Venezuela high court nixes election challenge

first_imgAll branches of Venezuela’s government were firmly in the hands of the ruling socialists long before the late President Hugo Chavez died of cancer in March.Maduro was hand-picked by Chavez to succeed him but squandered a double-digit lead in the campaign’s last weeks as doubts increased about his ability to manage a troubled economy.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society The difference between men and women when it comes to paincenter_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuela’s highest court has rejected opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ challenge to the official outcome of the April 14 election that he narrowly lost to President Nicolas Maduro.The court on Wednesday Capriles attempt to void the results was “inadmissible.” He alleged widespread fraud in a vote he officially lost by a 1.5-percentage-point margin.Court President Gladys Gutierrez said Capriles’ challenge “trivialized” democratic debate and sought to undermine the credibility of public institutions. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

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9 dead in Siberian plane crash

first_img Check your body, save your life Top Stories MOSCOW (AP) – A Russian cargo plane has crashed into a military base, killing all nine crew members.No casualties were reported among base personnel in the Thursday crash on the outskirts of the Siberian city of Irkutsk.The Emergencies Ministry and the Investigative Committee said the nine crew members on the An-12, a four-engine turboprop, were killed. No cause was immediately determined.Russian news reports said the plane was carrying aircraft parts from a factory in Novosibirsk when it tried to land at the Irkutsk-2 airport near the military base and struck a warehouse. The airport is on the other side of the city from the main international airport. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

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Burundi Not clear if coup succeeded or where is president

first_img 0 Comments   Share   BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Burundi’s capital was quiet Wednesday night but it was not clear who was in charge after a tumultuous day in which thousands of people celebrated an attempted coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza.The military is divided between those supporting Nkurunziza and those backing the coup, said a senior military official who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The two sides of the military were holding negotiations Wednesday night to determine the way forward, he said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The White House on Wednesday called on all sides in Burundi to end the violence and expressed full support for the ongoing work by regional leaders to restore peace and unity in the country.The top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, had also traveled to Dar es Salaam to contribute to the emergency meeting, according to a statement from the U.S. State Department.In addition to the 15 fatalities, more than 220 have been injured in the protests, according to Burundi’s Red Cross. More than 50,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries fearing violence ahead of the elections, according to the U.N. refugee agency. The protests started on April 26, a day after the ruling party nominated Nkurunziza to run for re-election.Burundi’s Constitution states a president can be popularly elected to two five-year terms. Nkurunziza maintains he can run for a third term because parliament elected him for his first one, leaving him open to be popularly elected to two terms.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice The attempted coup took place while Nkurunziza was in neighboring Tanzania for a summit on his country’s troubles. An army general announced on a private radio station that the president had been relieved of his duties.Police withdrew from the streets of Bujumbura, the capital, after the general’s coup statement and thousands of people celebrated the apparent coup. People thronged Bujumbura’s streets and applauded soldiers who rode by in tanks and trucks. Some of the troops smiled and one raised his rifle to acknowledge the cheering crowd.But some officials remained loyal to Nkurunziza. His office said in the evening that the coup attempt was unsuccessful, posting a statement on the president’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.“A group of soldiers mutinied this morning and made a fantasy declaration of a coup d’etat,” said the statement. “This attempted coup was foiled and these people … are sought by defense and security forces so they are brought to justice.”It was not clear where Nkurunziza was on Wednesday night. After leaving the Tanzanian summit, Nkurunziza did not return to Bujumbura and landed at Uganda’s Entebbe airport, said a top Ugandan official who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. He could not say if Nkurunziza stayed in Uganda or if he returned to Tanzania. Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term as president sparked street protests in the capital in which 15 people have been killed.During almost three weeks of unrest, the military acted as a buffer between police and protesters who oppose Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, saying it violates the Constitution and Arusha peace accords that ended a civil war here.The demonstrators rejoiced after the announcement of the coup Wednesday by Maj. Gen. Godefroid Niyombare broadcast by Bonesha FM radio.“Given the necessity to preserve the country’s integrity … President Pierre Nkurunziza is dismissed from his functions,” Niyombare said. He announced the creation of a temporary ruling committee to re-establish stability which he will head.Soon after, the police melted away and people thronged the streets in celebration.In February, Nkurunziza fired Niyombare as the director of the national intelligence service, replacing him days later with Brig. Etienne Ntakirutimana.Earlier Wednesday police fired tear gas and water cannons to repulse protesters trying to enter Bujumbura’s central business district. A group of women protesters managed to infiltrate the police cordon and entered the central business district. An Associated Press journalist was present when a police officer fired around five single shots at the protesters in Bujumbura. Whether there were casualties was unclear. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day A bus burns after being set on fire by demonstrators in the Ngagara district of Bujumbura, Burundi Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A crowd who were marching to the funeral of a woman who died in recent protests were blocked from doing so by police, and the crowd then set fire to a bus and government car and motorcycle. (AP Photo/Berthier Mugiraneza) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi sentenced to death

