More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa11 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoThe land was initially listed with the mega-mansion at 12 Knightsbridge Pde West, Sovereign Islands.However, marketing agent Amir Mian, principal of Amir Mian Prestige Property Agents, said when it sold in early May that the interstate buyers only wanted the house.“It’s just such a beautiful home, they loved it,” he said when it sold.“They were looking all around the Gold Coast.“There’s a lot of interstate buyers coming here.“The prices are not stable (in Sydney and Melbourne) and they see more stability in South East Queensland, especially the Gold Coast.”The block at no. 14 was then listed separately on the market with a $1.65 million price tag before selling about a month later. MORE NEWS: ‘Showpiece’ trophy home sells in multimillion-dollar deal MORE NEWS: A pool that’s good for your health? Yes please! The block at 14 Knightsbridge Pde West, Sovereign Islands sold for $1.5 million.A VACANT block of land in an exclusive exclave of Paradise Point has changed hands weeks after its neighbouring mega-mansion fetched more than $4 million.The 733sq m site with more than 18m of water frontage on the Sovereign Islands’ Knightsbridge Pde West sold late last month for $1.5 million.It was initially listed with the jaw-dropping five-storey mansion at no. 12, which has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a tiered media room, infinity pool, entertainment wing with rooftop area and a temperature controlled wine cellar that can hold 1300 bottles. The wine cellar is among the mansion’s standout features. It is a 733sq m site and has more than 18m of water frontage. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:58Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:58 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p360p360p216p216pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWhy location is everything in real estate01:59
Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start LOS ANGELES — Temperatures hovered in the mid-40s this week as Chase Utley took batting practice in Boston’s Fenway Park. His pant legs were rolled up to his knees. His calves were uncomfortably bare.Utley went with the same look as he took batting practice and fielded ground balls Sunday prior to Game 5 of the World Series, his last day as a major league player.The back of Utley’s baseball card was completed weeks ago. His final game in a major league game came on Sept. 30 in San Francisco. He struck out against Giants pitcher Steven Okert in his only at-bat. Utley was not included on the Dodgers’ postseason roster for any of their three postseason series, but he continued to travel with the team.Utley, 39, pre-empted any suspense about his future by announcing his retirement in July. After the Dodgers’ season ended Sunday with a 5-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox, Utley took a few minutes to reflect on the end of his career. Yet from the outset, the Dodgers’ trade for Utley was never to be defined by his tangible production at the plate or in the field. The front office wanted a leader in the clubhouse, and by all accounts Utley delivered.To that end, it’s impossible to quantify Utley’s impact on the Dodgers’ three straight NLCS appearances, and their first four World Series wins since 1988.Utley, who starred at Long Beach Poly High and UCLA, came to the Dodgers having lost a World Series too, in 2009. Even to the end, his grasp on the difference between a win and a loss was as strong as anyone’s in a sullen clubhouse Sunday night.“You need a few breaks to go your way,” Utley said. “Obviously you need to have some talent. Some timely pitching and hitting, but you never know once you get to the postseason. Once you get to this stage, seven games, you never know.”Related Articles Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire “It has sunk in,” Utley said. “It’ll probably sink in a little bit more as the days go on, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited about it. I’m not nervous about it. I’m proud of how I’ve handled myself over my career. Those are all things I can look back on.”When Utley arrived in a 2016 trade, he already had a World Series ring on his resumé – won in 2008 with the Philadelphia Phillies.The Dodgers gave him two more chances to win another ring in his final three seasons. Each time, they lost the deciding game of the World Series on their home field.“From my perspective, I wanted them to win for themselves, to experience things I had an opportunity to experience,” Utley said. “There’s no better feeling than being the best team in the world. We fell short again this year, but like I said, those guys should hold their heads high and be proud of what we did this year.”For the record, Utley played 386 regular-season games as a Dodger and another 22 in the playoffs. He batted .232, a shadow of the perennial MVP candidate he was in Philadelphia.
