SEVERAL AREA SCHOOLS TO DISMISS EARLY FRIDAY

first_imgSEVERAL AREA SCHOOLS ARE DISMISSING EARLY TODAY BECAUSE OF PREDICTED HIGH TEMPERATURES IN THE 90’S.SIOUX CITY ELEMENTARY STUDENTS IN BRYANT, HUNT, RIVERSIDE AND SUNNYSIDE SCHOOLS WILL GET OUT TWO HOURS EARLY.BISHOP HEELAN HIGH SCHOOL WILL DISMISS AT 12:55 PM.HOLY CROSS SCHOOL WILL DISMISS 2 HOURS EARLY. BLESSED SACRAMENT CENTER AT 12:45 PM AND SAINT MICHAEL CENTER AT 1:15 PM.STUDENTS IN WHITING WILL ALSO BE RELEASED TWO HOURS EARLY BECAUSE OF THE HEAT.last_img

Weekly Traffic Advisories

first_img KINGS COUNTY: Hillaton Road Hillaton Road will be closed for bridge repairs until spring. A detour route is available from Route 221 to Route 358 to Saxon Street. Local Area Office: 902-538-3877 Fax: 902-538-8288 Local Area Office: 902-295-2700 Fax: 902-295-2617 Local Area Office: 902-533-2771 Fax: 902-533-4352 CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Grand Lake Road Grand Lake Road will have alternating lane closures until Tuesday, Dec. 30, to install traffic signals at the entrance of Central Supplies and the Petro Canada station. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-755-7152 Fax: 902-755-7184 GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY: Route 344 Route 344 at Middle Melford will have lane closures for the construction of a detour bridge and approaches at Melford Bridge until Jan. 31. The speed limit has been reduced to 60 km/h at the site and drivers can expect delays, gravel on the road and rough sections. Work takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and some weekends. Local Area Office: 902-565-6841 Fax: 902-563-2517 Local Area Office: 902-798-6889 Fax: 902-798-2927 INVERNESS COUNTY: Murrays Hill Bridge Murrays Hill Bridge, which crossed the Mabou River near Rankinville Road, is closed because of flood damage. The bridge will reopen next summer. HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 102 Highway 102, southbound for about 500 metres to Exit 7, will have occasional one-lane closures until Friday, Dec. 19, to install truck weighing equipment. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Trunk 3, Gold River Bridge A one-lane bridge is open on Trunk 3 between Mahone Bay and Chester, while the new Gold River Bridge is being built. Work is expected to continue until August. Traffic lights are in place. Local Area Office: 902-424-4670 Fax: 902-424-7116 YARMOUTH COUNTY: Grey Bridge Grey Bridge on Grey Road, East Kemptville will be closed indefinitely for structural repairs. PICTOU COUNTY: Young Road Access to and from Highway 104 on Young Road in Pine Tree will be closed until further notice for the Highway 104 twinning project. The road remains open to local residents, but has no exit. Local Area Office: 902-742-2415 Fax: 902-742-0649 HANTS COUNTY: Highway 101 and Bog Road Overpass The Bog Road overpass, above Highway 101, is closed until Sunday, Dec. 28. It is being replaced as part of the Highway 101 twinning project. A marked detour route is available on Rand Street, Bishopville Road and Old Post Road. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-752-6224 Fax: 902-755-7184 CUMBERLAND COUNTY: Thompson Road Thompson Road, between Crowley Road and Pugwash River Road, will be closed for culvert replacement until further notice. PICTOU COUNTY: Thorburn Road Thorburn Road will be closed until Wednesday, Dec. 17, to remove the underpass near Thorburn Consolidated School. Motorists are advised to use the detour route adjacent to the Thorburn Road via Hollow Road.center_img Local Area Office: 902-625-4388 Fax: 902-625-4393 INVERNESS COUNTY: Grand Etang Bridge The Grand Etang Bridge will occasionally be reduced to one lane for bridge replacement until Friday, Dec. 19. A detour is available on a temporary bridge marked with signs and lighting. Traffic control people will be on site. Local Area Office: 902-893-6194 Fax: 902-893-8175 KINGS COUNTY: Hantsport Kates Bridge on Tannery Road in Hantsport is closed for repairs until further notice. A detour is available on Avon Street. COLCHESTER COUNTY: Porteau’s Bridge: Porteau’s Bridge, about six kilometres south from Trunk 6 on Route 246, will be reduced to one lane until Tuesday, Dec. 23 to replace rails. Traffic control people will be on site. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-563-2518 Fax: 902-563-2517 Local Area Office: 902-679-4308 Fax: 902-679-6124 Local Area Office: 902-527-5448 Fax: 902-527-5371 CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Trunk 4 Sections of Trunk 4 from west of Ski Ben Eion for six kilometres west toward Big Pond will have lane closures to allow for road upgrades until Friday, Jan. 2. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Trunk 10 Trunk 10 will have alternating one-lane closures for ditching and culvert installation until Friday, Dec. 19. There is a pilot vehicle, flashing-light unit, traffic cones and traffic control people on site. Local Area Office: 902-543-7376 Fax: 902-543-5596 -30- KINGS COUNTY: Glebe Bridge Glebe Bridge on Route 201 will have a 2.7-metre height restriction and a 15-tonne weight restriction until further notice. Local Area Office: 902-667-2972 Fax: 902-667-8294 CONTINUING WORK Local Area Office: 902-543-4671 Fax: 902-543-5596 Local Area Office: 902-625-4200 Fax: 902-625-1946 INVERNESS COUNTY: Doyle’s Bridge Doyle’s Bridge on the East Margaree Road will be closed until further notice. A detour is available on East Margaree Crossroad.last_img read more

