Costa Ricas Laura Chinchilla attends Chávez funeral

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla arrived in Venezuela on Friday to attend the funeral of late President Hugo Chávez, after resolving “some scheduling problems,” the Casa Presidencial confirmed.A press release said Chinchilla had planned to attend a memorial act for the former president of Costa Rica’s Supreme Court, Justice Luis Paulino Mora, who died two weeks ago.“Thursday evening Communications Minister Francisco Chacón spoke with the temporary president of the Supreme Court, Justice Zarella Villanueva, to explain the situation. Following a brief discussion, it was agreed that Vice President Alfio Piva would represent the president in this important ceremony,” the press release said.On Wednesday, Chacón said that Chinchilla would not attend Chávez’s funeral, and that she would be represented by Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo.“I arrived in Colombia on Wednesday and [Chinchilla’s] decision was not to attend the funeral. She had ruled out travel to Venezuela, but yesterday I received a message saying she was considering it,” Castillo said after arriving in Caracas Thursday night.Presidents and other high-level officials from 54 countries attended the state funeral in Caracas. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Authorities have eyes peeled over case of stolen corneas

first_imgThe Prosecutor’s Office confirmed it has been investigating thetheft of at least 20 corneas donated for transplant from the eye bank of the Costa Rican Social Security System, known as the Caja, the daily La Nación reported on Wednesday.According to an audit of the eye bank presented to investigators, an ex-employee, who the newspaper did not identify, allegedly took at least 20 corneas from the facility to a private clinic, supposedly for research between 2012 and 2013. The former employee failed to provide any evidence of the research or the required bioethics approval when auditors approached him.The Prosecutor’s Office said they have yet to identify a specific defendant in the case.The cornea is a clear dome-like layer that covers the outermost part of the eye that helps people focus on what they see. Reportedly, corneas are worth roughly $2,000, and transplant procedures could cost an average of $5,000.María Eugenia Villalta, medical director of the Caja, admitted that there was a lack of oversight at the eye bank, but told the newspaper she did not consider the case under investigation an example of organ trafficking.The same could not be said for the case of Dr. Francisco Mora, the former head of nephrology at the public Calderón Guardia Hospital, who allegedly headed an international kidney trafficking operation between 2009 and his arrest in June 2013. In October 2013, police arrested three other doctors and a pizzeria owner in connection with the alleged organ trafficking ring.In the wake of the kidney scandal, the Legislative Assembly rushed to take up a long-languishing 2011 bill to reform the country’s organ donation law. In March 2013, lawmakers passed the reform, which included a national registry of donors and recipients.The Caja provided 187 cornea transplants in 2013, and 560 people are on a cornea transplant waiting list, according to figures reported to La Nación. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica prosecutors charge 5 members of alleged organ trafficking ring Costa Rica banana workers affected by Nemagon still waiting on compensation Costa Rica police raid nursing home over abuse allegations Costa Rica marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with calls for actionlast_img read more

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Soldiers occupy notorious Rio slum ahead of World Cup

first_imgRIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Thousands of soldiers in armored vehicles, trucks and on foot fanned out across Rio de Janeiro’s most notorious slum on Saturday to shore up security before the World Cup.The move is the latest attempt to drive drug gangs out of the notorious Mare shantytown, a haven for organized crime and one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods, located near Rio’s international airport.The Mare complex, home to 130,000 people, is a potential through route for tens of thousands of football fans flying in and out of the metropolis, which will stage seven World Cup matches, including the July 13 final.Members of the feared Special Police Operations Battalion, with guns at the ready and backed by helicopters and armored vehicles, had stormed into the Mare favela on March 30.Some 2,700 soldiers, sailors and military police entered the slum at 6 a.m. on Saturday to take over the huge operation.Officials said their goal was to provide long-term security ahead of the start of the football tournament. Brazil will face Croatia a little more than two months from now, in the World Cup curtain-raiser on June 12.“We are ready to fulfill this mission,” Defense Minister Celso Amorim said as he visited the sprawling area. Brazilian soldiers patrol the street during security operations in Parque Uniao, part of the Mare shantytown, in a north suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 5, 2014. Christophe Simon/AFPResidents went about their business during the operation, occasionally poking their heads out of windows to watch the soldiers as they entered their vast favela.Many resisted talking to reporters, fearful of reprisals from drug trafficking gangs.One woman who declined to be identified told AFP: “I hope things will get better here.”But another woman, who gave only her first name, Eulalia, was not optimistic.“This is just for the World Cup. When that’s over, this, the presence of the Army, will end and we’ll return to business as usual,” the 73-year-old predicted glumly.The troops included 2,050 paratroopers, 450 sailors and 200 military police.They are replacing some 1,500 police who had been in place since Sunday. During that time, they reported 36 confrontations with suspects, leading to 16 deaths, eight people injured and 118 arrests.In the past week, police seized a trove of weapons, including 24 grenades, two machine guns, 100 pistols and rifles, and assorted bullets, as well as more than 1,000 tons of marijuana, cocaine and crack.No illusionsDespite aggressive efforts to clean up the favelas ahead of the football extravaganza, violent crime remains a problem in Rio.The huge slum “pacification” program has been in place since 2008, and aims to improve security across the city, which will also host the 2016 Olympics.“The armed forces are once again demonstrating their commitment to the nation … and safety of the inhabitants of this region,” President Dilma Rousseff posted on Twitter on Friday night. As Forças Armadas mais uma vez demonstram seu compromisso c/ a Nação em duas importantes ações em curso no País— Dilma Rousseff (@dilmabr) April 4, 2014 Related posts:Costa Ricans racked up credit card debt on TVs, travel during World Cup World Cup couch potatoes hurting retail sales Disappearances and drug cartels: the whispered secret of southern Mexico Costa Rican police thank drug traffickers for new planecenter_img Police Pacification Units (UPPs) have been installed in 174 Rio favelas, home to around 600,000 people.In the six years since the pacification program began, murders in districts with a UPP presence have fallen 65 percent and 48 percent in Rio as a whole.However, attacks on police have intensified in recent weeks, suggesting drug gangs are refusing to go quietly.In early February, a 28-year-old police officer was shot dead. A few weeks later, traffickers opened fire on police in Rio’s largest favela, Rocinha, leaving two officers injured as they dived to take cover. More incidents were reported in March.But Rio state’s interior minister, José Mariano Beltrame, has launched a counterattack and told AFP in February he “will not shrink” as he cranks up the pacification process.“We were never under any illusions that the ringleaders who have dominated the favelas for more than 30 years would give up easily,” Beltrame said.Recommended: Japan defeats Spain, 2-0, to win Under-17 Women’s World Cup Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Live Costa Rica presidential election results

