Kill badgers save the fish Prince Charles secret letters

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Charles also wrote Blair to complain about the negative impact of European Union efforts to restrict the practitioners of herbal medicine.The British government tried for years to keep the letters secret but eventually lost a Freedom of Information case brought by The Guardian newspaper. The government has indicated it may tighten the rules to protect future royal communications from being released under that act.Charles’ press office issued a statement Wednesday defending the letters.“(The prince was) raising issues of public concern and trying to find practical ways to address the issues,” the statement said, adding that the publication of private letters “can only inhibit his ability to express the concerns and suggestions which have been put to him in the course of his travels and meetings.”Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, meanwhile, said the newspaper fought for the release of the documents because it believes the royal family should face the same scrutiny as anyone else trying to influence public policy.“(It’s) shocking that the government wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money trying to prevent their publication,” he said. The letters, written a decade ago, include 10 written by Charles personally to former Prime Minister Tony Blair and other top officials in his Labour Party government. The sometimes quirky prince, known for his commitment to organic farming and traditional architecture, freely expresses himself on matters like badger culling, fish protection, the readiness of the Armed Forces, standards for alternative medicines and the preservation of historic buildings.The letter-writing is controversial because as Britain’s future king, Charles is expected to remain neutral on political matters. Some could see the letters as inappropriate lobbying of the government by the heir to the throne — especially since the prince does mention sensitive topics dealing with national security matters, including the war in Iraq.The tone of his letters is polite and sometimes apologetic. Charles does not demand action — but that doesn’t mean British ministers felt they could ignore his myriad concerns.A 2004 missive to the British fisheries minister is typical.“I particularly hope that the illegal fishing of the Patagonian Toothfish will be high on your list of priorities because until that trade is stopped, there is little hope for the poor old albatross, for which I shall continue to campaign,” Charles writes. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Tensions surrounding the letters boiled over Wednesday as an angry senior press officer working for Charles tore the cover off the microphone being used by a TV reporter who asked the prince about the letters.The government was ordered to release the letters in 2012 after losing its court case. But the attorney general vetoed the decision, arguing that Charles’ letters were part of his preparation to become king and should be kept private.That was upheld by one court, but then overturned in 2014 by the Court of Appeal. Britain’s Supreme Court in March supported that ruling, leading to Wednesday’s publication of the memos.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 5 ways to recognize low testosterone LONDON (AP) — The Patagonian Toothfish has a friend in the future king of England — that’s one lesson from the British government’s release Wednesday of previously secret letters written by Prince Charles to government officials.The cache of 27 letters was the subject of a lengthy legal battle that pitted Charles’ right to privacy against the public’s right to know. The British press dubbed them the “black spider” memos, due to Charles’ cramped handwritten greetings and closings, and the British government spent years in court and hundreds of thousands of pounds (dollars) trying to keep them secret. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories In one letter to Blair on Sept. 8, 2004, Charles — a military veteran — raises concerns about the British Armed Forces not getting enough resources. He mentions delays in delivering military aircraft due to budgetary pressures.“I fear that this is just one more example of where our Armed Forces are being asked to do an extremely challenging job (particularly in Iraq) without the necessary resources,” Charles wrote.Funding levels for the military is a hot political topic for any country’s government.Charles also wrote to Blair in February 2005 with advice on how to build public support for taking steps to combat climate change — another sensitive issue with political overtones.On the issue of killing badgers to fight the transmission of bovine tuberculosis, Charles broke ranks with many environmentalists, including Queen guitarist Brian May, urging Blair that a “proper cull” of the badgers was needed.“I, for one, cannot understand how the ‘badger lobby’ seem to mind not at all about the slaughter of thousands of expensive cattle, and yet object to a managed cull of an over-population of badgers — to me, this is intellectually dishonest,” the prince wrote.last_img read more

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Dunkirk marks 75 years since massive Allied rescue mission

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   DUNKIRK, France (AP) — Veterans and European officials are marking 75 years since a huge operation to evacuate 338,000 troops trapped by advancing Nazi troops from the shores of Dunkirk in northern France, one of the most dramatic moments in British military history.Fishing trawlers and passenger ferries were among hundreds of private boats that helped the British Navy carry out Operation Dynamo to rescue Allied soldiers in 1940 and bring them across the English Channel. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain A remembrance ceremony Friday will honor more than 4,500 members of the British Expeditionary Force who died around Dunkirk. British officials will greet visitors aboard a paddle steamer that was among the ships involved in the operation, now moored in Dunkirk. The town fell to the Nazis in June 1940.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The Little Ships en route to Dunkirk, France, to mark the 75th anniversary of Operation Dynamo Thursday May 21, 2015. Hundreds of fishing boats, pleasure yachts and lifeboats crossed the Channel from southern England between May 26 and June 4 1940 to help evacuate British and Allied forces from the beaches of northern France. Over 330,000 British and Allied troops were rescued. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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Irelands parliament votes in favor of Aer Lingus share sale

