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India, UK to Sign Agreement on Return of Illegal Migrants

first_imgIndia and United Kingdom is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the return of illegal Indian migrants within a month of the identification of their residence status by authorities.The MoU has been timed ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United Kingdom in March. It aims to streamline the process of the return of illegal migrants to India. “The process was not streamlined yet. The British authorities will first identify the illegal migrant, the Indian authorities will be informed and then the verification will be done by police agencies back home,” said a senior official, the Hindu reported.If the British authorities’ claim is found valid, travel documents will then be prepared and the person will be deported back to India, the report added. The time frame set for this process is one month.The United Kingdom has raised the issue of the return of illegal migrants many times with India.In 2016, as many as 2,782 Indians were estimated to be working illegally in different fields in Britain, while the corresponding figures for people from Bangladesh and Pakistan was 3,574 and 3,568, respectively. Indians were thus the third-largest group of illegal immigrants in the country that year, according to estimates based on data from the UK Home Office. The country claims that the figures have increased now. However, Indian agencies have only been able to find 2,000 Indians who are overstaying in the United Kingdom, the report added.The UK migration watch said in December 2017 that the country does not have an agreement with Brazil and India, “both of which are thought to be significant sources of illegal migration to the United Kingdom.”About 200 Indians were arrested between January and June 2017 in the United Kingdom. Operation Magnify involved raids at 253 properties in Leicester and London. These properties were housing individuals who were either overstaying their visa or had entered the country illegally.The Indian government is also seeking to know the United Kingdom’s position in court on extradition of liquor baron Vijay Mallya. Kiren Rijiju, the Indian Minister of State for Home, will lead a delegation to the United Kingdom soon. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will overlap with the court hearing of Mallya’s case. Related ItemsBritainUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

Puma’s Suede Gully Ad Draws Fire From Conservationists

first_imgGlobal sportswear company Puma’s viral video “Suede Gully,” which saw an artistic collaboration of four rappers, four dance crews, street artists and 36 dancers, has run into trouble with Indian conservation activists.The video, which taps into the bubbling street culture of India, was launched to sell the new Puma line of shoes called Suede. It includes scenes showing graffitied walls in old Delhi, street shots of Madurai, a painted staircase in Shillong and a local train in Mumbai. The spray-painted walls of old Delhi have invited the fury of conservationists, who have accused the firm of defacing centuries-old historic structures.“It’s a heritage area. You can’t just go and paint what you like,” Swapna Liddle, the convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), told AFP. “Permanent damage has been done to the carved sandstone, limestone plaster and Lahori bricks. Those who made and approved this advertisement, those who stood by while this was done, are all responsible for this insensitive treatment.”@PUMA https://t.co/sbTkC3KyPP This ad meant painting over buildings from 17th c in Churiwalan in ShahJahanabad #Delhi Do you have any idea what you’ve spoilt? How did you get permission? @PDWKB Thx for highlighting this pic.twitter.com/bbTQ6ckzEy— Rana Safvi رعنا राना (@iamrana) November 12, 2017A Puma spokesperson said that “all necessary permissions were sought,” the Indian Express reported. The murals “capture the grit of Indian streets,” according to Puma’s website.Conservationists, however, maintain that rules to protect heritage sites were largely ignored. Laws to prevent advertising on historic buildings in Delhi are rarely upheld.One of the owners of the buildings that was spray-painted in the video said the decision was his. “This is a private property and the graffiti is making the area look more beautiful. The area is looking better now, it is more lively,” Arun Khandelwal told the Indian Express.The ad has been hailed for its visually stunning features by some in the advertising industry. “This is a piece of content, created on the back of unpeeling sub-cultures and marrying that with a distinct brand point of view and then bringing it alive through rich and varied collaborations,” Bikram Bindra, the vice president and strategic planning head, GREY group Delhi, told the afaqs website. “It is edgy, a riot of color and chaos, and very attitudinal,” he added. Related ItemsDelhi heritageIntachPumalast_img read more

Property Management Firms Seek to Help NRIs With India Houses

first_imgReal estate is one of the popular investments for NRIs in India. It is, however, an investment that comes with a catch. Who deals with issues like maintenance, utility and property tax?Propadis, an India and US-based property management service for NRIs, promises to do just that. Started on July 5 last year, the firm has already acquired 50 properties on board, with a presence in six cities and 10 verified service providers. Propadis follows a B2C model and offers services such as preventive maintenance for increased value of asset, ensuring better quality for tenants, tighter rent collection process and quarterly visits. It aims to help over 30 million NRIs by providing a trusted management service for immovable property in India for an annual fee of $299.How it BeganThe company was founded by three friends, Vinod Poddar, Shantanu Dev and Prasanth R Bhat, after US-based Poddar found himself in a fix as he had to pay quarterly maintenance for his apartment in Mumbai. His bank account was locked for certain documentation and his US credit card was declined.“The only option I had left was to call my father, who is over 70 years, my cousin and everyone I know, and also call the person up who does the maintenance work, all in IST timing,” Poddar told YourStory.com, a website that covers startups.He soon found that his problem was not uncommon. When he started talking to his friends in the US, he discovered that a relative or a friend back in India was usually summoned to manage the process. In worst cases, one of the family members had to visit India to sort things out.Poddar wondered if “a happy event like buying or owning a property in India really become a nail-biting, teeth-grinding occasion”, according to the website.Property Management FirmsThe problems faced by most NRIs have spurred the demand for property management firms. “Despite having a lot of relatives, friends in Chennai, we were unable to get basics done because everyone is so busy these days,” Prasad Rao, a software consultant from SouthLake, Texas, had told the Times of India earlier. “Once, the electricity connection in our flat was disconnected. But with a property manager, we were able to get a lot of work done and at very affordable rates.”Propdial, an end-to-end property management service for NRIs, also caters to this need. Propdial was launched in April 2016 to save NRI property owners time, says founder Vinay Prajapati. It spares them from worrying about issues like maintenance, repairs, renting, rent collection, as well as responding to tenant complaints.The MarketThe Indian real estate market is expected to touch $180 billion by 2020, according to India Brand Equity Foundation. The housing sector makes up five to six per cent of country’s GDP.According to Propadis, 80 per cent of NRI property investment is in Bengaluru, Mumbai and the National Capital Region. It is a trend Prajapati noticed as well before he started Propdial.  According to him, thousands of residential properties were lying vacant in metropolitan cities.When it comes to NRIs’ investment in real estate, they frequently rely upon social media sites such as Quora, and see a flood of answers from real estate property management services, such as Fella Homes, Managed Homz and Nestaway. Startups like HomeInspecktor also offer end-to-end home inspection to ascertain the health of any property. These property managers look after everything from plumbing, rent collection from tenants, commercial property rent-outs, crediting advances or wiring money to different countries.Other similar startups like Portiqo, Konnect Realty and Help at Home also have clients in nearly 20 countries. Related ItemsFella HomesHomeInspecktorLittle IndiaManaged HomzNestawayNRI properties IndiaPrasanth R BhatPropadisProperty management NRIReal estate management NRIShantanu DevVinod Poddarlast_img read more

