Customers looking to spend their Avios on British Airways flights will just have to swipe their finger and they would be able to use the new Reward Flight Finder to find flights. The flights can be booked by using Avios or a combination of Avios and cash.The latest release of the app on iPhone and Android also features a completely redesigned flight booking process, using the latest technology and user-friendly design to make flights quicker and easier to book.The number of reward flights booked on mobile has increased by over 300% in 2014. Kevin McQuillan, British Airways’ Head of ba.com and mobile said, “We know our loyal customers are keen collectors of Avios and are always looking for flights on which to spend them…because the number of customers booking through our iPhone app has also grown by over 100% in the last year alone, we understand that they are often short on time when they are on the move. Thanks to this new redesign it is now possible for time-pressed customers to find great prices and book flights in under 60 seconds.”The new release of the British Airways iPhone app provides customers with a clear view of all flights which have seats that can be bought using Avios, available to destinations around the world.Avios can be collected from flights, hotel stays, car rental, credit cards, and even on everyday things like shopping. Customers can collect Avios every time they fly with British Airways and Iberia, or any oneworld airline partner, with a minimum of 125 Avios per flight.
Norwegian Cruise Line has unveiled its summer 2018 and fall/winter 2018-2019 itineraries, featuring new opportunities for guests to sail to the Caribbean.In summer 2018, Norwegian Gem will set sail for the Bahamas and Florida each Saturday from New York City. In winter 2018-2019, Norwegian Escape will remain in New York, and bring guests to the beaches Florida and the Bahamas on seven-day cruises.In addition to the Bahamas cruise options, guests can set sail to other Caribbean destinations on seven Norwegian ships in 2018 and 2019, sailing from departure ports including New York, Boston, Port Canaveral, San Juan, Miami, New Orleans and Tampa.New for 2018, guests cruising from New England can set sail to the Caribbean from Boston on Norwegian Dawn for a 14-day Eastern Caribbean cruise in 2018.From December 2018-February 2019, Norwegian Escape will set sail from New York on extended 12 and 14-day Southern Caribbean cruises, as well as 14-day Western Caribbean Cruises, which will include a call at Harvest Caye, Belize’s newest resort-style port of call.Norwegian Dawn will seasonally homeport in San Juan, Puerto Rico during the winter 2018- 2019 season, sailing to the heart of the Caribbean on seven, 10 and 11-day cruises, with calls in Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and more.Guests can also sail to the Southern Caribbean from Miami on Norwegian Jade, on a 10-day cruise on select dates from November 2018 to April 2019.Norwegian Epic will once again return to Port Canaveral in fall 2018, sailing alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, along with the select longer 10 and 11 day Western Caribbean cruises from November 2018 to January 2019.
Dubai is synonymous with luxury. Positioned as the luxury hub of Africa and the Middle East, Dubai is choc-a-block with high-end hotels, resorts, shopping malls, restaurants and much more. During a FAM trip organised by Dubai Business Events for a few of the top travel agents and trade media, with the aim of promoting Dubai as a MICE and business destination, all the delegates were given a tour of three luxury hotels and resorts in Dubai.In this issue, Travel News Digest will take you through Park Hyatt Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah Resort and Queen Elizabeth 2.Park Hyatt DubaiPart Hyatt in Dubai is beautifully designed in sync with the Arabic culture and tradition albeit with a modern twist.Ideally located on the banks of Dubai Creek, this luxury hotel neighbours Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. All the 225 rooms, including 35 suites are waterfront. Park Hyatt Dubai offers all kinds of facilities and amenities required for conventions, conferences, weddings, events, etc. Events can be curated and tailor-made as per the requirements and demands of the clients.Indian delegates were treated to a sumptuous lunch at the Park Hyatt Dubai and also toured the entire luxury property. Madinat Jumeirah ResortMadinat Jumeirah Resort is a recreation of ancient Arabia set across its own private beach. Divided into three grand hotels Jumeirah Al Qasr, Jumeirah Mina A’Salam and the newly opened Jumeirah Al Naseem, the grand luxury resort is ideally located within close proximity to Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Wild Wadi Waterpark and Jumeirah Beach Hotel. It houses seven Jumeirah Malakiya Villas and 29 summerhouses in Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf apart from 50 restaurants and bars, conference and banqueting facilities including two grand ballrooms, a 1000-seat amphitheatre and the region’s only dedicated entertainment centre and multi-purpose venue, Madinat Arena.Travel agents and media who were a part of the FAM trip took a tour of this high-end, luxury property and was served a great lunch and were spoilt for choice with numerous delicacies and dishes from across the globe.Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2)Often referred to as QE2, Queen Elizabeth 2 is a luxury liner converted into a floating luxury hotel. Docked permanently at Port Rashid in Dubai, QE2 houses fully-furnished rooms, 13 exclusive restaurants and bars, entertainment venues and shopping areas.Indian delegates got the opportunity to tour the entire cruise which has been renovated and revitalised with the latest amenities. After the tour of QE2, delegates were treated to a grand dinner in one of the restaurants. They were joined by Steen Jakobsen, Assistant Vice President, Dubai Business Events & City Operations for dinner.
