United Airlines is to make changes to its MileagePlus program in 2015, offering members the opportunity to earn award miles based on ticket price as opposed to distance flown.As of 1 March 2015, MileagePlus members will earn award miles based on ticket price and their MileagePlus status, earning five miles for every dollar spent.Members with MileagePlus Premier Silver status will earn seven miles per dollar spent while Premier Gold Members will earn eight miles, Premier Platinum will get nine miles and top-tier Premier 1K members will be entitled to 11 miles in the new program.The new program will apply to MileagePlus members worldwide for most tickets for travel on United and United Express flights, and most United issued tickets for partner flights, with members allowed to earn up to 75,000 award miles per ticket.Furthermore, United will offer new ways for members to redeem their award miles next year, such as extra-legroom United Economy Plus purchases and checked baggage subscriptions.“These changes are designed to more directly recognise the value of our members when they fly United and we are also pleased to give our members new redemption options that expand the usefulness of their MileagePlus miles,” United Airlines senior vice president of marketing and loyalty and president of MileagePlus Thomas F. O’Toole said.Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich
ATEC Australian Tourism Export CouncilTourism industry will continue fight against backpacker taxThe Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), is extremely disappointed the Government will push ahead with its decision to raise taxes on backpacker visitors, who will now pay a marginal tax rate of 32.5% from their first dollar earned, further encouraging them to take their holiday in New Zealand.“This budget locks in a tax which will deliver a negative result for Australia’s tourism industry and which will drive our backpacker visitors into the arms of our New Zealand competitors,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said following today’s Federal Budget release.“Over the past few months ATEC has worked alongside other concerned industry representatives to find alternative solutions to this tax, and we met the Government’s deadlines and demands to work with them on a negotiated outcome.“Tonight we have had no alternative proposal and, instead, face a further decline in the number of working holiday maker visitors compounding an already apparent labour shortage for tourism businesses in regional and remote Australia.“Australia’s tourism industry will not stand by and watch as the Turnbull Government introduces a tax that sends out a message that working holiday makers are not welcome – a message that is in stark contrast to the growth-focused approach taken by New Zealand.“This is an issue which will not go away and one we will be pushing hard during the upcoming election.”Mr Shelley said innovations in visa processing, including new user-pays, fast-tracked visas for India and the UAE, along with three-year multiple entry visas for India, Thailand, Vietnam and Chile were welcome.“ATEC is pleased to see the Government has heeded industry’s advice and retained visa fees, and the Passenger Movement Charge at current levels and also provided premium processing at airports which will help to us to engage the international luxury market.“We welcome the support of Trade Minister Ciobo in working to retain the Government’s funding commitment to Tourism Australia, which will help to keep Australia competitive in what is an increasingly aggressive market.”“With our overall tourism exports achieving extraordinary rates of growth and contributing significantly to our export income, we need to be embracing and strengthening the opportunities offered by Australia’s export tourism industry.“With outstanding results such as an 8% year-on-year increase in international visitor numbers, 18% growth in expenditure and a forecast to reach export earnings of more than $42 billion a year in the next 5 years, we should be doing all we can to build on all our market segments.“While Australia is a highly desirable destination for international visitors, the enormous global growth in travel means we face stronger competition from an increasing number of countries who see the economic value of gaining a greater share of the market.”Source = Australian Tourism Export Council
Source = Cunard Cunard unveils program of special events and new destinations for 2018Cunard unveils program of special events and new destinations for 2018Cunard has announced details of its 2018 Europe program, featuring a series of special event cruises and an impressive 20 maiden calls for its three iconic Queens.Between them, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will offer 39 roundtrip cruises from Southampton from March until December 2018, including sailings to the Mediterranean, Atlantic Islands and Europe.The new program includes 20 maiden calls to destinations around the world, with visits to exotic ports like Havar in Croatia, La Rochelle in France, Bodo in Norway and Puerto del Rosario in Spain among the program highlights. Cunard is also returning to 10 past popular destinations including Helsinki in Finland, Alghero in Sardinia and Gdynia in Poland.Providing Australian guests with even easier access to ‘the best of the Med’, Cunard will offer fly-cruise Queen Victoria itineraries to the Western and Central Mediterranean regions between September and November 2018. This program allows passengers the flexibility to join voyages lasting between seven and 21 nights and to disembark at captivating historic cities such as Rome, Venice or Barcelona.Meanwhile Queen Mary 2 will continue to offer the only regular Transatlantic crossing in the world with 22 crossings scheduled in 2018, and the opportunity for a double crossing sailing roundtrip from Southampton on select voyages.Cunard’s program of special event cruises and onboard activities includes high profile speakers, and has been themed around guests’ interests to add a special dimension to each voyage, while a wide spectrum of entertainment has been curated to suit every taste.The 2018 special event program includes: Transatlantic Fashion Week: Passengers will be treated to the glamour of fashion shows onboard Queen Mary 2 while being treated to inspirational talks with