first_imgSource = World Aviation Systems – Virgin Atlantic Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy special airfares to London with Virgin AtlanticPremium Economy special airfares to London with Virgin AtlanticSpecial early bird airfare offers to London departing from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane from only AUD$2017* return plus taxesSales and ticketing until 11 October 2016Departures now to 30 November 2016 and 16 January to 24 March 2017 and 24 April to 06 June 2017Download the latest World Aviation Systems fare sheet here:  Hot Airfares Issue 39 2016For further information, please refer to your GDS or contact VS on 1300 661 353. Virgin Atlanticbook flights herelast_img

first_imgStar Alliance announces the 21 winnersStar Alliance announces the 21 winnersAs part of its 20th Anniversary celebrations, Star Alliance ran an online competition offering 21 winners, one from each of the 21 Frequent Flyer Programmes (FFPs) of the member airlines, one million miles or equivalent* to be credited to their selected FFP account. An independent panel selected the winning entries from a large number of high-class submissions. These feature cultural experiences from across the globe, stretching from the Grand Canyon in the USA, through the ancient cultures of South America, across various cities in Europe, to the stunning beautiful cultures of Africa and the diverse vibrance of Asia and the South Pacific. A map showing the winning entries can be found on the Star Alliance website at: Competition ran from the Alliance’s 20th Anniversary, May 14th, 2017, through to July 31st, 2017. It was based on the 20thAnniversary theme of “Connecting People and Cultures”. To enter, participants needed to upload a profile picture, or selfie, ofthemselves together with a photo of their favourite cultural experience. A unique photo tool merged the two pictures to createan overlay which formed the Competition entry picture. Entrants then provided a brief textual description of the cultural experience and its unique attributes. The text and picture were judged together to determine the winners.All entries can be found on a special map on the Star Alliance website at In line with the theme of the competition, this map can be used by other customers to gain inspiration from the cultural experiences shared.Each of the 28 Star Alliance member airlines also suggested a local cultural experience from one of their destinations, ranging from tile painting in Portugal to home cooking in Shenzhen, China, and to joining the locals in Bogota, Colombia while they turn major roads in the city into cycle paths on Sundays.The five founding carriers – Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, THAI and United – went one step further, by challenging National Geographic’s Travel Nomad Robert Reid with their own unique cultural experiences. These were filmed and made into a brief documentary series of five short video clips.This content is available at, while the five videos of the Travel Nomad’s experiences may be accessed through the Star Alliance YouTube channel at = Star Alliancelast_img read more

