Mercedes sales hit new September record

first_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Daimler says the brand’s overall sales in the third quarter were up 1.1 percent compared with a year earlier at 312,001. It says that is a record for the quarter.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Patients with chronic pain give advice BERLIN (AP) – Daimler AG says its main Mercedes-Benz brand saw global sales grow 2 percent in year-on-year terms in September as growth in the U.S. and Asia offset a decline in western Europe.The company said Thursday Mercedes-Benz delivered 123,358 vehicles, a record for the month. Sales in the Asia-Pacific region were up 7.8 percent to 30,992, led by growth of 18 percent in Japan and 10 percent in China.Sales in the U.S. rose 7 percent at 23,156. But deliveries in western Europe sank 2.5 percent to 55,495, a sign of the problems afflicting those countries that use the euro.last_img read more

Egyptian man disguised as woman is harassed

first_imgAs a woman walking down the street, “you have to be in a constant state of alertness.”What Hammad experienced is something Egyptian women endure every day. While not new to Egypt’s conservative society, sexual harassment has grown increasingly violent and visible in the nation, which has an embattled police force and an absence of legislation to address it. Egyptian law defines and criminalizes assault, but not sexual harassment.“What I learned is that this definitely is not a problem with men only,” Hammad said. “It is a problem, a deficiency in the entire society.”A report last month carried out by a U.N. Women agency, Egypt’s Demographic Center, and the National Planning Institute found that more than 99 percent of hundreds of women surveyed in seven of the country’s 27 provinces reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment ranging from minor harassment to rape.Mozn Hassan, a women rights activist who works with the victims of sexual abuse, said the problem will fester as long as there are no laws to punish harassers, no investigations into violent abuse and the government fails to admit there is a problem.This week, at a public meeting to make recommendations to Egyptian President Morsi Mohammed on how to address the problem, Omaima Kamel, presidential adviser on women affairs, said she was seeking realistic statistics on violence against women because she sensed real exaggeration of the numbers reported by some research centers, comments she repeated in media interviews. The program was an online hit, shared by thousands of viewers and lauded as brave, creative, and sparked a comparison between Egypt and other Arab countries.Lena el-Ghadban, the senior reporter on the program, “Awel el Kheit” or “the Thread” which aired earlier this month on the private TV station ONTV, said the program sought to offer a fresh glimpse into the problem through the eyes of men.“We want them to try to feel how women feel about sexual harassment,” el-Ghadban said. “If the man sees himself as the victim of sexual harassment maybe this could get him to think, `What am I doing?”`Men interviewed for the program commonly blamed women for dressing or looking in ways that invited sexual harassment. At the same time, they disclosed how men bribed a coffee shop owner to spray water on the pavement so women would be prompted to lift their long conservative dresses.They wanted to get a peek at their legs.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   Initiatives to counter the problem have mushroomed in recent months. Vigilantes groups have started protecting women at gatherings, particularly at large protests or during national holidays when groping and harassment in crowds is at an all-time high. Activists have offered self-defense classes for women. Social network sites have been started where women can “name and shame” their harassers.On the other side of the debate are conservative religious clerics and some government officials who blame women, saying they invite harassment and sexual abuse by mixing with men. Their comments have inflamed the discourse, particularly at a time when Egypt’s volatile and polarized politics blur social and political issues following the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.As he strolled, Hammad, who wore light makeup to conceal hints of facial hair and accentuate his eyes, was hissed at and verbally abused. In one instance _ when he was wearing a head veil _ he was taken for a prostitute and offered up to 4,000 Egyptian pounds ($575) for one night.“I can go wherever I want, do whatever I want very simply, very easily, very casually,” Hammad said. “For a woman, it boils down to her having to focus on how she breathes while she is walking. It is not just the walk. It is not just the clothes. It is not what she says or how she looks.” New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Kamel is a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which emerged as the most powerful political faction in Egypt since the uprising. The group has recently criticized a U.N. document being drafted on violence against women. The Brotherhood said it was “deceitful,” clashed with Islamic principles and undermined family values. The Brotherhood said it advocated sexual freedoms for women and the right to abortion “under the guise of sexual and reproductive rights.”Besides the daily experience of harassment on the streets of Egypt, sexual assaults at anti-government protests, where women have been groped, stripped and even raped, have risen both in number and intensity during the past year of continued unrest in Egypt.The United Nations said it had reports of 25 sexual assaults on women at political rallies at Tahrir Square, the center of the uprising, in one week early this year. Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault, which patrolled the square, reported 19 incidents alone on Jan. 25 _ the second anniversary of the start of the uprising _ including a case of a teenager raped with a bladed instrument.Abuse at political events has emboldened activists who seek change, but the television program wanted to show how all Egyptian women live daily with the fear of being sexually harassed or abused. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober CAIRO (AP) – Waleed Hammad dressed conservatively for his secret mission into the world of sexual harassment and abuse on the streets of Cairo, donning a long tan skirt and sleeved shirt, and at times covering his head like many Egyptian women.The 24-year-old actor walked the sidewalks, hidden cameras in tow, for an investigative television report, hoping the broadcast would enlighten national debate about how to combat deep-rooted day-to-day sexual harassment and abuse in this patriarchal society. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img