Recent discoveries about the brain and the mind reveal the wonders inside our skulls and pose deep philosophical questions.Switchboard operator: How does your brain keep track of the constant stream of input coming in from the senses without getting lost in the stimuli? Science Daily says you have a switchboard operator called the pulvinar. It “regulates communication between clusters of brain cells as our brain focuses on the people and objects that need our attention.” For instance, when crossing a street, you need to be able to focus on the oncoming bus without worrying about all the other sights and sounds. An orchestra musician needs to focus on his or her part amidst all the rest of the players. A mother wants to hear her daughter’s voice coming off the train amidst all the other voices. “The transmission of behaviorally relevant information between various parts of the brain is tightly synchronized,” the article said. “When we pay attention to important visual information, the pulvinar makes sure that information passing between clusters of neurons is consistent and relevant to our behavior.” This makes it sound like attention is a choice, and the pulvinar is a servant of our choices.Cleaning crew: A whole plumbing system in the brain has been overlooked till now. Like other organs, brains generate garbage that needs to be taken out, but the blood-brain barrier isolates the brain from the rest of the circulatory system, thus protecting it from viruses and microbes. The mystery has been solved, according to National Geographic News. A pump and plumbing system that circulates cerebrospinal fluid was undiscovered before now because opening the skull makes it stop. For this reason, neuroscientists thought cerebrospinal fluid moved by passive diffusion throughout the brain. Now, researchers at University of Rochester Medical Center have found a system that is “on the order of a thousand times faster than diffusion” – a “glymphatic system” as named by Maiken Nedergard. The article describes how it works:Glial cells do this by growing their “feet” around vessels and veins that carry blood, forming a sort of pipe around a pipe. Tiny pores in this outer pipe then suck nutrient-rich cerebrospinal fluid from the blood vessels into channels dense with nerve cells, and pores at other locations pump the fluid out. The process simultaneously carries away the brain’s waste while feeding its cells.Another neuroscientist not involved in the study said this discovery “made his heart sing.” The finding may have implications for brain abnormalities such as Alzheimer’s disease.Memory champs: Speaking of Alzheimer’s disease, why do some people maintain superb memories even to old age? A new study is trying to figure that out, reported Live Science. One initial finding is that the cerebral cortex of these seniors looks just like those of young people. Maybe that’s what should be considered normal. Researchers tend to focus on abnormalities, but “perhaps we could learn just as much by looking at what goes right with the brain.”Brain’s timekeeper: More continues to be learned about the body clock, also known as circadian rhythms. Science Magazine (7 August 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6096 pp. 805-806, DOI: 10.1126/science.1227203) reported how the clock involves proteins, genes and electrical activity in neurons working in a feedback loop. Here’s an excerpt about how the brain clock interacts with the rest of the body:Circadian rhythms pervade all aspects of our physiology and behavior. For example, at night we sleep and our metabolic activity is low, while during the day, we are awake and active, and our metabolism is high. Genes and proteins that underpin the molecular timekeeper of these rhythms have been modeled as a transcription-translation feedback loop (TTFL). This TTflclock is present in cells, tissues, and organs of eurkaryotes, and some of its molecular components are conserved across animal species. In mammals, the master circadian clock is in the brain’s suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus. Individual neurons of the SCN contain the TTflclock, and the coordinated activity of these cell-autonomous oscillators conveys timekeeping signals to the rest of the brain and body.Nutrient supply lines: Before the brain is ready to use, networks of blood vessels need to set up the supply lines. Announcing a new finding, PhysOrg posed the scientific problem:How the intricate network of blood vessels forms within the brain has long fascinated biologists. Though the human brain comprises only 2 percent of body weight it receives up to 15 percent of the cardiac output through this network, or vessel vasculature. The vasculature in the human brain consists of a complex branching network of blood vessels, in total some several hundred miles in length. The network is formed so as to distribute blood efficiently to all brain regions, and abnormalities can lead to various neurological disorders, including strokes, learning difficulties and neurodegeneration. Yet our knowledge of just how the brain vasculature develops remains relatively limited.Using zebrafish embryos, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences were able to observe neurons and blood vessels undergoing a complex interplay involving growing and pruning, “with some 45 percent of early-formed vessel segments pruned during the course of brain development.” The pruning process is “mainly mediated by the expression of Rac1, a protein known to drive migration of the EC cells concerned,” they said.Neural diversity: Not all neurons in the brain are the interchangeable. In Nature, 488 16 Aug 2012, pp. 289–290, doi:10.1038/488289a), Nathaniel Urban and Shreejoy Tripathy commented a new study that shows a lot of specialization between neurons. “Neurons of the same type can show functional differences,” the subtitle said. “It turns out that this diversity is in part the result of the cells’ adaptation to their specific neural networks.” It means that neurons cannot be treated like “interchangeable parts” on a Ford assembly line. “However, neuroanatomists have long marvelled at the snowflake-like diversity apparent in the shapes of individual neurons, even within a cell type,” announcing that “recent analyses have demonstrated that same-class neurons show substantial heterogeneity in their intrinsic properties, although the origin of such diversity is poorly understood.” The new study in by Angelo et al. in the same issue of Nature (488, 16 Aug 2012, pp. 375–378, doi:10.1038/nature11291) provides one example: “physiological variability among mitral cells (a type of neuron in the olfactory system) is at least partly caused by differences in the inputs that they receive.” Imagine what this means if each of your 100 billion neurons is as unique as a snowflake.MRIrony: In an effort to plumb the question of mind-brain coordination, researchers in France used MRI to study subjects faced with statements of irony: “as each key sentence was read, the network activity was greater when the statement was ironic.” They are performing experiments on Theory of Mind (ToM) to examine the physical aspects of known mental activities. “This shows that this network is directly involved in the processes of understanding irony, and, more generally, in the comprehension of language,” they believe. Other possibilities could explain the increased activity, though: by analogy, a TV display might light up more during an action scene, without having any cause-effect relationship with the content of the action. That interpretation might be ironic for the researchers.Baby morals: Do infants have a moral compass? The debate heats up, reported Live Science. New experiments in New Zealand raise questions about a previous Yale study that suggested babies have an innate sense of right and wrong. The Yale researchers dispute the new study, however, while both sides claim flaws in each others’ experimental methods. One thing seems clear, though; apes don’t care much for morality. “When it comes to food, chimps only think of themselves,” PhysOrg reported.Science of the soul: Giulio Tononi has written a historical scientific novel, Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul, that claims the mind is composed in the neurons of the brain. Christoph Koch, reviewing the book in Nature, “marvels at a journey that explains mind–body theory through a fantastical lens,” but is not sure he buys its materialism. Is consciousness a mere epiphenomenon of the physical brain and its interactions? That’s the deep question that “scholars, scientists, doctors and artists from the Enlightenment to the modern era” including “Descartes, Nicolaus Copernicus, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Marcel Proust and … Alan Turing,” actors in Tononi’s story, wrestled with. Claude Shannon, Leibniz, Spinoza and Thomas Nagel (the only living person featured in the book) interact with protagonist Galileo in the plot. In the end, Tononi puts hell in the mind, along with everything else that tugs at human consciousness. “I believe that in the fullness of time, the quantitative framework outlined in Phi will prove to be correct,” Koch states; “Consciousness is tightly linked to complexity and to information, with profound consequences for understanding our place in the evolving Universe.” Koch and Tononi failed to specify whether their own thoughts and opinions could be reduced to a quantitative framework, or whether “understanding our place in the evolving Universe” has any hope of being true given the premises of materialist neuroscience. A little thought (with one’s mind) would suggest that Galileo, Leibniz, and any number of other non-materialist scientists and philosophers would have different opinions about that.Big brain by mutation: Science Daily bombastically announced, “Evolutionary Increase in Size of the Human Brain Explained: Part of a Protein Linked to Rapid Change in Cognitive Ability. Researchers have found what they believe is the key to understanding why the human brain is larger and more complex than that of other animals” Wow, this would almost encourage readers to drink more protein shakes. “Researchers have found what they believe is the key to understanding why the human brain is larger and more complex than that of other animals,” the article continued. Could it be that modifications to a protein named DUF1220 made us what we are today, knowing that “The size and cognitive capacity of the human brain sets us apart”? The researchers at University of Colorado think their magic protein “points to a new way to study the human brain and its dramatic increase in size and ability over what, in evolutionary terms, is a short amount of time.” In short, “The take home message was that brain size may be to a large degree a matter of protein domain dosage.” Funny that no other animal ever hit on that formula.Free will: Early experiments that supposedly showed free will is an illusion (because the brain acts before our consciousness does) have been called into question. New Scientist announced, “Advocates of free will can rest easy, for now. A 30-year-old classic experiment that is often used to argue against free will might have been misinterpreted.” Anil Ananthaswamy wrote that the Libet experiment, that showed electrical potentials 550 milliseconds prior to a subject’s action, has flaws: “Libet argued that our brain has already decided to move well before we have a conscious intention to move.” Aaron Schurger responds, “We argue that what looks like a pre-conscious decision process may not in fact reflect a decision at all. It only looks that way because of the nature of spontaneous brain activity.” Ananthaswamy left the debate open, begging the question whether any of the contestants used their free will to argue their propositions.The wonders of the brain stand in sharp contrast to the simplistic folly of evolutionists who think a mutation to a protein turned Bonzo into Einstein, or who use their minds to say minds don’t really exist. We’ve already shown how this kind of thinking is