January 2013 arrivals to Japan registered the highest number of Australian visitors to the country on record.Preliminary inbound visitor numbers for 2012 revealed Australian arrivals to Japan peaked at 206,600 – 27 percent higher than the previous year.January 2013 saw 31,700 Australian visitors to Japan, an increase of 42.6 percent compared to January 2012.Overseas arrivals across all markets in 2012 rose 34.6 percent on the previous year, to 8.4 million.The Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) attributed the exponential growth to exceptional snow conditions during the 2012/2013 ski season, increased demand for skiing in Japan and a strong Australian dollar.Although the winter season is almost over, the JNTO believe Japan still has plenty to offer Australian visitors.“Now is a great time to visit Japan… Not only can you get more yen for your dollar, but also Japan is entering spring, a great season to visit with beautiful cherry blossoms and fine weather… We have seen a positive demand for cherry blossom tours and many are already at capacity,” JNTO executive director Hiroshi Kuwamoto said.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Perfect winter conditions contribute to arrivals.
With the summer travel season fast approaching and many people beginning to research their trips, travel planning and booking site TripAdvisor has teamed up with music-streaming service Google Play Music to provide travellers with two months of free access to curated playlists tailored specifically for popular travel destinations across the globe.The new feature aims to transport travellers to their destination of choice via locally-themed playlists. Whether in the travel planning phase or on the trip, users will be able to take “getting into vacation mode” to a whole new level with access to these curated playlists.Travellers can listen to Cafe Italiano while sipping an espresso in Rome, rave to the Underground Club Sounds of Berlin, or dance to Sao Paulo Funk… the app will provide access to a fun and exciting array of well-known and hidden-gem soundtracks for popular cities.“Music is such an intrinsic element of the travelling experience and we’re very pleased to provide our TripAdvisor Android app users with convenient access to the fun travel soundtracks available through Google Play Music,” TripAdvisor vice president of global partnerships Stephanie Kauffman said.“This unique integration allows travellers to enjoy a variety of curated music for popular cities around the world, and we’re delighted to be able to offer a free trial of the service.”Users will also get unlimited access to the more than 35 million songs in the Google Play Music catalogue, personalised recommendations, and the ability to listen to music offline.Whether it is a journey to Rio to soak up the Olympic atmosphere, a family road-trip to the South of France, or an Ibiza adventure to soak up the summer party season – TripAdvisor and Google Play Music have the ultimate holiday soundtracks sorted.“Music and travel go hand in hand for many people. This collaboration is designed to help make key life moments, such as summer holidays, even more magical with culturally specific music. We hope that music and travels lovers will discover new soundtracks and travel tips together,” Google Play vice president of Partnerships Zahavah Levine said.How it works:TripAdvisor Android app users can access the travel soundtracks by clicking on the Google Play Music icons included within select TripAdvisor destination pages.Users will then be directed to the Google Play Music app to sign up to receive the free trial of the Google Play Music service for a period of two months, after which time the standard monthly AUD$12.99 subscription fee will apply. The app feature will be available in more than 60 countries globally.The TripAdvisor Android app is available to download from the Google Play store. Download the appSource = TripAdvisor
Emily Bay on Norfolk Island has been named one of the Top 10 Beaches – AustraliaEmily Bay on Norfolk Island has been named one of the Top 10 Beaches – AustraliaStunning Emily Bay on Norfolk Island has been named one of the Top 10 Beaches – Australia in TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards for 2017. Emily Bay has been selected following TripAdvisor’s analysis of the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings across beaches worldwide collected over a 12-month period as well as booking interest on TripAdvisor.Announcing the award winners, TripAdvisor advised Emily Bay is “a beautiful area popular for swimmers” with “best time to go: year round”.TripAdvisor spokesperson Joanne Kershaw said “Aussies love the beach so for those planning their next sandy getaway, TripAdvisor has identified from millions of traveller reviews, the best beaches throughout the world as well as those right here in our back yard.”Less than 3 hours flying time from Sydney or Brisbane, a short-break or extended holiday beckon on Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island is long-regarded as a wonderful place to visit with family and friends or escape with a loved one.Emily Bay is a crescent of golden sand backed by beach grass and pines. Set in the world-heritage listed area of Kingston, this sheltered reef lagoon is home to a variety of fish and hard and soft coral. The water is clean and crystal clear and, most importantly, safe for swimming and perfect for snorkelling.Norfolk Island also offers fabulous culinary experiences and countless other activities including fishing, kayaking, surfing, cycling and bushwalking. There are glass bottom boat tours and ocean trips to Phillip Island, and attractions including Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama. Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area are the oldest of the eleven Australian penal colonies.Australian television personality, Ray Martin, was named this year as Ambassador for Norfolk Island. Source = Norfolk Island