Indonesia orders Arizonaowned mine to halt production

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Parents, stop beating yourself up BALI, Indonesia (AP) – Indonesia’s government has ordered that production be halted at a giant U.S.-owned gold and copper mine during an investigation into recent fatal accidents there, a senior official said Monday.Mines and Energy Minister Jero Wacik said the mine will only be allowed to conduct maintenance during the probe by an independent team, which is expected to take two to three months.PT Freeport Indonesia’s Big Gossan underground training facility at its Grasberg mine in easternmost Papua province collapsed May 14, killing 28 workers. A truck driver at the mine died on Saturday, a day after he was injured when liquid ore material flowed into his vehicle. Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonacenter_img Sponsored Stories The mine, owned by Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., produces around 220,000 tons of ore per day _ 140,000 from its open mine and 80,000 from an underground one.Freeport said it has completed a preliminary safety inspection of its mines and is in the process of forming its own team to investigate the collapse.Freeport Indonesia spokeswoman Daisy Primayanti said the company will cooperate with the government in efforts to restart mining operations.President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered officials to thoroughly evaluate all mining companies in the country to ensure safety.Operations at the Grasberg mine were suspended after the tunnel collapse for two weeks until May 28. However, three days later liquid ore flowed into the truck, killing the driver.Union leader Virgo Salossa said Monday that unionized workers will refuse to work until the release of the investigation results.More than 20,000 workers are employed at the mine, which began operations in the 1970s.In 2011, production was crippled when 8,000 unionized employees walked off the job after demanding higher pay. The strike ended after the company agreed to a 37 percent wage hike and improved benefits. Comments   Share   How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Corporate travel a GFC victor survey

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A As the damage caused by the global financial crisis (GFC) is swept into balance sheets, the Australian corporate travel industry announced it breezed through the past financial year and expects a steady future. The latest survey from Travelscene Corporate, which polled major corporate suppliers in travel, trade, government and associated industries, revealed 67 per cent of respondents posted an increase in revenue over the past financial year.When asked of their expectations for the coming fiscal year, 40 per cent of the corporate industry specialists surveyed were “extremely optimistic’, while the rest forecasted steady revenue.Travelscene Corporate General Manager David Padman said it was the adaptability if the corporate travel industry and resilient and dedicated travel agents that prompted the survey’s results.“Our industry was definitely put through a test during the GFC and has come out on top with a steady future ahead,” Mr Padman said. More than half of the survey’s respondents feel fundamental changes to the corporate travel industry will result from the recent economic downturn, pointing to smaller changes such as increased supplier renegotiations and travel policy enforcement.“A revolution in corporate travel has arrived, and it is about how we adapt to this transition that will see us remaining as leaders in the industry,” Mr Padman said.last_img read more

Hurricane Irene causes cruise chaos

first_imgHurricane Irene hit Puerto Rico yesterday before heading out to sea towards the Dominican Republic where she is expected to hit overnight. The first hurricane of the Atlantic storm season is expected to hit Florida’s Atlantic Coast and possibly South Carolina by week’s end and has the potential to reach a Category Three listing.  Affecting several cruise lines in the region, including Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the complete list of storm deviations can be viewed here. Image courtesy of Cruise Radio Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Alast_img read more

Explore Worldwide moves over to Cox and Kings

first_imgExplore Worldwide officially joinsCox & Kings Australia. Explore Worldwide will move over to the Cox & Kings Australia company, following last year’s acquisition of the Australian General Sales Agency (GSA).Effective 1 April 2013, Explore Worldwide will leave Venture Holidays and join Cox & Kings Australia, although bookings made prior to 31 March 2013 will continue to be managed by Venture Holidays until clients have completed their travel.Venture Holidays managing director Robert Mackay wished the company success in the future and the sale was a “logical” move that will allow Explore Worldwide to join other Cox & Kings Australia brands including; Tempo Holidays and Bentours.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

Pax fights airline on bomb threat charge

first_imgA Jetstar passenger accused of making a bomb threat has told a Queensland court that he plans to fight the charge, claiming he is a “victim of a crime”. Man says he is a “victim of a crime”.Image: commons.wikimedia The aircraft, which had not yet left Cairns, was forced to return to the boarding gate and Mr Grillis was arrested. Source = ETB News: NJ Earlier this week, the passenger’s duty solicitor Paul Richardson told the Court that Mr Grillis would fight the accusation, and instead lay charges against police prosecutors. “I’ve been a victim of a crime.”center_img According to Mr Grillis, he had a disability and should not be facing possible jail time. “I will be charging these police officers as well,” he said. The accused is expected to return to Court on 22 July. According to Police, Harry Grillis allegedly told people on board a Cairns to Sydney flight in May that there was bomb on the aircraft, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.last_img read more

