AU Somali troops try to win back country roads

first_img Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Men’s health affects baby’s health too “They try to ambush us in such places. It’s not easy. We must pass here with vigilance,” an AU soldier groaned as he peered through the bulletproof glass of an armored personnel carrier.AU troops in August forced al-Shabab out of the capital, Mogadishu. Earlier this year Ugandan and Burundian troops began taking control of suburbs of the capital. Now they are moving far to the northwest in an attempt to secure a supply line from Mogadishu to the former al-Shabab stronghold of Baidoa. Many of al-Shabab’s top foreign fighters are said to have fled to Yemen already.But the rebels remaining continue their attacks. A week ago al-Shabab fighters ambushed a convoy, wounding one soldier. As the AU area of control widens, the challenges of holding the new territory increase.There are about 17,000 troops in the AU force, including soldiers from Kenya in the south of the country. With so few troops to control such a wide area, they are relying on public support to keep roads safe from roadside bombs.“A friendly population is better than tanks,” said Capt. Henry Obbo. “They are driving a dying horse. Public support is with us now.”Yet in rural villages, residents silently stare at troops. A soldier’s wave typically gets no reaction, except from children. Insurgents often kill suspected supporters of the Somali government, so even waving can invite trouble. But executions, floggings and strict social rules cut down the militants’ public support. Associated PressWALAWEYN, Somalia (AP) – African Union peacekeepers must drive along rough dirt roads that snake through sand dunes and shrubs to reach newly won territory in Somalia’s countryside, exposing themselves to possible ambushes by al-Shabab rebels.Though the peacekeeping forces travel in armored vehicles, the guerrilla fighters can inflict casualties. The psychological trauma of knowing an ambush can happen at any time makes life tough for the AU soldiers from several countries who battle the al-Shabab rebels allied to al-Qaida.center_img Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories “Al-Shabab was in no way good for us. They conscripted our children and forcibly extorted our farms. They made life hell for us,” said Abdullahi Yassin, an elder in the town of Walaweyn. He said his area has neither the security nor the aid it hoped to see from Mogadishu’s weak government.“No difference yet, except a little freedom,” he said of al-Shabab’s ouster.Late last week, African Union forces and Somali troops captured the Blidogle airport, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Mogadishu. The troops intend to open the road all the way to Baidoa, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of Mogadishu, said Hussein Arab Isse, Somalia’s defense minister, speaking at the airport.“They (al-Shabab) can’t stop our brave soldiers from reaching their goals,” Isse said.Though al-Shabab is being pushed back, their deadly attacks and clashes still haunt the region.The AU troops are visibly in control of the residential areas and roads, but the stretches of forest seem to be no man’s land.“Our operations will continue because this is not the end,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Ondoga, the commander of the Ugandan contingent. “We still have some distance to go to get to Baidoa.” Check your body, save your life 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