first_img Top Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Parents, stop beating yourself up Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility LONDON (AP) — Ireland’s parliament on Thursday voted in favor of selling off the country’s share in the Aer Lingus airline as part of a 1.4 billion euro (US$1.53 billion) takeover bid by International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways.The coalition government secured the majority backing it needed in Parliament for sale of the stake, with lawmakers voting in favor after two days of heated debate. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The Irish government had retained a 25 percent stake in Dublin-based Aer Lingus after it was publicly floated on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges in 2006.Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington welcomed the vote, saying the airline would benefit from accelerated growth and access to a global network when it becomes part of the much larger IAG, which also operates Spain’s Iberia airline.IAG chief Willie Walsh has been wooing the Irish government for months in his attempt to buy out Aer Lingus. If the deal goes ahead, the government would receive some 350 million euros ($380 million).But Walsh’s bid must still clear many hurdles, and needs backing from low-cost carrier Ryanair, the largest shareholder of Aer Lingus, to complete the deal.Ryanair, which owns about 30 percent of Aer Lingus, said it would consider “any offer on its merits, if and when an offer is made.”Walsh said Wednesday he has not talked to Ryanair in recent weeks, and suggested that he was not expecting Ryanair to frustrate the bid.The proposed takeover also faces months of regulatory scrutiny from competition authorities in Ireland, Britain and the European Union.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 0 Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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The Latest Trump tweets Guzmans escape proves his claims

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Associated Press journalists near the Altiplano report that the roads are being heavily patrolled by Federal Police, who had also set up checkpoints. Flights were also suspended at Toluca airport near the penitentiary in the State of Mexico.___8 a.m.Mexico’s top security official says top drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has escaped through a 1.5-kilometer (1 mile) tunnel that opened into the shower area of his cell.Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido tells a news conference Sunday that Guzman used an elaborate escape hatch built allegedly without the detection of authorities.With his escape Guzman has done what Mexican authorities promised would not happen after his re-capture last year — to slip out of a maximum security prison for the second time.Rubido says 18 employees from various part of the Altiplano prison 90 kilometers (56 miles) west of Mexico City have been taken in for questioning.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonacenter_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system MEXICO CITY (AP) — Here are the latest developments about Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison:___7:40 p.m.Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has seized on the dramatic prison escape of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to add to his recent criticism of Mexico.The tweet from his official site @realDonaldTrump on Sunday pointed to the escape as a reminder of problems he was referring to when he said that many Mexican migrants bring drugs and crime to the United States. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Trump’s Twitter message says: “Mexico’s biggest drug lord escapes from jail. Unbelievable corruption and USA is paying the price. I told you so!”Some Republican leaders who hope to make inroads with Hispanic voters in the U.S. have urged him to tone down his criticism of Mexican immigrants, to no avail.___1:05 p.m.Former DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger says he’s shocked at the escape of Joaquin Guzman, saying the man known as “El Chapo” is “the most dangerous cartel leader in the world.”Bensinger says Guzman “ought to have been housed in an American prison.”Guzman escaped late Saturday from Mexico’s top-security prison, even though senior officials had earlier said such an escape was impossible.U.S. authorities didn’t immediately comment Sunday on Guzman’s escape, says Mexican authorities will face tremendous criticism.” He says it should be addressed “at the presidential level.”___11:45 a.m.Guatemala’s Interior Ministry says a special task force of police and soldiers is watching the border with Mexico for any sign of fugitive drug lord Joaquin Guzman.It says the force is working in cooperation with Mexico to hunt for the man known as “El Chapo.” Guzman escaped late Saturday from Mexico’s top-security prison. He’d been Mexico’s most-wanted man before his arrest last year. He fled to Guatemala at least once before and had an earlier arrest there in 1993.___11:05 a.m.An expert on drug cartels says Joaquin Guzman could soon be back in full command and control of his Sinaloa cartelMichael S. Vigil is a retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chief of international operations. If Guzman isn’t caught within 48 hours, Vigil says “We may never find him again.”___10:50 a.m.A crime-fighting group in Illinois says that Joaquin Guzman’s escape from a Mexican prison means the man known as “El Chapo” will regain his title as Chicago’s Public Enemy No. 1.The only other time the Chicago Crime Commission applied that label was to gangster Al Capone in 1930. They applied it to Guzman in 2013 to highlight how his Sinaloa cartel dominates Chicago’s narcotics trade.Guzman escaped late Saturday night from Mexico’s top-security prison.___8:35 a.m.A manhunt remains underway for Joaquin Guzman, head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel. The organization has an international reach and is believed to control most of the major crossing points for drugs at the U.S. border with Mexico. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

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US factory output flat for 2nd straight month

