Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Commercial Real Estate Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Processing Service Providers 2013-03-22 Tory Barringer Real Estate Group Makes Recommendations on CRE Tax Reform March 22, 2013 458 Views Share The “”Real Estate Roundtable””:http://www.rer.org/, a group of leaders representing real estate businesses and trade associations, published a release urging lawmakers to take a pro-growth approach to tax reform that considers the commercial real estate (CRE) sector’s role in the larger economy.[IMAGE]In a letter, the group says a successful restructuring of taxes should recognize “”commercial real estate’s vast economic contributions”” and include appropriate “”transition rules”” to minimize disruptions to real estate and other economic sectors.””The nation’s tax laws need to be revamped to unleash entrepreneurship, investment, capital formation and job creation,”” Roundtable president and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer wrote to Rep. “”Dave Camp””:http://camp.house.gov/ (R-Michigan), chairman of the “”House Ways and Means Committee””:http://waysandmeans.house.gov/. “”But this process poses risk and, therefore, it must be undertaken with great care.””DeBoer’s letter goes on to urge the committee to “”be mindful of how proposed changes in commercial real estate taxation can dramatically affect the health of the U.S. economy, jobs, retirement savings, lending institutions, pension funds, and, of course, local communities.””[COLUMN_BREAK]As an example, DeBoer recalls the 1986 Tax Reform Act on CRE values, financial institutions, and tax bases, which he asserts had a “”destabilizing effect … due largely to significant policy changes that were applied to pre-existing real estate investments.””””It took years for the overall industry to regain its productive footing, and certain aspects of the economy never recovered,”” he wrote.The Roundtable’s letter also called on tax-writers to recognize CRE’s role as a contributor to–and reflection of–the economy, noting that the industry generates as much as 70 percent of tax revenue in many local jurisdictions, helping to pay for public services like education and law enforcement. “”Rational taxation of real estate assets and entities promotes job creation and facilitates sound, environmentally-responsible real estate investment and development, which contributes to strong property values and well-served, livable communities,”” DeBoer explained.The letter suggests a few broad reform guidelines for CRE: First, changes should be relatively simpler (“”at least simpler than today’s system””) and should promote economic growth across all sectors. In addition, real estate should be treated consistently with other types of businesses, and new real estate activities should not be given an advantage over existing ones. Finally, the group urges for reform that assures predictability for long-term investment and provides for a reasonable transition period that minimizes dislocation in real estate markets.The Roundtable also announced it will follow up with more specific comments and recommendations to various tax reform working groups for the Ways and Means Committee. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing
Month: August 2019
FHFA Directs GSEs to Increase Guarantee Fees December 10, 2013 568 Views The “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov (FHFA) has directed “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com and “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com to raise their guarantee fees (g-fees). [IMAGE]The g-fee increase consists of three distinct components. First, the base g-fee–or ongoing g-fee–for all mortgages will increase by 10 basis points. Second, the up-front g-fee grid will be updated to better align pricing with borrowers’ credit risk characteristics.And third, the up-front 25 basis point adverse market fee that has been assessed on all mortgages purchased by the two companies since 2008 is being eliminated except in four states identified as having foreclosure carrying costs that exceed the national average by more than two standard deviations. These states include: New York, Florida, New Jersey, and Connecticut.Based on the GSEs’ loan purchases in Q3 2013, FHFA expects the announced changes to the g-fee structure to produce an overall average g-fee increase of approximately 11 basis points, which represents an average increase of 14 basis points on a typical 30-year mortgage and 4 basis points on a 15-year mortgage.[COLUMN_BREAK] FHFA says these steps will help to contract Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s dominant presence in the marketplace gradually over time in an effort to entice private capital to re-enter the market. The GSEs’ conservator signaled in March that g-fees would continue to increase in 2013 in the interest of furthering FHFA’s strategic plan for the two mortgage financiers. The regulator has raised Fannie and Freddie’s g-fees twice already–first in December 2011 and then again in August 2012, both of which entailed a 10 basis-point increase.””Today’s price changes improve the relationship between g-fees and risk,”” commented Edward J. DeMarco, FHFA’s acting director. “”The new pricing continues the gradual progression towards more market-based prices, closer to the pricing one might expect to see if mortgage credit risk was borne solely by private capital.””With a nod to the American taxpayer for “”providing the capital support that keeps these companies operating,”” DeMarco added that the new structure better protects taxpayers by reducing their credit exposure and offers them greater returns, while encouraging private capital to return to the mortgage market as an eventual surrogate of the GSEs.FHFA called the g-fee changes, including the updates to improve the pricing framework’s sensitivity to risk, “”important steps to enabling Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to deepen and broaden the risk-sharing transactions with private investors they initiated this year.”” In the coming years, FHFA said it expects risk-sharing transactions to cover a growing portion of the GSEs’ new business and the amount of risk transferred to private capital to continue to increase.For loans exchanged for mortgage-backed securities (MBS), the price changes go into effect starting April 1, 2014. For loans sold for cash, the price changes are effective March 1, 2014. Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Edward DeMarco Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac G-fees Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-12-10 Carrie Bay in Secondary Market