“”InHouse, Inc.””:http://inhouseusa.com/ will now be, in fact, in house with “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com/ and “”Freddie Mac,””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ thanks to the company’s new platform that will provide direct appraisal integration with the GSEs. InHouse’s Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP) will allow lenders and appraisers on the InHouse Connexions service to deliver appraisals to the GSEs, enhancing compliance with updated submission standards that will soon take effect.[IMAGE]Under the new regulations, which will apply loans originated post-December 1 and delivered on or after March 19, 2012, lenders can submit appraisals to the UCDP via its web presence, or alternately, partner with entities such as InHouse to integrate with UCDP for greater efficiency.[COLUMN_BREAK]InHouse will give lenders electronic access to its new platform at no charge, for companies looking to utilize the UCDP program electronically instead of opting to use the web interface. Additionally, the InHouse Connexions appraiser-management component will provide lenders the ability to work with any appraiser or appraisal management company while maintaining a single system of record for all submissions.Jennifer Creech, InHouse’s president and CEO said of the new platform, “”The possibility of relying on third parties to comply with new submission standards in the most efficient manner has propelled thousands of lenders and appraisal companies to explore other options. Using Connexions, it’s easy for lenders to see who is performing optimally, and who is not.””Other advantages InHouse’s new platform will offer? The easy conversion of PDF files into GSE-mandated MISMO XML formatting, as well as validation and tracking of all appraisals. The California-based company was founded in 2002, and it’s estimated that more than 28 banks, lenders, credit unions, and originators utilize the entity’s Connexions service. July 27, 2011 455 Views Share in Origination, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2011-07-27 Abby Gregory InHouse to Improve Connexion Between Lenders, GSEs
Rising Rates Topple Application Volume in February in Data, Origination February’s increase in mortgage interest rates took some of the heat out of the refinancing boom, “”Capital Economics””:https://www.capitaleconomics.com/ says in its latest _US Housing Data Response_.[IMAGE]Capital Economics’ report, which compiles application data from the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://www.mortgagebankers.org/default.htm (MBA), shows application volume fell 0.3 percent month-over-month in February. That decline, however, is still an improvement over January, which saw a 2.5 percent drop in applications from December.Purchase applications gave up the most ground last month, falling 2.1 percent from January and interrupting a “”fairly encouraging run”” of increases that lasted five months. Year-over-year, however, purchase volume was up 14.1 percent.Refinance application volume, meanwhile, fell 0.8 percent from January to February. Volume also dropped year-over-year for the first time since 2011, according to Capital Economics.””[T]he bottom line is that, on the MBA measure, it still looks like the mortgage-dependent buyers are making only a marginal contribution to the housing recovery,”” the report reads. “”But other sources, such as the Fed’s Flow of Funds, show mortgage lending picking up. It’s possible that the MBA figures will stage a more sustained recovery later this year.””February’s decline in applications shadowed a rise in interest rates, which increased to a six-month high of 3.76 percent. While rates have been on the rise since the end of 2012–following analysts’ expectations–Capital Economics says it isn’t convinced that the market has seen a trough in rates yet.””After all, without a fundamental solution to the problems in the euro-zone, bouts of safe-haven demand will keep up the pressure on Treasury yields,”” the firm explains.Meanwhile, MBA released the results of its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 1. According to the survey’s Market Composite Index, application volume increased 14.8 percent on an unadjusted basis and 15 percent on an unadjusted basis.MBA’s Refinance Index increased 15 percent last week, rising to its highest level since mid-January. The refinance share of mortgage activity was essentially unchanged, however, keeping at 77 percent.The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index also increased, jumping 15 percent week-over-week (keeping in line with Capital Economics’ expectations) to its highest level in a month. The unadjusted index was up 18 percent.The rise in activity accompanied a decline in interest rates; according to MBA’s measures, the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.70 percent, a drop from 3.77 percent the week before and the lowest average rate since the week ending January 25. March 6, 2013 406 Views Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Capital Economics Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Rates Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-03-06 Tory Barringer
December 24, 2013 396 Views The “”National Association of Realtors””:http://www.realtor.org/ sent out a national survey in July, 2013 to buyers who had made their purchase within the previous year. The data collected from 8,767 respondents brings fresh insights into all phases of the home buying process, and helps recognize emerging trends. The study was conducted to help real estate professionals understand the needs and expectations of their clients.What did the study uncover?[IMAGE]The first step in the process for 42 percent of buyers was searching online for properties. Use of the Internet to search for homes rose slightly to 92 percent. Eighty-eight percent of buyers purchased their home through an agent or broker–a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001. Meanwhile, 42 percent of buyers found their agent through a referral from a friend or family member, and 12 percent used an agent they had worked with before. While the search time for buyers stayed the same as in previous years, the selling time for sellers dropped substantially. The typical homebuyer searched for 12 [COLUMN_BREAK]weeks and viewed 10 homes. Thirty-eight percent of recent homebuyers were first-time buyers, which is less than the historical norm of 40 percent.The typical seller lived in their home nine years. The median tenure has increased from six years in 2007. Recent sellers typically sold their homes for 97 percent of the listing price, and 47 percent reported reducing the price at least once. Eighty-five percent sellers reported that their home was listed or advertised on the multiple listing (MLS) website, and 88 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent. Nine percent sold their home without an agent–usually to avoid paying a commission; of that group, 40 percent said they knew the buyer prior to selling.Thirteen percent of respondents had to delay selling their home because the value of their home was less than their mortgage.The share of brand new homes sold was only 16 percent. These buyers wanted to avoid renovations, and liked customizing their home. Buyers who chose previously owned homes purchased their home for a better price and value–and for charm and character, they said.The typical buyer was 42 years old; the typical first-time buyer was 31, and the typical repeat buyer was 52. As for financing, 88 percent of buyers financed their recent home purchase, typically financing 90 percent of the cost.The study also revealed that buyers continue to face tighter credit standards than in previous years. This year’s report showed an elevated share of married couples with combined incomes at 66 percent–the highest share since 2001, and reduced levels of single buyers compared to last year. Survey Explores Shopping Patterns Among Homebuyers Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Credit Standards Demand Home Sales Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Realtors Service Providers 2013-12-24 Howard Goldthwaite in Data, Origination, Technology Share
