Bulgaria arrests 2 men wanted by Interpol

first_imgSOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) – Bulgarian officials on Friday arrested two men wanted by Interpol on terrorism charges as they tried to enter the Balkan country through a border crossing with Romania.Nadezhda Miteva, a spokesperson for the district prosecutor in the northeast city of Ruse, said the men _ a Chechen and a Turk _ were arrested in two separate incidents attempting to enter Bulgaria with their families.Authorities identified the Chechen as 47-year-old Mohmad Gadamouri, and said he had tried to enter Bulgaria with his five children, telling border police he was arriving on vacation. A check showed he is wanted for his alleged role in a terrorist group that planned an attack in the Russian republic of Ingushetia back in 2003. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Gadamouri is believed to have been hiding somewhere in Europe ever since, and is also wanted for the alleged illegal trading of arms and toxic substances.Authorities said the other man, 29-year-old Turk Erkan Polater, was arrested on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization. They did not elaborate on which family members he was travelling with.Miteva said both men will remain in custody until authorities receive documents authorizing their extradition to their respective home countries. She added that the Chechen held a document issued in Germany certifying his refugee status, while the Turk had a similar paper issued in the Netherlands.The arrests come just two weeks after a suicide bomber killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver at a popular vacation resort in Bulgaria. Officials did not link Friday’s arrests to the bombing.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosteronecenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories last_img read more

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China says police kill 8 terrorists in Xinjiang

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility It was the latest in a series of attacks pointing to growing unrest in the large sprawling region of Xinjiang, home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule among parts of the native Muslim Uighur population who want more autonomy from Beijing. Recent clashes, including an attack on a police station last month, have left dozens of people dead.A Xinjiang government press officer confirmed Monday’s report but said he had no further information. He gave only his surname, Cao. Police reached by phone in Shache and Kashgar said they had no information about the incident.The Chinese government typically calls such incidents terrorist attacks linked to radicals based overseas, although there is little evidence that they are carefully organized.Xinjiang is home to about 9 million Uighurs, who make up less than half of the population of Xinjiang, which they used to dominate. Many complain that they have been marginalized by policies favoring migrants from China’s ethnic Han majority.Beijing says it treats all minorities fairly and spends billions of dollars on development and improving living standards in Xinjiang.Tianshan Net said the police took “resolute measures” by shooting the eight and arresting one, adding the case was under further investigation. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   Sweden-based Uighur activist Dilxat Raxit said Uighurs were being shot to death “due to their discontent with China’s policies.”“To label the protesters as terrorists and shoot them to death is a new way of suppressing the Uighurs following China’s judicial reforms,” he said, referring to recent moves to improve the country’s party-controlled justice system.As well as a number of deadly clashes in Xinjiang this year, an attack in October struck at the heart of Beijing. Three Uighurs drove a vehicle through crowds in front of iconic Tiananmen Gate, killing themselves and two tourists.In Washington, U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf called on all parties to avoid violence.“We are closely following reports of continuing violence in the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region of China,” Harf said in a statement. “We continue to call on the Chinese government to permit its citizens to express their grievances freely, publicly, peacefully and without fear of retribution. We also call on Uyghurs to not resort to violence, for the Chinese security forces to exercise restraint.”___Associated Press Writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report from Washington.center_img BEIJING (AP) – Authorities in western China said Monday that police fatally shot eight “terrorists” who had attacked them using knives and explosives in the latest in a string of violent incidents in the ethnically tense region.The Xinjiang government news portal Tianshan Net said that the group of nine attacked officers and burned police cars in Shache county, which is overseen by the famed Silk Road city of Kashgar. How men can have a healthy 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img read more

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Shock result in Polish vote could signal larger power shift

