This will be the first visit to the area for Christopher Ross since taking up the post last month. It follows meetings he held in New York last week, including with Mr. Ban and members of the Security Council, as well as with Morocco and the Frente Polisario.He will be in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, tomorrow, followed by Tindouf and Algiers. He will then travel to Madrid and Paris, the capitals of two of the members of the Group of Friends, from 25 to 27 February.Mr. Ross, who replaced Peter van Walsum, is expected to return to New York following the trip for further consultations at UN Headquarters.Several rounds of UN-led talks, bringing together representatives from Morocco and the Frente Polisario, held last year resulted in the parties agreeing to continue negotiations in good faith towards a solution to the issue.Morocco holds that its sovereignty over Western Sahara should be recognized, while the Frente Polisario’s position is that the Territory’s final status should be decided in a referendum that includes independence as an option. 17 February 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara is on his way to the region for consultations with the parties, Morocco and the Frente Polisario, as part of United Nations efforts to help broker a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution regarding the Territory’s status.
TORONTO — Scotiabank is the latest lender to create waves in the mortgage market after lowering its special fixed five-year rate to 2.97%, the lowest fixed rate among the big banks.The rate is effective until June 7, and comes amid growing competition for mortgages that have pushed rates down in recent months.It’s also below the 2.99% level that drew sharp criticism from Ottawa in the past over fears that such rates could overheat the housing market and encourage buyers to borrow too much.However, Scotiabank says the rate is on par with others in the market. David Stafford, Scotiabank’s managing director of real estate secured lending, said the trick is to use the low rates to your advantage because they won’t last forever.“Our best advice to people renewing from a higher-rate mortgage is don’t change your payment,” he said.“If you have a 5% mortgage and you’re up for renewal and you’re renewing into a 3% mortgage and your payment isn’t killing you, keep the payment because the interest cost to your mortgage will drop but the additional payment will all go to principal.”The special five-year rate doesn’t come with the strict restrictions that usually accompany such low rates, he added, so that borrowers can have the flexibility they’ll need if their circumstances change.John Andrew, a real estate expert with Queen’s University, said it was likely that other banks would follow Scotiabank’s lead to keep in pace in a competitive market — especially given a lag in sales in the all-important spring market which was delayed by bad winter weather.“There’s no question that the mortgage lenders are very concerned about this slow spring and are obviously trying to catalyze the market and it’s obviously even more competitive right now than it normally would be,” Andrew said.“We’re looking at mortgage rates very, very, close to this level being predominant right into the fall, and then I think we’re going to see bond yields begin to creep up again and we’ll start to see some rates rising.”Finance Minister Joe Oliver has said in the past that unlike his predecessor Jim Flaherty, he had no plans to wade into the debate over the setting of mortgage rates, calling it a “private” decision by lenders. But he has signalled he would keep an eye on the changes, noting that Ottawa has intervened in the past.On Wednesday, he called the Scotiabank change a small drop in rates and restated he wasn’t planning to become involved.“It’s a tiny difference and we’re not here to determine mortgage rates for the industry,” Oliver said in Ottawa.Andrew said he wouldn’t expect a big crackdown from the federal government if rates continue to drop.“There’s not a lot else they can do, unless they decide to increase the minimum down payment from 5%, and rightfully so, I think they’re quite scared to do that because that would have a huge impact on first time home buyers (and) in the home building industry and mortgage lending and so on,” he said.Investors Group recently offered a 1.99% rate for a 36-month closed, variable-rate mortgage, but Scotiabank is the first of the big banks to push its fixed rate down below 3% in recent months.As part of its special rates, Scotiabank is also offering a five-year variable rate of 2.47%.Rating agency DBRS published a report Wednesday saying that low and stable interest rates are the largest factor driving increasing levels of household debt and decreasing mortgage debt servicing. It found that mortgage debt servicing fell to 3.1%, the lowest level since record keeping started in 1990.
Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 6Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 6 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game *Not including yards gained vs. the Eagles.Source: ESPN 3N.Y. GiantsPaul Perkins2512+13 3N.Y. GiantsOrleans Darkwa2254-32 YARDS GAINED/GAME 1WashingtonRob Kelley3051-21 BAL75BAL72CHI+2.4– OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION CAR57CAR53PHI+1.4– GB56GB66MIN-14.2– 6CarolinaJonathan Stewart-450-54 NO58DET51NO-11.3– OAK68OAK61LAC+5.7– 5ArizonaChris Johnson2131-10 HOU83HOU85HOU-1.0– CORRECTION (Oct. 17, 6 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly said that if the Eagles were to win the NFC East this season, it would be the eighth consecutive season that the division would have a different champion. It would be the 13th season.Check out our latest NFL predictions. 2Kansas CityKareem Hunt81110-29 Running backs perform poorly against the EaglesRushing yards gained against the Eagles vs. season average against other teams, among running backs with five or more carries in games against Philadelphia JAX66%JAX55%LAR+10.5– KC77KC73PIT+3.2– TEN59TEN63TEN+0.3– The domination of the Eagles’ front seven has meant that opposing teams have been forced to try their luck through the air. Philly ranks 29th in the league in total passing yards given up per game, but that’s largely because opposing teams have launched an onslaught on the Eagles’ secondary — Philly’s defense ranks No.1 in the league in pass attempts faced. Also, the Eagles have already faced Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, Philip Rivers and Carson Palmer — four of the top six quarterbacks in passing yards per game through Week 6. When you strip the numbers back, the Eagles’ defense ranks 17th in the league in yards given up per passing attempt and 14th in opponents’ passer rating — still not great, but not terrible either.On the other side of the ball, the Eagles have gotten by with a balanced offense that ranks third in the league in total yards gained per game. Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz is off to a solid start to the year — Wentz has thrown 13 touchdowns and three interceptions and has a 99.6 passer rating through six games. And Eagles fans may be thinking this is the return of the Wentz they saw in the first three games of last season, when the team started 3-0 and before Wentz threw 14 interceptions in his final 13 games (when the team went 4-9). Thanks to the contributions of tight end Zach Ertz and running back LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia is the only team in the league to have three players averaging more than 50 receiving yards per game2 and a running back averaging more than 60 rushing yards per game.3 With much of the hype surrounding the team’s defense, the offense has quietly emerged as one of the most dynamic in the game.So can the Eagles keep on winning? The answer might be “yes” — in the regular season at least. The Eagles’ opponents in their remaining 10 games have an average team Elo rating of 1484 (that’s a metric that estimates each team’s skill level using only the final scores and locations of each game — an Elo rating of roughly 1500 is considered average). Of those 10, just two — Washington and the Los Angeles Rams — have top-10 passing offenses (by passing yards per game). With Rodgers down for what could be the rest of the season, the Eagles could do some damage in the playoffs too. Now, obviously, a lot can change with 11 weeks remaining in the regular season, but of NFC teams currently in playoff positions, only the Saints’ Drew Brees ranks in the top 10 in passing yards per game.FiveThirtyEight vs. the crowdWeek 6 in our NFL prediction game — in which we invite you to pick football games and try to outsmart our Elo algorithm — was full of surprises. In fact, it was the fifth-most-upset-laden week in the NFL since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, according to the Brier Score of this week’s games (that’s a measure used to show how accurate each team’s pre-game win probabilities were).There were multiple games that both our Elo algorithm and you, the readers, got wrong. One of the biggies was the Green Bay-Minnesota game — but readers really took a bath on the Packers’ defeat, losing 14.2 points on average even compared with Elo. Readers also lost big when the Giants won (you read that right) on the road against the Broncos. It wasn’t all bad for readers, though — their best game of the week came when the Rams beat the Jaguars on the road (that’s what Elo gets for betting on the Jags). PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.WINNERREADERS’ NET PTS NE67NE78NE+3.7– WSH83WSH80WSH-2.9– WK.TEAMPLAYERVS. EAGLESSEASON AVG.