The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and its affiliates are preparing for big celebrations down under as it marks the 15 year anniversary since establishing the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.Announced last night, the Group said events in Sydney would commence on 28 June with activities in the Hong Kong House and on the streets of Sydney. Among the celebrations include a free display laser show called, the Symphony of Lights between twilight and midnight along with the International Chinese Film Festival at Events Cinema on George St.Keep an eye on e-Travel Blackboard for more information otherwise check out Hong Kong in Australia and New Zealand’s Facebook page for event photos. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
First American Financial Corporation released its July report for the Real House Price Index (RHPI), which measures the change in single-family home prices while taking into account income and interest rates to determine home affordability and home-buying power.According to the report, affordability is down from June to July, 0.4 percent month-over-month and 4.2 percent year-over-year. Real home prices increased 0.6 percent month-over-month, and 10.4 percent year-over-year. Although, according to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, this effect doesn’t translate to all homeowners.“Rising rates and rapid price appreciation driven by the lack of supply caused affordability to decline in July … But, the loss in affordability is only significant to potential first-time buyers,” said Fleming. “Existing homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages benefited from the rising prices with increased equity.”Still, real home prices are still 38.4 percent lower than they were during the housing peak in July 2006, according to the report, and 17.2 percent below the levels experienced at the beginning of 2000.On an unadjusted scale, home prices increased year-over-year 5.8 percent, and stand at 3.4 percent higher than the peak experienced in 2007. Looking forward, Fleming doesn’t see a change in the shallowing affordability trend.“As mortgage rates rise and supply remains constrained, affordability will continue to decline for those seeking to achieve the goal of homeownership,” said Fleming. “Yet, while affordability is lower than a year ago, it remains high by historic standards.”The report accounts for a few reasons why affordability continues to drop, one of which being that inventory continues to be restricted on account because homeowners are afraid to sell their home in the event they cannot find a replacement.For the full report, click here. Share September 27, 2017 703 Views Home Affordability Continues to Decline Home Affordability 2017-09-27 Joey Pizzolato in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News, Origination
Accor Vacation Club has launched a new one-stop travel service and website for Members, in conjunction with I.C.E. Vacations Asia Pacific, to provide a range of travel-based benefit programs for Holiday Ownership (Timeshare) providers, to benefit Members. “We are very excited about our extended partnership with ICE, and welcome them onboard as our new travel service provider,” said Craig Wood, Accor Vacation Club’s ceo. “We’ve enjoyed great feedback for the cruise product they introduced for our Members … [and] expect a similarly positive response to the many other added benefits, discounts and innovative travel options this new arrangement represents for Accor Vacation Club’s 28,500 Australian-based Members.” ICE has expanded its offerings beyond just cruises to provide a full suite of travel agency product for Members as part of its Discover365 program: great value package holidays, including coach toursmore than 140,000 hotel and resorts to choose from worldwidespecial cruise departuresgolfing and wine promotionscompetitive car hiretravel insurance optionshundreds of international and domestic flight dealsAccor Vacation Club Members can transfer their Première Points to Discovery Points in order to redeem and book selected travel product available on the Accor Vacation Club Travel site. Accor Vacation Club
New York, NY — Showcasing the best of the private jet lifestyle, Elite Traveler’s Spring/Summer 2010 Menswear Guide is now online exclusively at Elitetraveler.comFeaturing analysis of trends by Elite Traveler Style Editor Tanya Dukes, the guide includes Asprey, Aquascutum, Bally, Belvest, Brooks Brothers, Bottega Veneta, Brioni, Brunello Cucinelli, Calvin Klein, Canali, Cesare Paciotti, Church’s, Deakin & Francis, Dunhill, Ermenegildo Zegna, Fratelli Rossetti, Gucci, Harrys of London, Hermes, Hugo by Hugo Boss, Paul & Shark, Kiton, Loro Piana, Louis Vuitton, Pringle of Scotland, Ralph Lauren, Santoni and Zilli.To download your complimentary copy of this exclusive guide, please go the following link:http://www.elitetraveler.com/recommendation_detail.html?rid=119&n=new-menswear-guide-springsummer-2010