Tourism vital to economy

first_imgTourism Research Australia has released its Tourism Businesses in Australia report for June 2010 to June 2012, revealing that there were approximately 280,000 businesses in Australia in June 2012. International visitor arrivals are forecast to grow 5.8 percent in 2013−14 to 6.6 million, while domestic visitor nights are forecast to increase by 2 percent in 2013−14 to 293 million. In related news, the outlook for the Australian tourism industry has been upgraded according to Tourism Research Australia’s new Tourism Forecasts, released last week. These businesses represented 13 percent of Australia’s 2.1 million businesses. The report also revealed that growth in tourism businesses was generally limited to Melbourne and Sydney between June 2010 and June 2012, while regional areas across all states suffered a decline. “While the number of tourism businesses fell by 2,900 (or 1 percent) in June 2012, their contribution to tourism’s gross value added per business increased by around 13 percent,” Tourism Research Australia chief economist Dr Leo Jago said. Australia’s tourism businesses contribute immensely to the nation’s economy, despite the number of businesses falling last year, according to new research. Source = ETB News: P.T. “This reminds policymakers and industry that tourism businesses – large or small, play a significant role in the economy,” Dr Jago said. More than 90 percent of tourism businesses are small – possessing between 1 and 19 employees – while the remaining 10 percent are medium to large businesses. However, the medium to large businesses generate more than two thirds of total overall revenue. Image: ETB News “The fall in the Australian dollar is expected to lead to increased inbound tourism and reduce the growth in outbound tourism, which should benefit the domestic market”, Dr Jago said.last_img read more

Travel companies can unlock hidden revenues says Amadeus

first_imgTravel companies can unlock hidden revenues says AmadeusAs the online channel becomes increasingly dominant in our business and personal lives, the risk of account takeover or identity theft are ever greater. This creates a significant burden for companies: today, cybercrime costs the victim company an average of 2.6 million dollars.The Amadeus white paper, Safeguarding information systems: A lever for revenue growth, also reveals that this threat can actually be turned into a commercial opportunity, allowing companies to protect their sensitive information to improve the customer experience, grow their reputation, reduce risk exposure and ultimately improve the balance sheet.Some of the white paper’s key findings include:Companies can use security initiatives to improve their customers’ experience and drive greater sales on their websites.There is a significant opportunity for airlines to unlock hidden revenues by reducing the number of valid transactions which are blocked by ineffective fraud managementStoring sensitive data as tokens allows travel companies to eliminate sensitive data altogether from their organisations which greatly reduces the burden of meeting regulatory obligations.Automating fraud management controls can not only reduce the level of fraud which a company is exposed to but also reduce the hidden cost of fraud.Celia Pereiro, Head of Travel Payments at Amadeus, said: “The global travel industry is facing complex challenges as a result of the growing risk of account takeover or identity theft. Nonetheless, at Amadeus, we believe this can also be a lever for growing top line revenues.  With Safeguarding information systems: A lever for revenue growth we explore the mindset and initiatives required to realise this opportunity.”A core recommendation of the paper is that companies take holistic approach to data security. Celia Pereiro continued: “To achieve the revenue opportunity, the responsibility for safeguarding data cannot be the domain of a single department but span the whole organization, with conversations across and beyond silos. We have developed this white paper with the explicit aim of driving these conversations between those responsible for assuring the safety of their companies’ data IT heads and commercial executives.”Travelstart, an online travel agency from South Africa, and one of the paper’s key contributors, has leveraged data security technology on their mobile app to vastly improve the payment experience. Stephan Ekbergh, CEO and Founder of Travelstart Group, commented: “It shouldn’t take you as long to book a flight from Cape Town to J’burg as it does to fly there.  With our new Flapp app our customers have gone from over 30 clicks to just 2 to book and pay for this trip, saving them valuable time.” To simplify the payment process in Flapp, Travelstart had to store their customers’ credit card details, which they convert to secure “tokens” with the help of Amadeus.The white paper also includes contributions from specialists including, Hold Security and Frost & Sullivan.Safeguarding information systems: A lever for revenue growth brings together analysis and real world examples on data security, the rising impact of fraud, and the response of the industry.The white paper will be presented by Anna Almqvist, Head of Sales and Commercial Travel Payments, Amadeus, at The Airline & Travel Payments & Fraud Summit (ATPS) in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. Download the White Paper hereSource = Amadeuslast_img read more

Tourism Australia extends partnership with Air New Zealand

first_imgTourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan with Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxton.Tourism Australia and Air New Zealand have deepened their commercial relationship, signing a new A$1.5 million marketing agreement aimed at promoting Australian tourism within key markets served by the New Zealand national carrier.The new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) extends an existing deal, which has seen the two parties work together on a range of successful campaigns resulting in incremental bookings to Australia with the airline increasing between 30 and 40 per cent.Under the agreement, Tourism Australia and Air New Zealand will each invest up to A$750,000 over the next 12 months towards a program of joint marketing and sponsorship activities.Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan, who spent time in Auckland last week meeting Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxton, said the new agreement would principally target the United States – Australia’s fourth largest inbound tourism market.“International traffic from North America is growing at levels we haven’t enjoyed since the Sydney Olympics and this is due, in no small part, to the success of a range of targeted marketing activities we’ve carried out in this market with Air New Zealand,” Mr O’Sullivan said“Alongside Air New Zealand’s strong brand, award-winning product and competitive airfares, this new agreement gives us a strong platform to further grow inbound tourism from what remains one of Australia’s most important inbound markets.”The majority of marketing activities conducted by Tourism Australia and Air New Zealand over the past three years has been digitally focused, helping to showcase both Australia’s capital cities and also key regional destinations such as the Sunshine Coast. A key feature of these campaigns has been offering one common air fare to all Australian destinations.Mr O’Sullivan said that marketing activities planned for 2016/17 would continue to make use of Tourism Australia’s well-established There’s Nothing like Australia campaign messaging, recently updated with new creative assets highlighting Australia’s best aquatic and coastal experiences.Air New Zealand has increased capacity between the USA and Australia in the past 18 months, including five new weekly services departing Houston, which started in December 2015. The introduction of a new Buenos Aires-Auckland service in the same month has also improved access to Australia from Argentina, Brazil and other Latin American markets.Annual arrivals from the USA to Australia exceeded 600,000 for the first time in 2015, whilst expenditure grew 22 per cent to an all-time high above A$3.4 billion. Tourism AustraliaSource = Tourism Australialast_img read more