Iran takes hard line on inspections sanctions at nuke talks

first_img“Not at breakthrough moment yet,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond tweeted.Hammond had a morning meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who also consulted top diplomats from China, France, Germany and the European Union. Kerry met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif late Thursday.Speaking at the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said all participants had “the serious intention to finalize a deal,” but cited numerous unresolved issues.“The last steps are the most difficult ones,” he told reporters.Negotiators have given themselves until at least July 7 to reach agreement.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories But the rules don’t guarantee monitors can enter any site they want to and offer no specific guidance about sensitive military sites — an issue of particular interest with Iran, given the long-standing allegations of secret nuclear weapons work at its Parchin base near Tehran.Instead, the IAEA’s regulations allow governments to challenge such requests and offer alternative proposals for resolving concerns, such as providing additional documents or access to nearby locations.And for that reason, U.S. officials have regularly stressed that rules for inspections in an agreement with Iran would have to go beyond those laid out by the IAEA, including even a “dispute resolution process” to force Iran to open up facilities, if necessary.Even as Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has defiantly rejected such access, U.S. officials have sought to differentiate between what Iranian officials were saying is for domestic consumption and what they were promising in the negotiating room.Tehran says its program is solely for peaceful energy, medical and research purposes, but wants a deal to level the mountain of sanctions that have crippled its economy. President Barack Obama, hoping to calm those who oppose the deal because they don’t trust Iran to hold up its end, has said the U.S. would maintain the ability to snap sanctions back into place if Iran cheats.But the Iranian official said that ability goes two ways.If Iran is facing the re-imposition of penalties, and the U.S. and its partners don’t uphold their commitments to provide economic relief, he said “Iran has the right to go back to its program as it wishes.”The official didn’t spell out what that meant, but Iran would have several options, such as installing new centrifuges, enriching uranium at levels closer to weapons-grade or restarting activity with material that can be used in warheads where it has pledged to do no such thing.If the deal is good, however, the official said the Islamic Republic would have no need to revert back to its previous capacities.Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said his government also opposes any automatic re-imposition of international sanctions. Russia and the United States are negotiating alongside Britain, France, Germany and China.There were few public signs of progress as the high-level negotiations entered a sixth day Thursday after diplomats blew through a June 30 deadline and extended an interim accord by a week. Work was progressing, albeit slowly, officials said. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories The U.S. and some other negotiating countries want Iran to go further.“We should be realistic,” said the Iranian official, who briefed members of the news media on condition he not be quoted by name. He also questioned the legitimacy of countries that don’t accept the International Atomic Energy Agency’s jurisdiction demanding that Iran be subject to tougher requirements than any other nation. RIA-Novosti reported that Russia also backed Iran’s position that additional inspection guidelines for Iran weren’t necessary.The official was making a clear reference to Israel, a state widely presumed to maintain an undeclared nuclear arsenal.But the marker will be a cause of concern for the Obama administration and some of its negotiating partners, who are hoping to forge an agreement that would curb Iran’s atomic program for a decade in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.Iran has committed to implementing the IAEA’s “additional protocol” for inspections and monitoring as part of an accord. The protocol gives the IAEA expanded access to declared and undeclared nuclear sites, and to the sensitive information of the more than 120 governments that accept its provisions. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Mesa family survives lightning strike to home VIENNA (AP) — Iran took a hard line Thursday on two of the biggest demands of world powers in a final nuclear accord, rejecting any extraordinary inspection rules and threatening to ramp up enrichment of bomb-making material if the United States and other countries re-impose sanctions after the deal is in place.Speaking to reporters in Vienna, where diplomats are trying to clinch a comprehensive nuclear pact, a senior Iranian negotiator said the U.N. nuclear agency’s standard rules governing access to government information, sites of interest and scientists should be sufficient to ensure that Iran’s program is solely for peaceful purposes. Anything beyond that, he said, would be unfair. Comments   Share   last_img read more

Flight Centre throws down the gauntlet at Explore Holidays

first_imgIt is believed Flight Centre’s upper management surprised a number of key executives at Explore Holidays last week with redundancy packages as their positions became no longer available.The decision from head office has caused the dismissal of Explore Holidays’ General Manager, National Sales Manager as well as their entire team of Business Development Managers, resulting in a total of 7 axed workers, according to a source who spoke to e-Travel Blackboard. It is understood that each staff member has been provided with options within the company or redundancy packages, but their final decision is yet unknown.A representative from Flight Centre explained the decision was made after surveying business opportunities internally, and was carried out quickly thereafter.“We still have external customers but we’re looking to grow it internally,” the Flight Centre representative said.“In Australia we have 5000 consultants across all our brands, so it was a big opportunity to focus internally.”Restructuring within the company is now expected, with remaining staff to take on new responsibilities, and a possible new business strategy could be set in place in coming weeks.The restructure is reminiscent of previous Flight Centre plans which were put into action soon after acquiring Explore Holidays in 2007. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.Mlast_img read more

