Symphonies and salsa

first_imgOn a recent spring evening, a group of Harvard musicians gathered near a faraway hotel pool. Their violas and violins echoed in the warm night air, alive with the sounds of salsa.“We got our instruments out, and the Cubans ended up improvising some salsa music, and they taught us how to dance,” said Diana Tsen ’11, a violinist with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra (HRO) who helped to organize a seven-day trip to Cuba that concluded earlier this month.The impromptu performance followed a formal concert earlier in the evening in Santa Clara, where members of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Santa Clara joined the HRO to perform composer George Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture,” a piece inspired by his trip to Havana in 1932, and filled with Caribbean themes.The HRO tours every four years. But this trip was more than just a relaxing getaway interspersed with musical interludes. It was an important cultural exchange, and statement.“One thing we all felt very strongly about was that this tour be musically and culturally significant,” said Tsen, adding that the group wanted to visit a challenging locale that was also “musically and intellectually stimulating.”Its director, Federico Cortese, agreed.“I thought that there are places in the world where … it is meaningful to go with an exceptional group of young people representing an exceptional institution. [In a place like Cuba] I really think you can be an excellent ambassador for the United States.”For decades, travel to Cuba from the United States has been strictly controlled. But in 2009 President Barack Obama eased travel restrictions on family members wishing to visit and send remittances to the country. Earlier this year, the Obama administration further relaxed travel rules, allowing religious, academic, and cultural groups to travel to the communist-ruled island nation.Music’s universality is helping to thaw icy relations between the two countries.Problems with timing and trouble finding a big enough plane forced the New York Philharmonic to cancel earlier plans to visit Cuba. But last year jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra made the trip for a series of concerts and performances.The visit by the Harvard students, the first U.S. university orchestra to play in Cuba since the embargo began, continued in that vein. Crowds filled the theaters to capacity, eager to hear the students perform both on their own and alongside Cuban musicians. Cortese was mobbed with well-wishers after each show, and flooded with requests for interviews by local media outlets.In the streets, said Tsen, the Cubans were warm and welcoming, saying, ‘The American people and the Cuban people, we like each other and we get along. People aren’t politics, so we are friends even though our governments don’t get along.”Rehearsals were a multicultural mix of Cubans and Americans directed by an Italian (Cortese) who addressed them in English and Spanish, and occasionally in German. Proud of their musical roots, the Cuban musicians weren’t shy about putting their own spin on Gershwin. During one rehearsal, they politely insisted that the rhythm of the piece be changed to reflect their musical heritage more accurately.“They were saying that Gershwin got the rhythm wrong,” said Cortese, who happily obliged and altered the beat.Tsen said the orchestra was drawn to Cuba’s own rich musical traditions, its classical music roots, and its complicated history. For decades, the Soviet Union’s alliance with Cuba meant access to strong classical music resources. But the collapse of the USSR in 1991 severed many of those rich musical ties.“You are left with these people who are very excited and very spirited about this genre of music but they have no access to these resources. and so we thought it would be really interesting for both parties to engage in this cultural exchange.”In Cuba, where music supplies are limited, even basic instrument repairs can prove challenging. Fortunately, the HRO arrived with a luthier in tow, tasked with keeping the group’s 12 rented cellos and seven double basses in working order. In addition to attending to the HRO students, she spent much of her time fixing the Cubans’ instruments.“They lack even the simplest things,” said Tsen, adding, “It was really cool to see they could achieve such a high level despite not having those resources that we take for granted.”Led by Cortese, the HRO performed free, sold-out concerts in Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, and Havana. The repertoire included Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1,” featuring soloist Damon Meng ’13, and Antonin Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9,” or  “From the New World.”The trip culminated with a concert in the Gran Teatro of Havana, where the group collaborated with the National Chorus of Cuba, the National Opera de la Calle, and soloists from Havana’s Superior Institute of the Arts on Ludwig van Beethoven’s iconic “Ninth Symphony.” Performing Beethoven’s masterwork, with its theme of universal brotherhood, conveyed a vital message, said Cortese.“It’s the perfect piece when you have some kind of statement about peace and friendship of peoples. … I think that an American orchestra that goes there and plays Beethoven’s ‘Ninth’ has particular meaning.”The HRO also held music workshops with young musicians in Cienfuegos and Havana. At the Escuela de Arte Benny Moré in Cienfuegos, HRO members gave master classes to elementary-level students. At the Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán in Havana, they rehearsed Beethoven’s “Ninth” with a secondary-level orchestra.Cortese said he hopes to schedule similar tours in the future.“We can break barriers through music.”last_img read more

