Remembering Wally Bowman

first_imgCurrent and former staff were saddened last week to hear of the passing of Wallace D. “Wally” Bowman, a conservation and environmental policy expert.As Vice President for Operations, Wally was the first official staff member of World Resources Institute when it was launched in 1982. His efforts in building WRI’s administrative, personnel, financial and publications policies laid the foundation for our long-term growth and success. Wally retired as Secretary-Treasurer of WRI in 1993. Before coming to WRI, Wally was the chief of the environmental and natural resources policy divisions at the Library of Congress where he had a role assisting Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson (D-Wash.) on his sponsorship of the National Environmental Policy Act, a sweeping piece of legislation signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970. Our thoughts and prayers are with Wally’s family. He was a dear friend and colleague, and we will miss him.last_img read more

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BW Wins FSRU Contract for Pakistan’s LNG Terminal

first_imgzoom Oil and gas transporter BW Group has signed a 15-year agreement to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification services utilizing a newbuild Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) for Pakistan’s second LNG terminal at Port Qasim, Karachi.The deal for the utilization of the FSRU, currently being built at South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries, was signed with Pakistan GasPort Limited (PGPL), the developer of the liquefied natural gas project.Scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2016, the vessel has a storage capacity in excess of 170,000 m3 and a peak regasification capacity of 750 mmscfd.The new LNG terminal is expected to reduce Pakistan’s gas deficit by 30 percent, ensure fuel for 3,600 megawatts of new power generation plants being constructed in Pakistan to reduce power outages by 80 percent, according to Pakistan GasPort.The project will be commissioned by 30 June 2017 at Port Qasim.last_img read more

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Seaspan Shipyards Gets New CEO

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Seaspan Shipyards Mark Lamarre, who most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Australian Shipbuilding Company (ASC), has been named Chief Executive Officer of Seaspan Shipyards, effective immediately. Lamarre succeeds Brian Carter, who has stepped down from his role at the company to pursue other opportunities.Lamarre’s appointment follows recent Seaspan Shipyards additions to the senior leadership team, including Jari Anttila (previously with Philly Shipyard Inc. and Meyer Turku in Finland) as Chief Operating Officer and Christof Brass (previously with Airbus Group SAS) as Chief Financial Officer.“We are thrilled to have somebody of Mark’s experience and calibre lead Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard to deliver on our long-term commitments to the Government of Canada under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, and to continue the excellent service of Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyard to the Government of Canada as well as to a variety of foreign and commercial customers,” Kyle Washington, Chairman of the Board of Seaspan ULC said.“I am confident that with Mark at the helm – coupled with other recent appointments at the COO and CFO roles – we have a seasoned team in place to strengthen delivery of our commitments to both government and commercial sector clients and build on the company’s successes moving forward.” “With its strong position in the industry and talented team of more than 2,000 employees, Seaspan is well-positioned to deliver quality and predictable work under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, and to strengthen our relationship with the Government of Canada,” Lamarre commented.Lamarre served as CEO of ASC PTY LTD since 2014, where he led a $600 million shipbuilding division of ASC engaged in the engineering, construction, activation and post-delivery support of naval surface combatants to the Australian Navy. Previously, Lamarre worked at Bath Iron Works, the $1.2 billion shipbuilding business unit of General Dynamics Corporation, where he spent 24 years.last_img read more

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Suspect hunting animals for hotels arrested in Matale

A suspect who was in the process of hunting animals for hotels was arrested in Matale, the Police said.The suspect was arrested while preparing to hunt deer, wild boar and other animals for their meat. According to the Police, the suspect was arrested with weapons in his possession which were to be used to hunt the animals.The Police said that the suspect hunts animals for their meat for hotels in the Matale and Dambulla areas. (Colombo Gazette)

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Halton police warn of predators

An Oakville neighbourhood is on edge after Halton police warned parents about a pair of child predators who may be trolling the area.Two incidents near West Oak Trail Boulevard have been reported.But as Scot Urquhart tells us, parents in the area believe there may have been more.00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09