Costa Cruises releases 2011 brochure

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> The first Costa Cruise ship to make a call to Australia will be in 2012, revealed a spokesman for the cruise line last week.Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard on Thursday, Costa Cruises Sales and Marketing Director, Asia Pacific, Dario Rustico said Costa’s newest ship Costa Deliziosa would come down under in two years time as part of its Around the World Cruise.From December 2011 to April 2012, the 92,600 tonne Costa Deliziosa will cruise across the world’s five continents and visit Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.The news comes as Costa Cruises releases its 2011 brochure with over 250 destinations and more than 130 different itineraries including the Around the World cruise.  Highlights include a new 14-day itinerary in the Far East tailored specifically for Australian cruisers, sailing from Singapore to Thailand and Malaysia. It will sail between December 2010 and April 2011 and can be broken down into two seven-day segments.Costa’s tailored cruise in Asia for Australians is “a unique proposition” according to Rustico, who believes Asian cruises are underdeveloped in the country and expects 40-50 percent of the Far East cruise to be filled with Australian passengers.The cruise line is also offering for the first time seven night cruises during the Winter Mediterranean. It has added Valencia to the itinerary on the Costa Magica, allowing passengers to disembark at the Spanish city and catch the high speed train to Madrid.The Costa Magica will also be offering seven-day cruises to Savona, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Tunis, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Marseilles.Another exciting development for Costa in Spring 2011 will be the arrival of its new Concordia -class ship Costa Favolosa which is a contemporary “fairy tale castle” at sea. It features a new entertainment area called Club Cavallo Bianco, with a 4D Cinema, PlayStation World, a bar with ice-cream, drinks and popcorn, kids’ dance floor, children’s game room, and a new Aqua Park water playground for little ones with its own galleon.The Costa Favolosa will leave from Venice on her maiden cruise on 7 July 2011 on a 10-day voyage of discovery to Israel, Greece and Turkey. Costa will welcome a second Concordia -class ship Costa Fascinosa in Spring 2012.Rustico said 100,000 copies of Costa’s 2011 brochure had been printed and would be distributed across Australia in April. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more

Aussies to Hopp Schwiiz with new guide

first_imgBecause Switzerland is more than just postcard-perfect scenery, some holey cheese or a MacGyver-endorsed multi-function knife, the OBrochure Switzerland Experience Guide launched today is set to offer Australian travellers and their travel agents an insight into the natural and cultural wonders of this small but stunning destination.The OBrochure Switzerland Experience Guide offers shopping, wining, dining (fondue plus) and sleeping suggestions (anyone for a nap in a hayloft?). Focusing on popular Swiss destinations (Interlaken, Engelberg and Mt Titlis, The Lake Geneva Region, and Lucerne), the OBrochure Switzerland Experience Guide goes beyond the major cities to tap into a Switzerland renowned for its natural beauties, 1001 things to do and see and wealth of cultural experiences.“With Switzerland Tourism we are extremely excited to launch this month’s OBrochure Experience Guide for travel agents to use and consumers to peruse,” e-Travel Blackboard general manager Anthony Valeriano said. “Valid for 12 months, this guide is perfect for agents to give to those travelling to Switzerland – you can email it or print it and include with travel documents.”As the number of Australians travelling to Switzerland continues to grow, the OBrochure Switzerland Experience Guide is the perfect handbook to get into Switzerland. Get excited, get natural (the Swiss way).Download the OBrochure Switzerland Experience Guide here. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more

Virgin HotelClub in beds together

first_imgOrbitz Worldwide’s HotelClub will offer more than 71,000 properties through the Virgin Australia, V Australia and Pacific Blue websites, following the selection of HotelClub as the provider of standalone hotel content for the airline group.“The Orbitz Worldwide and HotelClub partnership gives our corporate and leisurecustomers the ability to search and book thousands of hotels on our website asthey book their flights, including more than 4,200 hotel properties in Australia andNew Zealand alone,” Virgin Australia commercial group executive Liz Savage remarked.In a statement released by the airline, Ms Savage said HotelClub was chosen for its “flexibility, ease of use, and for the competitive prices it offers”, adding that since the venture went live last month customer feedback had been “extremely positive”. “Virgin Australia is committed to providing our customers with quality services and great value and we believe that HotelClub will help us achieve that,” Ms Savage said.Orbitz Worldwide distribution president, Ronnie Gurion, said the accommodation website was “thrilled” that “one of the most recognisable airlines in Australia and across Asia Pacific” had chosen it to power its standalone hotel bookings.“We believe our solution is unique in its ability to combine a flexible technology platform with extensive supplier inventory delivered by a great consumer brand like HotelClub,” Mr Gurion said.According to Ms Savage, the deal will not impact the group’s holiday package provider, Blue Holidays. Look for HotelClub on the Pacific Blue website Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

