Posted by Uki Goñi in Buenos Aires

Tests confirm body is Santiago Maldonado, an activist missing since a security forces raid in August

A body found floating in the icy waters of a southern Argentina river
could determine the result of midterm
elections seen as vital for the right-of-centre president, Mauricio Macri.

The body is that of missing backpacker Santiago Maldonado, whose disappearance 81 days ago caused a political storm as the president seeks a vote of confidence on Sunday to continue his economic austerity programme.

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Posted by Eleanor Ainge Roy in Dunedin

Country’s treasured avian species puff up their plumage as nation votes on who rules the roost

Bird of the Year leaderboard – check the pecking order

First there was the “Jacinda effect” and a government to cobble together. Then came the mania for the jade Kākāriki, the shining cuckoo and the stern Ruru.

New Zealand’s Bird of the Year Competition has kicked off, and it has galvanised voters with the same intensity as the recent election. Now in its 13th year, the poll pits the country’s rare and endangered birds against one another: the cheeky Kea versus the shy Kiwi, the dowdy Bar Tailed Godwit against the alluring Hihi.

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Posted by slidell

Can we fire our realtor? This is surprisingly hard to Google! We can, right? We're buyers who aren't under contract. Feel free to weigh in on if we should as well. We've been looking for a house for a long time and thought we had a realtor to work with when we found something. We never felt like she was paying much attention to us, but that made sense; we were moving slowly.

We started to ramp up and were a bit bummed that she continued to be fairly unavailable. But okay, we figured, we're doing okay on our own, and it's probably our fault for not planning way ahead to get on her calendar. We had started traveling to our destination city every weekend to go to open houses and occasionally asked (usually fairly last minute, like Thursday or Friday) whether she could help us get into homes that weren't having open houses. Once she got her colleague to let us in; he voluntarily offered to spend half the day showing us other places. Once we were just out of luck. (We really didn't like this guy. He said some things we found offensive.)

After a month of spending long weekends looking at open houses and weeknights studying the listings, we spotted a house that we thought was "the one." It was in the neighborhood we wanted and at the sweet spot of all our preferences: nice in the areas we valued, cut corners in areas we didn't care about to land right where we wanted to land on price. I know you can't always tell from a listing, but after seeing like 25 houses in person, we've started to be able to read between the lines.

We texted her at 9 pm Monday, followed up with a voice mail at 9:30 am Tuesday, an email, another voice mall, three texts spaced at 90 minutes intervals, another voice mail... ugh, I'm so angry recounting this. I've bought another house, and to me, this level of unresponsiveness is unusual for an agent. My original text specifically said that we wanted to put in an offer ASAP. I finally got a reply text at 3:39 pm letting me know what time the weekend open houses were at (!! we know how to use Redfin already). About 1/3 of listings in our price range are going Pending within 48 hours, so we were prepared to move fast.

She said it was too late to see the house that day, Tuesday, which yeah, now that it's 4 pm I guess it might be. Plus, she had another event from 5-7 that evening. I had all day work events midweek and couldn't find a way to travel there again until Friday. She said that they probably wouldn't look at offers until Monday and encouraged us to see it on the weekend. I did a little arm twisting to get her to agree to show it to me on Friday. She did talk to the listing agent (who works in her office and who she's selling another house with!). We got the mortgage team all ready to go with a letter, no thanks to her. She did get a heads up that they'd received another offer whose terms we'd have to be prepared to match, so we talked to the mortgage broker and felt all set there.

Then an hour before we were going to go see it, she texted me that the house went pending and that the sellers didn't want to wait for the buyers (plural) who were looking at the house today to make offers. She didn't say "they felt the offer was unbeatable" -- she said "they didn't want to wait." If I'd toured it on Tuesday and put in an offer on Wednesday, that would've at least gotten our offer looked at! Even today we were already in the fray with a bunch of competition. We wanted to move quickly; she was unavailable, so we moved slowly. Are my expectations out of whack or can I just fire her now?

Complication: we got a recommendation for someone else from our mortgage broker. ("I've been in this business for over two decades and dealt with a lot of realtors, and he's one of only about three I'd work with. He's the one who helped me buy my house.") Turns out this guy is in that same brokerage (or whatever the word is). Assuming we like him, could we switch to him? I think she'll be annoyed at being fired. She's opinionated and a persuasive advocate in the way that realtors sometimes are. Is there anything specific to do to have this break-up not have continued fall-out? Will she and Offensive Guy try to split the commission with New Guy? Will New Guy have to check in with her and hear her talk about ... whatever she'll say to explain why she let someone who said "we want to put in an offer asap" linger for over 18 hours without so much as a text in reply and then recommended that they go to the weekend open houses? Do I need to explain to him why we're switching so that he doesn't think we're bad clients?

siderea: (Default)
([personal profile] siderea Oct. 20th, 2017 08:51 pm)

I have a friend coming from out-of-town – from one of those more landlocked places – who would like to go out for seafood. I'm abashed to admit, my answer to the question of where I go for seafood around here is "New Hampshire", which is not compatable with our plans. I am nursing a grudge against Legal, and just about all the places I used to go are out of business.

They're a foodie, will be staying in Somerville, and will be getting around on the T.

Where should we go?

Posted by Press Association

Highways England suggests change to combat congestion and reduce impact of repairs

Speed limits could be raised to 60mph through roadworks as Highways England tries to combat congestion and reduce the impact of repairs.

The government-owned company, which has been testing different speed limits since September 2016, found motorists’ heart rates were lower when driving faster through roadworks.

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Posted by Press Association

Highways England suggests change after trials show motorists’ heart rates were lower when driving faster through roadworks

Speed limits could be raised up to 60mph through roadworks as Highways England looks to combat congestion and reduce the impact of repairs.

The government-owned company, which has been testing different speed limits since September 2016, found motorists’ heart rates were lower when driving faster through roadworks.

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Posted by Zoe Williams

The almost-holder of the loftiest office imaginable was on The Graham Norton Show after her recent brush with the NHS

“Hello. I am Hillary Rodham Clinton, and this is the Graham Norton Show.” The almost-holder of what was once the loftiest imaginable office was surprisingly game for a bit of British kitsch: warm, indulgent and dressed in yellow, like a president on a kindergarten walkabout.

Related: Hillary Clinton praises NHS after broken toe prevents interviews

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