VICTORIA – The British Columbia government has granted an environmental assessment certificate for an open-pit gypsum mine in the West Kootenay.The government says it considered a report from the Environmental Assessment Office and it’s confident the 135-hectare project by CertainTeed Gypsum Canada Inc. will be built, operated and closed in a way that ensures no adverse effects are likely to occur.Environment Minister George Heyman and Mines Minister Michelle Mungall say the protection of water quality in the nearby Kootenay River is important and they have received assurances that the sedimentation ponds for the project are constructed to stringent standards.The mine’s annual production is estimated at 400,000 tonnes of gypsum, which is used to make drywall, cement and plaster of paris.The government says the company worked with two local First Nations to develop the certificate and ensure the concerns for their territories were met.Construction of the new mine in southeastern B.C. is expected to cost $23.7 million, with annual operating costs of $4.3 million.
SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Food and lifestyles guru Martha Stewart says the recipe for success she has followed throughout her career also applies to cannabis companies — offer quality products at fair prices.Stewart spoke to about 650 cannabis industry leaders Tuesday at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, N.B.In February, Stewart joined Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp. in an advisory role to help develop a new line of products.The company said it would use Stewart’s knowledge of consumer products while exploring the effectiveness of hemp-derived CBD and other cannabinoids as they relate to both humans and pets.Stewart says she was introduced to Canopy Growth by Snoop Dogg, a noted marijuana aficionado.Her ties to the rapper go back to at least 2015, when she baked brownies on “The Martha Stewart Show” with him and hinted that he could add some weed to the recipe.The crowd in Saint John roared with laughter when Stewart said Snoop Dogg is always high.The Canadian Press
Australia notes that a terrorist attack could happen anywhere, at any time, including in places visited by foreigners.Security has been increased across the country following the terrorist attacks that targeted prominent hotels and churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. (Colombo Gazette) “Exercise a high degree of caution in Sri Lanka. Following the 21 April terrorist attacks, a State of Emergency is in place and night-time curfews can be imposed with short notice. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about safety and security risks,” the updated travel advise said. Australia has lowered the level of travel advice for Sri Lanka to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’.Following the Easter Sunday attacks Australia had warned against travelling to Sri Lanka. However, with the situation now improving Australia has lowered its level of travel advice for Sri Lanka.
BEIJING — China says its top trade negotiator will lead an upcoming 13th round of talks aimed at resolving a trade war with the United States.Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said Sunday that Vice Premier Liu He would travel to Washington for the talks sometime after China’s National Day holiday, which ends Oct. 7.Wang repeated the Chinese position that the two sides should find a solution on the basis of mutual respect and benefit.The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on Chinese imports in a bid to win concessions from China, which has responded with tit-for-tat tariffs. The escalating dispute between the world’s two largest economies has depressed stock prices and poses a threat to the global economy.The Associated Press
The Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations today jointly appealed for a further $43.3 million to fund humanitarian relief for people affected by drought as well as families displaced by recent fighting in the country’s south. This funding would supplement an appeal for nearly $76.4 million launched in July. Just over half of that money has been received so far. The UN and the Afghan Government estimate that, due to the drought conditions, 1.9 million people will need food assistance – 200,000 more than predicted in July. They say the initial plan must be extended through the start of the next harvest in April 2007. “While we are grateful for the generous contributions received thus far, there is an urgent and pressing need to continue assistance to drought and conflict affected communities across Afghanistan,” said Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Representative, Ameerah Haq.He urged donor countries “to step forward with pledges that will enable us to provide vital food, and other essential living items as we approach the winter months.” The appeal also includes assistance to an estimated 20,000 families displaced by the recent armed conflict in Uruzgan, Helmand and Kandahar, according to the Government of Afghanistan.