*DIFF. ATL78ATL83MIA-9.5– 4L.A. ChargersMelvin Gordon2267-45 DEN77DEN84NYG-13.6– ARI58TB53ARI-12.4– In Week 6, the NFL’s best showed off their very worst. The Falcons blew a 17-0 lead to the Dolphins at home. The Patriots flirted with disaster against the Jets. The Chiefs were uncharacteristically lackluster in a loss at home. And the Packers suffered the worst loss of all when Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. One contender that did take care of business: the Philadelphia Eagles. And it might be time to start taking them seriously.The Eagles beat the Panthers on the road on Thursday to improve to 5-1, and it appears that the NFC East could have its 13th consecutive season with a different champion (don’t even think about it, Giants fans). The Eagles now have a 76 percent chance of winning the division according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL forecast; that’s the best chance of ending the season atop a division for any team other than the Chiefs. While it might be too early to bet the house that the Eagles will win the Super Bowl, there are plenty of reasons for optimism.Philadelphia’s defense is one major reason. Through Week 6, Doug Pederson’s rush defense is ranked No.1, surrendering just 66 yards per game. The Eagles have been so good that the 394 total yards that their defense has given up on the ground are the fewest they’ve conceded through six games in 63 years. Oh, and rookie sensation Kareem Hunt of the Chiefs is the only running back to rush for more than 35 yards1 against the Eagles this season, and even he ran for less than he has against other opponents this season, on average.
THE WORLD IS full of disgusting things, if you think about it. Fortunately, you can avoid most of them.However, some of them you have no choice but to confront.Here are eight revolting things you’re forced to deal with in your everyday life.Pulling hair out of the shower drain Source: arlenGross, slimy, tangled hair.It’s fine when it’s on your head, but the minute it hits that drain it turns into something that would turn your stomach.Bin juice Source: myrrh.ahnThe smelly mystery liquid that always seems to be at the bottom of the bin is a real life horror.The water in a vase of flowers Source: tomyleesOh sure, at first you’re delighted with your beautiful flowers.It’s only when they’re dead and you’re forced to deal with the now rancid water at the bottom of the vase that the tide turns. Blech.Food particles that clog the drain Source: Rusty SheriffYou’ve finished the dishes but the water won’t drain.You have no choice but to stick your hand in that manky water and pull out the bits of gross food (usually pasta or stringy veg) that are causing the problem. Awful.Fat in the grill pan Source: Phil and PamGrilling sausages is certainly a healthy alternative to frying, but if you’re not careful you end up with a build up of white, hardened fat at the bottom of the pan.No one wants to deal with that. It’s also important to note that this is the same congealed fat that appears on your once delicious sausages once they’ve cooled. Revolting.The toilet brush Source: jbhalperIt’s a necessary evil but if you actually think about it, your stomach will turn.It’s used over and over again for one thing, and one thing only and it keeps going back into that little holder. Ew.Other people’s food detritus in the margarine cartonNO NO NO NO NO.Nail clippings Source: quinn.anyaWhy are they so gross? Not sure. They’re perfectly fine while they’re attached to your body but the minute they become entities of their own? Horrible.8 unpleasant habits we should all start being honest about>Poo in the pool? 11 of the worst things about going swimming>
Thursday 9 Feb 2017, 6:29 PM Current rate: 25 cases per 100,000‘Medium intensity’ rate: 59 cases per 100,000Normal/standard rates: 18 cases per 100,000The current strain of influenza particularly affects those aged 65 years and older. This particular form of flu is preventable by receiving a vaccine, which takes effect after two weeks and can last up to six months.Other at risk groups, including children with chronic diseases, pregnant women and healthcare workers, are listed on the HSPC site.The HSE advises that if you feel you’ve picked up the flu and you’re not in the risk group, usually you do not need to see your doctor or attend an emergency department as most flu can be treated at home.It is advised that you drink plenty of fluids to replace those lost from sweating, to get lots of rest and eat healthily.Read: The flu has caused 29 deaths and 835 hospitalisations this winter and will remain for up to four weeksRead: Seven people have died from flu this winter as medics warn people to take care 66 Comments Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 57 people have died this winter because of the flu The HSE are urging those at risk to get vaccinated. FIFTY-SEVEN DEATHS have been linked with the flu virus this winter.The majority of those who died were aged 65 years and older, according to a surveillance report from Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC).The rate of deaths is still increasing, despite the overall rate of flu in Ireland decreasing.For nine consecutive weeks, the rate of people with the flu virus has been higher than what is considered standard. http://jrnl.ie/3231860 By Gráinne Ní Aodha Share13 Tweet Email 13,128 Views Image: Shutterstock/Image Point Fr Short URL Feb 9th 2017, 6:29 PM Image: Shutterstock/Image Point Fr
LibreOffice disponible en version 3.5LibreOffice, l’outil conçu par The Document Foundation a été amélioré et doté de nouveautés pour faciliter son utilisation.L’outil bureautique LibreOffice, un projet OpenOffice.org et mis en place par l’organisme The Document Foundation, s’est vu doté d’une nouvelle version 3.5 qui apporte son lot de changements. Les modifications par rapport à la version 3.4 concernent notamment le correcteur orthographique au sein du logiciel de traitement de texte Writer, qui reçoit une nouvelle interface pour les en-têtes, sauts de lignes et pieds de page, relaye Clubic. À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Les feuilles de calcul Calc peuvent désormais atteindre les 10.000 prises en charge et les fonctions (macros) ont été rendues compatibles avec les spécifications ODF OpenFormula. De meilleures performances lors de l’importation d’un fichier Excel sont également promises. De son côté, l’outil de dessin vectoriel Draw, ainsi que le logiciel de présentation Impress, permettent l’importation de figures géométriques depuis un fichier PPT ou PPTX. Enfin, il sera possible d’insérer un fichier multimédia et d’importer un document depuis Microsoft Visio. Si bon nombre de ces modifications s’avèrent utiles, The Document Foundation ne conseille toutefois qu’aux utilisateurs avancés de passer sur cette version 3.5. Les utilisateurs plus novices ont tout intérêt à rester plutôt sur la 3.4, d’après les développeurs. Le 19 février 2012 à 13:10 • Maxime Lambert
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest private employer in the country, plans to start offering health coverage next year to domestic partners of full-time employees — including those in same-sex relationships.The extension, outlined in a postcard sent to workers this week, follows a series of recent court rulings in favor of gay marriage around the country.Though spokesman Randy Hargrove wouldn’t divulge how many people Wal-Mart expects to sign up for the program, he said that more than half of the company’s 1.3 million U.S. associates are covered by the retailer’s health insurance plan.That equates to 1.1 million associates and family members, he said.To qualify for Wal-Mart’s coverage, associates must “live together in an ongoing, exclusive, committed relationship similar to marriage” with a same- or opposite-sex spouse or unmarried partner and “have been together at least 12 months and intend to continue sharing a household indefinitely,” Hargrove said.Significant others must also meet standard requirements – such as being old enough for marriage and unrelated to their partner, he said.“Since we operate in all 50 states, we thought it was important to develop a single definition so we can ensure consistency for all our associates across the country,” Hargrove said.The Bentonville, Ark., retail giant also noted that 2014 comes with a new vision plan, including eye exams, glasses and contacts. Wal-Mart also said employees would see the lowest medical premium increases in years – somewhere between 3 percent and 10 percent from last year, Hargrove said.
