Malaysia firm says hightech farms can help poor

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Iris says the “Rimbunan Kasih” villages are environmentally friendly. It says construction of the houses requires no timber or concrete, and that its farm technology cuts waste. Water is recycled from fish tanks to the mechanically irrigated vegetable pots.Najib is expected to launch the first village before the end of the year as part of efforts to bring better wages to rural regions, where official data show about 8.5 percent of Malaysians live in poverty. In rural parts of peninsular Malaysia, the government considers families earning less than 743 ringgit ($242) a month to be living in poverty.The poverty rate is far lower than the 58 percent in 1970, but there has been little improvement since the 1990s. So far, villagers in the project have comprised the country’s majority ethnic Malay Muslims as well as a small number of indigenous tribal people, all of whom make up the bulk of the country’s rural poor.___Some see the project as a model for how the corporate sector can become more closely involved in Malaysia’s anti-poverty efforts.Tan hopes he can also drum up interest in other countries in Asia and Africa for such villages, as well as potentially build integrated farms in refugee camps. Associated PressPULAU MANIS, Malaysia (AP) – For one Malaysian widow, moving to this experimental farming village represented hope for a brighter future for her seven children. Her new neighbor, also among the first to settle here, sought an easier life after years of low-paying, back-breaking plantation labor.The corporation that built this rural community two years ago sees it as part charity, part test kitchen. The villagers _ 80 families in all _ live for free in low-cost bungalows and work on a high-tech hydroponic farm, a setup the company hopes to replicate elsewhere. Top Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mohd Khanif Yusop, a professor specializing in agriculture and land management at Malaysia’s Putra University, said the project must strike a balance between being cost-effective and producing lucrative crops.“In spite of the costs of the hydroponic system, it’s possible for you to market high-value crops at a high price,” he said. “But then, if your lettuce is more expensive than the lettuce imported from China, then it won’t be sustainable.”Tan acknowledges there have been problems: A few villagers were reprimanded for failing to show up for work, while another struggled with a drug addiction.But residents of Pulau Manis and the second village in nearby Padang Rumbia district told The Associated Press they are happy with their new homes and feel safe. Villagers in Padang Rumbia are nurturing a sense of community by organizing soccer games and get-togethers to spruce up the neighborhood.Asked how long he hopes to stay, Padang Rumbia resident Hanif Abdul Hamid grins and replies: “Until they kick me out. Why should I go anywhere else?”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix By early last year, families selected by Pahang’s welfare and religious authorities left behind their cramped wooden shacks to move into three-bedroom, brick-and-mortar houses built in neat rows on bare land surrounded by vestiges of palm oil plantations. Grocery shops and a school are nearby, but it’s nearly an hour’s drive to the closest major town.Iris also constructed plant nurseries where many villagers now tend to cabbage, tomatoes, rock melons, okra, lettuce and chili peppers. Iris sells the produce in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s largest city, as well as in neighboring Singapore.Iris uses technology it calls the “autopot system.” Each plant is in its own pot that regulates the delivery of water and nutrients, using less water than other farming methods. The company says it is “absolutely certain” the villages will be profitable from crop earnings and sustainable in the long term, though it was unable to provide specific projections.___Among the residents is Faizal Zulkifli, a thin, darkly tanned father of three. His bungalow is almost indistinguishable from his neighbors’, with a rust-tainted motorcycle, papaya tree and a clothesline filled with sarongs and sweat pants in his front yard. His living room is sparsely furnished with a worn-out couch and a table topped with baby formula and fruits. ___A few months after the Pulau Manis village was completed, Iris began building a similar village about a half-hour drive away. Early this year, another 50 families moved into the second village, which features space for raising chickens and water tanks where thousands of freshwater fish are now bred.It wasn’t long before Malaysia’s federal government took notice of both villages, which Iris says cost a total of 16 million ringgit ($5.2 million) to develop. Tan, the Iris executive, gave Prime Minister Najib Razak a tour of one of the villages.Subsequently, government officials agreed to fund the construction of at least five more villages by Iris in various Malaysian states, each costing about 25 million ringgit ($8.2 million). The project is known in the Malay language as “Rimbunan Kasih,” loosely translated as “Canopies of Love.”Each upcoming village will contain 100 houses and wide-ranging farm facilities, as well as community halls, places of worship and computer laboratories.There will be other upgrades: The 1,000-square-foot (100-square-meter) houses will be better insulated and can be constructed faster, within 10 days instead of four weeks, with Iris using its own building panels made of Styrofoam and mineral compounds. Tan said it is “not unlike making a house out of Lego blocks.” 0 Comments   Share   It’s far from a luxurious existence, but it’s better than what his family had when he worked on a palm oil plantation.“I remember when we lived before in a house with no electricity, no tap water,” he said, carrying his year-old son while taking a break from his work doing farm equipment maintenance.He said his work is a cinch compared to his old job loading heavy bunches of palm oil fruits onto trucks.Norlailawati Yusof feels much the same way. She used to work as a housemaid in another Pahang province, earning 15 ringgit ($5) a day. Now she makes three times that much working on Iris’ farm.Norlailawati, whose husband died of pneumonia several years ago, prunes vegetables planted neatly in mechanically irrigated pots inside a plastic-shaded, nylon-walled nursery. She says the morning heat and the menial chores rarely faze her, since she considers it a blessing to be earning a steady salary.And her present working hours _ seven hours a day, six days a week _ feel less demanding, enabling her to devote more time to her children.“I don’t worry so much anymore,” says Norlailawati, who wears a flowing Muslim headscarf and a loose-fitting dress while working. “I can afford to send my seven children to school.” Four benefits of having a wireless security system Sponsored Stories “We thought that we should do something different, instead of just donating money,” said Tan Say Jim, managing director of Malaysian technology firm Iris Corp. “Even if we give you a little money, you’ll still be poor. We wanted to really touch lives.”The government is now involved in a plan to build similar villages across this Southeast Asian country, where nearly one of 10 people in rural provinces lives below the official poverty line.___The idea for the village began at Iris, a company whose interests range from passport computer chips to agricultural equipment, much of which is in use at Kampung Pulau Manis and a second village set up this year.Collaborating with a local Islamic bank for charity work, Iris executives brainstormed a plan to develop homes and a farm on 25 acres (10 hectares) of abandoned land that state authorities offered in Pulau Manis district, in eastern Pahang state.Malaysia’s government regularly encourages companies to conduct “corporate social responsibility” programs; in recent years, these ranged from oil-and-gas company BP helping to manage a sanctuary for endangered turtles to toothpaste manufacturer Colgate providing oral care travel kits to Muslim pilgrims bound for Saudi Arabia. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Climate of fear engulfs Burundi ahead of polls

