Earthquake Puerto Rico 2020-01-09 Seth Welborn Print This Post Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Puerto Rico Earthquake: Aftermath and Housing Impact About Author: Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Featured, Investment, News Home / Daily Dose / Puerto Rico Earthquake: Aftermath and Housing Impact Share Save Tagged with: Earthquake Puerto Rico Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Seth Welborn is a Reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Harding University, he has covered numerous topics across the real estate and default servicing industries. Additionally, he has written B2B marketing copy for Dallas-based companies such as AT&T. An East Texas Native, he also works part-time as a photographer. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago On Tuesday, January 7, Puerto Rico was struck by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake south of Indios. Puerto Rico, still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017 when the island felt economic losses exceeding $1 billion in Ponce alone. Following the earthquake, CoreLogic expects the economic loss to be maintained within the $1 billion mark.“I am concerned because Puerto Rico hasn’t yet fully recovered from Hurricane Maria, and many of the homes on the island are designed for hurricanes and floods – they’re basically built on stilts, which makes them very vulnerable to earthquakes,” said Leisha Delgado, Founder & CEO, Hello Solutions. “Our experience from Maria tells us that there will be challenges coordinating assistance efforts, and communicating with people in parts of the island without power, so they may not know how to get aid, or know that help is on its way.”According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), this event has been identified as the main shock event (with 97% probability). A magnitude 5.8 event that struck on January 6 in a similar location is now identified as a foreshock.With Hurricane Maria in mind, much of the damage to homes in Puerto Rico is likely the cumulative effect of damage from different events. While in many cases of earthquakes, the cumulative damage refers to the foreshock, CoreLogic notes that damage is rather from the buildings that were partially damaged from Hurricane Maria in 2017 that have yet to be repaired, causing added uncertainty in loss estimation.CoreLogic also notes that there is uncertainty from the effect of demand surge, where materials are in short supply from the repairs from Hurricane Maria.“As such, there could be an additional spike in the cost of building materials and reconstruction work,” CoreLogic notes. “Because the island has been struck by two events in close proximity, repair costs could easily increase by up to 33% without federal or local government intervention.” January 9, 2020 3,452 Views The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Related Articles Subscribe Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Previous: Veteran Homeownership Rate Surpasses That of Overall Population Next: Detroit Expands Efforts to Prevent Property Tax Instigated Foreclosures Sign up for DS News Daily The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A New York State lawmaker suggested that he might have voted differently on a bill if he knew that the family of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) allegedly profited from legislation Skelos helped pass.The lawmaker, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens), made the remarks as one of four witnesses to take the stand Wednesday in the second day of the corruption trial against Skelos and his son, Adam, at federal court in Manhattan, where testimony was peppered with spicy recordings of wiretapped phone conversations of the senator talking to his son and others.“It would have indicated that undue influence was given to an issue of legislation based on personal interest,” Avella testified, adding that he also would have aired such information publicly on the Senate floor and to the press as well as called for an investigation. Defense attorneys objected to this line of questioning because it required Avella to give his opinion on allegations that prosecutors are still trying to prove in court, but U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood allowed it.Both the senator, 67, and his son, 33, deny the federal prosecutor’s accusations that they extorted $300,000 in bribes from three companies in payments that took the form of “no-show” jobs that Adam was unqualified for in exchange for their illegally manipulating legislation.G. Robert Gage Jr., the senator’s defense attorney, and Christopher Conniff, who represents Adam, sought