THAI congratulates Jetski World ChampionTHAI congratulates Jetski World ChampionMrs. Usanee Sangsingkeo (fourth from left), Acting President, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), congratulated Mr. Tanapat Thipprapai (third from left), a Thai athlete from B-Links Jetski Racing Team, who won the title of jetski world champion under the slalom category at the World Finals 2017 in the United States of America. Mr. Chawan Svasti-xuto (second from left), and Mr. Kanathorn Raktham (first from left), B-Links Jetski Racing Team consultants, and Colonel Kasila Pathai (fifth from left), Manager of B-Links Jetski Racing Team, expressed their gratitude to THAI for its sponsorship. THAI, as the national carrier, sponsors various sports competitions that boost Thailand’s national identity and instigates a sense of national pride.Source = Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI)
Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, has inaugurated E-boarding facility at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Hyderabad, for all domestic passengers.The E-boarding solution fully removes the need for manual stamping of boarding cards, even for physical boarding cards issued by CUSS (Common Use Self Service) machines or the check-in counters. Additionally, it covers end-to-end all the key passenger processes at the airport, starting from entry to terminal, including check-in, security check, boarding gate and finally the boarding bridge check before entering the aircraft.Developed in-house, the E-boarding Solution by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) is the first end-to-end e-enabled boarding solution, making RGIA the first airport in India to have this facility.
Report: QRM Heightens Need for Evidence of Compliance September 23, 2013 504 Views Originators and servicers are going to have to step up their documentation procedures as regulatory guidelines dovetail, financial services firm “”PwC””:http://www.pwc.com/us/en/ says in a new white paper.[IMAGE]The “”white paper””:http://www.pwc.com/en_US/us/consumer-finance/publications/assets/pwc-atr-qm-compliance-standards.pdf explores the relationship between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Ability to Repay (ATR) and qualified mortgage (QM) guidelines and the newly re-proposed qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rules released by agencies in late August.With the QRM rules now revised to align better with QM, PwC says the need to document evidence of compliance is even greater than before.””The age-old question asks: if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? A modern version to that question might be: if a lender in fact determines a borrower’s ability to repay, or originates a Qualified Mortgage (QM), but cannot evidence it, has the lender complied with the Ability-to-Pay (ATR) or QM standards?”” PwC asks in the paper.””As a practical matter,”” the company says, “”the answer is No.””Not only is documentary evidence needed to protect originators and servicers from actions by regulators or borrowers, it is now crucial to demonstrate that securities containing QM loans are in fact exempt from risk-retention requirements set up in the QRM proposal.””Therefore, the re-proposed QRM rule amplifies the need for lenders, servicers and securities issuers … to make the process, governance and other changes necessary to ensure that mortgages are accompanied by documentation evidencing compliance with the ATR and QM standards,”” PwC said.To better prepare for these changes, the company says firms need to ask questions about their own procedures and change them accordingly, starting with developing a list of documents they will need to capture and putting together a way to evidence the calculations and decision-making criteria used in the underwriting process.From there, the key is making sure the data is private and secure but still easily accessible to those who need it–a challenge that involves all aspects of a business’ operations.””[T]he need for such evidence can raise from a wide range of contexts and, as the questions companies should ask themselves suggests, the job of making the changes necessary to meet those needs is complex. For example, that job will pose not only a business and compliance challenges, but will also require significant operational and IT considerations,”” the paper concludes. Share in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Compliance Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage-Backed Securities QRM Regulation Service Providers 2013-09-23 Tory Barringer
in Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2014-02-04 Tory Barringer Share IDS Expands Staff to Meet Growing Demand “”International Document Services””:http://www.idsdoc.com/Marketing/index.html (IDS), a mortgage document preparation vendor based in Salt Lake City, touted the tremendous steps forward the company took in 2013 as demand for its services grew.[IMAGE]According to a company release, IDS expanded its internal customer service team by 72 percent last year, with overall staff increasing by 45 percent.[COLUMN_BREAK]The growth was necessary to meet consumers’ growing needs ahead of the implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new disclosure changes, the company says.””IDS has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years, and the addition of more staff was critical for us in terms of our ability to maintain the responsiveness our customers have come to expect,”” said IDS EVP Mark Mackey. “”To our way of thinking, it is simply unacceptable for a customer to wait for a response from their document preparation vendor or to be inconvenienced by their vendor’s growing pains.””A number of IDS’ customers have voiced their appreciation for the company’s commitment to service, including Tina Baguley, a loan officer with Heritage Grove Federal Credit Union in Salem, Oregon.””Over the years that I have worked with Heritage Grove, I have had several VP changes. Every time they come in and evaluate our vendors, I always say that IDS is one vendor that I will not allow them to change because they are the best company to work with,”” Baguley said. February 4, 2014 420 Views