first_img Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   As is customary in capital punishment cases, Judge Shaaban el-Shami referred his death sentences on Morsi and the others to the nation’s top Muslim cleric for his non-binding opinion. El-Shami set June 2 for the next hearing, and the sentences can be appealed.Morsi already is serving a 20-year sentence for his part in the killing in 2012 of protesters outside a Cairo presidential palace.The military overthrew Morsi in July 2013 following days of mass protests by Egyptians angered by his divisive policies. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who had been appointed military chief by Morsi, led his ouster, and was elected nearly a year ago in a vote boycotted by the Islamist opposition.Since his ouster, authorities have cracked down on Islamists and pro-democracy activists who were instrumental in the 2011 uprising. Thousands of Morsi supporters have been jailed and hundreds killed in street clashes over the last two years, including at least 600 in one day, when security forces violently dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in August 2013.After the verdict was read Saturday, a smiling Morsi defiantly waved the four-finger sign associated with the sit-ins.As the government has cracked down on Islamists and other activists, the courts have been far more lenient to Mubarak-era officials. Mubarak himself was acquitted in November of charges linked to the killing of hundreds of protesters in 2011 and has not spent a single day in prison since his arrest in April 2011. The 87-year-old Mubarak was sentenced to three years for corruption on May 9 but was later declared a free man since he had already spent three years in detention, mostly at a Nile-side military hospital in a southern Cairo suburb. Prosecutors have appealed his acquittal over the death of protesters, and a high court will decide next month if he should be retried.Sentenced to death with Morsi on Saturday were 105 defendants, including some 70 Palestinians. The defendants include the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie — who has already been sentenced to death in a separate trial — as well as one of the Arab world’s best known Islamic scholars, the Qatar-based Youssef al-Qaradawi. Most defendants were tried and convicted in absentia, meaning they will receive automatic retrials if they are detained.Supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, now outlawed and branded a terrorist group, chanted “down, down with military rule” as the judge announced the verdict in a converted lecture hall in the national police academy.Prosecutors alleged that armed members of the Palestinian Hamas group entered Egypt during the 18-day uprising through illegal tunnels running under the Gaza-Sinai border. Taking advantage of the turmoil, the militants fought their way into several prisons, releasing Morsi, more than 30 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders and some 20,000 inmates, prosecutors say. Several prison guards were killed and parts of the stormed prisons were damaged. Sponsored Stories Hezbollah and Hamas operatives who had been convicted and sentenced to jail terms over terror-related charges were also sprung out of jail in 2011.In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the sentencing to death of the Palestinians was “regrettable” and “shocking,” adding that “some of those convicted were killed before the Egyptian revolution and others are serving prison terms in Israel.” He said nothing about Morsi’s death sentence.Hamas is the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood and enjoyed close relations with Morsi during his year in office, but has denied taking part in the prison breaks.Amr Darrag, a Cabinet minister under Morsi and a co-founder of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, also blasted Saturday’s verdicts.“Today will be remembered as one of the darkest days in Egypt’s history,” he said.An Islamist opposition alliance led by the Brotherhood meanwhile called on Egyptians to step up the campaign to topple the “gang of treachery and usurpers” in the run-up to July 3, the second anniversary of Morsi’s removal from power.Amnesty International also denounced the verdicts, saying “the death penalty has become the favorite tool for the Egyptian authorities to purge the political opposition.” Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said el-Sissi’s government was returning to the “old Egypt” by rolling back democracy. He also criticized the West, saying it had failed to speak out against such death sentences.Morsi escaped a death sentence in a separate case before the same judge related to allegations that he, several of his aides and Brotherhood leaders allegedly passed state secrets to foreign groups, including Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, during his time in office. A total of 16 senior Brotherhood leaders and aides were sentenced to death in that case, including one woman.A verdict on Morsi’s role will be announced in the June 2 hearing.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced the country’s first freely elected leader, ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, to death over a mass prison break during the 2011 uprising that eventually brought him to power.The ruling applies to another 120 people, and is the latest in a series of mass death sentences handed down since the military overthrew Morsi nearly two years ago. The sentence will likely further polarize Egypt, a longtime U.S. ally grappling with an Islamist insurgency that has intensified since Morsi’s overthrow. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies In what appears to be the first violent response to the ruling, suspected Islamic militants gunned down three judges and their driver in the northern Sinai Peninsula city of al-Arish, according to security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.Egypt’s judiciary has come under mounting international criticism since Morsi’s ouster as it has handed down harsh mass sentences to Islamists and jailed secular activists for protesting. At the same time, the courts have acquitted or handed light sentences to top officials who served under President Hosni Mubarak, whose nearly 30-year reign was ended by the 2011 Arab Spring-inspired uprising.“These sentences are yet another manifestation of the deeply troubling way the Egyptian judiciary has been used as a tool to settle political disagreements,” Emad Shahin, a professor at the American University in Cairo who was sentenced to death in absentia wrote in a Facebook post.“Due process, regard for evidence, and minimum standards of justice have been tossed aside in favor of draconian injustice,” wrote Shahin, now a visiting professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

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Airbus would reconsider UK investment if country leaves EU

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Business leaders are starting to make their views known, mindful of consequences that a so-called “Brexit” would bring.Kahn says that should Britain vote to leave, Airbus would reconsider future investment if business conditions were more favorable in other parts of Europe.Airbus also has European operations in France, Germany and Spain.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist LONDON (AP) — The head of the U.K. arm of Airbus has warned the aerospace company would reconsider its investments in Britain should the country vote to leave the European Union.Paul Kahn has joined several prominent business leaders in expressing concern about the promised referendum on EU membership. Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to hold such a vote by the end of 2017 — after he has tried to negotiate reforms with the 28-member bloc. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Sponsored Stories Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