Goldman Sachs Pays Big to Settle Fraud Claims in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Share Today, investment banking firm Goldman Sachs finalized a settlement first announced earlier this year, stating that it has agreed to settle federal and state investigations probes concerning the sale of toxic residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) in the time leading up to the financial crisis.Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay a $5.06 billion settlement in regard to its “conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale, and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) between 2005 and 2007,” according to an announcement from the U.S. Justice Department. Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs told MReport, “We are pleased to put these legacy matters behind us. Since the financial crisis, we have taken significant steps to strengthen our culture, reinforce our commitment to our clients, and ensure our governance processes are robust.”In January, Goldman Sachs first stated that it has come to an agreement in principle to resolve the investigation of the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group of the U.S. Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (RMBS Working Group).According to the firm, the agreement will resolve real claims and any allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York and Illinois Attorneys General, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and the Federal Home Loan Banks of Chicago and Seattle, relating to the firm’s securitization, underwriting and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities from 2005 to 2007.”We are pleased to put these legacy matters behind us. Since the financial crisis, we have taken significant steps to strengthen our culture, reinforce our commitment to our clients, and ensure our governance processes are robust,” said Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs.According to the Justice Department, Goldman Sachs is required to pay $2.385 billion in a civil penalty under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). In addition, the investment firm will provide $1.8 billion toward loan forgiveness and financing for affordable housing, which includes relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers, and affected communities. Goldman will also pay $875 million to resolve claims by other federal entities and state claims, in which $575 million will go to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).“This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery. “This $5 billion settlement includes a $1.8 billion commitment to help repair the damage to homeowners and communities that Goldman acknowledges resulted from its conduct, and it makes clear that no institution may inflict this type of harm on investors and the American public without serious consequences.”Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, Head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division added, “Today’s settlement is another example of the department’s resolve to hold accountable those whose illegal conduct resulted in the financial crisis of 2008. Viewed in conjunction with the previous multibillion-dollar recoveries that the department has obtained for similar conduct, this settlement demonstrates the pervasiveness of the banking industry’s fraudulent practices in selling RMBS, and the power of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act as a tool for combatting this type of wrongdoing.”Several large financial institutions have settled with the U.S. Justice Department and state regulatory agencies to resolve claims of mortgage-backed securities fraud: Citigroup for $7 billion in July 2014, JPMorgan Chase for a then-record $13 billion in November 2013, and Bank of America for a record $16.65 billion in August 2014. Goldman’s settlement will mark the fourth-largest RMBS settlement to date.”We are pleased to put these legacy matters behind us. Since the financial crisis, we have taken significant steps to strengthen our culture, reinforce our commitment to our clients, and ensure our governance processes are robust,” Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs told MReport. National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) EVP of Government Affairs and General Counsel, Carrie Hunt, said in response to news that the NCUA will receive $575 million from the January Goldman Sachs Group settlement, bringing NCUA legal recoveries to a total of more than $3 billion.“NAFCU and our members appreciate NCUA’s persistence in seeking recoveries relative to faulty mortgage-backed securities sold to corporate credit unions,” Hunt stated. “We continue to urge the agency to remain steadfast in its legal recovery efforts and to be completely transparent as to how the monies recovered will be returned to credit unions.”In addition to the settlement, Goldman also agreed to be held accountable for the statement of facts, which describes how the firm made “false and misleading representations to prospective investors about the characteristics of the loans it securitized and the ways in which Goldman would protect investors in its RMBS from harm,” the Justice Department stated.Here are the top three statements:Goldman told investors in offering documents that “[l]oans in the securitized pools were originated generally in accordance with the loan originator’s underwriting guidelines,” other than possible situations where “when the originator identified ‘compensating factors’ at the time of origination.” But Goldman has today acknowledged that, “Goldman received information indicating that, for certain loan pools, significant percentages of the loans reviewed did not conform to the representations made to investors about the pools of loans to be securitized.”Specifically, Goldman has now acknowledged that, even when the results of its due diligence on samples of loans from those pools “indicated that the unsampled portions of the pools likely contained additional loans with credit exceptions, Goldman typically did not . . . identify and eliminate any additional loans with credit exceptions.” Goldman has acknowledged that it “failed to do this even when the samples included significant numbers of loans with credit exceptions.”Goldman’s Mortgage Capital Committee, which included senior mortgage department personnel and employees from Goldman’s credit and legal departments, was required to approve every RMBS issued by Goldman. Goldman has now acknowledged that “[t]he Mortgage Capital Committee typically received . . . summaries of Goldman’s due diligence results for certain of the loan pools backing the securitization,” but that “[d]espite the high numbers of loans that Goldman had dropped from the loan pools, the Mortgage Capital Committee approved every RMBS that was presented to it between December 2005 and 2007.” As one example, in early 2007, Goldman approved and issued a subprime RMBS backed by loans originated by New Century Mortgage Corporation, after Goldman’s due diligence process found that one of the loan pools to be securitized included loans originated with “[e]xtremely aggressive underwriting,” and where Goldman dropped 25 percent of the loans from the due diligence sample on that pool without reviewing the unsampled 70 percent of the pool to determine whether those loans had similar problems.Click here to read the full announcement and all of Goldman’s statements of facts. Goldman Sachs Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Settlement RMBS U.S. Justice Department 2016-04-11 Staff Writer April 11, 2016 552 Views