Short URL Birna Brjansdottir Birna Brjansdottir ICELAND IS IN mourning after a young woman missing for eight days was found dead on a beach, in a rare crime that gripped the nation.Police said in a statement yesterday they were treating the case as murder, although “currently it is not possible to determine the cause of death”.Iceland enjoys one of the world’s lowest crime rates and homicides are extremely rare — police even patrol the streets unarmed.But 20-year-old Birna Brjansdottir was found dead on a beach south of Reykjavik after more than 725 volunteers took part in the biggest search and rescue operation in Icelandic history, according to media.Two Greenlandic sailors aged 25 and 30 have been held in connection with her disappearance, which happened on 14 January after a night of drinking in Reykjavik’s bars.CCTV footageVideo surveillance footage around 5am showed her stumbling through snowy and foggy streets by herself as she bought a kebab.Her shoes were later found in the port of Hafnarfjordur, south of Reykjavik, not far from the dock where a Greenlandic trawler, the Polar Nanoq, was moored.Video surveillance cameras also showed a small red car, a Kia Rio, parked near the vessel around 6,30am — identical to a vehicle observed near the spot where Brjansdottir was last seen.The Polar Nanoq had lifted anchor just hours after the girl went missing but members of Iceland’s elite police force, known as the Viking Squad, flew out to the ship by helicopter to question the crew.The ship returned to Reykjavik and two sailors were taken into custody.Traces of Bransdottir’s blood were later found in the red car, which had been rented by the sailors.A country of just 330,000 people, Iceland has registered an average of just 1.8 murders per year since 2001, according to police statistics. The killers are often under the influence of alcohol, or mentally unstable.- © AFP, 2017Read: Mystery: Three sailors arrested after disappearance of young woman in Iceland> http://jrnl.ie/3200800 Share416 Tweet Email1 Jan 23rd 2017, 1:48 PM By AFP 54,065 Views 21 Comments Iceland in mourning after missing young woman’s body found on beach Birna Brjansdottir was missing for eight days before her body was found. Monday 23 Jan 2017, 1:48 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The General Meeting of the Greek Orthodox Community of Oakleigh and District took place on April 18 with the approval of the financial statement toping the agenda.The Community’s accounts reflected a debt for the financial year ending on December 31, 2009 which included both long term and short term, as well as the combined operating deficits of the Community and the Greek Orthodox College of Sts Anargiri amount to $5.7 million.The Community has taken out loans in the amount of $5.2 million.The operating deficit of the Community last year reached $146,084 and the deficit of the school was $342,574. The Community’s debt equals roughly one third of the value of its assets. The President of the Community, Angelos Sardellis attributed the College’s deficit to the decrease of student enrolments during the past academic year.Members were informed that the Community holds an overdraft account of approximately $1.2 million for its operating needs. The President clarified that as of December 31, 2009 the overdraft account amounted to $667,470 since the Community has a savings account of $516,437. When asked by a member why the Community did not utilise its savings to cover operating costs since the interest paid on the overdraft account is greater than the one accrued from the savings, Mr Sardellis argued that the government does not allocate in time the subsidies that the school is entitled forcing the Community to use the overdraft account to pay for teacher’s salaries and to cover other school needs.Tension emanated during the General Meeting when a father whose children study in Sts Anargiri College complained about the “quality of education” and claimed that this has been the main contributing factor to the school’s decreased enrolment numbers. The father lashed out against the Community Board and accused them of being incapable of managing the school effectively. “You have increased the tuition but you have not improved the level of education. The College has offered certain things to our children but these are not enough,” the parent said. He claimed that he knew many parents who shared these views. The President of the Community called his outburst “insulting” and assured the parent that they constantly strive to improve the school. To this end theVice-President of the Community, Chris Kontos highlighted that the Board hired an expert company that is assessing the College over the last 12 months and will eventually recommend any needed changes.