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Boko Haram attack in Nigeria leaves at least 10 dead

first_img Top Stories BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) — Police say at least 10 people were killed in northeast Nigeria when a large commando of Boko Haram Islamic extremists attacked their village and took over a major highway in the region.A local police official who spoke on condition he not be named because he wasn’t authorized to talk to media said the victims were all shot when the large group of Boko Haram extremists stormed their village and fired at fleeing residents. The attack occurred in Ngamdu, a village 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of the Borno state capital Maiduguri. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breachescenter_img Sponsored Stories Many other residents were wounded in the attack Friday, the official said.Military units have moved into the region to fight the attackers, who have taken control of the only safe highway to Maiduguri.Meanwhile officials in Maiduguri say an attempted bomb attack at the city’s largest bus station failed when an explosives-ladden tuk-tuk was prevented from entering the site early Saturday.The driver of the three-wheeled motorized rickshaw and four passengers then tried to attack a bus filled with passengers outside the station’s entrance but the bus driver was able to quickly pull away before the tuk-tuk exploded, killing the driver and three of its occupants. A fifth passenger of the tuk-tuk escaped on foot but was chased down and arrested by a civilian security group.Three bystanders sustained minor injuries from the blast.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Check your body, save your life 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Comments   Share   last_img read more

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PO Cruises celebrates 175 years

first_imgFor the first time in P&O Cruises World Cruising history, its entire fleet of seven ships will meet in Southampton to commence year long celebrations for their 175th anniversary. The evolution of cruising over the years has not slowed the company down with P&O Cruises UK reportedly carrying more British passengers than any other line. “We are very excited to announce this special day. It will be a great celebration for P&O cruises, our passengers and for the whole maritime world,” said Carol Marlow, managing director P&O Cruises. “What was once a national necessity is now a national pastime and is worthy of a grand celebration.” Each ship will set sail on individual heritage themed ‘Grand Event’ voyages following a send-off that is expected to include entertainment and champagne deck parties as they form a procession out of Southampton. The ships will meet once again in the open water and salute each other before continuing on their voyages. Unique inclusions on the ‘Grand Event’ cruises include a 175th Anniversary Gala dinner, heritage art displays, guest speakers and special onboard entertainment. Available for bookings from 5 April 2011, the ‘Grand Event Cruises’ include:11-night Atlantic Islands cruise on Azura17-night Central Mediterranean cruise on Ventura7-night Norwegian Fjords cruise on Oceana14-night Norway and Iceland cruise on Arcadia17-night Baltic cruise on Aurora4-night cruise on Oriana21-night Central Mediterranean cruise on Adonia Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Alast_img read more

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Qantas Ausmerica incentive

first_img “The mega-famil provides us with an opportunity to recognise the Australian travel trade and reward them for their continued support,” Qantas executive manager international sales Stephen Thompson said. The new campaign promotes the USA as a destination through which Qantas customers can visit via the airline’s extensive network of services to Los Angeles, Dallas and New York. Source = ETB News: P.T. “We look forward to participants experiencing the breadth of what the USA has to offer by heading to destinations across the USA,” Brand USA strategy director Australia and New Zealand Joe Ponte said. Qantas Airways has revealed a major new marketing campaign – ‘Ausmerica’ – in collaboration with Brand USA, encouraging Australians to hop it to the United States. Qantas Airways and Brand USA are also offering agents a trade incentive, with the opportunity to win one of 50 places on a week-long mega famil to the USA in November 2013.center_img A consumer promotion with American Express will also be available for customers who purchase flights during October 2013, with business class tickets and five nights’ accommodation in New York City up for grabs. The top 50 agents will be selected to travel to the US based on volume of sales; conditions apply. The incentive will begin 21 September for bookings on all Qantas flights to Hawaii, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. Marketing will be aired across a variety of different media, including television, print, digital channels and outdoor billboards, while the Qantas Travelator will be positioned at Sydney Domestic Terminal 3, showcasing destination images from across the States.last_img read more

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Distance is no barrier when choosing a Personal Travel Manager