first_imgUPDATE:Luis Guillermo Solís will be the next president of Costa Rica. The opposition candidate won Sunday night’s election by a huge margin.Citizen Action Party (PAC) candidate Solís crushed National Liberation Party (PLN) candidate Johnny Araya, who chose to not campaign. Most importantly for Solís, he managed to achieve his mandate and receive 1 million votes. Solís won every canton within all seven provinces in the country.See below the live election results in the runoff as the numbers came in from the Supreme Elections Tribunal. Results started coming in at 8 p.m. The most recent update gave Solís 1,258,715 votes. Araya received 357,496 votes. Absenteeism is hovering around 43 percent with 94 percent of votes counted.You can also see the complete Feb. 2 first-round vote results here. Learn About Tableau Related posts:The Tico Times to publish live election results starting at 8 p.m. Live Costa Rica election results Johnny Araya is down and out, but not his party, says analyst Non-career politician Luis Guillermo Solís wins Costa Rica presidential runoff in a landslide Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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5 questions for a Costa Rican cartoonist

first_imgRelated posts:5 question for a Costa Rican photographer 5 questions for a Costa Rican graphic designer 5 questions for a Costa Rican singer 5 questions for a couple of clowns in Costa Rica Luis Demetrio Calvo, better known as “Mecho,” is one of the lucky ones: he has found a way to make a living doing what he loves. The Costa Rican artist, a graduate of the University of Costa Rica, has been working as a cartoonist for approximately 15 years. He started  at the newspaper Semanario Universidad, where he worked for eight years, and has now been working for more than three years with the online news page Crhoy. Calvo has also traveled with his artwork, participating in contests, congresses and festivals around Latin America.The Tico Times visited the artist’s office to talk about his passion for drawing and how it has helped him to find his place in the world. Excerpts follow.How did you start drawing cartoons?Drawing was always my friend. I’m a little introverted, so drawing solves that part of expression, relating with people, having a place in social groups. The drawing, the pencil, a line on a paper or a wall… is a language. A universal language. Since the cavemen drew things on the cave walls, it has always been the axis of communication.When I was studying at the UCR, Semanario Universidad was looking for a cartoonist, and they asked me if I’d like to do it. I did a cover page, and the response were great. There’s where I thought: I could develop myself in this area. Hugo Díaz, the father of the cartoon in Costa Rica,  had died two years before that, so things were in limbo. There was Arcadio Esquivel, a master of of the cartoon, but he wasn’t in the country at that time, so there was a need… That’s where cartooning found me, or I found cartooning. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesWhat do you like the most about drawing?I enjoy all kinds of drawing. During my free time, ironically, I draw. I take my notebook and start looking for a character. It’s passion: you get immersed in a world where drawing is what allows you to grow, to express yourself. Finding something you like and getting paid for it is a great blessing. Cartoons have allowed me that, to have a space doing what I like the most and to express myself; each cartoon contains symbolism, in the case of the editorial cartoon. In the case of cartoon portraits, it allows you to experiment, develop techniques, to reach your limit and take a step forward. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesWhat’s the journalistic aspect of your work?The cartoon has become, for me, an instrument of constant social critique. The cartoonist is a chronicler of history. Many times when we look for information about a past year, we can see that the cartoon is the most vivid mirror of what was happening at that time. So it is a great responsibility from every point of view… Sometimes we don’t have the necessary words to express or to understand what’s happening. The cartoon simplifies things for the reader.Some people ask me if I’m afraid of being sued, but there’s nothing that warrants a lawsuit, as long as the cartoon is done according to the written information. There haven’t been problems, although I have received comments from people who don’t like the way the way I draw them, things like that. Mostly, though, for a political ego, for them it represents a certain status to be drawn. So the critique can become like flattery to them, when I’m actually criticizing their actions or words. (Courtesy of Luis Calvo)What’s the secret of drawing characters in cartoons?You have to observe the person in a very detailed way. Every person is a character. Not only physically, in terms of speaking, walking, clothing, gestures. Our profile is the one of an observer. Each person has his or her own essence.The greatest difficulty is trying to think what I’m gonna do tomorrow. Each day is a different cartoon, and I have to be aware of what I have been doing, because it’s your path. It’s good to see the things you have done, and that can be useful later, but it’s also good not  to repeat things. I think that the difficult part, to not stay stagnant, but also to look for aspects that can make your work more solid, more stable. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesWhat are your future projects?I think all artists think about passing on their knowledge. The moment will come someday. I think I’m already in a stage where I can teach what I’ve learned; I’ve had really good colleagues here in Costa Rica and I have learned a lot from them, including Carlos Arroyo, Arcadio, and the Zarigueya group, which is group of cartoonists around 30 years old that who exhibit together every year. When the time comes, I’ll find my space to teach.I have a book coming up; I have been working on it slowly. I don’t rush because I want to do something good. Here [at Crhoy.com] I have already done 1,100 cartoons, and at Semanario I did approximately 600. I have enough material to do the books. I’d also like to keep traveling. Last year I participated in a Political Cartoon Congress in Mexico. It was an amazing experience, and I’d like to repeat it this year. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesOur “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at kstanley@ticotimes.net. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Children in cages this feels like defeat