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Breen-Phillips Hall to host charity meal auction

first_imgIrish football coach Brian Kelly, professional specialist of finance Carl Ackermann and University Provost Tom Burish are among the 20 “campus celebs” who have donated dinners for the 31st annual Breen-Phillips Hall Meal Auction today benefitting Meals on Wheels of St. Joseph County.Co-commissioners of the dorm’s signature charity event, sophomores Anne O’Brien and Maggie Blaha, said they hoped to increase the event’s total proceeds from the $1,300 raised last year.“[Meals on Wheels] is based two miles away in South Bend; they make three meals a day and send them out in the morning with drivers to the houses of the elderly and homebound people in the town who can’t make their own food, seven days per week,” O’Brien said. “They don’t have very many drivers, and it’s pretty cash-strapped, so they rely really heavily on donations. We’d really like to make this year’s event big and raise a lot of money for them.”As part of the dorm’s efforts to raise more money through the event, Blaha said the team implemented some structural changes to this year’s auction.“In the past, we’ve actually done a live auction, so it was part live auction and part silent auction,” Blaha said. “This year, we changed it as part of our efforts to get more money for the charity. So the auction will be part raffle ticket for some of the gift baskets and then all silent auctions. So there won’t be any live auction, which we’re actually excited about because people can get more into it and get together in groups with their friends.”The meal portion will make up the silent auction, so groups will be able to sign up for a meal paid for by the “campus celeb” who donated it, O’Brien said. The raffle portion will be for gift baskets donated by various groups on campus and in the community.“As far as baskets go, we have Blackhawks tickets, signed pucks from a couple of Blackhawks players, a LuLuLemon giftcard, a LuluLemon gift basket, Vineyard Vines hats,” O’Brien said. “We contacted local restaurants to get gift cards, such as Jimmy John’s and Let’s Spoon, but the majority of it just came from donations. Each of the sections in BP donated a basket [and] our hall president and vice president both donated stuff.“For the meals, we just emailed professors and other people we thought people might want to eat a meal with. Each person specified how many people they wanted to take and where they wanted to go. For example, one was dinner for four at Sorin’s at the Morris Inn. So when people bid, they’ll be bidding the amount that the group will pay in total. So, if they bid $100, each person will be paying $25.”Some of those who have donated meals to the auction have also volunteered to donate in other ways, as well.“This year one professor promises that whatever the tab is, he’ll match that and donate it back to us,” Blaha said. “Ackermann did that last year, and that’s been really helpful.”Blaha said students will be able to use Domer Dollars to purchase raffle tickets, and that there would be several promotional events going on during the auction to encourage people to come.“At 5 o’clock, we’re having the campus Keurig representative come and give away free coffee,” Blaha said. “At six o’clock, Harmonia will be performing, and then around 7 o’clock we’re going to have the Vineyard Vines campus rep giving away sunglasses and croakies. So if you buy a ticket, you get to pick one out.”The auction will take place in the Dooley Room of LaFortune Student Center on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.Tags: BP, BP meal auction, Breen-Phillips, meal auction, meals on wheelslast_img read more

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Meet New Jersey Boys Star and Recovering Chocoholic Joseph Leo Bwarie!