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18 albums every Irish household has owned

first_imgBlur – ParklifeThe Bodyguard SoundtrackSongs from Dawson’s CreekMichael Jackson – ThrillerChristy Moore Live at the PointTracy Chapman – Tracy ChapmanThe Verve – Urban HymnsOcean Colour Scene – Moseley ShoalsWe must also give honourable mention to the following singles which are also bound to be found in every house in Ireland if you rummage hard enough.Mark McCabe – Maniac 2000Zig and Zag – Christmas Number 1YouTube/APintTurtleGoo Goo Dolls – IrisRepublic of Ireland Football Squad – Put ‘em Under PressurePIC: Cats… ruining people’s lives since the 15th century>6 things you don’t want to happen in bed tonight>VIDEO: Sheep turns the tables on an unsuspecting fox> BACK IN THE day when everybody’s bedrooms were dominated by CDs, there were certain albums that were omnipresent.If you didn’t own them, your brother or sister did, or in some cases (we’re looking at you, A Woman’s Heart), your mam.Here’s a rundown of 18 albums every household has owned:Oasis – What’s the Story Morning Glory?Blur – The Great EscapeMeat Loaf – Bat Out of HellThe Romeo and Juliet SoundtrackDavid Gray – White LadderColdplay – ParachutesAlanis Morrisette – “Jagged Little Pill”U2 – The Joshua TreeThe Beatles – Abbey RoadA Woman’s Heartlast_img read more

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How to use the HTC One and Media Link HD to stream

first_imgHTC’s Media Link HD has been around for a little while now, but the new HTC One gives you extra power and makes the whole experience a lot better.For the most part, Android’s lack of a decent wireless streaming service makes it hard to do some of the things that can be done with Apple’s AirPlay. But if you have an HTC phone — specifically one that works with their Media Link HD adapter — you can re-create and do better than iOS and AirPlay. Getting setup is really simple, Media Link needs an HDMI port and a MicroUSB port for power.First off, the Media Link HD adapter comes with a sticky casing that you can use to mount to the back of your television, or you can just let it hang off the back of your entertainment center. Once it boots, your HTC One should be able to detect it immediately.HTC includes an OS-level gesture to connect to Media Link, if you decide going through the menu and connecting manually isn’t worth your time. A three-finger swipe up the screen will initiate a slight vibration to confirm that you are trying to connect to Media Link.Once the connection is established, the television will mirror what is on your phone. The screen on your phone will look a little differently now, forced into landscape mode in a special TV format. Your launcher, folders, and wallpaper are all gone, replaced with this uniform experience. Your apps all exist in one long list, and you can swipe to choose which one you want. If you leave the launcher, you’ll be resented with a wide format BlinkFeed that you can refresh and continue to use. Otherwise, just pick the app you want and enjoy.Every app, aside from Google Play Movies, will mirror to the television with no problems. Google has blocked their movie store from this feature, and if you try to launch the app and play a movie it won’t ever actually start. If you go to play most games you’ll notice that there’s very little lag, and if you go to use the browser of YouTube you’ll find the overall experience the same as your phone usually is.If you try to play a more graphically intensive game like Reign of Amira, Media Link will lag out and have to catch up within the first minute of gameplay. The audio will fail first, and the video on the TV only will fail next. The game itself on your phone will be the same, and once Media Link catches up the experience is fluid and mirrors really well.If you’re not tied into Apple’s ecosystem, and you’ve been looking at HTC’s One, this serves as a great added bonus for picking the phone up. Windows and WiDi, Samsung and DLNA, and Miracast for the select Android phones that currently support it are all reasonable alternatives if all you want to do is stream some content to your TV. If you want a great all around experience, however, HTC and Apple are the only ones doing it right.last_img read more

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More Greeks turn to private health insurance

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram An increasing number of Greeks are seeking some form of private health insurance to supplement their state health cover, according to the results of a nationwide survey which pointed to a 60 per cent rise in citizens opting for private care.This year a total of 38.7 per cent of Greeks paid for private insurance – either for a full health package or for checkups or one-off treatments – compared to 23.8 per cent in 2012, according to the results of the survey which was carried out on a sample of 1,285 respondents questioned by Kapa Research on behalf of the Athens School of Public Health earlier this month.The results of the survey came amid widespread discontent about Greek public healthcare, which has been subject to years of troika-imposed cuts and amid slow-moving efforts to overhaul the country’s main public healthcare provider, known as EOPYY.According to the survey, three out of five Greeks claim to be unsatisfied with EOPYY’s services.Irrespective of their health insurance status, respondents paid an average of 265.15 euros for primary healthcare services in the first six months of this year, according to the same survey. Of this outlay, the bulk – 103.35 euros – went on medicines.Source: Ekathimerinilast_img read more