Fidelity National Financial First American Fitch Ratings Old Republic National Title Stewart National Title Title Insurance 2014-08-25 Tory Barringer in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination Share As the rest of the housing market struggled in the year’s first half, so too did the title insurance industry, Fitch Ratings reported in a new analysis.Isolating business at the nation’s four largest title insurers—Fidelity National Financial, First American, Old Republic National Title, and Stewart Title Guaranty—analysts at Fitch calculated a combined 12 percent decline in operating revenues through the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period last year.A large portion of the decline came from lower mortgage refinancing volumes as interest rates increased, Fitch reported, though harsh weather also played a role in stifling real estate activity overall.Title orders were similarly weak in the second quarter, with opened orders falling 19 percent year-on-year. However, revenue per order expanded “due to strength in purchase and commercial activity, as well as rising home values,” Fitch said.Profits also took a hit from rising expense ratios, with First American being the only company to post a lower combined ratio. Overall, the group’s combined ratio rose 4.5 percentage points to 98.1 percent during the first half of 2014, stemming in part from weak underwriting.”Besides the deterioration in revenues and underwriting profits, recent results for the market in aggregate were negatively affected by one-time acquisition-related expenses incurred by industry leader Fidelity National Financial, Inc.,” Fitch added.News wasn’t all bad for the title industry, however: The ratings agency also observed an improved loss ratio for all for major insurers due to reduced strain on operating capacity. Loss development from prior underwriting periods also shrank “but remains a focus point.”For the future, Fitch predicts ongoing weakness as market fundamentals continue to flounder, reducing potential for future revenue growth.”While commercial activity remains robust, it is unlikely to fully offset other unfavorable trends,” the agency said. “Disciplined expense management and continued favorable commercial market activity will be important contributors to industry profitability in second-half 2014.” August 25, 2014 564 Views Title Insurance Profits Drop on Weak Refi Volume
When the Dodd-Frank Act came into play, the Federal Reserve took up regulatory responsibilities both for insurance holding companies that own a federally insured bank or thrift and for insurance companies designated as systemically important by the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).This transition brought about many changes for insurance companies, and today, Fed Governor Daniel K. Tarullo spoke at the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s International Insurance Forum, Washington, D.C., to clarity what the agency’s role is and is not in regulating insurance companies and how too big to fail companies will be addressed in the near future.According to Tarullo, the U.S. insurance industry makes up a large portion of the U.S. economy. Last year, written premiums in all sectors totaled nearly $2 trillion and earned premiums totaled nearly $1.8 trillion, representing increases from 2014 of approximately 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. These numbers represent over 7 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.”If the positions of the insurance company are large enough, it could become a potential vehicle for transmitting distress at the company to other parts of the financial system,” Tarullo explained.He added that the Fed “should distinguish between insurance companies that we oversee solely because they own an insured depository institution and those that have been designated as systemically important by the FSOC. This is precisely the path we are taking with regard to our supervision of these firms.”Tarullo broke down the Fed’s role in regulating insurance companies in four ways:As was the case prior to the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act, we are responsible for protecting the safety and soundness of federally insured depository institutions affiliated with any kind of holding company.The Dodd-Frank Act sharpened our statutory mandate to make clear that the Federal Reserve is to regulate and supervise holding companies with a view to the safety and soundness of not only the holding company itself, but also its functionally regulated subsidiaries, including affiliated insured depository institutions. Again, while the particulars differ, this mandate applies to SLHCs as well as to bank holding companies.The Dodd-Frank Act also changed our statutory mandate to require that we regulate holding companies so as to promote the stability of the financial system as a whole. This means paying attention to interconnections among financial firms, correlations of asset holdings, and other characteristics that could endanger the nation’s financial stability during periods of stress.For all the broadening of our statutory mandate, one feature of the financial regulatory system that the Dodd-Frank Act preserved was the functional regulation of holding company affiliates based on the kind of financial intermediation in which they are engaged.Tarullo noted that the Fed is also to develop a regulatory framework for its supervised insurance companies based on requirement from the Dodd-Frank Act that authorizes the Board to establish minimum capital requirements for both systemically important insurance companies and SLHCs and bank holding companies predominantly engaged in insurance activities.Systemically important insurance companies will have to establish enhanced standards in order to mitigate risks to U.S. financial stability that could arise from the material distress, failure, or ongoing activities of these companies, Tarullo stated.”The Board’s prudential regulatory objectives pertaining to supervised insurance companies are to protect the safety and soundness of the consolidated company, to protect any subsidiary depository institutions of the company, and to mitigate any threats to financial stability that might be posed by the activities, material financial distress, or failure of the company,” Tarullo said. “Just as we have done with other non-bank financial intermediaries for which we have been given regulatory responsibilities, we will fashion a regime that takes account of the particular characteristics and risks of those intermediaries.”He continued, “Our tentative conclusion is that a bifurcated approach to a capital regime for insurance companies makes sense in light of these considerations.” The Fed’s Plans for ‘Too Big to Fail’ Insurance Companies Share May 20, 2016 435 Views Federal Reserve Insurance Companies 2016-05-20 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News