first_imgBUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — The head of Burundi’s journalists’ union spends all but half an hour each day in a tiny room in an undisclosed location in the capital in fear for his life, as this central African nation is engulfed in turmoil over the president’s decision to run for another term.Alexandre Niyungeko says he received death threats after publicly opposing the president’s plan to run again. Like dozens of other human rights activists, journalists and opposition officials he has gone into hiding to protect himself from what he says are death squads backing the government. Niyenguko, the head of the journalists’ union, said he went into hiding after he was told that members of the ruling party’s youth wing were planning to kill him.After he gave an interview on TV about the coup saying it was the consequence of Nrurunziza’s candidacy, he received dozens of messages telling him his days were numbered.He then moved his family to somewhere he hoped they would be safe and chose another location for his own hiding place.“It’s a shame and irresponsible to see security forces and intelligence service attacking media daily, as if there were no laws,” he said. “I feel like a father who is unable to protect his own children.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Even the vice president of the country’s election commission doesn’t feel safe and fled the country over the weekend. Spes-Caritas Ndironkeye left for Canada without notifying her boss, said commission spokesman Prosper Ntahorwamiye.The media in particular has been targeted, with grenade attacks against four independent radio stations and a TV station, leaving just the state-owned media on the air. Journalists who witnessed the attacks charge that it was done by government intelligence officials and police.“I am deeply worried by the extremely tense situation in Burundi. We are receiving alarming messages from human rights defenders and journalists fearing for their safety,” the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said recently.Burundi, a country of 10 million people which exports mostly coffee and depends heavily on foreign aid, experienced an ethnic-based civil war from 1993 to 2003 which killed at least 250,000 people.The current violence has led to a mass exodus of more than 90,000 refugees fleeing the country since the protests began, many of whom fled violence before.Presidential elections are slated for June 26, but regional leaders on Sunday called for the poll to be postponed to create an environment more conducive to the polls. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milkcenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes How do cataracts affect your vision? Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   A climate of fear has engulfed Burundi as attacks against those opposed to President Pierre Nkurunziza are on the rise.“The life of anyone who opposes Pierre Nkurunziza is in danger. People are being assassinated here and there,” leading opposition figure Agathon Rwasa told The Associated Press.The protests, which have left 20 dead and hundreds injured, came to a head on May 13 when an army general announced a coup against the president while he was out of the country at a regional summit about the crisis in neighboring Tanzania. The attempt was defeated in 48 hours and has been followed by a spike of attacks on anyone opposing the president.On May 23, opposition leader Zedi Feruzi, who had called for the protests, was killed in a drive-by shooting that also killed a bodyguard and wounded a journalist. A day earlier two people were killed in a grenade attack on a marketSome neighborhoods in the capital are now experiencing almost daily running battles between police firing live bullets and stone-throwing protesters who vow not to leave the streets until the president drops his candidacy. Protesters barricade their neighborhoods at night and stay awake in fear of late night attacks by police or pro-government militia.last_img read more

Romania Parliament to vote on tax cuts that president nixed

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home President Klaus Iohannis refused to pass into law the tax cuts on June 17, saying they could lead to “domestic and external risks,” including unsustainable economic growth.The measures included a proposed sales tax cut to 19 percent from 24, salary tax cuts, and a reduction of fuel taxes, all scheduled to take effect at the start of next year.The tax cuts are important for the embattled ruling party to boost its popularity ahead of 2016 Parliamentary elections.Prime Minister Victor Ponta was indicted on wide-ranging corruption charges on July 13 related to work he did as a lawyer in 2007-2008. In May, acting chairman Dragnea was handed a one-year suspended prison sentence for defrauding an election to impeach the former president. Both Ponta and Dragnea deny wrongdoing.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The vital role family plays in society New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s center-left ruling party will recall Parliament from its summer recess to vote on a redrafted series of tax cuts after the president refused to pass the previous proposals into law.Acting chairman of the governing Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, said Monday that Parliament would debate and vote on the new measures on Aug 24-25, after consulting with central bank officials about their viability.center_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Leading Hot els of the World

first_imgCondé Nast Traveler UK named eight members of The Leading Hotels of the World to its just-released “Hot List 2011” of the ‘World’s Best New Hotels’.The eight new hotels listed are Vidago Palace Portugal, Setai Fifth Avenue New York, Hullett House Hong Kong, Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hotel Fasano Punta del Este, The Royal Mansour Marrakech, The Taleon Imperial Hotel St Petersburg and Principe Forte dei Marmi Italy. These hotels share a common standard in their artful blend of high style as well as a strong sense of place. For more information on The Leading Hotels of the World visit or contact your travel professional. Vidago Palace Hotel Portugal Source = The Leading Hotels of the Worldlast_img read more