A small group of U.S. freelance writers is calling for a boycott of Fresh Home and Best You, two new magazines published by the Reader’s Digest Association.The issue, according to the group, is that repurposing content from abroad reduces working opportunities for U.S.-based freelancers. Fresh Home, a quarterly home improvement title that RDA launched late last month, repurposes editorial from the publisher’s Australian title The Family Handyman, while the soon-to-launch Best You repurposes editorial from Best Health, which RDA launched in Canada last year. Organizer Meg Weaver, who runs Woodenhorse Publishing, said writers are asking other writers, family and friends not to purchase the magazines. “We want to make Fresh Home and Best You RDA’s most spectacular flops,” Weaver wrote in a statement. “What caught my eye was the interview of RDA’s Alyce Alston by Samir Husni in which Ms. Alston stated that without ‘repurposing’ material, these magazines would not have been able to launch,” Weaver told FOLIO:. “This didn’t ring true to me, as writing fees have become miniscule compared to the budget of a 300,000 circ magazine. So, I asked for clarification and, eventually, received an answer, which basically said: We don’t care where we get our content.”In an e-mail to Weaver posted on the Woodenhorse Web site, RDA’s Home & Garden and Health & Wellness Group editor-in-chief Neil Wertheimer defended RDA, describing it as one of the “largest and proudest users of freelance writers in America.” He indicated that just two short features and seven do-it-yourself projects were repurposed.“All other content was original and written either by American freelancers or American staff editors,” Wertheimer wrote. “Our freelancers were paid very fair and competitive wages under contracts they happily signed. Yes, we did use work-for-hire contracts, but that is because the articles we commissioned were OUR ideas, and we pitched them to the writers. Frankly, they were thrilled to get the work and to participate in the launch of a great new magazine.”“That is a deplorable attitude of a major publisher,” Weaver said. “ I would like to change that and start a communication between writers and publishers to arrive at a more equitable situation that will be a win for everybody, including the readers.””Ms. Weaver’s accusations serve no one, especially writers,” an RDA spokesperson told FOLIO:. “Worse still, she chose to further disseminate these statements in a press release even after being made aware of the facts. So it’s a small amount of ado about nothing.”In a previously announced partnership with Saddleback Valley Community Church pastor Rick Warren, RDA in January launched the Purpose Driven Connection, a quarterly magazine featuring all original content.RDA Restructuring?The boycott news comes after reports that RDA has hired law firm Kirkland & Ellis to explore restructuring options, including a possible bankruptcy filing. RDA also has hired financial adviser Miller Buckfire. Both firms will “assist the company in staying ahead of the problems in the market by exploring strategic initiatives, including, but not limited to, raising additional capital and easing our debt burden,” the spokesperson said. Last month, credit agency Moody’s called RDA’s credit structure “unsustainable” and said the company—which is owned by Ripplewood Holdings—may violate its covenants, or restructure, within the next 18 months.“This isn’t terribly surprising,” said DeSilva + Phillips managing partner Reed Phillips. “Most of the media companies that were acquired by private equity firms over the past few years—and therefore are saddled with a substantial amount of bank debt—are examining their options, which typically include refinancing or restructuring.”
Hesha ChimahPR HandoutHesha Chimah is one of the most popular beauty blogger’s in our country today. She is also a fashion and wellness TV and Web host. For quite a long time, Hesha is working in the fashion and lifestyle industry, which has helped her grow over the past decade and gain immense popularity.Hesha started her career as a content writer with Channel [v] & few months down the line, her knack for fashion landed her a job as an assistant stylist for 3 shows for the same channel at an early age of 19. After that, she worked as an assistant guest stylist for Kaun Banega Crorepati 7. Along with that, the talented fashionista also dressed several television actors for red carpet appearances, social events and more.Hesha also worked for a lot of renowned magazines and publications. However, she wanted to do more given her passion and love for fashion and style. In 2014, Hesha Chimah quit her job and started her very own blog ‘The Style Company’ which within its very first month was listed in the top 50 beauty blogs in India. After this big hit, there was no looking back for Hesha and she collaborated with many popular lifestyle, fashion and beauty brands.Her in depth understanding of Social Media Marketing & Public Relations led her to consult with a popular Mumbai based PR agency as a digital publicist for renowned industry labels such as Manish Malhotra, Kama Ayurveda, Four Seasons Hotel, H&M among many others in 2016.Since then, there was no stopping. It was her skill set of being a natural in front of the camera with her flair for content creation that landed her the role of a Consulting Fashion & Beauty Director of a popular entertainment portal at the early age of 26 that allowed her to showcase her talent to a larger audience.All thanks to her popularity, talent and hardwork, Hesha Chimah has interviewed many Bollywood celebrities on her blog such as Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Tabu, Kiara Advani, Pooja Hegde to name a few. She was also spotted with Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Rahul Bose at the opening ceremony of Mumbai’s first ever Walkathon end of last year.Today, Hesha is a household name with her own TV show Apna Khayal Rakehin on TataSky Beauty where she creates 30 minutes of episodic content in Hindi and provides affordable at home beauty and grooming tips on skincare, haircare and more.