first_imgAge: 36 Hometown: Sherman Oaks, CA “My background is Lebanese and Syrian, which could definitely be confused for Italian—they’re all about loud talking and big meals.” “I was visibly shaking in my audition for Jersey Boys. The real Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio were there, and It was the scariest. Definitely the most nerve-wracking scenario I’ve ever been in.” “I come from a retail family, so after school, I’d work at my dad’s store. There are pictures of me there at four, and apparently I decided my main job was to eat all the chocolate in the candy aisle.” Jersey Boys “If I drink some milk, so what? If I have two drinks, so what? It’s gonna be fine. Frankie’s a singer and I’m a singer, and I just need to sing and do the songs justice. But do I yell and scream at a basketball game? No.” Joseph Leo Bwarie Related Shows Current Role:  A showstopping Broadway debut as pitch-perfect Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli in the Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys. Star Files View Comments from $59.00 “I played a homeless child on The Young and the Restless in the ‘80s. I sang ‘Imagine’ and I think it was Earth Day. Come on, it was a soap opera. John Lennon, homeless kid…it’s a tearjerker!” Stage Cred: Four years, 45 cities and over 1,000 performances as Frankie in the Jersey Boys national tour, originated the role of Chachi in the musical adaptation of Happy Days.last_img read more

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Colombia Seizes a Ton of Cocaine en Route to Mexican Sinaloa Cartel

first_imgBy Dialogo August 14, 2012 Colombian police seized a ton of cocaine that was allegedly being sent to the Mexican Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, on a highway in the Antioquia Department (northwest), said the National Police on Aug. 11. The cache of drugs, valued at $35 million, was found in 866 packages in a truck that was stopped at a police checkpoint on a road between the towns of Caldas and Versailles, according to a statement from the Anti-Narcotics Police. The seizure was achieved thanks to information provided by an unidentified source. The driver of the vehicle was arrested in the operation and was brought to court on charges of trafficking, possession and sale of narcotics. The drugs allegedly belonged to the “Office of Envigado,” which is one of the largest drug trafficking groups in Colombia, and was created in the 1980s by the now deceased drug lord Pablo Escobar. On Aug. 8, Erikson Vargas (alias “Sebastian”), who heads the organization, was captured in a luxurious estate in the vicinity of Medellín (400 km northwest of Bogotá), and will be extradited to the United States. Although Colombia has decreased almost half of its cocaine production and the expansion of its coca crops, it still leads the world production of this drug, with 345 tons of cocaine in 2011, according to UN figures. “El Chapo” Guzman is considered the world’s most wanted drug trafficker and is ranked 55 in the list of the most powerful people in the world according to U.S. magazine Forbes.last_img read more

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Partnerships Continue with New SOUTHCOM Commander