GCP Hospitality announces opening of first Australian accommodation pr

first_imgHostel G PerthGCP Hospitality announces opening of first Australian accommodation propertyGCP Hospitality’s debut in the Australian accommodation market will see it unveil Hostel G in Perth in January 2019.With bookings available from 4th of January 2019, visitors and locals alike can stay in the heart of Perth and enjoy a 50% off on all room categories in celebration of Hostel G’s opening.The brand new hostel concept is a far cry from the hostels as we know it, with an industry-first emphasis on community living and home comforts, including en-suite bathrooms in every room, linens and 24-hour security.GCP Hospitality Chief Marketing Officer Marc Bichet said Hostel G is designed to be the first in a new generation of hostels, dubbed ‘hostel 2.0’, providing a hotel experience at an affordable price.“Designed for the modern traveller seeking to explore cities like a local, Hostel G is set to be a new concept in lifestyle property, with a focus on conscious design, comfort and social connectivity. “With people travelling more than ever before, we’re enabling social experiences for travellers and developing spaces where visitors to a city can gather, with a buzzing events calendar andcommunity-led activities.”As the official accommodation partner of Perth’s 2019 Fringe World Festival, Hostel G is opening its doors in Northbridge’s energetic cultural centre for visiting performers, artists and visitors alike.“We’re looking forward to hosting some of the world’s best Fringe performers at Hostel G, and opening our doors to tourists and locals alike looking to be in the heart of the cultural centre over the festival,” said Bichet.With 296 thoughtfully-designed guestrooms across two room types – shared and private, Hostel G is aimed at travellers looking for quality yet affordable accommodation. Designed by the awardwinning Woods Bagot, guestrooms cater for a broad spectrum of travellers.Unique to Hostel G is the ‘Glam Shared’ offering – four bunk-style rooms exclusively for female  travellers, in response to the growing number of women travelling independently. The rooms feature complimentary extras such as hair dryers and bathroom amenities.Hostel G’s offerings also cater to families with young children, or groups of friends and travelling couples who have previously had to book more than one room to accommodate everyone. “Travelling costs increase exponentially when friends and family have had to book two rooms to accommodate a party of four,” said Bichet.“Our ‘Greatest rooms” include queen or twin beds and bunk beds, designed to comfortably sleep four guests, and we anticipate this to be our most popular option for families.” Groups of travellers seeking privacy can book out private guestrooms, with double, twin, four or six bed configurations available. Each room features an en-suite bathroom and offers a full suite of amenities such as Free Wi-Fi, A/C, dedicated reading lights and USB charging stations.Bichet said a major focus of the hostel was its communal spaces, including a games room, screening room and co-working space.“Our aim is to rival the service standards and amenity offerings found in most hotels,” he said.“The games area will feature pool and foosball tables, board games and areas for group gatherings.“In-house entertainment includes a screening room featuring theatre-style seating, which will play host to a wide selection of curated programming, including screening sessions by up-and-coming directors, music concerts, advanced film showings and creative speaker sessions.“A co-working space will be open to both guests and non-guests, targeting entrepreneurs, start-ups, creatives and freelancers.“Equipped as modern workspace, it will provide complimentary high-speed WiFi, stationery and a library with inspiring books and magazines.“Hostel G team will organise activities with tour providers and local businesses, in addition to a bustling events calendar.”Source = GCP Hospitalitylast_img read more

Thomas Cook India furthers facilities under clicks and bricks model

first_imgThomas Cook India has revealed the progress of its so-called ‘clicks and bricks’ distribution strategy, which aims to serve the needs of India’s second and third tier cities with technology-enabled travel stores.The clicks and bricks model provides customers with a range of travel-related products and services, including foreign exchange, visas and insurance, combining human travel agents with in-store technology such as tablet devices. So far in 2015, the company has set up 33 new stores across the country, including locations in Amritsar, Ahmednagar, Bareily, Nellore, Ranchi, Palarivattam, Ludhiana and Valachery.“At Thomas Cook India, we foresee significant growth emerging from ‘Middle India’ and hence were quick to transition to online and online-assisted selling via our focused hybrid omni-channel ‘brick and click’ model,” said Madhavan Menon, Managing Director of Thomas Cook India. “Our technology assisted outlets will operate via tablets and mobile apps that enable transactions across the Thomas Cook range of products and services, including domestic and international holidays, flights, hotels, insurance and foreign exchange”, he added.Citing a McKinsey report, Thomas Cook said that India’s middle class is set to reach 43.6 million households by 2025.“Middle India will continue to be a powerhouse in our success story and our extensive network now offering travel hungry customers enhanced access, convenience and the reassurance of human touch via our Thomas Cook experts, is timed perfectly for our Summer 2016 launch”, said Menon.last_img read more