President Donald Trump arrives for a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. India is under huge US pressure to keep Huawei out. ReutersThere is intense speculation in telecom circles whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be able to resist US President Donald Trump’s pressure to keep out Chinese telecom giant Huawei from supplying 5G technology. A recent circular that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) under S Jaishankar issued seeking the views of all stakeholders on a US warning to companies against supplying US-origin technologies or products to Huawei is an indication of how carefully the government is handling the US-China trade wars and Huawei matter.A former career diplomat, Jaishankar has served as India’s ambassador to Washington and Beijing and is considered cued in on the ways these governments respond to similar situations. He was also foreign secretary from 2015 to 2018 when the Indian external affairs department watched the phenomenon of Trump evolve. His longest stint in a foreign mission was in Beijing from 2009 to 2013 making him aware of the way the establishment led by President Xi Jinping could respond to international pressure.The exercise is of extreme importance in view of the announcement by Minister of Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad that 5G technology trials will begin as early as possible. Huawei holds the most number of 5G patents and is a major player on the global stage. Some officials think keeping Huawei out would affect India’s technological progress. The other two players, Ericsson and Nokia, are European companies and there is some suspicion in government circles about their long-term dependability. The MEA circular was reportedly in response to a letter from Washington warning Indian government that companies found supplying equipment or other products of American origin to Huawei or its units could face punitive action, a report on the Economic Times website said. The May 27 letter sent to MEA is seen as part of US efforts to intensify pressure on India to act against the Chinese company, the report said. The MEA sought the views of the Department of Telecom (DoT), Niti Aayog, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Department of Commerce and the principal scientific adviser on the implications of US curbs on Huawei on Indian firms, the report says citing a senior government official. India is treading carefully on the matter of allowing Huawei 5G technology into the country in view of US pressure. FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty ImagesThe MEA wants the stakeholders to examine the information provided by the US, including the possibility of action against Indian firms that supply US-origin software and equipment to Huawei. It also wants their views on the recommendations of a recent 5G security conference at Prague and overall opinion on the matter, the official said. The recommendations of the Prague conference that took place in May and attended by telecom czars of 32 countries (China was not an invitee) had been “general” and did not single out any company.The US communication targeted Huawei and a list of companies and entities identified as its units. These included 35 companies registered in China and their affiliates such as Huawei Sri Lanka, Huawei Pakistan and Huawei Hong Kong.An official said the Prague summit called for a robust security framework, according to the report. “A country’s communications system should be designed with resilience and security, and should have its own security policies,” he said, citing the summit’s recommendations. It didn’t name any company or country.
The initiative has been taken by the Ministry of Textiles Government of India through National Handloom Development Corporation (NHDC) to provide handloom weavers a direct access to the market.95 agencies including apex societies, state government bodies among others are displaying their handloom and weaving work. One will find muga silk from Assam, tussar, kantha, madhubani prints from Bihar, chanderi, maheshwari work from Madhya Pradesh and much more. Five weavers who are recipients of National Award for design are also a part of this exhibition.The unique silk products such as pochampalli, paithani, kanjivaram, jamdani, baluchari, and ikkat are attracting customers with their exclusives designs and traditional motifs. Government of India has launched the Handloom Mark scheme for products, to encourage and give a distinct identity to the products, apart from highlighting the uniqueness of the products. It also serves a guarantee for the buyer.
Science season in Antarctica begins in November, when noontime temperatures at McMurdo Station climb to a balmy 18 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun hangs in the sky all day and night. For a researcher traveling there from the United States, the route takes time as well as patience. The easiest way is to fly from Los Angeles to Christchurch, New Zealand—a journey of 17 hours, if you’re lucky—and then to McMurdo, a charmless cluster of buildings that houses most of the southern continent’s thousand or so seasonal residents and both of its ATMs. McMurdo isn’t the end of the line, though. Often it’s just a pass-through for scientists hopping small planes to penguin colonies or meteorological observatories farther afield.Few places in Antarctica are more difficult to reach than Thwaites Glacier, a Florida-sized hunk of frozen water that meets the Amundsen Sea about 800 miles west of McMurdo. Until a decade ago, barely any scientists had ever set foot there, and the glacier’s remoteness, along with its reputation for bad weather, ensured that it remained poorly understood. Yet within the small community of people who study ice for a living, Thwaites has long been the subject of dark speculation. If this mysterious glacier were to “go bad”—glaciologist-speak for the process by which a glacier breaks down into icebergs and eventually collapses into the ocean—it might be more than a scientific curiosity. Indeed, it might be the kind of event that changes the course of civilization.In December 2008, a Penn State scientist named Sridhar Anandakrishnan and five of his colleagues made the epic journey to Thwaites, two days from McMurdo by plane, tractor, and snowmobile. All glaciers flow, but satellites and airborne radar missions had revealed that something worrisome was happening on Thwaites: The glacier was destabilizing, dumping ever more ice into the sea. On color-coded maps of the region, its flow rate went from stable blue to raise-the-alarms red. As Anandakrishnan puts it, “Thwaites started to pop.”The change wasn’t necessarily cause for alarm. Big glaciers can speed up or slow down for reasons that scientists still don’t completely grasp. But Anandakrishnan knew that Thwaites’ unusual characteristics—it is shaped like a wedge, with the thin front end facing the ocean—left it vulnerable to losing vast quantities of ice quickly. What’s more, its size was something to reckon with. Many glaciers resemble narrow rivers that thread through mountain valleys and move small icebergs leisurely into the sea, like a chute or slide. Thwaites, if it went bad, would behave nothing like that. “Thwaites is a terrifying glacier,” Anandakrishnan says simply. Its front end measures about 100 miles across, and its glacial basin—the thick part of the wedge, extending deep into the West Antarctic interior—runs anywhere from 3,000 to more than 4,000 feet deep. A few years before Anandakrishnan’s first expedition, scientists had begun asking whether warming waters at the front edge could be playing a part in the glacier’s sudden stirring. But he wanted to know what was going on deep below Thwaites, where its ice met the earth.During that 2008 expedition and another a year later, Anandakrishnan’s team performed the geologic equivalent of an ultrasound on Thwaites. Each morning they’d wake up in their freezing tents, call McMurdo on the satellite phone to attest that they were still alive, eat a quick breakfast, and move out by snowmobile across the blankness of the ice sheet. At a prearranged point, they’d place an explosive charge at the bottom of a hole—usually between 70 and 100 feet deep—fill the hole with snow, and blow it up. The wave of energy would travel from the charge to the bed of the glacier and back to the surface, where it would be recorded by an array of geophones, exquisitely sensitive seismic instruments. By measuring the time it took for the waves to rebound, and by looking at alterations in the waves’ characteristics, Anandakrishnan’s team could