first_img Diálogo: You already chaired the Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC) in December 2012, one of the three major SOUTHCOM events. What are your expectations for the Central America Security Conference (CENTSEC) and the South America Defense Chiefs Conference (SOUTHDEC), the other two main conferences? Unfortunately that’s one of the things that will suffer. This is not to say that we are not going to walk away from disaster relief. If, God forbid, a volcano or a terrible hurricane happens, the United States will be there, but for sure not as quickly. It will take a longer period of time to help in the recovery, but we are still there for all our partners and friends, not just the ones that we are most friendly with. We are all human beings, we are all in this together, and helping each other out is the best form of partnership. I don’t care what country it is. If there is a humanitarian disaster, regardless of what country it is, SOUTHCOM will be there to help relieve that problem for those people. Gen. Kelly: Hopefully we are going to save most of them. We are doing a lot of searching right now for internal efficiencies. If what we do here is engagement, partnerships, and counter drug activities, everything else has to be looked at as a potential cut. Many of our exercises are not real big; we are not sending brigades, we are sending four or five guys, sometimes 12 for a month or two to work with the partner nation military. It is not a huge investment. Unfortunately, there are some countries in this part of the world that we are not on the best terms with at the moment. We all hope that will change. My greatest hope is that those countries will someday, during my tour here, be more accepting so we can develop a better and friendlier partnership with them, on their terms. Interview with U.S. Marine Corps General John F. Kelly, SOUTHCOM Commander U.S. Marine Corps General John F. Kelly: Since I have been here at SOUTHCOM, I have visited Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, and tomorrow I will head down to Panama and then Guatemala. I have hit a lot of places, I guess. Before that, when I worked with U.S. Secretary of Defense [Leon] Panetta, I made trips to Latin America. I have been to Peru, now a couple of times, Chile a couple of times, Colombia a couple of times, Brazil a couple of times, Uruguay, once. My impressions of the countries I have visited are that they want to have a relationship with the United States, and the United States wants to have a partnership with virtually everybody in the Caribbean, and Central and South America. I had three tours in Iraq, just about a year each and, in one case, longer than a year. Diálogo: Before your last assignment as Senior Military Assistant to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, you were deployed to Iraq, so you are no stranger to different cultures and different languages. From your experience, what is the importance of understanding the culture and language of the countries in our region? Diálogo: What is your most important message for the senior military leaders in the region? By Dialogo February 27, 2013 If that happens…[it would be] good. And I hope it happens before I leave, because there are some common challenges regardless of what country you are in the world. The obvious one is drugs and the illegal money from profits generated by drugs. It doesn’t matter if you are a Central American country desperately trying to fight this fight or if you are Colombia, that is emerging from a tough time and doing so well; it doesn’t matter if you are Venezuela; it doesn’t matter if you are Bolivia, Ecuador or Chile. The poison that is drugs and the money it generates is everybody’s concern, and it is in everyone’s interest to try to stem the tide of this cancer. You would be surprised at the great work countries are doing shoulder to shoulder with us down in Key West, trying to deal with this terrible problem of drugs. Diálogo: General Kelly, after visiting a few countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America, what’s your assessment of the region? When I say partnership, I don’t mean a dominant partnership, I mean a partnership. center_img A lot of times conferences are looked at as things you can do without, but conferences are hugely important to SOUTHCOM because they bring the partners together even if it is for a couple of days to talk about countering drugs, humanitarian and disaster relief, which is huge down here. The good news about this area of the world is that, for the most part, people are not throwing rocks at each other; they are talking to each other. For the most part, people are getting along; they are trading with each other. This part of the world is not as dangerous. Yes, Colombia is still dealing with a tough fight; the Peruvians have a fight on their hands with Sendero Luminoso [Shining Path], but for the most part people here are getting along with each other, and the United States just wants to be part of that. Diálogo: Given the budget cuts proposed by the U.S. Department of Defense, what’s the future of key U.S. Southern Command military exercises such as PANAMAX? Gen. Kelly: They are absolutely invaluable to us. We have