self-refuting (see 8/15/2012) so no need to belabor the point here. Use your mind rightly to contemplate the gifts you have from your Designer – and resolve to use them wisely. (Pondering the “evolution of wisdom” would not be a good example.) (Visited 40 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Vernon Adams HitOregon is playing Eastern Washington in its season opener tonight. EWU, of course, is the former program of Oregon’s new starting quarterback, graduate transfer Vernon Adams. Eastern Washington linebacker John Kreifels was just ejected from the game for targeting Adams with a cheap shot hit. We can’t definitively say it was intentional, but it was definitely pretty vicious. Oregon QB Vernon Adams takes a late hit and came up wobbly. Went to locker room. Player who hit him was ejected. pic.twitter.com/h2qPFxDcTr— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 6, 2015EWU’s John Kreifels ejected for a hit on Vernon Adams in a slide. VA’s getting checked out by trainers as the boos rain down on Kreifels.— John Blanchette (@JPBlanchette) September 6, 2015Clearly Kreifels isn’t a popular player right now among Oregon fans. Hopefully Adams is okay.
New Delhi: Terming the recent death of a worker at its Jharsuguda plant in Odisha as “unfortunate”, mining major Vedanta Ltd has said that investigation is still on and there was no safety lapse on the part of the company.”We had a very unfortunate accident a couple of weeks back and we are extremely saddened by that…Investigation was still on,” Ajay Kapur, CEO, aluminium and power, Vedanta, told PTI.A worker was found dead at the railway siding area on the plant premises of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd in Jharsuguda a couple of weeks back. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”At Jharsuguda, there was an accident which was unfortunate…I think there was no lapse on account of safety or on account of our focus on safety,” Kapur said.”The fatality actually happened when the electrification of the railway line was going on,” he said and explained that “this man was a lineman (disengages the engine with the wagon) and in that process he made some judgemental calls which led to this accident”. Stating that the company follows global safety standards and the accidents should never happen, he said that the airlines sector, which is regarded as one of the safest industries, “also does get into frequent news but you have to see the percentage”.Vedanta — leading producer of aluminium in India — produced 1.95 million tonnes of the metal in 2018-19. The company has two aluminium smelters. It operates a two million tonnes per annum (MTPA) alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, Odisha.
TORONTO – A woman who accused a Toronto police officer of raping her told his sexual assault trial Monday that she was afraid of being hurt if she didn’t comply with his demands.The woman, who cannot be identified, told Const. Vincenzo Bonazza’s trial the alleged incident took place nearly a decade ago during what was supposed to be a casual encounter at her apartment.“He didn’t take my words, didn’t take my body language,” she said. “I was afraid he was going to hurt me.”Bonazza has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault at the judge-alone trial.Court heard that the woman only reported the incident in 2015, after becoming a police officer herself.“Now I can write that a Toronto cop raped me, no problem, but I couldn’t write that then,” she testified, noting that working on a sexual assault case as an officer made her decide to go forward with her own allegations.The woman told her supervisor about the alleged incident and then contacted Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which examines allegations of sexual assault involving police. Bonazza was charged in 2016.Court heard the woman first met Bonazza in September 2008, while he was in his squad car near her home and she was looking for help dealing with an ex-boyfriend.The woman said she thought she had seen her ex-boyfriend, who had been charged with criminally harassing her, and asked Bonazza to track the licence plate of what she thought was his car. She said Bonazza told her he couldn’t do that.The woman then ran into Bonazza the next day, when he was out on a bicycle patrol, court heard. A day or two later, the officer called her, the woman testified.“I didn’t remember giving him my phone number,” she told the court. But, she testified, the officer said he had sushi for her and wanted to drop it off.The woman thought the situation was strange, but wondered if Bonazza was just making “a kind gesture as a kind police officer,” she said.The two met at her place where he gave her the food and asked to use the washroom, she testified. On the way out, the woman, a former actress, said she noticed a package containing a DVD of a movie she had appeared in.“He said ‘maybe we could watch it together sometime,’” she told court, adding that she thought the officer was making small talk.Bonazza called a day or two later, the woman testified, and asked if she wanted to watch that movie. He also said he wasn’t looking for a romantic relationship, the woman said.The officer came over on Sept. 11, the woman said, and while the pair watched the movie, Bonazza kissed her, then unbuttoned her jeans.“Woah, woah, woah, I don’t do this with anyone who isn’t my boyfriend,” she recalled telling Bonazza.The woman said Bonazza went on to have sex with her without her consent and later forced her to perform oral sex.“This is a police officer, nobody would believe me and he’s trained to fight people,” she said. “I think, ‘it’s going to be worse if I fight this.’”Bonazza’s lawyer, Gary Clewley, focused on inconsistencies in the woman’s previous statements to police and her testimony at a preliminary hearing about her state of undress and other details of the night.Clewley grilled the woman about her memory “flashes” that helped form her testimony.“There are snapshot moments of this event that are clear as day,” the woman said.