first_img WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory production was unchanged for a second straight month in June as a sharp drop in auto manufacturing was offset by greater output of furniture and chemicals.The cutback in auto production comes after three months of healthy gains and is likely temporary. Still, manufacturers are struggling to overcome several challenges, including the strong dollar, weak overseas growth, and cheaper oil. Sales at retail stores also fell in June, suggesting consumers are still cautious about spending, limiting demand for factory goods. The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that overall industrial production — which includes mining output and utilities, as well as manufacturing — rose 0.3 percent, the best showing since November.Mining, which includes oil and gas wells, rose 1 percent, as oil output increased. Utility output jumped 1.5 percent, the most since February, as people ramped up air conditioning in the summer.There were signs in the report, however, that manufacturing output is recovering from weakness earlier this year. Factory production rose 1.4 percent at an annual rate in the April-June quarter, after shrinking 0.8 percent in the first quarter.Outside auto manufacturing, output rose 0.3 percent in June, the most since November.That suggests “the negative impact from the earlier appreciation in the dollar may be fading a little,” Steve Murphy, U.S. economist at Capital Economics, a forecasting firm.Auto production fell 3.7 percent, likely reflecting a slowdown in sales in June.Yet car purchases remain healthy. They reached an annual pace of 17.8 million in May, the highest in a decade, according to industry analyst Autodata Corp. Sales fell back to a 17.2 million pace in June. The National Automobile Dealers Association now forecasts that car sales will top 17 million this year for the first time since 2001. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall “Based on the assembly line schedules from the key manufacturers and the strength of sales, we expect motor vehicle output to bounce back soon,” Murphy said.The dollar has increased about 14 percent against a basket of overseas currencies in the past 12 months. That makes U.S. goods more expensive overseas, cutting into exports. Yet most of that gain occurred last year. The dollar has leveled off since March.And falling oil prices have caused oil drillers to cut back on their purchases of steel pipe and other equipment. Oil prices fell to $53 a barrel this month from $60 in the spring. Prices topped $100 a barrel a year ago.But the decline in oil and gas drilling may be bottoming out. New drilling fell 3.7 percent in June, the Fed said, the smallest decline since December.There are other signs that manufacturers are adjusting to these changes and slowly boosting output.U.S. factories expanded at a faster pace in June for the second straight month, according to a survey of purchasing executives by the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group. Its index of manufacturing activity rose to 53.5 last month from 52.8 in May. That’s the highest reading since January. Any figure above 50 signals expansion. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches FILE – In this June 22, 2015, file photo, workers help to assemble a helicopter at the AgustaWestland’s aircraft manufacturing facility in Philadelphia. The Federal Reserve releases industrial production figures for June on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments   Share   4 must play golf courses in Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

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Hoteliers signon to protect guests

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Utilising the power of team work, up to 16 hoteliers are keen to combine forces to assist in the development of a new industry security framework that will safely handle travellers’ credit card data.With plans to kick off development during the first six months next year, the initiative put forth by the Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) group will create a substitute system that will process a guest’s credit card information without loading any data onto the hotel’s system. Accor, Hilton Worldwide and Starwood are among the big names that have signed on to participate in the project that will increase credit card handling as well as reduce hotel costs.Currently a guest’s sensitive data flows across a company’s system until after departure and the final bill is processed.However, despite spending countless dollars on security, the accommodation Group has no control over third-party systems that may gain access to a guest’s information prior to arrival.“Every major hotel company is working to get as many of their systems as possible out of the scope of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS),” HTNG chief executive Douglas Rice said.  “Most of these companies have focused on solutions based on tokenization, and many have implemented them or are in the process of doing so.” According to HTNG tokenization is a process that sees credit card information stores in a secure location, operating by a hotel brand, a payment gateway or another third party and replaced by tokens.While the tokens work well to complete the transaction they do not prevent thieves from gaining access to the information. The new system unveiled late last month continue to utilise the token system with the addition of a new layer of security extended to unrelated parties that may be involved in the transaction including; travel agencies, global distribution systems, switches, channel management systems, central reservation systems, management companies, independent hotels, payment gateways and swipe devices.“The approach is intended to enable the tokenization of card data by the first system that touches the reservation,” Mr Rice said.  “The sensitive data will remain stored in a secure vault, and all of the other systems will simply pass along the token in place of the credit card.  “The hotel itself can then submit the token to its token provider or gateway to complete the card transaction.  “The card data itself need never touch a hotel system.”Other hotel Groups signed up the participate in development include; Delaware North CompaniesFairmont Raffles Hotels InternationalHyatt Hotels CorporationInterContinental Hotels GroupJumeirah GroupKempinski HotelsThe Marcus CorporationMandarin Oriental Hotel GroupMarriott InternationalMaybourne Hotel GroupMeliá Hotels InternationalOmni Hotels Taj Group of Hotelslast_img read more

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Snow going at Heathrow

first_imgTonight’s forecast: a freeze is coming. Image: RadioTimes Thousands of passengers at Heathrow Airport may face further delays and cancellations, as freezing temperatures are forecast to continue for the United Kingdom.Heathrow Airport cancelled 260 flights on Sunday, 20 percent of its total schedule, and plan to pull ten percent of Monday’s services due to the icy conditions.Monday’s pre-planned cancellations will reportedly allow more time for remaining aircraft to depart and arrive, an effort aimed at reducing last-minute cancellations, a Heathrow Airport spokesperson said.Heathrow invested £36 million for cold weather equipment in 2010 after snow almost closed the airport.Despite this, de-icing was still taking a considerable amount of time, with the airport enlisting more than 100 volunteers to help with the process, which was taking approximately 30 minutes per plane, The Guardian reported.The Eurostar train service cancelled four trains over the weekend owing to the snow and ice.Sub-zero conditions have seen severe transport disruptions, with the freeze set to continue all week.Stay tuned to e-Travel Blackboard for further news. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