More Woes for Theresa May Govt: Priti Patel Resigns Over Israel Meetings

first_imgThe Conservative Party in the United Kingdom has given Prime Minister Theresa May a deadline until Christmas to turn around her administration after two recent high-profile exits. After Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s resignation due to a sexual harassment scandal, International Development Secretary Priti Patel bit the dust on Nov. 8 for holding unauthorized meetings in Israel during a personal holiday in August this year.“My actions fell below the standard of transparency and openness I had promoted and advocated,” Patel said while resigning.Patel was a Brexit campaigner but was forced out when it was revealed that she had withheld details of her meetings with Israeli officials. She apologized earlier this week for the conduct. Apart from meeting some organizations, she met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well, without the knowledge of the Foreign Office. She also visited the disputed Golan Heights area and asked her department if aid could be sent to Israeli troops in the territory. The United Kingdom generally balances meetings with officials in Israel with those with Palestinian officials since it recognizes a two-state policy.Priti Patel appears to have breached the Ministerial Code, gone behind the Government’s back, and misled the British public. #PritiPatel pic.twitter.com/BWNam592X3— Kate Osamor (@KateOsamor) November 8, 2017“Now that further details have come to light, it is right that you have decided to resign and adhere to the high standards of transparency and openness that you have advocated,” May’s letter said.The May-led government faces more criticism after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told a Parliamentary Committee that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran for five years for espionage, was teaching journalists there. Her family said she was there on a holiday and there are fears that Johnson’s statement would increase her jail term.Also in hot water is May’s deputy Damian Green, who has been accused of inappropriate behavior and was recently questioned about pornographic material being found on his computer.Despite the attention – rightly – on Priti Patel, we mustn’t also forget Boris Johnson’s catastrophic error in the Iran case, his pathetic qualified apology to a mother in tears at prospect of not seeing her child for more years, and his risk to diplomacy— Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) November 8, 2017Priti Patel needed to go but why given Boris has endangered the life of a British citizen is he still in post? His rank incompetence involves an innocent third party and it simply cannot be allowed to stand. If PM has any bottle he would be given his marching orders tonight.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) November 8, 2017The recent events have cast a negative view on the government and there seems to be a trust deficit from the general public even as the tough Brexit talks continue.“There is cumulative effect and there is a danger for the Prime Minister that she could be perceived as having lost control of events,” an unnamed minister told the Independent. “That is a very difficult thing to regain once that perception is created. This next month to six weeks is make-or-break time. Not just domestically, not just with the EU withdrawal Bill and the Budget, but with the European Council in December and whether we get ‘sufficient progress’ in Brexit talks.” Related ItemsBoris Johnsonconservative partyIndian UK MPsIndian UK parliamentmichael fallonpriti patelPriti Patel controversypriti patel israelPriti Patel resignationPriti Patel resignsTheresa Maylast_img read more

ED Sends Notices to 50 NRIs for Suspicious Activity in Bank Accounts: Report

first_imgAs many as 50 Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have been sent notices by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the last three months over suspicious overseas remittances, according to reports. They have been sent notices under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.The ED is investigating all suspicious overseas remittances and irregular fund movements by NRIs, who have also been told to explain the source of money, and the origin or point of remittance. In some cases, the agency has even ordered them to appear in person.“There are cases where source of earning is unknown, more than permissible amount has been remitted, money has gone into trading of land, while round tripping is suspected in some transactions,” the Economic Times reported, citing an ED official.“Some of the persons who moved money from NRO account to NRE account and subsequently transferred outside India have been called for questioning. Some NRIs have received substantial amounts as ‘gifts’ in their NRO accounts. These inflows have been red-flagged because the maximum a resident can transfer to a non-resident is $250,000 a year,” the report quoted a senior chartered accountant as saying.An NRO or Non-Resident Ordinary account is meant for interest, stock gains, dividends and property sale proceeds. At most, $1 million can be repatriated through an NRO account in a financial year but there are no restrictions on Non-Resident External (NRE) accounts.If money is sent to an NRO account based on fraudulent property or security documents or the NRE account is used to bring money to India that was sent through hawala, it will be considered a violation. A tax practitioner advising 15 NRIs who received the ED notices told the Economic Times that a tax official can only say if taxes were paid on such an amount but not verify the veracity of those. That onus lies with the bank.With multi-million dollar scams emerging in India recently, the government has tried to become stricter about corruption in the banking system. After Kingfisher Airlines’ owner Vijay Mallya, and jewelers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi fled India, the finance ministry is also seeking passport details of those who want more than Rs 50 crore in loans.Diamond trader Nirav Modi, accused in a Rs 11,400 crore scam involving the Punjab National Bank, had changed his status to NRI before the matter surfaced. Related ItemsEnforcement DirectorateFraudNirav Modilast_img read more