first_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help WARSAW, Poland (AP) — President Bronislaw Komorowski lost the first round of the country’s presidential election to a previously unknown 42-year-old member of the European Parliament, in what is being called the biggest shock in Polish politics in years.The defeat for the communist-era dissident, who has long polled as one of the nation’s most trusted leaders, is a sign that parliamentary elections this fall could be unpredictable. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober It could even signal a possible return to power for Law and Justice, the right-wing group backing Sunday’s winning presidential candidate Andrzej Duda.A runoff in two weeks will decide the final outcome. In the first round, Komorowski took 33.8 percent of the votes compared to 34.8 percent for Duda, according to official results released early Tuesday. In all there were 11 candidates.The result is undeniably a defeat for Komorowski, a center-right leader who earlier this year was expected to easily win far above 50 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff altogether.When Law and Justice ran the government once before, from 2005-2007, Poland clashed repeatedly with officials in Brussels and ties with ally Germany grew strained. The party has also been extremely critical of Russia. Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the death of his twin brother, the late President Lech Kaczynski, in a 2010 plane crash. No evidence has emerged to back up his theory.Adam Michnik, editor of the influential daily Gazeta Wyborcza, wrote of what he called the “suspicion and fear” that reigned in Poland at the time, when the government fought corruption and the influence of former communists in ways that many Poles felt amounted to excessive state intrusion. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Already on Monday Komorowski signaled a desire to fight for the Kukiz voters, announcing plans for a referendum on single-mandate constituencies. He said the referendum would also include propositions on ending the funding of political parties from tax money and the protection of taxpayers in disputes with state financial authorities.To the outside world, it might seem strange that Poles would feel frustrated given that the country has one of the fastest growing economies in Europe.But many Poles, especially those in the countryside, are not enjoying higher wages, job security or other economic benefits that seem to be going only to certain groups.The most striking example of the malaise is the more than 2 million Poles who have emigrated since Poland joined the EU in 2004 seeking economic opportunities in Britain and elsewhere. Surveys show that many more want to join them. Kukiz has called the exodus an “extermination” of the Polish people.Other problems include a flawed public health system and a dysfunctional bureaucracy.Sunday’s voting was a catastrophe for the left. The two left-wing candidates together only took a projected 4 percent.In reaction, several academics announced Monday that they are forming their own left-wing group ahead of fall elections, warning in an open letter that Poland is facing “the threat of total domination of public and political life by right-wing circles, including those on the extreme right.” Another commentator, Pawel Wronski, called Sunday’s apparent results “the biggest surprise in Polish politics in the last years.”Komorowski’s poor showing reflects growing dissatisfaction with the way the country is going under Civic Platform, a business friendly party which has been in power since 2007. The party was founded by the former prime minister, Donald Tusk, now head of the European Council. Commentators say Komorowski has suffered from being closely identified with the party and not opposing its more unpopular proposals, such as raising the retirement age.The strong showing in the presidential race for Pawel Kukiz, a former punk rock musician with an anti-establishment message, was another sign that Poles are disgruntled. Kukiz came third with 20.8 percent of the vote after campaigning for Poland to introduce single-member constituencies like in Britain to replace the current party list system, part of a larger message that the system is rotten.Kukiz argues that choosing individual candidates rather than parties in electing lawmakers to parliament will be more transparent and give voters more influence.The final outcome will depend a lot on where those protest votes go in the runoff, to be held May 24. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likecenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski waves to supporters after first exit polls indicate he lost the first round of the presidential election to main opposition candidate Andrzej Duda, during the election night in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, May 10, 2015. The placard behind reads ‘I support Komorowski’. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) Comments   Share   last_img read more

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Nepali villagers return to homes after river gets unblocked

first_img Comments   Share   KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Thousands of villagers in northwestern Nepal were able to return to their homes Monday after a mountain river swept away debris from a landslide that had blocked it, allowing waters to flow normally again.The landslide before dawn Sunday dammed up the Kaligandaki River and created a lake 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long. Thousands of villagers fled their homes, fearing flash floods. It happened in an area north of Beni Bazaar, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of the capital, Kathmandu. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Four benefits of having a wireless security system Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Overnight, the river washed away rocks and other debris, and by Monday morning, river was flowing at its normal level, said government administrator Tek Bahadur K.C.The landslide was not caused by an aftershock to major earthquakes that struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12, which together killed nearly 8,700 people and injuring 16,800 others.In 2012, dozens of people were killed when an avalanche held back the nearby Seti River, which then burst through the snow blockage and sent water gushing through villages along its banks.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. People gather at the site of a landslide north of Beni Bazaar, Nepal, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Thousands of people fled villages and towns along a mountain river in northwest Nepal on Sunday after it was blocked by a landslide that could burst and cause flash floods, officials said. (AP Photo/M.B. Astha) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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IS affiliate hits Shiite mosque in Kuwait killing 27 people