German chancellor Angela Merkel gave her full support to President Demetris Christofias’ efforts to solve the Cyprus problem on Tuesday during a “historic” one-day visit to the island while saying that the Turkish side was not doing enough in this regard.“We greatly appreciate your courage, creativity shown and initiative taken to solve the problem. We see that you are taking many steps and we also see that the Turkish side is not responding adequately to your steps,” said Merkel during a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace.The German chancellor, the first to visit Cyprus 49 years after Archbishop Makarios paid an official visit to Bonn in 1962, pledged to use her contacts with Turkish officials to promote Christofias’ efforts for a solution.Merkel urged Turkey to make progress on normalising relations with Cyprus and open its ports to traffic from the island. Such a move, as required under a European Union agreement known as the Ankara protocol, is one of the main provisions Turkey must fulfil to join the EU. After meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias, Merkel said Turkey needed to show more willingness in the resolution of its dispute with Cyprus. Asked whether Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus was compatible with its EU accession course, Merkel replied: “We are aware of the existing difficulties and this is the reason why we placed so many restrictions in the accession negotiations. As long as Turkey is not implementing the Ankara Protocol, no negotiating chapters can be closed or have been closed. Moreover, there are eight chapters that can not even open.”Within hours, the Turkish press was accusing Merkel of continuing the war of words against Turkey reportedly started by Greek premier George Papandreou last Friday.For his part, Christofias said the two leaders focused “almost exclusively” on the Cyprus problem due to the interest shown by Merkel on the subject, “something which moved me”, he said.On Turkish accession, Christofias said: “We don’t want to hold Turkey hostage.” But at the same time Turkey cannot continue to not recognise an EU member and refuse to implement the Ankara Protocol”.He assured Merkel that he was filled with good will to solve the problem as soon as possible, on the condition that the solution respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus, as well as the human rights and basic freedoms of all people “who live in this multicultural country”.Source: Cyprus News Agency Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Authorities have suspended their search for a Kelso hiker missing in the Lava Canyon area since Oct. 15, according to the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office.The sheriff’s office said deputies responded that evening after getting a call from Avery Jackson, 19, of Kelso, who said her hiking partner, Garrett Canada, 18, also of Kelso, was missing.They were hiking on the Lava Canyon Trail, at the end of National Forest Road 83, about 18 miles east of Cougar, the sheriff’s office said.Jackson told officials the two became separated after she stopped to shoot photos. She hiked around the trail system, and waited at their car to check with other hikers, but had no luck. She found a ride to Cougar where she called for help, the sheriff’s office said.A responding deputy found Canada’s vehicle, and the Volcano Rescue Team organized a search.Around 3 a.m. Tuesday, rescue teams found indications Canada may have entered the water near or just past the first waterfall through Lava Canyon.
DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – A kitten found in a car was rescued, Wednesday, in Deerfield Beach.According to the Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue Department, a 4- to 6-week-old kitten was found in a car parked at a Bank of America, near 1000 S. Federal Highway. The owner, Yolando, was grateful that fire rescue officials were able to rescue the kitten.BSO Fire Rescue spokesperson Mike Jachles tweeted that the kitten was hungry when they brought her to Hillsboro Beach Animal Hospital.The kitten is currently being cared for by animal hospital officials.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
On Friday’s Houston Matters: Rural sheriffs say safety and security are among their top concerns with the planned bullet train connecting Houston and Dallas. News 88.7’s Gail Delaughter brings us the latest on the project.Then, hefty tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum are prompting a backlash from major trading partners. What could this mean for Greater Houston’s economy? Two guests join us join us to lay out the potential effects of these tariffs on the local economy: Ed Hirs is an economics lecturer at the University of Houston and Loren Steffy is columnist for EnergyVoice.com.Also this hour: Rice University President David Leebron answers your questions about his institution. Then, our non-experts discuss The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly of the week’s news. And we preview the 14th annual Houston Jewish Film Festival.WATCH: Today’s Houston Matters 360-Degree Facebook Live VideoWe offer a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps. This article is part of the Houston Matters podcast Share
By TRAVIS LOLLER Associated PressNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee State University is opening a hub for computer programing and app development that will serve historically Black colleges and universities across the country.To kick off the effort, leaders from 14 schools met at TSU’s new National Center for Smart Technology Innovations in Nashville this week to develop apps that solve real-life challenges.In this Friday, July 19, 2019 photo, Ahmad Richardson participates in Tennessee State University’s coding and app development initiative, in Nashville, Tenn. The school aims to be a hub for coding and app development at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities. (Aaron Ingram/Apple via AP)Morehouse College’s Monique Earl-Lewis called the experience “mind-blowing.” The Africana studies professor said she was doubtful she would be able to learn coding but now considers herself an app developer.Apple is supporting TSU with equipment, scholarships and professional development to help launch the initiative.TSU President Glenda Glover said in a news release that the program will equip people of color, especially TSU students.