first_imgDistance is no barrier when choosing a Personal Travel ManagerThe new TravelManagers website was launched to customers at the start of this year, and one of the upgraded features on the home page is a smart, simple “Find a personal travel manager” search engine. It is an enhanced version of the previous website that makes it even easier for prospective clients to search for a personal travel manager (PTM) not just by their location but also by name (first or last), post code, destinational knowledge or type of experience.Karen Doyle, representative for South Yarra, Victoria, has been to South America many times, and has a vast wealth of knowledge about the destination. Out of the blue several months ago, she received an enquiry from a Canberra-based prospective client who had searched for an expert on South America.“The client had selected me from the list of PTMs our website had offered because she had liked my biography. I was actually in Tasmania at the time, but because I can keep tabs on my emails from pretty much anywhere, I was quick to respond that I would be very happy to assist with her plans when I returned in a few days’ time”, says Doyle.Doyle’s new client told her it was her comprehensive South American travel experience that attracted her, after having visited local travel agents and searched the internet extensively for South American expertise.“Having approached a number of local travel agents whose knowledge of South America consisted of handing me a pile of brochures, I decided to look elsewhere. TravelManagers had been recommended to me by a number of colleagues. I wanted someone who had real experience visiting South America and it was easy to find Karen by using the website,” Doyle’s client Kathy Dennis explains.Doyle says the consulting process was very straightforward, communicating via regular emails to create a three-week itinerary for a party of four adults that was constructed around a cruise to the Galapagos Islands and a visit to Machu Picchu.“South America can be a difficult destination to visit as the itineraries need to take into account the vast distances and travel times involved. You also have to advise on factors like vaccinations, altitude and its effects and prevention strategies, and safety precautions. I have an intimate knowledge of the destination having visited the region seven times and so I was able to impart this knowledge to my client, making the best recommendations for her family based on their personal requirements.”“I emailed them about three pages of options in great detail as to what they could add on. The clients were happy with my itinerary and booked it straight away,” she explains. “From a payment perspective it was also very easy as TravelManagers provide several options for clients to make their payments – BPAY, BPAY with a credit card or direct deposit into the TravelManagers’ client trust account.”As an added bonus, the substantial booking contributed to Doyle obtaining a place on an exclusive TravelManagers famil offered by Prom Peru/LAN Airlines that allowed her to update and extend her existing knowledge and experience.“It was absolutely sensational! South America has cast its spell over me and continues to lure me back time and time again to revisit, experience and explore more of this amazing and spectacular continent.”Doyle describes the overall experience as a demonstration of the flexibility offered to PTMs by TravelManagers.“I love working from home and working my own hours. We all lead very busy lives, and so do our clients. I have often had jobs in the past where I have worked shift work and I am not a 9 to 5 person. It is great to be able to work the hours of my choice and during the night if I have to.”According to TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, as long as clients and PTMs both have reliable internet access, there are no geographical restrictions to selecting a PTM.“We operate in an industry where our personal travel managers (PTMs) now have the technological capabilities to work with clients anywhere in Australia or around the globe. That means our clients can easily choose a PTM whose travel experience and interests best match their own needs.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.Join Travel ManagersSource = TravelManagers Australialast_img read more

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AccorHotels introduces first ibis Styles hotel

first_imgAccorHotels introduces first ibis Styles hotelAccorHotels introduces first ibis Styles hotel in the United Statesibis Styles, the economy brand from AccorHotels has made its debut in the United States with the opening of ibis Styles New York LaGuardia Airport.As part of AccorHotels’ continued expansion of its economy hotel brands worldwide, the global hospitality group announced the introduction of ibis Styles New York LaGuardia Airport – the first of the ibis Styles hotel in the U.S. The hotel will also serve as the flagship hotel for the brand in the country.Located at the former site of the LaGuardia Airport Hotel, the property has undergone a major renovation to cater to leisure and busines travelers seeking a satisfying, comfortable, and thoroughly distinctive guest experience that plays off the vibrant culture of the city that surrounds it.“As the AccorHotels portfolio grows in North America, I am very proud to announce the first ibis Styles hotel in the United States,” said Kevin Frid, Chief Operating Officer, North & Central America, AccorHotels. “ibis Styles has already seen much success in Europe and South America, and we anticipate the brand to be a standout in New York as well.”About ibis Styles New York LaGuardia AirportLike each of the 339 mid-size ibis Styles hotels distributed across 30 countries worldwide, the U.S. flagship property is stylish and distinctly imaginative. Located just across Grand Central Parkway from LaGuardia Airport, the singular design of the 93-room hotel is inspired by the New York City Subway. Design details create a lively universe, from whimsical in-wall lobby seating to throw pillows and artwork that take cues from the colorful emblems, stations and route maps found throughout the underground cultural hub.Guest rooms will be inspired by different subway lines – green, yellow, red, blue – with furniture suited to today’s lifestyles, including 26-inch HD LED televisions, desk areas, walls decorated with subway maps, and the majestic Sweet Bed by ibis Styles, an innovative bedding concept for the brand that offers guests unparalleled comfort with a fluffy topper, as well as a white duvet and large, light and airy microfiber pillows. The hotel similarly serves up a true taste of New York, with authentic street-inspired snacks served at the Metrocard Lounge, while making it easy for guests to take a bite out of the Big Apple, with NYC Subway card packages.Ibis Styles and DesignIbis Styles is an international non-standardized brand and each property is modern, simple and all about well-being. Every hotel has an independent, diverse personality and an energetic spirit that shines through every area, from the lobby to the guestrooms. The brand seamlessly blends connectivity with design and comfort, offering unique decor and a comfortable ambience on every floor – and the price is always inclusive of buffet breakfast for every overnight guest, unlimited Wi-Fi internet access, and lots of extras such as hot drinks, gifts for the kids and more.Ibis Styles New York LaGuardia Airport caters to both business and leisure travelers by offering high-speed internet and a convenient location close to the airport and just a short ride away from Manhattan. Ibis Styles also caters to convenience-minded families with family friendly accommodations and complimentary breakfast to all children. The hotels also provide baby-care items such as high chairs, bottle warmers, folding cribs and more free of charge upon request.Ibis Styles is part of AccorHotels’ ibis Brand family, which will open seven new ibis hotels in the region, specifically Mexico, in 2017 and 2018. For more information about ibis Styles, please visit www.ibisstyles.comSource = AccorHotelslast_img read more