gain clues about the depth and makeup of the glacier’s bed, thousands of feet below. They repeated the process again and again. ANATOMY OF A MELTDOWN: In one of the largest scientific collaborations in Antarctic history, a team of British and American researchers is scrutinizing Thwaites Glacier from every side—air, ice, and sea.Grounding Line: For the time being, Thwaites is held in place by a bump in the seafloor. Once it pulls off this so-called grounding line, it’ll begin to collapse more quickly.Ghost Ridge: Glaciologists have identified a second bump about 45 miles behind the current one. They call it the Ghost Ridge, and there’s hope it could significantly slow Thwaites’ decline.Explosive Charges: Seismologists study the area under the glacier by setting off small explosive charges in the ice and listening for the reverberations.Ice Shelf: A floating ice shelf defends Thwaites from the assaults of ocean currents. As it disintegrates, more and more of the glacier becomes vulnerable, and more icebergs end up in the sea. Sridhar Anandakrishnan has been to Antarctica more than 20 times.Ross Mantle On a warm afternoon this past September, at a conference at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, just up the Hudson River from Manhattan, Anandakrishnan gave a lecture detailing his plans for returning to Thwaites. All told, there were 120 scientists in attendance, some of whom had been meeting annually to discuss the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. For 25 years, they had debated whether the region’s potential instabilities were cause for alarm and whether Thwaites, which acts as the keystone holding the ice sheet together, was a near-term risk. This year the conference had a larger sense of purpose: The United States and Great Britain had recently announced a more than $50 million joint venture known as the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. Over the course of five years, scientists would probe the glacier in every conceivable manner.At the conference, it was hard to shake the notion that the situation was urgent. “The question is, what’s going to happen next?” Ted Scambos, the American project coordinator of the Thwaites Collaboration, told me. “Is it going to be 50 years or 200 years before we see a truly large increase in the rate of ice being unloaded into the ocean from that glacier?” As a practical consideration, the world needed to know. Over the past few decades, climatologists have become better and better at modeling how Earth’s atmosphere is responding to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases. But ice-sheet models, which aim to translate various future scenarios into actual impacts, such as changes in sea level, aren’t nearly as reliable. One reason for this is that the physics of glaciers has proven formidably complex, with many factors that influence their behavior still unknown. “There is uncertainty and crudity in these models,” Dave Pollard, an ice-sheet expert from Penn State, told me. The point of the Thwaites Collaboration, he said, is to fill in some of the blanks.The architects of the collaboration, the National Science Foundation in the US and the Natural Environment Research Council in the UK, selected eight research projects from among 24 proposals. Some will focus on the front end of Thwaites, which extends beyond the shoreline of Antarctica and forms a cantilevered ice shelf that floats on the Amundsen Sea. Ice shelves are a good thing. As glaciologists are fond of saying, they act like corks, preventing upstream ice—the wine in the bottle, so to speak—from pouring into the sea. They also protect the glacier from warming waters. Thwaites’ ice shelf has been crumbling, so one group in the collaboration, calling itself Tarsan (Thwaites-Amundsen Regional Survey and Network), will investigate the local effects of ocean circulation and warm air. Another team, known as Melt (not an acronym), will use submersible robots and seals tagged with satellite transmitters to examine the glacier’s so-called grounding line, the point where its front end rests on the ocean floor.Anandakrishnan’s seismic experiments will be among the most crucial parts of the collaboration’s work. His group has taken the name Ghost, which stands for Geophysical Habitat of Subglacial Thwaites. His study will map a sliver of the bed beneath the glacier, deep below sea level, in an effort to predict how Thwaites will behave in the future. Soft, wet sediment, Anandakrishnan says, can make a glacier slide extremely fast, and it is probable that a lot of such sediment lies under Thwaites. He likens it to what you might find “when you go into your backyard and play with the mud with your kids. It’s got a little bit of strength but not a great deal.” A few weeks before the conference, I visited Anandakrishnan at Penn State. His office, an austere space with white cinder block walls, cluttered with books and stacks of papers, had little in the way of mementos to show that he’s been to Antarctica more than 20 times. As we talked, he laid out his plan for studying Thwaites. In 2008 and 2009, he told me, he examined an area of the glacier bed roughly 25 miles long. The blueprint for the next four years, beginning in the winters of 2020 and 2021, is far more ambitious: With nearly a ton of explosives in tow, Anandakrishnan and around a dozen colleagues should be able to chart an area 10 times as big. If things go right, the seismic reverberations will illuminate the contours and material composition of what’s underneath Thwaites.Anandakrishnan stood up and walked over to a whiteboard to draw me a picture of the glacier bed’s geometry. It was a line that began with a bump in the front, where the glacier met the sea, and sloped gently downward as it went inland. At the moment, he said, it’s unclear how long Thwaites has before it pulls off its bump—its grounding line—and starts a rapid decline. “It’s kind of hanging on by its fingernails right about there,” he explained, gesturing at the bump.Glaciers like Thwaites that terminate in the ocean tend to follow a familiar pattern of collapse. At first, water gnaws at the ice shelf from below, causing it to weaken and thin. Rather than sitting securely on the seafloor, it begins to float, like a beached ship lifted off the sand. This exposes even more of its underside to the water, and the weakening and thinning continue. The shelf, now too fragile to support its own weight, starts snapping off into the sea in enormous chunks. More ice flows down from the glacier’s interior, replenishing what has been lost, and the whole cycle starts over again: melt, thin, break, retreat; melt, thin, break, retreat.It is difficult to find any scientist, Anandakrishnan especially, who thinks that Thwaites can avoid this fate. Because its bed lies below sea level, water will pursue it far inland. When Thwaites’ grounding line starts to retreat, possibly within the next few decades, Anandakrishnan says, it could do so fairly fast. That retreat may raise sea levels only modestly at first. From radar studies, scientists believe they have detected another bump, now called the Ghost Ridge, that runs about 45 miles behind the existing one. This is what Anandakrishnan’s Ghost team will trace with their seismic experiments from the surface. Is the ridge made of wet sediment, or is it firm and dry? Is it low, or is it high? Such esoteric differences may have extraordinary effects. If any good news arises from his fieldwork at Thwaites, Anandakrishnan says, it may come from the discovery that the glacier has a chance of getting firmly stuck on the Ghost Ridge. More Great WIRED StoriesAn eye-scanning lie detector is forging a dystopian futureA SpaceX delivery capsule may be contaminating the ISSHow to use Apple Watch’s new heart rate featuresEverything you need to know about data breachesTumblr’s displaced porn bloggers test their new platforms👀 Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our picks, gift guides, and best deals all year round📩 Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletter Perhaps the greatest problem in imagining the future of Thwaites lies in trying to imagine a natural disaster that has never occurred in all of recorded human history. One day at Penn State, I dropped in on Anandakrishnan’s colleague Richard Alley, who sat me down in his office and insisted that I watch a clip of a short documentary he had been replaying on YouTube. Like his friend Anandakrishnan, Alley studied with Charlie Bentley at Wisconsin and has been thinking about the instabilities of West Antarctica for 30 years. The video detailed a catastrophe in Norway in the late 1970s. In the agricultural town of Rissa, the land, an unstable soil known as quick clay, suddenly liquefied during a construction project. Within a few hours, 82 acres fell into a lake. One person died, and the man filming the incident barely escaped with his life.