British MP Raises Questions Over Police Raids on Sikh Homes

first_imgLabor Party MP from Birmingham Edgbaston, Preet Kaur Gill has raised questions over the raids conducted by West Midlands Police last month on the homes of five Sikhs and has asked for a probe into why details of the raids were leaked to Indian media.Counter-terrorism officers of the West Midlands Police had raided some houses in the United Kingdom on Sept. 18 as part of their investigation into allegations of “extremist activities” and fraud offences by some Sikhs in India. Although no one was arrested, Sikh activists raised concerns and alleged that the Indian government was behind the raids.Gill, the first Sikh to be elected to the British Parliament, said that she has been told that Indian authorities had no role in these searches. In that case, why was the information regarding the five people, whose homes were raided by police, leaked to the Indian media, she asked. She also said there were many questions that were yet to be answered.“We’re trying to establish the facts. We’re trying to establish why in the Indian media you have one story, while here the West Midlands Police have given out very little information but have actually stated to myself that these raids were not conducted as a result of India requesting this to take place. Now the information being put out in the public domain is quite contradictory,” broadcaster BBC quoted her as saying.The details about the raids were published in Indian newspapers right after they happened raising speculation on whether India was involved in the raids.  Gill backed what the raided Sikhs had been saying all along—that there is a link between the raids and the arrest of Jagtar Singh Johal.Johal, from Dumbarton in Scotland, was arrested by Indian police in November last year under allegations of being involved in political violence in Punjab. He is lodged in an Indian jail with no charges framed yet, according to a report.“The fear in the community, when I’ve spoken to many of the organizations, is that because there’s been no charge on Jagtar Singh Johal in India, are these raids to try and build some kind of evidence?” Gill said.BBC also quoted a renowned Sikh-activist, whose home was raided then as saying that the raids were horrible and traumatized him and his family. Related Itemslast_img read more


first_imgMeanwhile, Dutee Chand did not run the individual 100m Meanwhile, Dutee Chand did not run the individual 100m sprint event though her name was in the start list. The organisers entered her name as reserved runner on the condition that she will run if somebody wiwithdraws from the race, it is learnt. PTI PDS KHS ATlast_img

Lalit Modi applies for citizenship Saint Lucia, but why?

first_imgWhy is Lalit Modi trying to change his base? Is it because of changed business situation after Brexit or does he fear for his security in the UK? In what appears to be plan B, he has applied for citizenship for another country.This question has arisen as former chairman of Indian Premier League, who is presently residing in the UK, is moving his base to the Caribbean. He has applied for citizenship of Saint Lucia and wishes to settle down in its capital, Castries.As per Interpol document available with India Today Group, he has applied for citizenship in St Lucia under an investment scheme. Under this scheme an applicant has to invest at least $2.5 lakh to attain citizenship along with his wife and children below the age of 25 years. His application for citizenship is for himself, wife Minalani Modi and children Ruchir and Aliya. The application mentions them as Indian nationals presently residing in the UKWHERE IS SAINT LUCASaint Lucia is a small but beautiful country in the Caribbean Islands and if he gets citizenship of the country, he will be able to travel to at least 100 countries without any visa requirements. Moreover, St. Lucia is considered to be one of the best tax haven as it maintains highest standards of banking secrecy.The cat got out of the bag when Saint Lucia started its verification process. According to the process, before granting citizenship, the country runs a thorough background check on the person applying for its citizenship.advertisementAs per Saint Lucia’s procedures this due diligence or background check is done by its Central Intelligence Unit, which seeks help of the Interpol, which in turn writes to the Central Bureau of Investigation. CBI is the nodal agency for Interpol in India.Now CBI’s Interpol wing is running the background check on him. Though there are no cases against his family members, there are criminal proceedings pending against him. There is a registered case against him with the Chennai Police and PMLA case against him with Enforcement Directorate.RED CORNER NOTICE AGAINST LALIT MODIEnforcement Directorate has issued at least three showcause notices to him and even sought non-bailable warrant and permission to initiate his extradition. They have also requested Interpol to issue red corner notice against him. But this this been challenged by his lawyer on the grounds that he is being victimised due to political rivalry.Taking into account these situations, Interpol India is duty bound to report that a number of criminal proceedings are pending against him. However, sources say Lalit Modi enjoys political clout in Saint Lucia and is very well connected with the top leaders there. Saint Lucia will now have to take a call whether it wishes to grant him citizenship under the present circumstances.Also ReadInterpol questions ED for seventh time over Lalit Modi Lalit Modi case: probe agencies to approach Interpol afreshlast_img read more