2 Congress MLAs quit Guj Assembly after voting in RS bypoll

first_imgAhmedabad: Congress MLAs Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala resigned from the Gujarat Assembly, apparently after voting against the party candidates in the Rajya Sabha bypoll Friday. Voting for the bypolls to the two Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat began at the Assembly complex in Gandhinagar this morning. While the BJP has fielded External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and OBC leader Juglaji Thakor, the Congress has nominated Chandrika Chudasama and Gaurav Pandya. “I have cast my vote for honest national leadership that wants to take the country to new heights. I cast vote as per my inner voice,” Thakor said after quitting the Assembly. “I got nothing other than mental stress being in Congress. I am free from that burden,” the OBC leader said.last_img read more

He was ditched La Loche victim spiralled without support now going to

first_imgSASKATOON — A promising football player whose dreams of playing professionally were crushed after a deadly school shooting in northern Saskatchewan has been sent to prison and his family says it’s because he didn’t get the mental-health help he needed.They say they watched as the physical pain and the memories from the 2016 shooting in La Loche transformed the teen from a spirited athlete and outgoing student with good grades to an angry and confused young man who started using methamphetamine.“One minute he’d be happy and fine, next minute he’d be miserable,” his grandfather said in an interview in Saskatoon.The Canadian Press is not identifying the victim, now 19, because he was a youth at the time of the La Loche shooting.The victim was 16 and from Saskatoon, but was spending part of the school year with his grandparents in La Loche, a remote Dene community 700 kilometres to the north, when he was shot at the entrance of the high school.In the panicked minutes that followed, a 17-year-old student with a shotgun wounded six others and killed a teacher and a teacher’s aide. He had earlier killed two teenage brothers in a nearby home.The shooter pleaded guilty to charges that included first-degree murder and was sentenced last year as an adult to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. Because he is appealing his sentence, he can’t be named.The gun blasts struck the young football player in the chest and arm, where he suffered permanent nerve damage. He couldn’t grip a football anymore, said his mother.“When it could have been anything else in the body, it was his hand,” she said.He underwent multiple surgeries and tried weightlifting and playing basketball, but grew frustrated and lost his passion for sports, said his grandfather.His mother packed away her boy’s stacks of Sports Illustrated magazines, collection of footballs and other gear. He told her he didn’t care what she did with it.Sitting at a Tim Hortons, the mother swiped through pictures of her eldest son on her cellphone.Images of a past Christmas he spent with his two younger brothers. A photo of him when he was about 12, flashing a big smile at a flag football game.Another photo of him, taller and bigger, dressed in a black-and-yellow jersey on the sidelines of a high school football game. It was taken shortly before he left for La Loche.Growing up his favourite football player, said his grandfather, was former Saskatchewan Roughrider Weston Dressler. Scouts had told the family there was a chance the youth could play professionally.But that never happened.Last week, he was sentenced after earlier pleading guilty to several offences, including assault with a weapon and possession of an unloaded prohibited firearm with ammunition.The young man admitted to using bear spray on his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend during a confrontation in 2018. A few months later, police discovered him inside a vehicle with a sawed-off rifle and rounds of ammunition. Court heard he told friends he wanted to commit a robbery.He was sentenced to three years in prison.Court heard he was a La Loche shooting victim and didn’t get the proper counselling he needed to recover.His grandfather agrees.“He was ditched.”The grandfather said he had asked the provincial government for an advocate to help the family co-ordinate counselling services while the young man recovered in Saskatoon. But that didn’t happen.Most of the help went to La Loche, he said.“It was all about La Loche, La Loche, not really the victims,” the mother added.Counsellors were sent to the village after the shooting, but a year later community leaders complained about a lack of continued support.Earlier this year, after the third anniversary of the shooting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited La Loche and announced $2.2 million in funding for projects and mental-health services for students.Prosecutor Kristin MacLean said in the recent case involving the shooting victim, the court considered the trauma he suffered. The Crown feels the prison term is appropriate given factors such as the risk to public safety and prevalence of firearm-related crimes in Saskatoon.Defence lawyer Logan Marchand said the La Loche shooting sent his client on a downward spiral.“The mental-health impacts from the PTSD alone, I think, also influences his behaviour,” said Marchand.He had requested provincial jail time and probation so his client could get more help with his addiction and to deal with the shooting.Marchand said his client didn’t get the counselling he needed to help him recover and believes prison will do nothing more to help.“Without some form of intervention … in some ways his presence in front of the courts at some point in the future was almost an inevitability.”Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Finance Bill 2014 draft the main focus of Moroccan editorials

first_imgRabat – The editorialists of the daily newspapers, published on Wednesday, focused on the Finance Bill 2014 draft, which outlines will be presented today by the Minister of Economy and Finance before the Chamber of Representatives.Under the title a “project with no perspective,” the columnist of Rissalat Al Oumma says that the Finance Bill 2014 contains numerous indications announcing more austerity at the expense of the purchasing power of citizens under the pretext of the need to cope with the impact of the financial crisis, lethargy of economy and lack of investment.For its part Annahar Al Maghribia writes that it is possible to understand the regional and international situation surrounding the drafting of the Finance bill 2014 without, for all, conceiving the way in which the government has interacted with the environment. L’Economiste says that, despite affronts and neglects, considering the Finance bill 2014 can take place in the standards. “This return to the standards of governance should be highlighted and praised,” said the editorialist.last_img read more