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TravelManagers Join Small Group Famil of Georgia

first_imgBeverley Burt and Di Yates with one of local sweet bread bakersTravelManagers Join Small Group Famil of GeorgiaGeorgia sits at the intersection of Europe and Asia, a former Soviet republic that is fast becoming the next big thing, thanks in no small part to its varied and impossibly beautiful landscapes that include the towering Caucasus Mountains and lovely Black Sea beaches. TravelManagers was fortunate to have two personal travel managers (PTMs) invited to participate in a recent eleven-day famil of the country, hosted by Crooked Compass.One of just six famil participants, PTM Di Yates says Georgia was a destination she didn’t know a lot about but was very interested to visit.“I love what Crooked Compass do with their itineraries,” adds Yates, who is representative for Montrose, VIC, “so I knew it would be an amazing experience.”The group’s itinerary began in Tbilisi, where they had plenty of time to explore the city’s cobblestoned old town, which reflects a long and complicated history thanks to periods of both Persian and Russian rule. A cable car ride to the hilltop, fourth-century Narikala Fortress provided a bird’s eye perspective of the city, which was followed by a walk down to the historical domed sulphur bath area and concluded with dinner in a restaurant described by Yates as “a hidden gem”.“Tbilisi has the feeling of two totally different cities rolled into one, combining modern architecture and high-end shopping worthy of Paris or Milan in the newer areas with beautiful, colourful, terraced houses that ooze charm and character despite the wear and tear in the historic part of the city,” she enthuses.Yates was joined by fellow PTM, Beverley Burt, who is representative for Ashbury in NSW, says she too was captivated by Tbilisi.“Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis all live peacefully alongside each other in Tbilisi: there’s a rich blend of mosques, cathedrals, Russian churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian temples, and the food is amazing!”From here, the group travelled west to Kutaisi, stopping en-route at Mtskheta, which is considered the religious centre of Georgia. Its history stretches back 3,000 years and includes several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the sixth-century Jvari Church and eleventh-century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.“It was amazing to see the landscape change so dramatically as we travelled west into Imereti Province,” says Burt. “We moved from the cool springs, green fields and beautiful gardens of East Georgia into a more dramatic, mountainous landscape.”One of the highlights of this region was a hike through Okatse Canyon that included a 700-metre suspended walkway that projects from the walls of the canyon and culminates in a viewing platform that hangs right out over the middle of the canyon. This served as an introduction to the serious hiking part of the itinerary, exploring in the Svaneti region which is home to the not just the highest mountains and glaciers but also the most abiding ancient traditions.“It was utterly magical,” says Yates. “Stunning mountain scenery, glaciers, ancient stone watch houses and beautiful wildflower meadows. To cap it all off, on our final day of hiking, we stayed overnight in the incredible UNESCO World Heritage-listed village of Ushguli, which is the highest permanently-inhabited village in Europe.”The famil group were accompanied by Crooked Compass founder, Lisa Pagotto, who created the company as a boutique tour operator that offers small-group, culturally-immersive experiences with customised itineraries.“We experienced the famil exactly as our clients would,” Burt explains, “staying in a combination of boutique hotels and family-owned guest houses.”“We explored the markets and sampled plenty of local produce such as home-made cheeses, breads and pickled vegetables,” Yates adds. “They were also a great source of local, hand-made items such as intricately-designed sheepskin hats, woven rugs and hand knitted slippers and gloves.”TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says PTMs are encouraged to take part in famils such as this one, which take them well off the beaten track and into destinations that are not well-known in Australia.“Georgia is definitely on the watchlist as an up-and-coming destination,” he explains. “Having two of our PTMs experience it in such depth adds value for our entire network of PTMs, who can tap into their expertise and provide the best possible advice to their clients.”Despite having to contend with a minor inconvenience to modern communication in the more remote villages where power supply is restricted to certain times of the day, Yates describes her time in Georgia as “wonderful.”“Georgia is sure to soon be on the radar for many of my clients, especially those who are looking for a different experience to the normal European vacation – and I will certainly be recommending it.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599. About TravelManagersTravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.8 billion for 2018. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 540 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases.Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

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Thailand sets new tourism record with 30 million international visitors

first_imgThailand has set a new tourism record by welcoming more than 30 million international visitors for the first time in a single year. The milestone was reached when a Chinese national, HuangThe milestone was reached when a Chinese national, Huang Junyi, arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on December 5, 2016, following a flight from Guangzhou. This means that the country has now surpassed its previous record of 29.88 million visitors, set in 2015.Huang was greeted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Thai Airways and presented with a prize of two economy class return tickets to Thailand and a five-night hotel stay in the kingdom.“This has been an amazing year for tourism in amazing Thailand as shown by the huge numbers of visitors,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the TAT. “We have reached 30 million and the high season has only just kicked off. We know that more people will be coming to enjoy the cool weather and holiday festivities.”The tourism board is projecting that international tourism revenues would increase 11.7% to $46 billion in 2016. In order to further boost arrivals in the high season, the country has now launched several initiatives to encourage international tourism and their spending, including the waiver of tourist visa fees for visitors from 19 countries from December 1, 2016, to February 28, 2017, and halving the price of visas-on-arrivalAdditionally, to encourage domestic travel, a long New Year holiday of four days, from December 31 to January 3, has now been confirmed.last_img read more