to poke holes in Avella’s credibility.Gage noted that Avella, a public critic of the real estate industry, accepted campaign donations from realty groups and developers. Gage noted that when reporters questioned Avella about the contradiction, the Queens politician was quoted as saying that “the contributions have absolutely no impact on legislation.” In court, Avella, the former state Senate ethics committee chair, told Gage: “When it comes to me, they don’t.”Avella was the third witness to take the stand. The first was Chris Curcio, a Floral Park resident and Adam’s former boss at Physicians Reciprocal Insurance (PRI), a medical malpractice insurance firm whose owner had been asked by Sen. Skelos to give Adam a $78,000-per-year job as a favor beginning in 2013. Curcio testified that shortly after he met Adam, he started keeping a handwritten log for the first four months of Adam’s employment to detail when Adam did and did not show up. The majority of the dates were marked “no show,” yet Adam submitted time sheets indicating that he consistently worked 35-hour weeks.When Curcio questioned Adam about his failure to show up for work, Curcio testified that Adam told him that there was a “special arrangement” between his senator dad and Anthony Bonomo, a longtime friend of the Skeloses, which allowed him to work only two days a week. Curcio also testified that in order to sell medical malpractice insurance, Adam was required to take a 99-hour class and a state licensing exam. Curcio testified that Adam completed the class but failed the exam at least twice, and never got his license.“Adam and I had a blow-out on the phone one day,” Curcio testified, referring to his repeated attempts to force him to show up to work. Curcio said that after he told Adam it wasn’t working out, Adam told him: “If you talk to me like that again, I’ll smash your fucking head in.”Read: Skelos Wiretaps Reveal Greed, F-BombsAfter Curcio told Carl Bonomo, his boss and uncle, about the situation with Adam, the senator’s son was made a telemarketing “consultant” at a reduced salary of $36,000. He was required to call 100 doctors a week in order to try and drum up business for PRI. Prosecutors presented emails in court indicating that Adam only called three doctors per week, and none of his efforts ever led to a solid sales lead.On cross examination, Gage asked if Curcio knew if the senator was supposed to help PRI get legislation passed that would benefit the company in exchange for hiring Adam. Curcio said that he did not and didn’t ask his bosses why they hired him.Conniff questioned Curcio on the accuracy of his log and how Curcio himself got his job at PRI. He testified that Curcio’s mother had asked his uncle to land him a job supervising the sales staff despite his own lack of experience in the field.Tatiana Martins, one of the prosecutors trying the case, followed up and asked Curcio: “Is your mother an elected official?”Curcio replied: “No.”Martins asked: “Is she the senate majority leader?”Curcio replied: “No.”Martins asked: “Does she control legislation that effects PRI?”Curcio replied: “No.”The second witness to take the stand was Vanessa Tibbits, one of the FBI agents who monitored the Skelos wiretaps. She explained the process of getting approvals to “go up on a wire” as well as the strict protocols that include the listening room being locked and only accessible to the public corruption squad due to the sensitivity of investigations like this. She testified before the first Skelos wiretaps were played in open federal court.In one conversation, the elder Skelos was heard speaking with state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) about making a joint statement announcing their intention to focus on water issues on Long Island. They discussed how they didn’t want to fund water-quality improvement projects supported by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, but instead they wanted to do their own water projects. Skelos liked the idea of appeasing “the environmental nuts.”In another call, Adam whined to his father about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s banning fracking. That’s because AbTech, the storm-water filtration firm the men are accused of coercing fees from, also makes fracking waste-water filters.“Arghhhh, this day sucks!” Adam is heard telling his dad in the wiretap.“It does,” his dad replies, “but we’re totally gonna focus on the other thing now.”Adam then urged his father to run for governor and unseat Cuomo.“I would be so proud if you would just kick his ass,” Adam said.The Republican state senator had choice words for the Democratic governor.“No more buddy-buddy,” Skelos said. “He’s full of shit.”