first_imgTravel News Digest spoke to some of the key industry people to know their opinion on the present state of MICE, Business, and Luxury Travel markets in India. The Industry believes that the segment is poised for vigorous growth. Thus, creating an efficient, productive business travel platform will facilitate in addressing the specific needs of these segments, and fully leveraging the growth opportunities.By Sulagna GhoshBusiness Travel industry in India is emerging as a specialised market with differentiated needs, in tandem with the global trends. The strongest growth in travel from India in the recent years has been by business travellers, with an almost five-fold increase in travel expenditure for business purposes over the past five years. As Indian companies are globalising, and the Indian market integrating with the world economy, Indian business travel is surging. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts that 15 years from now, India will likely be a top-three market in business travel spending.Luxury travel is also growing rapidly, buoyed by the new phase of conspicuous consumption by the affluent Indian traveller, where the demand is fuelled not only by FITs, but also uniquely Indian markets for weddings and other social occasions. The future of luxury tourism sector in India looks promising taking into consideration the increasing demand for exotic and unique holiday experiences from Indian travellers. The holidaymakers are becoming more evolved and they do not want to compromise on anything less than the best.Gaurav Sundaram, Regional Director, GBTA India, said, “The Indian market is seeing aggressive growth across the segments. With the increased economic and political stability in the country, these positive trends are more pronounced in the last two years.”Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings, said that India is one of the fastest growing travel market in the world and business, MICE and luxury travel markets are growing at a very fast pace. “Top corporates, film production houses and destination wedding planners in India contribute to most of this business and are keen to explore newer destinations- domestic as well as international,” he said.Sharing similar sentiments, Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travels, said, “MICE, Business and Luxury travel markets in India have emerged as important segments of the travel industry. India is going the global way and MICE is fast becoming a major part of its travel and promotional budgets. Meeting demand, size and space is crucial for rapid growth within the segments. Each of the segments would require high levels of innovation and customisation.”A huge growth can be seen in these sectors as India is emerging as one of the largest markets for Outbound, MICE, opined Gajesh Girdhar, Founder Member and National Coordinator, Network of Indian MICE Agents (NIMA). The current growth shows that by 2020, India should be on the top of the global list.India has emerged as the 10th largest business travel market in the world, spending over US$22 billion and is expected to grow by 13.5%, year-on-year, as indicated by a survey conducted by Deccan Herald. At present, India’s share of outbound business travel is pegged at US$4.8 billion worldwide. Industry experts say that the luxury travel market is growing by around 20% annually and over the next 10 years; it will grow around 15-20% every year. Also, Outbound MICE and Business Travel from India are predicted to increase by 62% by 2017.In order to further promote these segments, the industry has to strategise and reinvent itself to face new challenges and leverage fully the opportunities.Sundaram opined that in order to boost this industry further, the government needs to maintain and increment policy stability and incentives for industry. “Further efforts should be made by the External Affairs Ministry to improve the efficiency and ease with which business travellers can secure visas for travel purposes with limited documentation and speed. Continued investments in infrastructure related to the travel industry will also facilitate Business Travel,” he said.Anand said that we need to recognise the changing way in which the world is conducting business; the changing trends which are influencing global economies; the technological revolution which is changing the way in which events and meetings are being conducted. Assimilating these changes seamlessly and responding to it with strategic initiatives will only make the industry stronger than before.Corroborating with Anand, Suri said that the future of the industry will be influenced by the following major factors: Economic uncertainty, better, cheaper technological options for live events, Faster, shorter business cycles, placing their best foot forward to attract and support business groups from various industries in India.Suri further adds, “What is always needed is to recognise the changing way in which the world is conducting business; the changing trends which are influencing global economies; the technological revolution which is making its presence felt in the way in which events and meetings are being conducted. Assimilating these changes seamlessly and responding to it with strategic initiatives will only make the MICE, Business and Luxury industry stronger than before.”As India’s Business Travel industry is maturing, there is a growing need among Indian business travellers for information on the latest trends in this sector. The industry needs to make a conscious effort in educating the niche audience. This will help it to keep pace with the ever growing needs of the Indian traveller.At present in India, GBTA is the only industry body that looks at Business Travel as a special niche segment in India. They conduct events, networking forums, education and professional certification in this domain.Sundaram mentioned that a focused Business Travel Mart will allow industry partners specialising in this domain to showcase their capabilities and products to the buyer community. This will also allow for greater interaction and appreciation of best-in-class solutions for the client’s needs. He said, “Such a mart should provide a platform for industry partners to showcase their solutions and products, ability for buyers and sellers to interact effectively to address the pressing concerns of today, an education forum that provides insights into global best practices that are being used across the world and which can be implemented in India.”Suri believes that attending travel marts and conferences is an important business practice that can benefit tour companies in many ways, including building professional relationships, meeting the media, leveraging tips from other like-minded businesses, learning new ideas from industry experts. “Creating an efficient and productive business travel platform will benefit trade relations, help take advantage of business opportunities and learn about new trends and innovations within the Business Travel industry,” he said.According to Anand, specialised Business Travel Marts can help to address the specific needs of this segment. He further said that such a mart should have maximum business opportunities, community of qualified hosted buyers, delegates from multiple destinations across the globe and involvement of different industry segments in forums, talks and roundtable discussions to keep abreast of industry updates.With India set to be the 3rd fastest growing market in Business Travel from 2010-2019, this is the perfect time for a marketing and networking platform for this high-potential market.last_img read more

