FlamingoPotrero News

first_imgNo related posts. On Sept. 16, the Las Catalinas and Playa Dante community hosted the first annual free bike parade around Las Catalinas, which included strollers, tricycles, bicycles and other things with wheels. There was a wheel-decorating station and a dressage show, with Friesian horses as well as pony rides for the kids.Pura Vida Ride offered $10 rentals throughout the morning, and Lola’s offered a free pizza-making station for the children. Everybody had a great time.Maxwell’s Restaurant and Bar in Surfside/Potrero will be open throughout September and October, so check with Kelly and Mike for specials and events. For more info, call 2654-4319.Ruta La Paz III is a perfect opportunity for participants of all ages and skill levels to come together, be healthy and raise funds for scholarships at La Paz Community School. Distances are a 5K and 10K on the beach in front of the Rotonda in Playa Tamarindo The race takes place Saturday, Nov. 10.All proceeds from Ruta La Paz go to the La Paz scholarship program, which is now providing scholarships for 25 students. The program allows the school to accommodate various socioeconomic levels, bridging the resource gap between families.–Babe Hopkinstbabehopkins@gmail.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Imagine living underwater for 31 days Or better Watch other people do

first_imgRelated posts:Actor Leonardo DiCaprio talks about illegal fishing in Costa Rica’s Cocos Island Sea Shepherd’s R/V Martin Sheen lands in Costa Rica for 4-month research mission Chile declares huge Easter Island marine reserve; US announces 2 more protected areas Obama will propose expanding Pacific Ocean marine sanctuary “What It’s Like to Live Underwater for 31 Days,” appears in the Atlantic magazine.“Fabien Cousteau is on the ocean floor right now, and he’s not coming up for air until July.” So begins Svati Kirsten Narula’s story in the Atlantic magazine about the undersea adventure called Mission 31.Cousteau — grandson of the legendary Jacques — and a small team of fellow aquanauts are living in an underwater habitat called Aquarius and hope to stay there for 31 days. Sitting on stilts about 60 feet beneath the surface a few miles off the Florida Keys, Aquarius is about 9 feet by 43 feet — about the size of a school bus, as Cousteau says. To combat claustrophobia, the crew plans to spend several hours every day doing rocket-pack-assisted swims and tooling along the continental shelf on underwater motorbikes. Fabien Cousteau and fellow aquanauts are living in an underwater habitat off the Florida Keys and hope to stay there for 31 days. (Carrie Vonderhaar)Cousteau and two technicians arrived June 1 and plan to remain on Aquarius for the entire 31 days. Two teams of three researchers each will each spend half the time on board, mainly studying the effects of climate change and pollution on the coral reef. Beyond that, they just want to get better acquainted with the vast underwater world that oceanographers including Cousteau believe is woefully underexplored. (As submarine designer Graham Hawkes once scolded the scientific community, “Your rockets are pointed in the wrong g—— direction!”)To engage a global audience, the underwater team will keep up regular communication with reporters, teachers and students via email and Skype. And the entire adventure is being broadcast live online at the Mission 31 Website.When we tuned in the other day, the interior of Aquarius was pretty mundane, with T-shirt-clad researchers sweeping something off the floor (there’s no sound, so we didn’t know what), checking their dials, squeezing quietly past each other in the narrow control space. But the action outside was lively, with dozens of brilliantly colored fish poking attentively at the 80-ton behemoth that had suddenly appeared in their world. Curiosity, it seems, works both ways.Watch Jacques Cousteau’s and Louis Malle’s exquisite documentary about the first manned undersea colony, which won an Academy Award in 1964: © 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

VIDEO Costa Rica says farewell to the rainy season

first_imgRelated posts:Strong winds, waves likely cause of Costa Rica catamaran accident Valentine’s Day, lyrical boleros, and other happenings around Costa Rica ‘Urban Sketchers’ draw San José Spanish metal band, folkloric dance show, and other happenings around Costa Rica As December begins, Central America’s rainy season starts to evaporate, making way for a sunnier, windier New Year. Billed as “the green season” by the Tourism Ministry, this sixth-month period reaches its watery zenith in October, when afternoon downpours soak the Central Valley for hours at a stretch. Soon those clouds will disperse, and the country will turn gold and brown in the baking heat.This season was unusual, given the torrents of rain in San José and the stretches of drought in neighboring provinces and nations. Yet the conversion from wet to dry is always a gradual process, and the next few weeks will probably show unpredictable patterns. As Costa Rica prepares for blue skies and floods of vacationers, we wanted to offer visual homage to tropical precipitation – its intensity, its beauty, and its place in the cycle of annual weather. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Wildfires heat threaten southwest France