Categories: Lucido News,Lucido Photos 07Apr Rep. Lucido pays tribute to families of late community leaders Duncan, Weingartz families receive state tributeRep. Lucido with the Duncan familyState Rep. Peter Lucido this week celebrated the lives of two very important residents of the 36th House District.“Richard Duncan was extremely dedicated to his community,” Rep. Lucido said. “A World War II veteran and co-founder of Jerome-Duncan Ford, he was best known for being a founding member and five-time president of Utica Community Schools Foundation for Educational Excellence. For his dedication to the school system, Duncan Elementary School was named in his honor. Richard also served with me as a member of the Kiwanis Club of Shelby. He will be dearly missed by many in our community.”Rep. Lucido presents a tribute to Ray Weingartz’s daughter Angie (Weingartz) Malburg, and his wife Marie WeingartzAnother Kiwanis member was also remembered this week also as Rep. Lucido visited the Kiwanis Club of Utica-Shelby Township to present a tribute to the family of Ray Weingartz, founder of Weingartz Supply, Inc., known for its several retail locations in the Metro Detroit area. He was also a charter member of the Utica Downtown Development Authority.“Not only was Ray a successful businessman, but he was a wonderful person,” Rep. Lucido said. “He was an active parishioner at St. Isidore Catholic Church, served on the Board of Directors for Austin Catholic High School and was active in the Kiwanis Club of Utica-Shelby Township.“It is not every day that you come across people like this. I have no doubt that these to great men will be forever remembered for their service to our community. May they rest in peace.”###
26Apr Wentworth urges Congress to eliminate widows’ tax A resolution introduced by state Rep. Jason Wentworth today urges U.S. Congress to eliminate a federal tax on surviving spouses of retired U.S. military service members.Retired military service members may participate in the Survivor Benefit Program, an optional annuity designed to provide a lifetime of monthly benefits to the surviving spouse of a military member. The annuity payments offset part of the retirement income lost as a result of the service member’s death. The annuity premium is paid by the retired service member through a deduction from their monthly retirement benefit check.The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Program provides a tax-free benefit to the surviving spouses of eligible military service members who died as a result of service-related injuries or diseases.Under federal law, a surviving spouse is punished for having both a paid annuity and earned indemnity benefits. When a surviving spouse of a military retiree is eligible to receive a monthly annuity payment through the Survivor Benefit Program and has been awarded a monthly benefit through the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation program, the retirement annuity is offset dollar-for-dollar by the amount of benefits received because of their service-related death. This offset is commonly referred to throughout the veterans’ community as the “widows’ tax” and can cause $14,580 a year or more in reduced payments to beneficiaries.“The indemnity compensation should be in addition to the retirement annuity rather than in place of it,” said Wentworth, of Clare. “The rationale and qualifications for these two programs are entirely different.“The Survivor Benefit Program is a personal financial decision made by a military retiree to provide financial security to their surviving spouse while the Veterans Affairs indemnity program is an earned benefit awarded following a service-connected death. The government should not take the annuity benefits bought by service members for their families.”Wentworth and other proponents want Congress to ensure that military families receive all of their military survivor benefits and retirement annuities.The legislator invited Melissa Alex, of Bay City, surviving spouse of Staff Sgt. Eugene Alex, to give testimony on the resolution during the House Military and Veterans Affairs Meeting. She is one of 63,000 widows and widowers across the country affected by the tax.“I encourage Michiganders to contact their representatives in Congress and U.S. senators to urge them to vote to eliminate this tax,” Wentworth said.Wentworth’s resolution was adopted after receiving unanimous support from the full House.Melissa Alex, surviving wife of Staff Sgt. Eugene Alex, joins Rep. Jason Wentworth to testify on behalf of House Resolution 50 to the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee today. Categories: Wentworth News