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination June 11, 2015 567 Views In response to the positive Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment data released on Monday, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose above 4 percent this week for the first time since November 2014. Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), revealed that the average fixed mortgage rates averaged 4.02 percent for the week ending June 11, 2015.”Mortgage rates rose above 4 percent for the first time since November 2014 as Treasury yields surged,” said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. “Markets are responding to strong employment data. In May, the U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs. Moreover, job openings surged to 5.4 million in April, up over 20 percent from a year ago.”Last week’s mortgage rates averaged 3.87 percent, while this week’s rates averaged 4.04 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week, according to Freddie Mac. At this time a year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.20 percent.According to the survey, the 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.25 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.08 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.31 percent.As consumers rush to purchase homes as interest rates rise, mortgage applications also saw an increase this week. Yesterday, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) determined that mortgage applications increased by 8.4 percent for the week ending June 5, 2015 from one week earlier, according to data from their Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.”Mortgage application volume rebounded strongly in the week following the Memorial Day holiday, indicating that the holiday had a larger impact on business activity than originally assumed,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist. “Comparing volume over the past two weeks, purchase activity is up over 6 percent, while refinance activity is down 5 percent. Strong job gains in May and initial signs of wage growth are supporting the purchase market.”Zillow also reported yesterday that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate on Zillow Mortgages is currently at an eight-month high of 3.96 percent, up eighteen points from this time last week.”Rates jumped sharply last week – first on the heels of news that the European Central Bank’s bond buying program may end sooner than expected, then an exceptionally strong U.S. jobs report,” said Erin Lantz, VP of mortgages at Zillow. “We expect less volatility in this data-light week.” Share The 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Rises Above 4 Percent 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Bureau of Labor Statistics Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey 2015-06-11 Staff Writer
in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Secondary Market, Uncategorized JPMorgan Chase & Co Lawsuit MBS Investors residential mortgage backed securities 2015-07-20 Staff Writer JPMorgan Chase Reaches $388 Million Settlement in MBS Investor Lawsuit July 20, 2015 489 Views JPMorgan Chase & Co agreed to pay $388 million to resolve a lawsuit by investors who claimed that the U.S. bank provided misleading information about the safety of $10 billion worth of residential mortgage-backed securities (MBS) it sold before the financial crisis, according to multiple media reports.The Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund and other investors in nine offerings made before the 2008 financial crisis brought the lawsuit fort, according to Bloomberg Business writer Patricia Hurtado. They accused JPMorgan of misleading them about the underwriting, appraisals, and credit quality of the home loans underlying the certificates. She adds that after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the certificates were worth 62 cents on the dollar at most, the investors said.According to Reuters’ reporter Sneha Banerjee, in 2013, JPMorgan agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the Justice Department over allegations that the bank had misled investors in MBS about the soundness and risks of the investments that helped bring on the subprime-mortgage crisis of 2008. JPMorgan has said throughout the litigation process that the poor performance of the certificates was not due to the quality of the loans, but was caused by the collapse of the overall economy, Banerjee added.The $388 million settlement was disclosed in a Manhattan federal court filing on Friday, Hurtado said. As part of the settlement, the bank denied any wrongdoing and a judge must decide whether to approve the pact.“We couldn’t have achieved such a stellar recovery without the leadership of the Northern and Southern California Laborers Pension Funds,” Luke Brooks, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.“These funds not only stepped forward to protect their participants’ hard earned retirement savings, but equally importantly they committed themselves to the trial of this action, which allowed us to maximize the recovery for the class.”Bloomberg Business noted that Joseph Evangelisti, a spokesman for New York-based JPMorgan, declined to comment on the settlement.The case is Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., 09-cv-3701, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). Share
Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Grace Period Mortgage Repurchase TRID 2015-10-08 Staff Writer October 8, 2015 529 Views Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offering lenders and servicers an informal hold harmless grace period for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule.In two similar letters to the industry, the Enterprises outlined that they recognize that many lenders and their partners in the mortgage industry have “undertaken considerable technological and operational changes” to meet TRID requirements, which went into effect October 3, 2015.In addition, both companies “recognizes and appreciates the enormous efforts that its lenders have made to date.”Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will no longer conduct routine post-purchase loan file reviews for technical compliance with TRID.However, they will continue to review mortgage loans to ensure that the correct forms were used during the origination process.The letter also stated that both companies retain the right to require a repurchase in the event that a lender violates applicable law if the lender’s failed compliance could impair the Enterprise’s ability to enforce the note or mortgage, or impose assignee liability.Neither Enterprise intends to exercise contractual remedies, including repurchase, for noncompliance with TRID except:If the required form is not usedIf a particular practice would impair enforcement of the note or mortgage or would result in assignee liability, and a court of law, regulator or other authoritative body has determined that such practice violates TRID.The Enterprises “expect lenders to make good faith efforts to comply with TRID; failure to use a TRID-required form will be deemed a violation of the good faith efforts standard and will render the mortgage loan subject to all contractual remedies, including repurchase.”The Enterprises both indicated that this grace period will be held until “further notice” with no official end date.The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass a bipartisan bill (303-121) that will provide a “hold harmless” grace period for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule, which went into effect October 3.The Homebuyers Assistance Act (H.R. 3192) provides the mortgage industry with a grace period through February 1, 2016, by protecting them from enforcement actions if they make a good faith effort to comply with the TRID regulation.Out of the 303 who voted in favor of the bill, 239 were Republicans and 64 were Democrats. All 121 who voted nay were Democrats; 10 representatives (seven Republicans, three Democrats) did not vote.When it comes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Democratic and Republican lawmakers are generally sharply divided with Democrats vigorously defending the Bureau or any action it takes.So why did 64 Democrats—about a third of the 188 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives—vote in favor of H.R. 3192, the Homebuyers Assistance Act, on Wednesday to implement a formal grace period until February 1, 2016, for compliance with the CFPB’s TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule? Even the White House issued a statement saying that the President was advised to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.Perhaps the amount of consternation and even “angst,” as CFPB Director Richard Cordray put it in his testimony before Congress on September 29, expressed by those who work in the mortgage industry over whether they could be fully compliant with TRID in time for the October 3 effective date generated some sympathy among Democratic lawmakers and motivated them to vote in favor of the formal grace period. That was the case with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California), co-sponsor of H.R. 3192 along with Rep. French Hill (R-Arkansas).”These new forms and regulations are complicated,” Sherman said. “Smaller lenders and title companies are complying in good faith with a 1,888 page regulation that is only now being tested in real life home closings. The Hill-Sherman bill tells these smaller lenders, title and escrow companies to implement the new forms immediately. However, if they act in good faith but make unintentional mistakes, they will not be subject to retribution for those mistakes made prior to February 1, 2016.”Click here to read Fannie Mae’s letter.Click here to read Freddie Mac’s letter. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Share Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Offers Informal Grace Period to Industry
After years of steadily increasing values, home price reductions are on the rise. In fact, the share of U.S. homes listed for sale with at least one price cut is at its highest level since 2014—“more evidence of a market that may finally be tilting in homebuyers’ favor,” states a new report by Trulia.According to Trulia, price reduction was largely unchanged this year until July and August, climbing to 17 percent from one month to the next. That was the highest national rate for reductions since August 2014. Compared to August 2017 this August saw its share of listings with a price cut rise in 63 of the 100 largest metros.“Coupled with home price growth that has begun to slow, and inventory levels that are creeping back up in some places, a higher rate of price cuts could be a critical third confirmation that things may finally be shifting in buyers’ favor,” the report stated.According to the report, the 12 months ending August 2018 saw a median nationwide reduction of 2.6 percent off listing prices.Pricier neighborhoods saw listing prices drop more often than less expensive neighborhoods, Trulia reported. This was especially prevalent in Camden, New Jersey, and Raleigh.“Raleigh’s more expensive Glenwood and Five Points neighborhoods, where median home values are currently $676,500 and $519,400, respectively (compared to a metro-wide median of $258,692), have seen 18.9 percent and 16.7 percent of their listings go through at least one price cut over the past year,” the report stated. “Meanwhile, in the less expensive neighborhoods of South Raleigh and Southeast Raleigh, only 5.8 percent and 6.7 percent of listings have had a price cut in the past 12 months.”Camden saw similar numbers. According to Trulia, 21.5 percent of listings in Springdale, the city’s most expensive neighborhood, had a price cut in the year ended in August; meanwhile, in Bergen Square, among the city’s least expensive areas, just 8.6 percent of listings had a price cut over the same time.The caveat: “The growing prevalence of price reductions is likely to be welcomed by home shoppers, but the news could be tempered somewhat by the fact the median price reduction itself is getting smaller,” the report stated.Across the 12 months ending August 2018, the median reduction nationwide knocked 2.6 percent off the listing price, the report stated. During the same period in 2011-2012, the median reduction was 4 percent.The median percent decrease of a price reduction today, the report concluded, is less than the median price reduction at the outset of the recovery in 97 of the 100 largest metros Trulia analyzed. November 23, 2018 1,841 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Media, News Should Buyers Beware or Start Celebrating? Affordability Camden Home Prices Homebuyers Housing Market housing trends Raleigh Trulia 2018-11-23 Scott_Morgan Share
