Sponsored Stories A Jihadist Salafi group that supports the Islamic State took responsibility for the rocket attack toward Israel, the second time it has done so in a week.Hamas, which has ruled Gaza with an iron fist since 2007, sees the radical group as a threat. The group said the attack was to retaliate the killing of one of its members at the hands of Hamas. A day before that killing the group gave Hamas a 48-hour ultimatum to end its crackdown on the Salafis.Even so, Israel considers Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for any attacks originating from the area it controls.“When the sirens sounded this evening in Israel more than 140,000 Israeli lives were at jeopardy. Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live normal lives but instead Hamas chooses to use the Gaza Strip as a launch pad for rocket attacks,” said military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. “The IDF will act against the aggression, will act against those that wish to terrorize Israel and will act to protect Israelis in the line of indiscriminate Gaza rocket fire.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli airstrikes hit Hamas training sites in Gaza early Thursday in response to earlier rocket fire toward Israel from the strip, the Israeli military said. Gaza’s militant Hamas group said there were no casualties in the attack after they had evacuating their posts earlier in anticipation of the Israeli retaliation.Rocket fire has mostly subsided since last summer’s war between Hamas and Israel but there has been some occasionally. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share “We all understood that no single organization can go it alone,” Koskinen told reporters in a conference call that included officials from states and tax software, tax preparation and other companies. “None of us has a silver bullet to defeat this enemy.”The steps were announced two weeks after the IRS acknowledged that criminals had stolen personal information about 104,000 taxpayers from an agency website.At the time, Koskinen said the lawbreakers had already used the data to claim up to $50 million in fraudulent tax refunds. Two officials told The Associated Press that the IRS thinks the criminals were based in Russia.Overall, the IRS has estimated it paid $5.8 billion worth of fraudulent refunds to identity thieves in 2013. Koskinen said existing procedures identified 3 million suspicious tax returns this year before they were processed, 700,000 more than last year.Officials also recently revealed that the government faces a far broader problem. Hackers in China have broken into the federal government’s personnel agency, the Office of Personnel Management, and stolen identification information of at least 4 million federal workers.An official of a federal employees’ union said Thursday that the problem was even worse than officials have described and that the hackers have stolen Social Security numbers and other personnel data for every federal worker. Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 How men can have a healthy 2019 WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS is joining with states and private industry to combat identity theft by sharing more data about how tax returns are filed, officials announced Thursday. The effort is aimed at stemming a problem that has victimized thousands of taxpayers and cost the government billions of dollars from fraudulent returns.IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the new procedures will be in place by the time taxpayers file their 2015 returns next year. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Koskinen said government and industry officials have agreed to share new information aimed at stopping identity theft as fraudulent returns are filed. This would include reviewing information about the Internet addresses used by filers and matching information about computers and the returns they generate.He said government and industry would also share more fraud leads and set up formal systems for doing that.“We have come to realize we are now dealing with a much more sophisticated enemy than in the past,” Koskinen said. He added, “We are dealing more and more with organized crime syndicates here and around the world.”He said once all the new protections are in place, taxpayers won’t notice much difference. The biggest changes will be “everything that goes on behind the scenes,” he said.Koskinen said the IRS website that was hacked, “Get Transcript,” wouldn’t be reopened for public use until officials are convinced that security measures they are adding “will protect taxpayer information adequately.”Taxpayers used “Get Transcript” to retrieve tax returns and other tax filings from previous years. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies
Under Italy’s justice system, a judge will consider the prosecutor’s request and either order a trial or throw out the case. The judge’s evaluation could take months before a decision is made.In Italy, institutions as well as individuals can be ordered to stand trial.The case involves operations carried out from 2007 to 2010, ANSA said.Prosecutors’ offices were closed over the weekend.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The case highlights the large underground Chinese economy in Europe and the failure of judicial and legal cooperation to keep pace with the economic ties, both legal and illegal, that bind China with the West.Prosecutors said more than 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in proceeds from counterfeiting, prostitution, labor exploitation and tax evasion was sent to China in less than four years using a money-transfer service partly owned by Chinese migrants. Nearly half that money was funneled through the Bank of China, which in turn earned over 758,000 euros in commissions, according to Italian investigative documents. Prosecutors said the money had been fractioned into small sums to avoid detection and that the bank’s management and audit staff failed to report suspicious transactions, helping conceal the source and destination of the funds.Beijing, which is seeking Western help in hunting its own economic fugitives, did not cooperate with the investigation, Italian officials said. Once the money left Italy, it effectively vanished. Italian police were unable to continue their investigation in China, but the AP was able to track some of the missing money to a large government-controlled import-export company that has been accused of repeatedly shipping counterfeit merchandise, some of it to the United States. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosis In response to AP’s article, China’s state-run Global Times newspaper published a rebuttal, in Chinese, defending the Bank of China and criticizing the AP’s report as “strange.” The article, which was picked up by other Chinese media, quoted a law expert saying that the Bank of China has “no obligation to cooperate with Italian police.”The Bank of China has denied wrongdoing, and lawyers for the money transfer network’s owners have said their clients are not guilty.Judicial cooperation has become crucial for Beijing, which is pressuring Western governments to help hunt corrupt officials who have fled overseas. President Xi Jinping’s far-reaching anti-graft drive is a top priority for the ruling Communist Party as it seeks to shore up its legitimacy. Beijing has already punished over 100,000 officials for corruption.Italy and China signed a memorandum of judicial cooperation in September. So far, the most visible signs of collaboration have been in Beijing’s favor.In February, Italy extradited a Chinese woman accused of stealing more than 1.4 million yuan ($225,515) during her tenure at a securities company in Heibei province. It was the first time anyone had been extradited from Europe for an economic crime, according to China’s Ministry of Public Security. Comments Share Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall SHANGHAI (AP) — Italian prosecutors are seeking to indict 297 people and the Bank of China in connection with a massive money-laundering investigation reported by The Associated Press earlier this month.The suspects, mostly Chinese migrants living in Italy, include four senior managers of the Chinese state bank’s branch in Milan. According to prosecutors, at least some of the suspects used Mafia-like techniques, including intimidation, the ANSA news agency reported Saturday. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober How men can have a healthy 2019 FILE- In this April 15, 2015, file photo, residents walk past the Bank of China branch in downtown Milan, Italy. Italian prosecutors are seeking to indict over 200 people and the Bank of China in connection with a massive money-laundering investigation reported by The Associated Press earlier this month. Prosecutors said more than 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in proceeds from counterfeiting, prostitution, labor exploitation and tax evasion was sent to China in less than four years using a money-transfer service part-owned by Chinese migrants. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File) How do cataracts affect your vision?
Air India is targeting the large Indian market living in Australia with the likely launch of its Delhi-Melbourne flight at the end of this year, when the airline acquires new Boeing 787 aircraft.This move made by the national carrier will make Air India the only airline to service the India-Australia market non-stop, the Economic Times reported.Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu recently met with Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to discuss the proposed launch.”With sizable Indian population residing in Melbourne, a Delhi-Melbourne direct Air India flight would be in their larger interest and also in the business interest of the two countries,” Mr Baillieu said.According to recent data, the annual air traffic between India and Melbourne and Sydney is between 1,25,000 and 1,30,000, while the total number of people travelling between India and Australia is about 3,35,000 passengers each year.An Air India Official said the direct services to Australia would be a lucrative venture once obtaining concessions from the Government. He added that the airline will operate at more than 75 percent passenger load factor on an average throughout the year.The Airline is currently negotiating further with both the Victorian and New South Wales governments and the Airport Authority at Sydney and Melbourne to obtain concessions to ensure the venture is profitable. Air India plans to offer direct services from New Delhi to Australia Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P
NTIA winners determined by panel of judges. The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has announced the finalists, across 33 categories, for the 2013 National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA).Categories include; Rookie of the Year Agent, Best Business Events Travel Agency, Best Travel Writer, Best Domestic Airline, Best Travel Consultant Retail and many more.Industry members were polled and cast votes, with the highest-ranking nominees forming the finalists in each category.“Peer recognition is such an important measure of success and it’s great to see such strong ongoing industry support for the awards,” AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury said.Record numbers are expected at this year’s NTIA Gala Dinner, with category winners to be determined by an official panel of judges.“There is no doubt that the judges have a tough job ahead of them,” Mr Westbury said.“Not only will they be analysing the most deserving winners, the judges will be selecting half of the 33 category winners from finalist presentations which will begin soon.”The NTIA Gala Dinner will be held on 20 July 2013 at the Hordern Pavilion in Moore Park. Full NTIA 2013 Finalists below: Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T.