Jammu Kashmir focuses on golf tourism to attract more tourists

first_imgJammu & Kashmir is planning to develop its own golf circuit in a big way for the international tourist as well as the domestic corporate tourists. Sundeep Kumar Nayak, Principal Secretary to Government – Tourism Department, Government of Jammu & Kashmir, after taking his position gave an exclusive interview to Travel News Digest, speaking about the tourism developments in Jammu & Kashmir. “It will be a MICE kind of arrangement where you come not only to play but also mix business and play together. We are trying to tie up with golf circuits like South Asian and South East Asian golf circuits so that golf is promoted as an independent destination in Jammu & Kashmir and also as a part of MICE,” he said.He also added, “We have improved and refurbished our entire infrastructure in the Kashmir valley as well as in Ladakh and Jammu. We have a new circuit of premium golf courses Pahalgam, Gulmarg and, of course, the royal spring golf course in Srinagar. The Pahalgam property of the tourism corporation has come up very well. The Pahalgam club is a brand new property which we have commissioned in November-December last year and we have also introduced helicopter sightseeing in the valley. Apart from this, we have given a lot of incentives to our own tour and travel trade where they have also gone for the renovation of their properties and also different aspects of the transport. The state government has gone for a major role building exercise, they have improved the riding surface in the valley in the Jammu province, and all this are aimed at facilitating the visitors. I will make special mention of the Vaishno Devi tourism, as almost 95% of our tourist, they come to the Mata Darshan and it is being developed as a circuit. We have plans to introduce shuttle bus service from Patnitop so that people can stay a few days more and visit the nearby places.”Nayak said, “Yusmarg is one of the most beautiful and unexplored places in Kashmir valley. Yusmarg Development Authority is planning to introduce skiing in a good way along with other adventure sports like mountaineering. The access to Yusmarg has been improved with better roads and the accommodation is also very good. We are re-establishing and revisiting our relationship with the Indian Mountaineering Foundation. We also had a meeting with the Himalayan Mountaineering Group recently and we are going to invite all the people to come to Kashmir and Ladakh for mountaineering and trekking. We are also developing new trekking routes in the upper reaches of Jammu along with the Mughal road which is highly unexplored and it will come up as a good destination for the trekkers.”Nayak also noted that for the last couple of years, Bollywood has taken note of the new infrastructure and new things which have come up in the Kashmir valley and Jammu and Ladakh. “We are going to pitch the film industry to take up Kashmir valley as a shooting location a big way and we are working towards that. Not only Bollywood, we would also like to invite other filmmakers from rest of the country and outside India to come and shoot in Jammu & Kashmir, for that we are going to have single window clearance for filming.”Lastly, Nayak stated that there are many destinations which are pristine and untouched in Jammu and Kashmir like in the Chenab valley there are many such destinations and the districts of Kastovert and the district of Doda, Adarva and also in places like Rajouri and Poonch. These are the places where perhaps the tourists would like to explore when they come to Kashmir, apart from the areas in Kupwara district and Baramulla district. Places like Ori, Keran, Machil and Lolab Valley where tourists can come in addition to the Sonmarg and upper reaches of Sonmarg.last_img read more

AccorHotels acquires Availpro

first_imgFollowing the acquisition of Fastbooking in 2015, AccorHotels announced the acquisition of Availpro. The consolidation of these two major players will create the leading European digital services provider for independent hotels, ranked the third largest global player in its sector.In an expanding and highly competitive sector, the companies in combination will work to benefit hoteliers who are increasingly calling for decision-support solutions and will now have access to a whole range of management tools and assistance services to enhance their online distribution and increase their revenues. The ‘channel management’ solution, which provides an innovative management tool, together with various software packages developed by Availpro, will complement the products and services currently provided to hoteliers by Fastbooking.Talking about the development, Steven Daines, CEO, New Business, AccorHotels, said, “The acquisition of Availpro enables the Group to reach another milestone in its transformation by establishing the first B2B services division focused on hoteliers in Europe. Its combination with Fastbooking, now more than ever before, positions AccorHotels as an hotelier serving the hoteliers.”Created in 2001, Availpro is the leader in France and one of the leading European software providers to hoteliers with more than 6,500 clients. Fastbooking provides services to independent hotels and has been the cornerstone of AccorHotels’ ‘digital factory’, a digital services division aimed at hoteliers, since its acquisition by the Group in 2015. Today the company helps more than 4,000 clients around the world increase their direct sales and has connected more than 2,000 independent hotels to the marketplace.Availpro clients will also benefit from the digital marketing know-how of the Fastbooking teams. By combining the talents of these two companies, AccorHotels will be able to offer its hotelier clients an ever wider, more innovative and high-performance application suite also, enabling them to increase their online visibility and sales.last_img read more