CT Partners gain access to Expedia TAAP

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J CT Partners Australia and Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Program (TAAP) have entered an agreement that offers the company’s members access to the online travel company’s extensive inventory and destination base.Encouraging its members to sign-up with Expedia TAAP, CT Partners in Australia general manager Ian Edwards explained that the tool would allow consultants to provide customers with access to a range of destinations.“We continually demonstrate to our clients we are competitive and relevant as they travel to an ever diverse list of destinations,” Mr Edwards said.  “The breadth of inventory and Expedia’s enormous buying power means the Expedia TAAP is a great additional tool for our Partners to not only provide services in well travelled destinations but support the ‘out of the way’ destinations as well.” Offering agents paid commission on bookings made on the site, Expedia APAC manager of the Travel Agents Program Stuart Udy added that the Group was keen to see all of the company’s members sign-on to the program. “Many of TAAP’s top producers are corporate specialists,” Mr Udy said.  “Clients are comparing rates on the internet all the time so Expedia TAAP gives the consultant confidence that they too can be paid commission on those highly competitive internet rates.”last_img read more

Insights India to fill market void

first_imgInsight Vacations has set out to create a niche and exclusive India programme hoping to fill a current space in the Australian market for travel to the country, according to Managing Director, Lorraine Sharp. Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard this week, Ms Sharp said the niche destination required niche product, with their new venture to the region providing a “unique programme which cannot be compared with any other competitor’s”. “We’ve done a lot of research, and it is a great opportunity for us, like a breath of fresh air.  It is an emerging destination for the Australian market,” Ms Sharp said. Partnering with local DMC Creative in India, the wholesaler said it takes the perceived hassle out of travel to the country with the six itineraries and additional add on tours to Nepal and Sri Lanka on offer in their new brochure sent to agents this week, with the programme commencing in August 2012. According to Ms Sharp, the venture back to India was derived out of customer demand, having withdrawn from operations in the early 90’s.  Specifically targeting previous guests that have travelled on some of Insight’s more adventurous itineraries in countries such as Morocco and Egypt, the new India programme will also see smaller group touring with a cap at 25 passengers. Ms Sharp said the tours will offer guests a “cultural emersion” whilst maintaining Insight’s level of luxury staying at Oberoi and Taj Hotels as well as offering a point of difference, including cooking classes with celebrity chefs or morning yoga sessions overlooking the Ganges. Packages are competitively priced, according to Ms Sharp, who added that agents selling Gold tours could earn up to $1000 in commission.  Early bird deal on the 14 day Imperial Rajasthan partnering with Singapore Airlines is on sale until 31 March 2012.For more information, or to view the brochure online, visit Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.Mlast_img read more

Preferred Hotel Group partners with Skyscanner

first_imgPreferred Hotel Group has partnered with Skyscanner to increase its bookings and reduce costs of customer acquisition for its 650 member hotels.Travellers can now use Skyscanner to search destinations, compare rates and directly book at Preferred’s portfolio of hotels.Preferred Hotel Group senior vice president, distribution and revenue management  Michelle Woodley said that Skyscanner will play a key role in attracting more customers.“Metasearch engines are an important travel planning tool for today’s consumers, and we designed this partnership to support our goals of continuously driving more bookings to our hotels and increasing traffic to our branded websites,” Ms Woodley said.Skyscanner chief commercial officer Kevin Skivington said that Skyscanner is delighted to help the Group increase its customer exposure.“The 650 hotels and resorts that the brand represents globally provides our users even more choices to compare, to be able to uncover the perfect accommodation for their travels,” Mr Skivington said.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