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   PARIS (AP) – French authorities are fighting wildfires, keeping an eye on isolated elderly populations and advising people to drink fluids as temperatures soar in the country.Heat wave warnings were issued for a swath of central and southern France, from Burgundy to the Pyrenees. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 40 C (104 F) in some areas.The government is determined to avoid a repeat of the summer of 2003, when about 15,000 people died during a heat wave.center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Quick workouts for men Wildfires raged around Lacanau in the southwest on Thursday. Patrick Stefanini, prefect for the Aquitaine region, said in remarks shown on French television that they were brought under control Friday morning.French television is airing public service announcements with recommendations to drink water and wear hats.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Drones capture mountain scenery in Pakistan

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The vital role family plays in society http://www.coreyrich.com/ Associated PressISLAMABAD (AP) – The use of drones in Pakistan normally brings to mind images of U.S. spy planes attacking tribal areas. But drones now are being used to capture a different kind of picture in the country _ showing some of the world’s highest mountains being scaled by world-class climbers through some of Earth’s thinnest air.Drones, or remote-controlled aircraft, have long been the domain of the American military and are used extensively in Pakistan’s tribal areas near the Afghanistan border to spy on and target militants. Recently, however, civilians have increasingly turned to drones to shoot ground-breaking footage of adventure sports. http://peakproject.mammut.ch/en/peaks3/home___Rebecca Santana can be reached at http://twitter.com/@ruskygal Top Stories http://dedicam.tv/ Experienced climbers say the Karakoram puts the rest of the world’s mountain ranges to shame. Neighboring Nepal has Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, but Pakistan has four of the world’s 14 peaks that soar to more than 8,000 meters (26,246 feet) above sea level, including the second highest mountain on earth, K-2.Lama and Ortner said climbing the legendary Pakistan mountains was an amazing experience.“Here there are so many mountains, and so many difficult mountains, and mountains that haven’t been climbed,” said Lama. “That’s probably why the Karakoram is known as paradise for us.”This year has been particularly successful for Pakistan’s climbing industry, which plummeted in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the U.S.In addition to hosting the renowned Lama for the first time, Nazir Sabir, Pakistan’s elder statesman of climbing who was the country’s first person to scale Everest, said 30 climbers summited K-2 in 2012, the first summits from the Pakistani side of the mountain since 11 people died trying in 2008.And the drone footage obtained during Lama and Ortner’s climb will expose even more viewers to the legendary Karakoram mountain range. 0 Comments   Share   (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Drones also increasingly are being used in other adventure sports to push conventional photography boundaries. Cameras on drones have been used to capture video of surfers on Hawaii’s North Shore and to chase mountain bikers speeding down mountain trails.“I’ve filmed anything from kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, to track and field to just casual walking,” said photographer and videographer Mike Hagadorn, who has begun to build his own drones to support his Colorado-based firm, Cloud Level Media. “Anything you can dream of _ and as long as you don’t crash _ you can make it happen.”Experts predict drone cameras eventually will become an integral part of every sports shoot. But for now, they’re definitely a novelty. The Swiss team filming Lama said villagers in Pakistan stood in awe, staring at the drones as they buzzed around, whenever he used one on the expedition.“We were trying to do this shot that showed this quaint village,” Rich said. “But every single person in the shot is standing, stopped in the street, looking up at the helicopter.”___Online: http://www.david-lama.com/en.html Drones, which can weigh just a few kilograms (pounds) and cost between $1,000 and $40,000, are a fraction of the size and cost of the helicopters traditionally used in adventure photography. Newer models tend to have all of their rotors facing into the sky, making them look a bit like a mechanical flying spider or insect.The main concern for the summertime expedition was how _ and if _ the drone would perform in Pakistan’s rugged conditions and high altitude.“The main challenge was that the air is much thinner, and we didn’t know how the flight controls would work with this and the propellers and motors,” said drone operator Remo Masina, from Lucerne, Switzerland. He brought two drones on the Pakistan expedition _ one with four propellers and another with six. From the ground, he flew them with a handheld console that resembles a video game console, and wore goggles to let him see the camera’s view.Another challenge was to find the climbers on the mountain. Tracing the planned trek route, Masina directed the drone up the mountain until he spotted them _ more than a mile (roughly 2,000 meters) away.The result was stunning images of the Karakoram and the climbers making it to the top. This summer a Swiss expedition used remote-controlled helicopters to shoot rare footage of climbers on the Karakoram, one of the world’s most demanding and formidable mountain ranges.“People are going to see footage from the Karakoram that no human being has ever seen,” said Corey Rich, a photographer and videographer from Lake Tahoe, California, who was on the expedition.The expedition was a joint project between outdoor clothing and equipment company Mammut, and Dedicam, a firm that specializes in using remote-controlled helicopters to shoot video. Their goal: to document world-class mountaineer David Lama and his climbing partner Peter Ortner as they climbed Trango Tower. The sheer granite tower in the Baltoro Glacier is more than 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) above sea level and is one of the most technically difficult climbs in the world.Filmmakers long have used helicopters to capture aerial footage of climbers _ as well as other extreme sport athletes like surfers and skiers _that is hard to capture from the ground. But helicopters are costly and can be dangerous if they crash or get too close to the people on the ground. Additionally, their beating rotors often kick up dust, snow and wind _ and can push climbers off balance. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Israels only coed combat unit proves its worth