2016: Manjit Singh told he is too old to improve. 2018: Manjit wins Asiad gold

first_imgA largely unknown Manjit Singh made headlines on Tuesday as he clinched gold in men’s 800m at the Asian Games 2018. Manjit also led a rare one-two for India as his fancied teammate Jinson Johnson bagged silver.It was India’s only second one-two at the Asian Games as Ranjit Singh and Kulwant Singh had won a gold and a silver at the inaugural edition in New Delhi in 1951.Manjit’s gold was also the first after Charles Borromeo’s feat in the 1982 Asian Games.Manjit was far from being a medal contender in the 800m event but he brought home the third track and field gold for India after shot putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra’s heroics.Asian Games 2018 men’s 800m: Manjit Singh wins gold, Jinson Johnson gets silverHowever, it wasn’t just the tag of underdog that threatened his chances of winning a medal in the event but also the journey he was forced to make to the Games.The Asiad gold was Manjit’s first international medal. He also ran for India in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and finished last. His last national title came in 2013 and that helped him to earn a stipend with ONGC. The organisation in 2016 decided against extending Manjit’s contract as his career stalled, according to ESPN India.WHAT A RUN! WHAT A BRILLIANT RUN!Manjit Singh had to come from the 4th position to win GOLD Medal in last 50 meters.With a timing of 1:46:15 in 800m men’s event, he was simply sensational! Very proud! #KheloIndia #AsianGame2018 #IndiaAtAsianGames pic.twitter.com/mZf6yaCnPOadvertisementRajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) August 28, 2018″On March 31, I was told my sports contract with ONGC would not be renewed,” Manjit told ESPN India. “They told me I wasn’t having any performance of value and that I was too old to improve. No one believed in me then. Very frankly I was depressed.”Asian Games 2018: Manjit Singh proud to win gold for IndiaDetermined to bounce back, Manjit then approached army chief coach Amrish Kumar, who decided to take Manjit under his tutelage.”He was desperate. He said ‘Sir, I don’t have a place to go. Please help me out.’ I had seen him as a junior and I knew he had the talent. Of course he was running very poorly then. Only about 1:52:00,” Kumar said.ASIAN GAMES 2018 FULL COVERAGE | MEDALSManjit then trained with Kumar at the national camp at Ooty, while his father, who is a dairy farmer, bore the expenses for his out-of-job son.The success didn’t follow immediately as he failed to qualify for Asian Championships 2017 and 2018 Commonwealth Games 2018. Manjit then qualified for Asian Games after finishing second at Inter State Athletics Championships in Guwahati.What a sensational run from #ManjitSingh & #JinsonJohnson to win a Gold and Silver Medal respectively for India at the #AsianGames2018 800m mens finals. Well done! pic.twitter.com/DkZ0WhckpqSachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 28, 2018He narrowly qualified for the finals at the Games in Indonesia as the 8th fastest in the heats. But final was for which Manjit waited this long. With 50m to go and three athletes ahead of him, Manjit displayed some unimagined burst off pace. In the process, Manjit also bettered his personal best by 9 seconds as he clocked 1:46:15 to clinch the yellow metal.It was dream come true for Mannjit but he’s not ready to rest on his laurels, just now. His next target is the Olympics gold.”Expected to win a gold. My preparations were good so expected to beat not just Jinson but others too. We are good friends, Jinson is a good athlete. It’s a gift for me and more importantly it’s for my country. I want to win gold in Olympics as well,” Manjit said.last_img read more

Premier League January transfer spending fall for first time since 2012

first_imgPremier League spending in the January transfer window fell for the first time since 2012 after three of the top six clubs decided not to add players to the squad, according to a Deloitte report published on Friday.Thursday’s deadline day spending accounted for 50 million pounds ($65.49 million) — bringing the month’s spending to 180 million pounds.That is less than half of January 2018 spending of 430 million pounds, which included Liverpool signing Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for a world record deal fee for a defender.The top six Premier League clubs – Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United – accounted for 43 per cent of expenditure, lower than January last year when this figure stood at 62 per cent.Tottenham are set to play the entire 2018-19 campaign without recruiting players, having failed to add new faces over the last two transfer windows.Liverpool, United, Everton and Southampton also chose not to sign anyone in January.”With central distributions to clubs now likely to remain around current levels until at least the end of the 2021-22 season, clubs are potentially taking a more long-term view to their transfer strategies,” Tim Bridge, director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said.January spending was at 225 million pounds in 2011 but fell to 60 million pounds in the following year.This year’s biggest transfer move of the January window came from Chelsea, who spent 55 million pounds for Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund.For the first time since 2005, Newcastle United broke their transfer record to sign Paraguayan playmaker Miguel Almiron from Major League Soccer side Atlanta United for 20 million pounds.advertisementWolverhampton Wanderers completed the signing of Atletico Madrid full back Jonny Otto for 15 million pounds after a successful loan spell.Defending champions Manchester City signed Hajduk Split midfielder Ante Palaversa for 7 million pounds and loaned him back to the Croatian side.The Deloitte report also confirmed that clubs in the bottom six of the standings recorded spending of 20 million pounds, compared to 90 million pounds in the same period last year.Also Read | Crystal Palace sign Batshuayi from Chelsea, Leicester bag Tielemans loan dealAlso Read | Manchester United agree fee with Chinese club Shandong for Marouane FellainiAlso Read | Denis Suarez gives us attacking flexibility, says Arsenal manager Unai EmeryAlso Watch:last_img read more

Baker Mayfield Wearing An “In Russ We Trust” Shirt After Oklahoma’s Win

first_imgBaker Mayfield with his hands inside a hand warmer.NORMAN, OK – DECEMBER 3: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners warms up before the game Oklahoma State Cowboys December 3, 2016 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Oklahoma State 38-20 to become Big XII champions. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield paid tribute to another big-time athlete in the state Saturday night.Oklahoma rebounded after a tough loss to Houston last week, shellacking Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, 59-17. The Sooners got the win in front of Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook – who was on-hand wearing a customized Oklahoma jersey.Baker Mayfield, the team’s quarterback, appears to have responded to the support from Westbrook. Mayfield is wearing an “In Russ We Trust” tee shirt for his team’s post-game presser. Check it out:Baker Mayfield shows Westbrook a little love in the postgame with an “In Russ We Trust” shirt pic.twitter.com/rxb2j9Vke1— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 11, 2016Mayfield finished 14-of-20 for 244 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll see if Westbrook responds in the coming days.last_img read more