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s elections 2018: a primer A second round, Holy Sunday and the poor electoral menu Therapeutic abortion, part III: looking ahead Same-sex marriage issue shifts presidential elections in Costa Rica Facebook Comments I don’t know how I would feel if I weren’t a father. However, I am, and there are very few times that I’ve felt as sad as I did when I read the news about how Central American children are being caged by the United States Border Patrol. I guess it’s more than sadness; in fact, it feels like defeat.In life there’s always a moment that makes you sink mentally, but it is almost always personal in nature, and there’s always the comfort of feeling that somehow, someone will help us to escape. In this case, it feels worse: any possibility of providing dignity to those children who were seized from their parents depends on the government managed by a dangerous showman.Pressure from the countries of origin of these nearly 2,000 children (if the governments of those countries have the moral authority to intervene on behalf of their people) will be insignificant before the Trump Administration’s white power. International Organizations fear that if they irritate the United States too much, the United States will leave; they have already announced that they will leave the United Nations Human Rights Council, and this demonstrates how much the government cares about the most basic human rights. Anyone who thinks that other powerful countries can reason with the Trump Administration has not read the news about what happened at the G7 meeting this June. Besides, it would be surprising if a world power wanted to take aim directly at an immigration policy apparently designed to discourage new would-be undocumented migrants: “If you come, I’ll put your child in a cage and process you on criminal charges.”Now we also know the position of Costa Rica, always at the edge of the Central American migrants’ countries, but recognized for our stance and defense of human rights. The Costa Rican government has called for an immediate halt to the policy of separating migrant families in United States. We hear it loud and clear, but realistically, that statement will mean more domestically. The most we can expect from the United States is their acknowledgement of receipt.The dismemberment of Central American families will stop only when Trump grows tired of his misbehavior, or if something unexpected happens to the power balance in the United States. I will admit that  I have little faith in the power of the “system” of the United States. We thought that this system was going to contain the crazy tenant of the White House, but we have seen how few obstacles it has put in his path during his first 500 days. There is nothing good that can be said to a five-year-old girl who let her shoelaces be taken away before saying goodbye to her mother, without knowing that this is a requirement to avoid suicide in jail. Nor to the boy who sobbed listlessly, as if he knew that nothing would answer his heartfelt cries. Saying “someday things will be better for you” might mean something if that little boy weren’t faced with the likely prospect of becoming a gang member within a decade. When that happens, how will we we say to him that this isn’t the right way to go about doing anything? How will we we ask him to channel that anger in another way that doesn’t dismember families, or people? With what moral authority can we say in 2028 to that child that a cage is where he deserves to live for the rest of his life?Álvaro Murillo is a journalist who specializes in political coverage and has written for La Nación, Semanario Universidad and El País. In “No Sugar, Please,” his twice-monthly Tico Times column, he explores politics in its broadest terms, from the halls of government to community life. Connect with him on Twitter.last_img read more

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Tico Talk for expats and tourists Part 2

first_imgRelated posts:Tico Talk for expats and tourists: Part 1 Tico Talk for expats and tourists: Part 3 Tico Talk for expats and tourists: Part 4 Tico Talk for expats and tourists: Part 5 Christopher Howard has been conducting monthly relocation/retirement tours and writing retirement guidebooks for over 30 years. See www.liveincostarica.com. He is also the author of the one-of-a-kind bestselling, “Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” that can be purchased through Amazon. Facebook Comments You can’t call yourself fluent in Costa Rican Spanish unless you understand its slang.Last week, we brought you Part 1 of our Tico Talk series on tiquismos or costarriqueñismos.Here’s Part 2:Agüevado/a: Slang for feeling depressed or down. The verb is agüevarse. Estoy agüevado … I am feeling down.Brete: In Costa Rica brete means work. The verb bretear means to work. Trabajo is the more common Spanish word for work.Carga: Actually means load, but Costa Ricans use this word to describe someone is really good at something.Catrinearse: To dress up in one’s best clothes. Chepe: The nickname for the name José in Costa Rica. Ticos often refer to the capital city as Chepe instead of San José. Vamos a jalar a chepe, mae … Let’s go to San José, pal.Diay / Idiay: An exclamation used to express surprise, disbelief, delight or confusion. Guaro: A popular alcoholic beverage  made from sugarcane, but it can refer to any kind of alcohol like the word “booze” in English. Caique is the most popular brand of guaro that is made and sold in Costa Rica. Because there is an Indian chief with a headless with four feathers on the label, cuatro plumas (four feathers) is also used in slang to refer to cacique.Filo: Hunger. Hambre is the more common word for hunger in Spanish.Despiche (vulgar): A mess, confusion or disorder. It can also mean something that is fun, like a party. Goma: Glue or rubber, but in Costa Rican slang it is a hangover. “Un gomón” is a big hangover.Güila: The kids, children, or a boy or girl.Huelepedos (vulgar): A kiss ass. Lamebotas is used in other countries.Jugado: Person with a lot of experienceJupa: A term that means “head.” Cabeza is the more common word for head in Spanish. A jupón or cabezón is a stubborn person. Pichazo (vulgar): A bunch or a large amount of something. It can also mean a hit, strike or blow to a person’s body.Vacilón: Fun, or a person who is funny  Costa Rican expressions of the week:Más jugado que el doble cero: To have a lot of experience at doing something.Más cagado que camión ganadero or Más cagado que palito de lora (vulgar): bad luck, unfortunate, or up to one’s neck in deep doo-doo. Salado also mens “bad luck.”last_img read more