State Rep. Tom Barrett joined his House colleagues in voting to relieve the tax burden on Michigan families and senior citizens.Barrett, of Potterville, said the legislation approved by a bipartisan majority in the House increases personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents and allows additional tax credits for people age 62 and older.“I appreciate the tax relief for Michigan families, and take pride in helping senior citizens keep more of their retirement income,” Barrett said. “I have been a strong advocate of easing the tax hardship on older Michiganders, who were so deeply affected by the pension tax seven years ago, and am very happy they will finally see some of their retirement nest eggs returned to them.”The three-bill package ensures Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming personal exemptions on income taxes after federal tax reforms signed into law last month. The legislation also gradually increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,800 for the 2020 tax year. The legislation ensures taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax will continue to be able to claim exemptions in relation to the Michigan income tax, rather than the federal tax code.House Bills 5420-22 now go to the Senate for consideration.#### 25Jan Rep. Barrett votes for tax relief for Michigan families and seniors Categories: Barrett News,News
Categories: Runestad News State Rep. Jim Runestad of White Lake invites residents to join him for local coffee hours in White Lake, Highland and Milford on Friday, Feb. 9.“Monthly office hours are a great way to meet residents and discuss important issues,” Rep. Runestad said. “Listening to the concerns of people in our communities is one of my top priorities as a state representative.”Coffee hours will take place at the following times and locations:• 8 to 9 a.m. at Leo’s Coney Island, 6845 Highland Road in White Lake;• 10 to 11 a.m. at Colasanti’s Market, 468 S. Milford Road in Highland; and• Noon to 1 p.m. at Bakers of Milford, 2025 S. Milford Road in Milford.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Runestad at 517-373-2616 or via email at JimRunestad@house.mi.gov. 29Jan Local residents can meet with Rep. Runestad on Feb. 9
Categories: Kesto News,Kesto Photos,News,Photos 18Apr Kesto testifies on plan to help victims report crime PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Klint Kesto, chair of the House Law and Justice Commitee, today testified before the panel on his plan to prohibit anyone in a position of authority from preventing an individual from reporting a crime, including criminal sexual conduct. The legislation was submitted in response to the recent Larry Nassar scandal.#####
Russian broadcaster UTH has launched a new music video portal linked to its Muz TV music channel. ClipYou will offer ad-supported on-demand video streaming of music clips from a catalogue of over 33,000 clips from Russian and international music companies including Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music, and EMI.ClipYou will target 11-35 year-olds, with 11-25 year-olds indentified as the core audience. Users will be able to create their own channels. ClipYou also plans to introduce an uploading facility enabling new artists to upload content to the site as well as applications for mobile devices and social networking features.ClipYou will be headed by Andrey Dimitrov, CEO of Muz TV.Dmitry Sergeev, COO of UTH Russia, said: “We are delighted to present our new strategic project ClipYou which ideally fits our portfolio as a logical and timely online addition to the Muz channel. Video advertising market in Russia is rapidly growing and will continue its growth with the increasing demand for this type of advertising and new advertising instruments as well as gradual legalisation of audio and video online content. ClipYou offers a vast collection of music videos and a number of interesting services. It is not just another video hosting but an opportunity to create your own online music TV. We are confident that the portal will be popular with the audience.”UTH, backed by entrepreneur Alisher Usmanov, recently made news when it struck a deal with Disney whereby the latter agreed to take a 49% stake in its other channel Seven in order to use it as a base to launch a free-to-air Disney service in Russia.
TV software engineering and testing company Farncombe has launched a hardware design practice targeting mid-size manufacturers looking for support with digital TV receiver design.David Fields, who has over 10 years’ experience designing set-top boxes and peripheral devices, has joined Farncombe to head up the new practice.“Currently, major receiver manufacturers typically use the chipset vendors’ ‘reference-boards’ – which can be large and require significant investment – based on which they will subsequently produce, in-house, low quantities of ‘intermediate’ smaller prototypes for proof-of-concept and demonstration purposes,” said Fields. “These are then ‘tweaked’ into the required form factor for integration into receiver production lines. But the smaller players often can’t support that ‘intermediate’ step themselves: that’s where Farncombe comes in.”
Deutsche Telekom is adding 15 HD channels to its line-up, taking the total number of HD channels available on the telco’s Entertain TV platform to 45.Next month, DT will add 11 HD channels from public broadcasters ARD and ZDF. ARD’s channels will include Phoenix HD and regional networks WDR HD, NDR HD, BR Süd HD, SWR RP HD and SWR BW HD. Joining them will be ZDF’s 3sat HD, zdf_neo HD, KiKA HD, ZDFinfo HD and zdf.kultur HD.Premium channels ProSieben Fun HD, Sat.1 Emotions HD, Kabel1 Classics HD and Glitz HD will be added to Entertain’s Premium HD package.
Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, is one of a group of shareholders set to invest €5 million in new French digital-terrestrial TV channel Numéro 23, according to a report in Le Point.LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton boss Arnault will invest in the channel, formerly known as TVous la Diversité, alongside Casino group, Iliad Telecom boss Xavier Niel, Jacques-Antoine Granjon and Jacques Veyrat, according to the report. Channel boss Pascal Houzelot will retain a majority stake in the venture.Numéro 23 was one of six new channels to be granted a licence by regulator the CSA, with a mission to represent the diversity of French society.Arnault was most recently in the news following his move to gain Belgian citizenship, leading to accusations that he wanted to use this to gain exemption from French taxes as a Belgian domiciled in Monaco. Arnault said he intended to continue paying taxes in France and that his reasons for seeking Belgian citizenship were purely personal. It was announced at the end of last week that Arnault is to receive an honorary knighthood in the UK for services to business and the wider community.
French service provider Iliad Telecom had 5.257 million, up from 5.147 million at the end of June, boosted by its Freebox Révolution offering. Iliad’s Free brand had 5.027 million customers, up from 4.885 million, including 18,000 migrations from the Alice brand acquired by Iliad from Telecom Italia.Fixed line revenues amounted to €584 million for the quarter, up 9% year-on-year.Iliad saw strong mobile growth based on its low-cost 3G offering. Mobile subscribers numbered 4.405 million at the end of September, up from 3.6 million at the end of June.
UK commercial broadcaster ITV is to launch a new female-focused channel, ITVBe, that will feature lifestyle and reality programming and become the exclusive home of flagship reality show The Only Way is Essex.The channel, which will launch towards the end of the year, will be advertising and sponsorship funded and will be targeted at a younger female audience.Other shows to be aired on the channel include the Real Housewives franchise, Plebs, The Job Lot and Release the Hounds.The channel will complement ITV2, targeted at the 16-34 age group, and will expand the number of free-to-air channels offered by the group to seven.ITV also plans to launch a pay TV channel, ITV Encore, on the BSkyB platform later this year.“ITVBe will be a terrific new addition to our family of channels. It reinforces our plan to maximise audiences and revenues from our broadcasting business. Alongside our recently announced new pay channel ITV Encore, this is another important step forward in our strategy to become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the UK,” said ITV CEO Adam Crozier.“Expanding ITV’s family of channels to introduce a new free-to-air, female skewing channel focusing on entertainment and reality means our viewers will have access to even more great content. We identified an opportunity to develop what is currently part of the ITV2 schedule – reality and non-scripted shows, which are very popular with young women and housewives with kids – into a distinct channel proposition, aimed more squarely at that audience. ITV2 will continue to be the youngest channel in our portfolio, outside of CITV, and the strategy of bringing more scripted series, both acquired and commissioned, will continue apace, alongside panel shows, formats and other young skewing commissions,” said Peter Fincham, director of television.
Lagardère’s Mezzo and Mezzo Live HD classical, jazz and dance music channels have launched in Norway on the Canal Digital Kabel platform.Mezzo broadcast a live concert with Vasily Petrenko, Gautier Capuçon and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra yesterday, after launching on the platform on October 28.Canal Digital Kabel has a base of about 500,000 homes.
German cable operator Primacom was boosted by its acquisition of Deutsche Telekabel in the first half, with a 40% increase in revenues and an EBITDA uplift of over 50%.Primacom posted revenues of €65.9 million for the first half, up 39.7%, while EBITDA was up 54.7% to €27 million.Over 80% of the company’s revenues are now derived from its unified backbone-connected network, Primacom said.Primacom is beginning to reap the rewards of its investment in its network and higher triple-play penetration, according to its management. Digital services saw growth of 38.5% in the first half.Excluding Deutsche Telekabel, Primacom’s revenues were up 6.2% to €50.1 million and EBITDA was up 14.1% to €20 million. IP capable homes were up 47% and blended ARPU rose 6.9% to €16.59.The acquisition of Deutsche Telekabel in March gave the operator access to an additional 270,000 connected homes.Our first half performance underlines the significant progress made by PrimaCom over the past three years, as our investment in our own state-of-the-art IP capable network has transformed our growth trajectory,” said CEO Joachim Grendel.“Creating an integrated Level 3/Level 4 provider is driving growth of higher value triple play services, while ensuring that the business has the technological capability to meet customer needs far into the future. More than 80% of our EBITDA and cash flow now comes from the backbone-connected part of our business a level consistent with that achieved by the two largest players in our market and significantly ahead of other peers. We believe that the quality of our infrastructure represents both an enduring competitive advantage and a significant differentiator for our business.”