Hilton’s All Suites Brands Start Strong in a Year to Be Filled With Milestones

first_imgMCLEAN, Va. – Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Home2 Suites by Hilton, collectively making up the All Suites brands by Hilton, had a strong start to 2019, opening 21 properties in the first quarter and remaining on pace to open 130 by the end of the year. Together, the All Suites brands by Hilton have nearly 1,050 open properties and a pipeline of close to 600. This year will also be noteworthy for each brand individually, with Home2 Suites by Hilton having just hit its 300th property milestone and continuing its legacy of strong growth. At the same time, Homewood Suites by Hilton, which has increased in brand value by 99 percent year over year according to Brand Finance’s Hotels 50 2019 annual report, is preparing to celebrate its 30th anniversary while nearing its milestone 500th property. Embassy Suites by Hilton is also getting set for an anniversary, and its 35th year has already been marked by expansion, with new signed deals for properties in the Caribbean and EMEA countries. “We’re excited to celebrate these milestones and anniversaries in a year that’s already been filled with so much achievement, from soaring brand values to growth of our international footprint to making a positive global impact through the expansion of our soap recycling program,” said Dianna Vaughan, global head and senior vice president, All Suites brands by Hilton. “Not only are we delivering for our owners and guests, we’re also championing Hilton’s goal of sending zero soap to landfills and cutting the organization’s environmental footprint in half by 2030 with our recent launch of the Clean The World Challenge.” Brand Achievements and Upcoming Milestones Beyond their success as a category, each individual All Suites brand has achieved impressive wins, from milestone property counts to expansion in international markets. All Suites brands by Hilton: This quarter, the category launched the Clean the World Challenge in partnership with Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton. An expansion of Hilton’s partnership with Clean the World, the brands are challenging hotel owners and Team Members to collect bars of soap left behind by guests to be recycled into 1 million bars of new soap by Global Handwashing Day on October 15. Embassy Suites by Hilton: This year, Embassy Suites by Hilton is celebrating its 35th anniversary. To kick off this milestone year, the brand announced the signing of an exciting new hotel, its debut property in Aruba. The upcoming oceanfront Embassy Suites by Hilton Aruba Resort is scheduled to open in mid-2021 and is part of Hilton’s commitment to growth across the Caribbean. Homewood Suites by Hilton: Homewood Suites by Hilton is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is also quickly approaching its milestone 500th property with a current portfolio of 485 open hotels and over 100 properties in the pipeline. To follow along as the brand celebrates with a 30thanniversary roadshow, use the hashtag #HomewoodSuites30. Home2 Suites by Hilton: This quarter, Home2 Suites by Hilton continued on its path of rapid growth and opened its 300th property, the Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago River North. This property marks not only a milestone number of opened hotels, but also adds to the brand’s growing portfolio of urban properties. Notable Openings In the first quarter of 2019, the All Suites brands by Hilton continued to lead the hospitality industry with innovative strategies and rapid growth, opening several new properties including: Embassy Suites: Embassy Suites by Hilton Plainfield Indianapolis Airport: Conveniently located just minutes from Indianapolis International Airport and the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this property expands the brands footprint in popular leisure destinations. Homewood Suites: Homewood Suites by Hilton Austin Downtown: This property in the heart of Texas’ capital provides easy access to the dining, shopping, and business districts while furthering the brands foothold in major Texas markets. Homewood Suites by Hilton Providence Downtown: Centrally located in Providence’s historic district, the suites in this downtown property feature beautiful river and city skyline views. Home2 Suites: Home2 Suites by Hilton San Antonio Downtown-Riverwalk: This historic adaptive reuse property speaks to the brand’s array of building models while adding to the number of downtown locations in the portfolio. Home2 Suites by Hilton Orlando Near Universal: With a complimentary shuttle service going directly to Universal Orlando Resort™, this property is a convenient choice for resort travelers. Signed Deals The All Suites brands by Hilton grew its pipeline with 37 new signed deals in the first quarter of 2019, bringing the total combined pipeline to nearly 600 pending hotels. Notable signed deals, reflecting the category’s growth both internationally and in key destinations domestically, include the Embassy Suites by Hilton Dubai Business Bay, Homewood Suites by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort, and the Home2 Suites by Hilton Ajax in Canada. About Embassy Suites by Hilton Embassy Suites by Hilton, one of Hilton’s 17 market-leading brands, is dedicated to delivering what matters most to travelers. The full-service, upscale brand offers two-room suites, free made-to-order breakfast and a nightly two-hour reception with complimentary drinks and snacks. Both leisure and business travelers looking for a relaxed, yet sophisticated experience will feel right at home with brand-standard amenities like inviting atriums and complimentary 24-hour business and fitness centers. Embassy Suites by Hilton has 252 hotels with 45 in the pipeline. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard WiFi, and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (select locations), available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors mobile app. For more information, visit www.embassysuites.com or newsroom.hilton.com/embassysuites, and connect with Embassy Suites by Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. About Hilton Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 17 world-class brands comprising more than 5,700 properties with more than 923,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2018 world’s best workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its 100-year history. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, more than 89 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can’t buy, plus enjoy instant benefits, including digital check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. About Home2 Suites by Hilton Home2 Suites by Hilton, one of the fastest-growing brands in Hilton’s history, is a mid-tier, all-suite, award-winning extended-stay hotel concept designed to offer stylish accommodations with flexible guest room configurations and inspired amenities for the cost-conscious guest. With a commitment to environmentally friendly products and hotel operations, Home2 Suites offers complimentary breakfast selections with hundreds of combinations; innovative and customizable guestroom designs; laundry and fitness areas; complimentary WiFi; multiple outdoor spaces; 24-hour business centers; expansive community spaces; and pet-friendly environments. Home2 Suites by Hilton has more than 300 hotels with 447 in the pipeline. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard WiFi, and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (select locations), available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors mobile app. Visit www.home2suites.com or newsroom.hilton.com/home2suites for additional information, or here for franchising opportunities. Connect with Home2 Suites on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. About Homewood Suites by Hilton Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hilton’s upscale, all-suite, extended-stay hotel brand with more than 480 locations in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, is an award-winning leader. The first choice for guests seeking comfortable accommodations when traveling for extended or quick overnight stays, Homewood Suites offers inviting, generous suites featuring separate living and sleeping areas, and fully-equipped kitchens with full-size refrigerators. Additional value-driven essentials include complimentary internet, a daily full hot breakfast, and complimentary evening socials every Monday – Thursday. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard WiFi, and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (select locations), available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors mobile app. Homewood Suites is focused on guest satisfaction and stands behind each stay with its 100% Suite Assurance® guarantee. For more information on the extended-stay advantage, visit www.homewoodsuites.com or newsroom.hilton.com/homewoodsuites, and connect with Homewood Suites on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.last_img read more

