Megvii, an artificial intelligence start-up, told Chinese state media that the surveillance system could give the police a search engine for crime, analyzing huge amounts of video footage to intuit patterns and warn the authorities about suspicious behavior. He explained that if cameras detected a person spending too much time at a train station, the system could flag a possible pickpocket.

Hikvision, that aims to predict protests. The system collects data on legions of Chinese petitioners, a general term in China that describes people who try to file complaints about local officials with higher authorities.

It then scores petitioners on the likelihood that they will travel to Beijing. In the future, the data will be used to train machine-learning models, according to a procurement document.

Local officials want to prevent such trips to avoid political embarrassment or exposure of wrongdoing. And the central government doesn’t want groups of disgruntled citizens gathering in the capital.

A Hikvision representative declined to comment on the system.

Under Mr. Xi, official efforts to control petitioners have grown increasingly invasive. Zekun Wang, a 32-year-old member of a group that for years sought redress over a real estate fraud, said the authorities in 2017 had intercepted fellow petitioners in Shanghai before they could even buy tickets to Beijing. He suspected that the authorities were watching their communications on the social media app WeChat.

The Hikvision system in Tianjin, which is run in cooperation with the police in nearby Beijing and Hebei Province, is more sophisticated.

The platform analyzes individuals’ likelihood to petition based on their social and family relationships, past trips and personal situations, according to the procurement document. It helps the police create a profile of each, with fields for officers to describe the temperament of the protester, including “paranoid,” “meticulous” and “short tempered.”

Many people who petition do so over government mishandling of a tragic accident or neglect in the case — all of which goes into the algorithm. “Increase a person’s early-warning risk level if they have low social status or went through a major tragedy,” reads the procurement document.

When the police in Zhouning, a rural county in Fujian Province, bought a new set of 439 cameras in 2018, they listed coordinates where each would go. Some hung above intersections and others near schools, according to a procurement document.

Nine were installed outside the homes of people with something in common: mental illness.

While some software tries to use data to uncover new threats, a more common type is based on the preconceived notions of the police. In over a hundred procurement documents reviewed by The Times, the surveillance targeted blacklists of “key persons.”

These people, according to some of the procurement documents, included those with mental illness, convicted criminals, fugitives, drug users, petitioners, suspected terrorists, political agitators and threats to social stability. Other systems targeted migrant workers, idle youths (teenagers without school or a job), ethnic minorities, foreigners and those infected with H.I.V.

The authorities decide who goes on the lists, and there is often no process to notify people when they do. Once individuals are in a database, they are rarely removed, said experts, who worried that the new technologies reinforce disparities within China, imposing surveillance on the least fortunate parts of its population.

In many cases the software goes further than simply targeting a population, allowing the authorities to set up digital tripwires that indicate a possible threat. In one Megvii presentation detailing a rival product by Yitu, the system’s interface allowed the police to devise their own early warnings.

With a simple fill-in-the-blank menu, the police can base alarms on specific parameters, including where a blacklisted person appears, when the person moves around, whether he or she meets with other blacklisted people and the frequency of certain activities. The police could set the system to send a warning each time two people with a history of drug use check into the same hotel or when four people with a history of protest enter the same park.

Yitu did not respond to emailed requests for comment.

In 2020 in the city of Nanning, the police bought software that could look for “more than three key people checking into the same or nearby hotels” and “a drug user calling a new out-of-town number frequently,” according to a bidding document. In Yangshuo, a tourist town famous for its otherworldly karst mountains, the authorities bought a system to alert them if a foreigner without a work permit spent too much time hanging around foreign-language schools or bars, an apparent effort to catch people overstaying their visas or working illegally.

In Shanghai, one party-run publication described how the authorities used software to identify those who exceeded normal water and electricity use. The system would send a “digital whistle” to the police when it found suspicious consumption patterns.

The tactic was likely designed to detect migrant workers, who often live together in close quarters to save money. In some places, the police consider them an elusive, and often impoverished, group who can bring crime into communities.

The automated alerts don’t result in the same level of police response. Often, the police give priority to warnings that point to political problems, like protests or other threats to social stability, said Suzanne E. Scoggins, a professor at Clark University who studies China’s policing.

At times, the police have stated outright the need to profile people. “Through the application of big data, we paint a picture of people and give them labels with different attributes,” Li Wei, a researcher at China’s national police university, said in a 2016 speech. “For those who receive one or more types of labels, we infer their identities and behavior, and then carry out targeted pre-emptive security measures.”

Mr. Zhang first started petitioning the government for compensation over the torture of his family during the Cultural Revolution. He has since petitioned over what he says is police targeting of his family.

As China has built out its techno-authoritarian tools, he has had to use spy movie tactics to circumvent surveillance that, he said, has become “high tech and Nazified.”

