit the city and get a taste of its local culture, the Hong Kong Tourism Board collaborated with Bollywood actress Yami Gautam to boost its ‘Discover Hong Kong Like A Local’ campaign in India. As a part of the collaboration, Gautam was invited to get an in-depth experience of Hong Kong’s unique and rich local culture and to become an advocate and endorser for experiences that Indian travellers can try.The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), Cathay Pacific and The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental together curated an experiential programme for Gautam. Through the programme, HKTB wants to showcase the captivating and authentic culture of Hong Kong through Yami’s eyes. Yami’s itinerary featured activities recommended by locals like visiting city attractions, local temples and monasteries, sampling street shopping and street food, going on walking tours of revamped old districts, enjoying some water sports and relaxing at local spas. Talking about her collaboration, Yami said, “I never realised how beautiful and fun Hong Kong is as a holiday destination. There is so much to explore here and it’s been absolutely thrilling to discover Hong Kong as a local would. I have truly enjoyed. The people have been so warm and welcoming and all the discoveries I’ve made from chic, charming districts to temples and monasteries, secret markets and fashion spots to delicious local food have been beyond impressive. I would love to come back to explore more of this vibrant city.”Puneet Kumar, Senior Manager, Marketing development for India region said, “Yami is a youth icon and has a huge fan following in India. We are delighted to collaborate with Yami to bring alive our new campaign “Discover Hong Kong Like a Local” to showcase Hong Kong’s local culture in neighbourhoods, unique retail and dining experiences and green outdoors. We have certainly impressed Gautam to become a fan of Hong Kong and we invite her fans to come and discover Hong Kong like Gautam on their next holiday in Hong Kong.”As a part of the programme, Yami was seen exploring districts like Old Town Central, which represents the beautiful union of eastern and western influences with ancient temples and streets alongside modern eateries and bars and Sham Shui Po, the fashion hub of Hong Kong where she will interact with local designers and get acquainted with local culture. Her other local experiences also included a ride on Aqua Luna, a visit to Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery and a tea appreciation class.last_img read more

first_img“The Cabinet has decided to exclude people coming to perform Umrah and to visit the Prophet’s Mosque (in Madinah), of the prohibition of movement outside Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah. A royal decree has been prepared to this effect,” the acting Media Minister, Issam bin Saeed, said in a recent statement.It is expected that this year nearly eight million Muslims will perform Umrah in the Kingdom and the Cabinet’s move will enable them to enjoy a broader experience of Saudi Arabia by visiting key landmarks, historic sites, tourist attractions and shopping centres.“We are looking to enrich the experience of pilgrims and facilitate their arrival,” Dr Amr Al-Maddah, Chief Planning and Strategy Officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, told media. “Travelling around the Kingdom is an opportunity for pilgrims to visit cultural and tourist sites. At the same time, they will be allowed to arrive at any port in the country which will facilitate their arrival and expand the capacity to receive more pilgrims.”With this new decision, Saudi Arabia hopes it will help towards reaching the goal of receiving 30 million Umrah pilgrims by 2030.He added that the travellers would now be free to plan visits to other Saudi cities, tourist destinations, festivals and events, within the period of their visa validity.Al-Maddah added, “We want to make it available to everyone to enrich the experience of the pilgrims, which is one of the goals of Vision 2030.” To boost tourism and the economy, Saudi Arabia has taken the decision to allow the Umrah pilgrims to tour anywhere in the country.The Saudi Cabinet decided that the Muslims making the holy pilgrimage are to be granted the freedom to visit anywhere in the Kingdom during their stay. Previously, Umrah pilgrims were restricted to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and the port city of Jeddah.last_img read more

first_img A financial fraud task force cleared a final rule Tuesday that requires nonbank mortgage lenders and originators to report suspicious activity related to mortgage fraud.[IMAGE]The “”Financial Crimes Enforcement Network””: (FinCEN) said that originators and lenders will need to report any suspected fraudulent activity to the organization on an annual and quarterly basis.””Today FinCEN is closing a regulatory gap by requiring [COLUMN_BREAK]non-bank mortgage lenders and originators to develop anti-money laundering programs and file suspicious activity reports with FinCEN,”” “”James Freis””:, FinCEN director, said in a statement.He called the reports “”a critical source of information to law enforcement and regulatory agencies in their investigation and prosecution of mortgage fraud and a wide range of other financial crimes.”” The new rule reflects the scope of authority undertaken by the Obama administration as it pursues mortgage and financial fraud.FinCEN gave credit to the new Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, both initiatives launched by the Obama administration in recent months.The new rule will take effect two months after appearing in the Federal Register.Established by the administration in 2009, the network collaborates with more than 20 federal agencies and 94 U.S. state attorneys general to pursue criminal and civil enforcement against financial fraud. Share in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Barack Obama Housing Affordability Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Service Providers 2012-02-07 Ryan Schuettecenter_img Rule Requires Nonbank Lenders, Originators to Report Fraud February 7, 2012 429 Views last_img read more