SCF Inks USD 260 Mn Loan to Finance Arctic LNG Tanker

first_imgzoom Russia’s largest shipping company SCF Group (PAO Sovcomflot) and its compatriot VTB Bank signed a USD 260 million loan agreement to finance the construction of an Arctic LNG tanker for the Yamal LNG project. The new tanker will be able to carry up to 172,600 cubic metres of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and has an ARC7 enhanced ice class, enabling independent navigation in ice fields of up to 2.1 metres thick.The vessel, scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2017, will have a 45 MW propulsion system.“We are completing the construction of an innovative vessel, which has no analogues in the world to date, and we have concluded a unique transaction to finance this project. This is one of the first such agreements ever signed in Russia, to finance a vessel construction, which is traditionally a very capital-intensive and long-term investment project,” Sovcomflot’s President and CEO, Sergey Frank, said.In May, Sovcomflot reached an agreement with South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) to postpone the delivery of the ARC7 ice-class vessel which was scheduled to join its owner in June 2016.The shipbuilder set the new date at the end of January 2017, postponing the delivery by seven months.SCF and DSME signed the USD 316 million worth agreement for the new tanker in March 2014.Ordered under a USD 5 billion newbuild program for 16 ice-breaking LNG carriers, the new ship is designed to transport LNG from a gas field in the Yamal Peninsula (Yamal LNG), Siberia.last_img read more

Morocco Can Pave the Way for InterGCC Dialogue to Solve Qatar

Rabat – Morocco can help create condition for a dialogue between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to solve the Qatar crisis, Moroccan analyst Mustapha Tossa has said.In an interview with the French edition of Russia Today, Tossa explained that Morocco’s mediation can be backed by efforts from the European Union, which in turn has no interest in seeing GCC destabilized.Morocco’s initiative “might be effective and can contribute in decreasing tensions in a region that is nowadays so unstable that it resembles a gunpowder barrel.” The Kingdom’s endeavors to broker a détente between the GGC sister states reflect the kind of relationships Morocco entertains with these countries and the nature of this unprecedented crisis that saw Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain all decide to sever ties with Qatar for allegedly supporting terrorism and undermining their stability.“I think that the Kingdom of Morocco could not have stayed away from being involved in this crisis which threatens, if not dealt with in time, to undermine the existing rapports de forces in the region”, said Tossa.He went on to explain that Morocco is a “strategic partner” of GCC countries with which the Kingdom has economic, military and security bonds.“Moroccan diplomacy could stand still while the house of its precious allies has caught fire and risks disintegration under pressure caused by cleavages of its members”, he said. “This is why it was expected that King Mohammed VI intervenes to try to calm down the situation and get the members adopt a less belligerent stance and help them overcome their differences.”On Monday King Mohammed VI ordered food supply to be sent to Qatar on which an embargo was imposed by its neighbors. The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that the decision is “in line with the teachings of our religion especially during the month of Ramadan where requites solidarity between Muslim people.”When asked if this gesture could be interpreted by Qatar’s opponent as taking Doha’ side, Tossa responded that the other GCC countries “should not give this action a meaning other what it is truly intended to”.“This gesture affirms the principle of positive neutrality”, explained Tossa. “Qatar will be more inclined to listen to another country that came to its aid in those moments of distress and while it is under pressure than listen to another country which stood silent on what is going on or let itself to be carried away by the current of anger [against Qatar ]”. read more

Local judges in eastern Chad receive UN training to combat impunity

The first training session for 60 people in Abéché will last four weeks and seeks to make up for the lack of professional magistrates in the field of community justice in eastern Chad, where 256,700 Sudanese refugees from the Darfur conflict, 168,000 Chadian IDPs and around 150,000 people in host villages live in close proximity.Overall the scheme, run by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT), aims to train 148 local officials.At the beginning of the month, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that increased banditry, kidnappings of relief workers and attacks on humanitarian compounds in the region were threatening crucial aid for nearly 100,000 people.Ethnic tensions and humanitarian needs in eastern Chad have been exacerbated by the nearly seven-year war in neighbouring Darfur pitting the Sudanese Government and its militia allies against rebels seeking greater autonomy. 10 December 2009The United Nations has started a programme to train local judges in eastern Chad in a bid to end impunity in a strife-torn region where conflicts have erupted between refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities. read more