“It’s not ice,” Alley cautioned me as we watched. “But it’s an analogy for what can happen when things can break, when the cliff is too high and nothing piles up at the bottom.” Alley’s point was that this could be the situation for Thwaites. As a glacier breaks down, larger cross sections of the wedge become exposed to the elements. The process creates an ice cliff, which gets so tall that it can no longer sustain itself. In engineering terms, the ice suffers a material failure. In models, it breaks, and it breaks fast. The resulting icebergs are likely to float away, carried by swells and tides, rather than create a pileup that slows things down.“So the question,” Alley said, “is where is the threshold for triggering that in an irreversible or nearly irreversible way?” In his view, one of the most critical pieces of the Thwaites Collaboration is investigating when the glacier’s grounding line might move beyond the Ghost Ridge. This is conceivably the point at which disaster ensues. “If Thwaites behaves itself, and we only get a meter of sea-level rise by 2100 under a high-emissions scenario, a meter is a big deal,” Alley said. It would be painful, but humanity could adapt by building floodgates and sea walls, rethinking patterns of real estate development, and retreating from vulnerable shorelines. But what Thwaites and the glaciers around it have in store could be much more significant. “You have to think in terms of maybe 3 feet, but maybe 10 or 15,” Alley said. Maybe 15 feet. In that scenario, the Jefferson Memorial and Fenway Park would be underwater, and the Googleplex would become an archipelago. Outside the US, the damage would be incalculable. Shanghai, Lagos, Mumbai, Jakarta—all would flood or drown.For now, the prospect of Thwaites’ rapid collapse seems enough of a possibility that a few scientists have suggested buttressing it. One of these geoengineering schemes, recently put forward by Michael Wolovick and John Moore, proposes that an “artificial sill” of gravel and rocks be constructed at the base of Thwaites to protect it from warm water. In an academic paper, Wolovick and Moore acknowledge that such an undertaking would be “comparable to the largest civil engineering projects that humanity has ever attempted.” When I spoke with Wolovick, he told me that the idea was intended to spark debate about a “glacial intervention” that may take a century to conceive and execute. Whatever the cost, he said, it seemed worth it. Rapid sea-level rise could mean trillions of dollars in losses and the mass migration of hundreds of millions of people. The poorer parts of the planet would invariably suffer worst. “If you stop sea-level rise at the source,” Wolovick said, “that benefits everyone.”When I asked Anandakrishnan what he thought of this plan, he said it made him wonder whether we were in danger of losing sight of the larger problem. Geoengineering Thwaites would be the most difficult and dangerous construction project in the history of humanity, he agreed. As one of only two dozen people who has actually been to the glacier, he could say this with some authority. About 100 workers died building the Hoover Dam, he noted; the hazards here might be similarly large, or worse, even if you could get the right equipment in place. “But whether geoengineering works or not—and that’s a separate question—it doesn’t address the effects of pumping CO2 into the atmosphere,” he told me. “And that’s what is raising temperatures, melting glaciers, acidifying the ocean, and changing weather patterns around the earth.”Dave Pollard, the Penn State ice-sheet modeler, and his colleague Rob DeConto, of the University of Massachusetts, have found divergent futures for Thwaites. “It ranges from devastating sea-level rise and rapid retreat into the middle of West Antarctica for ‘business-as-usual’ emissions,” Pollard told me, to “very little sea-level rise and tiny retreat around the edges.” The second future is possible, though, only if we keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations where they are today or allow them to go only slightly higher. Such a feat would involve cutting back drastically on fossil fuels and making a wholesale switch—as soon as possible—to a renewable-energy economy. Pollard’s point was that even a glacier as vulnerable as Thwaites could conceivably be contained if humans decided to radically change their behavior.And that’s the biggest problem of all. We’re so small and so stubborn, and the challenges in holding back the ice are so large. Saving Thwaites, or even finding out whether the Ghost Ridge looks stable, won’t save the world. At the rate temperatures are rising, Anandakrishnan may soon have to pack up his explosives and go elsewhere. By then, some other glacier will be hanging by its fingernails.Jon Gertner (@jongertner) is the author of The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation. His second book, about the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, is due out this summer.This article appears in the January issue. Subscribe now.Let us know what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor at email@example.com.Listen to this story, and other WIRED features, on the Audm app. You might therefore think of Thwaites as a man dangling from the edge of a cliff. Just as he falls, he grips a rock, a sturdy handhold, to avoid the abyss. Of course, the rock may loosen and dislodge tragically in his hands. And then he’ll drop. The first team ever to set foot on Thwaites Glacier, in the late 1950s, included a crusty glaciologist named Charlie Bentley. He spent 25 months driving around West Antarctica in a tractor, taking soundings across the ice. His process was much like Anandakrishnan’s. Bentley would drill a hole deep enough to reach the compact layer of snow known as firn or, better yet, solid ice; place in it an explosive charge; and then register the shock wave using geophones. In those days, the data was recorded in analog form, with a needle “that would shake back and forth and inscribe something on a piece of paper that was whipping past,” Anandakrishnan says. “Afterwards, you would look at the record, and the distance on the paper was equivalent to a certain amount of time.” Bentley’s momentous discovery was that much of West Antarctica’s land is actually below sea level, even though it is cloaked by thick sheets of ice.Anandakrishnan never intended to help revolutionize this process with digital networks, but that’s how things turned out. He had little interest in ice or climate when he arrived as a graduate student in electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin in the mid-1980s. Born in India, he had spent his teenage years in suburban Maryland, which is why he carries in his speech a relaxed folksiness; his father, a civil engineer, worked as a science adviser to the Indian ambassador in Washington. Anandakrishnan’s main interests during his college years were fiber optics and lasers. He planned to become a professor or an optical engineer in Silicon Valley. But then he answered an advertisement for a summer job.A group of Wisconsin glaciologists were trying to link their instruments together in the field, so they could record their data on a central hard drive. Anandakrishnan designed a fiber-optic system for their project and was eventually asked to go to Antarctica to install it. He was 23 years old. “These were things that I knew absolutely nothing about,” he says. “I’d come from a straight engineering background. I knew that glaciers existed. I knew glaciers had something to do with sea level. But I really knew nothing more than that.” When he got back to school, he remembers thinking, “I’m a year into my PhD program in electrical engineering. I have a guaranteed mansion or a yacht down the road, if I want it, or a position in a university. Or I could retrain myself—learn seismology, geology, glaciology, climate, oceans.” He’d been transfixed, he says, by the “unending horizons” of the ice sheet, but he was also taken in by a world of what he calls “capital-T” toys—snowmobiles, forklifts, cranes, and cargo planes. He immediately signed up for a PhD in glaciology, which happened to be Bentley’s department.Anandakrishnan knows that exploding small bombs in ice may seem primitive. Each blast, known as a shot, can yield a foul gas that blows up from the borehole, along