first_imgMortgage Application Volume Reverses Downward Trend Share After falling throughout May, mortgage application volume rose for the first week of June, according to the “”Mortgage Bankers Association’s””: (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.[IMAGE]The survey’s Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, increased 5.0 percent for the week ending June 7, MBA reported. Unadjusted, the index rose 16 percent. The previous week’s results included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.The Refinance Index was also up 5 percent compared to the previous week, though it was still 11 percent down from its level two weeks prior and 36 percent down from its May peak. The refinance share of mortgage activity was 69 percent, up from 68 percent the previous week.Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 5 percent week-over-week. The unadjusted index rose 14 percent and was 6 percent higher than the same week last year.The increase in application volume came despite continued rises in rates, which analysts say contributed to “”May’s downturn””: in applications. The average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.15 percent, the highest rate since March 2012. Points increased to 0.48 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-06-12 Tory Barringercenter_img in Origination June 12, 2013 414 Views last_img read more

first_img Share Census Bureau HUD New Home Sales 2014-10-24 Tory Barringer October 24, 2014 558 Views New Home Sales Up After Major August Revisioncenter_img Sales of newly built, single-family homes edged up in September, but a sharp downward revision to August’s sales figure put a damper on the good news.The Commerce Department and HUD estimate that new home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 467,000 in September, according to a joint report from the agencies. September’s sales rate marks a 0.2 percent increase over August’s revised rate and a 17 percent jump above the September 2013 rate of 399,000.New home sales in August, originally reported at an annual pace of 504,000—a six-year high—were brought down dramatically in the government’s revised estimate. New homes that month are now estimated to have sold at an adjusted annual rate of 466,000.While the revision might be unwelcome, it wasn’t unexpected. In a forward-looking measure based on mortgage applications for new home purchases, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) predicted sales in September would come in at a rate of 425,000, forecasting a cut in August’s numbers.”Earlier this summer, and again last month, the first estimates from Census were significantly higher than the estimates implied from the applications data,” MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said earlier this month. “However, the revised data from Census resulted in a much closer match to MBA’s estimates, and we anticipate that will be the case going forward, given the high rate of coverage in our survey.”Economists also forecast a sales rate of 460,000 in September, indicating they expected either a massive downturn month-over-month or a drastic change in August’s revised estimate.New home sales rose last month in two census regions: the Midwest and South, which posted monthly gains of 12.3 percent to 64,000 and 2.0 percent to 261,000, respectively. Sales were flat in the Northeast at a rate of 30,000 and down 8.9 percent in the West to a rate of 112,000.Annually, sales were up in all regions, climbing nearly 20 percent in the Northeast, South, and West.The seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of September was 207,000, representing a months’ supply of 5.3 months at the current sales rate.The median sales price of new houses sold last month was $259,000, according to the Census and HUD, down substantially from August’s median of $286,800. The average sales price was also down, dropping more than $35,000 to $313,200. in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, Newslast_img read more

first_img Share November 6, 2014 450 Views Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are set to send another $6.8 billion to the U.S. Treasury after posting a mild increase in profits for the third quarter.For its part, Fannie Mae reported net income of $3.9 billion for the third quarter, up from a profit of $3.7 billion in Q2 but down from $8.7 billion in the year-ago quarter.According to Fannie, the increase was driven primarily by lower fair value losses and an increase in revenues. Also contributing to the third-quarter boost in profits was a recently announced settlement between Goldman Sachs and the GSEs’ conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), over faulty residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS).In a sour sign for the housing market, a shrinking portion of Fannie’s earnings stemmed from credit-related income—$836 