GoI awards 325 air routes under RCS2 40 for NE hilly region

first_imgThe Government of India awarded 325 routes to airlines as well as helicopter operators in the second round of bidding under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), also known as Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), enhancing air connectivity to 73 new airports and helipads in tier II and tier III cities, including Kargil in the frontier Ladakh region.Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Minister for Civil Aviation said, “The government aims to connect 41 airports and helipads in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and Uttarakhand. SpiceJet (20 routes), IndiGo (20), Jet Airways and Air India subsidiary- Alliance Air are a major part of it.”A total of 56 new airports and helipads are being connected to the existing 36 airports, out of the total 56 new airports and helipads, the latter accounts for 31, i.e., nearly 70%. With the emphasis strongly on enhancing connectivity to the remote and hilly terrain in the northeast and hill states, 129 i.e. 40% of the total routes is awarded.The government provided viability gap funding or subsidy for 50% of the seats set aside for being offered at discounted rates by the airlines and all seats up to 13 passenger seats for helicopters. He said that it was encouraging to see that many participants sought no subsidy which signifies it is moving towards self-sustainability.R N Choubey, Civil Aviation Secretary signified, “For the first time Kargil will have connectivity. Darbhanga is going to be connected to Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai. Hubli is going to be connected to nine other cities in the country. Kannur in Kerala is going to be connected to eight cities. There will be flights from Pakyong in Sikkim to Delhi, Guwahati and Kolkata. Allahabad is getting connected to 12 cities in the country.”Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said that UDAN will add 4-5% to the total passenger trips in the country. “There were a total 117 million passenger trips in 2017. The number of seats being added because of UDAN 1 and 2 is 50 lakhs. This year we will fly 120-130 million passenger trips. So, if you look at the seats we have added (under UDAN) it is 3-4% of the total,” he stated.In order to fund the subsidy, Airports Authority of India will also be providing a partial contribution from its dividend share, in addition to the levy of INR 5,000 per flight being imposed on non-RCS operations.last_img read more

Housing Markets Mixed as Debt Talks Splinter

first_img Share Housing Markets Mixed as Debt Talks Splinter in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing As splintering debt-ceiling negotiations unnerved analysts and ratings agencies, Treasury yields and mortgage rates remained relatively stable over the weekend, reflecting a widespread consensus among investors and market watchers that partisan divisions would soon give way to a grand bargain between policymakers. Even so, some housing analysts warn that a default scenario would increase the debt burden for homeowners, shut down government services in the housing sector, and endanger the economy with a double-dip recession.[IMAGE]””CNN””: reported Sunday that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) refused to agree to a set of conditions at the “”White House””:, bringing dramatic four-month-long negotiations to a tenuous standstill.On Monday “”President Barack Obama””: fired the latest salvo in the imbroglio, giving a national address that called attention to the multi-trillion-dollar national debt and laid the blame for a breakdown in talks at the feet of Republican lawmakers. If the national debt continues to rise, “”[b]usinesses will be less likely to open up shop and hire workers in a country that can’t balance its books. Interest rates could climb for everyone who borrows money ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the homeowner with a mortgage, the student with a college loan, the corner store that wants to expand,”” he said.Obama attributed the collapse in negotiations to “”a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a cuts-only approach ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all.””The high-level negotiations collapsed on the heels of decisions by prominent ratings agencies “”Moody’s Investor Services””: and “”Standard & Poor’s””: to place the U.S. AAA credit rating under review in anticipation of a default on sovereign debt come August 2.Despite the high drama, Treasury yields remained relatively stable Monday, with 30-year fixed-rate Treasuries bobbing at 4.31 percent, slightly up from 4.26 percent Friday, and five-year fixed-rate Treasuries steady at 1.55 percent, a few percentage points above 1.53 percent from last week.Why the stability in a sea of debt-ceiling uncertainty?Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at “”Capital Economics””:, says that stable Treasury yields shows that “”the markets don’t seem to be quite worried”” about a debt default scenario. “”Treasury yields would rise sharply if people thought there would be a default. It will all be sorted.””””Do I think the [U.S.] will default on [its] debt? No,”” writes Bob Walters, chief economist for “”Quicken Loans””:, in a recent “”Bankrate””: article. “”But if they [policymakers] don’t start making substantial progress soon we should look for interest rates to start to moving higher.””Heather Boushey, a senior economist with the “”Center for American Progress Action Fund””:, says differently. Giving testimony before the Congressional Democratic and Steering Committee, Boushey said that in a debt default scenario “”bondholders will likely require higher interest rates on U.S. Treasuries├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª eliminat[ing] nearly 650,000 jobs”” in the economy.Boushey said that a spike in Treasury rates by as few as 0.5 percentage points would increase the debt burden for U.S. households, send up 10-year Treasury rates by half a percentage point, and cause “”a jump in the mortgage rate equal to 0.66 percentage points, the highest levels since 2008.””Her conclusion: “”The U.S. housing market would most likely experience a severe double-dip contraction marked by much-lower home sales and depressed house prices.””Speaking to _MReport_, Boushey says that soaring interest rates would crimp credit, making it more costly for homebuyers wanting to refinance their loans or purchase new homes. She says that fewer loans and financing opportunities would freeze certain demographics out of the market. Plunging home prices would likely benefit first-time homebuyers but adversely impact sellers, she adds.[COLUMN_BREAK]””It would certainly not be a good thing for mortgage rates if we actually defaulted,”” she says.In a past interview with _MReport_, Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at “”Freddie Mac””:, agreed that a debt default scenario “”would not be good”” for the housing recovery and mortgage markets.He said that a default would “”cause long term interest rates to move sharply higher. It would lead to a spike upward in Treasury yields, and if Treasury yields move up sharply it will cause mortgage rates and Treasury yields to move up considerably.””Somewhat reflective of stable Treasuries, the GSE recently released a report signaling a slight uptick in 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, from 4.51 percent the week before to 4.52 percent Thursday. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hovered at 3.65 percent.””In the event of a debt default, Treasury yields would rise sharply and that would increase mortgage rates substantially,”” Dales agrees. “”That wouldn’t help the housing market because it is quite fragile at the moment.””According to some analysts, mortgage rates may not be the only figures to ride the default wave upward. David Min, associate director for financial markets policy at the left-leaning “”Center for American Progress””:, published a recent paper alleging a possible shutdown of the “”Federal Housing Administration””: (FHA) as a result of the federal government’s need to prioritize essential services.The FHA is “”a key source of mortgages, particularly for first-time homebuyers and other demographic groups who are critical for restoring some equilibrium to our still-ailing housing markets,”” he wrote, adding that the FHA accounts for almost 40 percent of mortgage purchases, according to a “”HUD””: report on single-family mortgage originations for the third quarter last year.””Any extended suspension of FHA lending activities due to a freeze on nonessential government services would cause the housing markets to lock up and prices to potentially free fall, particularly at the lower end of the market where younger, lower-income, and first-time homebuyers are critical,”” he added. “”It would also be devastating for those neighborhoods hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, effectively squashing any hopes of a recovery.””Min told _MReport_ that he reached his conclusions in off-the-record conversations with undisclosed HUD employees. “”My understanding is that the folks at the FHA are expecting”” a shutdown, he said. “”This would be a White House decision at the end of the day.””A HUD spokesperson declined to comment on the potential for a shuttered FHA for a previous story.Min and Dales agreed that GSEs Freddie and “”Fannie Mae””: would feel a nominal impact in a debt default scenario, with spikes in mortgage rates likely crimping their servicing activities.Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at the conservative-leaning “”Cato Institute””:, disagreed with Min’s assessment, claiming the government will continue to receive revenue in absence of a debt-ceiling deal.The Obama administration “”can pay the FHA or not, that’s their decision,”” he says.Calabria expresses concern over rising Treasuries. “”If the U.S. doesn’t stand by Treasuries, it’s pretty likely it won’t stand by Fannie and Freddie,”” he says. “”So go Treasury ratings, so go Fannie’s and Freddie’s, which may potentially raise rates. If there is a downgrade [by ratings agencies], since borrowing is pegged on Treasuries, mortgage rates will go up.””I expect [buyers and sellers] to avoid closing the first week of August”” if the government defaults on its debt, Calabria adds, dismissing government involvement in the mortgage markets.””I don├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ót look at the government to have a role to take from buyers and give to sellers or take from sellers and give to buyers,”” he says. “”A spike in mortgage rates will not impact home prices.””One Republican lawmaker feels comfortable with lower credit ratings for the country in the instance of a debt default.””Until we stop spending more, we should be downgraded,”” “”_The Hill_””: reports Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) as saying.Public officials have until August 2 to raise the debt ceiling, which currently sits at $14.294 trillion. According to “”NPR””:, lawmakers need to introduce legislation this week in order to raise the ceiling, as House and Senate debate rules require certain hours.center_img July 26, 2011 443 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bankrate Fannie Mae FHA First-Time Homebuyers Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Home Prices Home Sales HUD Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Processing Refinance Service Providers The Cato Institute 2011-07-26 Ryan Schuettelast_img read more