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Fukushima bien plus denfants contaminés quofficiellement annoncé

first_imgFukushima : bien plus d’enfants contaminés qu’officiellement annoncéDans la province de Fukushima et ses environs, le nombre d’enfants contaminés par les retombées radioactives de la catastrophe nucléaire est bien plus important que ne l’ont annoncé les autorités. C’est ce qu’affirme l’Association pour le contrôle de la radioactivité de l’Ouest (ACRO), un laboratoire français indépendant qui a réalisé des analyses sur des enfants japonais.Sur son site Internet, le laboratoire indépendant ACRO a publié hier les résultats de ses dernières analyses réalisées aux alentours de la centrale nucléaire japonaise accidentée depuis le 11 mars dernier. Les urines de dix-huit enfants, quinze vivant dans la province de Fukushima, et trois dans celle de Tokyo, ont été analysées par les chercheurs du laboratoire. À lire aussiLe pied d’éléphant, cette effrayante masse radioactive cachée dans les entrailles de TchernobylLes résultats ont révélé que toutes les urines des enfants de Fukushima “ont été ou sont contaminées par les retombées radioactives de la centrale accidentée située à une soixantaine de kilomètres. Ce qui signifie que les enfants eux-mêmes ont été ou sont contaminés” affirme l’association, qui précise que les enfants de Tokyo n’ont quant à eux présenté aucune contamination. Cette annonce est d’autant plus alarmante que les autorités japonaises avaient suite à leurs tests déclaré qu’un enfant de Fukushima sur deux était ou avait été contaminé. “Nous obtenons 100%. Cette différence s’explique par le fait que les mesures officielles ne sont pas assez précises et ne permettent pas de détecter toutes les contaminations” souligne les chercheurs dans leur communiqué.Evacuer pour diminuer la contamination ?Parmi les quinze enfants dont les urines ont été analysées, dix avaient déjà été soumis à des tests au mois de mai. L’ACRO a ainsi pu suivre leur évolution et noter que les neuf enfants qui ont été évacués de Fukushima après les analyses de mai, “ont vu leur contamination baisser ou disparaître”. Il apparaît donc que “l’évacuation est un moyen de diminuer la contamination” soulignent les chercheurs.Le 8 septembre 2011 à 14:19 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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Get Instant Access to Hundreds of Top Games for One Low Price

first_imgWant your products featured in the Geek.com Deals store? Learn more about how to sell your products online! Utomik Gaming Personal Plan – $49.99See Deal Stay on target Sonic Soak Is the Tiny Washing Machine That Goes AnywhereThis $500 SEO Tool Is Only $24 Today Heads up, gamers. Get a three-year subscription to Utomik and access their growing library of over 785 titles for just $49.99 — a savings of 86% off retail. It’s the new and totally hassle-free way to instantly connect with your favorite PC games for the lowest price.Video games are a great source of entertainment. What’s lacking is their delivery model. To this point, you’d purchase a game for way too much money, tediously download and install it on your PC, and pray that you don’t run into compatibility issues. How is that relaxing? It isn’t at all, which is why the folks at Utomik created a new way to access games that would address these concerns.Utomik is like the Netflix of video games. Subscribers enjoy full access to their entire library which features popular titles from companies like Disney, Epic, and Curve. Simply select a title and play almost right away. You won’t have to wait for long downloads or installations and, as long as you have a PC running at least Windows 7 with a stable internet connection, you won’t experience any compatibility issues either.When you consider the cost of one game at retail, a service like this makes a lot of sense. Reduce stress and save money with a three year subscription to Utomik, normally $360, now just $49.99 with this special offer. Also available are six month and one-year plans for $19.99 and $34.99, respectively.last_img read more

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SPOILERS WWE Smackdown taping results for June 18