The Imperium Collection NZ appoints new General ManagerThe Imperium Collection has appointed Tom Macaulay as its General Manager of food and beverage as it undertakes further expansion plans that cater to the increased high net worth demand in New Zealand’s premier alpine town.Tom has most recently spent eight years as the operations and bistro manager of award-winning Amisfield Winery Bistro in Queenstown, where he notably escorted the visiting Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Prince William and his wife Catherine – on their 2014 tour downunder.The collective of luxury Queenstown accommodation and dining offers, that includes Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Eichardt’s Bar, Eichardt’s Lakefront Apartments, Eichardt’s Residence and No5 Church Lane Restaurant and Bar, has most recently announced a $10,000 per night Eichardt’s Penthouse with sweeping lake views currently under construction in the $6million development next to the property.The Eichardt’s Penthouse will also have a balcony space available for private functions that utilise its commercial kitchen and unrivalled vista across Lake Wakatipu to the snow-capped Remarkables beyond.No stranger to the pursuit of excellence, during Tom’s time at Amisfield Bistro the restaurant won Cuisine Magazine’s Winery Restaurant of the Year three times and was awarded two chef’s hats. He will be using his many years of experience to oversee the function opportunities for the current and new offers, streamline the group’s food and beverage operations as well as develop a new hospitality venture to be announced later this year.Imperium Collection owner Andrew Cox is impressed with Tom’s credentials, noting he believes Tom brings a wealth of best business practice and top-end service nous to the table.“When planning our expansion of the Eichardt’s Hotel footprint and the upcoming hospitality addition, we identified that Tom had the local know-how and the international attention to detail that our guests expect, so we are thrilled that he has joined the fold.”Tom is likewise well-prepped for the discerning clientele, noting “the sector of travellers and diners that the Imperium Collection cater to know what they want. These people choose Queenstown because it offers a unique experience to share with their networks.“I’m looking forward to enhancing an offer that melds understated luxury, safety, food, wine and activities which no other destination in the world can compete with.” Imperium CollectionSource = Imperium Collection
SIA and SilkAir to fold surcharges into base airfaresSingapore Airlines and regional arm SilkAir are to fold fuel and insurance surcharges into base airfares.Singapore Airlines and SilkAir have already been showing the full price payable in their airfare advertising, inclusive of taxes and surcharges, since 2008. With the removal of the fuel and insurance surcharges as a separate component, customers will be presented with a single base airfare when purchasing tickets.This will not result in immediate changes to “all-in” fares, which will continue to be determined by market supply and demand, but is intended to provide a more simplified fare structure for customers.The folding in of fuel and insurance surcharges into base airfares will be implemented progressively by region, starting from 28 March 2017. It is expected to be completed by May 2017.Fuel and insurance surcharges will also no longer apply to KrisFlyer frequent-flyer programme redemption bookings, with effect from 23 March 2017.Other changes will be made to the KrisFlyer programme with effect from the same day, including the removal of a 15% discount for redemption bookings made online rather than via the call centre.Adjustments are also being made to redemption award charts in the Saver category for selected zones, while those for other zones remain unchanged.Full details of the new award levels are available at www.singaporeair.com/kfchangeSource = Singapore Airlines