Canadian Housing Bubble Could Rile US State Markets

first_img Canada may soon face a housing bubble crisis not unlike the one still felt by its southern neighbor, according to a report by “”Capital Economics””:, with a possible burst threatening to soak pockets of the U.S. economy that rely on purchases by overseas homebuyers.[IMAGE]Titled “”Canada Economic Focus,”” the report forecasts a decline in nominal house prices by as much as 25 percent on a cumulative basis over the next two or more years. “”The recent housing boom has resulted in the largest rises in house prices ever seen in Canada,which have been similar in magnitude to those during the recent boom in the US [sic],”” the report says. “”Unfortunately, the subsequent falls in prices could also be just as severe as those elsewhere.””It goes on to suggest that a house price collapse would erase growth responsible for raising home prices to new highs in the northern country and place Canada in line with others, such as its southern neighbor, which continues to walk a blurry line between recovery and a double-dip recession.Describing the housing bubble in Canada, Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, says that the “”housing market is unusually strong, price is out of line with fundamentals like disposable income, and people believe this can carry on forever when in fact this is never the case.””[COLUMN_BREAK]Asked how this would impact the still-limping U.S. housing economy, Dales highlights the potential for a disproportionate loss in home purchases in areas where Canadians typically buy, lease, and rent vacation homes.””If the housing market goes weaker in Canada, I suspect there will be fewer people willing or able to buy a second home in the U.S.,”” Dales says.A May “”report””: on international home buying activity by the “”National Association of Realtors””: found that Canadians grabbed U.S. homes more than any other nationality for the fourth consecutive year, cutting into 23 percent of foreign home sales. According to the report, which relies on information collected from realtors, 28 percent of agents saw international home purchases in all but one state this year, with Florida the most popular among Canadians, followed by California, Texas, and Arizona for other foreign homebuyers.Citing his own research, Dales points to Florida and Arizona as the states with home sales that would suffer a “”modest impact”” if Canadians suddenly faced fallout from a housing bubble burst. He ascribes one percent of international home sales in the U.S. to Canadians.The grim forecasts about the U.S. neighbor’s housing economy follows a 2010 “”report””: by “”Center for American Progress””: associate director David Min, who praised the influence of an effective regulatory regime in Canada for its role in shielding the northern housing sector from the worst effects of the financial crisis.””Canada did not become enthralled with the laissez faire ideology that dominated U.S. economic policy making in the 2000s, and thus did not allow major gaps in its regulation of housing finance to develop,”” he wrote.Speaking to _MReport_, Min downplays the potential for an overspill in the instance of a house price collapse in Canada, suggesting problems only if these losses reached “”their banking institutions… which could create more global turmoil, a domino effect.”” Nonetheless, he adds, “”I think it’s unlikely that you’re going to see the scale of the housing and financial crisis that we saw in the U.S.”” in Canada. in Data, Origination, Servicing Share August 2, 2011 436 Views center_img Canadian Housing Bubble Could Rile U.S. State Markets Agents & Brokers Home Prices Home Sales Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Realtors Processing Service Providers 2011-08-02 Ryan Schuettelast_img read more