I stayed in the Junior Deluxe Suite next to one of the three pools. It offers two comfortable king beds, a living area with a plush leather sofa and chairs, a private bathroom with a hot shower, cable TV, a fridge and AC. It also has an incredible jungle mural covering one of the very large walls, painted by local artist William Montero. The two walls adjoining the jungle mural are made out of glass, allowing for a view of the actual rainforest and creating the effect of being in the jungle while simultaneously enjoying AC. Nice.To be completely immersed in the jungle sans AC, you can go three miles down the road to Manuel Antonio National Park or take a trip out to Finca Braman, the 70-acre Wildlife Sanctuary and Rehab Center that is also run by the Braman family.The animal sanctuary houses 29 monkeys of various species and one kinkajou. Head out early in the morning for a monkey feeding tour, or go later in the day on an unofficial tour funded by donations.The rescue, rehabilitation and sanctuary for animals depend on donations and volunteers, but donations have dropped off in the past four years alongside the decline in the economy. To try and overcome this, the Braman family expanded the volunteer program in early 2012 with the addition of a volunteer center that can house an additional 17 volunteers. At any given time, there are 3–25 volunteers at the center including experienced veterinarians, students, interns, missionaries, service groups, and primate groups.The family is also in the process of moving one of the rescue centers. Previously, the rescue and rehab center had two locations – one by Hotel Mono Azul and the other out at Finca Braman. By March 15, owner Chip Braman hopes to have the center by Hotel Mono Azul completely transferred out to Finca Braman “to save money and to facilitate better coordination and efficiency of the two centers with each one having a different purpose.”The current rescue center has six animals that are being transferred to the new location, where nine new cages and a clinic are being built. When asked what types of animals are rescued, Chip replied “…from snakes to raccoons to sloths to anteaters to birds to anything. If you call upon us, we will probably rescue it.”Going there: Hotel Mono Azul is located in Manuel Antonio – about a 2.5-hour drive from San José. Take Highway 27 towards Jacó, Quepos, and Puntarenas. Take the exit to Jacó (highway 34), which is immediately after the tollbooth following the town of Orotina. Drive past Playa Jacó until you reach the exit for the town of Quepos. Follow the exit to the right. Drive about 2.5 km and then turn right on the last road leading into the town of Quepos. Continue straight through town about 500 meters and follow the road that leads to Manuel Antonio up the mountain. Hotel Mono Azul is about 1.5 km down the mountain road. The office is located next to the restaurant, before the big blue cow.Public buses also run to Quepos and Manuel Antonio. It’s about a 4 hour ride from the Coca Cola terminal in San José to Quepos. You can get off in Quepos and take a taxi the remaining 1.5 km or take the bus all the way to Manuel Antonio National Park. Quepos is closer to Hotel Mono Azul, but be very careful in Quepos at night.Info about Hotel Mono Azul can be found at www.hotelmonoazul.com. Info about tours, the sanctuary and volunteering can be found at www.kidssavingtherainforest.org and www.volunteer4kstr.org. Facebook Comments For groups, families, budget travelers or anyone seeking a relaxing place to revitalize, the Braman family’s Hotel Mono Azul is an attractive alternative to the expensive, resort-style hotels found throughout Manuel Antonio. Hotel Mono Azul is affordable, has an interesting eclectic layout, a laidback, friendly vibe, and a goal to do a greater good.As you drive down the hilly, winding road from Quepos into Manuel Antonio, about four kilometers before Manuel Antonio National Park, you will notice the signature Hotel Mono Azul name spelled out in rocks on the side of the road. Look to the left, look to the right. The hotel surrounds the street with rooms and pools on either side.The 32 units are adorned in several styles, the most basic of which includes a ceiling fan, a private bathroom with a hot shower, free WIFI, and a single, double or queen bed. Deluxe rooms have AC, cable TV, a private bathroom with a hot shower, a patio and a combination of two beds. The Villas and Tower accommodations are spacious with all the previously mentioned amenities, and are designed for larger groups or families. No related posts.