Asian markets follow Wall Street higher

BEIJING — Asian markets followed Wall Street higher Tuesday as investors watched for Brexit developments and corporate earnings.Benchmarks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul gained, while Tokyo and Sydney were little-changed. Southeast Asian markets also gained.On Wall Street, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index eked out a 0.1% gain to extend its winning to streak to eight days, its longest in 18 months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended lower due to another big loss for Boeing Co.Investors looked ahead to developments in Britain’s contentious move toward leaving the European Union, a mid-week meeting by the European Central Bank and the release of minutes from the latest U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to meet European leaders ahead of a Friday deadline for Britain to leave the European Union.British legislators have yet to agree to terms for the divorce from the trade bloc. Economists worry about the drag on the economy if the departure happens without that.“Moderate gains” are likely in Asian markets despite a lack of strong leads, helped by “benign updates from the event risks into the end of the week,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1% to 3,249.20 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3% to 30,169.32. Seoul’s Kospi added 0.4% to 2,219.63 and India’s Sensex advanced 0.2% to 38,761.45.Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was off 19 points at 21,780.23 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 shed 8 points to 6,212.80.Southeast Asian markets and Taiwan advanced while New Zealand declined.On Wall Street, the S&P rose to 2,895.77. It climbed to within 1.2% of its record in September. The Dow slipped 0.3% to 26,341.02, and the Nasdaq gained 0.2% to 7,953.88.Boeing slumped 4.4% after saying Friday that it will cut production of its 737 Max plane. Regulators around the world grounded that model after it was involved in two fatal crashes.EARNINGS SEASON: The latest quarterly earnings season is due to start with JPMorgan Chase and other big banks. Analysts are forecasting the first drop in S&P 500 profits in years. They expect corporate profit growth to resume after the weak first quarter.CHINA-US TRADE: China’s official news agency said talks in Washington last week “achieved new progress” but did not say when further discussions will happen. Beijing and Washington are trying to end a tariff war over Beijing’s technology ambitions that has shaken financial markets and darkened the world economic outlook.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 13 cents to $64.53 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $1.32 on Monday to $64.40. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 13 cents to $64.53 per barrel in London. It rose 76 cents the previous session to $71.10.CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 111.35 yen from Monday’s 111.47 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1267 from $1.1264.Joe McDonald, The Associated Press read more

JVP slams motives behind swapping of some Ministers

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today slammed the swapping of some Ministers saying it was done with a hidden motive.JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that focus will now be on the gazette giving details of the institutions which will fall under the new Ministers. Dissanayake said that the swapping of some Ministers was a mere drama. He said that one reason for the cabinet reshuffle was to satisfy the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the other was to make Tilak Marapana happy as he had resigned from earlier portfolio over the Avant-Garde issue.Dissanayake said that there were allegations against outgoing Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Arjuna Ranatunga yet they had been given new posts instead of taking action against them. He said there are reports the new Foreign Minister has asked for the banks and some other financial institutions to fall under his portfolio. The JVP leader said the Government has failed to meet its expectations over the past two years and instead of addressing the issues the Government has gone for a cabinet reshuffle. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Explosives found in Kattankudy suspect arrested in Maradana

Meanwhile, the Police also said that a suspect linked to the Easter Sunday attacks was arrested in Maradana.Buhari Mohamed Rafik had in his possession gold and over Rs 8.3 million in cash at the time of the arrest. A cache of explosives linked to the Easter Sunday bombers was found in the Kattankudy beach, the Police said.The Police said the explosives had been hidden in the beach. It was believed the explosives were hidden by the group who were attacked by the Police in Sainthamaruthu after the Easter Sunday attacks. read more

Splitting costs between roommates can be tricky if not done fairly

Thousands of Canadians move in with new roommates every fall and realize they’ve got a conundrum: how to handle splitting the costs.When done right, dividing expenses with a roommate can alleviate plenty of headaches, but when done wrong, it can rip apart friends and break up relationships.Desirae Odjick, a 30-year-old personal finance blogger in Ottawa, knows this well after years living with roommates.Rent is the easiest to split when rooms are the same size and everyone feels they’re getting an equal share of the unit or home, so the cost can be split 50-50, Odjick says.Trouble comes when rooms are different sizes or one has an ensuite bathroom.“If one room is significantly better than the others, then I think one of the most fair ways to decide who gets the extra amenities is to assign a higher rent to that room,” Odjick says.Unless there are extenuating circumstances where one person uses significantly more water or electricity, she recommends splitting utility fees equally.Odjick considers internet and television a shared resource and payment for such services should be divided evenly unless you or your roommate is downloading more, needs a faster internet connection for work or doesn’t plan to use it.“When I first graduated university, I lived with a great roommate and we agreed to share some of the costs of living together — notably internet. We had a conversation about the amount of data we’d each need, and I asked him if he would like to add TV to the package, since I had a few shows I liked watching live,” Odjick says.“He shared that he didn’t really want the TV part, so we agreed to split the internet portion of the bill equally, and I’d cover the TV portion, even though it was bundled together.”If you’re in a situation where one person won’t use one of the services or will use significantly less, Odjick recommends an honest discussion to sort out payment.Some people feel a roommate contributing furniture or kitchenware is doing everyone else a favour by saving them from shelling out for things like a couch or table, but whether that warrants a break on rent can go either way. Odjick recommends a chat between roommates early on to reach a consensus.She feels cleaning supplies should be treated as a shared expense.Food is one of the trickiest expenses to split with roommate, especially if you’re not in a romantic relationship with them, says Odjick, because it quickly becomes “a matter of preference and volume.”“You might eat way more than I do or like to eat things I’d never buy for myself,” she says.Odjick recommends roommates only share food if they are really close with their roommate and comfortable enough to have conversations around what to buy, how much to spend and how much you’ll realistically eat.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2019.Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press read more