CoesterVMS Hires Industry Veteran as SVP of Operations

first_img July 3, 2012 393 Views “”CoesterVMS””: is welcoming a new senior vice president of operations. The company recently appointed industry veteran Robert T. Chasteen to the leadership position.[IMAGE]Prior to teaming up with Coester, Chasteen was the production manager for “”First Choice Bank”” While with the financial entity, Chasteen was responsible for the bank’s loan production and compliance.Chasteen will head up Coester’s implementation and enforcement policies for customer care. [COLUMN_BREAK]The company also noted that he is “”charged with ensuring the highest performance and customer service levels across all of the company’s departments.”” Coester’s CEO, Brian Coester, stated of Chasteen’s hiring, “”Rob’s focus on customer service is a key part of our strategy for not only growing the business, but also strengthening the commitment and loyalty we have with our existing client base. A lot of our clients are very excited to know that as good as our service levels are now, with Rob onboard, they’re going to get even better.”” According to an official release, Coester’s decision to add Chasteen to the team is part of a “”plan to aggressively grow its market position as a leading appraisal management company and mortgage technology innovator.””””The appraisal industry is exploding with opportunity and we are perfectly positioned to capitalize on that,”” added Coester. “”With our Cloud Control appraisal technology, we have capabilities that extend far beyond our competition. We’ve got superior appraisals and superior technology, and Rob is going to ensure we have superior infrastructure to support the growth we plan to see in the coming year and 2013.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2012-07-03 Abby Gregory CoesterVMS Hires Industry Veteran as SVP of Operationscenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Sharelast_img read more

Consumer Sentiment Improves in January

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Confidence Consumer spending Inflation Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-02-01 Tory Barringer in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Consumer Sentiment Improves in January Consumer confidence picked up somewhat in January, but the recent payroll tax hike put a ceiling on any major gains, according to the latest “”survey of consumers””: from “”Thomson Reuters””: and the “”University of Michigan””: (UMich).[IMAGE]The Index of Consumer Sentiment climbed slightly to 73.8 in January from December’s 72.9. The index read 75.0 in January 2012.Meanwhile, the two components of the index moved in opposite directions: The Expectations Index posted a gain to 66.6 in January from 63.8 in December, while the Current Conditions Index declined to 85.0 in January from 87.0 in December.[COLUMN_BREAK]According to a release accompanying the survey, January’s potential gains were dulled by the payroll tax increase, which has had a significant impact on lower income households; most of January’s improvement in confidence actually came from households with incomes above $75,000.””The personal finances of consumers has weakened considerably compared with the closing months of 2012,”” Thomson Reuters/UMich said. “”The January decline was due to households with incomes below $75,000 reporting more frequent losses than could be offset by upper income households.””According to the survey, 13 percent of lower income households reported gains in disposable income in January (down from 21 percent in December) compared to 38 percent of upper income households (up from 25 percent).While concern about disposable income has some households fretting their current situation, more consumers expressed optimism that economic conditions will improve rather than worsen in 2013. However, while respondents are less fearful of a downturn this year, nearly 60 percent expect a downturn sometime in the next five years.Overall, consumers said they do not anticipate a significant decline in the unemployment rate in 2013, though they do anticipate a slowly falling rate.center_img February 1, 2013 425 Views Sharelast_img read more

Mortgage Applications Fall as Refinance Volume Crashes

first_img September 11, 2013 531 Views Mortgage refinance applications went into free-fall last week as interest rates came back up, according to data in the “”Mortgage Bankers Association’s””: (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.[IMAGE]The survey’s Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, dropped 13.5 percent on a seasonally [COLUMN_BREAK]adjusted basis for the week ending September 6. On an unadjusted basis, the index decreased 23 percent.The week’s results included an adjustment for the Labor Day holiday.The Refinance Index fell 20 percent week-over-week, bringing it down 71 percent from its recent peak at the beginning of May. According to MBA, refinances last week were at their lowest level since June 2009.The refinance share of all mortgage activity dropped to 57 percent from 61 percent–its lowest level since April 2010.The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index saw a less drastic drop, declining 3 percent from the prior week. Unadjusted, the Purchase Index decreased 14 percent but still came up 7 percent higher than the same week one year ago.After falling last week, the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage came right back to 4.80 percent, matching the two-year high first achieved in August. Points increased to 0.46 from 0.33 (including the origination fee), MBA reported. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-09-11 Tory Barringer Mortgage Applications Fall as Refinance Volume Crashescenter_img in Origination Sharelast_img read more