several partner nation liaison officers here. In fact, we just said goodbye to Brazilian Marine [Commander Alexandre Silva] who is going back to his country to take command of a battalion. His replacement is already here. The afternoon General John F. Kelly took charge of SOUTHCOM, the red U.S. Marine Corps flag – his branch flag – flew over the Command headquarters, along with those of partner nations in the Caribbean, Central and South America. Since that day, in November 2012, the four-star general, who commanded troops in Iraq and worked shoulder to shoulder with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, has traveled extensively to Latin America, getting to know the region’s senior military and defense leaders and their perspectives. Hours before heading south again – to the Central American isthmus this time –, Gen. Kelly shared with Diálogo some of his thoughts on the region, and on the importance of strengthening partnerships against what he calls “the common poison of drugs.” They are invaluable individuals for us to understand each other and get along. And in our organization in Key West, Joint Interagency Task Force – South, we also have a very large number of liaison officers from various countries. Diálogo: And in that goal of promoting understanding among countries in the region, how do you value the importance of the partner nations’ liaison officers at SOUTHCOM? Years ago we had a different relationship with this part of the world, but now it has matured. Take Brazil [for example,] that is now a world power, economic as well as military, in the right way military. You have Colombia, a tremendous success story. Twenty years ago, 15 years ago, most people in the United States, certainly in Washington, would not have given much hope at all to Colombia. People say “You can’t win the drug war”, and I would say “Look at Colombia!” People say, “You can’t win the war against drugs”, and I say, “Look at Peru and what they are trying to do!” A lot of people would say, “You can’t win the drug war”, but look at what our friends the Guatemalans, the Hondurans, the Salvadorans, the Belizeans are trying to do in the Northern Tier. They want a partnership with the United States on their terms, and the United States wants to partner with them on their terms. Obviously, we have a tremendous trading relationship with this part of the world, and we have attained a relationship of quality that has already emerged. Gen. Kelly: That’s our bread and butter: bringing people together in conferences, in tabletop exercises or exercises. The relationships you develop are at least as important or probably more important than the actual thing that you are doing. I operated around the world in my time as a Marine and the one truism I found is that personal relations count probably more than anything. People tell me that in Latin America personal relationships are important, but it is no different in the Middle East. As different as they are, to know the Sheik, to know the clan leader, to look in his eyes and work through a problem with him and develop a personal relationship, so that when there is a problem you pick up the phone and there is trust there. I have been in Asia, South America now and certainly the Middle East and Europe in my almost 40 years as a Marine, and the one constant is that personal relations count. That means getting out to see people. If they come here the door is always open, whether it is a general, an admiral or an ambassador. And when I go there the doors have always been open, with the exception of a couple of countries, but I hope someday to visit those countries and to develop a relationship with those leaders and their countries. In the meantime, I am happy to just make a commitment that if anything happens in those countries and they want us to help, we will be there to help. Gen. Kelly: The United States is much closer in terms of culture to this part of the world. Whether you speak Spanish or Portuguese or not, in the United States we have millions and millions of people who have arrived from countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America. In comparison to the Middle East, this is easy, and frankly refreshing. For the last ten years of my life, like most people in the United States Military, but particularly Marines and U.S. Army Soldiers, our lives have been dominated by the war. Gen. Kelly: We are with you. We are shoulder to shoulder with you. We are friends. Yes, we have budget issues, but the good news is that all the countries we deal with today in this part of the world – this isn’t the case in a lot of the world – want to do it themselves. They want a partnership of equals, and I think that is hugely important. Although the United States is dealing with pretty significant budget problems, we will get beyond this. In the meantime, my commitment is to work as close as I can, as often as I can, with as many countries in our region for all the things of mutual importance: counterdrug, humanitarian, medical… Some countries are facing tough challenges, Central American countries in particular, but my advice is to look at Colombia, look at what Peru is doing, and know that we are with you. That’s my message.last_img read more