Cruise passengers from Azamara arrive are greeted by Visit Sunshine Coast volunteers at MooloolabaSunshine Coast offers Azamara a calm port amidst Cyclone Debbie stormSunshine Coast’s port of Mooloolaba offered sunny skies and a warm welcome for 600 cruise passengers on board the Azamara, which made a surprise stopover (yesterday 27 March) after the ship was forced to re-jig its scheduled itinerary in the wake of Cyclone Debbie’s destructive path in north Queensland.Originally scheduled to sail to the Whitsundays enroute to Singapore, passengers were able to enjoy perfect conditions on the Sunshine Coast, with Visit Sunshine Coast volunteers and staff co-ordinating tour activities for the passengers to explore the region.The Whitsunday’s loss was estimated to provide a $250,000 gain to the Sunshine Coast’s tourism economy.Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said a team of volunteers had quickly assembled to welcome the guests, and while the stopover was unscheduled, the passengers had been very thankful they were greeted so warmly.“You’ve got to make hay while the sun shines,” Mr Latchford said.“It provided a great opportunity for people from southern Australian cities, Asia, and Europe to have a look at what we offer on the Sunshine Coast, and they were very happy with what they experienced. Hopefully they will return for a longer visit in the future.“It’s great for Mooloolaba, which has gone out of its way to establish itself as an attractive port for cruise vessels over the past few years.”Source = Visit Sunshine Coast
Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) recently concluded a road show in Delhi to showcase the resurgent and fast growing tourism sector of the state to the travel agents. The show was graced by the presence of Tanvi Sundriyal, AMD and Subhash Goyal, immediate Past President, IATO.Located at the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh has various tourism opportunities to offer. It has a forest area cover of 77,700 sq km, famous for Sal trees and bamboo. The state has nine national parks, 25 wildlife sanctuaries the major ones being Bandhavgarh, Pench, Kanha, Panna, Satpura Wildlife Sanctuary, Chambal Ghadiyal Sanctuary etc.The state is also the abode of three World Heritage sites- Khajuraho, Bhimbetka and Sanchi. Orchha, Gwalior & Mandu are other beautiful architectural sites out of many others. Further, it boasts of unique places including World’s first Broad gauge Rail Restaurant, ‘Sair Sapata’ at Bhopal and ‘Holiday on Wheels’ by Caravan Tourism.Madhya Pradesh is also promoting itself as a vibrant film location. Caravan Tourism has been very popular not only among tourists but also with the film industry.One of the biggest achievements in tourism was the Jal Mahotsav, celebrated with water sports and adventure activities in February this year. MP Tourism also facilitated the National Conventions of IATO, ATOI and ADTOI. Its ‘MP Tourism Year’ celebrated in 2015- 16 focused on various tourism parameters.MP Tourism has made policies and incentives to promote various tourism projects in the state and to facilitate their easy implementation. The main amongst them are its forward looking Wayside Amenity policy, land allotment policy and incentive for heritage projects. Incidentally, bids are out for three heritage projects.
Brand Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar recently launched SMAAASH, an urban sports park at the Ambience Malls in Vasant Kunj and Gurugram, Delhi-NCR. After the recent acquisition, SMAAASH has transformed the earlier bluOs into the multi-sensorial experience of gaming and entertainment. There were double celebrations at the event, as the master blaster also unveiled the new brand logo of SMAAASH and the brand ethos “Can’t Stop Playing.”Shripal Morakhia, Chief Imagination Officer, SMAAASH Entertainment, said, “All the games here are like the three A’s of SMAAASH – Amazing, Aspirational and Awesome. We are the best place for celebrations, as one can eat, play and party, all under one roof. Also, considering the changing tastes of the consumers, we will be regularly introducing new gaming concepts. With our presence across 26 centres in 13 cities and growing, SMAAASH aims to change the way our country celebrates each day.”The newly revived 50,000 sq. ft centres are the next links in the chain of this urban sports park. SMAAASH in Ambience, Gurugram has two exciting new Golf-based games – Golf Showdown and Mini Jungle Golf and SMAAASH in Ambience, VasantKunj has LaserBlast – a trippy Laser Tag arena for group games. All the sports enthusiasts can experience unique adrenaline rush with a variety of highly advanced virtual reality games like Finger Coaster, Jurassic Park, Walk The Plank and much more, at these outlets.Meanwhile, the in-house café and bar at SMAAASH will ensure that one enjoys hearty meals and heady drinks during the fun gaming sessions with the gang.