first_imgThe Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) recently initiated discussions with the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, on the modalities of setting up a Copyright Board which would oversee strict implementation of IP laws for the entertainment industry, particularly the film sector. This was stated by Ajay Mittal, Secretary, Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, while inaugurating the 18th edition of FICCI FRAMES 2017.The three-day mega event of the business of Media and Entertainment (M&E) was on the theme of ‘Digital: Divide or Dividend’. The event was partnered by Canada, which sent a 100-member strong delegation led by the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory.Secretary Mittal assured the M&E industry professionals that the censorship challenges posed by fringe elements would be surmounted by the strength of the Constitution and the Rule of Law. He said that the Government has created a new category of visa called ‘Film Visa’ and that shooting of a film in India would be enough ground for issuance of such a visa for the crew.In order to the make the country more attractive for production of films by foreign production houses in India, Mittal said that an award has been instituted by the Central Government for the most film-friendly State of India. This year an amount of Rs 1 crore has been set apart for such a State.The three-day global convention also delivered three innovative sessions highlighting the need for a digitally empowered society and spreading awareness on the steps necessary to make digital life a secure one.To outline the challenges and opportunities that the telecom sector and the digital world faces, especially in terms of data connectivity; FICCI Frames had organised an innovative session termed ‘Connecting the Unconnected – Upgrading technology and infrastructure to the last mile’.Speaking at the session, J. S. Deepak, India’s Ambassador Designate to the WTO ( World Trade Organisation) said that the pace of internet subscription in India is growing by leaps and bounds and there is a need to realise that that with every 10% increase in internet digital connectivity, the GDP grows by a full percentage point.He underlined the need for partnerships between industry and consumers, between industry and government and between telecoms themselves to make the Digital India programme truly transformative.Other experts who shared their perspectives on the topic were Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director, Idea Cellular Ltd; Anuj Gandhi, Group CEO, India Cast Media Distribution Pvt Ltd; Rajan S Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India and Ranjana Narwane, Industry Capacity Lead for communication Media & Technology, Accenture Technology. The session was moderated by Neeraj Roy, Managing Director & CEO, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt Ltd.The fact that digitisation is a key part of the society was made loud and clear but the digital world does not come without its threats to security and to highlight such issues FICCI Frames had also organised sessions on security threats regarding the online world.‘Decoding the pirate economy in interconnected world: From Noise to Action’ at FICCI FRAMES 2017 was one such session where Brijesh Singh, Inspector General of Police (Cyber), Maharashtra Police, in a special address said that the Government of Maharashtra was creating a unit to specifically deal with issues of digital infringement of IP. He urged the industry to come forward for this initiative and was in favour of developing a PPP model.In his keynote address, Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, DIPP (Department Of Industrial Policy & Promotion), said that piracy and counterfeit were being used as a source for terror-funding and legislation alone could not fight it. There was a need for the government, industry and enforcement agencies to come together and work towards changing the mindset of the society by creating awareness about its ill effects.The panelists included Raj Kumar Akella, Chairman, Anti-video Piracy Cell, Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce; Surrender Mann, Senior Vice-President, Legal, Star India Pvt Ltd; Bharat Dube, CEO, Strategic IP Information Pte Ltd; Sujeet Jain, Group General Counsel, Viacom18 and Kulmeet Makkar, Chief Executive Officer, The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd. The session was moderated by Uday Singh, Managing Director, Motion Pictures Association India.Another such session was ‘Own, Convert, Protect! Intellectual Property as a Driver of Innovation & Growth’ where Dr S Rama Rao, Senior Advisor, Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer and International Relations, Solstrat Solutions, stated that the new National Intellectual Property Rights policy of the Government of India has established a unified institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and reviewing of intellectual property (IP) and aims to incorporate and adopt global best practices to the Indian scenario. For the media and entertainment industry protection of IP was critical for encouraging innovation which leads to growth.The panelists comprised of  Hank Baker, Vice President, Government Affairs, Asia Pacific, MPA; Benoit Ginistry, Chief Representative, FIAPF;  Thomas L Vajda, US Consul General to Mumbai and Shridhar Subramaniam, President – India and Middle East, Sony Music Entertainment, Inc and the session was moderated by Ameet Datta, Senior Partner, Saikrishna & Associates.last_img read more

first_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing February 6, 2012 450 Views A federal court sentenced three family members to prison Monday for their role in $11 million in mortgage fraud, just as another court upped the sentence for a onetime company executive-turned-hit man currently serving time.[IMAGE]These stories made our mortgage fraud blotter Monday. MReport sourced the stories from the “”Associated Press””: and “”Washington Post””: former news outlet accounted for the story of three family members from Monett, Minnesota, convicted by a federal court for participating in a money-laundering scheme with appraisers, mortgage brokers, Realtors, and investors.Charles Walker, wife Linda, and son Lee Edward received [COLUMN_BREAK]separate sentences, with the former sent to the slammer for 10 years without any possibility of parole, according to the AP.His wife received one year and one day by comparison, the news outlet reports, while their son saw his next 30 months sentenced to federal prison.Two appraisers, five real estate agents, four investors, and three mortgage brokers helped the family rake in roughly $11 million by drafting false mortgage applications, bilking lenders with inflated prices, and sharing the illicit funds among each other, the AP said.The Post meanwhile offered up the story of Aaron Hand, onetime executive of AFG Financial Group, whom a federal judge sentenced to eight to 16 years on top of eight to 25 years he continues to serve for his role in lining up straw buyers to fraudulently exact $100 million in mortgage loans.Hand saw his day in court Monday for attempting to orchestrate a hit on a key witness who turned against him and others at a previous trial concerning his mortgage fraud case, according to the news outlet.The Post quoted Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance as saying that the convict’s “”actions strike at the heart of the justice system.””The onetime company executive had previously pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit murder, the news outlet said. Sharecenter_img Fraud,Family, Hit Man Receive Hefty Sentences for Fraud Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Service Providers 2012-02-06 Ryan Schuettelast_img read more