TQ ATEC to work closely together through MoU

first_imgOne of Queensland’s star attractions:the sea turtle Queensland tour operators look set to benefit from a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Tourism Queensland and the Australian Tourism Export Council at last week’s ATEC Symposium on Hamilton Island.  The MoU will see the two organisations work more closely together, with TQ chief executive Anthony Hayes saying the partnership would provide new business opportunities for the state’s “second largest export earner”. “ATEC is a key link in the chain which helps our tourism operators market and sell their product to the more than two million international visitors who come to Queensland each year,” Mr Hayes said. According to the TQ boss, ATEC also provides valuable opportunities for tourism operators to network with inbound wholesalers as well as participate in industry development initiatives.     ATEC services, workshops and familiarisations will likewise receive the support of TQ, with ATEC managing director Felicia Mariani saying the closer ties would bring “great benefits to ATEC members both in Queensland and nationally”. “ATEC supports the tourism industry through networking, education, advocacy and industry development and strong collaborations with state agencies are important in the delivery of many of our programs,” Ms Mariani said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

Asian stars promote travel down under

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Two of Asia’s most famous celebrities have been recruited by Tourism Australia to promote the destination through online initiatives, music video clips and chatter.Commencing promotion this week with a new online drama series shooting in Victoria, Tasmania and NSW, Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy explained that Taiwanese pop sensations, Show Lo and Rainie Yang’s combined 25 million fans online and up to ten million from Great China would help advocate Australia to one of Australia’s fastest growing markets.“Show Lo and Rainie Yang are extremely popular within Greater China,” Mr McEvoy said.  “Their appeal, magnified through this new online drama series, will create a great platform for us to promote the very best of Australia.“This campaign is another example of the power of advocacy through social media and digital platforms in tourism marketing, allowing us to reach an international audience through the web which they are actively using to plan and book holidays.”Working with local tourism operators including Tourism Victoria, Tourism Tasmania and Destination NSW, Show Lo and Rainie Yang will commence filming a series of short destination videos alongside each of the drama show’s five episode.Show Lo said he would also use Australia as the backdrop for a number of music videos from his new forthcoming album while Tourism Australia will commence online promotions linking to the two stars’ duration down under on its social media site as well as a direct mail campaign and activity with airline partner, Cathay Pacific. According to Tourism Australia, the China market is currently worth up to $3.6 billion to the industry with a 20 percent growth in arrivals from the region in 2011 compared to 2010.The new online drama is expected to broadcast on online platform, Tudou in April this year. last_img read more

Coalition to freeze antitourism tax

first_imgThe Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) stand behind the Coalition’s commitment that the PMC will remain unchanged during the first term of Government. The Coalition’s new Tourism Policy, which calls for a freeze of the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC), has received overwhelming support from Australia’s leading travel industry organisations. “This announcement today is terrific and places export tourism front and centre as an important element in our national economy,” Ms Mariani said.  “The move to include tourism as part of the trade portfolio, which has previously been bundled with the unrelated and often competitive resources industry responsibilities, is a much better fit and illustrates the valuable export opportunities tourism brings to the Australian economy.” Numerous red tape reductions, a focus on foreign affairs and trade, improved visa considerations for the burgeoning Chinese market and other industry-approved initiatives have the Coalition as the preferred party for tourism organisations leading into the 2013 election this weekend. Source = ETB News: P.T. ATEC managing director Felicia Mariani said the Coalition’s new policy also provides a key funding platform to help build and support the country’s export tourism. AFTA and ATEC support the Coalition’s decision to leave the PMC unchanged. “The PMC has been the current Government’s budget ‘play thing’ and they have used it to top up consolidated revenue for years,” AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury said. “It is an anti-tourism tax and the industry can now have a level of certainty about the applicable level for the next three years.” The Labor Party have suggested that the PMC be indexed to inflation every year.last_img read more