In final Security Council briefing UN envoy hails Ivoirians for turning page

“Since the post-elections crisis that roiled Côte d’Ivoire only six years ago, demonstrable progress has been made on all fronts,” highlighted Aïchatou Mindaoudou, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the country and the head of the UN Operations in Côte d’Ivoire, known by its French acronym, UNOCI. The mission, set up in April 2004, will close at the end of June. Its complement of uniformed personnel had already left the country in February and the phased reduction of its civilian personnel was completed in April. Noting the lessons learned by the mission during the course of its deployment, Ms. Mindaoudou highlighted the strong political mandate accorded to the mission as well as the confidence placed by the Security Council. In particular, she hailed the quick reaction force established within UNOCI – with a mandate to respond in Liberia in support of mandate of the UN mission in that country (UNMIL) – as “among the most forward-leaning intermission cooperation initiatives in the history of UN peacekeeping.” She also said that the support of the coalition of international partners, all working in pursuit of same goal had been vital. Lastly, noting that no peacekeeping operation can substitute for national political will or national efforts to overcome the issues that led to conflict, the head of UNOCI noted that though more needed to be done in order to address the remaining fragilities, but Côte d’Ivoire has demonstrated its determination to do the work required for the country to regain its former place as a pillar of peace, stability and economic prosperity in West Africa. In conclusion, Special Representative Mindaoudou expressed her appreciation to all partners for their collaboration and cooperation and voiced admiration for the people and Government of Côte d’Ivoire – at the local, regional and national levels. “They, themselves, were the decisive factor in turning the page on crisis and conflict and, I have no doubt, whose continued determined efforts will ensure that the hard-won peace will be sustained.”Earlier today, Côte d’Ivoire was elected a non-permanent member of the Security Council for a period of two years. It will assume its seat on 1 January 2018. read more

Thessaloniki extortion gangs smashed

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The suicide of a Thessaloniki businessman last year led to the unraveling of four extortion gangs and the arrest of 53 suspects, including a tax official, entrepreneurs, a journalist employed by state media and three serving policemen, officers in northern Greece last Thursday. In one of the biggest operations of its kind, some 250 police officers were dispatched on Tuesday night to locations in Thessaloniki, Serres and Halkidiki to make the arrests. Police said they began tracking the suspects last May with the help of the National Intelligence Service (EYP). It is believed EYP used sophisticated surveillance equipment to record conversations between the gang members. Officers were hampered in their efforts to build a case by the reluctance of victims to provide information. However, police believe the 45-year-old businessman who killed himself in Thessaloniki last year had borrowed 450,000 euros from one gang and 100,000 from another. The four gangs operated independently but there were some links between them, police said. The biggest gang was led by a 58-year-old entrepreneur and had been active since 2003. It had 12 members, including the head of the local internal affairs division of the financial crimes squad (SDOE), the journalist, a retired policeman and two bankers. The gang lent money at monthly interest rates of between five and 15 per cent. Police said that between 2004 and 2011, the gang made about 40 million euros in profit. In order to launder the money, the gang would buy winning betting slips from customers of the state-run firm OPAP and collect the winnings. The 58-year-old had more than 2,000 winning betting slips at his home. The other three gangs operated in a similar manner, according to officers. The SDOE official was also a member of a PASOK-affiliated union. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, an MP for Thessaloniki, denied allegations on anonymous blogs that he had any connections to the unnamed tax officer. Source: Kathimerinilast_img read more

Varicelle forte activité en France métropolitaine

first_imgVaricelle : forte activité en France métropolitaineFrance – Cette semaine, l’activité de la varicelle en France métropolitaine reste forte, d’après les observations des médecins du réseau Sentinelles relayées dans leur dernier bulletin.Entre le 10 et le 16 mai, l’incidence des cas de varicelle observés en consultation de médecine générale a été estimée à 42 cas pour 100.000 habitants.Les foyers où l’activité régionale a été la plus forte ont été le Limousin (125 cas pour 100.000 habitants), la Lorraine (113), le Centre (106), la Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur (98), la Bretagne (86), le Rhône-Alpes (79), l’Alsace (77), l’Auvergne (67), la Franche-Comté (66), la Bourgogne (54), le Languedoc-Roussillon (50) et la Corse (42). Elle a été plus modérée en Pays de la Loire (39). Le 20 mai 2010 à 10:59 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