June 1, 2017 548 Views MethodologyThe survey was fielded by Keystone Analytics on the evenings of May 4-6, 2017, using telephone interviews conducted by purchased consumer data as having purchased a home in the commonwealth in the last 12 months. Respondents were asked to confirm this before being invited to complete the survey over the phone.Survey responses were weighted based on the geographic distribution of new home sales in Pennsylvania over the last 12 months, and grouped based on the layout of Pennsylvania’s demographic marketing areas. Results have a margin error of +/ – 5.7 percent within a confidence interval of 95 percent. home buyer Home Buyers Necessity of Homebuying need to buy want to buy 2017-06-01 Staff Writer More new home buyers are buying homes out of personal desire rather than necessity in the second quarter of 2017, reports the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (PAR) in a survey conducted by The Welcome Home. Thirty-one percent of recent buyers purchased homes because they wanted to—they might want to start building personal equity, move to a good school district, have a larger yard, purchase a vacation home, or stop renting—as opposed to the 26 percent of home buyers in the state whose primary reason for purchasing a home was due to a sudden or unexpected change to their life, such as a death in the family, pregnancy, financial hardship, marriage, divorce, or health reasons. Nearly 20 percent of home buyers cited relocation as their reasoning for purchasing a home, which falls somewhere between the want and need category.Unsurprisingly, PAR found that “want to buy” purchasers were nearly twice as likely to secure a loan with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and purchase mortgage insurance, thereby avoiding the required 20 percent down payment. Out of those surveyed, 35 percent of “need to buy” customers purchased their homes with cash, as opposed to 23 percent of “want to buy” purchasers. Both “need to buy” and “want to buy” purchasers had similar penchants for securing their home with a traditional 30-year mortgage: 37 percent to 40 percent, respectively.Whether out of perceived necessity or choice, people in Pennsylvania are buying—home sales across the state are up 10 percent in the second quarter year-over-year, and new listings has dropped 8 percent from the previous quarter. Average sale prices are also up 1.7 percent to $175,000. in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News Desire Outweighs Necessity in the Home Buying Equation Share
Affordable Housing George Bush HOUSING HUD 2018-12-04 Radhika Ojha Remembering President George H.W. Bush Share December 4, 2018 637 Views On Wednesday, the country will observe a national day of mourning on the passing of George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States. While he is best remembered for his impact on America’s foreign policy, President Bush also played an important role in the passing of some key housing legislation that hasf left a lasting impact on the industry.As a young Congressman from Texas in 1968, he voted for the passage of the Fair Housing Act in a reversal on his earlier position on the Civil Rights Act, which he had famously opposed at that time.In an article that touched upon the event, Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post’s nonfiction book critic wrote, “He suffered through boos at a rally back home but insisted that “a man should not have a door slammed in his face because he is a Negro or speaks with a Latin American accent.” At the end of the event, he received a standing ovation, and nearly two decades later, he wrote that nothing else he’d experienced in public life matched the feeling from that evening.”After taking over the reins as President, Bush signed the Financial Institutions Reforms Act of 1989, which aimed to reform, recapitalize, and consolidate the Federal Deposit Insurance system, to enhance the regulatory and enforcement powers of federal financial institutions and regulatory agencies.His efforts for the housing industry also included the creation of an advisory commission under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for affordable housing to reduce regulations and red tape that added to the cost of housing, as well as privatization proposals for the public housing sector.President Bush and his son, President George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, are the second father-son pair to serve as president, following John Adams and John Quincy Adams.All federal agencies will be closed on Wednesday to observe it as a national day of mourning in remembrance of the 41st President.”The President has issued an Executive order to close Federal offices and excuse all Federal employees from duty for the scheduled workday on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, except those who, in the judgment of the head of the agency, cannot be excused for reasons of national security, defense, or other essential public business,” a statement by the U.S. Office of Personnel said. in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News
One of Chile’s leading fruit exporters, Copefrut, has become a member of Italian fruit consortium Origine Group.The Chilean company, set up in 1955 as Cooperativa Agrícola y Frutícola de Curicó and renamed Copefrut S.A. in 1992, exports fruit to more than 50 countries and processes 150,000 metric tons (MT) of produce, including 15,000MT of kiwifruit, 20,000MT of cherries, 2,000MT of pears and 90,000MT of apples.Copefrut joins another Chilean company, David Del Curto, which has been a member of Origine Group for more than one year. Origine Group was founded August 2015 from an alliance between several leading grower-marketers in the Italian and European markets. Dalian Yidu chief wins visionary award at Global C … Chilean kiwifruit volumes forecast down 15% this s … January 30 , 2019 You might also be interested in Pears in Charts: Recent pricing pushed below previ … Chile edges closer to Vietnamese market access for … “Origine Group is an important strategic choice for us, aimed at increasing the value of our top quality kiwis with an internationally recognized brand,” says Marco Echenique, Copefrut sales manager.”This is possible only by getting together with other companies and concentrating the resources necessary for successful international marketing. The value of the companies that participate in Origine Group gives us confidence that we made the right choice.”Alessandro Zampagna, managing director of Origine Group, said the new Chilean member would help build a 12-month supply of kiwifruit to ship to global markets.“Copefrut is a very important company, one of the biggest Chilean exporters, together with David Del Curto. Now our production base is more substantial and enables us to carry out more effective commercial strategies on the overseas markets,” he said.”Furthermore, the considerable membership of Origine Group, recently reinforced by the entrance of OP Minguzzi, is an opportunity for commercial projects on other products besides kiwis and pears”.