some of fashion’s most reputable names including British fashion writer Colin McDowell MBEVoyage du Vin: Wine-tasting onboard Queen Victoria introduces passengers to some of Europe’s finest wine and port destinations, along with onboard talks from experts and excursions around the Atlantic CoastA Journey of Genealogy: For the first time Cunard will offer the opportunity for passengers to trace their family trees on the remastered Queen Mary 2, collaborating with Ancestry.com, the largest online family history resource in the world for the trip of a lifetime across the AtlanticA Photographic Journey to the Land of the Midnight Sun: Passengers on Queen Elizabeth’s Norwegian Voyage will learn professional tips from esteemed photography experts and take a special trip to the Arctic Circle to photograph the stunning phenomena of the “midnight sun”Big Band Ball: Queen Elizabeth will play host to a spectacular celebration of music and dance, with a 13-piece Big Band Orchestra delighting guests with music from Glen Miller to Duke Ellington.The 2018 program also includes five Christmas Market voyages and a special five-night New Year Voyage calling in Amsterdam on 31 December.Cunard Director Angus Struthers said the 2018 main program offered an incredible richness and variety with itineraries and events that appeal to all.“Whether it’s a two-night short break or a 24-night voyage the Queens of Cunard offer every single passenger luxury on a grand scale,” Mr Struthers said.“Our fleet has long been synonymous with glamour and style, so what better way to experience everything the world has to offer than from an iconic Cunard Queen?”Queen Victoria’s popular Mediterranean cruises are priced from $1199* per person double occupancy for a seven-night cruise from Rome to Venice departing October 6, 2018.*Subject to availability, conditions apply Cunardbook here
Exodus turns 45Back in 1974, a group of friends joined together to launch an adventure travel company. As with many great ideas, it all started with a beer in the pub and an idea of travel to new destinations and as such a trailblazing business was born. The first trip was in an overland truck, that travelled from London to The Minaret of Jam, in the heart of Afghanistan – one of the most inaccessible great monuments in the world. The spirit of adventure has been part of our DNA ever since and in 2019 Exodus is celebrating 45 years of adventure travel.Exodus are very proud of their track record in providing responsible adventures around the world from inspiring projects that support local communities to a long-held commitment to protecting the environment for future generations of travellers.These days Exodus has grown from that first Overland journey to being the global active adventure specialists, providing adventure holidays to more than 100 destinations worldwide. Whether it’s walking the Amalfi Coast, cycling the backroads of Vietnam or even trekking Mt Kilimanjaro – there is an active trip for everybody. Even if you’re not the active type Exodus extends their 45 years of small group touring experience to everything from culture and wildlife to family tours.With a huge past passenger referral record of 97% of customers saying they would recommend Exodus to their friends, it’s not hard to understand why Exodus is the market leader in active adventure travel.Lou Day, Territory Manager Australasia said “over the next few months we look forward to sharing with our agent partners our celebrations of 45 fabulous years creating incredible travel experiences around the world. We are so proud to now have a specialised Exodus reservation team here in the region to service all agents around Australia & NZ.”Day went on to explain “we are going to be celebrating this milestone birthday all year so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for some very special agent and client offers that will be coming your way in coming weeks and months.”For more information or to book please visit exodustravels.com/au or call 1300 131 564.Any agents wanting training on Exodus product can contact their local Evolution Travel Collective BDM http://www.evolutiontc.com.au/contact-us/ or firstname.lastname@example.orgBrochures can be ordered directly from TIFSExodus Trade PR & BDMs are represented by Evolution Travel Collective. All reservations enquiries go back to Exodus directly.About Evolution Travel CollectiveEvolution Travel Collective (ETC) is an innovative business with a key focus on maximising brand ex-posure and enquiry generation via its client and partner-focused business model. This hybrid modelis unique within Australian and New Zealand, with one of the key differentiators being enquiry is di-rected back to the partners own specialised reservations teams to maximise conversion opportuni-ties and greater product expertise.This then allows ETC to focus on using their experience in training, representation, collaboration, strategy development and relationship management to build their partners brands, rather than ETC’s, with travel retailers and their head office networks. www.evolutiontc.com.auAll PR enquiries should be directed back to Evolution Travel Collective on email@example.comAll other queries can be sent to: Pete Rawley, CEO & Founder, Evolution Travel Collective firstname.lastname@example.org Ingrid Berthelsen, GM Brand, Strategy & Partnerships on email@example.comSource = Evolution Travel Collective
Travellers can now check into Maldives’ first ever entirely solar powered five star resorts, to mitigate their carbon footprint.Finolhu Villas comprise of 52 solar-powered villas located on an exclusive island in the Indian Ocean. Designed by New York firm Yuji Yamazaki Architecture (YYA), the project was completed earlier this year.Situated on the island of Gasfinolhu, measuring just 5 hectares (12.3 acres), the development is home to up to 100 staff and a like number of visitors, year-round. A typical villa on the resort measures a total of 168 sq m, and is located a stone’s throw from the beach. The interior includes a lounge, patio, private pool, dressing room, and a minibar. Besides, there are strategically placed operable windows and wooden shade screens, which acts as a substitute for air-conditioning.The resort is also self-sufficient in electricity given the presence of 6,224 sq m of photovoltaic panels and a large battery array.