Cebu Pacific takes delivery of 31st Airbus A320

first_imgCebu Pacific (CEB), the Philippines’ airline, took delivery of its 31st brand-new Airbus A320 aircraft which arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on February 4, 2015.With this delivery, the airline now operates a fleet of 54 aircraft comprised of 10 Airbus A319, 31 Airbus A320, 5 Airbus A330 and 8 ATR-72 500 aircraft.CEB’s aircraft fleet’s average age is 4.34 years, which is one of the youngest in the world.Between 2015 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 7 more brand-new Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo, and 1 Airbus A330 aircraft.The brand-new Airbus A320 is the airline’s twelfth aircraft equipped with Sharklets, they are 2.4 meter wingtip devices that enable lesser fuel burn and lower emissions.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img

PATA helps China outbound market

first_imgThe Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has begun a partnership with China Ready & Accredited (CRA) to help PATA members overcome potential the major source of business that is China.PATA chief executive officer Mario Hardy, said that China is now the largest and fastest growing outbound travel market in the world.“For many tourism operators it has become “’profitless volume”. Our members need to constantly adapt and evolved to stay competitive in today’s world,” Mr Hardy said. China based China Ready & Accredited director Geoff Buckley, said that it is obvious to target the high value segment of the market.“The obvious solution is to target the high value segment of this market, but with 1.3 billion people in China and an extraordinarily complex media landscape such segmentation is not an easy or cheap task,” Mr Buckley said. This Program is endorsed and supported by China’s government and industry, delivering global CHINA READY expert culture training and quality service accreditation.Importantly, CRA has exclusive access to high value Chinese consumers, travellers and businesses in China and can promote accredited businesses directly to high spending Chinese people.“We will be working through our Chapter members, and aim to facilitate the introduction of the China Ready & Accredited® program across the whole network. Businesses that commit to the China Ready & Accredited® Program will then be marketed by CRA directly in China,” Mr Hardy said.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

7th ADTOI Annual Convention highlights billion plus opportunities of Domestic Tourism

first_imgThe Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) recently held their 7th Annual Convention at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, from April 8-11, 2016.Hosted by the Government of Madhya Pradesh, the ADTOI Convention revived hope in the growth of tourism in the temple town of Khajuraho and the surrounding areas. With the theme ‘Domestic Tourism: Billion+ Opportunities’, the association conveyed a singular potent message of ‘See the Country, Know the Country’. The convention was a sincere effort in convincing Indian travellers to consider ‘Country First and Overseas Next’.The Convention was inaugurated in the presence of Nagendra Singh, MP from Khajuraho; Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and other eminent personalities from the travel and hospitality industry.Promoting the potential of domestic tourism, Vinod Zutshi said, “The funds have been earmarked to promote domestic tourism within the state. Also, the soon to be launched tourism policy will support domestic tourism and its stakeholders in a big way.”Tourists so far have been enamoured of the exotic temples in Khajuraho indeed, but the enormous tourism potential of the destination has not been adequately exploited, pointed out Nagendra Singh. “The government is making all efforts to establish a seamless connectivity to Khajuraho in near future. Air India has planned to start a direct flight from Delhi to Khajuraho from October to March,” he informed.Successful promotion of tourism entails product development and infrastructure growth, said Jyoti Kapur, President, ADTOI. “Domestic segment is the backbone of tourism therefore it has a ‘Billion +Opportunities’ and this convention is an attempt to explore those opportunities. Also, the convention will help to reinvent and rebrand the association itself,” he added.last_img read more