Situated in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy, Guernsey is home to beautiful ports, museums, forts and parks displaying the tourism potential of this splendid island. Travellers visit Guernsey to relax under the basking seaside in the afternoons and to enjoy the evening sea air around the pristine beaches. Source: Expedia
in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News November 16, 2015 483 Views Democratic presidential candidates deliberated recently in their second primary debate, ultimately determining that something must be done about Wall Street banks.The debate, held Saturday night, consisted of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The debate was moderated by”Face the Nation’s” John Dickerson, Nancy Cordes of CBS, Kathie Obradovich of the Des Moines Register, and Kevin Cooney.While many expected the debate to focus on domestic policy, the recent terrorist attack in Paris spurred conversation to take a foreign policy turn at the start of the debate, with each candidate commenting on the recent event, according to a transcription of the Democratic debate provided by The Washington Post.Sen. Bernie SandersThe democrats then went on to discuss the “financial squeeze on the middle class,” where Sen. Sanders proposed that “there must be a tax on Wall Street speculation,” and since taxpayers have already bailed out Wall Street, it their turn to bail out the middle class.Dickerson alluded to a quote that was recently said by Sen. Sanders, “People should be suspect of candidates who receive large sums of money from Wall Street and then go out and say ‘Trust me. I’m going to really regulate wall street’.”Sen. Sanders added in the debate, “I don’t know and with all due respect to the secretary, Wall Street played by the rules? Who are we kidding? The business model of Wall Street is fraud. That’s what it is.”The major issue on Wall Street, according to Sen. Sanders, is that six financial institutions have assets of 56 percent, equivalent to 56 percent of the GDP In America, and they issue two-thirds of the credit cards and one-third of the mortgages.Hillary ClintonClinton noted that she introduced legislation to reign in compensation and looked at ways that the shareholders would have more control over what was going on in that arena. She also “specifically said to Wall Street, that what they were doing in the mortgage market was bringing our country down. I’ve laid out a very aggressive plan to reign in Wall Street—not just the big banks.”As the only democratic candidate without a super PAC, Sen. Sanders mentioned that he is not asking Wall Street or the billionaires for money. He then presented a plan from the past to reinvigorate the banking industry in America.”If Teddy Roosevelt, a good Republican, were alive today, you know what he’d say? “Break them up.” Reestablish Glass-Steagall. And Teddy Roosevelt is right. That is the issue. I will break up these banks. Support community banks and credit unions. That’s the future of banking in America,” Sen. Sanders explained.O’Malley had very little to add to the Sanders-Clinton fire, but agreed with Sen. Sanders approach to Wall Street.Martin O’Malley”Our economy was wrecked by the big banks of Wall Street,” O’Malley said. “And Secretary Clinton, when you put out your proposal on Wall Street, it was greeted by many as, quote, unquote, “weak tea.” It is weak tea. It is not what the people expect of our country.”He continued, “We expect that our president will protect the main street economy from excesses on Wall Street. And that’s why Bernie’s right. We need to reinstate a modern version of Glass-Steagall and we should have done it already,” O’Malley concluded.Clinton could not fully commit to reinstating Glass-Steagall, but did not completely rule it out, noting that “it is a part of what very well could help, but it is nowhere near enough. My proposal is tougher, more effective, and more comprehensive because I go after all of Wall Street not just the big banks.””So I’ve said, if the big banks don’t play by the rules, I will break them up,” Clinton stated. “And I will also go after executives who are responsible for the decisions that have such bad consequences for our country. There are a lot of things we’ve got to do in our country, reigning in Wall Street is certainly one of them.”Click here to view the Washington Post’s full transcription of the debate. Democrats on Wall Street: Break Up Big Banks & Reinstall Glass-Steagall Banks Debate Democrats Wall Street Reform 2015-11-16 Staff Writer Share
Investors With Cash Beat First-Time Homebuyers to the Closing Table in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination February 18, 2016 495 Views First-time homebuyers in need of financing methods are losing out on homes that are being swiped from them by cash investors.Investors main focus during the housing bust were foreclosures and short sales, which they used for rental or flip properties. Today, now that the market has changed, investors are offering up cash deals on homes to beat out first-time buyers.”Some economists and real-estate agents say the market is going through an uneasy transition,” a report from Realtor.com said. “While the foreclosure starts rate is back down to where it was before the crisis, cash and investor buying in some cities remains far above historical levels. That creates difficulty for buyers of low-price homes because more buyers are competing for fewer properties.”The share of homes that were all-cash transactions in October 2015 fell by 2.6 percentage points over-the-year down to 33.9 percent, meaning that