with sooty residue that sometimes rains down on researchers and their equipment. “But the reality is there is almost no other way to get the information we’re trying to get,” he says. Airborne radar missions can do some of the same work with equal accuracy and less fuss, but they can’t penetrate rock, so they don’t reveal much about the nature of the glacier bed.This used to be the case with seismic soundings too. When Bentley was driving around Thwaites in 1957, the only thing he could calculate with any certainty was depth. When digital recordings became standard in the 1980s, researchers could focus on small changes in the reflection strength of the bed at different points and different angles. This new level of sensitivity, Anandakrishnan says, profoundly changed his field.Innovations in explosives have also helped. Early glacier soundings, including Bentley’s, were done with TNT. On the upcoming Thwaites expeditions, Anandakrishnan—who still designs much of his own equipment—will instead use PETN, a chemical compound frequently found in plastic explosives. (It comes in 200-gram cylinders about the size of your index finger.) Besides being very stable, PETN is fast; its seismic waves propagate through ice at about 12,000 feet per second. This is critical, because a higher-frequency explosion will collect more detailed information about the glacier bed. When it comes time for a shot on Thwaites, the wind has to be quiet. Nobody is allowed to breathe, cough, or sneeze. “We have a protocol for all machinery in the area to be shut off,” Anandakrishnan says. “Nothing can be happening. People can’t be walking. They can’t be talking. Everybody gets stock still. And for that five seconds when that seismic energy is coming up to your geophones, that’s the only thing you want those devices to be hearing.” On the surface you hear a thunk. If you’re close enough, and if it’s a large enough shot, you can feel it in your feet, a little tap on the soles. The team will look at the data quickly to confirm that the blast reached the bed. Then they’ll move on.I asked Anandakrishnan whether there was any chance that he might crack off part of Thwaites with his explosive charges, which can sometimes add up to about a kilogram. I imagined some kind of calamitous avalanche, as in the Alps. He shook his head. “This ice sheet is so large,” he said. His small bombs would destroy the office we were sitting in, but they were nothing compared with the forces of nature moving Thwaites’ ice into the ocean. By the end of the mission in 2009, Anandakrishnan and his colleagues had collected data from about 150 boreholes. The new information didn’t precisely explain what was hastening Thwaites’ acceleration, but it was a start. Meanwhile, the satellite maps kept getting redder and redder. In 2014, Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at NASA, concluded that Thwaites was entering a state of “unstoppable” collapse. Even worse, scientists were starting to think that its demise could trigger a larger catastrophe in West Antarctica, the way a rotting support beam might lead to the toppling not only of a wall but of an entire house. Already, Thwaites’ losses were responsible for about 4 percent of global sea-level rise every year. When the entire glacier went, the seas would likely rise by a few feet; when the glaciers around it did, too, the seas might rise by more than a dozen feet. And when that happened, well, goodbye, Miami; goodbye, Boston.No one could say exactly when Thwaites would go bad. But Anandakrishnan and his colleagues now had an even keener sense of the perils that the glacier posed. “We had been walking on the lip of a volcano without knowing it,” he says.
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This sage piece of advice appeared on my screen thanks to INC.com –A Study of Adult Development at Harvard Medical School, which tracked 724 men – 268 Harvard graduates and 456 less-privileged men who grew up in Boston at the same time – for roughly eight decades. It found a simple prescription for how the most successful people ultimately find happiness. As the current head of the study, Robert J. Waldinger, famously put it:The lessons aren’t about wealth or fame or working harder and harder. The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this:Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.Count your good friends on one hand:In your personal life, good strong relationships are what make life enjoyable and less challenging, particularly when you know you have people who care for you and have your back.You do not need dozens of people; a handful of good and true friends are all that is required.“It’s not what you have in life but who we have in our life that matters”Margaret Laurence, Novelist“The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs or effects usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs or rewards.”Richard Koch – the 80/20 Principle‘Pareto Law’ applies to everything in life.20% of the carpet in your home takes 80% of the wear. (hallways and around doors)20% of what you do for your partner, provides 80% of the happinessDo you know what the 20% is?This principle also applies in business:In most businesses, 80% of profits come from 20% of the clients.A true storyOne of my clients told me this very interesting anecdote some years ago.Their business was expanding rapidly and they had some customers who were more trouble than they were worth, you know the type – they want everything yesterday, at the lowest price and they then take a long time to pay.So, they came up with a plan.They wrote to each of their difficult customers telling them that due to the pressure of work they felt they were no longer able to provide a level of service that would meet their expectations.They then proceeded to recommend one of their competitors as an alternative supplier.A month later my client received a call from the supplier they proposed, advising them that they had recommended these customers to them some 5 years ago.Thanks but no thanks!My advice to all my clients is choose your customers, do not let them pick you.Then, build good relationships by providing a consistent and reliable service and you will have customers for many years to come.Final reminder:Strong relationships are what make life enjoyable Strong relationships are what make life enjoyable By Executive Coach Andrew Keogh of Aristo.ie
We love a good how-to, especially one that saves early-stage startup founders money and positions them for mad success. We’re talking about how to apply to be a TC Top Pick and exhibit at Disrupt Berlin 2019 — for free.Our TC Top Picks program is what we call a pre-Disrupt competition. If you’re a founder of an early-stage startup this is your chance to win a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and a VIP experience in Berlin. How does it all work? Read on!First, fill out an application if your startup falls into one of these tech categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, CRM/Enterprise and Education.TechCrunch editors closely vet each application — and these editors have an almost-mystical ability to spot serious success potential. Ultimately, they’ll choose up to five of the best representatives for each category.A Startup Alley Exhibitor Package includes one exhibit day, three Founder passes, access to the full conference and all programming at the event.TC Top Picks attract a lot of attention at the show, and it’s a networking wonderland. You’ll meet investors, potential customers and future collaborators who can help you move to the next level. Plus, you’ll be interviewed by a TechCrunch editor live on the Showcase Stage. We’ll record that interview and promote it on our social media platforms. Talk about a great long-term marketing tool.Take a page from Caleb John’s playbook. Here’s what the CEO of Cedar Robotics said about exhibiting as a TC Top Pick:“It blew away my expectations. The number of people we met, the connections we made and the amount of media exposure we received is worth its weight in gold.”And another thing! You — and all the other exhibiting startups — might even win a chance to compete in Startup Battlefield. TechCrunch editors will choose a startup as a Wild Card competitor, and they’ll compete for $50,000. It’s a longshot, but it sure paid off for RecordGram. They won the Wild Card and then won the Battlefield. Can lightning strike twice?Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Don’t miss your opportunity to showcase your outstanding startup in Startup Alley and enjoy a VIP experience — for free. Apply to our TC Top Picks program today.