Waldorf Astoria: Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal and Waldorf Astoria Maldives IthaafushiLXR: The Biltmore, Mayfair in London and Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa in AnguillaConrad: Conrad Hangzhou, Conrad Hangzhou Tonglu, Conrad New York Midtown, Conrad Shenyang, Conrad Tianjin and Conrad Washington, DCThis record-breaking year marks the beginning of impressive momentum for Hilton’s luxury category and stems from more than a decade of strategic investments and planning. Following this year’s openings, Hilton’s luxury pipeline includes more than 30 properties, approximately 25 of which are expected to open through 2025.“After more than a decade of honing Hilton’s distinct luxury offerings and investing in key markets around the globe, we are embarking upon a very exciting phase for the category,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “Over the next five years, starting with this year’s openings, we will start to see the positive impact of our efforts, and we are confident that our amazing portfolio of properties will reinvent luxury travel for Hilton – and for the entire industry.”More than a decade in the makingLuxury became a top priority for Hilton when Nassetta took over as President and CEO in 2007 and re-focused the company’s business strategy around organic growth. Hilton leadership mapped out a luxury growth strategy that centered on two priorities: refining the two core luxury brands at the time, Waldorf Astoria and Conrad, to resonate with specific customer needs; and bringing the brands to diversified markets. Last year, Hilton identified a gap among independent luxury hotels and launched LXR, its third luxury brand, to provide customers with a portfolio of distinctive, iconic hotels and resorts – full of character and individuality – that are backed by a world-class commercial engine.“Hilton was among the first to predict that luxury travel was poised to take off across generations and markets in the years to come – and we wanted to be at the forefront of its reinvention,” said Ian Carter, president, global development, architecture, design and construction, Hilton. “Development in the luxury space requires time and resources to do it properly. Our thoughtful and targeted approach has enabled us to grow Hilton’s luxury presence globally – in many cases from the ground up – from new properties to spectacular conversions.”Growing Global DistributionAs part of the enterprise’s organic growth strategy, Hilton’s luxury development team works with strong ownership groups to select markets and tailor the respective brand’s presence. Over the past decade, Hilton and its partners expanded the luxury category’s global presence from 15 to 29 countries and territories, and they are continuing to grow the portfolio with a finely curated pipeline of more than 30 signings that are diverse in regions and market-types.Waldorf Astoria is growing to include more resort destinations, such as Los Cabos, Mexico and the Maldives, and is building a presence in more key urban markets like London (expected to open in 2021), San Francisco (expected to open in 2022) and Miami (expected to open in 2024). The Conrad brand, which has been concentrated in the Asia Pacific region, is gaining traction in other parts of the world, including the U.S. where it recently signed deals in Nashville (expected to open in 2021) and Orlando (expected to open in 2022) and opened a flagship property in Washington, D.C. LXR is gaining speed in a variety of markets with the additions of Anguilla’s world-class Zemi Beach resort and London’s sophisticated Biltmore Mayfair.Hilton and its ownership partners continue to elevate and expand the company’s luxury offerings. The Waldorf Astoria hotels in New York and Las Vegas, as well as the Conrad in Miami, are among Hilton luxury properties undergoing substantial renovations to upgrade design and enhance the on-property experience. In addition, Hilton has increasingly invested in its luxury residential portfolio, which now includes more than 2,800 units across 22 properties.Hilton’s Luxury AdvantageHilton has also made significant investments over the past decade in its commercial services for the luxury category, which have helped to attract new owners and improve performance of existing luxury properties.The category has expanded its bench of talent across corporate and property functions, which has led to the development of best-in-class resources and solutions that drive profits and efficiencies for owners. For example, Hilton has hired experts to innovate its luxury food and beverage, architecture and design, and marketing offerings, as well as doubled its luxury sales team with a focus on group accounts and transient sales, and created a data and analytics function of more than 150 Team Members to further personalize and tailor the guest experience.“Our success truly comes down to our people,” Rinck said. “We continue to hire the best talent in the business who ensure Hilton luxury is competitive in the travel landscape today and tomorrow.”Source = Hilton HiltonHilton CEO: On Track to Open Most Luxury Hotels in Company HistoryHilton (NYSE: HLT) President and CEO Chris Nassetta today announced the company is on track to open more luxury properties in 2019 than in any previous year of its 100-year history, with seven hotels expected to open by year’s end – in addition to four openings earlier this year – across its luxury brands: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts.Hilton’s current and projected luxury openings in 2019, which join the 65 existing luxury properties, include:
Sports streaming service DAZN has teamed up with Discovery on a wide-ranging distribution pact that will see two Eurosport channels made available to DAZN subscribers in Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain.Eurosport 1 HD and Eurosport 2 HD will be made available in the four markets under the deal, which is the latest expansion play for the four-year-old London-headquartered SVOD.The deal comes despite Eurosport’s own OTT service, Eurosport Player, being available widely across Europe, meaning DAZN likely paid a premium for the rights.Discovery’s Eurosport holds exclusive pan-European rights to Grand Slam tennis championships; cycling’s Grand Tours; all FIS World Cup and World Championship winter sport competitions and premium motorsport series’ including Formula E, WTCR and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Eurosport also hosts Olympics coverage in Europe, with all media rights to Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024 across more than 50 markets.Meanwhile, DAZN has exclusively sublicenced 45 Bundesliga matches from Discovery in Germany and Austria, including matches on Friday night, Sunday, Monday and relegation play-off matches from the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons.Eurosport content becomes available on DAZN from 1 August.John Gleasure, chief business development officer at DAZN Group, said: “This is an exciting agreement that brings Eurosport’s incredible sports content to our subscribers, and delivers 45 Bundesliga matches to the DAZN service in Germany and Austria under a two-season exclusive sublicensing agreement.“This deal underlines our commitment to providing the biggest and best sports action to fans in an accessible and affordable way, while rewarding rights holders for integrating their content on our market leading platform. We look forward to developing our partnership with Discovery.”James Gibbons, in his role as head of commercial development for EMEA at Discovery, said: “We are delighted to enter this partnership that expands the distribution of Eurosport’s channels in four European markets. We always look for new partners that help get our brands and content to more fans. In parallel, we will continue to develop and market our all-access multi-sport OTT service – Eurosport Player – for fans who want a deeper experience.”
A local authority is to hear evidence from up to a dozen disabled people later this month as part of an inquiry into serious concerns about the system of assessing eligibility for the government’s new disability benefit.Stoke-on-Trent City Council launched the inquiry after hearing concerns from a local disabled people’s organisation about the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment process.It comes as Disability News Service (DNS) continues its investigation into PIP assessments, which has revealed how assessors working for the outsourcing companies Capita and Atos – most of them nurses – have repeatedly lied, ignored written evidence, and dishonestly reported the results of physical examinations.Duncan Walker, who works for the disabled people’s organisation Disability Solutions West Midlands (DSWM) and is branch secretary for the Unite Community union and a former Stoke city councillor, first brought concerns about the PIP assessment process to the council’s attention late last year.He warned the council that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was accepting “increasingly irrational advice” from assessors for Capita – which carries out PIP assessments on behalf of DWP in the Midlands – and that the assessment process was “some way short of any acceptable standard”.Following his evidence, the council’s adults and neighbourhoods overview and scrutiny committee set up what it calls a “spotlight review” to examine the concerns in more detail.In his submission to the council, Walker said the city was seeing increasing numbers of disabled people being turned down for PIP, with many – including blind residents and those with advanced cancer – being scoring zero points in their assessments (a claimant needs eight points to qualify for the standard rate of the mobility or daily living elements of PIP, and 12 for the enhanced rate).One claimant with stage four lung cancer was given zero points, Walker told the council, with the respiratory section of the report marked “not applicable”.The claimant’s consultant oncologist had written to the tribunal for the claimant’s appeal, but until that point – eight months after the claim began – the specialist had not been approached by DWP or Capita.Another claimant had scored zero points, and again their GP had not been approached for any information, even though they had Parkinson’s disease, dementia and had lost six toes due to diabetes.Their tribunal hearing had been halted after just five minutes and the claimant awarded an enhanced rate of