This story is exclusive to Fresh Fruit Portal. If you would like to reproduce any elements of it on other sites or publications, please make a request to our editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org Sierra y Selva Exportadora is also working on bringing new varieties to Peru.Daga explained that efforts in the public sector to develop cherry production are time-consuming as a number of protocols need to be followed. “[This] is not the case with the private sector, which can invest a lot of money, have larger areas of land and can bear the costs, like what happened with the avocado and blueberries,” he said.Some of the challenges they have faced include finding large areas of land in cool places that have the potential for industrial development.”We hope that in August or September we will see the first blooms and will be harvesting very early varieties at the end of October, beginning of November,” he said.Following the initial harvest, the team will have a clearer idea of how best to continue with the initiative, he said.Private effortsIn the private sector, interest in cherry production has been brewing. Auris told Fresh Fruit Portal in 2016 that “everyone” was asking for cherry plants.Auris is encouraging Los Viñedos’ customers to plant at least two hectares of cherry orchards to gain a decent understanding of how the crop performs in the Peruvian climate.She said one hectare or less “is not promising, because you can’t really know if the cherries will succeed at an industrial level”.The nursery has been working independently of the government, she added, “since the farmers have to feel the monetary effort to appreciate the work.”The current focus is on obtaining technical advice from cherry-producing countries, and for the moment there have been discussions with Chilean entities that could support small-holder farmers.In the nursery, they are working with self-fertile varieties Santina and Latins.Auris added that the likely harvest windows on either end of the Chilean deal meant the two countries “would not collide” in the future.Don’t miss the Global Cherry Summit 2019! Click here for more information.Related story: Cherry production could become a reality in Peru in four yearsPhoto: Shutterstock Turkish cherry industry confident of strong future … Chile edges closer to Vietnamese market access for … Dalian Yidu chief wins visionary award at Global C … Efforts to develop a cherry industry in Peru are underway in both the public and private sectors, with expectations that future exports could fit into both the lucrative marketing windows either side of the Chilean deal.The Peruvian government, through Sierra y Selva Exportadora, is planting small trial orchards around the country to evaluate the performance of the crop.The organization is expecting the first trial harvests by the end of this year and says it should reach a conclusion on cherries’ commercial viability in three years.Meanwhile, the Los Viñedos nursery is encouraging its customers to plant at least three hectares of trees and to seek foreign technical input.Both initiatives aim to make Peru a key player in the international cherry market, which is undergoing strong growth.William Daga Ávalos, head of Sierra y Selva Exportadora’s berry program, said the industry’s development would also generate wealth in poor areas.If the commercial project goes ahead, the harvest dates would vary greatly depending on the region but could slot in either side of the Chilean deal and fetch high prices internationally.”If it were a harvest from the Huancayo area in the Junin region, the fruit would be expected for February or March, while in other areas it could be in September or October,” said Mercedes Auris, manager of the Los Viñedos nursery.The peak export months from Chile, Peru’s southern neighbor, are generally from November through January.Public effortsPeru has been developing strategies and studies for a couple of years for cherry production in a climate characterized by its lack of marked seasons, which are necessary for the crop.In 2016, Peru imported its first batch of the Colt and Maxma 14 rootstocks to begin studying which varieties were best suited to the Andean country.Currently, work is being done to evaluate which areas are best suited to the trees’ requirements.”So far, it is the regions of Cajamarca and the mountainous regions in La Libertad, Huanco, Junin, Ayacucho, Cusco and Arequipa that seem the most promising,” said Daga. You might also be interested in July 18 , 2018 NA: Heatwave, thunderstorms to affect grape, berry …
BrochuresCambodiacruiseStar Clippersyachts Star Clippers has released its 2020 brochure including its newest destination – Cambodia’s Koh Rong Island and Sihanoukville. Star Clippers is also returning to Borneo in 2020 for its second season, and three new ports have been added for 2020 – Stintino, Zadar and Vis Island.An early booking discount of up to 30 percent applies. Guests can sail from Thailand to Cambodia on the Star Clippers Ko Samui roundtrip, with 10-night or 11-nights options starting in April 2020. Stops include Koh Rong, Sihanoukville, and an in-depth exploration of the iconic must-see temple, Ankor Wat (two-day land addition). Prices start from AUD$4,810* per person for 10 nights and AUD$5,290* per person for 11 nights.Star Clippers is also offering itineraries between Singapore and Kota Kinabalu, to explore the dense rainforests of Sarawak and the abundant wildlife in Sabah in Malaysian Borneo.In the Western Mediterranean, the Royal Clipper will visit new ports on its seven-night Corsica, Sardinia and Riviera sailings. The roundtrip out of Cannes includes a visit to the stylish Italian town, Portofino (not a new inclusion) and Sardinia’s best beach in the traditional village of Stintino. Departing in 19th September and 3rd October 2020, the Cannes roundtrip starts at AUD$3,475* per person.The Western Mediterranean sailings offer new ports in Croatia as well, including Zadar and its stunning Roman ruins, and the city of Korcula. Royal Clipper will sail across Italy, Montenegro and Croatia on an 11-night itinerary that includes the new Croatian port of Vis Island.
Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke The Arizona Cardinals defense struggled last season, ranking 23rd against the pass and 30th against the run.Those numbers were as disappointing as they were horrifying.With players like Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes on the team, there would appear to be little reason for the Cards defense to be among the league’s worst. Top Stories Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Comments Share But they were.Calais Campbell, one of the players who did not play up to expectations, thinks he knows why things didn’t go well. He told Pro Football Focus it was about chemistry. “A lot of games we were in sync and we played well, and we were out of sync we really struggled and we got blown up,” he said. Campbell mentioned the Saints game, where the Cardinals won because of their defense (and not NFC Rookie of the Week Max Hall’s exploits, no matter what people wanted you to believe at the time), but also mentioned the team’s Week 3 meltdown in San Diego, where the Cards got blasted 41-10. “When it comes down to it, it’s just confidence in each other and being in sync and play with chemistry,” he said. “It stinks with the way the off season is this year because we miss out on a lot of opportunities to build our relationships.”Good or bad, depending on how you look at it, the defense will return largely in tact. They integrated a lot of new pieces last year, and the unfamiliarity may have led to some of the struggles.That won’t be an excuse this year, though, and if the Cardinals are to return to the playoffs they’ll need the defense to step up and actually stop someone. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’
D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Top Stories The Arizona Cardinals are not known for having a dominant offensive line. The pieces have changed over the years, yet the results have been, mostly, mediocre.The longest-tenured player on the line is guard Deuce Lutui, who joined the Cardinals as a rookie during the 2006 season. After an acrimonious contract battle last year, Lutui enters this offseason as an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Re-up: Coach Ken Whisenhunt is a fan of having continuity along the offensive line, and he already has to replace his left guard, who retired. Lutui knows the system and, when motivated, is an above average run blocker. He is also a fiery player, able to get under the skin of his opponents. Certainly a good guy to have on the team. Reject: Lutui came into camp out of shape last year, showing that unless he was being paid he could not be properly motivated. What will happen when he gets a nice, new contract? Furthermore, he’s not exactly a Pro-Bowler. Lutui has been a stalwart on a line that has struggled; at what point do you cut ties and say “enough’s enough?” Comments Share
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires – Didn’t see tackle Bobby Massie out there, either. (Note: Massie missed practice Thursday for a non-injury-related reason. – During the special teams drills, cornerback Antoine Cason and receiver Larry Fitzgerald shared a brief chat. No doubt in my mind they were talking about the big Arizona vs. UCLA game this weekend. Either that or something actually important to the team.– Defensive back Patrick Peterson did some throwing drills with the team’s quarterbacks. He asked the media if we saw him “beat Carson.” I assume he was talking about the drill where the passers try to place the ball into certain spots in a net. I nodded my head yes, which made him happy to know his claim was validated. I lied. Sorry Patrick, not sure if any of us saw it happen. That does not mean it didn’t, of course…Stat of the DayIn two career games against the Texans, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has caught 11 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns. His quarterbacks in those games were Kurt Warner and John Navarre.Quote of the Day“We’re focused on trying to get another win at home against a damn good football team in Houston,” receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “It’s a very talented group we’re playing against. I don’t know how they’re 2-6, but you look at them on tape and you look at their personnel — they’re just unbelievably talented across the board.” Comments Share TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals got to practice in wonderful weather Thursday. Arizona this time of year is, well, great.Of Note:– For the second straight day, left tackle Bradley Sowell was absent for the portion of practice that was available to the media. Coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday some players were out sick, and Sowell was listed on the injury report as being exactly that. So yeah, I guess you could say he’s not feeling so well. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling This Day in Arizona Cardinals HistoryOn November 7, 1993, the Chris Chandler-led Phoenix Cardinals knocked off the Philadelphia Eagles 16-3 at Sun Devil Stadium.The Eagles took a 3-0 first quarter lead on a 27-yard Matt Bahr field goal, but that was all they’d get in the game.Chandler completed just 10-of-20 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown, which was a 10-yard strike to Gary Clark in the second quarter. Ronald Moore gained 160 yards on 36 carries, the Cardinals sacked QB Ken O’Brien four times and picked him off once, and the Eagles were penalized 10 times for 60 yards on the afternoon. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