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Zuno Arce convicted for DEA agent slaying dies

first_imgMEXICO CITY (AP) – U.S. prison authorities say a Mexican man convicted in the 1985 torture-slaying of DEA agent Enrique Camarena has died at a federal correctional facility in Florida.Ruben Zuno Arce was serving a life sentence for conspiracy and kidnapping.Zuno Arce’s 1992 conviction drew attention partly because he was a brother-in-law of former Mexican President Luis Echeverria, who governed from 1970 to 1976. U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said Wednesday that Zuno Arce died Tuesday but did not specify the cause of death.He said Zuno Arce was 82.Camarena was kidnapped and killed in western Mexico by drug lords in retaliation for anti-drug raids.His death sparked a large-scale investigation that toppled some of Mexico’s top capos and included allegations that members of Mexico’s political elite were involved.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 0 Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homecenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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Miamibased Venezuelans to vote in New Orleans

first_img Sponsored Stories Numerous groups surfaced to assist U.S.-based Venezuelan voters, with information distributed on the Internet and social media, as well as at coffee shops and bookstores frequented by Venezuelans.The groups include Voto Joven and Voto Donde Sea, comprised mostly of young people, and the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, or Democratic Unity Table, a coalition of political parties backing opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles.Beatriz Olavarria, who leads a commission created by the opposition alliance to distribute voter information and mobilize observers, said she hopes at least half of the voters registered in Miami will cast ballots in New Orleans. “Something tells me that many people will get on board at the last minute,” she said.Olavarria, who has volunteered in Miami during past Venezuelan elections, created the website http://www.Miami7octubre.com, to provide information about the New Orleans vote.The group’s major push now is figuring out how to get registered voters to the Louisiana city, where balloting will be held in a convention center. Opposition members complain that voting will not occur inside the mission itself, but Lucena, the electoral council president, said “the rules state that the polling center must be as near as possible to a consulate.” Associated PressMIAMI (AP) – By bus and car, commercial flight and charter, U.S.-based Venezuelans are traveling en masse to New Orleans in the coming days, spending hundreds of dollars and in some cases more than a day of their time to cast a vote in their country’s presidential election.The government of President Hugo Chavez earlier this year closed the country’s consulate in Miami, where most Venezuelans living in the U.S. have cast ballots in the past. It later said voters would have to travel to New Orleans if they want to participate on Oct. 7. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation In most cases, traveling from here to New Orleans to vote would require at least one night away from home.With travel costs a major obstacle for many potential voters, financial adviser Andres Casanova and his childhood friend Andres Morrison are collecting donations to pay for charter planes to ferry Venezuelans to New Orleans.So far, they have received almost $355,700 in donations, enough to pay for trips for 1,100 voters. But far more people _ as many as 3,000 _ have registered on the organization’s website, www.aerovotar.com, for seats assigned on a first-come, first- served basis.Voto Donde Sea, meanwhile, is collecting donations to subsidize bus fares for voters, said group leader Vanessa Duran.Milagros and Fernando Nunez Noda are renting a car with another couple to make the trip from Miami.“We’re going no matter what,” said Nunez Noda, a journalist and businessman.“It’s like they threw down a challenge,” he said of the government’s decision to move the balloting to New Orleans. “We will prove our strength.”____Associated Press writer Jorge Rueda contributed to this story from Caracas.____Gisela Salomon at http://www.twitter.com/giselasalomon Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centercenter_img (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) It’s a hardship in terms of time and money for many potential voters. But some, especially those who want to stop Chavez from being re-elected after 13 years in power, are determined to make the trip anyway.Carolina Guevara, a 21-year-old college student, plans to take the 15-hour bus ride from Miami to New Orleans, an 870-mile (1,400-kilometer) trek.“We want to demonstrate to the government that even if they put obstacles in our path, we will practice our right to vote,” said Guevara, who hopes to return to Venezuela after completing her political science studies at Miami Dade College.The Venezuelan government closed its Miami mission after the State Department expelled consul Livia Acosta amid an investigation into recordings that seemed to implicate her in an Iranian plot for a cyber-attack against the U.S.The closure affected nearly 20,000 Venezuelan voters living in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina who had registered to vote at the Miami consulate. Most Venezuelan voters in the United States live in the Miami area and the vast majority of those are critical of the Chavez government.After the Miami mission closed, Venezuelan election officials said that voters registered there would have to cast ballots in New Orleans, where the next-nearest consulate is located. Venezuelan opposition leaders accused the government of trying to disenfranchise voters, a charge officials denied. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix “They tried to do everything possible to prevent us from voting,” said Gisela Parra, a former judge who left Venezuela in 2005 after being accused of conspiring against Chavez. “The pressure was such that they had to open a voting center far away, in New Orleans. It’s like punishing us.”Parra, who plans to volunteer at the New Orleans voting center, said Venezuelan electoral officials “had the obligation” to make another Miami location available.But Tibisay Lucena, president of Venezuela’s Elections Council, countered that voters registered in Miami “were relocated using the same criteria used inside the country, telling them to go to the nearest polling station.”About 15,800 Venezuelans in the U.S. voted in their country’s Dec. 2006 presidential election, three-quarters of them in Miami.Of the 10,800 Venezuelans voting in Florida, 98 percent cast ballots for the opposition candidate and 2 percent for Chavez. Thirty-four percent of registered voters did not participate, according to figures from Venezuela’s Elections Council.Most Venezuelans in the U.S. are professionals or businesspeople who left their country after Chavez became president in 1999. The number of Venezuelans in the U.S. burgeoned from 91,500 in 2000 to 215,000 in 2010, according to the 2010 Census, with 57 percent of them living in Florida. Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