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The Islamic State extremists regard Shiite Muslims as heretics, and refer to them derogatively as “rejectionists.” The IS statement said the bombing targeted a “temple of the apostates.”Witness Ahmed al-Shawaf said he heard a man interrupt the prayer by shouting “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is Great” in Arabic. The man then yelled out something about joining the Prophet Muhammad for iftar, the dusk meal at which Muslims break their daytime fasting during Ramadan, now in its second week. Then, the blast came, al-Shawaf said.The explosion took place near the end of a second prayer, which is traditional to Shiites and follows the main midday Friday prayer.The Ministry of Interior said in its latest statement that 27 people were killed and 227 were wounded, all of them males, including some boys. Police formed a cordon around the mosque’s complex immediately after the explosion. Ambulances could be seen ferrying the wounded.A panicked mother outside the mosque yelled at police to let her inside to find her son. The policemen allowed her through and she emerged shortly afterward and fainted. Worried relatives and shocked onlookers huddled around the mosque. Saudi Arabia and other petro-powerhouses in the Gulf for years allowed a flow of private cash to Sunni rebels in Syria fighting to topple President Bashar Assad, who is backed by Shiite powerhouse Iran. When the IS group began taking over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, Gulf nations feared its extremism could be a threat to them as well, and began clamping down on fundraising as well as calls for jihad.“I feel angry,” Kuwaiti rights activist Ebtehal al-Khateeb said. “We want a complete approach and solution. There have to be serious changes in the region, not just in Kuwait.”Gulf officials warn that the Islamic State group is trying to provoke a reaction from Shiites, which could in turn destabilize or even upend the rule of the Mideast’s Western-allied monarchies.Abdullah al-Neybari, a secular former lawmaker, said the Kuwaiti government “is not doing what it should be doing to fight extremism in the country. ““This is a wakeup call to fight harder,” he said.__Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall KUWAIT CITY (AP) — A suicide bomber purportedly from an Islamic State affiliate unleashed the first terrorist attack in Kuwait in more than two decades on Friday, killing at least 27 people and wounding scores more in a bombing that targeted Shiite worshippers after midday prayers.The attack, which hit the capital of Kuwait City, was one of three deadly attacks from Europe to the Middle East on Friday that followed the Islamic State group’s call for violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies It also underscored the Islamic State group’s reach and its ability to carry out large-scale attacks — even in this mostly quiet and relatively secure Gulf Arab nation, with its wealthy capital that is home to glistening shopping malls, five-star hotels and Western retail chains.The bombing struck the Imam Sadiq Mosque in the residential neighborhood of al-Sawabir, one of the oldest Shiite mosques in this predominantly Sunni Arab nation where at least at third of the population is believed to be Shiite Muslim.The explosion ripped through the back of the mosque, near the door, as worshippers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in group prayer, according to one witness, Hassan al-Haddad. He said that other worshippers behind him recounted seeing a man walk in, stand in the back with other congregants and detonate his device.A posting on a Twitter account known to belong to the IS affiliate that calls itself the Najd Province claimed the explosion was the work of a suicide bomber. It was the third attack in five weeks to be claimed by Najd Province — a name that refers to the central region of Saudi Arabia. The upstart IS branch had claimed two prior attacks on Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia that killed 26 people in late May. For decades, Kuwait has been among the safest and quietest corners of the Middle East. It suffered an invasion under former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War, but has not traditionally been a target of terrorist attacks.The last massive attack here was in 1983, when Iranian-backed Shiite militants from Iraq carried out bombings that killed at least five people and targeted Western embassies.Kuwait has one of the most free-wheeling political systems in the Gulf, and tolerates limited protests. Kuwaiti Shiites hold seats in the elected parliament as well as Cabinet posts, and unlike their counterparts in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, have not complained of severe discrimination.Soon after Friday’s attack, Kuwait’s ruler, Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who is in his mid-80s, visited the bombed mosque. The Cabinet convened an emergency session in the afternoon. Arab leaders from across the Gulf rushed to condemn the attack.But the attack also drew criticism from some Kuwaitis, who said the country’s leaders should have been more pro-active in protecting Shiites.Jasim al-Awadh, who rushed to the mosque to try and help with the wounded, said the government should have increased security measures around Shiite places of worship in Kuwait after the attacks in Saudi Arabia. He said the government turns a blind eye to Sunni extremists in the country. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

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Qantas braces itself financially for coming year

first_imgQantas will continue to hedge itself against market fluctuations in the coming financial year, it announced in its recent report, with fuel, foreign exchange and aircraft capital all largely braced for 2010.In financial year 2009 Qantas was “highly hedged against record fuel prices” and it appears the Australian carrier will once more be doing the same in 2010, with 80% of its fuel hedged at a worst case price of US$89 per barrel.“We are also keeping a close watch on oil and fuel prices. While well below the record levels seen in 2008, they remain volatile and are trending upwards,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO.For the full financial year, total fuel expenditure came in at AU$3.6 billion, 27% lower than the 2007/08 financial year, or a savings of AU$99 million, due to hedged into plane fuel prices being offset by favourable foreign exchange movements.Additionally, Qantas has also hedged its foreign exchange risks, with 51% hedged at a worst case price of around AUD0.78.Lastly, aircraft capital expenditure is 89% hedged until June 2011 at a worst case rate of around AUD0.77. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1ddc5/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