Bula Singapore

first_img Fiji Airwaysbook and fly here Bula SingaporeFiji Airways, Fiji’s National Airline, has announced plans to commence twice weekly direct services from Nadi, Fiji to Singapore starting April 5th, 2016. The flights will operate from Nadi International Airport on Tuesdays and Fridays*, with flight times to suit onward connections to India and South East Asia. The airline also announced a special launch fare from Nadi to Singapore, starting from FJD $999** all-inclusive. This sale starts Monday, November 9th.Making the announcement in the Fijian Capital, Suva today, Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Andre Viljoen said the introduction of direct Singapore flights was excellent news for Fiji Airways customers and all Fijians. “We will be flying direct to a destination considered as Asia’s leading hub,” Mr. Viljoen stated. “The attractions of Singapore are numerous, from the world’s best airport, Changi, to world-renowned shopping and entertainment. Fijians will now be able to enjoy the comfort of our A330 aircraft on this 10-hour flight, departing Nadi late night and arriving in Singapore fresh in the morning ready to explore all that this bustling metropolitan city-state has to offer.”He added that onward connection times to other key destinations would make transiting through Singapore extremely convenient.“Changi Airport is served by 100 airlines connecting 300 cities in 80 countries and territories, making it one of the most important air transport hubs in the world. Transit times for most onwards flights to key cities in India, Indonesia and Malaysia are under three hours, which adds to the appeal of flying through Singapore. With this, we’re making good on our promise of taking Fijians to the world.”Changi Airport Group CEO, Mr Lee Seow Hiang said, “This is a significant milestone for Changi Airport, with Fiji Airways’ new service bridging new direct links between Singapore and the South Pacific Islands. For travelers in Singapore as well as other parts of Asia and Europe, this development makes new and exciting holiday destinations in the South Pacific, accessible to them. This certainly adds to Changi’s attractiveness as an air hub. Source = Fiji Airwayslast_img read more

Travel Counsellors annual conference delivers positivity inspiration

first_imgTravel Counsellors annual conference delivers all the positivity, inspiration and motivationTravel Counsellors annual conference delivers all the positivity, inspiration and motivationThe team from Travel Counsellors Australia recently enjoyed an action-packed conference weekend filled with education, inspiration, collaboration and of course, celebration. Held at the Gold Coast’s deluxe Palazzo Versace from May 20-22, the conference was attended by Travel Counsellors agents from all over Australia, guests from the Travel Counsellors management team located in both Australia and the United Kingdom, head office staff and trusted suppliers, sponsors and partners, including headline sponsor Travelport, as well as courageous guest speaker, London bombing survivor, author and founder of not-for-profit M.A.D for Peace, Dr Gill Hicks.Taking the Travel Counsellors brand from ‘Good to Great’ was the focus of the conference with the team collectively aiming to make Travel Counsellors become known as ‘the most caring business in the world’. Visiting from Manchester, Group Managing Director Steve Byrne delivered a speech that urged all Travel Counsellors to continue putting the customer at the centre of their business. By focusing on building strong relationships and putting together itineraries that deliver the best experience for the customer (instead of automatically choosing the product with a better commission), Travel Counsellors will be able to create a sustainable business built on integrity, high referral rates and a constant stream of repeat business.Motivational speaker Dr Gill Hicks delivered a moving, perspective-changing speech to the conference attendees. After surviving the London terrorist attacks of 2005 (which took both her legs but not her spirit and sense of purpose), Hicks is a passionate supporter of creating and building peace around the world with her organisation, M.A.D for Peace. Telling her very personal story of survival, Hicks showed the audience what can be achieved when you have a clear vision and purpose in your life, matched with indefatigable determination.While the conference attendees attended sessions on everything from sales techniques to positivity, there was also plenty of time for fun with the Etihad Airways Arabian Night dinner on Friday night and awards presentation on Saturday night providing plenty of time to relax, chat and network with each other. With awards including ‘Best Newcomer’, ‘Best Corporate Travel Counsellor’ and ‘Biggest Business Increase’, there were many opportunities for Travel Counsellors of all specialities and business stages to win an award.Meagan Patterson based in Jan Juc, Victoria was one of the happy award winners. “I am so very pleased to win the Biggest Business Increase award. I’ve worked incredibly hard for this and it’s lovely to have my hard work recognised and rewarded. I am so glad I took the leap of faith to start working from home on my own business with Travel Counsellors. Nowadays I’ve got the freedom and flexibility to work in a way that suits me, to set my own margins and sell the products that I know my clients will love. I also have more time to spend with my family and friends, and in my opinion, that is absolutely priceless,” says Meagan.Travel Counsellors annual conference delivers all the positivity, inspiration and motivationDavid Hughes, Managing Director of Travel Counsellors Australia is proud of everything the Travel Counsellors team has achieved in Australia so far and is keen to build on this success to further strengthen the brand within the Australian marketplace. “By looking at our growth figures, hearing terrific feedback from our suppliers and partners, and celebrating the wonderful achievements of our award winners, this conference was a great opportunity for us to get together to reflect on all that we’ve achieved as individuals and a brand,” comments David, adding that “…even though we work hard and have a high level of professionalism, the Travel Counsellors team are really like a big family, so we like to have fun too. This conference was a very productive and informative one, but in amongst that we were able to have a great deal of fun too, with dinners, drinks, music and entertainment”. David believes that Travel Counsellors will be able to become known as the most caring business in the world because the brand is already built on a foundation of caring for other. “No doubt about it, Travel Counsellors are special people who genuinely care about each other and their customers. As pioneers in the home working space, we’re in a uniquely fortunate position that we plan to continue to capitalise on for the years to come by focusing on nurturing our talent and building great relationships with suppliers and partners to deliver positive outcomes for our clients,” says David.About Travel Counsellors: Travel Counsellors Australia was established in 2007 and currently has over 135 Travel Counsellors. Our head office in Australia is in Melbourne. Travel Counsellors Australia is accredited with ATAS. Travel Counsellors is the world’s largest home-based travel company. Founded in 1994 it currently has 1,500 travel consultants who work from home with the support of over 350 staff at the company’s UK headquarters and overseas offices. The company operates in Australia, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, UAE and Belgium. Travel Counsellorsjoin Travel Counsellors hereSource = Travel Counsellorslast_img read more

The Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong is now officially rebranded

first_imgDorsett Wanchai Hong KongThe Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong is now officially rebrandedWith a new face unveiling, the Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong is excited to announce it has been rebranded as Dorsett Wanchai Hong Kong on 29 October 2016. To celebrate its new name, the hotel has been given a bright new look, complete with a top-to-bottom makeover for all its guestrooms, lobby, and other facilities. With a refreshing new look comes a refreshing new residential experience to deliver what really matters for the discerning traveler be it for business, family, or leisure. Expect to experience the new Dorsett Wanchai that is stylishly playful, beyond thoughtful, and with a taste of the urban.Stylishly Playful454 Newly Renovated, Playfully Designed Rooms and SuitesThe Dorsett Wanchai will continue showing its playful side through its modern and quirky interior design, making staying at the hotel a fun and relaxing experience.The spotlight however continues to shine on the hotel’s one-of-a-kind “signature” rooms. With the revamp, now they are even better. The hotel offers 8 types of stylishly designed rooms and suites ranging up to 48 sq. m. The signature Grand Deluxe Course View Room offers a breathtaking view of the Happy Valley racecourse in front of the hotel, while its award-winning Ocean Park Family Suite, Sony 4K/3D Experience Suite, and OSIM Massage Suite offer guests something they are not able to experience in other Hong Kong hotels.Hotel guests will also be invited to experience the Dorsett Wine Hour every Friday evening where they can enjoy a complimentary range of handpicked New and Old World wines to pair with scrumptious local snacks for an exquisite East Meets West experience right here at Dorsett Wanchai. The hotel hasn’t forgotten the kids either, they can get their sugar hit with an enormous selection of candies at the Dorsett Candy Bar.Beyond ThoughtfulPersonalized Services to Create the Unique Dorsett ExperienceThe next greatest thing following the name change is crafting a unique experience for every traveller through personalizing one’s stay with beyond thoughtful services such as a 24-hour Full Stay, a Guaranteed One-hour Response for in-house guests, and free premium Wi-Fi. Free use of a smart phone that includes unlimited 3G internet, Wi-Fi hotspots, and free local and IDD calls to 10 countries both in and outside of the hotel ensures every guest always stays connected.For a more personalized experience for families with children, the Fantastic 4 Family package ensures all a family’s needs are catered for including the Family Quad Room that can sleep up to 5 people. This room hosts an extensive range of thoughtful amenities such as branded body and haircare products, snack boxes, and in-room “sweet surprises”.As Anita Chan, General Manager of the hotel says:“The name change is more than just an upgrade of the hotel infrastructure. Our new credo comes with a new motto, ‘Delivering What Matters To You’ reflects our commitment to creating an unique experience by giving extra services to meet every individual’s needs while travelling.“We have seen a number of new initiatives rolled out in the past year such as the Dorsett 3 Wishes promotion where guests can pick an additional 3 value-for-money offers from a host of complimentary services such as 3-hour access to Airport Lounge, room upgrade, and a dim sum meal at Tim Ho Wan Michelin-starred restaurant, and the list goes on. Regardless of whether you are travelling with kids in tow, a solo traveler or a busy executive who wants to make the most of their stay, you can be sure to enjoy a unique and individualized experience while staying at our hotel.”A Taste of the UrbanExperience city life with all Hong Kong has to offer.To fully experience the vibrant urban life of Hong Kong, guests can immerse themselves in what the city is famous for: shopping and eating! To this end, the hotel has created an Eat & Shop Like a Local travel guide, where guests can find information on the most up-to-date eateries within a 5-minute walk or a 10-minute drive, as well the latest boutiques, shopping malls, and department stores in and around the hotel. This guide is constantly devised and “road-tested” by hotel staff.Both business and leisure travellers can make the most out of the hotel’s strategic location. Located between Causeway Bay and Wanchai, the urban entertainment hub of Times Square and the shopping hub of Sogo Department Store are just an 8-minute walk away. Local dining and bar areas in Wanchai that provide the perfect blend of the old and the new are also within a 5 or 10-minute walk. The hotel also provides a complimentary shuttle bus service covering 16 major attractions on Hong Kong Island.Dorsett Wanchai Hong KongThe award-winning 4-star Dorsett Wanchai Hong Kong is conveniently located between Wanchai and Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island giving its guests easy access to all business, shopping, and sightseeing destinations in the city. The hotel is a mere 8-minute walk to the MTR stations, Times Square and a 10-minute drive from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Dorsett Wanchai Hong Kong offers 8 types of rooms and suites ranging up to 48 sq. m. The signature Grand Deluxe Course View Room offers a breathtaking view of the racecourse in front of the hotel. A complimentary shuttle bus service is available to 16 destinations via five routes and all rooms are equipped with 200Mbps high-speed Wi-Fi internet. Other facilities include Dining Place Restaurant that serves the finest Guang-dong and Huaiyang dishes, the 3T Bar, a gym room, and various meeting spaces. Dorsett Hospitality Internationalfor more information, visitSource = Dorsett Wanchai Hong Konglast_img read more