2 Malaysians leave N Korea some stranded

first_imgThe UN’s World Food Programme said two Malaysian employees were permitted to leave North Korea Thursday, as Kuala Lumpur negotiates for nine more citizens trapped by a diplomatic row over the murder of Kim Jong-Nam.North Korean barred Malaysians from leaving Tuesday, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Kuala Lumpur as diplomatic tensions soared over the investigation into Kim’s murder with the banned VX nerve agent at Malaysia’s main airport last month.”The staff members are international civil servants and not representatives of their national government,” the UN agency said in a statement, adding that the pair, who worked on WFP food programmes in North Korea, had now arrived in Beijing.Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said Kuala Lumpur would negotiate to ensure that the remaining nine nationals — three embassy staff and six family members — who he said were safe but trapped in Pyongyang, would be allowed to leave.”The government will do everything possible to ensure that our citizens continue to be safe and will be able to return to Malaysia,” he said in a statement.But Malaysia will not allow North Koreans to leave the country and “will not relent from our firm approach,” Najib added.The government has urged all mosques to hold special prayer sessions from Friday “until this political turmoil is over”.- Diplomatic dispute -Seoul has blamed Pyongyang for Kim’s assassination and Malaysian police are seeking seven North Korean suspects in their probe — four of whom left Malaysia on the day of the murder.The police chief has said he believes the other three are hiding in North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur.Last week, police released the only North Korean they had arrested for lack of evidence.Experts have suggested Pyongyang is using the travel ban as leverage to try to prevent the arrest of key suspects holed up in its embassy.An autopsy revealed that VX nerve agent, a substance so dangerous it is classed as a weapon of mass destruction by the UN, was used to kill Kim, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.Two women — one Vietnamese and one Indonesian — have been charged with the murder. Airport CCTV footage shows them approaching the 45-year-old and apparently smearing his face with a cloth.Police say he suffered a seizure and died less than 20 minutes later.The diplomatic dispute erupted last month when police rejected North Korean diplomats’ demands to hand over Kim’s body.North Korea has never confirmed the identity of the dead man, but has denounced the Malaysian investigation as an attempt to smear it, saying he most likely died of a heart attack.North Korean ambassador Kang Chol slammed what he called a “pre-targeted investigation by the Malaysian police” on Monday, just before leaving the country after being expelled.Pyongyang retaliated by formally ordering out his counterpart — who had already been recalled for consultations.Malaysia has also cancelled a rare visa-free travel deal with North Korea, with Malaysian football authorities banning the national team from playing an Asian Cup qualifying match in Pyongyang.last_img read more

IATA shows solid air travel demand

first_imgIATA’s director general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said world economic conditions were making flying more affordable for everyone. “People are flying, strong demand is consistent with the pick-up in global economic growth, particularly in advanced economies,” Mr Tyler said. The International Air Transport Association has announced that that global passenger traffic results have been showing strong world demand for aviation. February capacity rose 5.2 per cent and load factor increased 0.2 per cent points to 78.1 per cent. Asia Pacific carriers experienced a load increase of 4 per cent compared to February 2013 and capacity was up 5.1 per cent over February 2013. The results find that global passenger traffic data grew 5.4 per cent compared to February 2013. However, this means a slowdown compared to the January traffic increase of 8.2 per cent and is in comparison to 6.9 per cent cumulative growth. China’s business flyers also decreased by a third in February 2014.  Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

Emirates extends its global network of dedicated airport lounges

first_imgEmirates extends its global network of dedicated airport loungesEmirates announced the grand opening of its 41st dedicated lounge located at Boston Logan International Airport. The lounge, which marked a soft opening in April 2017, is now open to Emirates First Class and Business Class customers as well as Platinum and Gold members of Skywards, the airline’s frequent flyer program.As part of its ongoing commitment to Boston, the Emirates Lounge at Boston Logan International Airport represents a USD6.7 million investment to provide premium customers with a seamless and enjoyable journey from start to finish. The Emirates Lounge is a dedicated space for passengers to relax, unwind, catch up on work and enjoy award-winning service and cuisine. From the moment they step out the door, passengers in Boston will enjoy a premium offering at every point in their journey beginning and ending with Emirates’ complimentary Chauffeur-drive, a comfortable lounge experience and award-winning in-flight products and services.The interior design and décor in the dedicated Emirates Lounge is built around a new contemporary and fresh design. Located on the upper level of Terminal E, the lounge will overlook gate E – 11. The new Emirates Lounge will offer seating for up to 123 customers covering an area of 7,481 square feet (695m2). The lounge will provide premium passengers with a relaxing ambiance, luxurious facilities and amenities that include an exciting view of airport activity, LED TVs, comfortable leather armchairs, a choice of formal and relaxed seating, bespoke artwork, and a prayer room. To complete the relaxing travel experience, a new range of luxury spa products will also be available in the lounge from award-winning Irish brand VOYA. This skincare line includes hair & body wash, conditioner, hand cream and hand wash.What’s more, the lounge will feature a dedicated dining area with a choice of bar seating, an extensive menu of complimentary hot and cold gourmet buffet, including local and international dishes, and an extensive beverage service including wines from reputable American vineyards. While in the lounge, customers will enjoy shower facilities, a fully equipped business centre with state of the art touch screen workstations along with complimentary Wi-Fi service within the lounge. Passengers will be able to board directly from the lounge and will also experience the Emirates award-winning service from dedicated lounge staff, which completes the trademark Emirates lounge experience for global customers.“Emirates’ lounges are an integral part of Emirates’ product and service offerings for our premium and loyal customers,” said Mohammed H Mattar, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Airport Services. “This is Emirates’ fourth dedicated airport lounge in the U.S. and a demonstration of our ongoing commitment to serving passengers traveling through our U.S. gateways. Boston becomes our 41st dedicated lounge worldwide and we will continue to invest in upgrading this product to ensure our customers have an enjoyable journey from beginning to end.”Emirates started flying to Boston in 2014 and the service has consistently generated demand during the past three years, transporting more than 745,000 passengers from Dubai to Boston. In October 2015, Emirates started its second daily service, with an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with 8 private suites in First Class, 42 seats in Business Class and 304 seats in Economy class, which was a direct response to demand from Emirates’ customers traveling between Boston and Dubai as well as points beyond.Passengers wishing to travel beyond Boston to onward destinations in North America can take advantage of Emirates’ interline partnership with JetBlue Airways (B6) that allows increased connection options from Boston to a number of U.S. cities. The codeshare agreement with JetBlue allows customers of both airlines to enjoy the convenience of a single combined ticket on selected routes, including one-stop check-in and baggage transfer.Emirates offers First Class and Business Class customers with private Chauffeur-drive service to and from Boston Logan International Airport, a service that extends up to 60 miles from the airport in order to guarantee maximum comfort to customers.Source = Emirates Airlinelast_img read more