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Aussie Hotel Recognised Internationally At Los Angeles Awards Evening

first_img(L-R)  Patrick Pacious (Executive Vice President – Global Strategy and Operations, Choice HotelsInternational), Trent Fraser (CEO Choice Hotels Australasia), Steve Ryan (GM at Comfort Inn & SuitesRobertson Gardens, Brisbane), Steve Joyce (CEO Choice Hotels International) and Mark Pearce(Vice President International Operations, Choice Hotels International)Choice Hotels Australasia is celebrating a major international award win following Comfort Inn & Suites Robertson Gardens winning Comfort Hotel of the Year, at the 2013 Choice Hotel’s International Hotel of the Year awards evening.Held at the Choice Hotels International Convention in Los Angeles last week, the Brisbane based property competed against Comfort Hotels from around the globe, each recognised for demonstrating excellence in hospitality, guest service and operations.Choice Hotels Australasia CEO, Trent Fraser, who was in Los Angeles for the award ceremony, said he was delighted to see an Australian property take out an award that sets the standards for the entire industry.“Comfort Inn & Suites Robertson Gardens has long been a leader in the Australian hotel industry and I am so pleased to see the property recognised internationally for its excellence.“This is the very first time an Australasian Comfort property has taken out the coveted international award and the entire team at Choice Hotels Australasia is very proud of this achievement,” said Fraser.Steve Ryan, General Manager of the 133 room property, who was also present at the awards evening, said he is honoured by the accolade and delighted to collect the award on behalf of the hotel owner Mrs Duncombe“From humble beginnings 23 years ago, as a result of the vision of the Duncombe family, the property has continued to grow and has become a very successful part of the Brisbane accommodation scene.“We employ over 60 staff and this award is a testament to every member of the team, all who have worked tirelessly over the years to ensure the property’s continued success,” said Ryan.Comfort Inn & Suites Robertson Gardens has been part of the Choice Hotels franchise group for the past 12 years. Sitting amongst ten acres of landscaped gardens in an area of Brisbane most famous for sporting games, the property is a popular wedding reception venue and also offers superior meeting and conference facilities for its guests. Source = Choice Hotels Australasialast_img read more

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Malaysias agrotourism approach

first_img“Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage, warm hospitality and diverse natural landscape has resulted in a trend towards agro-tourism and homestay programmes, as an increasing number of travellers seek authentic cultural experiences that take them away from the usual beaches and islands and slightly off the beaten track,” Tourism Malaysia marketing manager Peter Power said. Most famous for its idyllic islands and pristine beaches, Malaysia tourism experts are expanding their marketing and promotional strategies to focus on agro-tourism, retail, cuisine and the increasingly popular homestay programmes to offer visitors a more well-rounded cultural experience. The Malaysian homestay experience allows travellers the opportunity to live within a traditional Malaysian community, experiencing the Malay culture and day to day life; cooking, fishing, harvesting, farming and interacting with locals through a variety of traditional arts, crafts and activities for a truly enriching cultural experience. Ranking as the ninth most visited country in the world, Malaysia welcomed over 25 million tourists in 2012, including 500,000 Australians, and with numbers continuing to show a steady climb, Tourism Malaysia’s vision of reaching 36 million visitors in 2020 remains promising.center_img Source = ETB News: L.B. With plenty of events and festivals on the horizon as well as environmental diversity, world famous shopping and a wealth of cultural experiences on offer, Malaysia’s tourism industry performance remains strong as tourist arrival numbers continue to grow.last_img read more

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India Travel Specialists launch eight special tours

first_imgSource = India Travel Specialists India Travel Specialists launch eight special toursIndia Travel Specialists launch eight special toursIndia Travel Specialists, the leading India group travel operator, has launched its 2016-17 program of eight unique, escorted and private touring itineraries: a romantic value-packed program to ‘Experience the Living Cultures of India’, which can be tailored by destination, duration and budget.Tours and indicative pricing are detailed in an exciting 27-page full colour 2016-17 India Travel Specialists brochure available at; info@indiatravelspecialists.com.au Tours range from the 8 day Enchanting Golden Triangle, 14 day Splendour of Rajasthan with the Golden Triangle, and fabulous Great India Wildlife tours through to the 19 day Safari through Ladakh, 15 day The Himalayan Kingdoms of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan, and the 13 day South India with Backwaters tours.A major highlight of this year’s program is ‘taking tea’ at magnificent palaces once the domain of imperial maharajahs, a 5 day MV Mahabaahu cruise on the breathtaking Brahmaputra River and 4-8 day Great Train Journeys of India tour.Guest on the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan tour receive a complimentary Gold Pass entry to the Kingdom of Dreams live Bollywood show in New Delhi.All tours can be tailored to meet personal needs as well as shopping excursions and side tours including gourmet food, meditation and photography classes.Tour guests travel in air-conditioned private vehicles and local English-speaking guides.  Accommodation ranges from budget three-star to five-star luxury hotels, luxurious palaces and heritage properties – all at excellent rates. A 40-year travel industry veteran, Ian Norris, says India creates a lifetime of memories. “Modern India is a vibrant country bursting with energy:  from the snow-capped Himalayas to the white sand beaches of southern Goa, and glassy waterways and banana plantations of Kerala.  It is a spectacle of senses melding people, traditions and landscapes that creates romance and a lifetime of memories.” India Travel Specialistsdiscover more herelast_img read more