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Double AHA Success for Star City

first_imgSource = Star City Sean Connolly receives his Hall of Fame accolade. Star City Hotel Manager Rob Everett and Star City Director of Sales Geoff Stone, receive their award.center_img Chef Sean Connolly and Apartments shine at awards nightThere were two reasons for Star City to celebrate on Monday night at the 2010 NSW AHA Awards for Excellence.  It was awarded the Apartment/suite of the Year award and Star City’s multi award-winning chef, Sean Connolly, was inducted into the recently launched AHA Hall of Fame.Star City was a shoe-in for the Apartment/suite of the Year award, being the only hotel that qualified in the category by reaching the AHA’s high standards and criteria.  The award confirmed what many at Star City and its guests already knew, that the apartments are the most luxurious and convenient home away from home, already favoured by guests such as Danny Green, Jerry Lewis, Roy Jones Jnr, Dwight Yorke and Brian Lara.But the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Star City’s TV celebrity chef, Sean Connolly, who is the head chef of both Astral restaurant and Sean’s Kitchen restaurant at Star City and stars in his own TV series, My Family Feast on SBS.  Sean’s Hall of Fame induction adds to an impressive list of accolades he has received for culinary excellence, including the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Chef of the Year 2008, the AHA Chef of the Year in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 and the GQ Man of the Year, (Chef of the Year) 2008.  Sean said of his award:“It was actually quite an emotional experience to receive this accolade as it helped to put into context many years of hard work.  I am just really pleased that people love my food and I am able to do something that I love doing for a living.  But none of this would have been possible without the support of my amazing team.”The awards, hosted by comedian Mikey Robins, included special guests from the accommodation, tourism and hospitality industries including Minister for Tourism, Hon. Jodi McKay MP, Shadow Minister for Hospitality and Tourism, Hon. George Souris MP and AHA NSW President, Scott Leach.The current Star City hotel and apartments will soon be joined by further travel and leisure venues on the complex.  Star City is in the process of a $575 million dollar refurbishment, which includes adding a new hotel, additional bars and restaurants and a harbourside entrance to be completed by early 2012.last_img read more

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Approved Air NZ Virgin Blue alliance

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has authorized the alliance between Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue. Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe was happy about the newly established partnership. “I’m pleased that formal approval has been given recognising the benefits this will bring to our customers,” he said. Initial concerns regarding capacity growth were diminished after both airlines were able to meet the ACCC’s determination demands. “I would like to thank the ACCC for its thorough consideration of the issues and coming to a determination that favours customers and will see the Tasman market continue to grow,” Mr Fyfe said.Air New Zealand is still awaiting the final approval decision regarding its proposed alliance from the New Zealand Minister of Transport, expected in the next few days.last_img read more

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Obama adds NT to his Aussie experience

first_imgFirst Oprah and now President Obama is making his way to Australia’s Northern Territory for an overnight visit next month.Confirming his trip late last week, the White House told the Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson that the NT would be added to his itinerary down under.Mr Henderson stressed that the visit to Darwin was purely optional, unlike his expected visit to Canberra.“On behalf of all Territorians we welcome the news President Obama has added the Territory to his trip to Australia – ensuring he really will get an opportunity to see the real Australia,” Mr Henderson said.  “This is an historic visit and will be the first time any President of the US has made a visit to the Territory.“I look forward to announcing further details closer to the trip.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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QF EK deal to boost Seychelles visitors

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The new Qantas and Emirates partnership last week could see an increase in tourism between Australia and the Seychelles, according to Desroches Island director of sales and marketing Demeiter Vaubell.Speaking at the Luxperience showcase in Sydney yesterday, Ms Vaubell explained the new agreement would open the Seychelles up to the Australian market via the UAE-based carrier.“The partnership that will launch in 2013, will really open the Middle East and the Seychelles up to Australia,” she said.“At the moment it is slow but it will really pick up.”Ms Vaubell added that travellers would also love the Desroches Island because of its no-visa policy, allowing Aussies making a stopover in Dubai before hopping over to the region without applying for entry.Late last week Qantas and Emirates also announced the adoption of a new chauffer service for its business and first class passengers.last_img read more

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Fat Tax garners consumer support

first_imgSkyscanner polls revealed the majority of international travellers support an airline ‘Fat Tax’.59 percent of international travellers said airlines should charge overweight passengers more for their seats.Last month Norwegian economist Dr Bharat P. Bhatta outlined a pricing scheme based on passengers’ weight.The proposed system could bring benefits to airlines, including reduced fares and lower carbon emissions.Samoa Air charges passengers according to weight in what it says is a “world first” cost-per-kilo fare system.41 percent of travellers disagreed with the implementation of a pay-by-weight tax, citing discrimination.“The so-called ‘Fat Tax’ is a highly sensitive issue for airlines who clearly don’t want to cause offence to their larger passengers,” Skyscanner PR executive Asia-Pacific Sam Poullain said.“However we were surprised to see that among the general public, there is a significant majority who would welcome a tiered pricing for passengers depending on their weight.”Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Majority of international travellers agree with airline ‘Fat Tax’. Image: Corbislast_img read more