Hats entertainment for MTA trio on Rocky Mountaineer Study Tour

first_img‘Hats entertainment’ for MTA trio on Rocky Mountaineer Study Tour‘Hats entertainment’ for MTA trio on Rocky Mountaineer Study TourPictured from left to right, MTA –Mobile Travel Agents’ Tim Rankin, Carla Marno and Sarah Day getting into the mood while visiting Calgary as part of a recent Rocky Mountaineer ‘Learning Journey’ program.The Rocky Mountaineer ‘Learning Journey’ program has been designed to help agents identify which level of service and tour partner experiences best match the needs of their clients via experiential study tours combining trains, hotel accommodation and partner tour operators.Travelling aboard the world-famous train from Vancouver to Calgary, the three MTA Members also experienced a Brewster motorhome tour between Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff.Tour highlights included Rocky Mountaineer ‘Gold Leaf’ and ‘Silver Leaf’ train travel, a ‘Summit Helicopter’ experience and a spectacular scenic ride aboard the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulfur Mountain.Source = Mike Parker-Brown, PR – MTA Mobile Travel Agentslast_img read more

Brisbane Airtrain brings home global award

first_imgBrisbane Airtrain brings home global awardBrisbane Airtrain brings home global awardBrisbane Airtrain has received global recognition for its work in connecting travellers to the Gold Coast following the highly anticipated launch of the Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 2 tram in December 2017.Airtrain has taken out the highly regarded 2018 Marketing Campaign of the Year Award at the Global AirRail Awards ceremony in London on November 29, beating strong competition from six others, including Stansted Express, Heathrow Express, Hong Kong Airport Express, and Sydney Airport Link.The Global AirRail Awards recognise excellence in improving rail access to and from airports around the world.Airtrain offers seamless travel from Brisbane Airport’s Domestic and International terminals to Surfers Paradise and all major stops in between, with one simple transfer from Airtrain to the G:link tram at Helensvale station.To promote the connection, Airtrain wrapped a tram in a unique design developed in liaison with feedback received from the local community. Judges recognised the ‘Airtrain and Tram’ campaign’s eye-catching and effective messaging that highlighted Airtrain’s position as the best transport option between Brisbane Airport and the Gold Coast.Airtrain CEO, Chris Basche, is proud of the global recognition for the incredible work the Airtrain team put in this year.“We were pleased and proud to play an important role during the Commonwealth Games, and to continue being the preferred and best option for those travelling between Brisbane Airport and the Gold Coast,” said Mr Basche.“There are a lot of people who rely on the accessibility of our service and 12 months on, communities are taking advantage of the connection and we hope to see that number grow for many years to come.“We would not have been able to achieve this award without the support and dedication of our staff, partners and stakeholders. We’ll continue to work towards strengthening our ability to help our current and future passengers recognise the convenience and affordability of the tram connection,” he said.Airtrain is the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective way to reach Brisbane and the Gold Coast from Brisbane Airport. It is the sole rail service connecting Brisbane Airport to Brisbane CBD with more than 21 million passenger trips taken in the company’s 16 years of operation. In 2017 and 2018, TripAdvisor® awarded Airtrain its Certificate of Excellence for consistently delivering great services to travellers in Queensland.For more information on Brisbane Airtrain or the Airtrain and tram connection, visit Airtrain’s website.Source = Brisbane Airtrainlast_img read more

Five Star Langham Hotels

first_imgFive Star Langham HotelsFive Star Langham HotelsLangham Hospitality Group is proud to announce that The Langham, London, The Langham, Chicago and The Langham, Hong Kong have been rated Five-Star hotels by Forbes Travel Guide in its 2019 star rating list today.“I would like to congratulate our hotels in London, Chicago and Hong Kong who have met the most stringent requirements to achieve the coveted Five-Star rating by Forbes Travel Guide. This is a strong testament to the high service standards and innovative experiences our luxury hotels consistently deliver,” says Stefan Leser, chief executive officer, Langham Hospitality Group.A newly minted Five-Star rated hotel by Forbes Travel Guide, The Langham, London was opened in 1865 as Europe’s first ‘Grand Hotel’. With an unrivalled location at the top of Regent Street, the hotel underwent an extensive transformation and today offers luxurious guestrooms and suites which are classically styled and evokes a warm residential ambience. Known for its impeccable service, The Langham’s renowned bars and restaurants include the Palm Court which has been serving Afternoon Tea for over 153 years, award-winning Artesian Bar, Roux at The Landau restaurant and The Wigmore, all overseen by culinary icon Michel Roux Jr.Located within the landmark AMA Plaza (formerly the IBM building) designed by the renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, The Langham, Chicago offers 316 guest rooms and suites. The luxury hotel also features a 22,000 square feet Health Club housing Langham’s signature Chuan Spa which is also a Forbes Travel Guide 2019 Five-Star rated Spa. Also known for its fine art collection, the hotel houses more than 150 pieces of distinctive artworks.The Langham, Hong Kong is located in the heart of vibrant Kowloon, next to Canton Road in the Tsim Sha Tsui district and is surrounded by the luxury flagship stores of the world’s most famous designer labels and only mere minutes away from the historic Star Ferry, the hotel has the dazzling Victoria Harbour as its backdrop. The hotel features 498 luxurious guest rooms and suites and key highlights include the legendary Three Michelin-starred T’ang Court Cantonese restaurant, which is one of only five Cantonese restaurants in the world to have achieved this accolade.“We are delighted to celebrate the 2019 Star Rating winners, an outstanding collection of hotels, restaurants and spas that demonstrate a strong culture of service,” said Filip Boyen, chief executive officer of Forbes Travel Guide. Source = Langham Hospitality Grouplast_img read more