Munich Airport and Lufthansa start testing of humanoid robot

first_imgMunich Airport and Lufthansa start testing of humanoid robotMunich Airport and Lufthansa start testing of humanoid robotShe is 120 centimeters tall, with sparkling, round eyes and a pleasant voice: Starting today, “Josie Pepper” the robot will be answering questions for passengers in Terminal 2. Whether they need directions to their gate or want to stop at a certain restaurant or shop – Josie Pepper will look them in the eyes and give them a prompt answer.With the rollout of Josie Pepper, Munich Airport and Lufthansa are breaking new ground: It is the first-ever test of a humanoid robot equipped with artificial intelligence at a German airport. For the next few weeks, Josie Pepper will welcome travelers to the non-public area of Terminal 2, which is jointly operated by Munich Airport and Lufthansa. In her initial deployment, Josie Pepper, who speaks English, will await passengers at the top of the ramp leading to the shuttle connecting the main terminal to the satellite building. This test phase will be used to show whether Josie Pepper is accepted by passengers.Josie Pepper’s “brain” contains a high-performance processor with a WLAN internet access. This creates a connection to a cloud service where speech is processed, interpreted and linked to the airport data. What sets the system apart: When this robot type speaks, it does not just deliver pre-defined texts. With its ability to learn, it answers each question individually. Just like a “real” brain, the system gets steadily better at combining questions with the relevant information to provide more precise replies.IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) cloud-based, artificial intelligence technologies are behind Josie Pepper’s capabilities. Pepper was developed by the French company SoftBank Robotics. The lady robot was given the name “Josie” by the staff of Munich Airport and Lufthansa when she arrived at the airport.Further information and a film are available here: www.munich-airport.com/pepperSource = Lufthansalast_img read more