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IHCLs brand Taj opens its second hotel in Udaipur – Taj Aravali

first_imgThe Indian Hotels Company Limited’s iconic brand Taj has opened its second hotel in Udaipur – Taj Aravali Resort & Spa. Nestled at the foothills of the picturesque Aravali Mountain Range, the resort is spread across 27 acres of lush landscaped gardens.Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) said, “Taj has been instrumental in developing India’s tourism potential in Rajasthan and putting the state on the global map with the iconic Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur since 1970. With the opening of Taj Aravali Resort & Spa, we are enhancing our offering for the global traveller and reinforcing our commitment to Udaipur – the Venice of the East.The resort has 92 luxurious rooms, suites and tents with panoramic views of the Aravalis. The design ethos is contemporary with a mix of traditional Rajasthani influences and furnishings inspired by Mewar’s world-class equestrian heritage. The hotel is conveniently located an hour away from the airport.“Taj Aravali Resort & Spa is ideally located to enjoy nature while also staying connected to the pulse of Udaipur’s vibrant character. We look forward to welcoming guests to experience Taj’s legendary service,” said Anand Nair, General Manager, Taj Aravali Resort & Spa, Udaipur.Guests have a choice of distinctive culinary options which include an all-day diner – Tiri; a speciality vegetarian restaurant – Javitri; an alfresco grill – Ridgeview and a bar – Odeypore Lounge. The hotel is an ideal destination for weddings and conferences with expansive indoor and outdoor banqueting spaces. It also houses the award-winning Jiva Spa spread over 15,000 sq ft with 11 treatment rooms. Additionally, the hotel has extensive recreation facilities such as squash, badminton, basketball and tennis courts, a gymnasium and a state-of-the-art indoor golf simulator. It even boasts of its own 34-seater movie theatre.last_img read more

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Capital One Acquisition of ING Under Scrutiny from Fed

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Dodd-Frank Federal Reserve Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-09-12 Abby Gregory September 12, 2011 454 Views Share Capital One Acquisition of ING Under Scrutiny from Fedcenter_img Caution and complex evaluation are nothing new for the “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/, but federal regulators exploring “”Capital One Financial Corp.’s””:https://www.capitalone.com/ potential acquisition of “”ING Groep NV’s””:http://www.ing.com/ online banking platform, “”ING Direct USA””:https://home.ingdirect.com/index.html, are applying extreme examination to the transaction. According to the Fed, Capital One’s proposed purchase of ING’s U.S. Web-based banking business would create a financial institution so enormous and complicated that it could affect the broader marketplace. [IMAGE]The Fed issued a letter to Capital One, the nation’s ninth-largest bank based on deposits, in August asking for answers to numerous queries; the two-page request included questions targeting specific dollar-volumes for various financial market activities by both institutions, especially those related to commercial mortgage-backed securities, foreign-exchange swaps, and derivatives trading. Additionally, regulators are demanding information regarding markets in which either financial entity could be considered a “”market maker,”” while also looking into any exposure to secondary or counter parties adjacent to the transaction.Financial industry analysts have stated that the questions aimed at Capital One set a new precedent in information gathering by the Fed, and many of the requests made of the bank surrounding the acquisition have never before been a part of the Fed’s evaluation of such a transaction. Federal regulators appear to be acting on new standards for acquisition oversight set forth in portions of the Dodd-Frank Act that took effect last year, many of which mandate stricter examination of mergers of all types.[COLUMN_BREAK]As it stands now, Capital One will pay an estimated $9 billion for ING Direct USA, and the acquisition would make the financial institution the fifth-largest bank in the country by deposits, resulting in total assets of $300 billion. Capital One released a company statement indicating that it had responded to the Fed’s inquiries as of early September, and the bank elaborated on scrutiny of regulators, commenting in part, “”We are not engaged in the kind or level of activities that raise the systemic risk issues that the Dodd-Frank Act sought to address.””Federal regulators will initiate public meetings with Capital One in late September to further delve into the transaction, and current concerns surrounding the acquisition include the possibility of excessive risk is such a large bank is formed from the deal and the complex, intertwined nature of the resulting financial institution. The last known transaction conducted with equal intensity by the Fed was the 2008 move that allowed Bank of America to purchase Countrywide Financial Corp.Reaction around the industry has been mixed. Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama), recently said, “”With the banning industry dominated by much larger institutions, claims that a bank with 1 percent of total U.S. banking liabilities would be ‘too-big-to-fail’ seem unreasonable.”” Meanwhile, John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and supporter of the Fed’s scrutiny, said, “”In the past, there was this carte blanche adherence to the notion that bigger s better ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª a riskier financial institution that the taxpayer could be on the hook for.””In banking circles, many have expressed surprise, with Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics Inc., telling the _Wall Street Journal_ that the reaction of the Fed was unexpected since, “”it didn’t put Capital One into any new business line or do anything that rang bells.””Capital One also recently announced that it will attempt to buy “”HSBC Holdings PL””:http://www.hsbc.com/1/2/C; the bank’s plans indicate it will purchase the U.S. credit card business of HSBC for around $2.6 billion. Should Capital One secure and finalize both deals, it will become the seventh-largest bank in the U.S. by assets. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologylast_img read more