million compared to $1.9 billion the prior quarter. The company said the decrease was mostly due to a decline in its benefit for credit losses as home price appreciation continues to slow.Fannie also acknowledged that a growing share of its revenues in recent years have come from increases in guaranty fees, a trend the company expects will continue as its mortgage portfolio contracts.Meanwhile, Freddie Mac reported net income of $2.1 billion for Q3, up from $1.4 billion the prior three months. The company attributed the increase to lower derivative losses (stemming from an upturn in long-term interest rates) and the same RMBS settlement that benefited Fannie.Those improvements were counterbalanced against a drop in Freddie’s provision for credit losses “driven by a slight worsening in loss severity,” the company said.As a result of their profitable quarter, Fannie says it expects to pay $4.0 billion in dividends to Treasury in December, while Freddie will pay $2.8 billion.By the end of this year, the two GSEs, which have been in conservatorship since 2008, will have returned a combined $225.5 billion to taxpayers—nearly $40 billion more than the amount the two companies were forced to draw to keep afloat in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Despite that, the GSEs’ agreement with the government stipulates they must continue to pay.That agreement has drawn the ire of the companies’ shareholders, some of whom are trying to take the government to court on claims it has robbed them of their share of the profits and kept the GSEs from being able to return to normalcy.Meanwhile, Washington continues to debate on what should happen to the two mortgage giants as policymakers work to revive private-label securitization and diminish the government’s role in the market. While there has been some support for plans to wind down the GSEs and replace them with a government corporation, those plans remain up in the air in the wake of Republicans’ takeover of the Senate. in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Secondary Marketcenter_img Fannie, Freddie Report Moderate Growth in Profits Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgage-Backed Securities Profits 2014-11-06 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News April 12, 2016 496 Views According to the Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) released today by Quicken Loans, homeowner optimism is continuing to outpace that of actual property appraisal values.On a national level, the Index revealed that in March, home values as determined by appraisers were actually 2.17 percent lower than what homeowners expected. That’s a wider gap than in February, when appraised value was just 1.99 lower than the homeowner’s expectation.At the regional level, the breach between the two values varies; In the West, some metros showed appraised values were actually higher than expected homeowner values. In the Midwest however, all metros showed appraisals at a much lower price than what owners hoped for.The best and worst cities for disparities between appraisal and expected homeowner value were found in San Jose, California and Philadelphia. In San Jose, appraiser values were 3.93 percent higher than homeowners expected, while in Philadelphia, they came in 3.63 percent lower.“The varying HPPI values across the country illustrates the importance of examining the market at the local level,” said Bob Walters, chief economist for Quicken Loans. “If homeowners are eyeing that new home being built across town, they could be pleasantly surprised how much their home will sell for—or in some instances their equity may not take them as far as they think—depending on what area of the country they’re in.”Today’s report from Quicken wasn’t all bad news though. The accompanying Home Value Index (HVI) actually showed that home values are on a slow but definite rise. Last month, home appraisal valuations were up 0.29 percent from February and 4.77 from the same time last year.Like the HPPI, the HVI showed some distinct differences in regional data. In the Midwest, appraised values saw a 0.69 percent drop, while the West experienced a 1.52 percent increase over the last month. All four regions of the U.S. saw increases at an annual level.“It’s not always easy for homeowners to keep their finger on the pulse of their equity,” Walters said. “This data shows homes have continued to increase in value since the depths experienced after the last recession. Those increases mean far fewer Americans have negative equity in their homes. This increases their mobility and is a positive development for all segments of the housing market.”Click here to view the full report. Appraiser, Homeowner Values Remain Disparatecenter_img Appraisers Home Value Gap homeowners Quicken Loans 2016-04-12 Staff Writer Sharelast_img read more