first_imgFacebook Google+ Former WWE Superstar Enzo Amore announces he is returning to the ring Pinterest 8/9 NXT Live Results: Buffalo, New York (Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong, Riddle vs. Dunne) Now Playing Up Next Xavier Woods Videos Articles Now Playing Up Next WWE Lists The Shields Top 10 Wins Adam Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Cesaro Hopeful WWE Will Reunite The Bar The Miz Madison Square Garden Pays Tribute to Roman Reignscenter_img Now Playing Up Next Now Playing Up Next WrestleMania Could Be Biggest Ever Triple H Now Playing Up Next Videos Articles Videos Articles WhatsApp Twitter Vince McMahon Sends Supportive Message To Roman Reigns The following was taped on Tuesday night in Buffalo, New York.Todd Vincent passed along this live report.WWE Smackdown tapings for June 18, 2015:Sheamus came out and cut a promo stating nobody will stop him as he beats all of his competition. Mentioned the “You look stupid” chants he got for his updated look (I think the WWE is really missing a niche merch opportunity by not selling Sheamus Beard Beads — “For the distinguised man who thinks Johnny Depp was understated in Pirates of the Carribean”). Raised his MITB Briefcase and asked “Who looks stupid now?” Cue Dean Ambrose!, The Lunatic Fringe (don’t you need more than one person to count as a “Fringe?”) said Roman Reigns would have won MITB if Bray Wyatt had not interfered. Sheamus mentioned that Ambrose was a loser who always had to steal things since he could never “win The Big One.” Sheamus laid down the briefcase and told Ambrose to come in and get it as he stood over it. Before Ambrose could get in the ring, Kane interrupted and made a handicap match teaming with Sheamus vs. Ambrose…1. Kane and Sheamus defeated Dean Ambrose via DQ when Roman Reigns interfered and made the save as Ambrose was getting beat down.A graphic showed Ambrose & Reigns vs Kane & Sheamus later tonight..2. Brie Bella pinned Paige after interference by Alicia Fox…Stills from the MITB PPV was shown…Kevin Owens backstage interview with Renee Young. Owens blamed John Cena for not being at RAW to prevent him from beating up Machine Gun Kelly. Also stated that MGK started it by touching him first. (Not sure if this will come through but the crowd applauded the hell out of Owens powerbombing Kelly. Pretty sure that move made Owens a semi-face everywhere outside of Cleveland). Owens stated there would be no NXT Championship open challenge match on Smackdown. Enter Cesaro who challenged Owens to a match later in the show. And to show Owens he was serious, Cesaro touched Owens and dared him to do something about it.3. Dolph Ziggler (w/Lana) defeated Bo Dallas. They showed Rusev watching the match on a backstage monitor. He looked like he was about to go all Chernobyl after Lana kissed Ziggler after his win.The Roman Reigns fatherhood PSA played. Foreshadowing???4. Neville defeated Xavier Woods (with Big E & Kofi Kingston). During the match, The Prime Time Players came out to defend Neville from interference by Kofi and Big E. After an outside-the-ring shmozz, Neville hit the Red Arrow for the win. Kids, don’t try that at home. Or anywhere for that matter.Seth Rollins came out and cut his becoming-usual promo about being the best the WWE has to offer. Stated how he never gets a thank you or a pat on the back but disrespect instead. Discussed his shock at Brock Lesnar’s return and pointed out that once Brock got in the ring, he did NOTHING! Said he needs to beat Brock to cement his legacy and at Battleground, he will become the diamond Triple H challenged him to be.5. Kevin Owens beat Cesaro with his Pop-Up Powerbomb. Owens in another Match of the Night. Side note: I couldn’t find an Owens shirt in Large or Extra Large (was buying one for a co-worker. Not telling you which shirt was for him.) until I hit the 4th merchandise stand I could find. Was sold out in those sizes at the first 3. The person manning the merch stand said that the Owens merch is the hottest seller they’ve had recently.The Dusty Rhodes tribute aired. Crowd chanted Dusty’s name.An announcement for WWE’s return on September 28th (Get your tickets now! Now! Niw!!! NOW!!!!!)6. Kane & Sheamus defeated Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns after a Bray Wyatt Titantron distraction led to Sheamus pinning Reigns. Post-match, the lights went out and when they came back on, the PSA picture of Reigns with his daughter was laying next to Reigns. Reigns looked at it with concern.Post-Broadcast Dark Match1. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose defeated Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt. The faces performed their finishers to send the crowd home happy…Biggest Crowd Reactions1.) Kevin Owens (People love or hate him. There seems to be no in-between)2.) Dean Ambrose (I asked a guy near me what he dug about Ambrose and he said “He reminds me of a cross between my two favorite wrestlers, Roddy Piper and Mick Foley.” Good thing for Ambrose that guy’s faves weren’t Alex Wright and Cliff Compton. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)3.) Roman Reigns (for tonight at least, the crowd seems to be warming up more to Reigns)Recommended videosPowered by AnyClipMadison Square Garden Pays Tribute to Roman ReignsVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:34/Current Time 0:05Loaded: 100.00%0:05Remaining Time -0:29 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Impact and AAA announce partnership for Invading NY event on September 15 last_img read more