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The recognition comes to Caracal after years of challenges. Resolving logistical issues like building separate sleeping quarters and bathrooms were a first hurdle. But the unit has continued to grapple with widespread skepticism from a male-dominated military.The female soldiers’ ability to fight alongside men has been questioned. But the battalion’s men also have been stigmatized, written off as too weak to be accepted into a regular, all-male unit. Skeptics have also wondered how focused young men and women can be when working so closely with the opposite sex.And the praise that followed Friday’s incident was marred by a report Monday that one of the female Caracal soldiers chose to duck for cover rather than return fire during the border attack.Israel Radio quoted the soldier as saying: “I didn’t have a chance against them,” referring to the militants. The soldier was not named in line with military policy.Nonetheless, Doron Almog, who served as the head of Israel’s southern command when the battalion was formed, was not surprised by the successful effort. He said the group is prepared for such attacks and expects it to continue to be called on for such dangerous operations. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of On Sunday, Israeli newspapers and radio broadcasts glowed over the news that the co-ed battalion played a decisive role in thwarting the assailants’ attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted about the work of the unit _ named after a medium-sized cat native to the Middle East and Africa _ in his weekly Cabinet meeting. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz traveled to the scene of the attack and congratulated the soldiers.“If the Caracal force wasn’t there in those critical moments, it’s clear to everyone that we could have faced a difficult attack,” Col. Guy Biton, the commander of the Sagi Brigade that oversees the battalion, told the Maariv daily newspaper.Most Jewish Israeli citizens are drafted into their nation’s defense forces when they turn 18. Women, however, typically serve less time than men and usually away from the battlefield, in administrative or technical positions. A minority serve in combat roles.By contrast, 60 percent of Caracal’s soldiers are women.Women were barred from combat until 2000, the year Caracal was introduced as a way to ease females into combat duty. The unit was positioned in areas along Israel’s borders with Jordan and Egypt. For years, the territory was calm, largely because Israel has peace deals with both neighbors. Soldiers who were there mostly worked to prevent drug and weapons’ smuggling and while they were trained to neutralize an armed threat, they rarely faced one. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement And as the border with Egypt becomes increasingly volatile, Caracal will be able to continue to prove itself, he said.“The best public relations strategy is to have a successful operation and to come and show results,” said Almog.___Follow Tia Goldenberg on Twitter (at)tgoldenberg(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – A deadly shootout last week along Israel’s border with Egypt has shined a spotlight on Israel’s only mixed female and male combat unit, granting some recognition to a group that has faced much skepticism and often been the butt of jokes since its inception.The Caracal battalion’s response to the militant attack on Friday _ which left three gunmen dead, including one whom Israeli officials said was killed by a female soldier _ marked a major test for the unit that typically handles tame operations. One Israeli soldier also was killed. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean But in the last year and a half, since the fall of longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, Caracal’s usual patrolling area near Egypt has become a hotbed of militant activity. Egypt’s vast Sinai peninsula is home to Islamic extremists who have staged attacks against Egyptian and Israeli targets. The Jordanian border has remained quiet.In the most recent attack, a shootout on the Israel-Egypt border left one Israeli soldier and three assailants dead. The military said the militants were heavily armed and wearing explosive belts when they crossed into Israeli territory and opened fire on soldiers guarding a team of workers who were building a border fence meant to protect against just such attacks.An Israeli forces spokeswoman said the troops quickly returned fire, killing the militants and preventing a major attack _ a coup for the women and men of Caracal. The battalion fought on Friday alongside soldiers from Israel’s Artillery Corps. In line with its policy not to discuss troop deployment, the military declined to provide the battalion’s size.“I feel proud to know that finally people are coming to recognize and know what we are worth and what we are able to do,” Amit Epstein, a former Caracal company commander, told Israel Radio. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Obama meets Detroit woman believed to be oldest veteran