of all residential home sales during the month, slightly more than a third were paid for in cash, according to data released by CoreLogic. A steep decline in REO sales is the main driver behind the decline in cash sales. At their peak in January 2011, REO sales made up nearly a quarter (23.9 percent) of all residential home sales; by October 2015, REO sales made up less than a third of that total (7.3 percent).While homeownership sits at a stagnant level, rental markets remain healthy, creating optimal opportunities for investors, according to a report from RentRange says are ripe for SFR investors.The SFR market gained traction as a viable asset class with phenomenal growth in 2015. The homeownership rate fell to its lowest level in nearly five decades during the summer as more and more families and individuals chose to rent.According to RentRange, markets in Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee account for eight of the top ten increasing rental markets on the list. The report found that Western markets like California, Washington, and Hawaii occupy nine spots on the top twenty-five list. Cash Sales First-Time Homebuyers Investors 2016-02-18 Staff Writer Share
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Financial hardships are keeping Americans tossing and turning at night, and mortgages are one the top concerns causing sleeplessness, according to a new CreditCards.com poll.The national poll of 1,000 adults, commissioned by CreditCards.com, found that 62 percent of respondents still say they lose sleep to at least one financial worry, which is not as good as the 56 percent in 2007 pre-recession, but much better than the 69 percent reported in 2009.The poll asked respondents about five specific financial issues: saving for retirement, paying for education, paying health care or insurance bills, paying the monthly rent or mortgage, and paying credit card debt. Of these issues, the average person said 2.3 of the above issues were combining to keep them awakeThe report showed that 26 percent of Americans are losing sleep over their mortgage or monthly rent, up 6 percentage points from 2007.CreditCards.com found that gender also plays a role in financial worries, and women tend to stress more and sleep less compared to men. According to the data, 68 percent of women are losing sleep over at least one financial problem, while 56 percent of men reported a loss of sleep over financial problems.“There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground when it comes to Americans’ financial worries,” said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s Senior Industry Analyst. “Many folks have none at all, but many of us are worried about several different problems all at once.”Some improvement was noted among households making between $50,000 and $74,999 per year. This income bracket is 4 percentage points less likely to lose sleep over financial matters now than they were in 2015.Last year, more Americans were sleeping better at night knowing that the economy is recovering. Those Americans that are losing sleep over financial stress is declining in the U.S., according to CreditCards.com.The poll found that 62 percent of adult Americans are losing sleep over at least one financial problem. This is 7 percentage points lower than the amount in June 2009, the last time this poll was conducted, but higher than 56 percent in 2007.One of the top insomnia-inducing issues that worries many Americans is how they will pay their mortgage and monthly rent bills, the poll determined. Twenty-seven percent indicated that home and rent payments block sleep at night.“Many Americans are still struggling financially, even as the economy rebounds,” Schulz stated. “Twenty-seven percent of Americans are losing sleep over mortgage or rent payments—about the same number as in 2009, in the throes of the Great Recession when we last did the survey. And 1 in 3 Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 are losing sleep over paying their rent or mortgage.” April 21, 2016 484 Views CreditCards.com Financial Hardships Mortgages 2016-04-21 Staff Writer Mortgage Insomnia—Homeowners Stressed With Payments Share
Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines February 24, 2017 645 Views Rising Interest Rates and Lack of Inventory Concern Homebuyers Affordability HOUSING Mortgage Rates Zillow 2017-02-24 Rachel Williams As mortgage rates creep upward, with the effect of increasing the amount of house payments, many prospective buyers feel that this is among the top factors impacting their ability to purchase a home. According to a new survey conducted by Zillow, 53 percent of current home shoppers feel that this is a major concern.Mortgage rates increased following the U.S. presidential election and federal funds rate hike in December. With several more federal funds rate increases expected this year, rising rates may have an impact on home buying activity and affordability for the first time in years.Another concern is the limited supply of homes in some areas. Sixty-five percent of respondents to the survey currently looking for a home, said they are most concerned about finding an affordable home amidst low inventory. When this same survey was conducted in 2015, only 50 percent of respondents were concerned about rising mortgage rates. This ranked lower than concerns about finding an affordable home (73 percent) and saving for a down payment (59 percent).Despite rising interest rates, 83 percent of respondents planning to buy within the next three years will continue with their home buying plans even if rates increase