Play Your Part can be a cause that young people, and indeed all citizens, can own, says Wendy Tlou, Brand South Africa’s chief marketing officer.Staff writerThe Play Your Part campaign is a call for every South African to do what they do with excellence and diligence in order to help the country become a brand that attracts investment, according to Wendy Tlou, chief marketing officer at Brand South Africa. Tlou has the job of marketing South Africa to the global community – and selling the country to its own people.”Every person needs to realise that the little they do can add value,” she says. “The guy who fills potholes is just as important as the CEO of a conglomerate.”Play your Part was created to stimulate society from the ground up, encouraging South Africans to fulfil their individual potential in all they do.”We need measurable and actionable plans that have a visible impact, and make South Africa globally competitive.”Playing your part to achieve the goals of the NDPBecause of this, Tlou says, Brand South Africa wants to reconcile the National Development Plan (NDP) as an ideological document with a clear and simple roadmap for implementation that can be driven at grassroots level.”The NDP is not some far-fetched, theoretical concept. It is happening right now. We want to demystify it as a theoretical concept. The road works you see every day are the NDP at work.” The NDP is a crystallisation of the vision of South Africa as a globally competitive nation.She says the notion of competitiveness is key to attracting the investment, such as tourism, that is essential for creating jobs.Encouraging foreign direct investment – with a view to achieving the national developmental agenda – is the main objective of forging a strong nation brand. This will have a direct impact on our country’s levels of inequality, which are a source of many social ills.The youth and their aspirations are key to Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part programme. Before democracy in 1994, Tlou says, the South African youth owned a cause – freedom. But after 1994 the notion of freedom and playing your part can still be a powerful mobilising force for active citizenship and nation building. Play Your Part can be a cause that young people, and indeed all citizens, can own.Fighting gender violenceAs we look towards the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, Play Your Part becomes a practical response to the scourge of gender-based violence in our country.Tlou feels passionate about eradicating gender-based violence: “A country such as South Africa that has been such a moral beacon and model of progressive thinking cannot, 20 years after democracy, be facing a situation where at least one in five women are victims of gender-based violence.”In addition, the cost of such a phenomenon to our country is not merely a philosophical one. According to a KPMG report – Too Costly to Ignore – the Economic Impact of Gender-Based Violence in South Africa – released in September this year, gender-based violence costs the South African economy between R28.4-billion to R42.2-billion a year.”With such a reputational and financial risk attached to the consequences of gender-based violence, we need to ask how each of us can play our part to eradicate gender based violence in our country. We need to ask ourselves, how we can play our part to contribute to a safer more equitable country for the women and children of our country?”
ESPN College GameDayESPN has updated its college football “future” power rankings. The “FPR” is a projection of which college football teams will dominate the sport over the next three years. Here’s ESPN’s description:FPR is a projection of a program’s strength over the next three years, not just the 2016 season. An eight-person panel of ESPN reporters and analysts — Heather Dinich, Brad Edwards, Travis Haney, Sharon Katz, Tom Luginbill, Ted Miller, Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach — graded teams based on five criteria, which were weighed differently to account for their impact on overall sustained success. The criteria: coaching (27 percent of the formula), current talent (27 percent), recruiting (20 percent), title path (16 percent) and program foundation (10 percent).Which team does ESPN think will rule the sport over the next three seasons? The reigning national champions.Alabama, which was overtaken by Ohio State in the 2015 edition of the FPR, has its No. 1 spot back. The Crimson Tide continue to recruit as well as ever and, coming off a national title, they’re an obvious choice for No. 1. Here’s the rest of the top 25: Alabama’s at No. 1, of course.AlabamaOhio StateFSUClemsonMichiganLSUStanfordOklahomaNotre DameMichigan StateFloridaGeorgiaUSCTennesseeTCUUCLATexasAuburnMiamiOle MissWashingtonOregonLouisvilleOklahoma StateNebraskaYou can view ESPN’s full rankings here.
APTN National NewsIt has been 29 days since Jordan Wabasse went missing.The 15-year-old was last seen getting off a transit bus on the evening of Feb.7, in Thunder Bay, Ont.He is described as being 6’1 and weighing 200 lbs.He was wearing a dark grey jacket, a blue-grey Toronto Maple Leafs hat, black pants and white Adidas running shoes.Police have been looking for the teen on foot, underwater and by air.His home community of Webequie has set up a volunteer search and rescue headquarters where over 100 volunteers gather every day to look for the teen.Other First Nations in the area are trying to help bring Wabasse home. Family and friends say he loved to play hockey.