HIV trial results an important step in vaccine development UN says

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said the trial by VaxGen using the AIDSVAX vaccine appears to show a protective effect among non-Caucasian populations, especially African Americans, although sample sizes were small. However, for the majority of the participants, who were Caucasians, the effect of the vaccine was minimal. “These results are promising. The trial provides clear evidence that a vaccine can work,” said Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “However, there is an urgent need for more targeted research to find out why the candidate vaccine only seems to work in certain population sub-groups.” The company stressed that the results announced today only represent findings from an initial analysis. The two UN agencies also stated that an effective vaccine providing widespread protection is still not on the horizon. The AIDSVAX Phase III trial was the first large-scale human trial of an HIV vaccine, with over 5,400 volunteers from the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands, the majority of whom were men who have sex with men. The vaccine used in this trial was designed to reduce susceptibility to infection with HIV subtype B, which is prevalent in the Americas, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. One of the major challenges in HIV vaccine development is to develop one or multiple vaccines effective against all major subtypes of HIV. “Continued HIV vaccine research remains an urgent global need,” said Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO. “We will need many more trials to develop effective HIV vaccines, particularly against the most prevalent HIV sub-types which are having a devastating impact on populations in sub-Saharan Africa.” read more

UN official says Sudan should adhere to womens antidiscrimination treaty

Addressing the opening of the three-week session of the Committee charged with overseeing that pact, Rachel Mayanja pointed out that it had proved to be a powerful tool for women advocating for change in numerous war-ravaged countries.During the current session, the experts will examine reports from Australia, Cambodia, Eritrea, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mali, Thailand, Togo and Venezuela, all parties to the treaty.The Committee will also continue its work under the Optional Protocol to the Convention, which provides for a petition and inquiry procedure regarding violations of the rights of women in States parties to the Convention and the Optional Protocol.The Convention, which currently has 180 States parties, requires them to eliminate discrimination against women in their enjoyment of all rights. Seventy-two of these States are also party to the Optional Protocol that establishes a communications and inquiry procedure, providing a significant incentive to intensify their efforts to eliminate and prevent discrimination against women in law and in practice. read more

Trumps campaign spends 6 million with Trump companies

by Julie Bykowicz And Chad Day, The Associated Press Posted Jun 21, 2016 6:51 am MDT Last Updated Jun 21, 2016 at 3:43 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Trump’s campaign spends $6 million with Trump companies FILE – In this June 17, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in The Woodlands, Texas. The Republican National Convention is a month away, and Donald Trump’s campaign is in freefall: little staff, less money and trailing in the polls. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File) WASHINGTON – Donald Trump is one of the wealthiest people to ever run for president, but his campaign appears to be flat broke. What’s more, fundraising reports show he’s used about $6 million in campaign money to pay his own companies and family members.The billionaire businessman’s financial woes were enough to inspire the mocking Twitter hashtag “TrumpSoPoor” on Tuesday and, far more seriously, give already reluctant donors a fresh batch of reasons to withhold their money.Trump’s campaign expenses are hardly inspiring confidence among people whose money he’s pursuing. The spending includes a $423,000 May payment to Mar-a-Lago, the private club in Florida that serves as his vacation home, and enough Trump-branded bottled water to fill a bathtub.Democratic rival Hillary Clinton ribbed Trump on Tuesday, tweeting to followers: “What is Trump spending his meagre campaign resources on? Why, himself, of course.”A presidential campaign is expensive — about $1 billion in recent years. That money pays for crucial candidate outreach, including costly television advertising and identifying, persuading and getting voters to the polls in November.Trump began this month with $1.3 million in the bank, less campaign cash than many congressional candidates and even behind several of the Republican presidential candidates he defeated. The $3 million he collected in May donations is about one-tenth what Clinton raised.Trump waves off criticism of his fundraising, saying he only began in earnest May 25 despite having become the presumptive nominee weeks earlier. He largely financed his successful primary bid through personal loans but now is leaning heavily on the Republican National Committee for help.“To date, the campaign’s fundraising has been incredible, and we continue to see a tremendous outpouring of support for Mr. Trump and money to the Republican Party,” his campaign said in a statement Tuesday.Both Trump and the party say he can write checks if donations don’t pick up. But there are signs he is taking fundraising more seriously.He made his first emailed pitch for donations on Tuesday, writing that he would match up to $2 million in contributions. “This is the first fundraising email I have ever sent on behalf of my campaign,” Trump wrote. “That’s right. THE FIRST ONE.”That more-engaged approach can’t come too soon for Republican financiers.“There’s a lot of reluctance,” said Spencer Zwick, who was Mitt Romney’s chief fundraiser four years ago. “Some are saying the finance organization is highly disorganized.”Trump’s defenders, including New York donor Anthony Scaramucci, say a major part of his appeal is that he’s a “non-politician” who does things differently.That extends to his propensity to mix business with politics.Finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission detail a campaign unafraid to co-mingle political and business endeavours in an unprecedented way.Wealthy political candidates in the past, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and presidential contender Steve Forbes both walled off their campaigns from the companies bearing their names.Not so for Trump. Through the end of May, his campaign had plowed about $6 million back into Trump corporate products and services, a review of federal filings shows. That’s nearly 10 per cent of his expenditures.There’s nothing illegal about it. Regulations do require companies— even ones owned by the candidate— to charge fair-market value so as not to run afoul of a ban on corporate campaign contributions.They also require some complicated record-keeping.For instance, FEC reports show the campaign making about $400,000 in payments to Trump. But that’s a campaign finance accounting quirk. What’s actually happened is that Trump donated $400,000 in campaign office space and some salaries of company employees who have been working on his presidential bid.Yet Trump’s companies also charge his campaign for goods and services, putting him at risk of appearing to be a self-dealer. That’s why Forbes and Bloomberg avoided the issue altogether, former aides said.“You just never want to have to worry about any blurred lines with personal, corporate, in-kind and contributor money,” said Bill Dal Col, who ran Forbes’ unsuccessful 1996 and 2000 White House campaigns.One more complication: The $46 million worth of loans Trump made to his campaign can be repaid with donor money, even though he insists he won’t do that.The situation has some donors spooked, said Charlie Spies, a Republican elections attorney who has worked with major contributors and was helping Trump opponent Jeb Bush.“Why would donors give money when the first dollars go to help a billionaire buy products from his own company?” Spies asked.The biggest payment to a Trump company is $4.6 million to TAG Air, the holding company of his airplanes.His campaign headquarters is at Trump Tower in New York. The campaign has paid about $520,000 in rent and utilities to Trump Tower Commercial LLC and to Trump Corporation.For events, he often uses his own properties. The campaign paid out $26,000 in January to rent a facility at Trump National Doral, his golf course in Miami. He’d held an event in the gold-accented ballroom there in late October. The campaign spent another $11,000 on Trump’s hotel in Chicago.Even refreshments have a Trump tie.About $5,000 from the campaign went to Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, which offers Virginia wines bearing the bold letters of Trump.Son Eric Trump also factors into another large Trump campaign expense.The campaign has paid about $4.7 million for hats and T-shirts purchased from Ace Specialties. That company is owned by a board member of Eric Trump’s charitable foundation.___Follow Julie Bykowicz and Chad Day on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bykowicz and https://twitter.com/ChadSDay read more