It’s been five years since the Arizona Cardinals played in Super Bowl XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Sunday two prominent players from that 2008-09 team moved one step closer to getting back to the big game — albeit with different squads.Wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who finally broke through and earned his first Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, caught a game-high eight receptions for 136 yards, as the San Francisco 49ers dispatched of the Carolina Panthers by a final of 23-10 in Charlotte. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact For Boldin, next Sunday’s appearance in the NFC title game against the Seattle Seahawks will mark his third in a conference championship game. In his two prior appearances, Boldin recorded nine catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns.Boldin’s former teammate, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, also had a hand in his team’s divisional round victory, as he recorded four solo tackles and a game-high three pass deflections in the Denver Broncos’ 24-17 win over the San Diego Chargers.The former Cardinals first-round pick, who was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles along with a second-round pick for Kevin Kolb back in July 2011, has three interceptions on the year to go along with 31 tackles. Rodgers-Cromartie and the Broncos will host the New England Patriots next Sunday for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLVIII.Former Arizona offensive lineman Adam Snyder (49ers), linebacker O’Brien Schofield (Seahawks) and linebacker Paris Lenon (Broncos) will also be participants in the conference championship games. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories 0 Comments Share
Comments Share “Maybe a little push fade and a little pull draw,” he said, laughing. “We’ll see what (special teams) coach (Amos) Jones has me do. Whatever puts our defense in the best position to succeed is what we’ll end up doing.”Chop blocks have been eliminated from the NFL beginning this season. Prior to this change, adjacent players along the offensive line could chop a player on running plays. If it is clear that the defensive player is initiating the contact above the waist, or that the offensive player is trying to escape from the defender, then the block is still legal.“The legal chop block vs. the illegal chop block will be hard to officiate whether or not the guy is trying to escape vs. is the defensive lineman holding him?” Arians said, noting that since the umpire has been positioned in the backfield, defensive holding has risen dramatically because the umpire can’t see it. “If a guy chops him, is he being held or is he trying to get away? It’s going to be a very hard rule to officiate in my opinion.”Vinovich disagreed, saying that the elimination of all chop blocks will make it easier for officials.“We pick up a lot of chop blocks,” he said. “The problem that we had is each year they got rid of one. The ones that were left were non-adjacent linemen on flow away or something like that so when we see a chop block we don’t know where those two started. Now if we see any high-low we know it’s a foul.” Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians yells at the referees during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling GLENDALE, Ariz. — NFL referee Bill Vinovich was working the NFC Championship game last season between the Cardinals and Panthers. Not much was going right for the Cards early (or at any point in the game), which led to some predictable frustration and colorful language from Arizona coach Bruce Arians.As Vinovich approached Arians on the first series, he “got an earful.” The same thing happened the first time the Cardinals were on defense, so Vinovich got Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, on the headset. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “I go, ‘Dean, what’s the over-under on Fs (expletives) tonight?’” Vinovich asked. “He said ’62. Why?’“Well,” Vinovich responded. “I’ve been over there twice and I’m at 13.”Vinovich was in Glendale on Friday to visit his old friend, Arians, and deliver a presentation of the NFL’s new rules and points of emphasis for the 2016 season. Two rules in particular caught the attention of Cardinals coaches and players.Following touchbacks, the ball will be placed at the 25-yard line this season to limit the number of returns after injuries rose on the play in 2015.“I’m anxious to see if we start shooting more high, short kicks into the corners or give the ball to them on the 25,” said Arians, noting that the team will use the preseason to experiment. “It’s got to be a very returnable ball to give up the 25-yard line.”Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro said the data haven’t shown a great difference between giving teams the ball at the 20-yard line vs. the 25, but he will await instructions from the coaching staff. He said he already has the hook and slice in his bag of tools if the Cards ask him to kick to one corner or the other, although he referred to them as the “fade and the draw.” — Teams no longer have to designate a player to return when they place him on injured reserve. Players still have to be on IR for at least six weeks before they can be boomeranged, however.