first_imgPresident Barack Obama meets with Emma Didlake, 110, of Detroit, the oldest known World War II veteran, Friday, July 17, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Top holiday drink recipes Didlake sat in her wheelchair in the same spot in the Oval Office where foreign leaders sit when they meet with Obama.As a scrum of reporters and photographers rushed in, Obama told Didlake, “Don’t worry about these folks.”Obama tweeted afterward that Didlake is a “true American hero.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama opened the Oval Office to a 110-year-old Detroit woman believed to be the nation’s oldest veteran.Obama says Emma Didlake’s service is a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought in World War II or supported those did.Didlake was a 38-year-old wife and mother of five when she signed up for the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1943.She held the rank of private and served stateside for about seven months as a driver.last_img read more

Howling winds surging floods sprung on Vic

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Victoria’s worst flooding in 15 years has left hundreds of homes inundated, whilst lashing winds and heavy downpours have unleashed damage on neighbouring states.Northeastern Victoria was the region most severely affected by the wild weather, though floods continued to threaten state-wide after 200mm of rain was experienced in some areas over the weekend, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.Victorian Premier John Brumby said that more towns faced being flooded in the coming days, further to the 250 homes that were already flooded in the state’s northeast and central areas. “We expect the number of (affected) houses to increase, particularly in the west of the state and running up to Goulburn again through the northeast tonight and tomorrow. So, it could be hundreds more that are affected,” Mr Brumby said on Sunday. Authorities have responded with an extra 150 police sent to flood-hit areas and 50 Defence Force personnel to be deployed to the Shepparton area today. The action comes in the wake of 40,000 Victorians being left without power.”The callouts to the SES have been quite dramatic over the last 12 hours, in particular, with one call, I think, every 15 seconds going to the SES – in total about 2000 calls,” Mr Brumby said.Victoria’s neighbouring states and territory also experienced wild weather over the weekend.NSW was affected by a windstorm early on Sunday that brought down trees and powerlines, damaged roofs and cut power to tens of thousands of homes on the south coast, the Herald reported.In South Australia, Adelaide received near its monthly average rainfall for September in its first week, as emergency crews worked hard to field thousands of calls.Canberra received a 26mm dump of rain in the 24 hours ending 9am (AEST) on Sunday – more than its entire recorded downfall for the month of August.last_img read more

Qantas international business struggling ATE 2012

first_imgQantas has revealed international business is suffering, during a press conference at the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) 2012 in Perth, Western Australia. Although Qantas’ overall portfolio is relatively strong Qantas executive manager of global sales Stephen Thompson said it was trying times for the airline’s international pursuits. “Qantas domestic, Qantas Link, Jetstar in Australia and across Asia, our frequent flyer program and our freight business are doing exceptionally well, however there is one part of our organisation that continues to struggle and that’s our Qantas international business,” Mr Thompson said. “We have some strategies in place to address that and clearly the breadth of our portfolio means we are well placed to withstand the various challenges, the economic cycles, fuel prices which are still at record levels and the natural disasters that have occurred.” There is an added pressure on the aviation industry as a whole given the financial crisis in Europe and that is one of the determining factors putting pressure on Qantas’ international business according to Mr Thompson. “We identified in August 2011 that our international business was a single source of problems for us and we set about creating a five year strategy to try and turn that around… returning business to profitability by 2014 and exceeding cost of capital by 2015.” Qantas have established business units within the airline recently and appointed two new CEO’s; Simon Hickey for Qantas international and Lyell Strambi for Qantas domestic.” “Both Simon and Lyell have been given these new responsibilities with the objective to have an internal focus on business so that we can identify the challenges and have people dedicated to turning it around,” Mr Thompson said. Mr Thompson was adamant that the airline had received no offers in reference to recent speculation surrounding a potential take-over by private equity groups. “The reality is that the Qantas Group remains in a very strong financial position… and there is no plan to raise capital, sell core assets or pursue any short-term measure that might compromise our long-term strategy.“We’re absolutely focused on developing the right network, increasing efficiency, whilst continuing to explore exceptional customer service for our consumers both from an inbound and outbound perspective and that is not going to change,” Mr Thompson said. Qantas media conference Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tcenter_img Stephen Thompson, executive manager global sales Qantaslast_img read more