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UPDATE Weekend closures on I5 canceled

first_imgUPDATE (12:30 p.m.) — The Oregon Department of Transportation has canceled this weekend’s work and closures due to weather. The project will resume next week, weather permitting. Original story:—Headed to Portland late tonight, or over the weekend? Watch for a detour.Interstate 5 through downtown Portland will be closed beginning tonight through 5 a.m. Monday, Oregon Department of Transportation officials say. Motorists can detour around the closure on Interstate 405.The closure is maintenance-related and will continue in some for on weekends through Aug. 20.Though I-405 is an option, traffic delays are expected, according to ODOT.Motorists wanting to take Interstate 84 eastbound from Interstate 5 southbound will need to take I-405 around downtown and then use I-5 north.The Rose Quarter offramp will remain open to local traffic.last_img read more

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Authorities Police cadet accidentally shoots himself at gun range in Medley

first_imgMIAMI (WSVN) – Authorities said a police cadet accidentally shot himself at a shooting range in Medley.The trainee was in stable condition when he was airlifted by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.He was practicing at a gun range located near Northwest 95th Avenue and 100th Street on Wednesday night when his gun accidentally discharged.Classmates and instructors of the cadet were able to give him first aid before rescue crews arrived.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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Late Iditarod Volunteer in Kaltag receives Nayokpuk Award

first_imgThe dog lot in Kaltag. (Photo: Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media)The Iditarod is honoring a late longtime race volunteer in Kaltag with the Herbie Nayokpuk Spirit of the Iditarod Award.Austin Esmailka, Sr., helped bring the Iditarod through Kaltag for decades. His son-in-law, Iditarod veteran Richard Burnham, accepted the award surrounded by his family in the Kaltag community hall Sunday morning.Listen now“Austin was always the one who would, when I needed it, would come to me and say ‘Richard, are we going to go down to Eagle Island? We need to break trail; the race is coming,’” Burnham said. “He would go down without question. He was involved with it a lot of ways where he was in the background. You didn’t always see him out in the front, but he was always there as the one to make sure the race happened.”The award is named for the late Shishmaref musher Herbie Nayokpuk and is given to people who have made a major impact on the race.last_img read more

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Myanmar army end operations in north Rakhine

first_imgA Rohingya refugee woman with her child walks at Kutupalang Makeshift Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar. PhotoMyanmar’s army has halted “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine, a senior official said Wednesday, ending a four-month crackdown by security forces the UN has warned may amount to crimes against humanity.Hundreds from the Muslim minority are thought to have died and almost 70,000 have fled to Bangladesh since the military launched a campaign to find militants who attacked police border posts.Escapees have given harrowing accounts of how security forces raped, killed and tortured Rohingya and burnt their houses to the ground during the four-month operation.A UN report based on accounts from refugees in Bangladesh said troops had carried out a “calculated policy of terror” that probably amounted to crimes against humanity.For months Myanmar has dismissed similar testimony gathered by foreign media and rights groups as fabricated and curtailed access to the region.But the UN allegations have piled pressure on Myanmar’s civilian government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to rein in the military, which still controls key levers of power.Late Wednesday her office said the troops had ended their campaign and left the locked-down area under police control.“The situation in northern Rakhine has now stabilised,” newly appointed National Security Advisor Thaung Tun was quoted as saying in a statement.“The clearance operations undertaken by the military have ceased, the curfew has been eased and there remains only a police presence to maintain the peace.”The government has tasked a state-backed commission led by former military man turned Vice President Myint Swe with investigating the allegations in the UN report.“We have shown that we are ready to act when there is clear evidence of abuses,” Thaung Tun added in the statement.More than a million Rohingya Muslims live in Rakhine state, where they are treated as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denied citizenship. Vicious communal conflict between Buddhists and Rohingya in 2012 drove tens of thousands of them into camps, where they live today in conditions rights groups have compared to apartheid.Suu Kyi has been criticised for not speaking out against the recent crackdown, which has sapped the goodwill she built up during years fighting for democracy under the former military government.Last week Pope Francis weighed in, saying Rohingya had been tortured and killed “simply because they wanted to live their culture and Muslim faith”.Suu Kyi’s power is curtailed by a junta-era constitution that gives the military control of key ministries, including defence, and a quarter of parliamentary seats.last_img read more

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Clear future under new agent regulations AFTA