Austria invites Bollywood filmmakers to shoot in the region

first_imgThe Producers Guild of India in association with Robinville Intech – representing Innsbruck Tourism, Cine Tirol, and Location Austria organised an event titled “Bollywood goes to Austria, Tirol, and Innsbruck”. A panel discussion was held which highlighted Austria as the preferred destination for Bollywood film productions.“Since 2015, representation of Austrian business and tourism interests have soared in India however, the most significant game-changer was the emergence of Bollywood in Austria in a noticeable way,” said Ishvinder Maddh, Managing Director, Robinville Intech.The Chief Guest at the event, Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer, Austrian Ambassador to India, said, “When Bollywood searches for new overseas locations for shooting films, Austria is very well placed to meet high expectations. The country offers everything from beautiful mountain scenery, deep forests and rolling green hills to romantic castles and lavish palaces. To film in Austria also ensures to work with excellent infrastructure. Bollywood is more than welcome in Austria. Let us intensify this relationship and by that not only the one from country to country or between institutions but the one from people to people.”Most recently, the shooting of Yash Raj Films’ Tiger Zinda Hai in March 2017 is slated for release on December 22, 2017, and is set to open Austria further to the Indian masses.last_img read more

Aura A robotic way of room service

first_imgDesigned to offer something unique to the millennial travellers, The M Social Hotel in Singapore has developed a robot, Aura, who is available for 24*7 room service. It’s a one-of-a-kind way of connecting hospitality and technology.Source: CNNlast_img

AG Activiates IPO Capital

first_img Putting capital earned from its recent initial public offering to good use, “”AG Mortgage Investment Trust””:, Inc., announced that it has achieved significant deployment of its new liquidity. The company’s IPO and simultaneous private placement were concurrently completed on July 6, and by utilizing the capital gained in that transaction as well as the underwriters’ overallotment option, established and closed on July 20, AG has also been able to debut its initial portfolio.[IMAGE]AG has already acquired $1.39 billion in aggregate securities, through a combination of $880.9 million in government guaranteed, 15-year fixed-rate residential mortgage backed securities; $242.2 million in 20-year fixed-rate government-backed RMBS; $47.6 million in government-sponsored interest only strips; $45.8 million in inverse government guaranteed interest only strips; $82.3 million in non-government RMBS; $20 million in commercial mortgage-backed securities; $23.8 million in credit derivative trades; and $50 million in forward purchases of specified government-backed loan pools.[COLUMN_BREAK]Additionally, AG opted into $628 million of notional, pay-fixed, receive-LIBOR swaps that will mature between February 2012 and July 2016.The company’s various acquisitions encompass master repurchase agreements with 13 partners, with which AG has borrowed $1.03 billion; AG’s repurchase initiatives will reach maturity between August 12, 2011 and October 21, 2011.Commenting on the active capital strategy, David Roberts, AG’s CEO, said, “”We are pleased with our initial deployment of capital and our progress during the first several weeks of operation and capital investment.””Adding to Roberts’ statement, the company’s chief investment officer, Jonathan Lieberman, said, “”We believe our opportunistic capital deployment demonstrates our ability to identify, purchase, and finance attractive targeted assets. Our strategy was to initially overweight the portfolio with 15- and 20-year Agency RMBS. “”Opportunistically,”” he added, “”the investment team also added Agency RMBS derivatives, Non-Agency RMBS and CMBS assets to the portfolio. Our tepid view of the U.S. housing and jobs market has remained consistent and has been underscored by recent weak economic data. Since the completion of our IPO, we have actively managed our risk, leverage and liquidity in anticipation of higher levels of volatility and a weaker economic outlook. “”We remain highly focused upon delivering strong value for our shareholders within our risk and volatility parameters,”” he said.AG Mortgage Investment Trust, Inc., is managed and advised by AG REIT Management, LLC, which is a subsidiary of Angelo, Gordon & Co., L.P. AG serves as a real estate investment trust that provides capital for, acquires, and manages a wide range of residential mortgage assets within its portfolio. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Share AG Activiates IPO Capitalcenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-08-11 Abby Gregory August 11, 2011 481 Views last_img read more

RFC Promotes Branch Manager to VP of Sales

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing January 4, 2013 437 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-01-04 Tory Barringer RFC Promotes Branch Manager to VP of Salescenter_img “”Residential Finance Corporation””: (RFC), an award-winning nationwide mortgage lender headquartered in Ohio and with branches around the country, announced the promotion of branch manager Joe Buxton to the position of VP of sales.[IMAGE]Buxton joined RFC in 2006 as a loan officer, quickly working his way up to branch manager. He has earned many awards during his tenure at RFC, including the President’s Club Award for Excellence in Sales Management for the last three years.[COLUMN_BREAK]As VP of sales, he is responsible for fostering communication and teamwork throughout the company as well as hiring, compensation, rewards, and recognition among the sales force. He also works to enhance the understanding and application of sales tools.””I’m very excited about my new, expanded role,”” Buxton said. “”As we continue to increase our sales force to keep up with the company’s growth, my focus will be on recruiting, training and developing future leaders and broadening our Realtor referral program. I’m looking forward to a fantastic year.””””Joe has demonstrated great success in sales during his tenure at Residential Finance, so he was a natural choice for this position,”” said Mark Fowler, chief revenue officer and VP of production for RFC. “”Joe also has deep product knowledge and has consistently shown an ability to collaborate well with other departments throughout the company. In his new role, we expect Joe will have an enormous impact on the company’s future.”” Sharelast_img read more