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Bloomington Minnesota marches towards 10000 hotel rooms

first_imgView of Bloomington from Normandale LakeBloomington, Minnesota marches towards 10,000 hotel roomsBloomington, Minnesota announces significant hotel growth in the next 24 months, with nearly 750 rooms in four new hotels, increasing the total rooms to nearly 10,000. The growth comes on the heels of a successful Super Bowl LII in 2018 and Ryder Cup 2016. The city will also house NCAA Final Four attendees in April of 2019.The projected opening of Tru, Hilton’s newest best value brand catering toward young professionals, and a connected Home2Suites is late 2018. This dual flag, 182-room hotel will be the first of its kind, and guests get to choose in which brand they lodge. Although this is the first Tru hotel in Minnesota, Home2Suites has an existing location in Bloomington.Holiday Inn Express, is also opening in 2018 with 171-rooms. Two more hotels are planned to open in the next 24 months including a five-story, 164-room Cambria Suites in the South Loop and a nine-story, 214-room Drury Hotel by I-494 and France Avenue.“We are excited about the continued growth of new and renovated hotels in our area,” said Dan O’Neill, vice president of Hospitality is Bloomington’s number #1 industry, with over 20,000 hospitality employees.Other recent hotel openings include AC Hotel Mall of America, conveniently located just across the street from Mall of America, and Great Wolf Lodge Minnesota, with its huge indoor water park and an array of dining and entertainment options. Located next to the AC Hotel is the free-standing Hazelwood Food + Drink, a relaxed atmosphere restaurant with a wide variety of American fare and a bar featuring a large selection of wines, craft beer and specialty cocktails.Currently, Bloomington has over 9,200 rooms in 42 hotels and the area reports more than 40 million annual visitors as the city is home to Mall of America®. Bloomington hotels offer visitors world class accommodations and amenities, near the best entertainment in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.Fun and Affordable Ways to Stay and Play in Bloomington, Minnesota!The Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official marketing organization for the City of Bloomington and markets Bloomington, Minnesota, area attractions, and the surrounding communities, to visitors around the world. Bloomington is located adjacent to Minneapolis and St. Paul, just minutes from the International Airport, is the home of Mall of America, and is a premier destination for meetings, conventions, and tourism. For visitor information, special offers and to book hotelrooms online visit www.bloomingtonmn.org.Source = Bloomington, Minnesotalast_img read more

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Silversea Cruises announces exclusive lastminute savings

first_imgSilversea Cruises announces exclusive last-minute savingsSilversea Cruises announces exclusive last-minute savingsWitness untamed wilderness and awe-inspiring landscapes in Western Australia and Indonesia aboardSilver Discoverer.Silversea Cruises announces exclusive last minute savings on two expedition voyages in Western Australia and Indonesia aboard Silver Discoverer.  Departing in either August or September this year, guests have the option of a 12 day voyage from Broome to Bali or a 14 day voyage from Bali to Phuket.  Guests booking by 31 May will receive a range a range of special savings, and those booking by 15 July 2018 will receive US$1,000 on board credit per suite and one-category suite upgrade.The two fascinating voyages invite guests to unlock deeper experiences through a range of fascinating on shore excursions led by a team of experts and lecturers.  The intimate, 116-guest Silver Discovererprovides guests with the ultimate viewing platform with an abundance of deck space and ocean view suites.  The ship’s design enables her to navigate closer to the shore and with 12 Zodiacs® on board, intrepid travellers can get up close and personal with the local flora and fauna.Featured Voyages*:V9820: Departing Broome, Western Australia on 28 August 2018, guests will enjoy a 12-day voyage to Benoa, Bali.  Highlights of the voyage include: the Kimberley’s natural pools, breathtaking waterfalls and mangroves; the world heritage listed Bungle Bungle mountain range; Mount Kelimutu; and a range of wildlife including Komodo dragons and tropical fish. Fares start from $15,900 per person, based on double occupancy in an Explorer Suite.  Guests booking by 15 July 2018, can take advantage of Last Minute Savings, and Silversea’s Kimberley Air offer is available to those guests booking by 31 May 2018. An exclusive zero single supplement is also available on this voyage.  Members of the Venetian Society can also enjoy an additional 5 percent saving on the cruise fare.V9821: Guests will depart Benoa, Bali on 09 September 2018 on a 14 day voyage to Phuket.  Highlights of the voyage include: Mount Bromo in Probolingo; the Ujung Kulon Peninsula; Anak Krakatoa; a snorkelling safari in Batu Island, a new destination for Silversea; a Saman performance in Banda Aceh; and UNESCO World Heritage site Gunung Leuser National Park.  Fares start from AUD$11,200 per person, based on double occupancy in an Explorer Suite.  Guests booking by 15 July 2018, can take advantage of Last Minute Savings.  Guests can take advantage of Silversea’s all-inclusive offer, when booking by 31 May 2018. An exclusive zero single supplement is also available on this voyage.Featured Exclusive Offers*:Last-Minute Savings: Guests booking by 15 July 2018 will receive US$1000 on board credit per suite and one-category suite upgrade where available on selected voyages.Kimberley – Air Offer: Guests booking before 31 May, 2018 will receive: Business Class Air roundtrip for AU$1,395 or free Economy Class Air Roundtrip.Expedition Cruises – All inclusive: Guests booking before 31 May, 2018 will enjoy reduced fares in Business Class or free Economy Class roundtrip, one night in a hotel and free transfers**.Single Fares: Solo travellers can enjoy single supplement fares starting at 0 percent on selected voyages.Combine and Save: 15 percent combine and save offer for two voyages. Guests can save 15 percent by booking both voyages together.*Voyages and special offers are subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time.  Terms and conditions apply.  For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com**Hotel free transfers available only for guests utilising Silversea air offerSource = Silversea Cruiseslast_img read more