PIP.A new DSWM team set up last September had secured a 100 per cent success rate in tribunals for city residents appealing against PIP and employment and support allowance decisions, at the time Walker’s initial evidence to the council was submitted in November.He told the council that significant numbers of disabled people were being refused PIP following face-to-face assessments, were losing their subsequent mandatory reconsideration – the internal DWP appeal – but were then winning their appeals at an independent tribunal.Among other concerns passed to the committee about the PIP assessment process are that disabled people are being sent as far away as Derby for their assessments; claimants are having to wait months for their mandatory reconsiderations to take place; and that Capita has been failing to seek medical evidence from GPs and consultants.Later this month, on 30 March, the committee will hear evidence from witnesses including at least 10 disabled people who have been through the assessment process and will give evidence in person, advice groups including DSWM and Citizens Advice, local MPs, and a DWP civil servant.Capita has also been asked to send a representative to the evidence session, but has not so far responded to the committee’s requests.Ellen Washington, the committee’s scrutiny officer, said there was a “high” level of concern about the PIP allegations made by Duncan Walker, and she added: “Something has got to be wrong with the assessment.“The committee are quite concerned. That is why they have agreed to do this review.”One of those set to give evidence is Mark Lucas, who in January told DNS that he was taking legal action against DWP over its refusal to allow him to communicate about his PIP claim with its civil servants via email.He said he will provide evidence to the committee of the “emotional abuse” of PIP claimants by assessment providers, and intends to present “a claimant’s perspective of the PIP claim process”.He said: “I welcome the council’s inquiry because it is highlighting the shockingly poor and dishonest service myself and other people with disabilities have had to suffer.“At this stage this is of vital importance when in the last quarter over 11,000 people with disabilities needlessly went through appeals*.“I am hoping the more inquiries and opportunities to highlight the government culture of hatred towards people with disabilities the sooner this will stop.“I am also aware that government change happens slowly. My concern is the number of people with disabilities who will be abused and could die under the current regime.”Lucas wants the committee to back his idea of a new “DWP fraud hotline” that disabled people could call to report concerns if the perpetrator is DWP or one of its contractors.He hopes it would be set up in Stoke and then roll out across the country.Among its benefits, he said, would be providing “peace of mind that someone official has made a record of their complaint”, signposting claimants to services, preventing self-harm, and offering a way to monitor trends and develop strategies to promote wellbeing among disabled claimants.Ruth Smeeth, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove, has already submitted written evidence to the committee.She told DNS: “In recent months my office have been dealing with more and more people who feel they have been wrongly denied the support they need.“I’ve helped a number of constituents who felt harassed and mistreated by Capita during their assessment process.“On several occasions people with severe disabilities have been expected to travel from Stoke-on-Trent to Derby for an assessment, and others have been denied paper-based assessments on seemingly spurious grounds.“I’m deeply concerned that a system that should be supporting disabled people is all too often working against them, and I have written to Stoke-on-Trent City Council to make them aware of the issues my constituents have faced during the assessment process.”The committee hopes to complete its report, and any recommendations – which could include suggestions around funding for organisations supporting PIP claimants – in time to be considered by the council’s cabinet and then presented to the full council before its annual meeting on 18 May.A DWP spokeswoman said: “We’re unable to comment on an ongoing inquiry.“But it goes without saying that we expect the highest standards from the contractors who carry out PIP assessments and work closely with them to continuously improve, and ensure PIP is working in the best way possible.“Claims are now being cleared at over five times the rate they were in January 2014, with around 81,000 a month currently being cleared.“Of the 2.1 million claims for PIP, only seven per cent are appealed and three per cent are overturned.“When a decision is overturned, it is often because the claimant has provided further evidence.”Capita declined to say if it welcomed the council’s review or if it would provide evidence in person to the committee, but a Capita spokeswoman said: “Our assessments are carried out in-line with guidance from the Department for Work and Pensions.”*Tribunal service figures show that more than 11,000 PIP claimants won their tribunal appeals in the third quarter of 2016-17