New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri has had an action-packed few months, with consumer trials of a red variety, ongoing work to develop a compostable fruit label, and the first phase of construction of a new corporate headquarters.David Courtney, the organization’s chief grower and alliances officer, told FreshFruitPortal.com: “It’s certainly been a busy year for us to date.””Aside from the fact we’re expecting to supply more SunGold than green for the first time this season, we’ve also had great feedback about the limited release of a new red variety which we’ve had in trials in New Zealand and Singapore,” he said.”There’s a lot of excitement about the potential for a red kiwifruit and based on the consumer trials and the performance of the fruit through the supply chain, we’ll be making a decision on whether or not we commercialize the new red, as well as a new green, later this year.”On the red variety, he said consumers liked the taste and look of the flesh – which is a big part of the decision on whether or not to commercialize, alongside agronomic performance and how the fruit stands up through the supply chain.”We’re still assessing the data that we’ve got from our trials in Singapore and New Zealand, and will be making a decision on our next steps before the end of the year,” he said.The company is also working with U.K.-based Sinclair on developing an improved compostable fruit label. Courtney said Zespri is one of the first in the world to adopt the recently launched compostable Sinclair EcoLabel and will roll it out across all organic Zespri kiwifruit from next season.”The entire label is OK Compost- and Seedling-certified, including the face stock, adhesive and inks, and it represents another step forward in terms of Zespri’s commitment to helping further reduce our environmental impact,” he said.In addition, the organization has also completed the first phase of the construction of a new head office in Mount Maunganui, just to the south of Auckland.The new building provides a “fantastic and modern working environment” that connects the headquarters with the major growing region of the Bay of Plenty and also with global markets which are represented in the names of the new meeting rooms, Courtney said.”There’s a number of sustainable design elements that have been incorporated including solar roof panels, energy-efficient and sensor lighting, and water-efficient plumbing fittings,” he said. You might also be interested in NZKGI hails success of labor shortage declaration … The new office will be a hub for the broader kiwifruit industry as industry organizations New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) and Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) also have ground floor offices in the new building.”We’re also increasing our focus on being a more sustainable industry, and the industry is in the middle of a discussion about what areas we can improve on because we know customers and consumers want us to do even better.”Zespri SunGold to overtake green for the first timeMeanwhile, Zespri’s kiwifruit exports have been in full swing over recent months. This season had an earlier start to the harvest than last year, and Courtney says the feedback from consumers has been “really positive”.”There’s a lot of excitement about the taste of this year’s crop. That’s due to some of the long dry spells we saw in the growing season which can keep the fruit a bit smaller but increase its dry matter content and as a result this is one of our best-ever tasting crops,” he said.Zespri is also expecting to supply more gold than green kiwifruit this season for the first time ever. SunGold exports are expected to hit around 75 million trays, and green kiwifruit around 70 million.”In 2018/19, our total sales were 167.2 million trays – this included 76.5 million trays of New Zealand-grown Green, up 19% on the 64.4 million in 2017/18, and 65.4 million trays of New Zealand-grown gold kiwifruit, up 26% from the 52.1 million trays sold in 2017/18,” he said.Sales in the two leading markets – Japan and China – were last season up 20% to 28 million trays and 14% to 27 million trays, respectively.Courtney said there’s “still really exciting growth in both those regions” and the organization is continuing to invest in building the Zespri brand across our markets. Other strong growth markets are Spain – which is now one of three 20-million-tray markets – and North America, where sales increased by more than 50% last year, driven by growing demand for SunGold and organics.”We know there’s significant capacity to grow given kiwifruit still makes up such a small portion of the global fruit bowl – around 1.5 percent of the world’s internationally traded fruit,” he said.”Our focus is going to be on continuing to get closer to our consumers so that we can meet their needs.” NZ horticultural export value grows to NZ$5.5B … July 25 , 2019 Chile announces first-ever kiwifruit campaign in N … Police uncover huge Italian ‘kiwigate’ scandal …
Australian cruise seasonP&OPacific Dawn When Pacific Dawn arrives in Brisbane on 16 March 2017, she’ll be showing off the results of a multi-million dollar makeover – currently underway in Singapore.The ‘new Dawn’ will feature two spectacular waterslides on her top decks and a state-of-the-art waterpark, The Pantry –an international market place of fresh food outlets that will replace the traditional ship buffet, a Mediterranean-inspired dining offering called Nic and Toni’s, and a new seafood restaurant, Shell & Bones.Several of Pacific Dawn’s public spaces – including the atrium, Charlie’s Cafe, The Orient and the Promenade Bar – will also be redesigned to mirror the striking contemporary look that has become a trademark of the P&O fleet in recent years.Fares on the refurbished ship include a seven-night Pacific Island Hopper departing Brisbane on 1 April 2017 starting from $749* per person quad share.*Subject to availability, conditions applyIMAGE: Pacific Dawn enters the dry dock in Singapore, February 2017
Malaysia Airlines is now the first airline in Malaysia, and the fifth in the world, to integrate with the WhatsApp Business solution.The airline’s customers can receive their flight booking confirmation and flight status directly through the popular messaging app and opt into the service by sending any WhatsApp message to the number +603 8777 4570 or via the http://bit.ly/mhwhatsapp link.Malaysia Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer Izham Ismail said, “We are extremely excited to be the first in Malaysia and one of the first in the world to offer this new service on WhatsApp. The WhatsApp Business solution will enable us to reach out to more passengers as WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging applications with more than 1.5 billion users worldwide. The new service will further enhance the customer experience for todays always connected customers.” airlinesMalaysia AirlinesWhatsApp
It’s certainly not the sexiest of postseason honors, but it’s an honor nonetheless.USA Today released it’s 21st annual All-Joe Team, a squad made up of hard workers that weren’t selected to Pro Bowl teams. And the Arizona Cardinals, despite their 5-11 record, had two representatives on this year’s All-Joe Team.Defensive end Calais Campbell, who many feel should have received a Pro Bowl nod, landed on the All-Joe Team. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Says USA Today: He’s not quite J.J. Watt, but Campbell is the rare 3-4 defensive end who can wreck a game. He’s averaged seven sacks over the past four seasons, and his 6-8 frame plays havoc with passers and kickers.The other Cardinal honored was punter Dave Zastudil, who enjoyed a fantastic season for Arizona. Dropped 46 punts inside opponents’ 20-yard line, a new NFL record. Despite the horrid field position Arizona often had, Zastudil didn’t merely bomb away and instead maintained an excellent net (41.4 yards) while forcing a league-high 36 fair catches. And he did a lot of work, his 112 punts 21 more than anyone else last season.Former Sun Devil Vontaze Burfict of the Cincinnati Bengals, who went undrafted last year but worked his way into a starting spot, also landed All-Joe honors.