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Well Hotel Bangkok announces soft opening on New Years Day

first_imgWell Hotel Bangkok www.wellhotelbangkok.comWell Hotel Bangkok announces soft opening on New Year’s DayWell Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 announces the soft opening with the kick off date on New Year’s Day, 1 January 2016. To celebrate the holiday season of joy and happiness, the hotel offers introductory rates for guests to experience the new lifestyle wellness hotel in Thailand’s capital. The rates per night start from 2,750 Baht for Superior Room, 3,250 Baht for Deluxe Room and 7,250 Baht for Executive Suite, excluding tax and service charge. The booking can be made from now until 31 March 2016 for stays until 31 October 2016.Well Hotel Bangkok portrays the Classic Twist design harmonizing the old and the new with the touch of art deco. The architect was inspired by the Post-Modern architecture which can be seen from the old houses and buildings in Sukhumvit area of Bangkok. The hotel is located on Sukhumvit 20 and within walking distance to BTS Asok Skytrain, MRT Sukhumvit Subway, Terminal 21 Mall, The EmQuartier and the Emporium. The hotel is also surrounded by abundance of international fine dining restaurants, bars, café and night life entertainment venues.The hotel is comprised of 235 rooms and suites with 143 Superior Rooms, 7 Superior Corner Rooms, 75 Deluxe Rooms, 6 Executive Rooms and 4 Executive Suites. All rooms and suites are featured with mini-bars, personal electronic safety box, 46-inch smart TV, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout and LAN cable in room. Each of the Executive Room and Executive Suite is fitted with a private exercise bike and electronic weight scale to accommodate health loving travelers. A Microwave and printer are available in Executive Suite.Other facilities include Eat Well Café, an all-day dining offering Thai and Asian cuisine with options of healthy menu, The Twist Bar & Bistro offering Western nibbles and well-crafted drinks , Pool Bar, 24-hour in room dining, meeting room, Memory Gift Shop, Well Spa, fitness centre and outdoor salt swimming pool. For security, the hotel has HD CCTV in public area and uses key card system for guest area entry and elevators. iMac Computers are available for guest use in Business Centre. To book the introductory offer please email rsvn@wellhotelbangkok.com and visit www.wellhotelbangkok.com for more information. Source = Well Hotel Bangkok Well Hotel Bangkokcheck special offers herelast_img read more

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AccorHotels launches Seoul Dragon City – Koreas first Li

first_imgAccorHotels launches Seoul Dragon City – Korea’s first ‘Lifestyle Hotel-Plex’Korea’s first ‘lifestyle hotel-plex’ Seoul Dragon City will open on 1 October, featuring  four AccorHotels brands, 1,700 rooms, 11 restaurants and bars, 17 meeting rooms, two multi-function grand ballrooms, and a world first: four full floors of entertainment in a Sky Bridge suspended between two of the towers.Featuring four distinct AccorHotels brands ranging from luxury to economy, Seoul Dragon City will cater to every demographic:Grand Mercure Ambassador Seoul Yongsan is designed for families and long-stay guests who enjoy an upscale lifestyle in a serviced residence, with 202 relaxing rooms featuring warm colours and locally inspired decorative motifs, prints, pictures and furniture.Novotel Suites Ambassador Seoul Yongsan is also ideal for long-stay business and leisure guests or those who like more space and flexibility, with 286 spacious modular suites featuring an ergonomic design for work and relaxation and non-partitioned space that can accommodate from one to four guests.Novotel Ambassador Seoul Yongsan will appeal to business and leisure guests seeking a comfortable and easy stay, with 621 large fully-appointed rooms with a simple, modern design, and non-partitioned space that is ideal for individual guests and families.ibis Styles Ambassador Seoul Yongsan features 591 colourful and inspiring rooms with a bold personality, making it the choice for business and leisure groups, airline crews, families, friends, and frequent individual travellers who prefer all-inclusive rates.“2017 has been a record-breaking year for AccorHotels in South Korea, highlighted by this launch of the largest project we have signed in the country featuring four hotel brands in the same complex, including the introduction of Grand Mercure and Novotel Suites in this market,” says Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels, Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia.“Together, the four brands can cater to the needs of every guest,” he adds. “Grand Mercure combines rich Korean culture with elegant service, making it a great option for long-stay guests who require full residence services. Our Novotel Suites will attract medium- to long-stay business travellers and families on urban holidays. By the end of this year, the group will have 24 hotels in South Korea, which will be followed by eight more in the next two years. We will also be diversifying our brand portfolio to the luxury segment in the near future.”Jerome Stubert, Cluster General Manager of Seoul Dragon City, adds, “Korea is a very promising market where the number of in-bound travellers is on a steady rise. Seoul Dragon City is Korea’s first-ever lifestyle hotel-complex and consists of four AccorHotels brands serving all types of guests and suiting every budget. Grand in its scale, the complex features the widest range of convention space in Seoul, multiple restaurants and bars, and the amazing Sky Bridge. Offering an ideal combination of globally recognised high-standard hospitality and unmatched facilities, Seoul Dragon City is positioned locally, regionally and internationally to be Korea’s global landmark”.The pièce de résistance is indeed the Sky Bridge, with highlights including:King’s Vacation – the only lounge bar in South Korea where guests can experience a European décor that reinterprets the royal vacation, with an innovative range of cuisine and beverages, an indoor miniature swimming pool, Skywalk, and performance stage.Sky Beach – where guests can experience a private beach club, with music and international cuisine amongst a setting reminiscent of the legendary beach clubs of Spain, Greece, Singapore and Las Vegas.Taking its name from the Yongsan District in which it stands – known in English as Dragon Mountain – the area has become a magnet for foreign travellers who gravitate to its shopping centres and nightlife.Source = AccorHotelslast_img read more