Star Alliance develops iPad app

first_imgStar Alliance has introduced a customised app for the iPad, with a new feature enabling customers to store and monitor Alliance flight itineraries.The ‘Navigator’ app complements Star Alliance’s existing iPhone application and contains an interactive 3D globe which visually outlines the 27 airline networks flight routes and destinations.‘My Trip’ is a completely new feature to any Star Alliance web or mobile offering and allows customers to log and observe flight itineraries from their iPad device.The app also contains a flight search, a flight status tracking device, lounge finder, airport information, city guides, weather details and information on frequent flyer benefits.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Contains interactive mapping and itinerary storage capabilities.last_img read more

TAT Newsroom Blogger Campaign off to a strong start

first_imgThe Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Newsroom Blogger Campaign has now opened and bloggers and photographers can enter and submit their tales and pictures of Thailand and get the chance to win an exclusive trip to the kingdom.To enter the TAT Newsroom Blogger Campaign, writers and photographers need to visitwww.blogger.tatnews.org and create a profile. They can then upload up to five stories or pictures that celebrate Thailand, its people and its attractions. Winners are decided by the number of online votes. The campaign will run until 31 July, 2016.Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of TAT said, “We are glad that this blogger campaign is already attracting so much interest from creative writers and photographers from around the world. We expect the standard of future entries to be high – Thailand has so many stories just waiting to be told. We want readers to be engaged, amused, fascinated and entranced by the bloggers’ tales and images so that they feel encouraged to visiting Thailand for themselves.”The TAT Newsroom Team would like to remind bloggers and photographers that their entries must be relevant to the theme of the competition. Blogs need to tell stories about wonderful and personal experiences enjoyed in Thailand while pictures should reflect some of the kingdom’s amazing colour, unique personalities and attractions, while showing Thailand in a positive light.Pictures and blogs must be the competitors’ own work and must never have previously been publically displayed. Failure to comply with the rules of the contest will result in entries being rejected.Entrants must have an established online profile and a regularly-updated social media presence with a regular following. Acceptable platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, etc. or a personal blog that covers travel, food or culture topics. Entrants also need to be followers of the TAT Newsroom via social media platforms.The top three bloggers and three photographers with the highest numbers of votes will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Thailand, which will take place from 16-20 September, 2016. The next three most voted, each, for story blogs and photos will receive a special prize.Voting on the website will be open from 16 June to 10 August, 2016, and the top three most active voters will get the chance to receive prizes with their names entered in to a lucky draw. By signing in via their personal Facebook or Google plus accounts, voters are allowed to cast one vote per hour for up to 10 votes a day. Join the campaign Discover Thailand Source = Tourism Authority of Thailandlast_img read more

Port Macquarie is home to Mantra Groups newest resort addition

first_imgMantra the Observatory Ocean-View-Hotel-RoomPort Macquarie is home to Mantra Group’s newest resort additionOne of Australia’s few certified 100 per cent carbon-neutral hotels is the latest addition to Mantra Group’s fast growing hotel and resort portfolio.Mantra the Observatory at Port Macquarie, is the Group’s fourth property on the New South Wales North Coast and is already to be proving to be a popular choice among families, couples and corporate travellers.Overlooking Port Macquarie’s main Town Beach, the property boasts 85 spacious hotel rooms, one, two and three bedroom apartments.  Many rooms feature ocean views with large private balconies, gourmet kitchens and coffee pod machines.Mantra the Observatory is just a 400-metre stroll from the town centre and its chic coastal eateries and shops.Onsite leisure facilities include an indoor a heated lap pool, sauna and heated spa, and barbecue entertainment area.The onsite Scampi’s Seafood Bar and Grill has a reputation for some of the mid-north coast’s most succulent seafood while the Milkbar is a great spot for a hot or cold drink and a snack.There’s also an endota day spa offering a full range of spa treatments and secure undercover car parking.Special opening rates start from $162* per night for two people staying in a Hotel Room (minimum two night stay – total cost $324*) and include free in-room Wi-Fi.To book, visit mantra.com.au or call 13 15 17.*Conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid for sale and travel until 31 August, 2017. Block-out dates and minimum night stays apply.About Mantra GroupMantra Group is the leading Australian-based hotel and resort operator.  Mantra Group’s portfolio consists of 126 properties with more than 21,000 rooms in properties under management, across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii. Operating three well-known and trusted brands – Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree – Mantra Group operates the second largest network of accommodation properties in Australia (by room number). The Group is positioned to offer both leisure and business style accommodation ranging from full service city hotels and self-contained apartments to luxury resorts and retreats. The Group successfully listed on the ASX in June 2014 and in its first year as a public company was elevated to the ASX 200Source = Mantra Grouplast_img read more