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Israeli police American kills chef at hotel

first_img“He would talk to himself, share dreams that he’d had about random killings and mutilations that he did, he would have statements against Arabs or Nazis or terrorist type movements,” the participant added.Michal Bouaron, a guest at the hotel, told Channel 2 that police ordered guests to stay in their rooms during the incident. Later, police announced that it was safe for guests to leave their rooms.“There was a lot of tension,” Bouaron said. “Life goes on … We won’t let this ruin our day and our vacation.”The hotel was fully booked, Israeli media reported, because of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, when many Israelis take vacations. Eilat, with attractive Red Sea beaches and hot, dry weather, is a favorite getaway spot.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – An American man who lost his job at a Red Sea hotel in Israel shot dead a chef at the resort on Friday, then was killed himself in a shootout with Israeli commandos, police said.Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld identified the suspect as William Hershkovitz, 23, of Poughkeepsie, New York, and said his family in the United States had been notified.The motive for the attack in the resort city of Eilat was still under investigation, police said. But the head of the Oranim work and study program said it occurred days after Hershkovitz lost his job at the Leonardo Club Hotel. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The attacker entered the hotel on Friday, snatched a gun from a hotel security guard and fired several shots, killing the chef, Rosenfeld said.Police and army anti-terror units then surrounded the building and told guests to stay in their rooms. The gunman shot at special forces as they entered the hotel, prompting them to return fire and kill him, Rosenfeld said.Family members, meanwhile, mourned the death of the chef, Abed Armando, 33 in an Arab village in northern Israel. They told Channel 2 TV that he was in Eilat because he wanted to work as a chef.Hershkovitz arrived in Israel about two months ago to participate in the Oranim program, which combines Hebrew study, travel and work at the hotel with a university course on hotel management.Yuval Arad, a program spokesman, said instructors met with Hershkovitz on Thursday following complaints by the hotel staff.“It was decided … that he will leave the project and return on Tuesday to the U.S,” Arad said in a statement, without elaborating.Ofer Gutman, head of the Oranim program, which is sponsored partially by the Israeli government, said earlier that it was a mutual decision to remove Hershkovitz from his job at the hotel, and the program was planning to reassign him to another workplace. Gutman did not give details about the reasons behind the termination but said participants sometimes transfer to other workplaces based on their personal preferences.Speaking in a telephone interview before boarding a flight to Eilat, he described Hershkovitz as “a normal guy” and said “there was nothing that indicated what would happen in the end.”Neither he nor Arad could be reached for further comment.Rabbi Yacov Borenstein, Hershkovitz’s rabbi in New York, said Hershkovitz was eager to be in Israel to reconnect with his faith and study Judaism.“It’s terrible and shocking news,” Borenstein told the Poughkeepsie Journal. “He was excited to go to Israel, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out very well.Oranim program participant Stas Abramovich, 27, said a number of people had complained about Hershkovitz to the program coordinator.“There was something strange in his smile, but I never saw him as aggressive,” Abramovich said.Another participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was afraid of repercussions from the program, said Hershkovitz had issued death threats to other members, but program coordinators ignored repeated complaints. Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories center_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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Filipino troops kill rebels who attacked oil truck

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 treatments for adult scoliosis On Monday, another group of breakaway rebels fired on a government militia outpost in Midsayap town in nearby North Cotabato province, setting of a clash with troops. The guerrillas fled, taking several water buffalos and two motorcycles along the way. They shot and killed a farmer who refused to hand over his buffalo, the military said.While large numbers of troops and police have been deployed to secure the highway and communities at risk in Maguindanao, the military has limited its response during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Still, government forces have been on continuous alert and are ready to quell any trouble, Hermoso said.There have been fears that the attacks, including bombings, could escalate after Ramadan.The emergence of the splinter rebel group complicates efforts to end the Muslim unrest, which has long set back progress in southern Philippine regions awash with weapons and beset by poverty, weak governance and neglect.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The driver was slightly wounded in the head. Gunfire damaged the truck’s windshield and some of its tires, as well as another cargo truck behind the oil tanker.Army troops closed the highway for several hours as they defused two bombs and clashed with the insurgents, killing eight, in running gunbattles that spilled into nearby towns, he said.The breakaway rebels have launched attacks in recent weeks in Maguindanao, a mountainous marshland about 900 kilometers (560 miles) southeast of Manila, to try to sabotage peace talks between the government and the main insurgent group, the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The talks, which have been brokered by Malaysia, have made progress toward a new autonomy deal for minority Muslims in the south of the largely Roman Catholic Philippines.The rebel faction, which has about 200 armed fighters, has said the talks will go nowhere and vowed to continue fighting for a separate Muslim homeland in the south.“They’ve been left out so they’re trying to make a scene,” Hermoso said. “But the problem is they’re turning to innocent people because they could not face us.”Suspected members of the rebel faction detonated a bomb made of two 60mm mortar rounds but failed to destroy a concrete bridge that serves as an entryway to Datu Piang town near Guindolongan late Sunday, the military said. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Men’s health affects baby’s health too Comments   Share   Top Stories MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Philippine troops killed eight breakaway Muslim rebels who attacked an oil tanker truck and placed bombs along a highway, forcing its closure for several hours, as sporadic clashes raged Tuesday in a restive southern province.The driver of the oil truck prevented a disaster by speeding away from dozens of gunmen belonging to the Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Movement toward an army outpost in Maguindanao province’s Guindolongan town, regional military spokesman Col. Dickson Hermoso said. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technologylast_img read more