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Awardwinning X2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere makes waves

first_imgSource = X2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere Award-winning X2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere makes wavesAward-winning X2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere makes wavesX2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere, the stylish millennial hotel on Thailand’s idyllic Eastern Seaboard, is making waves in the industry for its award-winning architecture and design.The contemporary seafront property, which occupies a stunning seafront spot in Na Jomtien, just a short drive from the popular resort town of Pattaya, has won two major awards for its cutting-edge design and eye-catching architecture and is ready to welcome all guest to experience the new trendy vibe from November 1st, 2017 onwards.Developed by the Habitat Group, one of Thailand’s leading premium property developers, X2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere won the “New Small Hotel Construction and Design for Thailand” award at the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2017-2018 and was highly-commended in the “Best Residential Interior Design” category at the Thailand Property Awards 2016.These awards reflect the sharp, sleek design of X2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere, which weaves edgy urban elements seamlessly into its natural surroundings. All aspects of the property are intended to be open to nature, with an open-plan layout and use of natural materials such as wood and stone. All rooms feature large floor-to-ceiling windows that allow natural light to flood in, while the elevated infinity pool appears to blend seamlessly into the azure sea beyond.Chanin Vanijwongse, CEO of the Habitat Group, said he was delighted with the result of the project, which is perfect in tune with X2 Vibe’s modern millennial concept. Guests at the hotel are typically young professionals aged between 25 and 40, who are seeking a fresh, fun approach to hospitality and design.“X2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere has made a major impact since it opened, not only among our guests but also in the world of architecture and design,” said Khun Chanin. “We are extremely proud of the awards we have received, which are a great credit to everyone involved in the project – especially our partners at makeAscene and VV Desine.“Our shared vision was to create a modern, sophisticate lifestyle experience in harmony with the natural seascape. The hotel’s curved lines and freeform elements represent the ripples of the beach, while the ground floor reflective ponds and eighth floor infinity pool merge with the sea. The sleek interiors and high-tech amenities are also perfect for X2 Vibe’s trend-setting millennial guests,” he added.With its award-winning design, idyllic location and cutting-edge amenities, X2 Vibe Pattaya Seaphere is developing a strong reputation within the industry, and is set to continue delighting millennial guests for many years to come.last_img read more

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Anantara unveils development of new resort in Zanzibar

first_imgAnantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has announced the development of Anantara Zanzibar Resort. It is expected to open in 2020 as part of the Zanzibar Amber Resort mixed-use lifestyle community.Occupying in excess of 1,000 hectares of prime Indian Ocean coastline in the northeast of Zanzibar, Zanzibar Amber Resort is an integrated project which is currently under development blending contemporary lifestyle aspirations with premium hospitality and world-class facilities.Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotels, parent company of Anantara, said, “Anantara Zanzibar Resort will be the first property in the region to showcase Anantara’s authentic luxury and personalised hospitality. The development of Anantara Zanzibar Resort marks a key strategic move that provides synergy and diversifies Minor Hotels’ well-established presence in East Africa, complementing the Elewana Collection of luxury safari camps, lodges and beach resorts in Tanzania and Kenya.”“We anticipate that this strategic partnership will bring Zanzibar Amber Resort to the attention of a modern, cosmopolitan, thoughtful traveller that represents exactly the kind of market demographic to which we aspire, and look forward to a successful and enduring partnership between Pennyroyal Gibraltar and Minor Hotels,” commented Brian Thomson, Principal, Pennyroyal Gibraltar.last_img read more