Vivid Sydney culminates as artist Shepard Fairey reveals his skyhigh

first_imgVivid Sydney culminates as artist, Shepard Fairey reveals his sky-high Sydney MuralOn the final night of Vivid Sydney 2017, iconic American artist Shepard Fairey has revealed his completed Peace Waratah, a 44 metre high x 28 metre wide public artwork created exclusively for the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas.Shepard Fairey completed the artwork whilst in Sydney to speak at the Vivid Ideas Gamechanger Talk Series, and to host Revolutions, a public exhibition of his music-inspired artworks at the Darling Quarter, part of Vivid Sydney’s Darling Harbour Light Precinct.Shepard Fairey said “With its lights, art, music, and talks, Vivid Sydney brings together many aspects of creative culture that deserve to be considered simultaneously. Art comes from so many different creative areas that are equally important, I love that Vivid Sydney aggregates these creative sources and I’m proud to be part of the festival.”“Sydney has an amazing art and design scene, which I took into consideration as I designed the Peace Waratah artwork. I chose an image that would suit Sydney and the mural’s George St location in the heart of the city.The Peace Waratah is inspired by peace and harmony, themes that I deal with all the time. I also took inspiration from the waratah, the incredibly hardy flower of NSW. The Peace Waratah highlights the better side of our nature as humans, with the flower as a symbol of beauty and endurance,” said Shepard Fairey.Destination NSW CEO and Vivid Sydney, Executive Producer, Sandra Chipchase said “Shepard Fairey shares Vivid Sydney’s ethos of democratising art by taking it into public spaces. He has made a huge contribution to this year’s festival by speaking at Vivid Ideas, hosting two art exhibitions and even DJ-ing a set at a Vivid Music event. The mural is a lasting legacy of his creative involvement in Vivid Sydney.”In addition to his Vivid Sydney appearances, Fairey’s fine art works are on show at his Printed Matters exhibition, at the Old Rum Store, 10-12 Kensington Street Precinct, Chippendale. Running from Saturday 17 June to Sunday 9 July 2017, Printed Matters features works that explore the importance and relevance of printed material in the digital age.The Peace Waratah is located at 309 George Street. Shepard Fairey’s Sydney events were presented in collaboration with aMBUSH Gallery and T-world, exclusive to Vivid Sydney 2017. Source = Vivid Sydneylast_img read more

roomsXML in the Caribbean Sun Fun and plenty of Rum

first_imgWhatever the location in the Caribbean,  your clients are bound to have an amazing and relaxing time.   Havana Cuba roomsXML has over 96,000 properties worldwide . If you are unsure about which property to book, always check for the ‘Preferred’ logo next to the hotel; that means its been recommended by other Travel Agents. Thanks for Wikitravel for the tips. roomsXML in the Caribbean; Sun, Fun and plenty of Rumcenter_img With most islands in the Caribbean under European control at some stage in their history, there is a wide amount of cultural difference island to island. These days many are classified as Overseas Territories.From Jamaica (Constitutional Monarchy), to Saint Martin (overseas collective of France) the islands share one thing in common; an abundance of what seems to be perfect weather.When we think of the Caribbean, we think sun, cocktails and beaches; and we’re not going to attempt to change that perception ! With Cuba recently being admitted back into the world economically and politically (to a certain degree), a new tourism hot spot is available to book. Go beyond the bright colours, old cars, and colonial architecture; there’s so much more to see. Havana attracts more tourists that any other location in the Caribbean, with many coming from Florida; a short trip away.roomsXML has thousands of properties across the Caribbean, including: roomsXML.comconnect today roomsXML.comdiscover more here Source = roomsxml.comlast_img read more