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Mortgage Applications See PostHoliday Drop

first_imgMortgage Applications See Post-Holiday Drop Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination July 16, 2014 459 Views center_img Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Purchase Loans Refinance 2014-07-16 Tory Barringer Mortgage applications reversed course again last week, undoing any gains recorded for the adjusted July 4 week.According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), total mortgage loan application volumes decreased 3.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending July 11.Including adjustments for the Independence Day holiday, volumes had increased 1.9 percent the week prior, interrupting a string of weekly declines that lasted through most of June.Breaking down the overall decline, the refinance component of MBA’s market index fell 0.1 percent week-over-week, putting a dent in the 0.4 percent rise reported at the start of July.Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted measure of purchase applications fell 8 percent week-to-week, dropping to its lowest level since February.The larger drop in the purchase loan index helped lift the refinance share of total applications to 54 percent.Removing adjustments, MBA reported a 16 percent weekly pickup in purchase applications, with total volume rising 20 percent to level out the previous week’s 19 percent drop.Mortgage rates saw a minor increase over the week, inching up to an average 4.33 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate loan. Points also increased, moving up to 0.20 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.last_img read more

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All in a Days Work

first_img August 11, 2017 632 Views Lifetime Achievement Award 2017-08-11 Brianna Gilpin All in a Day’s Work William Glasgow, 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award RecipientA Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony—every industry honors success and accomplishment in its own way, and the mortgage industry is no different. Since 2006, only 14 executives have been selected to receive the Five Star Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors a mortgage industry professional can receive. On September 19, another prestigious name will join its ranks.Those that have been honored can testify as to the personal impact of receiving such an award. “There is no greater compliment to receive than one from your peers. They understand firsthand the trials and tribulations you face in a career and the feeling of accomplishment when you succeed,” said Anthony T. Meola, Consumer Operations Executive at Bank of America and the 2013 recipient.According to Meola, that’s what the Five Star Lifetime Achievement Award encompasses. To him, it’s somewhat of a humbling experience to know that not only have your accomplishments been recognized, but by those whose opinion you value most highly.Recipients are selected by peers, professionals, and past recipients based on leadership, contributions to the industry, and years of service. It’s one way the industry can give back to those that have given so much to preserving the American Dream.Laurie Maggiano, Servicing and Secondary Markets Program Manager at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, recalls receiving her 2011 award during a time when the governments efforts to stem the housing crisis weren’t celebrated, but criticized. “Five Star’s boldness in recognizing the huge impact of the Home Affordable Modification Program on the industry was an incredible validation for me and my team for which I am still grateful,” said Maggiano.On occasion, the Lifetime Achievement Award has produced unintended results upon its recipients. For one in particular, that result was reconsidering retirement. “The award reminded me of all of the challenges this industry still faces and inspired me to extend my career a bit longer and see if I could contribute to meeting those challenges,” said 2016 recipient William Glasgow, SVP and Head of Servicing at HSBC Mortgage. “Aside from the personal gratification I enjoyed by receiving this award, it was an experience that all of my family benefited from as well and will always savor.”The award is about more than just an individual; it is the celebration of success for the entirety of the industry. “I have been blessed to have spent a career in a great industry consisting of many very talented people,” Raymond Barbone, EVP of BankUnited and 2015 recipient said. “I have had the good fortune to work alongside many of them as we have pursued initiatives benefiting consumers, homeownership, and the mortgage industry. I continue to be incredibly thankful and honored that those efforts were recognized through the Lifetime Achievement Award.”Prior to his position as President and CEO of the Five Star Institute*, Ed Delgado was recognized as the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, while he was an executive at Wells Fargo.“It is humbling to look across our great industry and know that the work we do can impact the lives of so many. I’m proud of what we achieved at Wells Fargo and during my tenure at Freddie Mac.” Delgado said. “In many ways, this award represented the efforts of my teammates and not my individual accomplishments”.The 2017 recipient will be announced at the Keys for Life Dinner and Concert at the Five Star Conference and Expo, September 18-20 at the Dallas, Texas Hyatt Regency.To view the full list of past Five Star Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, click here.*The parent company of  MReport and DS Newscenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Sharelast_img read more

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US Luxury Housing Market Prices Stabilize

first_img Buyers Condos homes HOUSING Housing Market Inventory luxury Median Price sales Sellers Single-Family 2018-02-19 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News The luxury residential market remained stable, consistent, and solid in 2017 according to “The Report” a bi-annual analysis of the U.S. luxury market released by Coldwell Banker.The study analyzed median sales prices, number of sales, median sales-price-to-list-price ratios, median days on market, and price per square foot in the top 5 percent and 10 percent of around 50 U.S. luxury markets to determine the top markets for luxury home buyers and sellers as well as trends that are likely to shape the luxury housing market in 2018.In many luxury markets the record-breaking price increase leveled off in 2017 to more historically sustainable rates of growth, the report indicated, with inventory for single-family detached luxury homes rising 30 percent in 2017. However, the report said, the traditional build-up of new luxury listings followed expected historic patterns with the highest inventory available in July and August.While the overall median luxury prices of single-family detached homes decreased slightly to $1.5 million during the year, the median luxury sales price for condos remaining constant at approximately $700,000 in 2017. According to the report, the year also saw a decrease in sales of luxury single-family detached homes in 2017 from the previous year.“Prices leveled off from the record-breaking increases we saw from 2014 to 2016, with the inventory of single-family-detached luxury homes rising 30 percent last year,” said Charlie Young, President, and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.The report also identified “Power Markets,” traditional and second-tier luxury markets in the U.S., based on various indicators such as airport accessibility, ease of doing business, a prestige brand presence, and a housing stock that prioritized privacy, views, and exclusivity.“While luxury real estate in the United States has always been a tale of two coasts, we were pleased to uncover many up-and-coming luxury hubs across the country, including tech towns like Raleigh-Durham and cultural capitals like Nashville, shaking things up in the luxury market,” Young said.Boca Raton, Florida topped the list of top 5 luxury markets for buyers, followed by Miami, Florida; Park City, Utah; Santa Barbara, California; and Scottsdale, Arizona. For sellers though, Denver, Colorado; Nashville Tennessee; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Silicon Valley, California remained the top 5 markets.The report also identified the most and least affordable luxury markets in the U.S. With a median price per square foot of $171 Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina was also the most affordable luxury market for single-family homes, the report said. The most expensive market for luxury homes was the Los Angeles-Beach area with a median price per square foot touching $ 2,044. U.S. Luxury Housing Market Prices Stabilizecenter_img February 19, 2018 653 Views Sharelast_img read more