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Singapore Airlines confirms fourth new aircraft for Perth

first_imgSingapore Airlines confirms fourth new aircraft for PerthSingapore Airlines today confirmed that from 1 October 2019, customers travelling to and from Perth will have access to latest medium-haul cabin products, the newest inflight entertainment system and the most advanced aircraft in the sky on all four daily flights.Currently operating two Airbus A350-900 medium-haul aircraft, one Boeing 787-10 aircraft and one A330-300 aircraft to Perth, Singapore Airlines will complete the final upgrade of aircraft when SQ225/224 begins operating as a Boeing 787-10 from Tuesday 1 October.The 787-10 is configured with 337 seats across two classes, featuring 36 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 layout and 301 Economy Class seats in a 3-3-3 layout.Deployment of the 787-10 will deliver an increase in capacity for the flight of around 5% over the course of the year with almost 38,000 additional seats added to the Singapore-Perth route on a return basis.Singapore Airlines Regional Vice President, Mr Philip Goh, said the deployment of the second 787-10 and fourth new aircraft to Perth was reinforcement of Singapore Airlines commitment to the Western Australia market.“We have proudly operated to Perth for the past 52 years and it continues to be an important part of our global network,” Mr Goh said.“Perth was the first Australian city to welcome the 787-10 in May last year and since then we have begun operating two A350-900 medium-haul aircraft on the route as well.“When we deploy the fourth new aircraft for the city in the coming months it will not only reflect our commitment to the market, but also cater for the growing demand we are seeing for inbound and outbound travel.“We are very pleased that from 1 October, our customers will have access to an unparalleled level of product consistency, comfort and of course the famous Singapore Airlines service aboard four of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the sky.”Business Class on the 787-10 is arranged in a forward-facing 1-2-1 staggered configuration to provide every customer direct aisle access. Each seat is able to recline directly into a 76” fully-flat bed, allowing Business Class customers to rest in more comfort, even on the shortest flights.Customers will have more options to relax in their seat while being entertained by myKrisWorld, SIA’s award-winning in-flight entertainment system, on their personal 18” full high-definition touchscreen monitor, powered by Panasonic’s latest eX3 system.Each seat is equipped with retractable armrests that can be raised and lowered and whether travelling alone or with a partner, adjustable dividers at the centre seats provide for a customised level of privacy to suit individual preferences.Business Class customers can also look forward to other features to enhance their travelling experience, such as ample stowage space for personal items, a business panel with in-seat power supply and USB ports, and integrated reading light unit with adjustable lighting intensity.For Economy Class customers the 787-10 medium-haul cabin products also offers an enhanced in-flight experience. Arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration, each of the 301 Economy Class seats has an ergonomically-designed contour backrest that provides greater comfort, with a six-way adjustable headrest with foldable wings to provide more neck support.Economy Class customers can also enjoy an enhanced entertainment experience on their personal 11.6” full high-definition touchscreen monitor, as they browse from the selection of more than 1,000 movies, TV shows, audio programmes and games on myKrisWorld.Other features that Economy Class customers can look forward to include personal storage space for small personal items, a coat hook, USB port and in-seat power supply.Singapore Airlines is the largest customer for the 787-10, with firm orders for 49 of the aircraft and currently has 12 fleet as of 1 August. The Airline is investing US$350 million to install the new medium-haul cabin products on the first 20 of the 787-10 aircraft.Source = Singapore Airlineslast_img read more

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VFS Global launches On Demand Mobile Service for UK visa applicants

first_imgVFS Global, in partnership with UK Visas and Immigration, has announced the launch of ‘On Demand Mobile Visa’ service for UK visa applicants in India. This service will allow applicants located anywhere in India and applying for visas to the UK, can complete the entire visa application procedure and enrol biometric data within the comfort of their homes or offices.The service can be delivered on request at the applicant’s location of choice, subject to risk assessment. This will be convenient and economical for large groups of people travelling to the UK, such as group corporate employees, college campuses, or film production unit members, who do not wish to travel to visa application centres for this purpose.The ‘On Demand’ service will be available by appointment only on a day of choice (including weekends) and charged separately. Applicants can write to userpayservicesindia@vfshelpline.com from more information.VFS Global has also launched Home to Home (H2H) – a personalised service that provides chauffeur services and end-to-end assistance with form filling and submission.Vinay Malhotra, COO – South Asia, VFS Global said, “Innovation continues to be at the front and centre of our business development. The ‘On Demand Mobile Visa’ service is an outcome of these efforts and is a premium service that redefines flexibility and convenience for UK-bound travellers. Similarly, the H2H service also caters to the growing demand for greater personalisation and customer-centricity in our services and we are confident these two new offerings will provide high levels of satisfaction for applicants.”last_img read more

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UN World Tourism Organization to stage conference in Jamaica

first_imgUnited Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Global has invited Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt to serve as a special ambassador for the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive growth through sustainable tourism which will take place on Nov 27 to 29 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.This will be the first time that UNWTO will hold a global conference on tourism in the Caribbean or the Americas.In order to increase awareness about the impact that tourists have on places they visit, UNWTO declared the year 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.The main object of the conference is to initiate discussions for forming private-public partnerships that will help in supporting the development and funding the sustainable tourism efforts globally.Jamaica Tourist Board said that Bolt’s presence as UNWTO ambassador will help them attain their goal of sustainable tourism worldwide and this will also help Jamaica’s and Caribbean tourism.“We look forward to showcasing our destination within the context of sustainability and the building of private-public partnerships,” said Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.last_img read more