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A year away Olympic organizers counting on sun and samba

first_imgTwo largely government-funded developments are a subway extension from central Rio into Barra da Tijuca — the heart of the games — and rapid transit bus lines that reach many corners of the city. The subway line extension faces a tight deadline.“The subway line is going to be delivered just before the games, so of course we’re worried about that,” said Sidney Levy, CEO of the organizing committee.Part of the Olympic Park will serve afterward as Brazil’s Olympic training center. A section of the Olympic Park will become residential space. Some of that space has yet to be vacated with residents in a slum called Vila Autodromo holding out for better compensation.___CRIMEStreet crime in Rio has spiked as drug traffickers in the city’s slums — known as favelas — fight back against police and soldiers trying to “pacify” the neighborhoods. Muggings are increasing in the upscale south and west of the city, which will host most of the Olympics. A cyclist was recently stabbed to death at the Olympic rowing venue.City officials are confident the problems won’t leak over to the Olympics.“The World Cup was organized without any major incidents, and we expect that this will be the same for the games,” said Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games Executive Director. ___INSPIRATIONPresident Dilma Rousseff, whose popularity has plunged as the country slides in recession, said recently she will be more involved in Olympic preparations. She’s hoping the Olympics will improve the country’s mood, and boost her poll numbers.Levy says the games should inspire Brazilians, and they could use some.State-run oil company Petrobras lost $2.1 billion in a kickback scheme that saw firm executives take bribes for awarding inflated contracts. In June, police arrested the CEOs of two of Brazil’s largest construction companies, including the head of Odebrecht, which helped build many World Cup and Olympic venues.Levy, the CEO, has repeated often that Rio is running clean games devoid of corruption.___CONSTRUCTIONA last-minute rush seems inevitable, and late work is sure to drive up costs.Levy seems relaxed, particularly with the two biggest stadiums — both soccer facilities — already constructed.“We’re not building anything big,” he said. “We’re not building a cathedral.”A study by Said Business School at Oxford University of Olympic Games since 1960 showed each one had cost overruns.“No other type of megaproject is this consistent regarding cost overrun,” authors Bent Flyvberg and Allison Stewart wrote. “Other project types are typically on budget from time to time, but not the Olympics.” The Olympic Park which will host Rio’s 2016 Olympics is seen under construction in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, July 27, 2015. The Olympics will offer 28 sports, 300 events, 10,500 athletes and, with the exception of five football venues, it’s all packed into Rio for 17 days. The Paralympics add two more weeks, and thousands more athletes. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   Now come the Summer Games, which are more complex and put Brazil under scrutiny again.Instead of a one-month tournament with 730 players, the 16-day Olympics feature 28 sports, 300 events and 10,500 athletes; almost all in a metropolitan area of about 12 million people.Construction got off to a slow start. And so did ticket sales.“If you compare our numbers with the classic London numbers, you’re going to see that we got off a little late,” said Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio Olympics. He called Brazilians “last-minute people.”“But there’s no doubt in our minds that we are going to sell out the tickets.”It will take years to know if the Olympics improved life for Cariocas, as Rio residents are known. And if so, who profited the most from spending $12 billion in public and private money.The head of the local organizing committee Carlos Nuzman says Rio will be the Olympic city with the “greatest transformation,” surpassing Tokyo in 1964 and Barcelona in 1992.An Olympics can change a city’s reputation for good or bad.Beijing showcased a rising power, but outsiders also glimpsed the control of an authoritarian state. Athens took a beating for preparations __ similar to Rio — and some of Greece’s financial problems are linked Olympic spending. Check your body, save your life Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility ___Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAPCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home At quick look at preparations with South America’s first games opening Aug. 5, 2016.___WATER POLLUTIONThe sailing and wind-surfing venue in Guanabara Bay, and the rowing and canoeing venue at the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, feature beautiful backdrops spoiled by sewage-filled water and floating debris. Rio officials promised cleaning the bay would be an Olympic legacy. But Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes has said that won’t happen. A dramatic photo in the Rio newspaper O Globo recently showed trash wrapped around the tail of a dolphin in the bay.Rio hopes to get by with stopgaps; a fleet of rubbish collection boats and barricades built where garbage gushes in from hilltop slums.Some sailors competing in test events in Rio have called Guanabara Bay “an open sewer,” and many have tried to minimize contact with the water to avoid illnesses.“I don’t think I would go swimming in that lagoon,” said Matt Smith, head of the World Rowing Federation.___LEGACY PROJECTSThe new Olympic golf course and the athletes’ village will become luxury real estate develpments after the Olympics. The units at the golf course start at about $2 million. The projects involve public and private money, with much of the income going to the private developers. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Sponsored Stories RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro conjures clear images of sun, samba and soccer. Organizers of the Olympics that start a year from now hope that’s what people remember after the games — not images of polluted water, inefficient transportation and incomplete venues.The Rio Olympics that start Aug. 5, 2016, follow last year’s World Cup, which ended with mixed results.A year of protests over lavish spending on soccer stadiums dissolved once the World Cup started. Fans from around the world embraced Brazil, and the stadiums looked ready enough on television even if many were still incomplete. Several have become underused “white elephants” that cost local governments millions to maintain. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