Millennials Favor SingleFamily Homes when Establishing Households

first_img July 1, 2015 456 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Millennials are leaning toward single-family homes when browsing the housing market. A recent analysis from Fannie Mae titled “Rent or Own, Young Adults Still Prefer Single-Family Homes” determined that householders aged 25-34 were more likely to occupy a single-family home in 2013 than in 2006, during the peak of the last housing cycle.“As the housing recovery plods along, many are looking to young adults as a source of new demand that could invigorate the residential rebound,” Patrick Simmons, director of strategic planning economic & strategic research group at Fannie Mae. “Interest in the housing behaviors of young adults is intensified by the sheer size of the millennial generation, which by some estimates is the largest in U.S. history. In particular, much attention has focused on millennials’ household formation and homeownership rates, which are substantially lower than for previous generations.”The research examined the rates at which young households occupy single-family homes across the rental, owner-occupied, and recent homebuyer markets and also compared the structure-type choices of young households today with those of young adults prior to the housing crash, according to Fannie Mae.The analysis found that although occupants aged 25-34 were less likely to dwell in a single-family home in 2013 compared to 2006, the likelihood that a young adult will live in a single-family home today does not differ from 2000, before the housing boom and bust.The research also determined that 25-34 year-old homeowners are found to be more likely to reside in a single-family home today than previous generations, and young renters today are roughly as likely to occupy a single-family home as the preceding generation when structure-type occupancy rates are disaggregated by housing tenure. Exceeding the rate at which young adults bought single-family homes during the housing boom, 90 percent of 25-34 year-olds who purchased a home between 2012 and 2013.“Millennials have become an increasingly important source of demand in the home sales market,” the report said. “Recent studies indicate not only that Millennials have become the dominant demographic in the sales market, but they also find that the large majority of Millennials are purchasing single-family homes.”Fannie Mae believes that the rising popularity of single-family homes came after the housing bust and tightened credit standards shifted the distribution of homebuyers toward more affluent households. The proportion of recent homebuyers aged 25-34 who resided in single-family homes in 2013 was 2.3 percentage points greater than in 2006 and five percentage points higher than in 2000.Single-family homes make up 90 percent of the nations owner-occupied housing stock, making it a popular choice for young homebuyers, Fannie Mae reported. The proportion of 25-34 year-old homeowners who resided in a single-family home in 2013 was 1.5 percentage points greater than in 2006 and 4.4 percentage points more than in 2000.“A sharp rebound in multifamily construction, but only modest gains in single-family homebuilding, have characterized the housing market recovery,” the report said. “However, the continued popularity of single-family housing among today’s young adults should give pause to those who argue that a fundamental generational shift has occurred in housing-type preferences. Millennials’ desire for single-family homes not only remains robust, but should strengthen in coming years as more members of the cohort age into their thirties, prime years for first-time homeownership. Given the massive size of the millennial generation, this life-cycle progression should support continued recovery in housing construction and bodes well for a stronger rebound in the single-family sector in the second half of the decade.”Click here to view Fannie Mae’s complete Analysis.  Fannie Mae Housing Market Millennials Single-Family Homes 2015-07-01 Staff Writercenter_img Millennials Favor Single-Family Homes when Establishing Households Sharelast_img read more

Old Republic Default Management Services Changes its Name

first_img July 30, 2015 742 Views Old Republic Title Insurance Group, Inc., (ORTIG) recently announced that its Old Republic Default Management Services operation will now operate under the new name of Old Republic Servicing Solutions (ORSS).“The new name will more accurately describe our resources and abilities to enhance existing service offerings and to develop new strategic and innovative solutions for our customers’ needs throughout the nation,” said Mark Bilbrey, president of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company. “We are confident the change will also advance recognition of our brand and the trust that Old Republic has earned in the marketplace.”The operation provides national mortgage servicing offerings through direct fulfillment and in partnership with affiliates, according to the company.Click here after August 3, 2015, for a complete listing of ORSS’ product offerings and services.ORTIG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Old Republic International Corporation, one of the nation’s 50 largest publicly held insurance organizations. ORTIG is comprised of a multitude of title and related services companies, and is the parent company of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company (ORNTIC), formed in 1907, and American Guaranty Title Insurance Company dating back to 1896. Since 1992, no other title insurer has had higher overall ratings than the ORTIG. These ratings reflect the Company’s strong operating performance over the long run, excellent capitalization and liquidity, as well as sound investment and reserving policies joined to a strong market position.Through these title insurers and multiple service companies, ORTIG offers a full complement of title insurance underwriting and related services such as: credit reporting, IRS Section 1031 exchanges, notary services, commercial real estate site management, UCC insurance, bankruptcy reporting, national timeshare, and relocation services, document recording, real estate appraisal, commercial real estate transaction coordination, default management, flood reporting, and centralized national order placement services. Old Republic Default Management Services Changes its Name in Headlines, News, Servicingcenter_img Share mortgage servicing Old Republic Default Management Services Old Republic Servicing Solutions Old Republic Title Insurance Group 2015-07-30 Staff Writerlast_img read more