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Germany tops as Europes travel tourism economy WTTC report

first_imgGermany has topped the charts, ahead of United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain as Europe’s largest Travel & Tourism economy, according to a new research report published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The report reveals that Germany’s tourism sector contributed Euro 348.1 billion to the country’s economy in 2017. The travel sector grew by 1.7% in 2017Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC, stated, “Travel & tourism creates jobs, drives economic growth and helps build better societies. This is particularly the case in Germany, the largest travel economy in Europe and the third in the world.”According to the report released, the tourism sector supported 6.1 million jobs in 2017, and is expected to witness 6.5 million jobs by 2028, 15% of all will be from Germany.last_img read more

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Mortgage Rates Offer More Mixed News

first_img Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Bankrate Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Housing Affordability Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Processing Service Providers 2011-09-01 Ryan Schuette Share September 1, 2011 425 Views in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img Mortgage Rates Offer More Mixed News Mortgage rates either stayed the same or plunged to record lows, depending on where market watchers obtained their news Thursday. Mortgage giant “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ and personal finance Web site “”Bankrate.com””:http://www.bankrate.com/ released separate figures, with the former seeing a static 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and the latter finding a new bottom for the benchmark loan. The mixed numbers continue trends from last week, as economic worries push more investors to U.S. debt and keep consumers on the sidelines.[IMAGE]Freddie Mac released the Primary Mortgage Market Survey, while Bankrate.com offered up a national weekly mortgage rate index, pooling information from the top 10 banks and thrifts.The 30-year loan went bottoms up, according to Bankrate.com, which posted a 4.37-percent low, down from 4.41 percent from the week earlier. Mudding the economic recovery waters, Freddie differed by flipping a static number for the benchmark mortgage, which it said remained at 4.22 percent with an average of 0.7 points from last week.For Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist with Freddie, a lackluster economic recovery fixed rates from last week.””Weaker economic data reports eased upward pressure on mortgage rates this week and kept them at or near all-time record lows,”” he said in a “”statement””:http://freddiemac.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=12329&item=56124. “”The economy grew at a slower rate of 1 percent in the second quarter than was originally reported due to a smaller increase in inventories and fewer exports,”” he added.[COLUMN_BREAK]Nothaft also attributed the lack of improvement to a Consumer Confidence Board index that found consumer confidence falling over August to the newest lows since the financial crisis.Speaking to _MReport_, Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst with Bankrate.com, chalks up rock-bottom mortgages rates to a rush of euro-wary investors to Treasury bonds.Commenting on wider distress in the economy, he says that “”the ongoing uncertainty regarding the U.S. economy is keeping mortgage rates at record low levels. That same uncertainty is also a cause for hesitation for would-be homebuyers.””Both Freddie and Bankrate.com found the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage plunging. The GSE reported rates falling to 3.39 percent from 3.44 percent at an average 0.6 point, a far cry from the 3.83-percent average the loan achieved at the same time last year. The personal finance Web site recorded a 3.48-percent dip in 15-year loan rates.The disagreement arose once more between Bankrate.com and Freddie over adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). The GSE saw the 5-year and 1-year ARMs decline to 2.96 percent and 2.89 percent from 3.07 percent and 2.93 percent, respectively. For its part, Bankrate.com witnessed a dip to 3.07 percent for the 5-year ARM, even as the 7-year sauntered back to 3.23 percent.””Many of the adjustable rate mortgages have initial interest rates so low they’re bordering on the ridiculous,”” Bankrate.com said in a “”statement””:http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bankrate-more-record-lows-for-mortgage-rates-2011-09-01. “”While these rates are plenty tempting for borrowers that don’t imagine being in the home more than 10 years, some of these loans are now priced in such a way that rates can only go up in the future.””And when will more borrowers flock to home purchases for still-low mortgage rates?””The hub on the wheel is job growth,”” McBride says, adding that the highly anticipated jobs report due Friday will “”go a long way toward shaping sentiment about the U.S. economy, for better or worse.””last_img read more

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Mortgage Returns Launches Tool to Enhance Borrower Retention

first_img In St. Louis, Missouri, “”Mortgage Returns””:http://web.mortgagereturns.com/ has launched a program to help lenders maximize customer retention. [IMAGE]Through the new tool, originators will have access to more comprehensive data and reporting on historical borrower return rates. Seeking to help mortgage professionals improve their marketing efforts, Mortgage Returns’ solution will give lenders.[COLUMN_BREAK] better consumer analysis that can help shed light on the success–or failure–of strategic initiatives. By establishing a streamlined way to compare borrower retention rates to industry averages, Mortgage Returns will assist clients in developing a strong approach to marketing. “”Many lenders have no way to measure their customer retention rates,”” said Jim Blatt, CEO of Mortgage Returns. “”I’m a believer in Peter Drucker’s philosophy, ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.’ Our new retention analysis tool will help lenders to first understand what their customer retention is and then give them the marketing strategies to improve it,”” Blatt concluded.A provider of CRM technology and automated solutions for the mortgage industry, Mortgage Returns strives to enhance profitability for originators via the company’s award-winning database management and marketing system. Currently, the company boasts more than 8,000 clients nationwide and cross sells opportunities for more than 275 financial institutions. January 16, 2013 462 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-01-16 Abby Gregory Mortgage Returns Launches Tool to Enhance Borrower Retentioncenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Sharelast_img read more