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NSW tourism to benefit from state grant

first_imgSydney Opera House A AU$20,000 NSW Government grant awarded to the Tourism Industry Council NSW (TICNSW) has initiated the Tourism Business Mentoring Program, a course designed to assist up to 25 local tourism operators in the Sydney and greater Sydney regions. “We are looking for business owners who have been in business for a few years and feel they need some support and direction to grow their enterprise,” TICNSW chairman Ken Corbett said.“This mentoring program, supported by industry specialists, targets the growing tourism sector in Greater Sydney.”The program will comprise 15 hours of small-group workshops, ten hours of mentoring, two networking events and a special project, and will cover a range of topics including business planning, financial fundamentals, marketing strategies and customer service. “The objective of the Business Mentoring Program is to improve business development, networking and growth opportunities for NSW small businesses,” NSW Small Business Minister Frank Terenzini said. “The program helps tourism businesses plan a growth strategy and address business challenges.”Scheduled to run from 1 March to 14 June 2011, the program will take place at the Mercure Sydney Parramatta.Business owners who are interested in the program can contact TICNSW at: aussiehost@ticnsw.com.au Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

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Apprentice Chef Honoured At Torres Strait Recognition Awards

first_imgFrom left to right: Pam Wasaga (Torres Strait Recognition Program member), Charleeja Viji (First Year Apprentice), Lisa Clarke (Human Resources Manager for Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort). Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort’s First Year Apprentice Chef, Charleeja Viti, was recently awarded the “Inspirational School Based Apprentice/Trainee” award at the 2012 My Pathway Torres Strait Recognition Awards held on Thursday Island. After a successful launch in 2011, this year’s awards saw over 160 people attend the night and featured 11 categories and 44 nominations. Dedicated first year apprentice chef and rising star, Charleeja, began her role at the Tropical North Queensland resort when she moved from Thursday Island after graduating Year 12 last year.Resort General Manager, James Murphy, said he was honored to have such a hardworking and ambitious chef in his team. Charleeja’s win reinforces the work our hotels currently undertake with Tagai College and that we will continue to seek out talented individuals to join the Accor family.“Charleeja has worked hard to achieve this award and the entire resort is so proud to have her as part of our team”, said James. It also provides Accor the opportunity to continue to grow our presence within regional Australia and unique places like the Torres Strait. Each year, the “Inspirational School Based Apprentice/Trainee” award is given to an indigenous apprentice or trainee who is committed to achieving their qualification. Accor Hotels were proud to be a Gold sponsor for this year’s awards which Mercure Cairns Harbourside’s Executive Chef, Markus Strieby, conducting three Master Classes with year 10, 11 and 12 students at the Torres Strait TAFE campus before catering for the awards night. Charleeja was accompanied to the event by Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort’s Human Resources Manager, Lisa Clarke. Source = Novotel Cairns Oasis Resortlast_img read more

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Thailand says Russian tourists will bounce back

first_imgThailand says Russian tourists will bounce backThailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, H.E. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, speaking at the OTDYKH-Leisure show held recently in Moscow, expressed her confidence that arrivals from Russia, will increase to almost 1 million visitors in 2015, from the current January-July 2015 total of 506,071.In 2006, Russian visitor arrivals totalled 187,658. By 2014, this number had surged to 1.6 million Russian visitors.image2.PNGThailand, like many other destinations popular with Russian visitors, is feeling the impact of the decline in Russian outbound travellers. Holidays overseas have become more expensive as the ruble devalued. Against the Thai Baht the ruble has decline over 30%. However TAT is confident that the Russian economy will soon be back on track.TAT has been participating regularly in the Moscow show since 1995. The trade delegation included over 14 Thai exhibitors representing hotels, tour operators and travel-related agencies. It has played a major role in helping make Russia one of Thailand’s top ten sources of visitor arrivals.Russia is Thailand’s largest source of visitor arrivals from Europe. It is also one of six countries that contributes more than one million annual arrivals, and one of only two countries that generates more female visitors than males.One reason for the Minister’s projected turnaround is the outcome from the April 2015 visit to Thailand by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The visit was explicitly designed to boost bilateral trade and investment between Russia and Thailand, Russia’s largest trading partner in ASEAN.The two countries, as well as signing new trade agreements, also signed a tourism cooperation agreement covering the period 2015-2017.At the OTDYKH-Leisure show, the Russian travel industry was informed about the agreement to further develop Utapao, Pattaya/Rayong’s International Airport. The first phase includes a new passenger terminal, which is expected to be completed in June 2016 and capable of handling three million passengers a year.This will help Thailand better handle the growing demand by scheduled and charter flights from Russia to land directly at Utapao.Russians can obtain a 30-day visa on arrival at major international Thai border checkpoints. As of September 2015, there are seven direct scheduled flights per week between Bangkok and Moscow operated by Aeroflot Russia Airlines. In addition, numerous scheduled and charter flights operate between major cities in Russia, the CIS countries and Thailand.On the 29 March this year THAI cancelled all Moscow flights as part of a cost cutting programme to reduce crippling loses at TG of THB 15.6 billion (US$436m).Source = Andrew J Woodlast_img read more

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Vivid Sydney shines a light on the natural world

first_imgVivid Sydney shines a light on the natural worldVivid Sydney shines a light on the natural worldThere are wild and exotic times ahead when the lights go on at two of Vivid Sydney’s favourite precincts, Taronga Zoo and The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.Taronga Zoo will shine a bold and bright spotlight on conservation and endangered wildlife with a family-friendly, spectacular display of giant animal light sculptures.As the Zoo’s permanent residents retire for the evening, Lights for the Wild will introduce visitors to fierce and friendly creatures, and take them on a colourful journey through fragile habitats — from the ocean, to the jungle and the Australian bush.Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said, “Come 25 May visitors will be able to walk among the spellbinding display of magnificent creatures and discover the illuminating stories of these endangered species.”Across the harbour at The Royal Botanic Garden, the surf will be up, the parrots will be partying and the blooming marvellous petals of a giant electric flower will be the frame for your next selfie when the Garden lights up into an exotic nocturnal wonderland.The next generation of design minds will make their mark too, with TAFE NSW students giving the turreted façade of Government House Sydney a mesmerising makeover.For more information on Taronga Zoo and The Royal Botanic Garden during Vivid Sydney, visit www.vividsydney.com.Source = Destination NSWlast_img read more