Canadian subsidiary of French defence giant gets 52 billion contract

Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding, leads a tour as workers construct components of the Arctic offshore patrol ships at their facility in Halifax on Friday, March 4, 2016. The Canadian subsidiary of French defence giant Thales has been awarded a multibillion-dollar contract to service Canada’s new fleet of Arctic offshore patrol ships and joint support vessels.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan Canadian subsidiary of French defence giant gets $5.2 billion contract by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 17, 2017 8:38 am MDT Last Updated Aug 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email OTTAWA – The Canadian subsidiary of French defence industry giant Thales has been awarded a multibillion-dollar contract to service Canada’s new fleet of Arctic offshore patrol ships and joint support vessels.The federal government said Thursday Thales Canada, in a joint venture with the company’s Australian arm, will provide in-service support for the vessels under a contract that could total $5.2 billion over 35 years.Acting Procurement Minister Jim Carr announced the awarding of the contract along with parliamentary secretary Steven MacKinnon at news conferences in Halifax and Ottawa.The contract starts with an eight-year, $800-million service period.Carr said it will provide “men and women in our military with the equipment they need to conduct their operations effectively while creating good middle-class jobs for Canadians.”But the Union of National Defence Employees said the government is relying too much on the private sector when it should be doing the ship service work in house.Rear Admiral John Newton said Thursday the Royal Canadian Navy maintains a “fine balance” between in-house capabilities and industry support.“We are constantly migrating our in-house capability very slowly to keep a balance between what industry can provide, readiness of ships when we demand it, international deployments, and what we (the Royal Canadian Navy) can provide with specialized teams and specialized operational equipment, weapons and sensors,” said Newton, commander of Canada’s East Coast navy.“We’ll have a navy that’s ready for operations globally and it’s a good navy that thrives on this kind of relationship.”MacKinnon said the announcement is part of building the capacity for Canadians to do the work in the future.He said Canada has suffered by allowing its shipbuilding capability to deteriorate, and the government is in the process of rebuilding from the floor up.“We are literally, under the shipbuilding strategy, rebuilding an industry,” MacKinnon said in Ottawa. “This contract . . . does bring new capability to Canada. It brings new efficiencies to Canada, it brings experience from across the world.“But at the same time, it’s Canadians doing work on Canadian vessels that were paid for by Canadian tax dollars,” he said. “We’ll be building capabilities benefiting from the experience of our partners from around the world and using that right at home, using Canadians.”Carr said the federal government received four strong bids. Winning bidder Thales Canada will retrofit, maintain and repair the ships, and will also provide training.Officials say Thales will be required to hire subcontractors to complete the work in regions across the country to ensure economic benefits.Work is to be completed in Canada, except when the ships need work overseas.Thales Canada president and CEO Mark Halinaty said the company isn’t yet sure which shipyards will be used to do the maintenance and repair work.“That’s all part of the competitive process that we plan to undertake,” he said.The previous Conservative government originally launched the national shipbuilding strategy in 2010, budgeting $35 billion to rebuild the navy and coast guard fleets while also creating a sustainable shipbuilding industry on both the east and west coasts.Six Arctic patrol vessels are being built by Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, with the first expected next year.Under the contract, Thales is required to subcontract work for ships delivered in the east to companies in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario, whereas work on ships delivered in the west must be completed in the western provinces and territories.John MacLennan, national president of the Union of National Defence Employees, said privatizing repair work puts public sector jobs at risk.He also expressed concerns related to national security and the quality of the workmanship that will be done by subcontractors on the ships.“The quality of work is very important. There is a pride and professionalism in the public service,” MacLennan said.Carr said there will be no job losses because of the contract, estimating it will create or maintain 2,000 jobs over 35 years.He added that everybody involved in the work will have a top security clearance.“We’re fully confident that all the safeguards are in place,” Carr said. “This contract will conform to the highest standards of security for Canada.”— Story by Brett Bundale in Halifax and Terry Pedwell in Ottawa. read more