When he traveled to Beijing in January from his village in Shandong Province, he turned off his phone and paid for transportation in cash to minimize his digital footprint. He bought train tickets to the wrong destination to foil police tracking. He hired private drivers to get around checkpoints where his identification card would set off an alarm.

The system in Tianjin has a special feature for people like him who have “a certain awareness of anti-reconnaissance” and regularly change vehicles to evade detection, according to the police procurement document.

Whether or not he triggered the system, Mr. Zhang has noticed a change. Whenever he turns off his phone, he said, officers show up at his house to check that he hasn’t left on a new trip to Beijing.

Credit…Zhang Yuqiao

Even if police systems cannot accurately predict behavior, the authorities may consider them successful because of the threat, said Noam Yuchtman, an economics professor at the London School of Economics who has studied the impact of surveillance in China.

“In a context where there isn’t real political accountability,” having a surveillance system that frequently sends police officers “can work pretty well” at discouraging unrest, he said.

Once the metrics are set and the warnings are triggered, police officers have little flexibility, centralizing control. They are evaluated for their responsiveness to automated alarms and effectiveness at preventing protests, according to experts and public police reports.

The technology has encoded power imbalances. Some bidding documents refer to a “red list” of people whom the surveillance system must ignore.

One national procurement document said the function was for “people who need privacy protection or V.I.P. protection.” Another, from Guangdong Province, got more specific, stipulating that the red list was for government officials.

Mr. Zhang expressed frustration at the ways technology had cut off those in political power from regular people.

“The authorities do not seriously solve problems but do whatever it takes to silence the people who raise the problems,” he said. “This is a big step backward for society.”

Mr. Zhang said that he still believed in the power of technology to do good, but that in the wrong hands it could be a “scourge and a shackle.”

“In the past if you left your home and took to the countryside, all roads led to Beijing,” he said. “Now, the entire country is a net.”

Isabelle Qian and Aaron Krolik contributed research and reporting. Production by Agnes Chang and Alexander Cardia.

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KB Home Announces the Grand Opening of Two New-Home Communities at the Company’s Highly Desirable Shadow Mountain Master Plan

MENIFEE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–KB Home (NYSE: KBH) today announced the grand opening of two new-home communities at the company’s highly desirable Shadow Mountain master plan in Menifee, California. Oak Shade and Durango feature spacious single-family homes in a prime Riverside County location. The new neighborhoods are situated near the McCall Boulevard exit off Interstate 215, providing easy access to the area’s major employment centers as well as shopping, dining and entertainment at both Menifee Countryside Marketplace and Menifee Town Center. Oak Shade and Durango are also just minutes away from Mt. San Jacinto College and Brandman University. Future community amenities include a children’s playground, soccer field, basketball court, numerous parks and walking, biking and hiking trails.

Oak Shade at Shadow Mountain offers a wide selection of one- and two-story homes that blend attractive design features like beautiful kitchens and large bedroom suites with walk-in closets as well as loft spaces and covered patios. The community’s floor plans feature up to five bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, and range in size from approximately 1,400 to 2,700 square feet. Pricing begins from the $470,000s.

The ranch-style homes at Durango at Shadow Mountain showcase desirable design characteristics like spacious kitchens overlooking large great rooms, expansive bedroom suites with walk-in closets, and ample storage space. The community’s one-story floor plans feature up to four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, and range in size from approximately 2,000 to 2,900 square feet. Pricing begins from the $510,000s.

“Our two new communities, Oak Shade and Durango, feature spacious single-family homes in a prime Riverside County location. The new neighborhoods are compelling additions to our highly desirable Shadow Mountain master plan, which will showcase several family friendly amenities, including a children’s playground, soccer field, basketball court, numerous parks and walking, biking and hiking trails,” said John Fenn, President of KB Home’s Inland Empire division. “As with other KB Home communities, Gilmore Grove provides home shoppers with the opportunity to purchase a new KB home that can be personalized to reflect their lifestyle and needs.”

KB Home stands out from other homebuilders as the company gives homebuyers exceptional choice and control. KB Home starts by offering a wide variety of homes at an affordable price. From there, the builder gives buyers the ability to personalize their homes from floor plans to exterior elevations, from design options to where they live in the community. The KB Home team works hand in hand with homeowners every step of the way, so they have a real partner in the process.

Every KB home is designed to be ENERGY STAR® certified thanks to the quality construction techniques and materials utilized that ultimately deliver significant savings on utility bills compared to used homes. Additionally, all new KB homes are designed to deliver an enhanced indoor environment and include high performance ventilation systems, low- or zero-VOC products and other features guided by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Indoor airPLUS standards.