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Planning: Mixing it up

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Mikel Arteta plans to build Arsenal midfield around Houssem Aouar

first_imgMikel Arteta plans to build Arsenal midfield around Houssem Aouar Houssem Aouar is Arsenal’s top target for the rest of the transfer window (AFP via Getty Images)Mikel Arteta is planning to build his Arsenal midfield around Houssem Aouar, according to reports.The 22-year-old has established himself as one of the best young midfield prospects in Europe following his performances for Lyon.Aouar has attracted interest from Juventus, Real Madrid and Manchester City.But according to ESPN, Arsenal have made Aouar their priority target for the remainder of the transfer window.ADVERTISEMENTThe report claims that Arteta views Aouar as a key part of the midfield trio he plans to use in a 4-3-3 system with Arsenal.Arsenal have already had an bid for Aouar rejected by Lyon as the Gunners offered cash plus Matteo Guendouzi. Advertisement Comment Arsenal have offered Matteo Guendouzi to Lyon but the French club refused (Getty Images)‘We spoke on the phone. Houssem Aouar is really appreciated by Arteta. There have been some discussions for Matteo Guendouzi who is also a good player. ‘He was mentioned during the discussion, but this is not the profile we need, we were very clear. If it is like that, it does not interest us at all… it is, and we stopped.’Arsenal are currently unable to match Lyon’s valuation, although their transfer will now be boosted following Emiliano Martinez’s £20m move to Aston Villa on Sunday.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalArteta, meanwhile, has said this week that he is keen to bolster his squad even further before the end of the transfer window.‘We are still active in the market, we are looking at different options,’ said the Arsenal manager.‘I would say we are active in the market for players in and out, at the moment the squad balance is not the ideal we want to achieve so there is still some work to do.‘Some positions are overbooked, I said some others, in terms of specific qualities that we need, they are still not there.‘We have to bear in mind the complication with this transfer market and the complexity and the timing, because you can see that clubs are behaving in many different ways and it is a little bit uncertain how this will work in the next few weeks.’Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page.center_img Lyon are demanding €60m (£55.5m) for Houssem Aouar (Getty Images)Lyon, however, are not interested in a deal that includes Guendouzi and are demanding a €60 million (£55.5m) fee.AdvertisementAdvertisementSpeaking earlier this week, Lyon’s sporting director, Juninho, confirmed Arsenal’s first offer for Aouar had been turned down.‘I get along very well with their sporting director [Edu],’ Juninho said. Metro Sport ReporterSunday 13 Sep 2020 5:54 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link17.7kShares Advertisementlast_img read more

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Battered northern property market offers great value

first_imgAreas in north Queensland, such as Townsville still represent good value according to Haesley Cush.I TRAVELLED up to North Queensland this week where many of the locals were still basking in the warm glory of the mighty Queensland Maroons win only a week ago.I started in Airlie Beach where the victory was a welcome reason to celebrate after cyclone Debbie had crashed into town soaking the green shoots that had just started to sprout in the real estate market following the resources boom fall out.From Airlie we drove to Townsville. It managed to dodge the Debbie bullet but with some hard industrial closures last year the town’s road back to recovery was one of the slowest in the far north.Surely any person interested in property is looking for the next big thing. So when I was talking to the agents in both towns I was digging for value or any indicators to help gauge what the next few months might have in store.In Airlie there are some really strong investment signs.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home3 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor3 hours agoThe signs are looking positive for north Queensland according to Haesley Cush (pictured).In most natural disasters there are usually two sides to the situation. The devastation of Debbie has meant an increase in jobs. Trades people are flocking to the town and there is a huge amount of work to be done to get the town back to its previous glory.The extra people coming to town, combined with a decrease in available properties (as a consequence of the storm damage), has seen rental prices increase.House prices have obviously been low in north Queensland in recent years. So these low prices when matched to low vacancy and rising rents are very good signs. These indicators should interest savvy and local investors looking to take advantage of the value.Property investment explained…Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:15Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:15 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenProperty Investment Explained01:15Similarly, Townsville prices have stayed low. The only indication of market movement has come from a decrease in the days a property is on the market.Townsville currently has construction and jobs coming too. There is talk of the building of a new stadium, a solar plant, a battery factory, and staff for the Adani mining company and its associated work is starting to be recruited.While some pockets of Australia are significantly over stimulated, far north Queensland still represents great value and with the available work in many of the area’s towns, in my opinion it won’t be long before these regions start to see price rises.last_img read more