first_imgAtlanta’s Federal Home Loan Bank Reports Rising Income in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing July 30, 2012 447 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Lenders & Servicers Processing Profits Quarterly Earnings Service Providers 2012-07-30 Krista Franks Brockcenter_img The “”Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta,””: a federal bank aimed at providing affordable residential mortgages, recorded increasing income and an increasing annualized return on equity in the second quarter of 2012, according to information the bank “”released””: to the public Monday. [IMAGE]The bank released highlights from the second quarter in an unaudited release and will file a full report with the Securities and Exchange Commission by August 9. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta reported a net income of $60 million for the quarter, up $22 million from the same quarter last year.[COLUMN_BREAK] The bank’s annualized return on equity in the second quarter was calculated at 3.76 percent, up from 2.01 in the second quarter of 2011. The spread to average three-month LIBOR increased over the quarter to 329 basis points, up from 175 basis points a year ago. The bank’s assets have decreased $5.8 billion over the first half of this year. The 4.65 percent decline brought the assets to a total of $119.4 billion at the end of the second quarter of this year. Capital stock decreased over the same period, falling from $5.7 billion at the end of 2011 to $5 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2012. The bank’s retained earnings balance increased 7.2 percent over the first half of the year, arriving at $1.3 billion at the end of June. As of the end of June, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta held $1.42 billion in mortgage loans in its portfolio. This is down from $1.63 billion recorded at the end of 2011. One of 12 similar banks, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta serves commercial banks, credit unions, savings institutions, and community development institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Sharelast_img read more

first_imgRegulators Finalize Liquidity Rule for Large Banks Basel Accords FDIC Federal Reserve OCC 2014-09-08 Seth Welborn The Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced last week they have finalized a rule with regards to the “liquidity coverage ratio” (LCR) of large financial institutions.The new rule requires affected institutions to keep high quality liquid assets on hand that the institution can easily convert into an amount of cash that is that same as or greater than the company’s cash outflow less the projected cash inflow during a 30-day stress period. The LCR is the ratio of a company’s liquid assets to its net cash outflow.Affected institutions are all financial organizations with total consolidated assets worth more than $250 billion, more than $10 billion in on-balance sheet foreign exposure, or to affected organizations’ subsidiary depository institutions that total more than $10 billion assets.Banks or financial institutions that do not meet those standards but have more than $50 billion in assets will still be affected by the final rule, but will be required to abide by a less stringent, modified LCR.Non-banks that have been designated by the Financial Stability Oversight Council for enhanced supervision will not be required to abide by the final rule; rather, enhanced prudential liquidity standards will be applied to these non-banking institutions by the Federal Reserve Board through a rule that will be subsequently issued after the company’s risk profile, capital structure, and business model have been evaluated.The final rule is nearly identical to the rule that was originally proposed with a few changes based on public comments. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision agreed to the liquidity standard that provided the basis for the final rule. The enhanced prudential liquidity standard established by the LCR is consistent with the Consumer Protection Act and section 165 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform.The Basel Committee rule is not as stringent as the final rule in some areas, namely in the transition period for implementation; the final rule calls for a shorter such period in order to maintain improved liquidity of those financial institutions that were established after the U.S. financial crisis.All firms in the U.S. affected by the final rule are expected to be fully compliant by January 1, 2017. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newscenter_img September 8, 2014 483 Views Sharelast_img read more

first_img Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Home Values Homeownership Rate Recovery Zillow 2014-11-11 Tory Barringer November 11, 2014 466 Views center_img Survey: Another Few Years Left for Recovery as Housing Faces Headwinds With home price appreciation leveling off and economic hurdles weighing on homeownership, experts expect the housing market still has at least another three years of recovery left to get back to a normal state, a new survey finds.In a quarterly survey of more than 100 real estate experts and economists, real estate data firm Zillow found 40 percent of respondents believe it will take another three to five years for the housing market to normalize, based on current home price trends and homebuyer activity.Nearly a third of panelists took a more optimistic view, predicting the market will stabilize one to two years from now, while one in five responded that housing has either already returned to normal or will within the next 12 months.When asked about headwinds facing the market right now, respondents pointed to low household formation rates, which have been stymied in part by a challenged economy. According to another recent study from Zillow, more than a third of adults living in the United States were living with at least one roommate as of 2012, up from a quarter in 2000.While those renters represent millions of potential new formations in the years to come, they remain stuck where they are as jobs and wages slowly grow.Demographic issues are also at play, Zillow says. While more millennials seem to be holding off on major commitments—including homeownership, marriage, and parenthood—a growing number of Americans nearing retirement age are also opting to stay in their homes longer, keeping the nation’s housing inventory from making any meaningful recovery.”We’ve reached a point in the recovery where the only real cure-all is time,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “[T]he landscape is slowly changing, as incomes begin to grow, negative equity fades and new households start to form. These shifts won’t occur overnight, but they are happening. Patience will be a virtue over the next few years as we wait for these traditional fundamentals to more fully take hold in the market.”Zillow’s panel of experts also offered their predictions on the path of home values over the next five years. According to the company, the respondents predicted U.S. home values will end this year up an average of 4.8 percent from 2013, finishing the year at a median $176,760.Gains next year are expected to average 3.7 percent before leveling off over the following years. On average, respondents said they expect home values to exceed their pre-recession peak in February 2018 at the predicted growth rate.”The 3.7 percent average annual appreciation rate expected by the panel for 2015 represents a 20 percent drop from the rate expected for this year,” said Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics, which conducts the survey for Zillow. “Although this projected decline is significant, it’s a less dramatic call compared to that made by our panelists one year ago, when they correctly anticipated a much larger change from 2013’s 7.3 percent home value appreciation rate by projecting  4.3 percent for 2014.”last_img read more