Fix “What needs your attention” error when upgrading to Windows 10 May 2019 Update by Martin Brinkmann on April 22, 2019 in Windows – Last Update: April 25, 2019 – 19 commentsWindows 10 version 1903, the May 2019 Update, has not been released officially. The new feature update is available on MSDN, in the Release Preview ring, and also on various Internet sites unofficially.Some Windows administrators who attempt to upgrade existing installations of Windows 10 to the new version receive “What needs your attention” error messages right now that indicate that PC hardware drivers or services are not (yet) ready for the upgrade.The error message, unfortunately, does not reveal any information about the hardware. Microsoft plans to improve these error messages in Windows 10 version 1903, but administrators are left alone currently when it comes to troubleshooting and resolving the issue.Update: Microsoft published a support page that provides a solution for the issue. According to KB4500988, the issue is caused by external USB devices or SD memory cards that are plugged in to the computer. Microsoft noticed that external drives or SD memory cards may be mapped to different drive letters after the upgrade to the new version, and that is why the upgrade is blocked. Workaround until Microsoft fixes the issue is to unplug external USB devices or SD memory cards before the upgrade. EndMicrosoft was never really good at providing information. Back in 2017, users received another “what needs your attention” error. Back then, Windows stated that an app was not compatible with the new version of Windows 10 and that users should remove it. Windows 10 never revealed which app that was, however, so that administrators had to use trial and error to find the troublesome app.The error message states:What needs your attentionThe following things need your attention to continue the installation and keep your Windows settings, personal files, and apps.This PC can’t be upgraded to Windows 10.Your PC has a driver or service that isn’t ready for this version of Windows 10. No action is needed. Windows Update will offer this version of Windows 10 automatically once the issue has been resolved.The new error message indicates that a hardware driver or service is the problem but fails to provide information. It is as if history repeats itself. Thankfully, suggestions on how to resolve the issue are already available.Microsoft suggests to stay on the installed version of Windows and wait for Windows 10 to offer the new version via Windows Update. The company reveals that this will be the case when the issue is resolved.Our colleagues over at Deskmodder offer the following suggestions:Administrators should try and install the upgrade using a Windows 10 1903 ISO image and disconnected Internet.Software that may cause the issue includes: iTunes, FutureMark, BattlEye Anticheat.Hardware that may cause the issue includes Creative sound adapters or Realtek card readers.Dr. Windows published the following tips:Administrators should unplug any device, e.g. printer, scanner or card readers, that is not required for operation during the update.Checks to find out if recent drivers are available, and to install those.Remove storage cards from devices, especially Microsoft Surface devices.Closing WordsThere is no need to rush and install the new feature update right away or the minute it is released officially by Microsoft; while some user groups may want to install the update to test new features and changes, most may want to wait several months before installing the new upgrade.Now You: Did you run into the error? What did you do to resolve it?SummaryArticle NameFix “What needs your attention” error when upgrading to Windows 10 May 2019 UpdateDescriptionFind out what you need to do when a Windows 10 upgrade returns the error “What needs your attention” without providing actionable information.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisement
GAYSTARNEWS- The subway, in fact, underwent a special Pride makeover. Giant posters of the most beloved pop culture LGBTI couples appeared at the station, which also sported a rainbow decor on its walls.Netflix Italy launched the campaign to celebrate the annual Pride parade in the city, held Saturday 30 June.The ads feature several LGBTI pairs, such as Orange Is The New Black Piper’s and Alex and Sense8’s Lito and Hernando.Yorkie and Kelly from San Junipero, the Black Mirror episode set in the 80s, also had their spot on the station’s colorful walls.Porta Venezia and other stations have undergone a Pride makeover | Photo: @davide_zemiti InstagramRainbow is the new blackEach poster also bears a writing which can be translated to ‘We do not exist’.The campaign is a clear clapback to the newly appointed Minister for Families Lorenzo Fontana. In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera earlier this month, in fact, Fontana said ‘rainbow families do not exist’. His statement sparked outrage among Italian and international LGBTI people and allies.A moving video on the streaming provider’s official Twitter page anticipated the station’s takeover.L’amore è di tutti. Buon Pride! pic.twitter.com/GOHmH5rTHE— Netflix Italia (@NetflixIT) June 24, 2018The tweet reads: ‘ Love is for everyone. Happy Pride!’The reactionsLocal LGBT association Arcigay Milano took to social media to express how much the campaign means to the community.Un fatto storico è appena accaduto a Milano. eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Netflix takes over Porta Venezia underground station in Milan | Photo: @artemisi4 Twitter Grazie a Netflix la fermata della metro di Porta Venezia si tinge dei colori dell’arcobaleno #MilanoPride #pride #LoveIsLove pic.twitter.com/v83rXDsVif— Arcigay Milano (@ArcigayMilano) June 27, 2018‘This is a historical moment for Milan. Thanks to Netflix, the underground station of Porta Venezia has now turned rainbow,’ the tweet reads.Porta Venezia is one of the most LGBTI-friendly neighborhoods in the city. Particularly, Via Lecco acts as the beating heart of the community with its lively LGBTI bars and clubs.Surprised reactions continued today (28 June) with commuters sharing the pictures on social media.Sorrido anche se non sembra. #Pride2018 in arrivo a #Milano. Dalla metro di porta Venezia è tutto, a voi la linea. pic.twitter.com/aaVX1HmgpJ— lisa dalla via (@lisadallavia) June 28, 2018‘You can’t see that, but I’m smiling. Pride 2018 is coming to Milan,’ one user wrote.Italy has a long way to goMilan Pride is one of the biggest LGBTI events in Italy, attracting 200,000 people every year. This year’s theme will be #CiviliMaNonAbbastanza (translation: ‘we’re civil, but that is not enough’).The theme is a reminder that Italy has still a long way to go in terms of LGBTI equality. The mostly Catholic country passed a bill on civil unions in 2016. Same-sex marriages and adoptions, however, are not legal.You might also like:Cornwall hosted the first Pride tour in the world and the pictures are dreamy Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . 5 fabulous European Prides you need to check out this weekendRoyal Mail unveils rainbow postbox in Soho to celebrate Pride in LondonAntarctica is about to get its first ever Pride celebrationRead the full article on Gaystarnews: :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/station-netflix-pride-italy-couple/ Commuters waiting for their train at Porta Venezia underground station in Milan, Italy, spotted something unusual on 27 June.