— Offensive and defensive play-callers are permitted to use headset communication systems whether they are on the field or in the booth.The NFL is also highlighting some points of emphasis.— Due to the increase in fouls and fines on lows hits on passers, the QB in the pocket in a passing posture (or outside the pocket if he re-establishes passing posture) is protected from forcible contact to the knees or below. Even if the defender is coming off a block and wrapping up with his arms, he must avoid forcible contact with his helmet, shoulder, forearms or chest. Defenders are still allowed to swipe the leg of the passer with arms only.— Sliding runners will have maximum protection when they slide feet first and slide before defensive contact is imminent. Late slides will not be protected from hits except to the head or neck, which are still illegal.— Defenders may not lower their head and make contact with the crown of their helmet to any part of a runner’s body outside the tackle box. — Pre-snap movement on the line will be a point of emphasis, with particular attention paid to movement of the ball just before the snap. Adjusting the ball as the center gets set is still permitted. Once the line is set, any abrupt or significant movement of the ball is prohibited and is a false start penalty.— Blind-side blocks on kickoffs and punt returns have been clarified. Any time a blocker is moving toward his own end line, he cannot block an opponent in the head or neck area.Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter – / 21 Top Stories Here are the rest of the rules changes for the 2016 NFL season, followed by some points of emphasis.— Any player flagged for two specific unsportsmanlike conduct fouls in a game will be automatically ejected. The qualifying fouls include throwing a punch or kick, use of abusive or threatening language toward an opponent and any act that constitutes taunting. Players can still be disqualified for one unsportsmanlike conduct foul if deemed appropriate.— Horse-collar tackles have been expanded to include the area “at the nameplate and above.” Players do not have to be completely pulled to the ground on a horse-collar tackle to be penalized. If their knees are buckled by the action, that is still a foul.— Teams will be flagged for delay of game if they attempt to call a timeout when they are not allowed to.— The 5-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds has been eliminated and replaced by making it a loss of down.— The NFL has eliminated “multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.”— The Competition Committee adopted the 2015 proposal that the line of scrimmage for an extra point will be the 15-yard line. Two-point conversions will remain at the 2-yard line. The new rule also gives the defense the ability to score two points on returns. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
A land of ancient monuments, mysterious legends and a charisma that never fails to excite visitors, Egypt has long been a stalwart of many travellers’ bucket lists.While the political upheaval of the past five years has been a significant deterrent to tourism, 2017 has seen the country buzzing with renewed optimism sparked by a real resurgence in the number of people interested in travelling there.Sanctuary Retreats has been operating river cruises on Egypt’s Nile River for almost two decades, with a choice of four vessels offering a range of cruise itineraries and bespoke charters, and remains passionate about – and confident in – the destination.Michael McCall, Sanctuary Retreats’ director of sales Australia, NZ & Asia, comments, “The company is optimistic about Egypt’s stability and safety, and we are really buoyed by the strong level of renewed interest in it from both consumers and agents”.Indeed, Michael believes there has never been a better time to travel to Egypt. “Right now visitors to Egypt can still enjoy all of the major landmarks almost completely free of tourists, with quite a few previously restricted archaeological areas opening up to sightseers.”One thing is absolutely certain: Egypt’s ancient past lives on in its majestic monuments and relics created by one of the most impressive civilisations history has seen. And according to Michael there is simply no better way to experience them than a cruise along the mighty Nile.“Follow the river from Aswan to Luxor right through the heart of Egypt, and you can take in some of the best-known highlights including the Valley of the Kings and Queens, the Unfinished Obelisk, Philae and Luxor. Plus there’s ample opportunity to explore the more remote, but equally spectacular, Dendera, Kom Ombo and Edfu temples along this section of the river”.Sanctuary Retreats’ four intimate river cruisers – Sanctuary Sun Boat III, Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, Sanctuary Nile Adventurer and Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau – each provides the perfect combination of elegant surroundings, luxury service and cultural itineraries for an unforgettable Nile experience.Perfect for a relaxing journey along the river, each ship combines timeless beauty, grace and cutting-edge efficiency with the discreet ambience of an exclusive club. Smaller than the average Nile cruiser, their designs ensure a more personalised service coupled with the leisurely pace of a longer cruise.Priced from just US$870 per person for a three-night cruise. Terms and conditions apply.