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, journal, News HOUSING HUD mortgage New Residential Home Sales U.S. Census Bureau 2017-11-27 Nicole Casperson The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in conjunction with the U.S. Census Bureau released its report on New Residential Sales for October 2017 on Monday.The sales figures were seasonally adjusted and came to an estimated 685,000, an increase of 6.2 percent (plus or minus 18.0 percent) from September’s revised rate of 645,000, and an 18.7 percent increase (plus or minus 23.5 percent) of October’s estimate a year prior, which totaled 577,000.New houses sold in October had an average price of $400,200; the median sales price came to $312,800. The report also figures that, at the end of October on a seasonally adjusted level, there are currently 282,000 new houses on the market. If the rate of sales of new homes continues, there will be a total supply lasting 4.9 months.According to the report, it’s important to note that these figures are estimated from sample surveys. Therefore, numbers are subject to sampling variability as well as non-sampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting, and undercoverage.Estimated average relative standard errors of the preliminary data are shown in the tables of the full report, here.Explanations of confidence intervals and sampling variability can be found at the Census Bureau’s website.The next joint report of New Residential Sales for November 2017 will be released on December 22, 2017. Sharecenter_img Home Sales Surge November 27, 2017 569 Views last_img read more

first_imgHousing Market Snapshot 2018-07-05 Radhika Ojha Share A new down payment program by Freddie Mac, the efforts of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), especially Fannie Mae, on making financing for condos easier, and how virtual e-closing expanding across the country are some of the latest trends that are shaping the housing market this month.Matt Ishbia, President, and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) gives an industry view on these trends and how they’re likely to impact the housing market in the near term. In this video, Ishbia points to the Freddie Mac Home One program that’s launching on July 29. This is a 3 percent down conventional program for homebuyers regardless of income and geography, according to Ishbia and though it is a bit more expensive than a similar program by Fannie Mae, it’s still a “better option than FHA.”He also gives an update on condos and the announcements by the GSEs as well as FHA on making the financing process for these properties easier and more accessible. Some of the changes include Fannie and Freddie’s initiatives to treat detached condos as SFR as well as FHA’s list of approved condos. “Condos are going to become easier for all of us in the industry,” said Ishbia.Additionally, e-closing has now extended to 20 states across the country including the District of Columbia. According to Ishbia, “e-closing has really grown right now and is expected to expand.”<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>center_img July 5, 2018 734 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newslast_img read more

first_img South Africa: Jupiter Group upgrades practices, fa … South Africa: Port operator says NCT backlog will … U.S.: LGS enhances summer citrus, Peruvian avocado … You might also be interested in South African Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana has pledged his support to the fruit sector exporting to the U.S., saying there is room to grow.He made the commitment was during last week’s Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit event held in Orlando, Florida, which brings together more than 20,000 industry participants.Speaking at the official opening of the summit, Zokwana announced that current negotiations are in the final stages for extending citrus access and granting avocado access.He added that the U.S. has applied for export permits of apples and berries for the South African market.“These interventions only present a path for industry to utilise emerging opportunities for trade,” Zokwana said.South Africa exports 2.7 million metric tons (MT) of fresh fruit annually to about 100 countries, to the value of US$3.4 billion.Although only 4% of that volume currently goes to the U.S., Zokwana envisaged that the figure would grow substantially due to the recently awarded access for litchis, the “imminent” wider access for citrus fruit to the U.S., the potential market access for avocados to the U.S.It also said the potential import of table grapes, pears, and apples through the Port of Virginia could lead to export growth.The U.S. indicated in June that it would soon allow citrus imports from all regions. At present only growers in the Western and Northern Cape are eligible to ship to the U.S. market. The South African Government has said exports from these areas should start in 2019.Zokwana said that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) also has a good and long-standing working relationship with the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS).He said that through engagements with APHIS, South Africa intends to increase in volumes of fruit exported.“The government of South Africa is fully committed to supporting and sustaining a world-class supply chain system for the South African fresh produce and perishables sector. This can only be achieved by good relations with strategic partners which includes the USA,” he said.“As counter seasonal producers, there is a potential good match in fresh produce trade between South Africa and the United States. Especially, the South African fruit industry has a highly sophisticated supply chain that exports to sophisticated markets all over the worl1d including the USA, the European Union and China.”The Minister added that South Africa is promoting diversity of fruit exports including the new consignments of berries recently exported to the U.S. South Africa: Labor court stops striking workers a … October 24 , 2018 last_img read more