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W A draft transition plan presented by the Consumer Affairs Ministers to regulate travel agents across Australia will be agreed upon by the end of this year.The draft transition plan comes over after a three and a half year review process by Consumer Affairs Ministers in the travel and trade related market. AFTA CEO Jayson Westbury said it was a historic day, reaching an agreement to implement new arrangements for the way Australian travel agencies are regulated, with Australian consumers also benefiting from a clearer consumer protection regime.“Consumers will now have a clear understanding of their protection when dealing with travel agents with the new Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and that when dealing with a travel agent they should make sure it is an Australian company,” Mr Westbury said.Despite needing some fine tuning, Mr Westbury said the draft transition plan is good news for Australian travel agents who will have been waiting for a clearer future.The ministers noted the current arrangements are not satisfactory as only about a third of affected consumers have any redress under the scheme, with more money spent on the scheme administration than being paid out to consumers.There have been concerns with the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) coverage and relevance in the market for consumer protection as the minister’s note that that in the absence of an agreed transition plan, they would withdraw from the TCF, making it no may no longer viable. Australian travel agents have for a while experienced an imbalance and an unfair burden competing in a global and borderless market place with non-Australian internet travel sellers selling to Australians without the same significant level of regulation. To finally have an outcome after over three years of waiting for review considerations and deliberations by the government bureaucrats and ministers is refreshing for those in the travel industry.“This provides a pathway of certainty to the 2800 travel agent businesses in Australia and confirms a future for the 35,000 Australians directly employed by travel agents around the country,” the CEO announced.AFTA looks forward to the final arrangements to be decided at the end of this year and implemented to ensure the development of all stakeholders involved.last_img read more

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Stop taxing tourism Coalition

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T The Coalition has warned that “the government must stop over taxing tourism” as the nation faces an $8 billion two-way tourism trade deficit this year.Following reports that Ireland was the fastest growing international destination for Australian travellers last year, Shadow Minister Bob Baldwin revealed Australia’s domestic tourism has taken a beating.“Growing interest in Ireland as a destination is one thing, but what’s worrying is the importance Ireland now places on Australian travellers, as one of the most important growth markets for Irish tourism,” Mr Baldwin said.“Since Julia Gillard welshed on her carbon tax promise and burdened Australian tourism with a raft of new taxes and charges, our domestic industry has suffered enormously.”Mr Baldwin said that last year the Labor Government introduced or increased 12 tourism taxes and charges on local businesses, raising the cost of Australia as a destination.“Our two way tourism trade deficit will be $8 billion this year,” Mr Baldwin said.“This means after subtracting receipts from 6 million inbound tourists Australia will lose at least $8 billion from Aussies spending their holiday savings on goods and services in foreign hotels and shops.”Yet the news was not all bad as 35,000 Australians are currently employed as travel agents and outbound tourism has brought down the cost of inbound flights for foreign visitors. Aussie tourism suffers as tourism trade deficit rises. Image: Andrew Meareslast_img read more

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An Industry on Bated Breath for PHH v CFPB