YouTube is at the center of content creation, content distribution, and advertising activities for some time now. The impact of YouTube can be estimated from the 1.8 billion YouTube users worldwide. While the YouTube video hosting concept has been a great success story for content creators, the video viewing and recommendation model has been in the middle of a brewing controversy lately. The Controversy Logan Paul was already a top rated YouTube star when he stumbled across a hanging dead body in a Japanese forest which is famous as a suicide spot. After the initial shock and awe, Logan Paul seemed quite amused and commented “Dude, his hands are purple,” then he turned to his friends and giggled. “You ever stand next to a dead guy?”. This particular instance was a shocking moment for YouTubers all across the globe. Disapproving reactions had poured in and the video was taken down 24 hours later by YouTube. In those 24 hours, the video managed to garner 6 million views. Even after the furious backlash, users complained that they were still seeing recommendations of Logan Paul’s videos. That brought the emphasis back on the recommendation system that YouTube uses. YouTube Video Recommendation Back in 2005, when YouTube first started out, it had a uniform homepage for all users. This meant that every YouTube user would see the same homepage and the creators who would feature there, would get a huge boost in their viewership. Their selection was based on their subscriber count, views and user engagement metrics e.g. likes, comments, shares etc. This inspired other users to become creators and start contributing content to become a part of the YouTube family. In 2006, YouTube was bought by Google. Their policies and homepage started evolving gradually. As ads started showing on YouTube videos, the scenario changed quite quickly. Also, with the rapid rise in the number of users, Google had thought it to be a good idea to curate the homepage as per each user’s watch history, subscriptions, and likes. This was a good move in principle since it helped the users to see what they wanted to see. As a part of their next level innovation, a machine learning model was created to suggest or recommend videos to users. The goal of this deep neural network based recommendation engine was to increase watch time of every video so that users stay longer on the platform. What did it change and How When Youtube’s machine learning algorithm shows a few videos in your feed as “Recommended for you”, it predicts what you want to see from your watch history and watch history of similar users. If you interact with any of these videos and watch it for a certain amount of time, the recommendation engine considers it as a success and starts curating a list based on your interactions with its suggested videos. The more data it gathers about your choices and watch history, the more confident it becomes of its own video decisions. The major goal of Youtube’s recommendation engine is to attract your attention and get you hooked to the platform to get more watch time. More watch time means more revenue and more scope for targeted ads. What this changes, is the fundamental concept of choice and the exercising of user discretion. The moment the YouTube Algorithm considers watch time as the most important metric to recommend videos to you, less importance goes into the organic interactions on YouTube, which includes liking, commenting and subscribing to videos and channels. Users get to see video recommendations based on the YouTube Algorithm’s user understanding and its goal of maximizing watch time, with less importance given to user choices. Distorted Reality and YouTube This attention maximizing model is the fundamental working mechanism of mostly all social media networks. But YouTube has not been implicated in the accusation of distorting reality and spreading the fake news as much as Facebook has been in mainstream media. But times are changing and so are the viewpoints related to YouTube’s influence on the global population and its ability to manipulate important public opinion. Guillaume Chaslot, a 36-year-old French computer programmer with a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence, was one of those engineers who was in the core team to develop and perfect the YouTube algorithm. In his own words “YouTube is something that looks like reality, but it is distorted to make you spend more time online. The recommendation algorithm is not optimizing for what is truthful, or balanced, or healthy for democracy.” Chaslot explains that the algorithm never stays the same. It is constantly changing the weight it gives to different signals; the viewing patterns of a user, for example, or the length of time a video is watched before someone clicks away.” Chaslot was fired by Google in 2013 over performance issues. His claim was that he wanted to bring about a change in the approach of the YouTube algorithm to make it more aligned with democratic values instead of being devoted to just increasing the watch time. Where are we headed I am not qualified or righteous enough to answer the direct question – is YouTube good or bad. YouTube creates opportunities for millions of creators worldwide to showcase their talent and present it to a global audience without worrying about country or boundaries. This itself is a huge power for an internet application. But the crucial point to remember here is whether YouTube is using this power to just make the users glued to the screen. Do they really care if you are seeing divisive content or prejudiced flat earther conspiracies as recommended videos? The