their monthly mortgage payment by $100. Nearly half (49 percent) of home shoppers would move forward with a home purchase even if rising rates were to increase their monthly payments by at least $200.Rising rates and increased monthly payments mean that buyers’ budgets will be more limited. To offset this, one-fourth of home shoppers say that they would consider buying a smaller home or purchasing a home in a less expensive community if their payments were increased by $100. Additionally, 38 percent said that if their monthly payments went up $200, they would adjust the price of the home they hope to purchase.”For years, falling interest rates have been a boon to the U.S. housing market, keeping monthly mortgage payments low for first-time and move-up buyers alike, even as home values rose,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages for Zillow® Group. “As rates rise this year, first-time buyers and those looking to buy in expensive markets where affordability is already an issue will feel the pinch of higher rates on their budget. That said, for most borrowers, there is quite a bit of head room for rates to rise before home-buying becomes unaffordable.”Buyers that will be most affected by a rate increase will be those living in U.S. metro areas where housing is expensive. In markets such as San Francisco or San Jose, monthly mortgage payments could increase by $400 or more if mortgage rates rise to 5.0 percent.In other areas, payments on a home valued at $595,700 in the Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim, California, area would increase by $283 per month with a rate increase from 4 percent to 5 percent.Payments on a home in Tampa, Florida, valued at $181,200 would increase by $86 with an interest rate increase from 4 percent to 5 percent.According to the latest Zillow® Home Price Expectations Survey, which polled 100 housing market experts, the effect of housing affordability in the wake of rising mortgage rates is set to be the most significant force driving the housing market this year.
Share On Tuesday, DS News reported that overall, homebuyers are not happy with the final appraisal of their homes, but interestingly, a recent study found that appraisers are often not that happy with their job. The March 2017 Appraiser Trends Study from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) included a survey of over 2,000 appraisers, and found that many appraisers feel undertrained, or just dissatisfied.Training appears to be an issue. According to the report, very few appraisers have trained newcomers, and over a third of those that do, do so for no pay. Another problem is that lenders do not want to accept the work of trainees.Respondents to the survey listed salary/compensation as the top factor preventing entry into the field. Additionally, regulation proves to be a hindrance, as 65.3 percent of respondents say regulations are a hindrance to entering the appraisal field.In the satisfaction survey, what seemed to bother appraisers the most is the increased use of data driven valuation models. 67.3 percent of those surveyed said that they were not satisfied with this practice. Additionally, 64.1 percent of responders were not satisfied with the increased use of appraiser scoring.This increased regulation is the biggest reason for appraisers leaving the field. 74.9 percent of responders listed excessive regulation as an important reason for leaving or potentially leaving. 73.9 percent listed insufficient compensation as another important reason for leaving. Though complaints about training are high, only 13 percent of respondents listed issues related to training as an important reason for leaving. In fact, 38.4 percent say issues related to trainees were “not important” in their potential decision to leave. “The work of an appraiser is indispensable to our industry. Appraisers provide the credible, outside opinion on a property value that agents, lenders, and ultimately the consumer depend on to guide them through a transaction,” said NAR President William E Brown. “If the regulatory burdens holding appraisers back go unaddressed, the challenge of providing that timely appraisal will only get worse. We have to work together as an industry to clear the way for appraisers to continue doing their good work while building an environment that encourages talented newcomers to get in the game.” in News, Origination Regulation Hinders Appraisers in the Field Appraisal NAR Regulation 2017-03-16 Staff Writer March 16, 2017 682 Views
Making CRA Work for the Communities August 29, 2018 554 Views In a bid to modernize the regulatory framework of implementing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), The Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) has asked for comments from stakeholders.The CRA, which was enacted in 1977 to encourage banks and other insured depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of their communities, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods, is being considered for reforms. In 2017 and 2018, the Department of Treasury gathered feedback and published recommendations for modernizing the regulatory framework of this act.In a statement the OCC said that it had issued the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to better achieve the statute’s original purpose, increase lending and investment where it was needed most, and reduce the burden associated with reporting and assessing CRA performance.