first_imgU.S. Home Price Gains Seemingly Unstoppable in Daily Dose, journal, News U.S. home prices continued to steadily rise across through August, according to the latest S&P Dow Jones/S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices. So much so that David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that home price increases in the U.S. “appear to be unstoppable.”The indices show a 6.1 percent uptick in home prices in August, which is up from 5.9 percent in the previous month. The indices’ overall numbers coalesced with breakdowns of the 10 and 20 largest U.S. metros. The 10-City Composite was just above flat, showing annual increase of 5.3 percent, up from 5.2 percent in July. Similarly, the 20-City Composite posted a 5.9 percent year-over-year gain, up from 5.8 percent the previous month.Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Diego reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in August. Seattle led the way with a 13.2 percent year-over-year price increase, followed by Las Vegas (8.6 percent), and San Diego (7.8 percent). Nine cities reported greater price increases in the year ending August 2017 versus the year ending July 2017.Month-over-month, the 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite posted 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent increases. Nineteen of 20 cities reported increases in August both before and after seasonal adjustment. Atlanta, saw the seasonally adjusted monthly number slip 0.2 percent after seasonal adjustment.Blitzer said that over the last year, the consumer price index’s 2.2 percent rise was driven largely by energy costs.“Aside from oil, the only other major item with price gains close to housing was hospital services, which were up 4.6 percent,” he said.Wages climbed 3.6 percent in the year to August.“The ongoing rise in home prices poses questions of why prices are climbing and whether they will continue to outpace most of the economy,” Blitzer said. He answered with a strong one-two punch: Low mortgage rates, combined with an improving economy.“Low-interest rates raise the value of both real and financial long-lived assets,” he said. “The price gains are not simply a rebound from the financial crisis.”However, despite the apparent unstoppability of U.S. housing gains to date, Blitzer offered a caveat of caution.“Home prices will not rise forever,” he said. “Measures of affordability are beginning to slide, indicating that the pool of buyers is shrinking. The Federal Reserve is pushing short-term interest rates upward and mortgage rates are likely to follow over time, removing a key factor supporting rising home prices.” October 31, 2017 594 Views center_img HOUSING S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices 2017-10-31 ScottMorgan1 Sharelast_img read more

first_img South Africa: Maluma Symposium to draw larger inte … Mexican tomato growers making false claims about a … U.S.: Record-breaking organic sales rise over $50b … You might also be interested in Following a successful trial in February, New Zealand’s Just Avocados sent the country’s first ever commercial avocado shipment to China on Sept. 18 and was shortly followed by leading exporter AVANZA with its first trial. Closer to market than its Latin American competitors but with higher labor costs and far less volume, the industry’s challenge will be to set itself apart with a high-end product, à la Zespri kiwifruit.Even though China will likely only receive 5% of Just Avocados’ volume this year, Jacob Darling of parent company Darling Group believes it will evolve to become a significant market for both volume and value in the future.”China’s been a market that Darling Group and Just Avocados have had our eyes on for a long time,” says Darling, the group’s general manager of sales and marketing.”It’s a market that we believe is still going to be challenging. We’ve got a lot of work to do we think in terms of differentiating New Zealand avocado from other origins so we can extract a premium from the marketplace.The company’s first commercial shipment to the country arrived on Sept. 18 and was received by Win-Chain Supply Chain Marketing Limited, the global sourcing center for e-commerce giant Alibaba.”At this stage we’re just looking to do one air freight shipment a week until such time as we get into sea-freight shipments,” says Darling, who adds the first sea-freight may set sail this week.Air-freight will continue thereafter, but to a lesser extent. Jacob Darling of Darling Group and Just Avocados.”Just Avocados is looking to run about 15,000 trays into the China market, and that will go from now until mid-to-late November,” he says.”The reason for doing the air freight is making sure we get all of our process systems, channels, quality, everything in the supply chain sorted out before we commit to a greater volume and therefore bigger commercial value and therefore greater risk.”It’s not even three weeks by container into Shanghai from New Zealand so that’s obviously advantageous, but we are going up against other countries that have lower costs of production than we do that have economies of scale.”A good example of this is Mexico, which was the first mover in the Chinese market and is the world’s leading exporter of the fruit, although it’s number two in China behind Chile. In 2017, these two countries’ combined avocado shipments to China were greater than New Zealand’s entire export program worldwide.As the Darling Group aims to have a 12-month supply deal for its partners, it has traded Mexican avocados in China before, as well as New Zealand and Australian citrus.”We’ve had previous experience on other commodities into the China market so we we’re well aware of the value proposition for us and for our growers,” says Darling.”I think at a high level the New Zealand avocado has significant nutritional benefits over other origins of other avocado,” he claims, although with some reluctance to make specific health claims as studies into the issue are ongoing. “I think the taste profile for the New Zealand avocado due to high maturities and other internal factors give it an advantage, and cosmetically as well it’s a very good-looking avocado.”NZ Avocado CEO Jen Scoular adds the industry is