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The Case for Change

first_img November 13, 2018 634 Views A year following the release of the Safety and Soundness Blueprint by Moelis & Company LLC in June 2017, the company has released an update. Moelis developed the Blueprint as financial advisors to certain non-litigating preferred stockholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Key updates include a call for several actions within the next four years, such as earnings retention, issuance of new GSE common and preferred stock into the capital markets, and secondary offerings of Treasury’s holdings of nearly 80 percent of common stock in the GSEs.“The Safety and Soundness Blueprint ensures that homeownership for middle-class and working-class Americans remain available and affordable,” the update reads. “The fixed rate pre-payable 30-year mortgage would remain the bedrock of U.S. housing finance.”This update comes at the same time as the 10 year anniversary of the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Developments at the GSEs since the original release in 2017 include an increase in the indicative valuation of the Treasury Department’s warrants. Moelis cites lower tax rates from the Tax Cuts and Job Acts of 2017 as well as improved credit performance from Fannie and Freddie as reasons for the increase.Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have now completely repaid the federal government, and returns are currently exceeding the 10 percent annualized rate of return established at the beginning of conservatorship. With the government repaid, it may be close to time to end conservatorship, as the FHFA has also developed and released its newest post-conservatorship regulatory capital framework for Fannie and Freddie.Said Moelis in a release: ““The original Safety and Soundness Blueprint laid out the means and process by which to rebuild capital at Fannie and Freddie as shareholder‐owned single‐purpose insurers, refocused on their core conventional mortgage guarantee business, de-levered, and held to the highest regulatory and capital standards. One year later, on the 10 year anniversary of Fannie and Freddie being placed in conservatorship, the Safety and Soundness Blueprint continues to provide the only mathematically credible, detailed, and achievable path forward for the GSEs.”Find the full Blueprint for Restoring Safety and Soundness to the GSEs: One Year Later update here. The Case for Change Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac GSE Moelis Mortgages 2018-11-13 Seth Welborncenter_img Share in Daily Dose, Government, News, Secondary Marketlast_img read more

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Save Time in Antarctica – The NEW Antarctic Explor

first_imgSave Time in Antarctica – The NEW Antarctic Explorer ‘Fly & Sail’ itineraries allow travellers to maximise their time in Antarctica with only one sea crossing, perfectly suited to the time-conscious traveller. Antarctic Explorer departs February 2018 with prices starting from US$9,500 per person.The Ultimate Arctic Discovery – The NEW Arctic Complete voyage offers in-depth exploration of Spitsbergen and East Greenland over 24 days. Arctic Complete departs July 2017 and July 2018 with prices starting from AU$14,280 per person.Kimberley Celebrations – In 2017, passengers will have the chance to join Kimberley adventurer Mike Cusack as he returns to the Kimberley Coast to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of his Year in the Wilderness. Kimberley Coast expeditions operate between Broome and Darwin and depart June and July 2017. Prices start from AU$7,990 per person.A-la-carte Ecuador – For a personalised discovery of this South American hot spot, travellers now have the chance to build their own Ecuadorian adventure by choosing from three unique regions including the Amazon rainforest, Andean cloud forests and the Galápagos Islands. The 9-day Galápagos Odyssey cruise departs September 2017 with prices starting from US$7,100 per person. Andean Cloud Forests and Amazon Rainforests segments start from US$2,060 per person, with flexible departure dates. adventureAurora ExpeditionsBrochures 25 years on from its first foray to Antarctica, Aurora Expeditions has launched a new-look 67-page Expedition Guide, to mark the momentous milestone! From its inaugural Antarctic voyage to scuba diving, and now polar snorkelling, the company plans to spend 2017 celebrating this series of travel ‘firsts’, while delivering even more passionate and educational small group adventures across over 15 unique adventures. From Antarctica, the Arctic and Australia’s Kimberley Coast, to Scotland, Ecuador and Patagonia, the Expedition Guideshowcases Aurora’s fantastic range of 2017/18 journeys, including new itinerary options:last_img read more

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US travel ban

first_imgUS travel ban The White House has this morning [Sunday local time] issued an updated travel ban for the USA, effective 18 October 2017. The current travel ban expired on Sunday and the Government has wasted no time drafting a replacement.From 18 October 2017, the US will deny entry to the country to citizens from North Korea, and restrict entry to citizens of Iran, Chad, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia. The Venezuela restrictions apply only to that country’s leaders and their family members.The new restrictions will not affect anyone who already holds a US visa.last_img read more

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