In today’s competitive real estate market, prospective homeowners seem to be experiencing high levels of stress in the home buying process. Mortgage rates continue to fluctuate and inventory is limited in some areas. Buying a home is a stressful and time-consuming process. A recent survey from Owners.com shows that more than seven in 10 potential home buyers are spending an average of one to three hours a day looking for a home online and on the ground.In fact, in a survey of 1,200 people considering the purchase of a home this year recently conducted by Owners.com, 72 percent stated that they expect to experience stress in the process. Many cited financial aspects as the most stressful. The three greatest fears expressed by survey participants were: (1) Fear of losing earnest money deposit (64 percent); (2) Becoming “house poor” (61 percent); and (3) Experiencing a bidding war which would drive up the price (59 percent). For those who are determined to buy a home this year, some are willing to pay more for a home than what they had originally planned. More than half (55 percent) said they were willing to go beyond their budget, and In fact, some stated that they were willing to spend $37,809 more than what they had originally budgeted for a home purchase. Considering these monetary pressures, some consumers are considering real estate models that offer opportunities to cut costs in the transaction. Some said they would be willing to handle the home buying or selling process themselves if they would be charged a lower commission. Approximately 85 percent said they were likely to consider this opportunity if it meant they had access to some of the more complicated transaction services like the appraisal or legal documents. Nearly one-quarter of respondents (23 percent) indicated that they would be motivated to work with a real estate agent or broker who would reward them financially for the work they do on their own.”As home prices and interest rates increase and housing inventory remains low, buying or selling a home is an emotionally charged process for many,” said Steve Udelson, president of Owners.com. “Buying a home is one of the largest purchases most people ever make and it’s exciting to see that consumers are willing to take on some of the work themselves to save money, which can make all the difference in this current market.”This home buyer study was completed online among a random sample of the general U.S. population and an oversample of consumers in the Atlanta and Miami region. A total of 1,289 potential (defined as very or somewhat likely to purchase a home in 2017) home buyers participated. Owners.com is a tech-enabled real estate brokerage that handles all key aspects of the home buying and selling experience on one platform. It provides savings through right-sized commission structures, smart digital tools, and personalized service from local agents. Share Homebuying homeowners 2017-03-22 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination Prospective Homeowners Say Buying a Home is Stressful March 22, 2017 646 Views
The Travel Industry Exhibition Earlybird rates on tickets have been extended to 12 May for The Travel Industry Exhibition & Conference 2017 in Sydney at Luna Park from 20-21 July, and in Melbourne at MCEC from 25-26 July, with savings of up to $100 per ticket, and $675 on five tickets or more.With the theme “Agents of Change”, the conference will inform and inspire delegates to shift the way they think about their business in order to recognise their own value, and increase their customer base. A stellar line up of 25+ speakers from inside and outside the industry will discuss big picture trends, key skills development, latest industry tools and best practice case studies.Highlights include an opening keynote from Zelda la Grange, Presidential Aide to Nelson Mandela. Click here to purchase earlybird conference tickets and to view the program
The Winter Family Getaway by The ReesPackage Inclusions2 night stay for 2 adults and 2 children (up to 12 years) in Executive Lake View Two Bedroom Apartment (2 Bathrooms)Kids Activity Pack (1 per child)In-Room Children’s Movies and popcornBabysitter (3 hours, one evening only)One ‘Taste of the True South’ Degustation dinner for 2 adults (includes food and wine matches)Complimentary late check out up to 12 middayTotal Package $NZ1805.00 New Zealand’s award-winning Rees Hotel in Queenstown has announced its new winter packages for the 2018 season, including a luxury après ski experience.Each package is valid for stays from June to August, 2018 and subject to availability at time of booking. Extra nightscan be added at an additional cost, subject to availability. Prices listed are in NZD and inclusive of GST.Après Ski Escape by The ReesPackage Inclusions3-night stay in Executive Lake View Hotel Room for 2 peopleBreakfast daily for 2 peopleLuxury return airport transfersA bottle of local vintage Surveyor Thomson Pinot Noir on arrivalAprès ski drinks every evening (1 per person) – any beer, wine by the glass or soft drinkOne 6 course degustation dinner for 2 people (food only)Complimentary late check out up to 12 midday$NZ350.00 per person, per night The Ultimate 5-Star Ski Concierge Package For Two by The ReesPackage Inclusions3 night stay for 2 people in Lake View One Bedroom ApartmentDaily breakfast for 2 peopleLuxury transfers (return) to/from Coronet Peak (for one day)Snopro equipment hire (2 days)In-room couples massages for 2 peopleComplimentary late check out up to 12 midday$NZ650.00 per person, per nightTerms & Conditions applyIMAGE: Rees Apartments Rees Hotel
LouisianaSteel Magnolias Ok, so … who HASN’T seen the film, Steel Magnolias? … are you lying?For the uninitiated – here’s a Huff Post piece that’s tantamount to Crib Notes.If you’re a diehard fan you might want to consider these lodgings when in Louisiana … because you can now stay in the home where author Robert Harling lived out Steel Magnolias in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Take a trip down memory lane as the Eatenton family home has been turned into a B&B offering Southern hospitality, and where the décor/exteriors haven’t changed since Robert lived there. You can stay in one of six suites, each named after characters for the film, and decorated to match. A stay in The Steel Magnolia House starts at approximately $250 per night.