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires TEMPE, Ariz. — As Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick combined to gash the Arizona Cardinals for 151 rushing yards over the last two weeks, they were actually doing their opponents a favor. As the Cardinals head into their Wild Card round matchup with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, they have a pretty good idea of what they need to work on in order to stop a mobile quarterback.“Yeah, definitely,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said when asked if seeing mobile QBs the last couple games gives the team an opportunity to see what needs to be corrected. “There are so many carryover things from the last two weeks going into this week, than if you played him for the first time and haven’t played those other teams. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 0 Comments Share ErrorOK ErrorOK “It’s an advantage for us, schematically, because we’ve seen some things work, not work, and look at how they run their offense with the quarterback. It gives you an advantage, yeah.”Arians said Newton, who ran for 539 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games this season, is a combination of Wilson and Kaepernick, a runner who can also throw well from the pocket. He also pointed to Newton’s ability to run between the tackles as something that separates him from the other two. At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, Newton is quite a specimen at the quarterback position and can do some things other passers cannot.“Unlike the other two, he can run you over,” Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. “He’s a fullback, he’s a tight end, he’s a quarterback and he’s a tailback. He’s not just speed and run outside the pocket … that makes it even harder or tougher to tackle.”Safety Tyrann Mathieu called Newton one of the most athletic QBs he’s ever faced.“Doesn’t have the speed as Russell and Kaepernick, but he can make the same plays as those guys,” he said. “So we have to really be mindful of the things he can do to us to hurt us.” Last season, in a Week 5 matchup between Arizona and Carolina at University of Phoenix Stadium, Newton was held to just 25 yards on four rushing attempts. He was also sacked seven times and picked off thrice as the Cardinals won 22-6. Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
– / 40 That play went to Janis as well, and it was that 60-yard reception — on 4th-and-20 — that kept the Packers’ drive alive and set up the Hail Mary.The cornerback beaten on that play was Justin Bethel, a player whom many eyes are on now that he’s in a starting role for the first time in his career.Bethel said he thought he had help from a safety over the top, but that wasn’t the reason for why the big completion was made.“I don’t know what was happening,” he said Tuesday. “I knew it was a Cover 2, so I was playing off thinking — probably thinking too much was the problem — thinking they might try to run something to the sticks just to get the first down and I was a little too far behind.“I looked back for the ball once I saw him (Janis) slow up, looking, thinking the ball was still in the air, and as soon as I looked he caught it. So I turned around, he already caught it. I definitely should have been closer to him, but you know, stuff like that happens sometimes.”The play stood out as the biggest gaffe in what was at times a difficult game for the fourth-year pro, who is seeing plenty of passes come his way as teams look to avoid Peterson on the other side. Understandably, Bethel seemed to be taking things pretty hard after the game, which leads to the question of whether there is reason to worry about his mindset going forward. TEMPE, Ariz. — When people talk about the catch that nearly cost the Arizona Cardinals a win last Saturday, they will most surely be pointing to the 41-yard Hail Mary caught by Green Bay’s Jeff Janis over Patrick Peterson and Rashad Johnson in the end zone as time expired.It makes sense, since that play– plus the extra point — sent the game into overtime.Lost in that conversation, however, will probably be an even longer pass that was completed a few plays earlier. Bethel is not the only member of the team that got a bit of a reprieve when Fitzgerald took a shovel pass into the end zone from five yards out, allowing the Cardinals to escape with a 26-20 win and move on to the NFC Championship Game.Quarterback Carson Palmer threw a pair of interceptions — one of which was in the end zone — and was off on more throws than everyone is used to seeing.Arians himself was criticized for his team taking to the air on a 2nd-and-8 from the Green Bay 22-yard line with just more than two minutes remaining. The incomplete pass stopped the clock, and ultimately left the Packers enough extra time to pull off their end-of-regulation rally.But both quarterback and coach have enough of a track record to where people are confident in their abilities; Bethel is not afforded the same luxury.While the 25-year-old has all the size and tools necessary to become a reliable cornerback, until he puts it all together, the question as to whether or not he will is not going anywhere.The only way to make his struggles a thing of the past is to move forward, and that means learning from his experiences.“Just finish, I guess,” he said of what he needs to learn. “When I see the receiver relax, I can’t relax. I’ve got to finish until I hear the whistle blow and just keep being able to move on to the next play because you never know what can happen on any play.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “We’ll wait and see,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Monday. “This is the first time he’s had something to get over. As a coach and a player, until it happens, you never know how they’ll respond. Hopefully, he’ll respond in the right way.”Arizona needs Bethel to rebound because the team is fairly thin at cornerback. The season-ending injury to Tyrann Mathieu meant Jerraud Powers, normally a cornerback, needed to move inside, which opened up the spot for Bethel.A three-time Pro Bowler for his work on special teams, the team signed him to a three-year, $15 million contract extension in December because they saw his potential to grow into larger role on defense, too.If that is to happen, he will have to get past last Saturday’s struggles, which it seems like he has.