very excited about having access to China and the fact the first commercial shipments have arrived. “Obviously that’s a huge opportunity and a huge challenge,” she says.”It’s a market obviously that with the population has huge potential, and it’s also a huge challenge in ensuring the information and investment into the market is made. “Although demand is increasing significantly, it’s from a very low base and it’s important that all avocados going into China are met with investment into the market in terms of marketing and the supply chain to make sure consumers are getting really good avocados.”AVANZA to advance in China with large-sized fruitA few days after Just Avocados’ product hit the market, AVANZA sent its first air-freight trial to Shanghai. The company’s marketing and communications manager Steve Trickett expects the first commercial sea-freight shipment to arrive within a few weeks.AVANZA represents around 65% of New Zealand’s avocado exports, and is a tie-up between leading exporters Southern Produce and Primor.”We’re not commercially selling it [the recent arrival]. We’re using it effectively as some commercial teaser fruit with some of the commercial chains and restaurants and cafés and chefs,” says Trickett, who incidentally used to be a shareholder at Just Avocados and was its marketing director.”We’ll be doing commercial shipments by sea and our first arrivals will be around Oct. 20, and that’s when we’ll really kick into gear with in-store activity and strongly promoting the product, so the air-freight product is probably not sustainable. Campaigns will also involve WeChat, China’s multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app.”We’ll do about 2% of our pool into mainland China this year and just a little test run into Taiwan for the first time,” he says.The company expects to send 50,000 trays of avocados to the Chinese mainland, and while that’s a small percentage it’s still greater than the 30,000 trays sent to India – a market Trickett says has doubled its intake of AVANZA’s fruit.”As New Zealand does in a number of other products, we want to be in that high-end, higher-priced, there for a short time category. Whereas the Mexicans and the Chileans will be there for months and months, we’ll just be there for a bit of a cameo performance if you like and defend our price,” he says. Trickett says New Zealand will benefit from its larger-sized fruit.”Ours is a standard single-layer tray, 5.5kg net, and the number of pieces per tray in the New Zealand or AVANZA program we’re running are with 16, 18 and 20,” he says. “So that’s quite large fruit, whereas the others will be 24s as mediums, but mostly 30s and even 35s. We’ve heard that there might be even smaller fruit than that from Chile going in.”Peru has been going in this season quite aggressively with their volume, and fortunately for us they are largely counter-seasonal to New Zealand so they haven’t really knocked us around.”However, he is curious to see whether Peru’s aggressive pricing could impact on the New Zealand fruit that follows it.”It will be interesting to see whether that carries over and affects what we’re trying to achieve,” he says.”We believe that with our New Zealand story, the AVANZA story and what sits behind the branding, and the in-market investment we’re going to have in terms of in-store tastings and demonstrations and some other activation activities, we’ll be able to defend our price premium. “But to be honest it’s yet to be proven, so it’ll be an interesting season for us.”Emulating Zespri through Goodfarmer partnershipHe says the company has been very selective in seeking out its partner, and as volumes are relatively short the mainland China deal will be limited to the Shanghai area for the next two or three seasons.”We’ve chosen a company called Goodfarmer which happens to be Zespri’s agent. So you’ve got that cross-pollination of that premium-branded New Zealand product, and the consumer in China has got a pretty favorable view of New Zealand as a point of origin for dairy products, kiwifruit, any number of things,” says Trickett.center_img U.S.: EPA decides not to ban chlorpyrifos … “We’re very much levering off that, and of course it plays well back on New Zealand where 60 odd percent of our growers happen to be Zespri kiwifruit growers as well as avocado growers, so they will be quite comfortable in us choosing Goodfarmer.”And Goodfarmer is probably Zespri’s single largest customer globally now. They’ve got a pretty good track record of being able to extract a premium out of market so that supported our rationale for going with them.”He says that through its partner AVANZA will be supplying four offline retailers in China, while in a more limited way it will be selling fruit online .”In that case we’re running with and looking at a small program with Fruitday,” he says.From a fruit quality perspective, he adds Goodfarmer has constructed a purpose-built avocado ripening room. Trickett and AVANZA’s technical experts plan to spend a week with their partners in Shanghai to go through the details of optimal ripening.”They have got some experience in it because they’ve handled South American fruit in the past, and they’re going to be focused more on the New Zealand piece in the immediate term and expand that program all over time,” he says.”They’ve got these 40-pallet stores. One can take 40 pallets for example and it’s got this new technique where you can put a cover over and even just ripen one pallet if you want to, or you can do 20. “It’s quite cool what they’ve