0 Comments Share What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ The Arizona Cardinals will head up the hill Friday, beginning their 2011 training camp in Flagstaff.The team will practice on the fields at Northern Arizona University beginning Saturday, July 30. Practices are scheduled to go from 9:05 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. as well as 3:05 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the annual Red & White practice being on August 6th from 11:35 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.See the entire schedule below:Saturday, 7/30/11 3:05-5:00 PMSunday, 7/31/11 3:05-5:05 PMMonday, 8/1/11 9:05-10:30 AM, 3:05-5:05 PMTuesday, 8/2/11 3:05-5:00 PM Wednesday, 8/3/11 9:05-10:30 AM, 3:05-5:00 PM Thursday, 8/4/11 3:05-5:00 PMFriday, 8/5/11 9:05-10:30 AM,3:05-5:15PM Saturday, 8/6/11 11:35 AM-1:20 PM Monday, 8/8/11 3:05-5:00 PM Tuesday, 8/9/11 3:05-5:00 PMSunday, 8/14/11 4:20-5:20 PM Monday, 8/15/11 3:05-5:00 PM Tuesday, 8/16/11 7:05-9:10 PM (Coconino High School)Wednesday, 8/17/11 3:05-5:00 PMMonday, 8/22/11 3:35-5:15 PM Tuesday, 8/23/11 3:05-4:55 PMWednesday, 8/24/11 9:05-10:20 AM 3:05-5:00 PMThursday, 8/25/11 9:05-10:30 AM Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Top Stories Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away
D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Kolb left Sunday’s game with a rib injury and had been questionable for their next game until now. Whisenhunt also said that while he’s not sure if he will play Friday or not, rookie running back Ryan Williams has shown significant signs of improvement.“He played well today. I was very impressed with Ryan. His knee was bothering him a little bit but he pushed through it today,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s what you have to do when you’re going back from one of these injuries. I saw Ryan grown up as a pro a little bit today and that was encouraging.”With Skelton getting the start in Friday’s game, look for Kolb to come off the bench and try to make a better impression than his 1-for-4 night with four yards and an interception on Sunday. Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt had some good news for fans of the quarterback competition, letting reporters know after Tuesday’s practice at Missouri Western State University that he expects Kevin Kolb to be able to play on Friday.“I think he’ll be fine, today he was a little stiff,” Whisenhunt said. “It’s only two days from the game, so I think as we progress he’ll probably do something tomorrow and I expect him to play Friday night.” Comments Share Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Top Stories What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away
0 Comments Share Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away The Cardinals are off to a 4-0 start in 2012, their best start since 1974. Some of that success is due to the play of their starting quarterback Kevin Kolb. He hasn’t been outstanding but he hasn’t lost any games for the team, either. On Tuesday after practice, Kolb talked about building confidence one game at a time.“I’ve reached this confidence level before. Again, I don’t ever want to get too high or too low but the more plays and the more victories you get and the more experiences you go through, it just gives you the confidence that you can handle things.” D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Top Stories Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke It’s been said on more than one occasion that Kolb just needs to “manage the game.” To some, including him, that may seem like a slap in the face or an insult but sometimes the truth hurts. Kolb threw three touchdown passes on Sunday against the Dolphins but also threw two interceptions, nearly giving the game away. Maybe it was Kolb’s confidence that allowed him to step back on the field and help win the game for his team after such a costly mistake.“As a team, that’s the way we approach it. That’s why we didn’t panic when we were down,” said Kolb. “We kept at it and we were able to pull it out because we’d been in that situation before.”So far in 2012, Kolb has 67 completions on 107 attempts with seven touchdowns and only two interceptions. His passer rating of 97.6 is good for ninth-best in the league after Sunday’s overtime win against the Dolphins.Hopefully Kolb’s performance and confidence continue to rise on national TV against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday.
Top Stories If my math is right, releasing Stewart Bradley and William Gay saves about $5.25M of cap space. Cards under cap even before any Kolb move.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) March 1, 2013 This does not necessarily come as a shock, as both players were signed by the previous coaching regime and neither did anything to establish themselves in the desert.Bradley was never able to gain any traction with the team, seeing most of his action on special teams. He finished his Arizona career with 42 tackles over two seasons.And Gay, signed prior to the season, tallied 57 tackles and two interceptions. 0 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The Arizona Cardinals made a couple of cuts Friday in an effort to clear some cap space. The @azcardinals release LB Stewart Bradley and CB William Gay, creating some cap space.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) March 1, 2013 Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
The game being moved to Sunday night gives the Cardinals a franchise-record five prime time appearances in the 2015 regular season, with all coming in a span of eight games. Arizona joins the 2013 Eagles as the only teams in NFL history to be flexed into Sunday’s final game twice in a single season.Heading into Week 14 the Cardinals lead the NFC West with a 10-2 record while the Eagles, at 5-7, are tied for second in the NFC East. The teams met in Week 8 last season, with the Cardinals prevailing 24-20 in Arizona. The NFL apparently cannot get enough of the Arizona Cardinals.The team announced Monday its Dec. 20 road game at the Philadelphia Eagles has been “flexed” into a Sunday night game on NBC. Kickoff, which was originally slated for 11 a.m., will now take place at 6:30 p.m. Arizona time.This is the second time a Cardinals game has been moved from a regular time slot into a prime time one, following the team’s Week 11 home matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Arizona Cardinals free safety Rashad Johnson (26) and Deone Bucannon (36) celebrate their win after an NFL football game as Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) looks on, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardianls won 24-20. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments Share