first_imgQantas today reported an underlying profit before tax of $852 million and a statutory profit before tax of $715 million for the six months ended 31 December 2016.While the underlying result was down 7.5 per cent compared with the prior corresponding period, it was above the guidance range provided in October last year, with an upbeat chief executive Alan Joyce saying that the airline is “one of the best performing airline groups in the world.”Joyce said the result reflects a strong performance in a mixed global aviation market, with the national carrier’s integrated Group strategy and ongoing transformation enabling it to keep delivering value for shareholders while investing for customers.The fall in statutory profit compared with the first half of financial year 2016 largely reflects the inclusion in last year’s result of a $201 million gain from the sale of Qantas’ Sydney Airport terminal.All parts of the Qantas Group were profitable in the half. Combined domestic airline earnings across Qantas and Jetstar were $522 million, while Qantas Loyalty had a record result, giving the Group a strong, profitable core in an improving Australian economy. The Jetstar Group as a whole also had a record result.According to Joyce, the high levels of capacity growth affecting all major airlines impacted Qantas International’s profitability, but it achieved significantly higher margins than the industry average.“Our transformation program has built a strong, sustainable business that generates returns throughout the economic cycle,” Joyce said.“Qantas and Jetstar’s domestic operations produced an outstanding result and Qantas Loyalty continued to thrive. It’s a combination that keeps delivering and sets us apart from our competitors.”The airline also unveiled its new premium economy seat, which will debut on the airline’s fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from October. Wider and with more functional space overall, the new seat has a unique recline motion that provides a class-leading level of comfort. When the rear of the seat reclines, several sections shift to support the body as passengers move into a more relaxing position.“The Qantas Dreamliner will by flying some of the longest routes in the world, including non-stop from Perth to London, so we’ve focused on making each cabin the most comfortable in its class,” said Joyce.Image: The new Qantas premium economy seat, revealed this morning at the release of the airline’s results premium economy seatqantaslast_img read more

first_imgThe wholesale division of Helloworld Travel has reinstated a range of select FIT China product offers to be serviced by Insider Journeys, its specialist Asia wholesaler and tour operator.Aussie travellers’ burgeoning interest in China and, in particular, its cultural and off-the-beaten-track experiences, has prompted the move. Insider journeys plans to release its China brohure later in the year, however, in the meantime, product is loaded and available to agents to sell.“Most of our supplier relationships in China remain in place particularly due to Insider Journeys’ highly successful Small Group Journeys (SGJs), so we look forward to re-engaging with those suppliers and getting the product back in front of the market and, importantly, assisting the agents who have continued to ask us for an Insider Journeys style of FIT China product,” said Managing Director, Tony Mayell.“Our focus remains on SGJs which is the product that the Travel Indochina/Insider Journeys brands were built on, and which have now been more or less replicated by many others. However there is undoubtedly a market for select quality FIT options in China and throughout Asia and we do that better than anyone else for the demanding and discerning traveller.“Our agents have been asking for the product and we have listened to them. This range will complement the range of mainstream FIT products that our sister company Qantas Holidays so effectively promotes and sells. Between the two businesses we offer an unparalleled choice of product in China.” Insider Journeys will make further announcements as it looks to provide more innovation in its itineraries, and potentially offer new destinations similar to its pioneering Indochina itineraries first issued over twenty years ago.For more information and bookings, Insider Journeys’ Asia experts can be contacted on 1300 362 777 or visit ChinaHelloworld TravelInsider Journeyslast_img read more