got there. They’ve made quite an investment.”A new brand for China: “Chao niu guo”Trickett highlights AVANZA fruit will also carry a new Chinese market-focused brand in the Chinese market – “Chao niu guo”, which he says translates as “next-level cool” or “the super one” as a more literal interpretation.The word is also very similar to the Mandarin word for avocado, which is “niu you guo”. The brand was the idea of a New Zealand expat who lives in Shanghai, Jerry Clode of Resonance China.Clode and his team did a lot of research before deciding on the brand, having paid particular attention understand consumer behaviours and attitudes toward avocados, particularly from a group known as “supermums”.”These are mums who are very independent in their own right and who are very focused on their children and spend a lot of money on fresh produce, not really having any price sensitivity in that area,” says Clode.The research found many mothers in this consumer group disliked the taste and consistency of avocado after trying it the first time, yet they still persevered and incorporated it into their families’ diets as they believed avocados had nutritional benefits.”One thing we noticed was that avocado was a very important part of middle class status,” says Clode.”When we went to people’s homes, they had avocado on display in their fruit bowls. It’s important in symbolising modern health, wealth and family.”We were able to observe interesting cues which we could build into a brand story for AVANZA, with the objective of positioning it as the most recognised and trusted New Zealand avocado brand in China.”Production outlook and other export marketsScoular of New Zealand’s avocado growers’ association says the crop is medium-sized this year in terms of volume.”We had a very high year two years ago and a low year last year, so we’ve got 40% more volume than the previous year but it’s still only a medium season for us,” she says.”But the season is going very well. We started export in August.”We are pretty much having to manage the supply we’ve got to meet our customers’ needs and in all markets we are seeing a real demand for avocados from New Zealand, so from that perspective it’s terrific.”Australia has historically received the lion’s share of New Zealand’s avocado exports, and in the 2017 calendar year the neighbors across the Tasman took up more than 85% of the $87 million in shipments. But good progress has been made in emerging avocado markets in Asia in recent years.”We always make sure we are increasing the visibility about avocados and information about avocados,” says Scoular.”We’ve now got digital platforms in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, as well as in Australia and New Zealand, and we are ensuring we are putting good investment into those markets.”Trickett says his company and the industry are looking at 3.5 million trays of fruit this season.”We’re mindful that we don’t want to be dependent on the Australian market, and that’s why we continue to dedicate 20% of what we do to developing markets,” says Trickett of AVANZA.The industry’s second-largest market is South Korea, which imported $4 million worth of New Zealand avocados last year. While that may not sound like much, it is worth noting the market was almost non-existent a decade ago and has doubled since 2014.”We will support strongly a good step-up in our volume into Korea which is now our single largest market in Asia and continues to rapidly grow – it’s still paying really good money even with that growth from all countries supplying that market. “It’s showing exponential growth and strong value, so it’s one of our priorities within Asia this year.”He also expects modest volumes into Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India, while the brakes have been put on some markets like Japan.”Japan we’ll still support, but that’s a lower returning market compared to some of the Asian markets,” Trickett says.The executive adds that around 1,000 hectares of new plantings have been put in the ground in the mid-to-far north of New Zealand, between Tapora and Whangarei.”That’s going to have a positive contribution – that’s just starting to come into production now but the next three to five years those are going to be coming on-stream,” he says.However, more supply will also be needed just to “feed the Australian machine” with demand growing by around 700,000 trays a year. But in terms of business across the Tasman in 2018-19, Trickett expects a normal year.”We’re just very focused on meeting our retail program commitments which are pretty significant, and we do a certain amount with wholesale. But it’s business as usual in Australia, just ensuring we keep that volume and meet our volume requirements,” he says.Trickett also notes developments in reducing the degree of alternate or biennial bearing in New Zealand, which because of its cooler climate tends to have more pronounced ups and downs from one season to the next. “But what we are finding is that the further north you go, therefore where it’s a little warmer and more stable in terms of climate, you don’t get those wild fluctuations, and the soil conditions are a little different,” he mentions.”One thing that I hear from the technical guys when I go to field days is they say we’re getting better at understanding canopy management and the need to prune more regularly than what we used to going back five, 10 or 15 years, and that seems to be flattening out the production.”Headline photo: Shutterstock October 01 , 2018 last_img read more