“As a long-time banker, I have seen firsthand the benefit of CRA investment and how it makes communities vibrant,” said Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting. “I have also seen how limitations in the current CRA regulation can fail to provide consideration to a bank that wants to lend and invest in a community with a need for capital, including many low- and moderate-income areas.”Noting that the operation of the current CRA regulation could result in restricted resources, Otting said that it was time for a national discussion on how “we can make the CRA work better.”Through the ANPR the OCC is asking stakeholders to comment on a number of questions regarding the improvements to the CRA regulation on various aspects such as increasing lending and services to people and in areas that need it most including LMI areas; clarifying and expanding the types of activities eligible for CRA consideration; revisiting how assessment areas are defined and used; making bank CRA performance more transparent; and reducing the cost and burden related to evaluating performance under the CRA.According to Otting, some of the areas that stakeholders had complained about included the difficulty of getting capital to critical areas, significant administrative burden, lack of CRA consideration for important development activities, and failure to adapt to advances in banking such as interstate branching and digitization of services. in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Communities CRA Low and Middle Income OCC Regulation 2018-08-29 Radhika Ojha Share
Housing Tech Entrepreneurs To Help Home Sellers in Headlines, News, Technology Share Real estate technology entrepreneurs including founders of Ten-X, Auction.com, LendingTree, Realtor.com, Fizber, and Money360 have announced the launch of an educational resource and proprietary recommendation engine for homeowners, SOLD.com.The Irvine, California based company will allow consumers to compare dozens of home selling options so that they can decide which approach and resources enable them to sell for the highest prices in the shortest time while minimizing fees. The engine is completely free for consumers.“Selling a home is one of the biggest financial – and often, most emotional – decisions people make, and because it may only happen once or twice during a lifetime, it’s not something that becomes second nature over time,” said Matt Woods, President of SOLD.com. “SOLD.com is committed to helping homeowners understand all of the options available to them for selling their homes while protecting their valuable equity, and will serve as a trusted, unbiased resource throughout the home selling process.”The platform’s recommendation engine is powered by machine learning that considers thousands of data points for individual properties, local markets, and individual seller preferences. Users are asked a few simple questions about their home and their top objectives during the sales process.SOLD.com’s proprietary technology then evaluates the top local real estate agents, institutional buyers, discount agent models and more to match the seller with the option that will best help them achieve their goals. The platform also provides a personal concierge to assist the homeowner through their selling experience.The company’s board members include Jeff Frieden, co-founder and Chairman of Auction.com and Ten-X; Evan Gentry, founder and CEO of Money360, Inc. and Fizber; and Steve Ozonian, lead director for LendingTree and former CEO of Realtor.com, who provide the company with a wealth of expertise spanning technology, finance and marketing in the real estate arena. February 7, 2019 1,126 Views Auction.com Home Sellers homeowners HOUSING Realtor.com SOLD.com Ten-X 2019-02-07 Radhika Ojha
Globus family of brands has confirmed the resignation of Troy Ackerman, General Manager New Zealand, effective 9 August 2019.Mr Ackerman joined Globus in Sydney in 2009 and transferred to Auckland to lead the company’s New Zealand business in 2014.“We would like to thank Troy for his significant contribution over the past 10 years, both in Australia and further developing the Globus family of brands in New Zealand. He will be sadly missed, and we wish him every success for the future,” Managing Director Australasia Gai Tyrrell said.Ms Tyrrell confirmed that Globus would commence the search for a new leader for New Zealand following Mr Ackerman’s departure in August. GlobusGlobus family of brandsNew Zealand
airlinesairportsCathay PacificChinaloungesShanghai Cathay Pacific’s newly renovated Shanghai Pudong Cathay Pacific Lounge opened its doors to guests again yesterday, located near Departure Gate D69 in Pudong Airport’s Terminal 2 building.The 970 square metre space follows the warm, inviting style developed by Studioilse, the London-based studio led by Ilse Crawford, seen in Cathay Pacific’s newest lounges across its global network.“We are delighted to bring our signature lounge design to mainland China, ensuring our customers travelling through Pudong Airport have an even more enjoyable experience when they fly with us,” said Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo. “Shanghai is one of our most popular destinations for business and leisure, and a favourite among our most loyal customers. Our premium passengers can now look forward to a multitude of new and improved features at the lounge, especially when it comes to the F&B options they can enjoy.”The 305-seat Lounge is open daily from 05.30 – 21.00 and welcomes First and Business Class passengers, Marco Polo Club Silver and above members, oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, and Members of all tiers who have earned lounge passes and/or their friends and family members.