first_imgHelloworld Travel and Qantas Holidays, proud supporters of the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, entered two corporate teams in Sydney’s ‘Balmoral Burn’ annual fun run on Sunday 28 May, to help raise awareness and over $2 million for lifesaving medical equipment used in children’s hospital wards around the country.The support of the event builds on the long-standing partnership The AOT Group has had with the Foundation, that now continues under the Helloworld Travel brand.The “Burn” is aptly-named – anyone who knows the Balmoral Beach area will be well-acquainted with the precipitous streets, and participants take on the challenge of running up Awaba Street, one of the steepest streets in NSW!Qantas Holidays teammates at Sydney’s Balmoral Burn for the Humpty Dumpty FoundationHelloworld Travel Limited CEO and Managing Director Andrew Burnes, a longtime supporter of the foundation, said “it’s great for us to be part of this event again in 2017 and for the Helloworld Travel and Qantas Holidays staff and their families to be involved in supporting such a worthy cause”.Wallaby great and creator of the Balmoral Burn, Phil Kearns AM said “The support of Andrew Burnes and the team at Helloworld Travel is making a significant difference to the health and wellbeing of children in hospitals across Australia and we are very grateful of their involvement”. L-R: Colin Dunne – Team Helloworld Travel, Emma East – Team Qantas Holidays, Kealan Kelly – Team Helloworld Travel, Maryluz Escandor – Team Qantas Holidays, Benn Hartung – Team Helloworld Travel, Andrej Dopud – Team Qantas Holidays, Mark Brownlee – Team Helloworld Travel and Jim Milazzo – Team Qantas Holidays Helloworld TravelQantas Holidayslast_img read more

first_imgAzamaraBrochuresCelebrity Cruisescruise Azamara Club CruisesThe cruise line’s 2018/19 brochure showcases worldwide Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest voyages departing January 2018 to December 2019, with 116 itineraries and 23 brand new country-intensive voyages – which allow guests to completely immerse themselves in one country. The line also embarks on its maiden season in Alaska in 2019, beginning with a 10-night Alaska Intensive voyage onboard Azamara Quest departing Vancouver on 25 May 2019, with brochure fares starting from AUD$4,339 per person twin share for an Interior state room.Brochures are currently being distributed. Celebrity CruisesThe new Asia brochure features 27 Asia cruises sailing throughout the summer of 2017/18, as well as new dining and entertainment highlights on the recently revitalised Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Constellation, such as “A Taste of Film” – where tasting plates inspired by a culinary film are paired with scenes as they play on the Rooftop Terrace’s outdoor cinema screen. Guests can also sample the brand new Infinite Verandahs of Celebrity Edge – launching in December 2018 – on Celebrity Constellation. Exclusive to stateroom 7197, the Infinite Verandah turns guest quarters into a seamless space, from the room’s door all the way to the balcony’s edge.Highlights for the upcoming season include double overnights in Dubai, Beijing and Bangkok, calls to the captivating ports of Kobe in Japan, Goa in India and Muscat in Oman as well as a special Pingxi Lantern Festival Signature Event Sailing in Taipei, departing February 2018. Itineraries range from 10 to 15 nights, including a 14 night Southeast Asia Immersion cruise on Celebrity Millennium departing 10 December 2017, with fares starting from AU$2,029 per person, twin share for an Interior stateroom.Brochures are currently being distributed. last_img read more

first_imgThailand’s Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Tourism & Sports have launched the “Buy With Confidence” program, in collaboration with leading Thai jewellery retailers to issue certification of quality and standard of Thai gems and jewellery.The new initiative is aimed at providing reassurances to international consumers, when they purchase gems and jewellery in Thailand, that they can ‘buy with confidence’ and accreditation. Minister of Commerce, Sontirat Sontijirawong, says that the Thai gem and jewellery industry is one of the key industries in the country, ranking third in exports after automotive and computers, and generating 435 billion baht in exports. Foreign tourists are key buyers of gem and jewellery products, with approximately 35.38 million tourists visiting Thailand in 2017.The Ministry of Commerce has assigned The Gem and Jewellery Institute of Thailand, or GIT, to carry out the Buy With Confidence (BWC) program, according to government policy through the certification issued by GIT.“GIT’s facilities include a world-class gem and jewellery laboratory that is supervised by the Thai government,” said Commerce Minister, Sontirat Sontijirawong. “Staffed with highly experienced gemologists and equipped with the world’s most advanced instruments, GIT’s services are trustworthy and widely recognised in the worldwide industry. Consumers can be confident that every piece of jewellery certified by GIT is trustworthy and is qualified according to the accompanying Gem and Jewellery Certification document. The institute has selected gem, gold and jewellery shops and businesses that pass the qualifying standards to participate as members of the program. Currently nearly 140 companies have applied for membership to this program, with 68 passing the initial standard. In 2018, GIT aims to expand membership of the BWC program to 500 companies, targeting cities such as Bangkok, Chanthaburi and other key tourist destinations.”If any issue should arise between buyers and shops in the BWC program, buyers may make a complaint at hotline 1166 (Office of the Consumer Protection Board) 1155 (Tourist Police Bureau) or 1569 (Department of Internal Trade) which are partners of the institute. jewellerythailandlast_img read more