The Oak Shade and Durango at Shadow Mountain sales offices and model homes are open for walk-in visits and private in-person tours by appointment. Homebuyers also have the flexibility to arrange a live video tour with a sales counselor. Pricing begins from the $470,000s and the $510,000s, respectively.

For more information on KB Home, call 888-KB-HOMES or visit kbhome.com.

About KB Home

KB Home is one of the largest and most recognized homebuilders in the United States and has built over 655,000 quality homes in our more than 65-year history. Today, KB Home operates in 47 markets from coast to coast. What sets KB Home apart is the exceptional personalization we offer our homebuyers — from those buying their first home to experienced buyers — allowing them to make their home uniquely their own, at a price that fits their budget. As the leader in energy-efficient homebuilding, KB Home was the first builder to make every home it builds ENERGY STAR® certified, a standard of energy performance achieved by fewer than 10% of new homes in America and has built more ENERGY STAR certified homes than any other builder. An energy-efficient KB home helps lower the cost of ownership and is designed to be healthier, more comfortable and better for the environment than new homes without certification. We build strong, personal relationships with our customers, so they have a real partner in the homebuying process. As a result, we have the distinction of being the #1 customer-ranked national homebuilder in third-party buyer satisfaction surveys. Learn more about how we build homes built on relationships by visiting kbhome.com.

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Gustavo Petro Wins the Election, Becoming Colombia’s First Leftist Leader

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — For the first time, Colombia will have a leftist president.

Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and a longtime legislator, won Colombia’s presidential election on Sunday, galvanizing voters frustrated by decades of poverty and inequality under conservative leaders, with promises to expand social programs, tax the wealthy and move away from an economy he has called overly reliant on fossil fuels.

His victory sets the third largest nation in Latin America on a sharply uncertain path, just as it faces rising poverty and violence that have sent record numbers of Colombians to the United States border; high levels of deforestation in the Colombian Amazon, a key buffer against climate change; and a growing distrust of key democratic institutions, which has become a trend in the region.

Mr. Petro, 62, received more than 50 percent of the vote, with more than 99 percent counted Sunday evening. His opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate who had energized the country with a scorched-earth anti-corruption platform, won just over 47 percent.

official figures.

part of a different rebel group, called the M-19, which demobilized in 1990, and became a political party that helped rewrite the country’s constitution. Eventually, Mr. Petro became a forceful leader in the country’s opposition, known for denouncing human rights abuses and corruption.

called his energy plan “economic suicide.”

riddled with corruption and frivolous spending. He had called for combining ministries, eliminating some embassies and firing inefficient government employees, while using savings to help the poor.

One Hernández supporter, Nilia Mesa de Reyes, 70, a retired ethics professor who voted in an affluent section of Bogotá, said that Mr. Petro’s leftist policies, and his past with the M-19, terrified her. “We’re thinking about leaving the country,” she said.

Mr. Petro’s critics, including former allies, have accused him of arrogance that leads him to ignore advisers and struggle to build consensus. When he takes office in August, he will face a deeply polarized society where polls show growing distrust in almost all major institutions.

He has vowed to serve as the president of all Colombians, not just those who voted for him.

On Sunday, at a high school-turned-polling station in Bogotá, Ingrid Forrero, 31, said she saw a generational divide in her community, with young people supporting Mr. Petro and older generations in favor of Mr. Hernández.

Her own family calls her the “little rebel” because of her support for Mr. Petro, whom she said she favors because of his policies on education and income inequality.

“The youth is more inclined toward revolution,” she said, “toward the left, toward a change.”

Megan Janetsky contributed reporting from Bucaramanga, Colombia, and Sofía Villamil and Genevieve Glatsky contributed reporting from Bogotá.

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Europe steps up support for Ukraine as Russia presses offensive

  • Ukraine EU candidacy signals major shift in European geopolitics
  • ‘Europe can create a new history of freedom’ Zelenskiy says
  • Battle for Sievierodonetsk grinds on
  • Ukraine claims strike on Russian tugboat

BRUSSELS/KYIV, Ukraine, June 17 (Reuters) – The European Union gave its blessing on Friday for Ukraine and its neighbour Moldova to become candidates to join, in the most dramatic geopolitical shift to result from Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine applied to join the EU just four days after Russian troops poured across its border in February. Four days later, so did Moldova and Georgia – smaller ex-Soviet states also contending with separatist regions occupied by Russian troops.

“Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the country’s aspiration and the country’s determination to live up to European values and standards,” the EU’s executive Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels. She made the announcement wearing Ukrainian colours, a yellow blazer over a blue shirt.

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President Voloymyr Zelenskiy thanked von der Leyen and EU member states on Twitter for a decision he called “the first step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our victory closer”.

Moldova’s President Maia Sandu hailed a “strong signal of support for Moldova & our citizens!” and said she counted on the support of EU member states.

“We’re committed to working hard,” she said on Twitter.

While recommending candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova, the Commission held off for Georgia, which it said must meet more conditions first.

Von der Leyen said Georgia has a strong application but had to come together politically. A senior diplomat close to the process cited setbacks in reforms there.

Leaders of EU countries are expected to endorse the decision at a summit next week. The leaders of the three biggest – Germany, France and Italy – had signalled their solidarity on Thursday by visiting Kyiv, along with the president of Romania.

“Ukraine belongs to the European family,” Germany’s Olaf Scholz said after meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Ukraine and Moldova will still face a lengthy process to achieve the standards required for membership, and there are other candidates in the waiting room. Nor is membership guaranteed – talks have been stalled for years with Turkey, officially a candidate since 1999.

But launching the candidacy process, a move that would have seemed unthinkable just months ago, amounts to a shift on par with the decision in the 1990s to welcome the ex-Communist countries of Eastern Europe.

“Precisely because of the bravery of the Ukrainians, Europe can create a new history of freedom, and finally remove the grey zone in Eastern Europe between the EU and Russia,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

If admitted, Ukraine would be the EU’s largest country by area and its fifth most populous. All three hopefuls are far poorer than any existing EU members, with per capita output around half that of the poorest, Bulgaria.

All have recent histories of volatile politics, domestic unrest, entrenched organised crime, and unresolved conflicts with Russian-backed separatists proclaiming sovereignty over territory protected by Moscow’s troops.

PORT BLOCKADE

President Vladimir Putin ordered his “special military operation” officially to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine. One of his main objectives was to halt the expansion of Western institutions which he called a threat to Russia.

But the war, which has killed thousands of people, destroyed whole cities and set millions to flight, has had the opposite effect. Finland and Sweden have applied to join the NATO military alliance, and the EU has opened its arms to the east.

Within Ukraine, Russian forces were defeated in an attempt to storm the capital in March, but have since refocused on seizing more territory in the east.

The nearly four-month-old war has entered a punishing attritional phase, with Russian forces relying on their massive advantage in artillery firepower to blast their way into Ukrainian cities.

Ukrainian officials said their troops were still holding out in Sievierodonetsk, site of the worst fighting of recent weeks, on the east bank of the Siverskyi Donets river. It was impossible to evacuate more than 500 civilians who are trapped inside a chemical plant, the regional governor said.

In the surrounding Donbas region, which Moscow claims on behalf of its separatist proxies, Ukrainian forces are mainly defending the river’s opposite bank.

Near the frontline in the ruins of the small city of Marinka, Ukrainian police made their way into a cellar searching for anyone who wanted help to evacuate. A group of mainly elderly residents huddled on mattresses in candlelight.

“There’s space down here, you could join us,” joked one man as the officers came in. A woman named Nina sighed in the darkness: “There is nowhere. Nowhere. Nowhere to go. All the houses have been burnt out. Where can we go?”

In the south, Ukraine has mounted a counter-offensive, claiming to have made inroads into the biggest swath still held by Russia of the territory it seized in the invasion. There have been few reports from the frontline to confirm the situation in that area.

Ukraine claimed its forces had struck a Russian tugboat bringing soldiers, weapons and ammunition to Russian-occupied Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea outpost.

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Additional reporting by Abdelaziz Boumzar in Marinka and Reuters bureaux; Writing by Peter Graff, Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Lumin and Leap to Help Homeowners to be Automatically Paid to Reduce Energy Use

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As energy prices soar and households seek to lower costs and maximize the value of their solar and storage systems, Lumin is partnering with energy market access provider Leap to offer Lumin Response, a program providing homeowners automated participation in the wholesale demand response (DR) market, with financial incentives for energy reduction during times when the local grid is stressed. Launching for select customers in California in July, Lumin Response is the integration of Lumin’s home energy management platform and smart circuit control technology with Leap’s distributed energy resource aggregation platform, reducing a home’s power usage by automatically turning off appliances when electricity prices are highest. Participants will then help balance the electrical grid and receive compensation for their energy reduction.

“Smart energy devices can make an important contribution to grid stability during periods of peak demand,” said Jason Michaels, Chief Commercial Officer at Leap, “Together, Leap and Lumin are making it possible for homeowners to unlock more value from their energy assets and become active participants in creating a more resilient, sustainable energy system.”

Users of Lumin Response will receive an in-app message or email notifying them they are eligible for financial incentives. Once they provide a simple set of preferences for when and how long their appliances can be turned off, participation is seamless and Lumin will automate the entire process.

Lumin’s technology connects the most energy-consuming circuits and various smart devices, including smart thermostats, connected appliances such as refrigerators, smart controllable plugs, and electric vehicle chargers. By interconnecting these devices on its platform, Lumin creates an ecosystem where energy consumption is synchronized and remotely accessible, and controllable, with the energy supply available to a household.

“This partnership presents the first true example of automated value stacking for individual homes in the demand response space, beyond battery participation in virtual power plants,” explained Alex Bazhinov, Founder and CEO of Lumin. “We are thrilled to work with Leap to help modernize residential power loads and provide more flexibility and options for homeowners. Designed to work well for individuals who may or may not have an energy storage system in place, we deliver value from multiple streams.”

Demand response (DR) is a short-term, voluntary decrease in electrical consumption that is usually triggered by compromised grid reliability or high wholesale market prices. While many U.S. utilities offer their customers some DR options, the Lumin-Leap partnership provides a unique, automated DR solution for any appliance connected to a Lumin Energy Platform. In addition, participants can receive direct, performance-based payments for their DR participation rather than an annual credit through their utility or a points system.

“As many municipalities move to enact standards for energy-saving measures in homes, smart appliances that integrate seamlessly with renewable energy systems will become more important as we continue to see energy strain on the grid, and this is why Lumin’s user-friendly, automated system is so valuable,” added Keegan Campanelli, Product Manager at Lumin. “And thanks to our partnership with Leap for wholesale demand response, we can now help homeowners save money at the same time. Lumin Response is a big win for everyone.”

Leap’s software platform makes it easy for smart energy technologies to generate revenue by providing flexibility and support to the grid. The company has dispatched over 10,000 MWh of clean energy to electric grids, reducing over 1,000 metric tons of CO2 and offsetting the equivalent of 3,500 hours from gas-powered peaker plants. Combined with the UL-certified Lumin® Energy Management Platform, users can maximize their energy and the return on investment for their residential solar systems.

About Lumin

Lumin® is the pioneer and market leader for responsive load management, adding exceptional value to residential microgrids by balancing home energy supply and demand. Lumin helps homeowners automatically or manually control their personal microgrid and enhance and protect their investment in solar PV and energy storage. Learn more at luminsmart.com.

About Leap

Leap is the leading global platform for integrating flexible energy resources into global electricity markets. Leap supplies the grid with zero carbon, price-competitive alternatives to fossil-fueled power plants by creating virtual power plants (VPPs) from its partners’ batteries, electric vehicles, smart thermostats, HVAC systems, and industrial facilities. Leap performs all the heavy lifting to operate and stay compliant across wholesale energy markets, enabling partners to unlock hidden revenue, increase customer engagement, and achieve sustainability goals.

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German Brewers Face ‘Unprecedented’ Beer Bottle Shortage

Stefan Fritsche, who runs a centuries-old German brewery in Neuzelle, near the Polish border, has seen his natural gas bill jump a startling 400 percent over the past year. His electricity bill has increased 300 percent. And he’s paying more for barley than ever before.

But the soaring inflation for energy and grains in the wake of the Ukraine war is no match for the biggest challenge facing Mr. Fritsche’s brewery, Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle, and others like it across Germany: a severe shortage of beer bottles.

The problem is “unprecedented,” Mr. Fritsche said. “The price of bottles has exploded.”

The issue is not so much a lack of bottles. Germany’s roughly 1,500 breweries have up to four billion returnable glass bottles in circulation — about 48 for every man, woman and child.

recycling, it comes with one major problem: getting people to return their empties.

Dragging a crate — or several — of empty glass bottles back to a store can be a hassle, even if it means getting back the deposit fee. So people tend to let them stack up, in the basements of their homes or on the balconies of their apartments, biding their time until they are running out of either space or spare cash.

“It is deadly for small brewers,” Mr. Fritsche said. The brewery he runs sells 80 percent of its beer in bottles. (In 2003, a recycling law was expanded to focus on reducing waste in the beverage industry, meaning most beer sold for the domestic market is in returnable bottles, not cans.)

annual survey by Kirin, the Japanese brewer. (The United States ranked 17th.) But on the whole, Germans are cutting back. Since the Federal Statistics Office began keeping records in 1993 — a year after Mr. Fritsche’s family took over the brewery in Neuzelle — national consumption of beer has dropped nearly 24 percent, as people embrace a wider diversity of soft drinks.

Lockdowns surrounding the coronavirus over the past two years also contributed to the trend, as bars remained closed and sporting and cultural events were canceled.

The difficult environment makes management of the breweries all the more important. Mr. Fritsche said he had relied for decades on a combination of tradition and creativity.

A willingness to push the boundaries and think around the corner is essential to surviving in a tougher business environment, he said. For example, the brewery has a bottle of its signature product, Schwarzer Abt, or Black Abbot, that has been blessed by Pope Francis. The bottle is now dipped into each fresh batch of Schwarzer Abt.

What helps, too, is taking a long view of the history that comes with running a business founded in 1589, the events that it has witnessed and withstood over time.

“Nazis, Communists, government takeovers — in the past, we’ve had just about everything here,” Mr. Fritsche said. “And we have survived it all. We will get through this as well.”

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One Za’abeel’s Coveted One&Only Private Homes and ‘The Residences’ Are Now Available for Sale, Announces Ithra Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ithra Dubai, a leading real estate developer and asset manager, wholly owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai, announced the highly anticipated sale of One Za’abeel’s One&Only Private Homes and The Residences in Dubai’s most iconic address.

One Za’abeel, the multi-award-winning mixed-used development, is destined to become one of the UAE’s most recognizable architectural icons located right in Dubai’s business center. A marvel of engineering with the world’s longest cantilevered building, it is set to be awarded a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™.

Suspended perpendicularly across the two towers at a height of around 100 meters and weighing 13,000 tonnes, The Link will host several engaging experiences and will include captivating entertainment venues, dining with celebrity chefs, an infinity pool, an observation deck with uninterrupted 360˚views of Dubai, and an immersive glass-floor experience.

One Za’abeel Tower offers 94 One&Only Private Homes for sale, the pinnacle of urban living in the world’s first vertical urban resort managed by the ultra-luxury One&Only brand. Located in some of the world’s most sought-after destinations, One&Only Private Homes offer upscale private residential sanctuaries with One Za’abeel being no exception. Reflecting the architecture, design, and lifestyle elements for which One&Only is celebrated, One&Only Private Homes offer unparalleled access to the luxury hospitality collection’s world-class resorts, in addition to a series of exclusive benefits.

One Za’abeel’s The Residences houses 264 apartments with a strategic location and lavish facilities. The residences for sale include 1, 2, 3, and 4-bedroom simplexes and duplexes and a 5-bedroom penthouse.

Available for lease in this mixed-use masterpiece is deluxe office space covering an area of 26,000 square and three floors of retail space, F&B, and leisure experiences at the Podium, covering an area of 12,000 square meters.

Strategically located in the heart of the city, at the intersection of Dubai’s famous Sheikh Zayed Road and its commercial business district, One Za’abeel is the gateway to Dubai International Financial District, close to Dubai World Trade Centre, Burj Khalifa, and Dubai International Airport.

“With its mesmerizing architecture, central location, and exceptional mix of offerings, One Za’abeel is an exceptional place to live, work, and spend leisure time in one of Dubai’s most desirable addresses, a true reflection of Dubai’s ambitious spirit,” said Issam Galadari, Director and CEO of Ithra Dubai.

In line with the UAE’s net-zero target for 2050, the development aims to achieve the highest standards of sustainability as it implements the Gold LEED certification requirements in its design and functionality.

About Ithra Dubai

Ithra Dubai LLC, wholly owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), develops and manages a portfolio of pioneering real estate projects in Dubai and in key international markets. Its projects are designed to embrace diversity, shape happy communities, and bring prosperity to many. Ithra Dubai aims to deliver mixed-used developments on an ambitious scale, which incorporates world-class retail, commercial, residential, and leisure concepts.

www.onezaabeel.com

*Source: AETOSWire

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Signature Bank Appoints Corporate Mortgage Finance Group

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY), a New York-based, full-service commercial bank, announced today the appointment of its Corporate Mortgage Finance (CMF) Group. The CMF group provides financing solutions for a range of mortgage-related collateral across Signature Bank’s national footprint. The Signature Bank CMF Group is experienced in understanding the complexities of the mortgage origination, servicing and investment sectors and works with clients to structure commercial and residential mortgage-supported financing facilities to meet their strategic liquidity and balance sheet management needs.

Heading the new CMF team is Kenneth D. Logan, Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB), who brings more than 35 years of real estate finance, warehouse lending, asset-backed structured lending and corporate finance to his new role as Managing Group Director and Senior Vice President. In this capacity, Logan oversees the Group’s strategy, direction and execution as well as handles portfolio and credit management responsibilities. Prior to joining Signature Bank in 2021, Logan spent 12 years at Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC (including time at predecessor Wachovia Bank) as Managing Director of the Mortgage Banker Finance Group, which he founded and headed. In this role, Logan had executive leadership and daily management oversight of all aspects of this business. During his career, he also founded and led four successful mortgage finance groups for other large institutions and was a founding shareholder of a community bank, also engaged in mortgage finance.

On the heels of Logan’s appointment, other key banking professionals were added to the CMF Group, which now totals 14 colleagues. Several of these individuals previously worked together at their former institutions.

Kelly Kucsma was appointed Director of CMF Operations and Senior Vice President, responsible for all operational areas of CMF, including client onboarding, individual loan approvals, loan level and client level monitoring and treasury functions related to funding and repayment of transactions. Kucsma spent 21 years at Wells Fargo Bank (and predecessor Wachovia Bank) in Charlotte, N.C., most recently as Director, Warehouse Lending Operations and Transactional Due Diligence within their Asset Backed Finance and Mortgage Banker Finance Group. During her tenure, she held a range of mortgage banking related leadership roles, spending 14 years specifically in Warehouse Lending Operations.

Paul Tirella and Michelle Marrapodi were each named Associate Group Director and Vice President – CMF, handling business development and relationship management, working with mortgage lenders, aggregators and servicers nationwide to represent Signature Bank’s suite of financing services to the mortgage industry. This includes the financing of residential, business purpose, multi-family and commercial mortgage loans and servicing rights.

Tirella joins from Bank United where he was a Vice President – Business Development for the Residential Warehouse Group. For five years, he aided in growing the residential mortgage warehouse lending business, sourcing a plethora of counterparties, which led to the business line’s expansion. Other roles included banking relationship management and credit-related positions at UBS and JPMorgan Chase & Co., among others.

Marrapodi, with more than three decades of banking experience, had been Senior Vice President, Warehouse Lending at Prosperity Bank. In this position, she developed and managed warehouse lending relationships with independent mortgage banking firms nationwide. Throughout her career, Marrapodi held related roles at ZAIS Group, EverBank, Astoria Federal Savings, MetLife Home Loans and Credit Suisse First Boston, just to name a few.

Keith Ashworth was appointed to Operations Manager and Vice President for the CMF Group, where he manages non-treasury operations for CMF. Bringing more than two decades of experience to his role, Ashworth was Operations Manager and Vice President at Wells Fargo in Atlanta for 12 years, during which time he worked with both Logan and Kucsma.

Michael Tenkerian, with 20 years of industry related experience, was named Vice President and Treasury Manager for the CMF Group, overseeing cash management and wire transactions. Previously, he spent seven years at Bank of Hope in California as Senior Vice President and head of Warehouse Lending.

Melissa Marini, with 21 years of financial services and mortgage banking expertise, is Vice President of Specialty Operations for the CMF Group, where she evaluates applicable lending opportunities for the Group. She also joins from Wells Fargo Bank (Charlotte), where she was an underwriter for 15 years and worked with certain members of the Signature Bank CMF Group.

Jason Carter, as Vice President, Underwriter and Portfolio Manager with CMF, handles reviewing of financial and collateral information for prospects and oversees a portfolio of direct and indirect asset-based credit facilities. He manages the loan documentation process coordinating activities with underwriters, field examiners and operations staff to ensure proper ongoing account administration. For five years prior to joining Signature Bank, Carter was Vice President – Portfolio Manager at Associated Bank in Chicago.

Christine Castner was also appointed to the post of Vice President, Underwriter and Portfolio Manager with CMF, primarily underwriting new facilities and monitoring existing deals. With a career spanning 30 years, she spent the past eight as Vice President, Senior Credit Analyst at Prosperity Bank before joining the CMF Group. Castner also was Senior Credit Officer, Warehouse Lending at Ally Bank and spent 10+ years with GMAC/RFC, starting as an analyst and then moving into the credit officer role.

Other professionals with substantial mortgage finance experience rounding out the CMF Group are:

“Throughout the past decade, we have demonstrated many times over to the marketplace our keen ability to identify opportunities for adding complementary business lines and attracting veteran teams who built an expertise within their areas. We have nurtured these initiatives, delivering solid results across the board. The CMF Group will be no exception. We have assembled a group of top-notch professionals who possess extensive warehouse lending experience, all of whom bring distinct talents within this novel space to our enterprise. With the addition of these seasoned colleagues, we look forward to the increasing contributions the CMF team will make as well as the business line’s growth and impact,” explained Joseph J. DePaolo, Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer at Signature Bank.

Logan commented on his development of the CMF Group: “The Bank’s mission-driven approach and client-centric philosophy affords my team the chance to truly leverage our vast expertise, build our business line and grow autonomously. All the professionals in the new CMF Group bring a deep expertise within our niche business, which will bode well for the Bank’s growth as it moves forward in this arena.”

About Signature Bank

Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY), member FDIC, is a New York-based, full-service commercial bank with 38 private client offices throughout the metropolitan New York area, as well as those in Connecticut, California and North Carolina. Through its single-point-of-contact approach, the Bank’s private client banking teams primarily serve the needs of privately owned businesses, their owners and senior managers.

The Bank has two wholly owned subsidiaries: Signature Financial, LLC, provides equipment finance and leasing; and, Signature Securities Group Corporation, a licensed broker-dealer, investment adviser and member FINRA/SIPC, offers investment, brokerage, asset management and insurance products and services.

Since commencing operations in May 2001, Signature Bank reached $121.85 billion in assets and $109.16 billion in deposits as of March 31, 2022. Signature Bank placed 19th on S&P Global’s list of the largest banks in the U.S., based on deposits at year-end 2021.

Signature Bank was the first FDIC-insured bank to launch a blockchain-based digital payments platform. Signet™ allows commercial clients to make real-time payments in U.S. dollars, 24/7/365 and was also the first solution to be approved for use by the NYS Department of Financial Services.

For more information, please visit https://www.signatureny.com.

This press release and oral statements made from time to time by our representatives contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You should not place undue reliance on those statements because they are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and may be beyond our control. Forward-looking statements include information concerning our expectations regarding future results, interest rates and the interest rate environment, loan and deposit growth, loan performance, operations, new private client teams’ hires, new office openings, business strategy and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on each of the foregoing and on our business overall. Forward-looking statements often include words such as “may,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “potential,” “opportunity,” “could,” “project,” “seek,” “target,” “goal,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “plan,” “estimate” or other similar expressions. As you consider forward-looking statements, you should understand that these statements are not guarantees of performance or results. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements and can change as a result of many possible events or factors, not all of which are known to us or in our control. These factors include but are not limited to: (i) prevailing economic conditions; (ii) changes in interest rates, loan demand, real estate values and competition, any of which can materially affect origination levels and gain on sale results in our business, as well as other aspects of our financial performance, including earnings on interest-bearing assets; (iii) the level of defaults, losses and prepayments on loans made by us, whether held in portfolio or sold in the whole loan secondary markets, which can materially affect charge-off levels and required credit loss reserve levels; (iv) changes in monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. Government, including policies of the U.S. Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; (v) changes in the banking and other financial services regulatory environment; (vi) our ability to maintain the continuity, integrity, security and safety of our operations and (vii) competition for qualified personnel and desirable office locations. All of these factors are subject to additional uncertainty in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, which are having impacts on all aspects of our operations, the financial services industry and the economy as a whole. Additional risks are described in our quarterly and annual reports filed with the FDIC. Although we believe that these forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, beliefs and expectations, if a change occurs or our beliefs, assumptions and expectations were incorrect, our business, financial condition, liquidity or results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements. You should keep in mind that any forward-looking statements made by Signature Bank speak only as of the date on which they were made. New risks and uncertainties come up from time to time, and we cannot predict these events or how they may affect the Bank. Signature Bank has no duty to, and does not intend to, update or revise the forward-looking statements after the date on which they are made.

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Carol Moerdyk Announces Retirement from American Woodmark Board of Directors

WINCHESTER, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–American Woodmark Corporation (NASDAQ: AMWD) announced today that Carol Moerdyk will not stand for re-election to the Company’s Board of Directors at the next annual shareholders meeting.

Please join American Woodmark’s Board of Directors in extending best wishes to Carol Moerdyk, who has served on the Board for the past seventeen years and has been part of the Audit and Governance, Sustainability and Nominating Committees.

Mr. Vance Tang, Chair of the Board, commented, “We have greatly appreciated and benefited from Carol’s seventeen years of service to American Woodmark’s Board and Committees. As part of our Board’s refreshment planning, we have taken this transition as an opportunity to bring new perspectives and insights through the recent addition of Latasha Akoma with her substantial experience in manufacturing operations, among other areas.”

Mr. Scott Culbreth, President and CEO, remarked, “Our organization has grown and become stronger thanks to Carol’s commitment to our mission, vision and values. I have had the honor of working with Carol for the past eight years as a member of the management team and most recently as a member of the Board. She has been an advocate and supporter of American Woodmark, and I thank her for her many contributions over the years.”

The Board thanks Carol for her many years of dedicated service, and we wish her the best in her retirement.

About American Woodmark

American Woodmark celebrates the creativity in all of us. With over 10,000 employees and more than a dozen brands, we’re one of the nation’s largest cabinet manufacturers. From inspiration to installation, we help people find their unique style and turn their home into a space for self-expression. By partnering with major home centers, builders, and independent dealers and distributors, we spark the imagination of homeowners and designers and bring their vision to life. Across our service and distribution centers, our corporate office, and manufacturing facilities, you’ll always find the same commitment to customer satisfaction, integrity, teamwork, and excellence. Visit americanwoodmark.com to learn more and start building something distinctly your own.

Safe harbor statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: All forward-looking statements made by the Company involve material risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on factors that may be beyond the Company’s control. Accordingly, the Company’s future performance and financial results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in any such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K. The Company does not undertake to publicly update or revise its forward looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that any projected results expressed or implied therein will not be realized.

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