algorithm can be tweaked to include parameters which will remove unintended bias such as whether a video is propagating fake news or influencing voters minds in an unlawful way. But that is near impossible as machines lack morality or empathy or even common sense. To incorporate humane values such as honesty and morality into an AI system is like creating an AI that is more human than a machine. This is why machine augmented human intelligence will play a more and more crucial role in the near future. The possibilities are endless, be it good or bad. Whether we progress or digress, might not be in our hands anymore. But what might be in our hands is to come together to put effective checkpoints to identify and course correct scenarios where algorithms rule wild. Read Next Sex robots, artificial intelligence, and ethics: How desire shapes and is shaped by algorithms Like newspapers, Google algorithms are protected by the First amendment California replaces cash bail with algorithms
Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Choice Hotels Australasia has begun 2015 by announcing five new hotels this month, adding to its expanding portfolio of properties across the country. The new properties are located across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, and start another expected strong year of growth for Choice Hotels in Australia across all five brands.Choice’s chief executive officer Trent Fraser, said he was proud to announce the addition of five new properties and looks forward to the franchisor’s strong growth and expansion in 2015. “Choice Hotels is dedicated to continually growing our portfolio and we always enjoy working with our new franchisees to ensure they provide high quality accommodation and experiences for their guests,” Mr Fraser said. Situated in tropical north Queensland, the new 4.5 STAR Clarion Hotel Townsville offers the ultimate in comfort and class, right in the heart of the CBD and a stone’s throw away from the beaches.Offering the largest rooms in Miles, the 4 STAR Comfort Inn Swagsman in outback Queensland is close to popular attractions such as the Miles Historic Village and Bunya Mountains National Park.Choice Hotels also welcomes the new Comfort Inn Towradgi Beach, located in the small beach-side suburb of Towradgi, New South Wales.Further expanding its Victorian offering, Choice Hotels’ two new additions include Melbourne-based suburban property the Quality Inn and Suites Knox and the Comfort Inn Drouin, located in the heart of Victoria.Choice Hotels Australasia has more than 270 hotels across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, with an excess of 11,000 rooms.
“The Five Samurai” (L-R): Jeremy Potter (Phil Hoffmann Travel), Kim Scoular (Scenic), Tracey Williams (Bayview Travel), Sarah Fitzgerald (Botanica World Discoveries) and Liza Rarm (American Express Travel)Photos courtesy of Tracey Williams Japan National Tourism Organization Source = Japan National Tourism Organization Agents indulge in luxury on golden famil to JapanFrom 12th – 19th September 2015, five travel agents were invited by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office on an 8-day fully-hosted familiarisation trip, highlighting Japan as an ideal destination for the luxury travel market.The tour visited popular areas for first-time Australian visitors to Japan on Japan’s Golden Route, including Osaka, Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo. The Golden Route showcases the contrast between traditional and modern – from World Heritage-listed ancient temples of Nara and quiet bamboo forests of Kyoto to Tokyo Sky Tree, the tallest broadcasting tower in the world.Throughout the tour they were treated to exclusive cultural experiences such as an up-close-and-personal experience with a maiko (apprentice geisha), samurai lesson and tea ceremony.“Japan is truly a land of contrasts – whether it’s exploring the ancient sites, playing dress-up in kimonos or devouring sumptuous food in high-end restaurants, there is something for everyone. Nara Park probably encapsulated Japan best all in one location – ANCIENT (amazing temple), NATURE (deers peacefully wandering around), and MODERN (plenty of selfie sticks on display). However we continually saw each of these on display throughout our time in Japan. Who would have thought my favourite meal in Japan would be Italian – a meal that still included the obligatory raw fish (in the salad), and the highest quality of ingredients (something we experienced in all our meals)”, said Tracey Williams, Travel Advisor, Bayview Travel.The participants were especially impressed with the richly-varied Japanese cuisine they enjoyed throughout the trip. Also, the high-quality service and attention-to-detail received at the luxury accommodations they stayed at including the Palace Hotel Tokyo and Hoshino Resorts L’Hotel de Hiei made their trip a memorable one.Jeremy Potter, Branch Manager of Phil Hoffmann Travel said:“Having just returned from a week long luxury experience in Japan I can highly recommend this as a destination for the luxury market. The hotels and the service received at them was of a consistently high level with a special mention to the Palace Hotel Tokyo which offered a truly 5 star experience.Nara, Tokyo and Kyoto all offer interesting and varied sightseeing and shopping but the biggest surprise was the gourmet experience we got at virtually every meal time. Japan should be on the wish list of every ‘foodie’ out there from fresh sushi at the Tokyo fish markets, 10 course French/Japanese fusion menus to local cook-your-own-food restaurants, there is something for everyone.”