first_imgFortunately the line settled down and started opening holes for the running backs as well as giving Kolb time to find targets downfield. “I thought they did a nice job as far as holding up,” Whisenhunt said. “Is there room for improvement? Yeah, but that goes back to thinking, these five guys that played in the line for us offensively last night have practiced five times, and there’s a lot of things that go together as far as communication, working together on zone schemes.”Hopefully the line, with more practice, develops the necessary chemistry with which to succeed. If not the offense will struggle, as Kolb will be running for his life and the running backs into defenders far too’s Craig Grialou contributed to this report D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Comments   Share   Top Stories What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkecenter_img Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Things didn’t start so well for the offensive line.Kevin Kolb was forced to scramble a couple times and there wasn’t much room for Beanie Wells to run. “We had too many mental mistakes with our starting offensive line,” Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “But as far as protection went I thought they did a pretty good job.”Whisenhunt mentioned a couple of plays where, if the guard had done his job correctly, the quarterback would not have had to rush a throw or scramble away from pressure, missing out on a big play downfield. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Through three weeks of training camp and two preseason games, there has been good and bad concerning the Arizona Cardinals defense.On the good side, the Cardinals have been forcing turnovers at an alarming rate — two against Green Bay and six last week in a win over Dallas.The Cardinals’ defense has also allowed just one touchdown in two games..Head coach Bruce Arians said Monday that turnovers are great, but a defense can’t live on them. He also said that some things need to be tightened up on the defensive side of the ball — namely limiting explosive plays by the opposing offense. Linebacker Sam Acho agrees. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 0 Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelocenter_img Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires “As a defense, we’ve got to work on doing our assignments better,” Acho said following Monday’s practice at University of Phoenix Stadium. “We had a lot of big plays, we had a couple busted assignments, so we’ve got to work on everybody doing their job.”In the preseason opener, the Cardinals allowed a 50-yard completion from Aaron Rodgers to James Jones. Against Dallas, there were three completions of 20 yards or more. Acho said he saw improvement Monday, but consistency is the goal for coordinator Todd Bowles’ defense.“It went well, but there’s still a lot we need to clean up and we’ve got to start putting together good days so we can consistently be a good team.”Acho and the Cardinals’ defense will get another opportunity to improve Saturday night when the San Diego Chargers pay them a visit in Glendale for their third preseason game. Former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt is the new offensive coordinator in San Diego, and the Chargers have struggled in their first two preseason tilts. In losses to Seattle and Chicago, the Chargers have averaged 310.5 yards per contest, but have turned the ball over six times and allowed eight quarterback sacks. last_img read more

first_img NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah joined Bickley and Marotta Thursday afternoon on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Here is what he had to say about the Arizona Cardinals story lines son far in training camp. On Jonathan Cooper not living up to expectations in camp:“Jonathan Cooper is not really having a great camp, that has surprised me. I’ve heard from several people that is absolutely the case. I liked him at North Carolina, obviously he had the injury last year, but I thought he would be a big addition to this team. Maybe he’s got some rust he needs to knock off, maybe that player will eventually emerge, but to me that’s a major storyline we’re following.” Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Your browser does not support the audio element. LISTEN: Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network analyst Comments   Share   center_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires On if the Cardinals should be concerned about John Abraham from a football standpoint:“I don’t think from a football standpoint because he’s got a skill set and he’s a master of that craft in terms of rushing the passer. He’s just got a nack for it, and those guys can do that for a long period of time. To me, the concerns are definitely what’s going on off the field and having your head right. But in terms of being on the football field, I think he’ll slide right in and be fine.” – / 11 Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo – / 17 Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires “I almost passed out,” Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said of the total. “That is unacceptable for us, especially for our standards. We have been playing so well all year and to have that performance tonight, it is embarrassing.”It certainly wasn’t anything to brag about.The Cardinals allowed 10 plays of 20 or more yards, including touchdowns that went for 80, 20 and 79 yards. They couldn’t stop Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s arm or his legs, and toward the end of the game, they struggled to contain running back Marshawn Lynch. Arizona allowed the majority of the yards (305) in the first half, but surrendered 21 of the points in the second. GLENDALE, Ariz. — It may have been an unfair request, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Arizona Cardinals needed their defense to step up in a big way Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks.Instead, they pretty much stepped aside as the visitors posted a franchise-record 596 net yards en route to a 35-6 romp. That total is tied for the second-most yards allowed in Cardinals history, by the way.last_img read more