Vietjet founder ranks 55 on Forbes worlds 100 most powerful women

first_imgVietjet founder ranks 55 on Forbes world’s 100 most powerful womenVietjet founder ranks 55 on Forbes world’s 100 most powerful womenLess than a decade ago, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao was little known to the world, let alone in her country, Vietnam. However, now at 47, she has been listed at number 55 in the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list by Forbes.No stranger to Forbes’ highly revered lists, she also ranked 62 in the same list last year and with a current net worth of USD 1.94 billion, she is also Vietnam’s first woman billionaire (being one of the only two billionaires in the country) and Southeast Asia’s first woman billionaire to be named on this year’s World’s Self-Made Women Billionaires list.Popularly recognised for her immense success over the last few years in the aviation industry, a sector typically dominated by men, she earlier this year took public Vietjet – her budget airline which she launched just six years ago, disrupting the local industry previously dominated by Vietnam’s national carrier.In a short period of time, she was able to almost single-handedly covert a relatively non-existent industry in Vietnam into a thriving low-cost carrier now taking Asia and the world by storm.With a vision of becoming a favourite multinational airline, Vietjet continuously dedicates itself to spur the future of air travel by breathing a breath of fresh air into the industry to support foray into new international markets.Indeed, Madam Thao’s brilliance and expertise has placed Vietjet Air in a good position within the market. Today, Vietjet is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, and a force to be reckoned with in the international aviation industry. Currently operating 73 routes across the Southeast Asian region, the airline’s fleet of more than 45 aircraft runs over 350 flights every day.The airline’s turnover, too, has never been better. In the first six months of 2017 alone, the company earned more than USD 721.7 million in total revenue, while pocketing USD 78.8 million in net profit – up a whopping 45 percent from the same period last year. By June 30, Vietjet’s total assets reached over USD 1.08 billion and equity of USD 321.2 million, an annual increase of 49.6 percent and 11.9 percent respectively – an inspiring testament of a visionary leader, well deserving of her place in Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list.This year’s list, ranked by dollars controlled, impact, spheres of influence and media presence — boasts 23 newcomers, a record for the Forbes Power Women list, with new women stepping in to power in politics, technology, business and media.Topping the list is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who retains the top spot for the seventh consecutive year and Melinda Gates (#3), co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Meanwhile, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (# 4) and GM CEO Mary Barra (#5) complete the top five on the list.Other notable women on the list include Ivanka Trump (#19), Oprah Winfrey (#21), Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (#26), Beyonce Knowles (#50), Hillary Clinton (#65), Taylor Swift (#85) and J.K. Rowling (#88).“It is truly an honour to be on this highly heralded list. However, while it’s truly humbling to be listed among other notable women around the world, my main focus remains on Vietjet and the brand and its expansion. Indeed, I am truly fortunate to be working with such a great team. I owe my success to them, and together, we hope to chart new skies moving forward into 2018,” says Madam Thao.Some of Vietjet’s more immediate plans for expansion moving into 2018 include opening six new routes in this fourth quarter, increasing the total new routes by 19 for the year 2017.Source = Vietjetlast_img read more

Norwegian Sun returns to Port Canaveral

first_imgNorwegian Sun at Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 10 (Photo: Canaveral Port Authority)Norwegian Sun returns to Port CanaveralNorwegian Cruise Line’s Sun returns to Port Canaveral today for a second season of popular cruises from the Port to Cuba, as well as excursions to the Bahamas.Starting Monday, April 15, the Norwegian Sun, which in 2018 became the first homeported cruise ship to sail from Port Canaveral to Cuba, will offer four-, five- and seven-day cruises to Havana, Cuba, with select sailings also calling to Key West during its four-day cruises. Ports of call during the Sun’s five- and seven-day voyages include Key West, Nassau, Bahamas, or Norwegian’s private island beach at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.“We are excited that the Norwegian Sun is returning for another season of cruises to Cuba,” Port CEO Capt. John Murray stated. “More than 30,000 guests sailed on cruises from the Port to Havana last year, and we’re pleased to be hosting more sailing opportunities this summer season.”The 1,936-guest vessel will kick off its summer sailing season this afternoon with a three-night voyage to Key West and Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas.For its four-night Cuba cruises, the Sun will depart the Port each Monday during the summer sailing season and return each Friday. Three-night cruises to the Bahamas sail on Fridays and return on Mondays.In Cuba, the Sun will berth in Havana Harbor in the heart of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Guests can experience the culture and history of Cuba with OFAC (U.S.Treasury Office of Foreign Assets)-compliant shore excursions.Built in 2001, the 78,309 gross-ton Sun underwent an extensive three-week dry-dock refurbishment in May 2018, emerging with updated staterooms, restaurants and public spaces, as well as three new venues – Los Lobos Cantina, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge. The cruise ship offers 14 dining options, bars and lounges, onboard shopping, the Mandara Spa, the Sun Club Casino and entertainment. All guests sailing aboard the Norwegian Sun’s Cuba or Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral can enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages included in their cruise fare as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program.The Sun, which was homeported at Port from 2010 to 2012, will be berthed at Cruise Terminal 10 as it was in 2018. CT-10 recently received more than $35 million in renovations.Source = Port Canaverallast_img read more