“I was happy that we won, obviously; it was definitely a sigh of relief after Larry scored,” Bethel said. “I said, ‘Oh, thank you Jesus.’“I guess I handle things different than most people and it might come off as I’m down and depressed or whatever you want to say; I’m really hard on myself and at that time I was just like, I left some stuff out on the field and I felt like I could have played better. At the end the day we won the game and we had to move on and move on to the next game. After that night it’s over, I can’t do anything about it. Just be happy and celebrate with my teammates and get ready for Carolina.” Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires There’s little doubt Bethel will get plenty more chances. As long as he’s playing opposite Peterson, quarterbacks are going to target him. Whether they are picking on him or not really depends on how well he is playing. But if nothing else, this crash course in cornerback 101 should help him continue to grow.“I think you never really stop growing,” Bethel said. “There’s always things you can tweak and you can be better at. For me, people have been saying to me before, the more targets you get the more experience you get from it.“It’s like a test and getting a lot of information at once and trying to take it all in at one time, so I enjoy it and I think at the end of the day it’s going to make me a better player.”And of course, the positive side of being thrown at as much as Bethel is and will be is that the more plays come your way, the more opportunities you have to come up big.“I had a couple chances, I just didn’t catch the ball,” he said of Saturday’s game. “Hopefully as time goes on, if I still keep getting those targets I’ll make those plays that come to me.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis (83) is knocked out of bounds by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact In fact, Leaf’s 1998 QB rating of 39.0 is the third-lowest by any quarterback who started nine or more games in a season since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.Oops.The picks the Cardinals acquired weren’t exactly world-beaters, but they were certainly better than Leaf.Wadsworth was viewed as a can’t-miss prospect in 1998 after a dominant career at Florida State. He was a consensus All-American and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in ’97 when he had 16 sacks for the Seminoles, who went 11-1 and pounded Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.After a lengthy holdout, Wadsworth signed a $42 million deal with the Cardinals the night before their season-opener in Dallas. He had a decent rookie campaign, finishing with five sacks and adding two more in the Cardinals’ stunning playoff victory over the Cowboys.However, his career was short-lived due to knee injuries. He was released following the 2000 season and never played in another NFL game.Chavous, whom the Cardinals got with the 33rd pick, was solid but unspectacular during his Arizona career, which lasted four seasons. Chavous became a full-time starter in 2001, his last year with the Cardinals. He was a favorite of the media, especially sports talk radio hosts, because of his encyclopedic knowledge of the game, including detailed scouting reports of college players. He’d go on to play seven more years in the league with the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams. The next year, the Cardinals got Boston, the wide receiver responsible for breaking the hearts of ASU fans everywhere by catching the go-ahead touchdown pass late in Ohio State’s 1997 Rose Bowl win.Boston would play four seasons in Arizona, including a stellar 2001 campaign that saw him lead the NFL with nearly 1,600 receiving yards. He was known for his muscular physique, which turned out to be unnaturally enhanced. Boston was slapped with a four-game suspension for steroid use in 2004 while a member of the Miami Dolphins. If nothing else, this trade showed the harsh reality that draft picks on paper are often far more attractive than the players picked in those slots. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories With the Tennessee Titans making a trade with (or more to the point, fleecing) the Los Angeles Rams in a draft trade earlier this week, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com took a stroll down memory lane and ranked the top five such trades in NFL history.Of course, Mike Ditka punting on his whole draft to move up and select running back Ricky Williams in 1999 and the Dallas Cowboys pulling the wool over the Minnesota Vikings’ eyes in the Herschel Walker trade in 1990 top the list. 0 Comments Share Minnesota Vikings quarterback Randall Cunningham scrambles out of the grasp of Arizona Cardinals’ Andre Wadsworth, right, during the second quarter of action in the NFC divisional playoff game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Jan. 10, 1999. (AP Photo/Mark A. Duncan) But the Arizona Cardinals landed in the top five as well, coming in at number five.5. Chargers move up with help from Arizona CardinalsYear: 1998Chargers got: No. 2 overall pick, which they used to draft quarterback Ryan Leaf.Cardinals got: Two first-round picks, a second-round pick and two players. The Cardinals used those picks to draft defensive end Andre Wadsworth, safety Corey Chavous and receiver David Boston.Comment: Everyone knows the Chargers made a big mistake in selecting Leaf, but it’s largely lost on history how much they gave up to move one spot to be in position to draft him in the first place. The Cardinals didn’t maximize those picks in terms of long-lasting impact, but in exchange for moving down one spot, they acquired the No. 3 and No. 33 picks in the 1998 draft and the No. 8 pick in 1999. Yikes.The Cardinals felt they had their quarterback in place with Jake Plummer manning the position, so that gave them the flexibility to deal with teams desperate to move up to get Leaf or Peyton Manning. Yes, there was a debate at the time to which quarterback would make the better pro.The Chargers ended up getting 18 starts out of Leaf, in which they went 4-14. His statistics were among the worst in NFL history — he threw 14 touchdown passes against 36 interceptions, completed only 48 percent of his passes and had a QB rating of 50.
Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) dives for yardage as Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland (26) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Thus, the Cardinals are in full must-win.It’s easy to look back on the season and state where you might have declared them dead. Some people look at “must-win” as more subjective. If you said the Minnesota or Atlanta game was a must-win because it’s your prediction they wouldn’t recover, you’re looking spot on with that opinion. The New York Times, however, takes out a lot of conjecture.Looking at the New York Times playoff percentage simulator, if Arizona ends the year on a five-game winning streak, there’s an 89-percent chance the Cards are in the playoffs. Granted, the simulator is just that. It simulates finishing over 5,000 seasons and gives you the probable chance for Arizona. Run the simulator for yourself and it might come out different by a few percentage points.It does prove, though, that none of the other losses were truly “must-wins” because a 4-0 run would, probably, lead to a game in Detroit in the first round of the playoffs. The big takeaway is as much as the Cardinals’ 2016 season has deserved the death penalty, the rest of the NFC has refused to tie the noose. An 89-percent chance to make the playoffs is strong enough to say they’re in if they win. Of course, the question becomes, are they strong enough to win? Top Stories 0 Comments Share The Cardinals are in a similar situation as those Steelers, so it’s fair to say, “It’s happened!” At the end of the season, that statement will probably change to a question that will define the 2016 Arizona Cardinals: “What happened?” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The answer is no.As I ran through the simulations, 4-0 basically puts Arizona into the second week of January, but going 3-1 isn’t enough, especially if “the one” is against Seattle. Losing in Seattle drops the Cards’ chances to 10 percent. If the Cards are going to lose, January 1st in L.A. is the one to pick because a 20 percent chance is the highest probability if any of the remaining four games are not victories.The rest of the schedule isn’t daunting. The Dolphins aren’t a great team, but every team is good when they come off of an embarrassing loss like Miami suffered in Baltimore. The Saints and Los Angeles aren’t scary, but neither was New England without Brady and Gronk…or Buffalo…or the 4-8 Rams and Panthers…or the .500 Vikings.One of the greatest hot streaks ever was the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. After starting 7-2, a three game losing streak seemed to eliminate Pittsburgh from playoff contention. They won four in a row to pass the Chiefs for the final playoff spot, then took the hardest road in NFL history to a Super Bowl beating the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds (not in that order) to reach the Super Bowl. The wide receivers coach on that team was Bruce Arians. Before Super Bowl XXVIII, Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy was asked if the game was a must-win considering he’d lost other Super Bowls and the team was getting older. Therefore, it was thought, they may not get another opportunity.His response: “This is not a must-win; World War II was a must-win.”If you allow football to be placed in its proper context within the confines of world history, the Arizona Cardinals are either one-game into a nine-game winning streak that will bring a championship or one loss away from their season ending. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
FILE – In this Oct. 15, 2017, file photo, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians tries to call a timeout during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Glendale, Ariz. As Arizona limps into its bye week at 3-4, the Cardinals have just lost quarterback Carson Palmer with a broken arm. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling A healthy Robert NkemdicheAs defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche was holding court at his locker, speaking to reporters, cornerback Patrick Peterson walked by and shouted, “It’s a great opportunity for Robert to be dominant.”That’s the hope, of course. It’s also been a rare occurrence since the Cardinals selected him with the 29th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.In two years, Nkemdiche has played in only eight out of a possible 23 games due to injury. He returned to the field against the Rams in London after missing three weeks and recorded two tackles, including one for loss, in 35 snaps.“Oh, he’s getting better and better,” Arians said. “He had a great week of practice. He was disruptive in the game—he’s been pretty solid for a month.”The Cardinals need Nkemdiche to be more than solid. They need him to be disruptive, whether that’s pressuring the quarterback or stopping the run and helping to create more turnovers. The Cardinals have only forced seven, all interceptions, in seven games.“It can help a lot, honestly, because when you have guys penetrating and getting vertical as d-linemen, it just helps,” Nkemdiche said. “That’s what I’m going to try to bring and that’s what we predicate on as a d-line anyway. It’s part of our technique and our assignment is to get vertical. I’m going to do that. I’m feeling good and healthy, so.” Top Stories “In our sport, we don’t get many games to do it so right now, they’re one-game playoffs and that’s the way we’re treating it,” defensive lineman Frostee Rucker said Friday.The Cardinals have been alternating wins and losses each week, meaning they’ve spent the better part of the season chasing .500. And that’s once again the position they find themselves in this week, heading into their matchup at San Francisco.For that reason, head coach Bruce Arians called the sense of urgency “extreme,” pointing to the importance of a .500 record after Sunday.“It’s extremely important,” he said. “You cannot fall any further behind in our division. Division road wins are huge so this is a big, big game. I don’t think there’s ever a must game but this is pretty close.”While the Cardinals play at San Francisco, the Seahawks host the Washington Redskins and the Rams travel across the country to New York to tackle the Giants.It may be too much to ask, but perhaps the Cardinals catch a break this week and gain some ground on their division rivals. That, of course, first requires them taking care of business against the 49ers.“I thought it was a really, really excellent week of practice and preparation,” Arians said. “Like the road games we’ve had, from now until Sunday, we need to keep preparing and get better. We have struggled in that area on road games, and this is a big road game for us.” Final injury reportOnly one player, backup center Daniel Munyer, has been ruled for Sunday’s game. He’s got a toe injury that kept him off the practice field all week.Five players are listed as questionable: Rucker (knee/hip), linebacker Karlos Dansby (finger/hamstring), running back Andre Ellington (quadriceps) plus wide receivers Brittan Golden (groin) and Chad Williams (back).Neither Golden nor Williams practiced Thursday or Friday.The 49ers, meanwhile, list seven players as out, including three starters: wide receiver Pierre Garcon (neck), left tackle Joe Staley (eye) and defensive end Solomon Thomas (knee). Four others will miss the game as well, including tackle Garry Gilliam (knee), defensive tackle D.J. Jones (knee), defensive end Aaron Lynch (calf) and cornerback K’Waun Williams (quadriceps).Garcon and Gilliam will be placed on injured reserve, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan, who added rookie linebacker Reuben Foster (ribs) will be a gametime decision.Saluting Frostee RuckerOn Friday, the NFL and USAA, the league’s official military appreciation sponsor, announced the 32 nominees for the seventh annual Salute to Service Award.Rucker is the Cardinals’ nominee. “It’s always a good thing when you get recognized for doing good things in the community,” he said.The Salute to Service Award annually recognizes NFL players, coaches, personnel and alumni who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.“I’ve always taken the time any time there was something to do outreach with the military or the service. I always raise my hand and am one of the first people to sign up to do it. They mean so much and they protect us. No matter what battle they’re in and why and whatnot, they’re always there and they’re the frontline of the defense,” Rucker said.“My father was a serviceman, I have an uncle who’s a serviceman, I have an auntie that was in the service for many years and they’re very dear to my heart. I’m just thankful I can represent them the right way.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo TEMPE, Ariz. – It’s simple: Win the division, clinch a playoff spot.And right now, seven games into the season, that may be the only way for the Arizona Cardinals to continue playing football games into the New Year.Entering Week 9, the 3-4 Cardinals are a full two games back of Seattle and Los Angeles, both of whom sit tied for first place in the NFC West at 5-2 and, perhaps more importantly, are playing good football. The Seahawks have won four straight, while the Rams are on a two-game winning streak, which includes a victory over the Cardinals. 8 Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact