Countrywide sees glimmer in gloom

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre L.A. housing market. Housing market overall. Countrywide – the company – moving forward.” The first two topics can be summed up in a word: bad. The jury is still out on the kind of environment the nation’s biggest mortgage company will encounter in the months ahead. Nevertheless, Greg Sayegh, divisional executive vice president for Southern California, glimpses a glimmer in the gloom. “We are seeing some encouraging signs. I think the interest rates are favorable … and we hear quite a bit about reduced valuations.” He’s right about that. Last week, the rate on a 30-year fixed fell to its lowest level in five months, according the Freddie Mac, the mortgage company. It was the third consecutive weekly drop as the benchmark rate dipped to 6.24 percent, from 6.26 percent the previous week. “Reports of weaker consumer spending in September and a decline in manufacturing activity in October kept mortgage rates at bay this week,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s vice president and chief economist, noted in the weekly survey. Adjustable rates also fell in response to the Federal Reserve Board cutting a key interest rate by a quarter percent. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, averaged 5.90 percent last week, down from 5.91 percent. Rates on five-year adjustable- rate mortgages averaged 5.89percent last week, down from 5.98percent last week. And rates on one-year ARMs dropped to 5.50 percent from 5.57 percent. Freddie Mac also said that in the third quarter, 38 percent of mortgage applications were for refinances versus 42 percent in the second quarter. A year ago, 30-year mortgages were 6.33percent, 15-year mortgages were at 6.04 percent, five-year ARMS averaged 6.08percent and one-year ARMs were at 5.55 percent. This is probably the only bright spot for the housing market that is mired in its worst slump in more than 20 years. Thursday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that an average 450,000 subprime adjustable-rate mortgages will reset next year. Countrywide has some exposure here, although that is still getting sorted out. Sayegh said the easiest loans to fund now are those that meet the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming limit of $417,000. But homes in the Southern California area, especially the coastal neighborhoods, are priced well above the conforming limit. “We do know that the valuations have certainly not dropped to a level that has reached the conforming loan amount,” Sayegh said. He also noted that Countrywide still has no-down payment loan programs and others with 5 percent and 10percent down payment requirements. The building inventory, surge in foreclosures and weak sales have pushed down prices in some areas. “Homebuyers today can afford a heck of a lot more house today than they could in the last 12 months,” he said. He might be right about that. But probably not in this part of Southern California. greg.wilcox@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! I got invited to Countrywide Financial Corp.’s spin room last week. The invite came from a P.R. firm in San Francisco, not the company’s in-house operation. Some of the company executives were participating in an open house, and these days talking with a Countrywide executive is a rare experience because not many of my calls get returned. An e-mail outlining the talking points for the interview followed the invite. “Again, the topics of discussion will be: last_img read more

Getting tough on pot outlets

first_imgLos Angeles County Counsel Rick Weiss said letters were sent to the owners of both properties informing them permits were required. In Pasadena, a city zoning code amendment permanently banning dispensaries was approved in September 2005, said city spokeswoman Ann Erdman. “People who advocated for medical marijuana packed the hearing room,” she recalled, “but \ decided it should prohibit use in Pasadena because a lot of people try to circumvent laws.” But William Dolphin, a spokesman for Safe Access for America, a medicinal marijuana advocacy group, insisted that despite such claims, the 200,000 people considered to be in need of the drug should be able to readily obtain the information and medicine they need. An exemption from criminal penalties for medical marijuana use created by Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act, approved in November 1996 by 56 percent of voters, lies at the root of the controversy. Since the proposition passed, two dozen cities and seven counties – including Los Angeles, Riverside and Santa Barbara – have approved regulations allowing the dispensaries. However, three times as many municipalities have passed moratoriums or bans, according to published reports. The FDA has not approved marijuana for medical use in the United States. (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4461160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“They were conducting a medical marijuana dispensary without a conditional use permit first being obtained,” said Alex Garcia with the county’s regional planning department. A hand-made sign posted on the door Thursday told patrons the dispensary, located in an office building at 3868 E. Colorado Blvd., was closed. Two blocks away and a day earlier, another outlet called California Compassionate Caregivers, at 3682 E. Colorado Blvd., also closed shop. The owners alerted customers with a similar sign, as well as placing a farewell notice on, a Web site dedicated to medical marijuana. “We put our heart and soul and truly wanted to make a difference, but we failed you,” reads the Web posting. PASADENA – Here, near the 10th anniversary of voter-approved medicinal marijuana in California, the going is rough for purveyors in the San Gabriel Valley. The two latest dispensaries opened and quickly shut down due to county permit violations. “Medical functions belong in a medical facility to protect the public as well as patients,” said Tony Bell, spokesman for county Supervisor Michael Antonovich. “We believe these current operators’ intention is to circumvent the law. We have to be vigilant, and our office will pursue every legal avenue \.” County code mandates that medicinal marijuana dispensaries possess a business license and conditional-use permit, both required since a moratorium approved unanimously in June 2005 by the Board of Supervisors was lifted in June of this year, officials said. On Wednesday, Alternative Caregivers of Pasadena closed shop after receiving a violation notice from county officials. last_img read more

Glasgow 27-17 Ulster: Warriors extend streak with crucial victory

first_imgWith the momentum swinging in Glasgow’s favour, a series of attacks stretched the Ulster defence and the Scots trimmed the deficit to a single point when Russell booted his second penalty of the evening after 28 minutes.Against the run of play, Ulster extended their lead five minutes before the interval when Jackson slotted a three-pointer on a rare foray into the Glasgow half.Glasgow bounced back and, with the clock ticking towards half-time, earned a penalty within the range of Russell who added a further three points to his tally, leaving the hosts one point adrift at the interval, trailing 10-9.The home side started the second period well but it was the visitors who were next on the scoreboard in bizarre circumstances. Although appearing to take the kick from the wrong spot, Pienaar booted a penalty award into touch 10 metres from the Glasgow line and with the home defenders strolling back, Craig Gilroy took a quick throw to McCloskey who jogged in. Jackson thumped over the conversion.Russell missed with a long-range effort after 56 minutes but made amends two minutes later with a floated pass to Hogg who displayed his pace to chip over the advancing defenders then win the race to the line, despite the attentions of Pienaar.Glasgow snatched the lead with 18 minutes to play after another scintillating contribution by Russell, whose vision enabled him to deliver a pinpoint cross-kick to Seymour, and the winger blazed past two defenders to touch down. Russell’s conversion scraped over to hand Glasgow a four-point advantage.That grew to seven points after 73 minutes when Russell added another penalty. And although the Scotland stand-off missed with a kick at goal that would have left Ulster empty-handed, Hogg robbed the visitors of the consolation point when he hammered over a penalty from inside his own half to add gloss to the win. Title holders Glasgow Warriors extended their winning run in the PRO12 to five matches with a hard-fought 27-17 victory over Ulster at Scotstoun.Finn Russell was the key man for the champions, creating tries for Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour and kicking 14 points. Hogg had the final word with a monstrous penalty in an encounter that saw Glasgow trail until the final quarter when they pulled away to secure an important success.Iain Henderson and Stuart McCloskey had a try apiece for Ulster, both converted by Paddy Jackson, who also kicked a penalty. Ulster raced into action and made their intentions clear inside the first minute. Ruan Pienaar charged down an attempted clearance by Russell but to the relief of the hosts the ball ran beyond the dead-ball line.Hogg was back in action for his club a day after being named RBS Six Nations player of the championship. However, the evening started inauspiciously for the full-back whose first contribution was a professional foul that earned him a yellow card after only two minutes.The visitors booted the ensuing penalty into touch and Russell atoned for his earlier error with a try-saving intervention from the driven lineout. His defensive efforts gave Ulster a five-metre scrum that ended with Stuart Olding sending Henderson hurtling through the short-handed home defence for the touchdown. Jackson added the extra two points.Restored to full strength, Glasgow started to make an impression. As the clock ticked past 22 minutes the hosts capitalised on a spell of sustained pressure when Russell steered a penalty between the sticks to open the home side’s account.last_img read more

‘Disbelief, anguish and broken hearts’ as tragic Amy is laid to rest

first_img‘Anguish and broken hearts’ took over the lives of a family whose Christmas was plunged into mourning after the death of ‘a bright and radiant light’.25-year-old Amy Loughrey died on Thursday night at 11 o’clock in a two-vehicle collision at Fahan.She was killed instantly when her Fiat Stilo car was in collision with a Ford Focus. The family of Ms Loughrey, who live in the Waterside in Derry, cancelled their Christmas as a result of the horrific news.At today’s funeral Mass, hundreds of mourners packed into St Columb’s Church in the Waterside, Derry.“The lights on the Christmas tree were put out, symbolising how a bright light in the Loughrey family had also been extinguished,” Fr Michael Canny said.“The hope and joy of Christmas had been replaced by disbelief, anguish and broken hearts because Amy would not be coming home alive again.” “Amy who was a bright and radiant light for all who knew her was always generous with her time; she was always kind and thoughtful and empathetic with an infectious smile.“She loved travelling, worked endless hours so as to be able to go on the next trip. She spent a few years in Gran Canaria teaching English as a foreign language. But no matter where she was she always loved coming back home.”Fr Canny visited the family home following Amy’s tragic death and told how the family had cancelled Christmas.Fr Canny said the reality was that the light of a “bubbly, full of life and always giving person” has been extinguished.“Even though your, the Loughrey family, Christmas lights have been extinguished by the death of Amy, as believers in the risen Christ we have the light of faith, a light that nothing can put out,” he told the congregation. ‘Disbelief, anguish and broken hearts’ as tragic Amy is laid to rest was last modified: December 26th, 2016 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Photo library: Nature 13

first_img{loadposition tc}Click on a thumbnail for a low-resolution image, or right-click on the link below it to download a high-resolution copy of the image.» Download Nature contact sheet (785KB) » Download full image library contact sheet (10.5MB) Eastern Cape province: Waterfall and indigenous forest in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Indigenous forest in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Walkway in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province:Erica plant in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Indigenous forest in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Indigenous forest in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province:Indigenous forest in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Indigenous forest in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Indigenous forest in the Tsitsikamma National Park, near Storms River.Photo: Rodger » Download high-res image NATURE 13: {loadposition nature}Having trouble downloading high-resolution images? Queries about the image library? Email Janine Erasmus at read more

How JavaScript is Slowing Down the Web (And What To Do About It)

first_imgWidgets are fairly easy to install if you are familiar with HTML and your blogging platform.All you need to do is paste the HTML for the widget where you wouldlike it to appear. Sometimes you need to insert code into the head of the HTML document, but it is notthat difficult. So with a bit of technical understanding, you can do it or use a platformlike Widgetbox to install it automatically.It’s simple enough that people are installing more and more widgets onto their blogs; and that’s where thingshave started to get hairy – as it may result in blogs taking a long time to load.Not All Widgets are Implemented EqualThere are two major technologies for implementing widgets today: Flash and JavaScript.Flash widgets have their own issues; from being heavy, to being unresizable, to being unable tomanipulate the DOM. However, typically it’s not Flash widgets that are causing problems, it is the JavaScript ones.The irony of this is that JavaScript was envisioned and designed to be a lightweight languageto support minimum interactivity and quick manipulations of HTML documents, on the client site. But becauseof the twisted paths that our technology trails have taken us, JavaScript evolved to be the programminglanguage for the web. From Ajax to Widgets, JavaScript is being used in a lot of cutting edge projects these days.But the truth is, JavaScript has its issues. Let’s explore those…How Browsers Handle JavaScriptPerhaps the most shocking reverlation to any experienced technologist is thatJavaScript is a single threaded language. What this means is that it performs things sequentiallyand not concurrently (with the exception of Ajax calls). Anytime a piece of JavaScript is being loaded orevaluated, everything else has to wait. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Analysis#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… There is a well-known phenomenon in physics called non-linearity: When a lot of different things interact with each other, the outcome is hardto predict. Software is no different – when you put together a lot of components, you just do not know what you are going to get.This is because each component acts as if it is standalone, but they are literally fighting for real estate space and people’s attention. The truth is that this war ishurting everyone – the readers, the bloggers and the services. Everyone is frustrated. In this postwe’ll take a look at what is causing pages to hang from too many single lines of javascript; and what can be done about it.Bloggers – the Unsuspecting VictimsWidgets are the new black and microchunking content is here to stay. Bloggers love showcasingtheir personality and favorite content on their blogs. This is why people rush to install new widgets, Flickr, Twitter, AddThis, Sphere – because they are useful and there is a lot of demand for them. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… alex iskold 1 Related Posts A single line of JavaScript is what powers a lot of blogging technologies these days. Widgets, sharing tools,visitors tracking, advertisers. In many cases a single line of JavaScript is all that a blogger needs toadd a new technology to their blog. The problem is what happens when a lot of these single lines of JavaScript come together… This means that a single slow JavaScript add-on can slow down the loading of an entire blog.And that is exactly what is happening all over the blogosphere. So what is the solution?Can JavaScript Widgets be Better and Faster?Unfortunately there is no silver bullet for this problem. That is there is no single trickor technique that will resolve the problem. While there is a combination of things that companiescan do to moderate the impact of being put together with other widgets, ultimately – given enough of a mix– problems are bound to happen. While as an industry we ponder on what can be done, here are some things thatJavaScript providers should consider:1. Defer the execution of the JavaScriptOne of the frequent problems is that all JavaScript wants to run at once,but it really can’t. If the script does not need to modify the page as it loads,the execution of the script should be deferred until after the load.This way, the content of the page will come up fist. Unfortunately, not all browsers respect this directive to defer.2. Minimize the amount of code that runs on loadAnything that runs on a page load, slows down the load. The less code there is to run the better.Another related issue is traversing the entire page looking for something. This is a major ‘no-no’, sinceit will cause theUnresponsive Script popup. In general, any JavaScript that runs overa few seconds (typically 5) will cause a problem. Splitting the long execution by using timeoutsis the right (although painful) way to go.3. Load-balance requests by generating different URLsMost scripts these days give you back the same URL, for example: This isnot easy to scale. As the widget becomes more wide-spread, the amount of concurrent requests goingthrough the same server will be quite large. A better approach is to give out different URLs, like,, etc. Even though for now they can bepointing to the same domain, in the future there will be an option to split the traffic.4. Use Standard LibrariesProbably the worst thing is to reinvent the wheel, since JavaScript is so easy to get wrong.Unlike Java there is no set of standard libraries, but some like prototypehave effectively become a standard. The libraries are written by experienced people who know and understandthe pitfalls of the system, so it is a good idea to reuse their code.5. Most Importantly – Think About itBeing aware that there are other pieces of JavaScript that will run on end user’s sites,is the most important thing. By wearing the “I am part of a bigger system” hat, developerswill minimize the likelihood of undermining another widget, as well as ensuring an all-round smoother user experience.Where Do We Go From Here?While being a good Javascript citizen is encouraged, there is still only so much that developers can do.You simply cannot know how and where your widget is going to be used. What other things will be installed?Without this information, tuning the script is difficult. And the impact is on bloggers and blog readers.So what do we do?If we look at the Java community, this problem has actually been solved many times over. Applets, Servletsand even scary-sounding Enterprise Java Beans are not really different from widgets conceptually.The big difference is that they all are managed by containers.A container is a hosting environment thatprovides delivery infrastructure and communication interfaces. It handles loading, unloading, callbacks,clicks, messages and all the good things that we engineers love and non-technical people dread to hear about.In short, we need a container for JavaScript – because a container is what brings order to the component chaos.ConclusionWhile widgets and JavaScript tools are very cool and very useful, there is no good infrastructureto make them work well today. The initial symptoms of blogs being slow to load, that are visible today,are only going to get worse as more widgets and bits of JavaScript hit the blogosphere. It is not reasonableto ask bloggers to understand the complexity, interdependencies and problems that can be caused bycombining widgets.We need automated and standard ways of delivering these widgets. Ideally we should look at how thishas already been done before in the industry. The Java community was a huge success and leveraging the experiencesthat it had could be of great value to the widget startups.As always, please let us know what you think. If you are a widget developer, we would love to hearthe ways that you optimize your code to be more environment friendly and quick.last_img read more

Suspect Used Stolen Machete in String of Retail Robberies

first_imgA Minneapolis man is accused of robbing several Twin Cities stores with a machete.Criminal complaints say Abdikadir Ayanle Ali, 32, robbed several stores in the Twin Cities, including several Target stores in St. Paul multiple times, while carrying a machete. He is charged with four counts of first-degree aggravated robbery, according to criminal complaints. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and/or a $35,000 fine… KSTP5 News Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img

Cloud Computing: Is Virtualized Mission-Critical an Oxymoron?

first_imgMission-Critical applications are the last frontier for virtualization technology.   Performance and practicality have been two impediments that have made IT groups hesitant to go virtual with mission critical applications.  While virtualization technology is getting better, performance is still a concern when running applications.  ‘Paravirtual‘ technology, for example, minimizes the virtualization penalty for performing I/O.  Without paravirtualization, virtualized applications with extensive I/O and disk-bound operations, like content management, can pay a heavy toll with virtualization.  Performance can be degraded by as much as 60 percent.IT departments in their quest to virtualize have targeted smaller applications first which require fewer resources and support relatively low traffic.But, does it make sense to virtualize Mission-Critical applications? Almost by definition, mission-critical applications are large, heavily-utilized,  can’t-live-without applications.  Mission critical apps tend to be big and and often are resource hogs, maxing out of the resources of a single physical machine.  For large applications like that, the benefits, if any, derived from virtualization may be small.Art Whittmann of InformationWeek commented “For larger, complex, mission-critical systems, the tradeoff in going virtual is less about performance and more about the testing and validation it takes to make that virtualized transition. It’s not trivial, it takes time, and for just about 100% of IT organizations to whom I’ve talked, it takes resources that they really just don’t have. That leaves most organizations with one-half to two-thirds of their systems virtualized. They’ve done the easy stuff, the rest is much harder.”But then there are those that think virtualization can improve any environment, even mission-critical ones.  For example, Shane Vinup, president and CEO of Maple Grove, said in a CRN article that “We recently did an ERP migration into a virtualized environment. We used the same exact same hardware and got better performance by moving from internal disk to SAN using virtualization.”CTOEdge reports on a survey from Information Technology Intelligence Corp. (ITIC) and found that the number of mission-critical applications that will be deployed virtual machines is gearing up to substantially increase.  The report finds that 79 percent of companies already are currently running mission-critical application in virtual environments.  But despite the increased use of virtualization and the consolidation of physical machines, IT departments say that their computer operations are only increasing in complexity.last_img read more

IRS Updates Defined Benefit Plan Funding Method Change Procedures (Rev. Proc. 2017-56; Rev. Proc. 2017-57)

first_imgLogin to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative. The IRS has updated its procedures for defined benefit plans changing funding methods and revoking an election related to interest rates. The revised procedures are effective January 1, 2018. However,  taxpayers may elect to apply them for earlier requests.Funding Method ChangeRev. Proc. 2000-40 provided procedures for obtaining automatic approval for certain funding method changes by defined benefit plans. Rev. Proc. 2000-41 provided procedures for obtaining approval for a change in funding method. These procedures predate the changes to the minimum funding requirements enacted after they were issued. Under these legislative changes, single-employer plans are generally subject to the Code Sec. 430 rules, while multiemployer and CSEC plans are subject to the pre-Code Sec. 430 funding rules.Single-Employer Defined Benefit PlanThe new procedures under Rev. Proc. 2017-56, provide automatic approval for  certain funding method changes used by single-employer defined benefit plans for calculations under Code Sec. 430. Going forward, Rev. Proc. 2000-40 no longer applies to plans subject to Code Sec. 430. However, it does continue to apply to other plans. The updated procedure is effective for plan years commencing on or after January 1, 2018. But, taxpayers may elect to apply this revenue procedure for earlier plan years. Also, the new procedure modifies certain announcements to provide they do not apply to a change in funding method for a plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2018.Any Defined Benefit PlanNew Rev. Proc. 2017-57 provides procedures for obtaining IRS approval to change funding method for any defined benefit plan. Additionally, it provides procedures for obtaining IRS approval to revoke an interest rate election under Code Sec. 430. The updated procedure applies to funding method requests submitted on or after January 1, 2018. However, taxpayers may elect to apply it for earlier requests.Rev. Proc. 2017-56Rev. Proc. 2017-57Need CPE? Want to know more about benefit plan funding methods? Check out CCH CPELink herelast_img read more

JCT Releases Comparison of House and Senate Versions of Tax Reform

first_imgThe Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released its comparison of the House and Senate versions of tax reform on December 7. The 51-page report outlines which provisions are “in” and “out” of the respective versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Creation Bill (HR 1), as passed by the House on November 16 (TAXDAY, 2017/11/17, C.1) and by the Senate on December 2 (TAXDAY, 2017/12/04, C.1).Committee ReportsBecause of the unusual sprint toward passage by House and Senate leadership of their respective versions of HR 1, the usual “committee reports” for both House and Senate versions have not been available. Available statutory language for many of the provisions is difficult to parse, although, in the end, statutory language controls rather than any explanation presented by the JCT. Nevertheless, the JCT comparison provides a valuable resource in determining what the conference committee on HR 1 will be facing in negotiation over the coming days.House and Senate Versions of Tax ReformThe comparison of the House and Senate bills in JCX-64-17, is divided into four sections:– individual tax reform;– business tax reform;– taxation of foreign income and foreign persons; and,– exempt organizations.Within each of those sections, provisions are subdivided into three categories:– provisions for which there are no differences between the House bill and the Senate amendment;– provisions for which there are differences between the House bill and the Senate amendment; and– provisions unique to each bill.The JCT grouped provisions into each of the three categories by focusing on provisions that may be substantively the same, even though they may differ in their legislative language or effective date. And, provisions that may have differences that are “substantial in nature” in the judgment of the Joint Committee staff. For example, the JCT singled out within its “Individual Tax Reform” section, 15 provisions without differences, 17 provisions with substantial differences, and 18 provisions unique to the House bill and 11 unique provisions unique to the Senate bill.JCT Comparison of the House- and Senate-Passed Versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, JCX-64-17Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more