Director Swap at BancorpSouth

first_img August 4, 2011 419 Views Director Swap at BancorpSouth “”BancorpSouth, Inc.””:, is bolstering its audit committee with the addition of Warren A. Hood, Jr. The bank’s Board of Directors approved Hood as its replacement for former board member, R. Madison Murphy, who recently resigned from the company’s directorship and was a member of the audit committee.[IMAGE]Hood is the CEO and chairman of the board for his own enterprise, “”Hood Companies, Inc””:, which is comprised of three separate corporations. Current operations within Hood Companies include the manufacturing and distribution of building materials, consumer packaging products, and industrial packaging needs. The entity operates more than 60 sites throughout the U.S. Canada, and Mexico, and the company serves clients in North America, the Caribbean, and Western Europe.[COLUMN_BREAK]Hood has acted as a director for BancorpSouth Bank since 2007 and was appointed to his position on the BancorpSouth, Inc., board of directors in April. Additionally, Hood serves as a director for “”Southern Company””:, a position he has held since 2007, and he is a former director for First American Corporation, First American National Bank, and Deposit Guaranty Corporation (prior to its merger with First American). Through his work with Southern American, Hood gained experience as a member of its audit committee.Commenting on Hood’s new position, BancorpSouth’s chariman and CEO said, “”We are pleased to announce Warren Hood’s appointment to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.├âÔÇÜ├é┬áBancorpSouth has benefited from the wealth of business, risk management and financial experience Warren brings to our board from the successful expansion of his own business and through his extensive service on the boards of other publicly held companies. ├âÔÇÜ├é┬áHis service on the audit committee for the board of Southern Company is directly relevant to his new responsibilities on the Audit Committee for the Board of BancorpSouth, Inc. ├âÔÇÜ├é┬áWe look forward to Warren’s continuing contributions to the long-term success of BancorpSouth.”” BancorpSouth is based in Tupelo, Mississippi and via its wholly-owned subsidiary, BancorpSouth Bank, the company operates 312 retail locations throughout the Southern and Midwestern regions. Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing 2011-08-04 Abby Gregorycenter_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologylast_img read more

Republicans Bash Plan to Restart Contributions to Housing Funds

first_imgRepublicans Bash Plan to Restart Contributions to Housing Funds U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R-California), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, has issued a statement calling the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)’s announcement that the Agency will divert GSE money to the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund “outrageous.”FHFA made the announcement on Thursday directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin allocating money to the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund pursuant to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). Under authorization from the HERA, FHFA notified the two GSEs on November 13, 2008, that these allocations were temporarily suspended. On Thursday, FHFA wrote letters to both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac informing the GSEs that the temporary suspension of these allocations had been lifted.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been under conservatorship of FHFA since September 2008 “to preserve and conserve their assets and property and restore them to a sound financial condition so they can continue to fulfill their statutory mission of promoting liquidity and efficiency in the nation’s housing finance markets,” according to FHFA’s website. The two GSEs received a combined $188 billion in bailout money from the government in 2008, but have since returned to profitability.”Contrary to what Fannie and Freddie apologists claim, the GSEs have yet to repay any of the taxpayer-funded bailout funds they received, which makes today’s announcement by the FHFA outrageous,” Royce said in his statement on Friday. “Money coming in from the GSEs should go to the taxpayers instead of a slush fund for ideological housing groups to play around with.”Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, expressed sentiments similar to those of Royce regarding FHFA’s announcement.”I am outraged by Director Watt’s decision to fund the Housing Trust Fund at a time when taxpayers remain on the hook for the operations of Fannie and Freddie,” Neugebauer said in a prepared statement. “To add insult to injury, today’s decision comes at the eleventh hour just before Congress finishes its legislative work for the 113th Congress. The timing could not be more suspect.””Recent history should serve as a reminder that failed government housing policy can have catastrophic consequences for hardworking American taxpayers and the overall health of our economy. This is déjà vu all over again. Director Watt may have forgotten the path of destruction left by the GSEs, but the American people have not. $16 trillion in wealth destruction which shattered dreams of early retirement for millions, countless boom and bust cycles that have wreaked havoc on the emotions of families across the country, and nearly $200 billion of taxpayer funded bailouts that plunged the nation further into debt. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee to hold the Agency accountable and conduct further oversight.”Royce and Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, wrote a letter to FHFA Director Mel Watt back in April urging FHFA to continue suspension of the allocation of funds to the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund. During consideration of the FY 2015 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations, the House unanimously adopted an amendment authorized by Royce to prevent the GSEs from allocating money to those two funds.While Royce, Hensarling, and others such as Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) were critical of FHFA’s policy change regarding the allocation of GSE money, others such as Representative Maxine Waters (D-California), who is a ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, and Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, offered praise. HUD Secretary Julian Castro issued the following statement on Thursday in response to FHFA’s announcement of the allocation of the funds:”Affordable housing is about opportunity. That’s why today represents important progress for the American people.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s decision to release resources for the Housing Trust Fund will help people across the nation secure a decent place to call home. This effort will assist individuals from all backgrounds—including low-income families and those experiencing homelessness—in building better lives. HUD will soon issue regulations to implement the Housing Trust Fund. We look forward to working with partners from throughout the nation to expand the circle of opportunity for current and future generations of Americans.”FHFA also announced it sent an Interim Final Rule to the Federal Register that “implements a statutory prohibition against the Enterprises passing the cost of such allocations (to the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund) through to the originators of loans they purchase or securitize.” The rule has a 30-day comment period and will go into effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.Several investors have sued the federal government in the last year and a half over distribution of GSE profits, which have all been swept into the U.S. Department of Treasury since 2012. Those who brought the lawsuits, notably Pershing Square Capital Management CEO William A. Ackman, claimed that the sweeping of GSE profits into Treasury equates to taking private property for public use without “just compensation,” a practice forbidden by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and creates a “windfall” for the government while shortchanging GSE shareholders. Lawsuits filed by Fairholme Funds and Perry Capital were dismissed by judges in September, and Ackman voluntarily dropped one of two suits he filed. His other suit is still pending. FHFA House Financial Services Committee Politics 2014-12-15 Seth Welborn December 15, 2014 470 Views center_img Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