It’s been accepted for the last few years that housing supply hasn’t been able to keep up with demand, contributing to large gains in home prices nationwide—but how do the numbers break down, and how do specific groups of buyers and sellers balance against each other? John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, explored the topic in a recent piece.Excluding homeowners who buy and sell within the same market (essentially adding and subtracting one home from that area), Burns isolated six “buyers-only” and eight “sellers-only” categories, many of which match or are related to each other:First-time buyers versus end-of-lifers: While the number of first-time buyers is currently lower than usual, Burns notes first-timers “usually greatly outnumber the number of people ending their tenure of homeownership,” meaning those groups are still imbalanced.Divorcees versus newlyweds: The number of divorcees is also down, while the number of newlyweds (who add to supply by shedding one of their homes) is up. However, “[d]ivorcees often end up owning two homes,” Burns explains—so they weigh heavier on the scale of supply and demand.New migrants and immigrants versus out-migrants: A simpler equation than the others: Immigrants and in-migrants outnumber out-migrants.Those buying a second home versus those selling one: Second-home ownership has been on the rise in recent years, but during slow economic times—such as these—sellers outnumber buyers as more people cut luxuries to make ends meet.Buyers moving up/down (while keeping their prior home) versus homeowners choosing to rent: Far more buyers are moving up and holding on to their home as investments, while “[f]ew homeowners voluntarily convert to renters,” Burns says.Investors (both sides): Investor activity has been high the last few years, creating a huge impact on the market.The remaining two categories are banks, which have been selling three times as many homes lately as normal (contributing to supply), and builders, who can serve as an equalizing force by creating more supply as demand warrants—but who haven’t been as active as normal.The result: As expected, a scale tipped heavily against buyers.“Right now, we believe more buyers than sellers will result in another year of price appreciation in most markets,” Burns says.“However, we see huge differences by market,” he adds. “We are carefully monitoring supply in Texas and affordability in California and projecting very different years in each market and submarket.” in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Share Demand Home Prices Homebuilders Housing Supply 2014-02-26 Tory Barringer Report Weighs Effects of Buyer, Seller Groups on Home Supply February 26, 2014 455 Views
What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke RT @TDAVENPORT88: @mortreport What do u think Arizona will do w 5th pick? Any trade down rumors? > I’m now thinking Miller/Peterson/Quinnless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet ReplyChris Mortensenmortreport Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Comments Share Of course, their interest in Texas A&M’s Von Miller has been well documented, but LSU’s Patrick Peterson and North Carolina’s Robert Quinn have not been linked to the desert by too many people.ESPN’s Chris Mortensen knows a thing or two, though, and if he’s thinking the Cards are leaning towards one of those three it means the team must not be too enamored with the offensive players they expect to be available when their pick comes up. Or maybe they just want to improve a defense that ranked 29th in the NFL last season, allowing 27.1 points and 373.6 yards per game. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Top Stories Much of the talk lately has been about the Cardinals perceived interest in Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert. Real or imagined, the idea of the Cards selecting a QB with the number five pick just more than a week from today is an exciting, if not a bit nerve-wracking, possibility. However, in true Helen Lovejoy fashion, the question has been posed: Won’t somebody please think of the defense?It appears the answer to that question may be yes.
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