And, as noted, though he is a free agent Jones will not be going anywhere, according to Arians, who said the day after the season ended that the franchise tag would be used on the player if necessary. For what it’s worth, Jones has maintained his preference is to make his stay in Arizona last more than just one season.While Jones is fifth on the list, he is closely followed by defensive teammate Calais Campbell, who is at No. 8.There’s no other player quite like Campbell, as thoughtful and savvy as he is physically overwhelming at 6-foot-8, 282 pounds. He would make a great “get over the hump” piece for a team looking for a title.Before the season started, many felt like this would be Campbell’s last in Arizona. However, the veteran finished the season with eight sacks — moving him into second on the Cardinals’ all-time sacks leader list — and had a team-best 26 QB pressures to go along with 27 QB hits. Campbell’s production, along with the struggles of first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche, have led some to believe the Cardinals may decide it’s worth keeping the two-time Pro Bowler around, at least if the price is right.For his part, Campbell has always said he would like to stay. 0 Comments Share The final Cardinal to land in the top 25 is safety Tony Jefferson, who came in at No. 23.Was he a product of the Cardinals’ aggressive system? Jefferson can make plays all over the field if he finds a coach who knows how to deploy him.Jefferson really emerged in 2016, with 92 total tackles, two sacks and five passes defensed. One of the team’s better special teams players, too, he was playing under a one-year contract after re-signing as a restricted free agent last offseason.Jefferson has also said he would like to remain in Arizona, but understands that the NFL is a business and he’s not exactly sure what will happen.“But I think the interest between each of us is obviously mutual,” he said. “This is pretty much my home.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The sheer volume of Arizona Cardinals free agents this offseason is no secret, as they have more than 20 players who are unrestricted free agents and another handful who are restricted.Of the 20-plus players who are about to hit the open market, three of them, according to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, are among the top 25 free agents in the entire league.Coming in at No. 5 was linebacker Chandler Jones.After being traded to Arizona, Jones did a better job than his former teammate Patriots Jamie Collins of proving he can thrive in any defensive system. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians already declared the team will retain Jones with the franchise tag if it can’t sign him long-term.Jones, whom the Cardinals acquired in exchange for guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick, notched 11 sacks — giving him consecutive seasons with double-digit sack totals for the first time in his career — along with four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 14 QB pressures and 22 QB hits. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories
Go back to the e-newsletter >Samsung Electronics and AccorHotels Group have announced a partnership to roll out Samsung’s SMART Hospitality Display technology across AccorHotels’ properties spanning 92 countries.“We are excited to partner with AccorHotels to transform the hotel experience and provide our innovative hospitality solutions to even more global consumers,” said Seog-gi Kim, Senior Vice President of the Enterprise Business Team, Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “Our hospitality solutions and industry-leading expertise enable recognised global hoteliers to offer world-class in-room entertainment technology to better differentiate and strengthen their hotel brands in a highly competitive industry.”As the preferred display provider for AccorHotels, Samsung’s UHD displays will be available in guest rooms and common areas, including lobbies, bars and restaurants. This technology upgrade will provide AccorHotels’ onsite staff with all-in-one tools and extended flexibility to deliver a tailored and visually-compelling guest experience.This partnership also enables AccorHotels’ properties, including the Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure and ibis global brands, among others, to have access to an array of intuitive and premium hotel solutions. Among them is Samsung’s LYNK Hospitality Management technology, which creates a more convenient and pleasurable guest experience through home automation. Guests and staff receive greater control over different aspects of hotel and in-room environments, ranging from room lighting and energy use to personal services and workflow management.The two companies announced plans to design and build an experimental hotel in Seoul, South Korea, featuring state-of-the-art technology and multi-point connectivity for a more interactive guest experience.Go back to the e-newsletter >
Go back to the e-newsletterThis June, guests and shoppers at The Peninsula Hong Kong, The Peninsula Shanghai and The Peninsula Beijing can immerse themselves in the art of luxury chic as each hotel presents a celebration of Legendary Artisans. From 1 to 30 June, The Peninsula Hotels’ Arcade is the only place in each city to showcase exclusive collection launches, store animations and culinary collaborations. Guests will also enjoy curated shopping experiences and live demonstrations by the revered artisans that preserve the noble art of luxury.For one month only, The Peninsula Arcade takes shoppers on an ornamented journey into the iconic world of the Legendary Artisans. Customers will gain privileged insights into the enduring passion for excellence that sets apart the world’s most enchanting fashion, jewellery, watch and leather brands. Special showcases go behind the scenes to unveil fascinating stories of the heritage design and peerless craftsmanship of elite brands, together with limited-edition premiers – Ralph Lauren will launch a limited-edition bag and ladies’ watch collection across all three hotels, while Goyard will début an exclusive ‘Peninsula Edition’ luggage collection in Hong Kong.French couture house Chanel will invite guests to discover the brand’s creativity and craftsmanship through the Paris in Rome Métiers d’Art fashion collection, with the latest timepieces demonstrating its watchmaking expertise. An exhibition of the beautiful Graff Butterfly collection will also adorn the hotels throughout June.Fine gastronomy and high fashion also come together in a sumptuous celebration of life’s most refined pleasures. The Peninsula’s own talented artisans, including pastry chefs, maître chocolatiers and dim sum chefs, will prepare special co-branded Afternoon Teas in partnership with Tiffany & Co. Creatively themed gourmet menus with brands including luxury jeweller Harry Winston add fashionable allure to the quintessential pleasure of dining at The Peninsula. Go back to the e-newsletter