How Will Falling Rates Affect Homebuyer Sentiments

first_img Borrowers Freddie Mac Homebuyers homes HOUSING Mortgage Rates Treasury 2018-04-05 Radhika Ojha How Will Falling Rates Affect Homebuyer Sentiments? April 5, 2018 529 Views Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Mortgage Rates slipped for the second consecutive week according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market survey. The data from this survey showed that 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.4 percent falling from 4.44 percent recorded last week. However, on an annual basis, the rates still remained higher than the 4.10 percent recorded during the same period last year.“After dropping earlier this week on trade-related anxiety in financial markets, the benchmark 10-year Treasury stabilized on Wednesday, but at a level slightly lower than from the start of last week. Mortgage rates followed and fell for the second consecutive week,” said Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac.The data indicated that 15-year FRMs averaged 3.87 percent and were down from 3.90 percent last week. However, these also remained above the 3.36 percent rate recorded during the same period in 2017. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) also averaged lower during the week at 3.62 percent compared to 3.66 percent in the prior week.“Rates decreased slightly for a second week as recent uncertainty offset strong job market conditions and kept longer-term rates low,” said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at “This slight step down in mortgage rates is undoubtedly welcome by home shoppers who faced swift increases at the beginning of the year.”While mortgage rates have decreased in the past couple of weeks, Kiefer said that they still remain modestly higher than last year. “Though rates on the 30-year fixed mortgage are up 0.3 percentage points from the same week a year ago, a robust labor marking is helping home purchase demand weather modestly higher rates,” he said. “The MBA reported in their latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey that the Purchase Index was up 5 percent from a year ago indicating that this spring is on track for a modest expansion in purchase mortgage activity.”Hale cautions though, saying that while any improvement is great for buyers it has to be put in the context of a homebuyer’s needs. “To buy the typical home listed on in March, today’s rate means you’re paying an extra $705 in the year versus what you might have paid if you’d locked in January 4th’s rate,” Hale said.last_img read more

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American AirlineshelloworldskiUSA

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Insider Journeys recently took a group of agents o

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Azamara Club Cruises will return to Japan with new

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appointmentSeaLink Travel Group

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