Telangana Tourism played Host at TTF Hyderabad along with Andhra Pradesh Tourism. Azmeera Chandulal, Tourism Minister, Government of Telangana, inaugurated TTF Hyderabad.Telangana Tourism had set up a large and colourful pavilion at both the editions and had private sector operators as co-exhibitors. Adding to the rich flavours of the state was the Telangana Food Festival organised by the state tourism board. Besides, the pavilion had an area for showcasing the handicrafts of weavers from the state.“I am very happy to see the beautiful fair. As the Host State, Telangana Tourism sponsored a Food Festival, where members of the Telangana State Hotel Association had set up food stalls selling local delicacies for the guests visiting TTF,” the Minister said.“TTF is the biggest travel network of the country and we are happy to partner with them. Telangana is the youngest state of the country and TTF being the largest network, we will go a long way in promoting and supporting each other,” commented B Venkatesham, Secretary Tourism, Government of Telangana.The Telangana pavilion was appreciated with the Best Decoration Award– Big Pavilion at TTF Hyderabad. It also bagged the Most Innovative Product Award at TTF Kolkata which includes a walk on the lake at Laknavaram, Warangal in a 160 m long hanging rope bridge.“The main catalyst in promoting Telangana Tourism is our unexplored forest, unvisited medieval temples with exquisite sculptures, delicious food and hospitable people. We promoted all these in TTF Hyderabad as the Host State. TTF Hyderabad has recorded 20% increase in every aspect; let us hope for doubling the growth from this year’s output,” said Pervaram Ramulu, Chairman, Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (TSTDL).As a newly developed state that is rich in heritage and culture, Telangana has adopted vigorous promotional measures. On the very first day of TTF Kolkata, the travel trade and media personnel were briefed on the tourist attractions and products through a presentation by Dr Christina Z Chongthu, Managing Director, Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (TSTDL).“As part of Ministry of Tourism’s Swadesh Darshan, we are taking part in Ramayana Circuit with Bhadrachalam, Buddhavanam at Nagarjuna Sagar is part of the Buddhist Circuit, Eco-tourism in Mahabubnagar is also an important project. We hope to get good number of tourist arrivals in the coming days,” Chongthu said.