IndiSoft Hope LoanPort Make Enhancements to Servicer Technology

first_img “”IndiSoft””:https://www.indisoft.us/, a Maryland-based tech development firm, and national nonprofit “”Hope LoanPort””:https://www.hopeloanportal.org/ (HLP) announced technology enhancements designed to assist servicers with regulatory compliance.[IMAGE]IndiSoft’s RxOffice technology now allows HLP to provide a seamless handoff of servicing transfers between two participating servicers, easing compliance with new regulations handed down by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that require servicers to implement policies and procedures to ensure smooth, transparent transitions.Registered servicers can now electronically transfer existing cases to other registered servicers without losing portal data, documentation, communication history, or requiring homeowners to restart the process.””Compliance is the number one priority for servicers as deadlines for regulatory requirements, including the CFPB’s rules, draw closer,”” said Sanjeev Dahiwadkar, CEO and founder of IndiSoft. “”IndiSoft and Hope LoanPort share a common vision of helping servicers remain compliant, and these system enhancements promote the high levels of process transparency that are now required.””In addition, HLP added features to its foreclosure alternative portal to help housing counselors and servicers process qualified applications through the Making Home Affordable Outreach and Intake Project, which launched at the beginning of May. Other portal enhancements ensure compliance with new requirements for document feedback and provide access to updated reports for housing counselors and servicers.””Timeliness and accuracy are paramount for servicers,”” said Camillo Melchiorre, president and CEO of HLP. “”Our continued partnership with IndiSoft allows us to empower servicers with the tools to easily and quickly adapt as the regulatory landscape changes and new guidelines emerge. This longstanding relationship makes it possible for us to help servicers achieve compliance and work with housing counselors as they both focus their attention on best serving the needs of homeowners.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing May 21, 2013 401 Views IndiSoft, Hope LoanPort Make Enhancements to Servicer Technologycenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Compliance Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-05-21 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more

Urban Institute Report Discusses Plunge in GSE Profits

first_img Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Urban Institute 2015-03-16 Samantha Guzman Share March 16, 2015 479 Views in Daily Dose, Originationcenter_img GSE’s had an impressive year in 2013, however Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac saw a huge drop in profits in 2014, forcing many to question the future of these enterprises. The Urban Institute has released a report discussing the impact of these changes and the likelihood Freddie Mac will need to take another draw from the Treasury.Accord to the report, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made a combined profit of over $120 million in 2013. But by 2014 the net profit from both institutions fell by 80 percent, with Fannie Mae profit totaling to $14 billion and Freddie totaling $8 billion. More alarming were Freddie’s fourth quarter profits, which were down 90 percent from just the previous quarter.Fannie and Freddie get about half of their profits from reclaiming tax assets that were written down during the crisis. Almost a third of their profits came from earnings in their portfolio and they also get a significant sum from legal settlements. All of these sources are disappearing rapidly, leaving these institutions with only one source of revenue that is not being wound down. The only major revenue source not being wound down is what the GSEs generate from their core guarantee business, in which they collect a fee in exchange for guaranteeing the default risk of loans for investors.As these more large sources of income decrease, GSEs will have to rely more on their guarantee business for their profits. Having the GSE’s rely heavily on this single resource will create a significant shift in profitability for the institutions, and thus explains the big drop in revenue from 2013 to 2014. Stripping away all non–guarantee fee earnings from the 2013 numbers, for instance, Fannie would have made about $8 billion in profits ($12 billion taxed at 33.8 percent) and Freddie $3 billion ($5 billion taxed at 32.6 percent). Of the profits made in 2014, Fannie made about $9 billion from guarantee fees ($14 billion taxed at 32.8 percent) and Freddie made $4 billion ($5 billion taxed at 30.1 percent); the rest came from investments on their portfolio and other net income. Freddie’s investment profits were notably down over prior years, in part because its portfolio is being wound down, but also because Freddie took a large loss on a derivative position used to hedge some of its portfolio risk.Freddie’s dramatic drop in profits in the fourth quarter has raised some concern that it may be headed for another draw on the Treasury, something both enterprises have avoided since 2012. The GSEs require a draw when their losses exceed their capital buffer. Each enterprise has a buffer of $1.8 billion in 2015, declining by $600 million each year until it is extinguished altogether in 2018.According to the report, several key factors lessen the probability that Freddie would need the draw in the coming quarters. Freddie will likely see a reversal of the accounting losses on its derivative position as interest rates rise. Freddie will also have a still-significant portfolio for next couple of years and Freddie’s older loans, which have lower guarantee fees, will gradually be replaced by newer ones with higher fees. As long as Freddie retains a dominant market share, this shift toward more high-fee loans will mean an increase in revenues. However, Freddie’s risk of a draw will continue to rise in the next several years. Urban Institute Report Discusses Plunge in GSE Profitslast_img read more