first_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Print Features May 20, 2016 620 Views An Industry on Bated Breath for PHH v. CFPB PHH Corporation’s appeal of the CFPB’s ruling may not only clarify the CFPB’s reach in interpreting statutes and doling out enforcement actions, but it also challenges the very structure of the bureau and its directorBy Jeffrey Puthoff, Esq.The real estate industry waits on bated breath for the final decision in the ongoing case PHH Corporation v. CFPB. Anyone under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) enforcement umbrella—from lenders to title agents, servicers to property preservation specialists—could be seriously affected by this upcoming decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The decision will have ramifications on the CFPB’s ability to interpret statutes and bring enforcement actions. The case may even decide whether the current structure of the CFPB is constitutional.CFPB Launches AllegationsThe PHH Corporation is an American financial services corporation that provides mortgage services to some of the world’s largest financial services firms. PHH wholly owns Atrium Insurance Corporation and Atrium Reinsurance Corporation, which enter into mortgage reinsurance contracts with mortgage insurers contracted by PHH. The CFPB considered this relationship a violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).The CFPB first filed a Notice of Charges against PHH on January 19, 2014, alleging violations of RESPA “relating to their use of captive mortgage reinsurance arrangements.” PHH immediately fought back and contested the charges. Rather than bring a suit in federal district court—as it typically had done up to that point in other contested enforcement actions—the CFPB chose to bring an administrative claim before an administrative law judge. Specifically, the case was brought before Judge Cameron Elliot of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The administrative law judge assigned to adjudicate the CFPB’s case is to be selected directly by the CFPB.An administrative trial was conducted. Afterward, the administrative law judge issued a decision on November 25, 2014, holding that the relationship between PHH and Atrium was in fact an illegal kickback scheme under RESPA Section 8(a). The judge ordered limited injunctive relief as well as a $6.4 million disgorgement penalty against PHH.Two things are particularly of note in this ruling, both concerning the nature of the new regime. First, the judge relied on HUD’s (not the CFPB’s) regulations and interpretive guidance to conclude that some captive reinsurance is permissible under RESPA. Second, although the judge sided with the CFPB, he nonetheless limited the CFPB’s enforcement ability under RESPA’s three-year statute of limitations, essentially cutting off liability prior to June 8, 2008.CFPB Director Reviews His Own Bureau’s DecisionBoth PHH and the CFPB appealed the judge’s ruling. Under current federal law, that appeal goes straight to the director of the CFPB. What’s more, even absent an appeal by the parties, the director has the final say in any contested administrative proceedings. The director may intervene in a case without any prompting or request.CFPB Director Richard Cordray issued his final decision on June 4, 2015, siding almost universally with the CFPB. However, Cordray increased the $6.4 million penalty to a staggering $109 million. In his decision, Cordray departed from Elliot’s ruling, asserting that the CFPB is not bound by historical interpretations of RESPA nor is it bound by RESPA’s statute of limitations in administrative proceedings. Cordray also contended that the Dodd Frank Act (the Congressional law that created the CFPB) allows disgorgement to reach gross revenues not delimited by costs or losses.PHH was left with two options: First, ask the CFPB director to reconsider the CFPB director’s own decision upholding a CFPB-selected judge’s ruling in favor of the CFPB. Or, second, seek independent judicial review in the United States Circuit Courts. PHH chose the latter.PHH Calls CFPB’s Decision “Arbitrary and Capricious”On June 19, 2015, PHH filed a petition for review in the United States Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit, claiming Cordray’s decision was “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.” PHH asserted several grounds for relief, including the CFPB’s improper interpretation of RESPA Section 8, the failure to comply with RESPA’s statute of limitations, as well as the excessive disgorgement of $109 million. PHH even challenged the constitutionality of the CFPB.Oral arguments began on April 12, 2016, before the Court’s panel of three judges. It appears the Court will give no deference to Cordray’s decision. Generally, appellate courts afford substantial deference to statutory and regulatory interpretations of lower courts and agencies. However, appellate courts will outright reject prior findings if it finds they are “arbitrary and capricious.” PHH has argued exactly that.Regardless, the Court may depart from Cordray’s conclusions under another legal doctrine: the Rule of Lenity. Essentially, lenity prescribes that ambiguities in criminal statutes must be interpreted in favor of defendants. RESPA itself contains both civil and criminal penalties and, as such, is subject to lenity. If the Court were to find ambiguity with RESPA (as enforced by the CFPB), then it may resolve the issue in favor of PHH.Cordray Rejects Safe HarborRESPA regulation has always been a bit uncertain, especially regarding mortgage insurance and reinsurance. After all, there’s a reason HUD had to provide regular guidance to the industry. However, Cordray’s interpretation of two RESPA provisions marks a radical departure from years of industry regulation and custom.Simply put, RESPA Section 8(a) prohibits kickbacks. The statute reads: “[n]o person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback, or thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or a part of a real estate settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person.”However, certain payments and relationships have been legal under the safe-harbor provisions of RESPA Section 8(c)(2). Section 8(c)(2) serves as an exception to Section 8(a) liability and reads: “[n]othing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting the payment to any person of