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Quilton Australian Dunny Derby Makes No2 A No1 Priority

first_imgQuilton Australian Dunny Derby Makes No.2 A No.1 PriorityThe race to the thunderbox is on as the famous Quilton Australian Dunny Derby makes its comeback at Outback Festival 2019 in collaboration with Queensland Health.A firm crowd favourite, the Quilton Australian Dunny Derby is a fun and frivolous challenge with an important message. Through a partnership with Queensland Health, the “Make No.2 Your No.1 Priority” state campaign aims to increase participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young is proud to support an iconic regional event and reminds Queenslanders over the age of 50 to make bowel screening a priority.“Partnerships like this one allow Queensland Health to further engage with Queenslanders on important issues like bowel cancer screening” she said.“If you’re heading to the festival, keep an eye out for Queensland Health’s “Make No.2 your No.1 priority” information stall and chat with my staff about Australia’s second highest cause of cancer deaths, bowel cancer, and the benefits of bowel screening.”“I strongly encourage all Queenslanders aged 50 to 74 to look out for the free bowel cancer screening kit in the mail and take the time to complete the test to help detect early signs of bowel cancer. With early detection, 9 out of 10 people can be successfully treated”The famous Quilton Australian Dunny Derby is a hilarious event that involves teams of five pulling and pushing the thunderbox (dunny) through a 200 metre course, all competing for a $5,000 AUD prize pool.Special awards are given to the best dressed team and decorated thunderbox, and the winner of the “Constipation Stakes” (the best of the losers!).“Having made quite the stir in previous years, the event is attracting international attention,” explains festival coordinator, Robyn Stephens OAM. “We’ve received confirmation from a film crew from Finland and a magazine journalist and photographer from Germany who are making their way to Winton to participate and share the story of Winton’s Outback Festival with their respective homelands.”Alongside the Dunny Derby is the Mayoral Challenge which will pit the Mayors of Outback Queensland against each other to compete in what may seem a very “politically incorrect” challenge.Registrations for the event are limited and open until 29 August 2019 if not filled before – it’s first in best dressed and definitely a challenge not to be missed.Register Today CLICK HERESource = Outback Festivallast_img read more

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Philippines Tourism conducts its India Sales Mission in Ahmedabad and Kolkata

first_imgTourism Promotions Board Philippines recently held its India Sales Mission in Ahmedabad and Kolkata to promote the destination in the Indian market.Apart from the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines, Shroff Travels, Philippines Airlines and Singapore Airlines was part of the sales mission.Held at the Novotel Ahmedabad and The Park, Kolkata, the sales mission began with a destination presentation by Philippines Tourism followed by B2B meetings and networking lunch.In the past five years, tourist arrivals from India increased by an average of 18.2%, prompting Tourism Promotions Board to include India in its 2019 work programme.The Tourism Promotions Board is also strengthening the country’s presence in the market in line with the revival of direct flights between New Delhi and Manila by the end of the first quarter.The country’s pristine beaches remain as the main draw for Indian visitors. India is among the top 12 source markets of the Philippines, with a total of 121,124 Indians visiting the country in 2018 alone.last_img read more

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GSEs Add New UCDP Platform Provider

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-11-07 Abby Gregory GSEs Add New UCDP Platform Provider in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology November 7, 2011 412 Views center_img Share “”Fannie Mae””:www.fanniemae.com/ and “”Freddie Mac””:www.freddiemac.com/ have selected a new integration platform provider, with the announcement that “”Solidifi U.S.””:solidifi.com/ will become one of the GSE’s partners for their “”Uniform Collateral Data Portal””:https://www.efanniemae.com/sf/technology/commitloandel/ucdp/ (UCDP) module. Part of the “”Uniform Mortgage Data Program””:www.efanniemae.com/sf/lqi/umdp/ (UMDP), the UCDP acts as the sole portal for the submission of electronic appraisal information to the GSEs, and the technology initiative from Fannie and Freddie targets the enhancement of quality and consistency across all appraisal-related activities. [IMAGE]Solidifi will now work collaboratively with the UCDP module, facilitating the company’s lender client’s seamless submission of[COLUMN_BREAK]GSE-mandated “”Uniform Appraisal Dataset””:www.efanniemae.com/sf/lqi/umdp/uad/index.jsp (UAD) compliant reports. Customers of Solidifi won’t incur any additional charges when using the entity’s service to deliver the UAD paperwork, and the integrated relationship between the GSE’s UCDP and Solidifi will help participating lenders limit both time and money spent on submitting compliant data files related to appraisals.Loren Cook, executive vice president of Solidifi U.S., said of the company’s new relationship with the UCDP platform, “”I’m thrilled we’re an integration platform provider and working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.├âÔÇÜ├é┬á We’ve worked incredibly hard to earn the trust of our lender and appraiser partners and we look forward to providing a value-added service that allows existing and future clients to seamlessly submit Uniform Appraisal Dataset compliant appraisals to the GSEs at no charge.””The implementation deadline for lender compliance with Fannie and Freddie’s UAD model went into effect on September 1, and as of December 1, lenders must also be prepared to collect fully compliant appraisal reports on loan applications dated on or after that date. March 19, 2012, will bring about an additional phase of lender mandates related to the UMDP, and from that day forward, all lenders must electronically deliver their fully UAD-compliant reports for all loans carrying application dates of December 1 or later.last_img read more

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