Anticipating Tomorrow

first_imgAnticipating Tomorrow in Featured, News, Print Features Editor’s note: This story was originally featured in the December issue of MReport, out now. Anticipating what’s to come is always a tricky business. 2017 was a year defined by unpredictability, with the housing and mortgage industry facing technological updates, policy changes, demographic shifts, and a slew of natural disasters. Now, 2018 offers a clean slate and a sense of optimism as the industry continues to grow and learn.This new year will see the industry now knowing a bit more of what to expect from the now-established presidential administration, but still with plenty of questions about what course the government will chart in 2018. Both natural disasters and digital threats will almost certainly continue to provide challenges, but emerging technological advancements will also provide enormous opportunity for those who can evolve their processes and best incorporate them.But without a Magic 8-Ball to provide all the answers, the best way to predict what 2018 has in store is to talk to the people who’ve been in the trenches during the twists and turns of 2017. With that in mind, MReport spoke to a cross-section of leading industry experts whose day-to-day duties demand that they try and anticipate the next challenge, the next opportunity, and the next unexpected curveball.Leveraging TechnologyThe best way to build a better future is to understand the past. While the challenges of 2017 won’t be left behind, it is how the industry responds that is key. One trend many industry experts agree on is that the expansion of digital tools will be crucial for anyone hoping to remain competitive.“2017 provided for many good challenges in bringing more and more automation and technology to an industry that desperately needs it,” said Mike Lyon, EVP at Nexsys Technologies. Using digital tools as a means to enhance consumer experience through workflow may become the primary focus for many lenders in 2018. As in many cases, efficiency will be key.“Lenders are going to have to be more efficient—if the purchase business takes more effort, you have to get more efficient in the business,” said Jonathan Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae. “Technology can help address this challenge by helping lenders close loans faster, close more loans, and reduce the cost to originate, all while operating with the compliance necessary in today’s world.” Jeff Sandman, Co-Founder of Pendo, added, “The adoption of technology has reduced redundancies, errors, and simplified the process while producing an appraisal in less time and with better accuracy.”As the industry moves into 2018, there are also technology solutions that lenders can implement to drive costs out of the mortgage process and deliver greater transparency and control for proof of compliance. According to Tim Anderson, Director of eServices at DocMagic, “What was once referred to as eMortgages has now been renamed to the Digital Mortgage process to take time, paper, and risk out of the entire process and store critical data and docs to ensure compliance of the process all the way from initial loan application to closing and investor delivery.”There will inevitably be speed bumps along the way, of course. While Stanley Street, President of Street Resource Group, suggests the industry will see an accelerated use of eNotes in 2018, He says much depends on adoption amongst the secondary market.“Major lenders are actively pursuing completely digital technology, and warehouse lenders have become increasingly comfortable financing digital-mortgage products,” said Street. “Our hope is that increase demand for eNotes next year will help move additional aggregators and institutional non-GSE investors off the fence.” Looking ahead, Shelley Leonard, Black Knight’s Chief Product Strategy Officer, forecasts a renewed focus over the next five years on leveraging innovative technologies to improve the experience for the borrower and advance the mortgage industry as a whole.“Examples of these include continually innovating new ways to apply data and analytics throughout the mortgage lifecycle,” Leonard said.Overall, these advancements can improve profitability and efficiency for the lender or servicer, while also buoying customer satisfaction.With greater technology comes a greater ability to acquire data. With pools of high-fidelity data available, the industry can accelerate and expand the use of alternative and innovative forms of credit risk transfer, particularly those utilizing reinsurers, according to David Gansberg, President and CEO of Arch Mortgage Insurance. “While the mortgage industry has made tremendous technological advances over the years, there are still massive opportunities to adopt emerging technologies to further benefit the entire lending ecosystem—from lenders to borrowers to mortgage insurers and GSEs,” Gansberg said. Easing the Consumer Experience While financial technology is accelerating rapidly and providing new opportunities for lenders, it can also create confusion among customers, according to Eric Egenhoefer, President & CEO of Waterstone Mortgage. Companies that understand how to leverage technology effectively to increase efficiency and reduce friction will come out ahead and increase their market share. “Today’s consumers are increasingly more informed about the mortgage process, so lenders need to be up to speed with current customer service trends, from providing a mobile application to enhancing communication with clients,” Egenhoefer said. To best prepare for 2018, it is important to keep focusing on providing a better customer experience and understanding where to place technology bets to support it. “Borrowers are demanding a better customer experience,” said Scott Slifer, Chairman and CEO, Sutherland Mortgage Services, Inc. “Lenders must find a way to stand out and win new purchase business.” In fact, borrower expectations could be the biggest element to shift in 2018, says Joe Dombrowski, Director of Product Management at Fiserv. While compliance has grown and access to capital has changed, those changes have largely been incremental over several years.“Among the biggest market challenges in 2018, housing professionals will have to address building new lending products to reflect changing borrower needs,” said Dombrowski. “We see hints of this already with work being done on improved reverse-mortgage products and introduction of new equity products.”Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource, said that improvements for 2018 include educating buyers. He believes first-time homebuyers’ biggest problem isn’t that they don’t qualify to buy a home, it’s that they think they don’t qualify. “Since these consumers aren’t actively seeking homeownership, mortgage professionals need to seek them out in ways they haven’t in the past,” said Chrane. “More than ever, there’s no one-size-fits-all mortgage, and buyers will want to work with lenders who can help them evaluate multiple options.”Millennial homebuyers will be a key group to target in the upcoming year. As a demographic cohort, millennials are far more educated about consumer choices than prior generations, seeking more education about loan products and the loan process. According to Dombrowski, lenders should be examining the means they use to educate first-time borrowers, as well as boomers who may be looking at their next loan. “Saturday-morning first-time homebuyer seminars may have worked 15 years ago, but a more digital approach is needed today,” said Dombrowski.However, while evolving technology can provide plenty of opportunities in 2018, there are also potential perils.CybersecurityData breaches and cyberattacks were a big challenge in 2017, and some industry experts claim it was the biggest challenge of the year—and one that will continue in 2018. “Housing professionals are ‘one-stop shopping’ for cyberthieves, as we all have multiple pieces of confidential information on each party to the transaction,” said Bill Burding, EVP, General Counsel, Orange Coast Title Company. “The types and means of fraud have morphed literally from day to day, so it is a full-time effort to keep up with this challenge.”Going into 2018, it is important to regularly review and update cyber policies and ensure that the highest standards are maintained to protect consumers. Paul Wetzel, EVP of Product Management at Mortgage Cadence, said cybercrime is a growing threat for the mortgage industry. The quantity and complexity of hacking efforts are on the rise, leaving borrowers’ personal and financial information, not to mention company reputations, at risk. “In order to confront this risk head-on, housing professionals must invest in an alternative solution to email, the most common point of entry for hackers,” Wetzel said. “A private network that enables multi-party communication