a bona fide salary or compensation or other payment for goods or facilities actually furnished or for services actually performed.”The industry—as well as HUD, various federal courts, and even Elliot—interprets Section 8(c)(2) as permitting payments so long as they are at market prices for actual services performed. For captive reinsurance relationships, the reinsurance must involve a real transfer of risk where the price does not exceed the value. In fact, these arrangements were perfectly legal as outlined by a 1997 HUD Guidance Letter on captive reinsurance.Cordray disagrees. Instead, Cordray views Section 8(c)(2) as merely “to clarify the application of Section 8(a), not as a substantive exemption to liability.” Under Cordray’s interpretation, any discernible connection between referrals and payments risks RESPA violation and punishment by the CFPB. Regarding the 1997 HUD Guidance Letter, Cordray simply noted “to the extent that the letter is inconsistent with my textual and structural interpretation of section 8(c)(2), I reject it.”Cordray Abandons Statute of LimitationsCordray’s decision has completely reworked the timeline for RESPA enforcement moving forward, significantly expanding the liability of all future defendants.Under RESPA, enforcement actions were subject to a three-year statute of limitations. Dodd-Frank also outlined a three-year statute of limitations for “actions brought by the Bureau”. However, Elliot interpreted that this limitation only applied to civil actions, not administrative proceedings (such as the PHH case). Cordray agreed.Traditionally, HUD could only bring enforcement actions in court; it has no administrative option. In contrast, Dodd-Frank allows the CFPB to bring both legal and administrative actions. Thus, if the CFPB chooses to proceed administratively, there is no statute of limitations. The bureau is free to enforce any violations from the point of its creation in 2011. Liability will continue to grow indefinitely. The industry could be on the hook for behavior decades in the past.Cordray Single-handedly Recalculates PenaltiesOne of the most alarming aspects of the entire case is the penalty itself; specifically, the increase in the disgorgement from $6 million to $109 million. Disgorgement is a remedy available by courts to force wrong-doers to repay funds, with interest, received through illegal or unethical business transactions. Both Elliot and Cordray insist disgorgement is a remedy afforded to the CFPB.Cordray increased the disgorgement awarded by Elliot over 18 times its original amount. There are two reasons behind the disgorgement increase. First, Cordray believes PHH violated RESPA every time it collected a reinsurance premium, not simply each time business was referred under the scheme. PHH was ordered to disgorge all the reinsurance premiums it received since July 21, 2008.Second, Cordray did not limit the damages to the amount of profits earned by Atrium; rather, he calculated the penalty based on the gross amount of premiums ceded to Atrium altogether. Of course, this number failed to account for any amounts paid out by Atrium on mortgage insurance claims. Cordray noted that the concept of disgorgement is centered on ill-gotten gains, not ill-gotten profits.Amid a Blatant Conflict of Interest, the CFPB Faces an Uncertain Future More so now than at any other time in its brief history, the CFPB’s future is uncertain. The judges of the D.C. Circuit Court repeatedly questioned the structure and powers of the CFPB. Of particular interest to the judges was the concentration of power in a single director, which neither the President nor Congress has any authority over. One judge especially noted concern over Cordray’s ability to unilaterally overturn years of industry practice and custom.Cordray’s authority is problematic. In reviewing the PHH case, Cordray gave no deference to Elliot’s findings, instead conducting a De Novo Review. Cordray freely departed from Elliot’s decision—rendering it an almost unnecessary step altogether—leaving the parties with little protection upon appeal as the director may pick and choose which issues to examine.  However, unlike PHH, at the least the CFPB prosecution team can appeal to its own boss.And therein lies the blatant conflict of interest. Cordray is the director of the CFPB: an agency whose mission is to regulate the various consumer financial industries and to prosecute offenders where appropriate. However, Cordray is also tasked to be a third-party neutral appellate authority to review contested CFPB enforcement cases. This “in-house” appellate structure is similar to that seen in the SEC, a structure that is coincidentally being challenged nationwide for constitutional violations.Certainly this conflict is merely theoretical, yes? Well, consider that Cordray’s first appellate decision was rendered almost universally in favor of the CFPB while also disregarding years of regulatory guidance from the federal government and the court system alike. It should come as no surprise that the D.C. Circuit Court finds Cordray’s power “very problematic.” If PHH’s constitutional challenge succeeds, it will cast doubt on the future of the agency as well as any previous enforcement actions. A decision from the Court is expected shortly.Editor’s note: This select print feature appears in the May 2016 edition of MReport magazine.center_img Share CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau PHH Richard Cordray 2016-05-20 Staff Writerlast_img read more

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Cyprus wins the Silver Best Destination for Responsible Tourism Award

first_imgBy Stelios OrphanidesResponsible Travel, a company specialised in promoting sustainable tourism, said that it awarded Cyprus the Silver Best Destination for Responsible Tourism Award this year at the World Travel Market tourism fair in London.The South African town and holiday destination of Gansbaai received the Best Destination for Responsible Tourism 2015 golden award, Bristol-based Responsible Travel said on Wednesday in a statement on its website. Cyprus was co-runner-up together with Aruba, the Dutch island in the South Caribbean.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoModernizeIf Your Home Has Old Roofing, Read ThisModernizeUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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