Go back to the e-newsletterPassengers travelling to Melbourne will now have another direct flight option with Emirates announcing that flights EK408 and EK409 will begin operating as nonstop services from Dubai from 30 October 2016.Operated by an Emirates B777-300ER aircraft, EK408 will depart Dubai at 3.00am and arrive in Melbourne at 11.20pm. The return flight, EK409, will leave Melbourne at 6.00am and land in Dubai at 1.05pm. The current service from Dubai to Melbourne operates via Kuala Lumpur in both directions. These flight changes will save passengers approximately two and half hours in travel time in each direction when travelling between Dubai and Melbourne on these services.The change to these services will provide passengers with improved one-stop connectivity when travelling from more than 150 destinations on the Emirates network to Melbourne via Dubai.Emirates offers a total of four daily flights from Dubai to Melbourne with codeshare partner Qantas, including three services operated by an A380 aircraft and one flight on an Emirates B777-300ER. With this change, from 30 October 2016, these four daily services will include two daily nonstop flights to Melbourne from Dubai on Emirates and one flight on Qantas aircraft, as well as one daily Emirates flight to Melbourne from Dubai that operates via Singapore.Together, Emirates and Qantas operate 91 flights per week to Australia from Dubai. Of these 91 flights, 77 of these are Emirates services, which operate to and from Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, including six daily A380 flights.From 30 October 2016, passengers travelling to Malaysia will continue to be able travel to the country on Emirates’ three daily flights to Kuala Lumpur from Dubai, two of which operate on Emirates 777-300ER and one an A380. Emirates is currently working with travel agents and tour operators regarding alternative travel plans for passengers booked for travel to Kuala Lumpur on the EK408 or EK409 services after 30 October 2016.Go back to the e-newsletter
Go back to the e-newsletterIn its new 2017 Europe portfolio, Abercrombie & Kent is keenly focused on the experiential, previewing a number of unique options for discerning travellers.The new compendium contains over 37 itineraries and extensions for travellers seeking to explore Europe in luxury, with their own private guides at each stop or as part of one of A&K’s Hosted Small Group Journeys, with signature A&K service throughout.A&K Managing Director Sujata Raman comments, “A&K’s business to Europe continues to go from strength to strength, with a significant increase in sales year on year. In response we’ve expanded our product range to include a new selection of carefully curated private and small group journeys, such as an intimate exploration of Puglia, Italy’s food bowl, and a journey through France’s famed Champagne region.“We have also introduced, not one, but two, new itineraries to Iceland. One of the world’s most exciting destinations, Iceland delivers a major hit of the surreal and the beautiful, with our guests offered up a range of experiences including the stellar theatrics of the northern lights, a helicopter landing next to lava fields, and a drive across the vast expanse of the Langjokull Glacier.”What’s new for 2017?ItalyA new seven-day Highlights of Puglia adventure provides an unparalleled introduction to one of Italy’s most appealing and unspoiled regions, taking in extraordinary Baroque and Renaissance architecture and trulli, Puglia’s distinctive yet simple conically rooved white stone huts, as well as visits to hill-top villages and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Guests will also have a chance to experience Puglia’s rich and bountiful cuisine, with highlights including a dairy farm visit for a chance to taste Puglia’s wines and to learn about its local cheeses.A&K’s Highlights of Puglia journey priced from $6705 per person.FranceFine wine, mouth-watering cuisine and charming villages… A&K’s new four-day Discover Champagne journey provides an excellent introduction to one of the most famous grape-growing regions in the world. Staying in a château in Reims, guests will learn about Champagne and visit one of its most famous champagne houses Moët & Chandon, including an opportunity to sample some of its finest vintages.A&K’s four-day Discover Champagne journey is priced from $4635 per person.IcelandIceland’s spectacular Northern Lights and its incredible landscapes, characterised by dramatic fjords, geothermal lakes, mountains, volcanic craters, geysers and waterfalls, are the focus of two new A&K journeys.A&K’s seven-day Land of Fire & Ice journey is a photographer’s dream, taking in the Golden Circle and a chance to soak in the healing waters of the Blue Lagoon, while A&K’s seven-day Iceland and the Northern Lights journey also offers up a chance to see natural phenomenon, the Northern Lights, plus a visit to World Heritage listed Thingvellir National Park.Guests on both journeys stay in intimate boutique properties, which range from log cabin-style lodges to sophisticated Art Deco city hotels and more. Plus there’s also time to explore the compact and stylish capital, Reykjavik, with a dedicated A&K guide from start to finish.A&K’s Land of Fire & Ice is priced from $10,045 per person.A&K’s seven-day Iceland and the Northern Lights is priced from $10,375 per person.Go back to the e-newsletter
RelatedOpen Skies: new choices for passengers and challenges for HeathrowOpening up new routes to new carriers, the agreements place Heathrow on the front lines.The Sky’s the Limit – the impact of deregulationnegotiators from the European Commission and the United States, reached agreement on a new “Open Skies” policyOpen Skies opens new chapter in transatlantic competitionA historic corner has been turned in transatlantic aviation, with the EU-US Open Skies agreement now operative. Aviation experts have claimed that the imminent arrival of the EU-US open skies agreement will see major benefits for passengers.The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) claimed that further liberalisation of transatlantic flight routes would create further competition, bringing air travellers the benefits of lower fares and a wider choice of carriers.Coming into effect in March, the open skies agreement signed last year will see EU and US airlines granted permission to fly any routes between the two, while allowing American carriers to operate freely between European destinations and EU airlines to fly openly from the US to third party countries.James Fremantle, industry affairs manager at the AUC, said: “When Europe was liberalised the e-market brought in airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair and the air fares dropped dramatically, so hopefully we’ll see a similar thing with the open skies in going to America.”He added that the implementation of Open Skies could go hand in hand with Heathrow Airport expansion, claiming: “This should create a situation where passengers have more flights and more choices.”An open skies agreement was this week confirmed between the United States and Australia, allowing local flag carrier Qantas to profit from a series of popular new US routes.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