LutherBBC Worldwide has struck a raft of deals with digital platforms around the world, shopping 2,300 hours of its content to buyers including Tencent in China, Amazon in Germany and fledgling Israeli SVoD service from telco Cellcom.Cellcom has acquired a drama package including Sherlock, Orphan Black and Luther. Amazon has also picked up BBC Worldwide drama series for its German Prime Instant Video service including Doctor Who and Luther, as well as factual epic Planet Earth and kids series Charlie & Lola.Worldwide has inked its first programming deals with South African SVOD platform Vidi TV, which is run by local media group Times Media Films and has bought a package that includes Luther, Misfits and Torchwood.Another new sales relationship has been forged with South Korean publisher Woongjin, which has bought a selection of kids titles for its streaming service.Also in Asia, China’s Tencent has acquired drama series including Atlantis andOrphan Black. Japan’s Hulu has renewed a programming deal with Worldwide, giving it BBC series including Top Gear, Blue Planet and Life.“We’ve seen a significant increase in sales to digital clients from all over the world, fuelled by new and established customers,” said Paul Dempsey, president global markets, BBC Worldwide.He added: “The notable shift we are seeing towards video streaming and on-demand means viewers are increasingly able to access our content wherever and whenever they want it.”
Casten AlmqvistBonnier Broadcasting has tapped Ericsson to provide the online platform for its under-development C More over-the-top service.The Nordic subscription video-on-demand service, which will include live TV delivered over the web, is due to launch later this year on a number of platforms, including the web, iOS and Android devices.The C More SVOD service will include a mix of sports, local and international drama series, sitcoms and Swedish and international films.Ericsson will provide services including content management and preparation, digital rights management, subscriber management and billing and ad insertion for multiple devices and platforms as part of a new multi-year deal.“In the massive digital transformation we are currently undergoing, we have to become even more user-friendly in everything we do by putting technology in the front seat together with prime local content,” said Casten Almqvist, head of Bonnier Broadcasting and CEO and president of TV4 Group.“We have been working closely with Ericsson for many years and they were the natural choice of partner for the launch of Nordic SVOD service C More.”Ericsson already has a long-standing relationship with Bonnier-owned TV4, having been selected by the Nordic broadcaster in 2009 to manage its end-to-end technical operations as part of a 10-year contract.Bonnier took full control of pay TV company C More last June after buying the 35% of the business it didn’t previously own from Telenor. Bonnier first acquired C More through its TV4 Group Nordic broadcaster arm in 2008 and Telenor has held its 35% share of the company since 2009.
Rupert MurdochRupert Murdoch is soon to step down as CEO of US-based media giant 21st Century Fox, according to sources from a report today.Murdoch will hand over the keys to the company to his son James, CNBC reported cited various unnamed sources close to the media mogul’s family.At 84 years of age, there has been growing speculation that Murdoch had devised a succession plan, with the most likely new boss being one of his children – James, former Network Ten chairman Lachlan and Shine Group founder Elisabeth.An announcement is set to come in the “near term”, according to CNBC, though it is unclear when the reorganisation would take place. The report suggests Murdoch Sr. will remain as executive chairman of Fox, with Lachlan becoming a co-executive chair.Furthermore, Fox co-COO and president Chase Carey will step down from his post and become an advisor. CNBC reported that he was expected to exercise a contract clause that allows him to leave immediately, he will remain in some capacity through 2016.James and Lachlan Murdoch will reportedly work with their father in a “partnership” management group once the changes take place.James Murdoch is currently co-COO of Fox, where he has been praised for his work following his tumultuous stewardship of Fox-controlled UK satcaster Sky, where he and his father became engulfed in the phone hacking scandal at British newspaper subsidiary News International.He will oversee the day-to-day running of the business, while brother Lachlan will take on a broader strategic role.If true, the news puts an end to one of the most-debated questions in world media and positions James Murdoch as among the single most-powerful people in the industry.Fox’s assets include the Fox broadcast network and studio, global networks business Fox International Channels, pan-Asian pay TV broadcaster Star TV and a 29.1% controlling stake in Sky, which now encompasses satellite pay TV wings in the UK, Ireland, Italy and Germany.It also owns 50% of Endemol Shine Group, which was formed this year upon the merger of Fox-owned Shine, Apollo Global Management-owned companies Endemol and Core Media Group.Furthermore, Murdoch Sr. still controls publishing wing News Corp., though this was hived off of the more profitable entertainment business two years ago. News Corp still controls the Murdochs’ 50% stake in Australian pay TV giant Foxtel.