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Gold Coast records several million-dollar sales

first_img2503 Cressbrook Drive, Hope Island. 208 Wongawallan Drive, Wongawallan.THE Gold Coast’s million-dollar club is growing with several big sales recorded last week.A riverfront mansion at Hope Island was one of the highest sales, changing hands for $1.9 million.Hope Island Resort Realty agent Warren Hickey said an Asian family bought the home at 2503 Cressbrook Drive on Friday. 2503 Cressbrook Drive, Hope Island.The two-storey home has four ensuited bedrooms, a study, a pool overlooking the river and pontoon.Also on Friday, the $1.12 million sale of a Wongawallan home was cemented after a two month settlement period.Wise Choice Realty Oxenford principal Pauline OBrien-Wise said a couple based in England bought the 4ha mountain-top property at 208 Wongawallan Drive.She said the house’s panoramic coastline vistas from Moreton Bay to Tweed Heads framed by floor to ceiling windows made it special.“It’s more of a lifestyle property,” Mrs OBrien-Wise said.“It’s the sort of property that wasn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.” 2503 Cressbrook Drive, Hope Island. 2503 Cressbrook Drive, Hope Island.“They have an existing property portfolio in Australia (but) I believe they are going to reside here,” Mr Hickey said.He said several buyers were interested in the property, which was on the market for about three months.“We had multiple offers,” Mr Hickey said.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa17 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoHe said its position on the Coomera River overlooking Thompson Island was one of its most appealing features.Prospective buyers also liked that it was secure within the gated Gracemere Island prescient of Hope Island Resort. 208 Wongawallan Drive, Wongawallan.center_img 2503 Cressbrook Drive, Hope Island. 208 Wongawallan Drive, Wongawallan. 2503 Cressbrook Drive, Hope Island. 208 Wongawallan Drive, Wongawallan.She received a couple of offers not long after it hit the market on November 1 but said they were “dreamers”.She said the man who bought the property knew instantly he wanted to live in the home with his wife once his two-year contracted ended overseas.“He said, ‘I’ve just got to have this, it’s just beautiful’,” Mrs OBrien-Wise said.“He’ll move over, just him and his wife, and live in it and put their own stamp on it.”She said it will be rented out until they moved in.A modern Burleigh Heads house and family home at Helensvale also sold for more than a million on Thursday at $1.13 million and $1.05 million respectively.last_img read more

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​Nordic quintet backs $1bn investment in US mid-market loans [updated]

first_imgAnders Stensbøl Christiansen, CIO at Velliv, told IPE: “We are investing in private market loans to these smaller US companies because they provide higher yields than broadly syndicated loans to larger companies, and because they typically carry lower default risk due to more conservative underwriting practices.”He said the partnership with Nuveen should deliver attractive risk-adjusted returns for its customers.“Private credit is an attractive alternative to the more liquid, traditional fixed income market for our portfolio,” he added.Per Frederiksen, head of Nuveen’s Nordics advisory business, said: “One thing we are focused on is that we don’t want to overburden Churchill – we want them to stay in the sweet spot they are in now.”Of the two unnamed Nordic institutions in the investor group, one is Danish and the other is a large Finnish pension insurer, he said. “TIAA knows what it means to be a long-term investor and has the same needs as these pension funds, including a balance sheet that is aligned with theirs,” Frederiksen said. “This opened a lot of doors – they need strong partners and not only do we have the management capabilities but we also provide our own capital.”The US middle market company sector was so large it equated to the third largest economy in the world when seen in isolation, according to Nuveen.Churchill Asset Management is a specialist middle-market US loans manager that was established in 2015.In December last year, PenSam struck a deal with TIAA and Nuveen to invest DKK1.2bn (€161m) in US private equity.This article was updated on 3 October to amend the fundraising target. It was amended again on 9 October to correct details about Churchill Asset Management. Five Nordic pensions institutions have allocated $550m (€475m) to a fund investing in senior secured loans to middle-market US companies.The providers include Denmark’s PFA Pension, PenSam and Velliv (formerly Nordea Liv & Pension Denmark), and the fund aims to raise $1bn in total.The fund has been created and is managed by Churchill Asset Management, a subsidiary of Nuveen, the asset management arm of US pension fund TIAA.The five pension funds acted as seed investors in the fund, which cannot be named due to US marketing restrictions. Nuveen said it was talking to other institutions about investing in the fund.last_img read more

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