Party by the pool With its tasteful wooden décor, La Cave at Wynn Las Vegas is a warm and intimate spot to retire for dinner – but it also boasts a beautiful, tree-lined patio for al fresco dining in the winter sun. The menu is focused on high-quality small plates, with highlights including wagyu steak, Hawaiian snapper and the restaurant’s own take on the Caesar salad. Head this way to see more of the best restaurants in Las Vegas. Turn the fantasy of operating a digger into reality at Dig This, a ‘Heavy Equipment Playground’. After a safety orientation, you’ll be put behind the controls of a giant bulldozer or excavator and encouraged to dig trenches, fling around 1,000-kilogram tyres or even play a game of ‘Bucket Basketball’. And if you shell out a little extra for the ‘Aggression Session’, you’ll be given your very own car to smash up to your heart’s content. It’s a bit like Street Fighter II, but with massive yellow diggers instead of fireballs. Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire. Find flights to Las Vegas Las Vegas has no shortage of megaclubs, and one of the highlights is Omnia at Caesars Palace. This gigantic nightclub covers 7,000 square metres and is centred around an out-of-this-world ceiling sculpture featuring eight massive rings that circle slowly around, looking for all the world like a UFO coming in to land on the writhing crowd below. The Marquee Nightclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, meanwhile, is one of the hottest clubs on the Strip right now, so make sure to get there early or be prepared to queue – or even better, book VIP table. Light at Mandalay Bay Casino & Resort is another top pick, featuring a mix of theatrics and music – where else but Las Vegas could you watch an aerial acrobat perform while listening to the hottest EDM DJs? It’s always summer in Las Vegas! If you want guaranteed sunshine during your holiday, why not experience the non-stop Las Vegas this year? Catch a DJ by the pool, shop in the sunshine, head into the desert in a Hummer or take out some frustration by smashing up a car with a digger in a heavy equipment playground. Take a Hummer to the Hoover Dam Dine outdoors at La Cave Swimming pools are taken to a whole new level in Las Vegas – and swimming is just one of the activities on offer. Numerous resorts boast ‘dayclubs’ with top-notch DJs providing beats while you sunbathe – the Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas is one of the most well-known spots, regularly playing host to DJ David Guetta. Meanwhile, Drai’s Beachclub Nightclub offers panoramic views from the rooftop pool of The Cromwell – and as the name suggests, the party keeps going well into the night. Park MGM is a 3,000-room, $550-million resort that’s due to open in Spring 2018, and in pride of place out front is The Park – a place to promenade among the hundreds of trees and partake in a little al fresco dining. The area has been designed with plenty of shade to provide respite from the heat, and there are unique sculptures dotted all around – like the 12-metre-high ‘Bliss Dance’ statue depicting a woman mid-dance-step, balanced on one foot. Find flights to Las Vegas Eat lunch in a shipping container Stroll around the newly refurbished resort Park MGM Find flights to Las Vegas Let loose in a ‘heavy equipment playground’ Get out in the winter sunshine (Las Vegas still has highs of 18°C in February) and explore the myriad shops and restaurants of Town Square. The open-air shopping complex has more than 100 stores set across 38 hectares, as well as plenty of restaurants to relax in after a long day hitting the shops. The fish tacos at Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant and Bar are a particularly popular lunchtime treat for weary shoppers. Shop in the sun at Town Square Las Vegas In partnership with Visit Las Vegas. Dance until dawn in the Strip’s hottest nightclubs Ready to check out Las Vegas? Find the best flights to Las Vegas now. Big Horn Tours offer trips to see the Hoover Dam in a luxury Hummer H2 proudly painted with the Stars and Stripes. With groups limited to 6 people per vehicle, it’s a much more intimate and personal way to see the sights than piling aboard a tour bus – and the powerful four-wheel-drive Hummers can take you right into the desert. The Hoover Dam itself is an impressively colossal sight – built in the 1930s using around 2.5 million cubic metres of concrete, the dam is so massive that it’s predicted to last for thousands of years. The Downtown Container Park consists of 30 shipping containers and 41 modular cubes that host a variety of boutique shops and eateries. The whole thing is designed with sustainability in mind – the cubes can be easily moved and repurposed as anything from a mobile office to a pop-up shop. There are plenty of odd things to look out for as you shop, too – a giant praying mantis found its way here from the Burning Man festival, and can occasionally be seen to spout flames from its antennae, while nestled in the middle of the complex is a huge children’s treehouse, complete with three slides. RelatedBest value destinations for 2019 With new flight routes launching and some brand new hotels entering their soft opening phase, these five destinations are a bargainous choice for your 2019 travels. From tropical long-haul beauty spots to bustling cities where there’s always something going on, there’s something to suit every type of traveller. Cancun, Mexico…10 reasons you need to visit Las VegasChecking out holidays, hotels and shows in Las Vegas? Here’s a full guide on things to do in the Entertainment Capital of the World, from climbing Red Rocks to cocktails at Caesars Palace.The best hotels in Las Vegas for every budgetCan’t make up your mind on where to stay in Las Vegas? Looking for a cheap hotel or a boutique resort on the Strip? Don’t worry, here’s a range of accommodation options for you to help you pick the best hotel in Las Vegas for your holiday budget.