and real-time collaboration will prove to be the industry’s best defense against cybercrime, and must be adopted sooner rather than later.” A Shift in the MarketIn the past, the industry has experienced several significant changes in the marketplace that will require more attention from lenders in 2018. Ray Brousseau, President of Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC, said that the days of simple “rate-and-term” refinancing are largely a thing of the past. Interest rates have dropped as much as possible, and there is a shift from refinancing to consumers taking advantage of the increased appreciation in their homes and cashing out. “Second, we’ve experienced a very slow shift in the willingness of lenders to help distressed or borrowers with credit challenges,” said Brousseau. “The overall market has been slow to respond to them and demonstrate its willingness to work with this underserved market.” Dan Hoppes, SVP at Assurant Mortgage Solutions, said market valuations have shifted dramatically in the past five years. “Coming out of the mortgage crisis, there was a high degree of regulatory focus on all parties, including appraisers and appraisal management companies (AMCs),” Hoppes said. “Add the changes to closing a loan with regards to TRID, and the industry had a lot of change to digest in a very short time period.” There is still a high focus on the regulatory environment, but now that everyone is gaining a comfort level with most of the increased requirements fostered by Dodd-Frank, the focus is moving toward innovation and efficiency.Not everyone agrees with the comfortability of the increased requirements. Anderson said he is hopeful that he will see a bit of moratorium slowdown in the number of major regulations to provide the industry some breathing room. Major regulations include: Qualified Mortgage (QM), TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID), Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), and Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD).Additionally, Matt Woolley, SVP of Sales with LoanLogics, zeroed in on one aspect of the mortgage industry he would gladly leave behind in 2018. “In a word, overregulation,” Woolley said. “Under the current administration, we look forward to the elimination of burdensome lending regulations that added costs to loan production, yet did not provide consumers and investors with any concrete benefits.”Forecasts for 2018 also include looking forward to more of a purchase home loan market versus the heavy percentage of refinances experienced over the past several years.“Although many companies continue to survive on these refinances, a successful housing and mortgage market cannot be sustained by an overabundance of refinances,” said Woolley. “Refis artificially bolster the economy with a short-term boost from the extra cash homeowners realize after refinancing.”Will Fisher, SVP, National Sales and Marketing Director of Citadel, said the market will experience a “sea of change” in the type of borrower that is available to purchase or refinance. “This will be due to two factors: the first, increased interest rates,” Fisher said. “Second, government intervention, with potential changes to the tax code and housing regulation.”However, a sustainable and successful housing market and economy are based on a strong home-purchase market—and Woolley believes the industry should start to see a stronger purchase market in 2018 and beyond. Tom Hutchens, SVP at Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, anticipates 2018 to shed light on winners and losers emerging from the refinance cliff. “We have already seen refinance volume dry up as rates rose throughout 2017,” Hutchens said. “Lenders who prepared by adding additional purchase products have been successful in attracting new customer bases. However, those who did not diversify their product offerings will face challenges in 2018 and beyond.”The expected rise in interest rates may reduce refinancing ap-plications and also drive competi-tion in the market, potentially resulting in decreased margins for lenders.Seth Kronemeyer, Vertical Marketing Leader, Equifax Mortgage & Housing, says preparation is paramount. “Mortgage lenders should develop their purchase-market strategy and target anticipated Closing Protection Letter (CPL) acquisition costs through all marketing mediums, including direct real estate and indirect lead providers.” In fact, competition among lenders in purchase markets could be a driving force in 2018, according to Jonathan Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae. “As a lender, you’ve got to be doing more to achieve that volume on the purchase side,” Corr said. “It’s a relationship-oriented market—it means working with real estate agents and perhaps longer gestation periods. Lenders have to get in earlier in that point of interest for the homebuyer.”The Year of Uncertainty One of the biggest challenges the mortgage servicing industry will face moving from 2017 to 2018 is the lingering impact of the unprecedented hurricane season of 2017. Although the servicing and property preservation industries have responded to massive increases in disaster-related inspections, Chad Mosley, COO at Mortgage Contracting Solutions, said, “We have only started to scratch the surface related to the preservation, rehab, and repair on properties in these impacted areas.”  “It will be imperative that servicers and service providers alike build on the lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane season,” Mosley added. “There were positives related to the massive volume of highly concentrated inspections that were completed in a short time period, as well as new technologies that were implemented to assist with the inspection and reporting on storm-damaged areas.”In addition, the marketplace is at a tipping point—there is quite a bit of unknown. “For example, what will happen with the GSEs and the regulatory environment?” asked Charles Chacko, Managing Partner at OS National. “How fast will new technological innovations be implemented and embraced? We will also have new leadership at several posts, and add to the mix interest rate changes.” According to Denis Brosnan, President and CEO of DIMONT, one of the biggest challenges the industry will face in 2018 will most likely be continued uncertainty within the regulatory environment and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Additionally, there remains ambiguity around the Federal Reserve, particularly with the replacement of Janet Yellen in early 2018.“There was an expectation in 2017 that the new administration would enact sweeping changes that would either benefit or harm the mortgage industry,” said Dave Worrall, President, Executive Department of LoanCare, a ServiceLink Company. “However, as the issues that the administration has chosen to take on, such as mortgage interest deduction, are very controversial, it is unclear what will change and when.” If there is one thing that is certain, it is that despite all the predictions, the industry will never truly know what’s in store for the new year—which very well could be the biggest challenge in itself. “Uncertainty can lead to nervousness that can gather momentum,” said Edmond Buckley, President, Aspen Groves Solutions. “So, as housing professionals, we prepare for that by focusing on the positives and providing innovative solutions to combat the uncertainty and remove obstacles—perceived or real.” Predicting the future might be an uncertain business, but it’s not just about anticipating the future—it’s about working to help shape it proactively. 2018 looks to be an exciting ride for the housing and mortgage industry, so long as the lessons of 2017 aren’t forgotten as they fade into the rearview.   December 18, 2017 613 Views center_img 2018 HOUSING mortgage 2017-12-18 Nicole Casperson Sharelast_img read more

Do you have clients heading to New Zealand DriveA

first_imgDo you have clients heading to New Zealand? DriveAway is taking 50% off ALL Ezi Car Rental vehicles picking up from Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Queenstown when you book during the DriveAway Frenzy sale that ends at midnight AEST tomorrow (Wednesday 23 August 2017), and you can secure free additional drivers and unlimited kms in the bargain.DriveAway says its pickups have increased by 10% over the last year, and that New Zealand is a popular self-drive destination, not just in the winter but throughout the spring and summer months as well. “Destinations like Queenstown and Auckland have had some of the biggest growth of up to 13% and the average duration on these hires are over 8 days giving travellers time to take in the stunning scenery of New Zealand.”Travel is until 31 October 2017.For more information or to book, visit DriveAway.com.au or call 1300 363 500. driveDriveAway HolidaysNew Zealandsalelast_img read more