Disabled people have explained why they joined thousands of other activists on a march through the streets of Birmingham to protest about the failure of Tory austerity policies.The march took place as the Conservatives held their annual conference in the city, almost six years to the day since huge anti-austerity protests greeted the party when it held a conference just months after winning power in 2010.Among speakers at a rally at the end of the march was Bob Williams-Findlay, one of the founders of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), which was formed after that 2010 march.He welcomed protesters on Sunday to “the birthplace of DPAC” and described how the grassroots organisation had “grown in strength and in numbers” since 2010.He said: “We have taken the fight to the very heart of government… and we are still here.”Williams-Findlay described the impact on disabled people who lose their Motability vehicles after being assessed for their eligibility for the government’s new personal independence payment (PIP).He said having a Motability vehicle “gives you freedom to work, shop and have a life.“Then one day you get a letter saying you are going to be reassessed for PIP – the new god that cures us – and suddenly the whole world is turned upside down because PIP is designed to fail us.“It’s designed to reduce the number of disabled people on benefits.”He told the rally that the government was no better than the Nazi government of the 1930s in Germany and while “they have not killed thousands yet… they have killed, let’s not forget it”.Williams-Findlay said that disabled people who fail their PIP assessment can be “trapped in your home, you might lose your job, you might not be able to take the family out, you might not be able to have a social life”.He added: “Comrades, in my opinion up and down the country there are political prisoners, disabled people trapped in their homes like political prisoners. We have to unite to set them free.”The mass demonstration was organised by the TUC and the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, which was launched in 2013 to provide a national forum for anti-austerity views.Other disabled people who attended the march told Disability News Service their reasons for taking part.Rob Davy-Cripwell, from Birmingham, said it was his first protest.He said the government’s austerity cuts had left him and others feeling isolated, so the protest had allowed him to speak to other people who shared his views.Although he had been “quite lucky” himself, he knew other disabled people who had been affected by PIP assessments and cuts to tax credits.He said: “I have not been affected directly but I don’t think that matters because we are all in it together. A cut to one disabled person is a cut to all of us.”He said he hoped the protest showed the Tory conference “that the decisions they make affect a lot of people.“I really just hope there is some compassion in there somewhere and they really think about their decisions, because it affects everybody, not just the richest one per cent.”Erika Garratt, from Swindon, brought her family to the march.She claims employment and support allowance and says she feels “very vulnerable” because of the stress of waiting to be reassessed.She said: “I am really concerned about the cuts they are making.“They seem to want to demonise people on benefits. It’s not my fault I am ill and it’s not my children’s fault that I am ill, and yet they are suffering.”She said she believed the Conservative party “don’t care about people who are ill or disabled”.She added: “It’s about time that they showed that they cared about all the people in the country and not just the top few per cent, because we are going to end up in the workhouse.“I feel we are almost going down to the Victorian era, with families on the street.“This is all about raising awareness that we need people to come out in force. We have a voice and we deserve to be listened to.”Emma Atkins, a student from Birmingham, said the Tories were “killing people like me in the thousands”.She said: “The cuts are hurting us more disproportionately than anybody else. It’s time they went.”She said she was “angry” about the Conservatives holding their conference in her home town, and added: “I hope they will get the message about how many angry people there are in the country and how badly they are treating everyone.”Paula Bonarius, from Milton Keynes, said she was at the march because she supported re-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.She said: “He’s got our values. We believe socialism is needed in this country.“It’s not only myself, there is a load of disabled people and elderly people who are being left out.“As soon as there are cuts it is going to be disabled people and [so-called] ‘scroungers’ [who are targeted].”Mark Lynes (pictured), from Edgbaston, another Corbyn supporter, said he was “fighting to stop the elimination of disabled people from society”.He said the protest would “show that there is an alternative vision for society”.He said: “Whatever happens to Jeremy Corbyn, there will always be alternative movements.“Also I hope disabled people are able to get back their independence, which they have lost over the last few years.”