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ExCops Criminal Enterprises Nabbed for Mortgage Fraud

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Sales Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Disclosures Mortgage Fraud Processing Refinance Service Providers 2011-09-23 Ryan Schuette in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Ex-Cops, Criminal Enterprises Nabbed for Mortgage Fraud Sharecenter_img _MReport_ captured a look at crooked cops, money-launderers, and criminal enterprises for the mortgage fraud blotter Friday. This week state and federal officials nabbed three people for their purported roles in a $12-million scheme, 32 in a $5.1-million plot, and a state trooper over a matter of $100,000 allegedly reaped from falsified information.[IMAGE]In coming up with the blotter, _MReport_ pulled from a number of city and regional newspapers, Web sites, and government sources that included the “”_Associated Press_””:http://www.chron.com/news/article/32-indicted-in-alleged-Ohio-mortgage-fraud-scheme-2185220.php, “”Federal Bureau of Investigation””:http://www.fbi.gov/ (FBI), and “”TampaBayOnline.com””:http://www2.tbo.com/business/business/2011/sep/22/menewso6-former-state-trooper-pleads-not-guilty-to-ar-259611/.First up, the FBI announced that a federal grand jury delivered a string of indictments against three defendants, which their peers accused of raking in no less than $12 million from fraudulently obtained proceeds. The accused trio: Waunita Weingart, of Denver, along with John Phillip Gallegos, of Seattle and Alois Craig Weingart, also of Denver.According to the FBI, the three duped lenders by pledging several properties as collateral on successive occasions. Gallegos and the Weingarts allegedly misrepresented their income on loan applications, submitted several under refinance applications, and hid the funds under the names of several companies belonging to the defendants.””Honest and law abiding citizens are fed up with the likes of those who use deceit and fraud to line their pockets with other people’s money,”” “”said””:http://www.fbi.gov/denver/press-releases/2011/trio-indicted-in-12-million-mortgage-fraud-scheme Sean Sowards, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service, which cooperated with the FBI in pursuing the defendants. “”These individuals who engage in this type of financial fraud should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable.””Convictions could send all three to the federal slammer for some 20 years and charge each with up to $250,000 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô for each count of wire fraud, the FBI said. [COLUMN_BREAK]Any conviction over alleged money-laundering activities could net each defendant with a 10-year prison sentence and not more than $250,000.Meanwhile, in Cleveland, more people apparently walked away with less, with the _Associated Press_ reporting Friday that authorities had taken in 32 people, who prosecutors allege orchestrated a $5.1-million plot involving 44 properties in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County.The news service said that the purported gang went about the scheme by buying properties in foreclosure or others from sheriff’s sales. The defendants then marked up values on loan applications to scoop up mortgages for each of the properties.Authorities made public that nine defendants got slapped with felony charges related to theft and engagement in a criminal enterprise, according to the _AP_. The other 23 found themselves saddled with charges also related to theft.Last but far from least, TampaBayOnline.com offered up the story of an accused former Florida highway patrolman who found himself on the other side pleading not guilty to mortgage-fraud charges.According to the Web site, Shaun Leo Reid, then an officer, purportedly skimmed on his income for federal loan documents, which he used to pick up a Tampa investment home priced at $500,000. He allegedly walked away from the purchase with $100,000.After obtaining the mortgage, Reid received over $100,000 from the seller of the property, according to TampaBayOnline.com. He then allegedly used the sum for a down payment, avoiding any expenses that would otherwise accrue to his $41,000 annual salary.The Florida Highway Patrol dismissed Reid in early September over the investigation, which led to charges for the officer that include grand theft, mortgage fraud, and conspiracy to commit fraud, according to the Web site.TampaBayOnline.com quoted Reid’s attorney as contending, “”It’s pretty conceivable how this could happen if you’re not the one sending the info to the bank.””Whither the loan officer responsible for signing off on the application? TampaBayOnline.com said it could not reach one Brandon Anderson, formerly the director of Griffin Anderson Enterprises, a business no longer in operation, for comment.Authorities have not pressed for any indictments against Anderson, according to the Web site. September 23, 2011 495 Views last_img read more

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Deloitte Consumer Spending Largely Flat in February