Happy Birthday itravelitravel celebrates a landmark birthdayIt’s a rite of passage that a 20th birthday party involves one hundred of your closest mates, a bar tab and balloons, and itravel’s landmark birthday and combined Christmas party was no different.Since 1995, Steve Labroski and Louie Apostolovski have been building up their travel company to the itravel that we know today. With a combination of mobile and franchise agents, the itravel team has grown significantly over the last 20 years, and are continuing their growth into the future.On Thursday night, itravel and their agents and partnered suppliers celebrated a healthy 2015 growth and plans for the future at Strawberry Hills Hotel in Surry Hills. With a representatives from SureSave, Excite Holidays, Trafalgar, Contiki, P&O and more, itravel had plenty of friends to celebrate their amazing achievements with.When it comes to business, director Steve Labroski likes to keep it short and sweet, saying that he started his own travel business in 1995 to create his own destiny.“My proudest career moments have been signing up mobile agents and having people believe in what you are creating. That’s very special,” says Steve. As of his success, he attributes it all to his staff saying, “The people working for us, they’re the ones creating itravel.”Only 20 years young, itravel has big plans for the future with Steve saying their main goal is to continue to change, remaining a fresh and dynamic company. itravellearn more here Source = itravel
Fiji has been ranked as a top dream destination by independent travellers of a survey conducted by the leading travel industry luxury network, Virtuoso, which is represented in over 26 countries and has over 9,000 travel advisors.Virtuoso has been conducting a Travel Dreams survey for the past nine years, where some of the world’s wealthiest travellers share their bucket list of travel destinations and activities.5,800 Virtuoso travellers took part in its 2015 Travel Dreams survey and Fiji made the list of the ‘Top 10 Dream Destinations’. The list also includes destinations like Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, Greece, Ireland, the Caribbean, England and the Antarctica.According to Virtuoso, the breath-taking sea life and luxurious accommodations of Fiji drive it onto the ‘Top 10’ list year after year. Tourism Fiji Executive Chairman, Truman Bradley welcomed the announcement by Virtuoso as it places Fiji amongst the best travel destinations in the world.“The results of the Virtuoso survey gives us a good insight into the kind of destinations luxury travellers want to visit and we at Tourism Fiji are glad that the Fiji brand is top of mind for these affluent travellers,” Bradley said.“Fiji is the only South Pacific Island destination on the list this year, which is reflective of the innovative marketing strategies and tactical campaigns which Tourism Fiji has been implementing in our key markets,” added Bradley.The results of Virtuoso’s annual survey was published in the July issue of Virtuoso Life -a flagship magazine which provides savvy travellers on where to go next, showcasing the best hotels, cruises, tours, and experiences around the world.Other factors surveyed, pinpointing their top 10 travel pursuits, the travellers rated cultural / historical as most important (42%), cruising came in a close second (40%), followed by adventure / nature (37%), beach (31%), family (25%), food & wine (24%), river cruising (22%), city getaways (19%), relaxation/spa (16%), and romance (15%).
Federal Housing Adminstration Franklin American Mortgage Origination 2015-12-24 Kerri Panchuk in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Origination Franklin American Mortgage Co. agreed to pay the U.S. government $70 million this past week to resolve allegations that the lender originated loans which failed to meet Federal Housing Administration guidelines.Government authorities allege Franklin Mortgage violated the False Claims Act by participating in the FHA’s direct lender endorsement program and originating loans as part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s lending program that did not meet specific underwriting requirements.The HUD-FHA program allows participating lenders to receive insurance from the federal government on any FHA loan that later defaults. However, lenders are required to follow specific guidelines at the point of origination to prevent risky lending and unexpected losses for HUD.“This settlement is another step forward in the government’s efforts to hold lenders accountable for the harm caused by years of improper and inadequate underwriting of mortgages insured by the federal government,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “As this settlement makes clear, we will hold accountable anyone whose conduct results in loss to the government, whether it is a large bank or a smaller mortgage lender.”The Department of Housing and Urban Development noted that as part of the settlement, Franklin American admits it certified loans for FHA mortgage insurance during the period running from Jan. 1, 2006, through March 31, 2012, that did not meet HUD underwriting guidelines.The government claims the work was performed by junior underwriters, who lacked the qualifications to appropriately handle FHA-insured loans.Post-close audits of many of the issued loans often showed they had failed to pass HUD’s guidelines.“Today’s settlement demonstrates HUD’s commitment to hold lenders accountable for serious violations of FHA requirements,” said General Counsel Helen R. Kanovsky of HUD’s Office of General Counsel. “We’re pleased that Franklin American accepted financial responsibility for its actions, which will restore funds to FHA.”HUD conducted the investigation in tandem with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Colorado and HUD’s Office of the Inspector General. December 24, 2015 641 Views Franklin American Mortgage Zapped with $70 Million FHA Settlement Share
RelatedAustralia crowned king at Skyscanner Travel AwardsAustralia crowned king at Skyscanner Travel Awards2012 Travel Trends Report from SkyscannerFind out which destinations came top in 2012, and where everyone’s heading in 2013!Holidaying Brits more likely to sunbathe than visit cultural attractionsBrits spend more time sunbathing and drinking in bars than holidaymakers from other European countries. The reputation of ‘Brits abroad’ has never been one to be proud of, but a new survey from Skyscanner has revealed that the British really are the worst type of tourist. The Brits cleaned up in nearly every category including ‘not attempting to learn any local language’, ‘being drunk and disorderly’ and ‘not trying the local food and drink’. Our lack of generosity when it comes to tipping was also noted.But far from being a foreign attack on Brits, we voted ourselves as the worst tourists, with the UK poll receiving over 1000 votes.The only area where we were beaten was when it came to ‘being rude’; it was perhaps our well-known British reserve that spared us here as the gold medal in this category went to the Russians, with the Germans and Americans in second and third place. When it came to identifying exactly which part of the UK was home to the word’s worst tourists, it was Londoners who were voted number one with almost a quarter of all the votes. Geordies also fared badly with the North East taking 17% of the votes, while Mancunians and Liverpuddlians scored almost as negatively with the North West taking 16% of the votes.UK’s Worst Tourists:1. Londoners2. North East England3. North West England4. Scotland5. West Midlands6. Yorkshire & The Humber7. East Midlands8. Wales9. N. Ireland10. South West England11. East EnglandAt the opposite end of the scale, world’s best tourists are more evenly split between different nations. The Scandinavians were voted the best at attempting the local lingo; the Japanese are considered as most polite and well behaved. Australians are the best at embracing the local food and drink, whilst it was the tip-happy Americans who clinch the prize for best tippers.Sam Baldwin, Skyscanner Travel Editor commented:“The vast majority of British travellers are well-behaved while abroad, and do try to embrace aspects of the local culture, customs and language. But it seems that the stereotype of the loud, lairy, drunken Brit, sunburned and stumbling from bar to bar in Spain, remains the way we perceive some of our fellow countrymen to behave while on holiday.”ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map