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Forecast Purchases to Outpace Refinances for First Time Since 2000

first_img in Data, Origination Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Freddie Mac Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability Housing Starts Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-11-20 Krista Franks Brock November 20, 2013 435 Views center_img Forecast: Purchases to Outpace Refinances for First Time Since 2000 Next year will likely be the first year since 2000 that home purchases outpace refinances, according to “”Freddie Mac’s””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ expectations. Furthermore, the rallying housing market should set the broader economy on a brightening path, according to Freddie Mac’s “”U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook””:http://www.freddiemac.com/news/finance/docs/Nov_2013_public_outlook.pdf for November. [IMAGE]””Led by a resurgent housing sector, 2014 should shape up to be better than 2013,”” Freddie Mac stated in its outlook. Housing starts, which have been slow, should rise to a pace of about 1.15 million in 2014, according to Freddie Mac. This is more in line with the historical average of 1.1 million per year reported by the “”Census Bureau.””:http://www.census.gov/ In comparison, the Census Bureau recently reported household formation over the first three quarters of this year at just 380,000. [COLUMN_BREAK]Freddie Mac expects home sales to increase 5 or 6 percent in the new year, but tight inventory will prevent further increases. Home values will continue to increase, albeit at a slower pace. Freddie Mac expects home price growth to be about the same as home sales growth–5 or 6 percent. Rental prices will also continue to rise, but like housing prices, their pace will moderate. Freddie Mac expects rents to rise at a pace of about 5.3 percent next year. Mortgage rates will reach about 5 percent for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages by the end of 2014, according to Freddie Mac. While this will not threaten affordability in most markets, it may dampen affordability in a few higher-priced markets, according to the outlook. Also, Freddie Mac noted there may be “”some volatility in the short-term”” resulting from uncertainty surrounding fiscal policies, such as the debt ceiling and the Federal Reserve’s tapering of its MBS purchases. The overall good news for the housing market translates to good news for the broader economy, according to Freddie Mac. The rise in housing starts should translate to 700,000 new jobs, according to economists at Freddie Mac. These new jobs will help bring the unemployment rate below 7 percent “”perhaps by mid-2014,”” Freddie Mac stated. Economic growth is expected at 2.5 to 3 percent for the year, which is “”more than 0.5 percentage points better than is projected for 2013,”” according to Freddie Mac.last_img read more

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CFPB Study Says Consumers Can Benefit From eClosings

first_imgClick here to view the CFPB’s eClosing report. in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News August 5, 2015 667 Views Consumer Financial Protection Bureau eClosing Efficiency Empowerment Understanding 2015-08-05 Staff Writer Borrowers that close their mortgage using an electronic platform typically have a greater understanding toward the process and are more efficient and empowered, compared to those that take the paper route.The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a report Wednesday on its “Know Before You Owe” electronic closing (eClosing) project. The report determined that borrowers can benefit from electronic closings when wrapping up their mortgage closing process, the last step before consumers are contractually obligated to their loan.“While technology alone will not address all consumer concerns in the closing process, our study showed that eClosings do offer the potential to make the process less complex,” said Richard Cordray, CFPB director. “We expect this pilot project and its findings to help inform further innovation that will be a win-win for consumers and industry alike.”The CFPB conducted this new study of seven lenders and consumers who closed loans with these lenders following their April 2014 research that identified the major pain points within the closing process. This 2014 study found that consumers felt like they did not have enough time to review the documents, felt overwhelmed by the stack of complex paperwork, and complained about finding errors in the documents.According to the CFPB, eClosings were chosen as a solution to address some of these pain points. Electronic mortgage closings rely on technology for borrowers to view and sign closing documents. This could mean faster delivery of the documents and embedded links to help consumers understand specific terms as they come across them.The CFPB pointed out that although eClosings are happening in the market today, many companies are not adopting this practice. The CFPB believes that the eClosing process has “the potential to give consumers more time to review closing documents while also providing them with educational tools that can help them navigate the closing process more successfully.””Closing on a mortgage remains one of the most significant, yet stressful, times in the lives of consumers,” Director Cordray said. “However, this report offers promise that technology could be an important tool to break down a complex process into one that is easier to understand. We know that much work and further study lies ahead. We envision a world where most of the mortgage transaction is facilitated by technology, and where consumers have adequate time to review documents and access tools to help them break down the complexity of the process.”The CFPB’s eClosing study released today is the latest component of the CFPB’s “Know Before You Owe” mortgage initiative, which is designed to improve the home-buying experience for consumers and will take effect October 3, 2015.  The new regulation implements the use of two less complex documents: the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms. The closing disclosure form offers a detailed accounting of the transaction and must be delivered to the borrower three days before closing.Key Findings: Better consumer understanding:  The study found a 7 percent positive difference in perceived understanding scores for borrowers using eClosings compared to borrowers using paper documents.A more efficient process: The study found a 17 percent positive difference in scores for borrowers using eClosings compared to borrowers using paper documents.Greater feelings of consumer empowerment: The study found a 15 percent positive difference in the scores for the eClosing borrowers compared to borrowers using paper documents.The study also found that consumers that reviewed their closing documents before the closing meeting had better measurements of empowerment, efficiency, and understanding. CFPB Study Says Consumers Can Benefit From eClosings Sharelast_img read more

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