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer spending Deloitte Home Prices Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-03-20 Tory Barringer Share Deloitte: Consumer Spending Largely Flat in February in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img March 20, 2013 413 Views “”Deloitte’s””:http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/index.htm Consumer Spending Index experienced a minor bump in February as “”a decline in initial unemployment claims and a rise in real average hourly earnings offset negative forces,”” the company reported Wednesday.[IMAGE]The index, which tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future spending, rose slightly to 4.0 last month from a reading 3.9 in January. While the increase was relatively small, it turns around three straight months of declines.[COLUMN_BREAK]””The economic fundamentals that influence consumer spending are aligning,”” said Patricia Buckley, director of economic policy and analysis for Deloitte and author of the monthly index. “”Financial institutions and the markets are stronger, and consumer confidence and real spending appear to be weathering the 2013 payroll tax increases fairly well. Absent the uncertainty surrounding the impact of the sequester, an economic turnaround would likely be imminent.””The index comprises four components: tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages, and real home prices.According to Deloitte, the tax burden rose nearly 2 percent on a year-over-year basis in February to 11.29 percent.Meanwhile, first-time unemployment claims continued to trend downward to 352,750, falling more than 6 percent year-over-year. Hourly real wages increased modestly over the past three months to $8.78.At the same time, Deloitte reported a slight downtick in real new home prices. Prices fell about 0.5 percent on an annual basis to $97,925.last_img read more

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StoneHill Names National Director for Sales and Marketing

first_imgStoneHill Names National Director for Sales and Marketing Share Movers & Shakers StoneHill Group 2014-08-25 Tory Barringer in Headlines, News, Uncategorizedcenter_img August 25, 2014 485 Views In Atlanta, the StoneHill Group appointed Wade Hamby as national director of sales and marketing.Hamby has more than 25 years of executive experience in mortgage lending, outsourcing, and quality control and also brings a background in risk management, loss mitigation, and fulfillment services, including both wholesale and correspondent relationships.Most recently, Hamby served StoneHill as business development manager for the eastern United States. Before that, he served as VP of business development for the Southeast for AmeriCU Mortgage, VP and division manager for Triad Guaranty, and VP at Hovde Financial. He was also formerly president of AboutYourMortgage.com, a Web-based mortgage services provider.Outside of work, Hamby has also been active in numerous trade organizations throughout his career and is a past recipient of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Florida’s Brown L. Whatley Award, an honor given to outstanding members for their contributions to the association and to the industry in Florida.”We’ve been very fortunate to have Wade on our team during a period of accelerated growth for our company,” said David Green, founder and CEO of the StoneHill Group. “His promotion complements our plans to dramatically increase our company’s footprint in the mortgage marketplace. With Wade leading our sales and marketing efforts, we expect great things to happen.”last_img read more

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GAO Nonbank Servicers Need More Oversight

first_imgGAO: Nonbank Servicers Need More Oversight GAO Nonbank servicers U.S. Government Accountability Office 2016-04-12 Seth Welborn The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that nonbank mortgage servicers need more oversight from both the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as the share of mortgages serviced by nonbanks has nearly quadrupled since 2012, according to a report released by the GAO on Monday.Nonbank servicers are now servicing almost a quarter of the nation’s $9.9 billion in outstanding residential mortgage loans (about 24.2 percent) as of June 2015, having increased from 6.8 percent in 2012. But the GAO pointed out that while the nonbank servicers’ portfolios have skyrocketed in the last few years, their internal controls and operating systems have generally not advanced at the same rate—an issue the CFPB and others have also pointed out. The reason for the tremendous growth of nonbank servicers’ portfolios is largely the result of banks exiting the mortgage space following the financial crisis due to an ever-increasing number of delinquent loans, among other factors.The report, titled “Nonbank Mortgage Servicers: Existing Regulatory Oversight Could Be Strengthened,” noted that the CFPB, which directly oversees nonbank servicers to make sure they are compliant with federal laws that govern consumer financial protection, does not have a full record of entities under its purview because it lacks a mechanism to develop a comprehensive list of nonbank servicers. The GAO also noted in the report that FHFA has indirect oversight over third parties that do business with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but unlike bank regulators, FHFA lacks the statutory authority to examine the third parties and identify risks that could possibly affect Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.“Congress should consider granting FHFA authority to examine third parties that do business with the enterprises,” the GAO recommended. “In addition, CFPB should take steps to collect more data on the identity and number of nonbank servicers. FHFA agreed that there should be parity among financial institution regulators in oversight authority of regulated entities and third parties they do business with. CFPB agreed that more data could supplement existing information but noted that the current data limitation does not materially affect its work.”Click here to view the GAO’s full report.Click here to view the highlights of the GAO’s report. Sharecenter_img April 12, 2016 551 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Servicinglast_img read more

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