10 last minute beach holiday bargains 3. Leeds, Yorkshire Search flights to Poznań Search flights to Mallorca RelatedSkint trips: 7 flights for under £70Skint? You shall go on a super sunny European city break with this week’s selection of cheap flights for a spring or summer escape.Your new year escape: sun, scenery, and savings with 2019 new routes Ryanair has announced a whopping 180 new routes for their summer schedule – including a record 23 from London. Jet2 is also upping its game, introducing three new destinations across their full network and expanding services from Britain’s regional airports. There are also some long-haul treats in store from British…10 alternative city breaks for springDust off your hand luggage bag, dig out your sunglasses, winter is nearly over and spring is coming, which means lots of opportunities for last minute city breaks and weekends away. You could be exploring the Republic of Macedonia, admiring modern architecture in Rotterdam or time-travelling in of Bergen. With… Looking for a weekend escape that doesn’t eat up half the weekend getting there? Try these six on for size. They’re all within three hours by train or plane from London. Regular trains to Manchester depart from Euston station, with a journey time of just over two hours. A top spot for weekenders, Manchester is famous for its vibrant nightlife and music scene. During the day there are plenty of interesting neighbourhoods to explore, including Europe’s third largest China Town. Take a stroll through the Northern Quarter – a hipster hotspot packed with vintage and vinyl stores – or pay homage to football greats at Old Trafford. After exploring the old town square with its colourful merchant houses, take a stroll to the Stary Browar, an old brewery complex transformed into a trendy shopping centre. Other attractions include a museum dedicated to the city’s favourite treat, the St Martin’s Croissant –a horseshoe-shaped pastry stuffed with almond and poppy seed paste. Leeds is the perfect strolling city, with cobbled pedestrian streets and the stained-glass arcades of the Victorian Quarter providing an atmospheric backdrop. As well as a wealth of cute shops and hip restaurants, Leeds city centre also boasts 33 craft beer pubs – unsurprising for a city with two centuries of brewing heritage. Check out our app to search for trains Less money on flights = more money for ice cream. Get ready to turn your Insta followers green with envy with these ten wallet-friendly destinations, perfect for a last-minute break. It doesn’t take long to reach Milan, and once you’re in northern Italy’s fashion capital it’s only a quick train ride to Como – as little as 35 minutes. Como is packed with gorgeous Renaissance architecture and offers easy access to the rest of the lakeside destinations, including hilltop Brunate and luxurious Bellagio. Back in the city, there are plenty of al-fresco options in Como’s medieval centre and promenade. Find your favourite terrace and sip negronis as the sun sets. Bellissimo! 6. Manchester, England 4. Mallorca ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map A Mediterranean paradise, the largest of the Balearic Islands is just over two hours by plane from London. Don’t hop on the shuttle to Magaluf – head to the capital, Palma de Mallorca, instead. A complete guide to 20 beautiful Greek islands Bilbao’s charming Casco Viejo (old town) includes gems like the art deco Mercado de la Ribera market, with an intricate stained glass ceiling covering the lanes of local produce. This vibrant city is packed with independent boutiques and cute tapas restaurants serving up chilled vermouth, exactly what you need after a day frolicking on the city’s soft sandy beach. Hire a car for the day and explore the island’s hidden beauty spots such as the quaint town of Valdemossa, the sweeping sea views at Son Morroig and the Es Salt das Freu waterfall. 2. Poznań 1. Bilbao Hop on a train at Kings Cross after work and you’ll be in Leeds a couple of hours later. With more than 16 free museums and galleries to visit – and more listed buildings than any British city outside of London – there’s plenty to keep you occupied even if it rains. Get even more travel goodness straight to your inbox.Sign up 5. Lake Como, Italy Search flights to Bilbao Check out our app to search for trains Want more travel inspiration? We’ve got you covered: The largest city in Basque country is surrounded by lush green mountains rather than golden beaches. Just two hours’ flight from London, Bilbao’s biggest attraction is its Guggenheim museum – designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry. Need help choosing the best Greek islands for couples, family holidays, week-long parties or chilling out on the beach? We got you covered – here’s our guide to the most beautiful Greek islands and how to get there. Search flights to Milan With Friday evening flights available from Luton Airport, and Monday morning flights that’ll get you back by 7:50am, this petite Polish city is easy to squeeze into your schedule.