February 5, 2019 1,299 Views Big Tech Companies Digital Mortgage Fannie Mae Steve Deggendorf 2019-02-05 Donna Joseph Share in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News, Origination, Servicing Online services offered by banks are appreciated by consumers, however, big tech competitors loom, stated a new Fannie Mae survey that looked into the American perspective on banking experiences, and the shifting patterns in consumer digital experiences. According to respondents of the Q3 2018 National Housing Survey, while 43 percent of Americans say they are “very likely” to recommend their bank, 24 percent said they tend to stay with them out of convenience and trust. Some choose to stay on account of their bank’s speed, rates, or online interface. Sixty-nine percent of consumers reported overall satisfaction with their primary bank’s online interface as they are easy. Several respondents stated that they prefer performing simple tasks online—such as depositing money and paying bills—and are less comfortable performing more complex tasks online, including applying for a mortgage. Sixty-eight percent of young Americans do online banking, and approximately one-third of those surveyed use Big Tech payment services for mobile payments. The survey’s findings come at a time when traditional banks and financial institutions face increasing competition from start-ups and established Big Tech companies that have started rolling out financial services. These companies, however, do not inspire much trust among consumers, the survey noted. However, 20 percent of Americans, when thinking of their favorite technology companies—Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook— are more likely to trust that particular Big Tech company to handle their financial activities, including mortgages.“These new entrants are looking to offer financial services and are often credited with offering dazzling consumer digital experiences significantly better than those of traditional banks. Given the digital and customer experience prowess and resources of Big Tech firms, they may be especially well-situated to compete against traditional financial institutions,” said Steve Deggendorf, Director of Market Insights Research at Fannie Mae. The survey also pointed out most banks do not currently provide the experience that fulfills consumers’ financial needs on the digital front compared to the Big Tech giants. Fannie Mae’s prior research also shows that a majority of recent homebuyers have some interest in a fully digital mortgage. The survey findings also indicate that now is the time for banks “to step up their digital game and, more specifically, to consider how to best digitize more complex financial tasks before Big Tech does.”Read the full report here. Could Big Tech Compete With Banks for Homebuyers’ Business?
The March of Housing Market Performance Share Sales increased by around 29% month over month in March, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report. However, RE/MAX notes that March’s data is still the lowest in five years, and 8.6% lower than March 2018.“It was encouraging to see month-over-month sales improve during March,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Although the seasonal bounce that typically ends the first quarter wasn’t as strong as in the past few years, conditions are in place for a healthy spring selling season. Falling interest rates, rising inventory and moderating price increases against the backdrop of a healthy overall economy are cause for optimism for buyers and sellers alike.”March was the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year sales declines and the sixth straight month of year-over-year inventory growth. Housing activity in the report’s 54 markets nationwide also saw the Median Sales price grow by 3.4% year-over-year—notably smaller than the year-over-year increases in February (5.5%) and January (4.6%). However, the median sales price has risen by more than 3% year-over-year in 17 of the last 18 months.According to RE/MAX, the average number of closed transaction is up by 28.8% month over month as of March, and down 8.6% year over year. Sales prices rose month over month and year over year, up by 2.5% from February 2019, and up 3.4% from March 2018. The current median sales price out of the 54 metro areas RE/MAX studied was $246,000. Home stayed on the market for three days less in March 2019 over February, at 59 days. This is a two day increase year-over-year. Additionally, inventory increased month over month in March by 0.3% from February 2019 and up 5.3% from March 2018. RE/MAX estimates that, given the Rate of Sales data, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 2.7 from 3.7 in February 2019, and from 3.0 in March 2018. Inventory got a slight boost going into April, as residential real estate building permits increased month over month according to the latest Residential Construction Report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau. Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,296,000, 0.6 percent above the revised March rate of 1,288,000, but is 5.0 percent below the April 2018 rate of 1,364,000. Additionally, single‐family authorizations in April were at a rate of 782,000, 4.2 percent below the revised March figure of 816,000. in News, Origination HOUSING Inventory Prices sales 2019-05-17 Seth Welborn May 17, 2019 700 Views
Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact – / 9 Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Your browser does not support the audio element. The Arizona Cardinals have newfound depth at a needed position — offensive tackle — after signing veteran Max Starks, according to general manager Steve Keim.“Any time you can turn the back end of the roster and continue to add valuable depth, we’re going to take a look at it,” Keim told Doug and Wolf Monday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “We’ve looked at some of the young guys at that same position on our roster. We know what those guys are.” LISTEN: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals GM The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories 0 Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The transaction spelled the end of Cory Brandon’s tenure with the Cardinals and put Bradley Sowell, who was competing for the starting position, further down the team’s depth chart. Starks, listed at 6-foot-8 and 346 pounds, is entering his 11th season in the NFL. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was on the Pittsburgh Steelers staff for eight seasons when Starks was with the team. He plays both left and right tackle, pressing positions entering the offseason for the Cardinals considering neither opening starter from 2013 is back with the team in 2014. Keim said that during Starks’ workout with the Cardinals, he looked like he was “in the best shape of his life.” But even Keim doesn’t know how Starks will contribute with the team. He was cut by the San Diego Chargers last August and appeared in just two games with the St. Louis Rams following a season in which he started 16 games at left tackle. “We’ll see in the next couple of weeks how much gas Max has left in the tank.”
Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The Arizona Cardinals’ NFC Championship loss to the Carolina Panthers closed the book on the 2015 season. Now, it’s time to start writing 2016’s edition.Fresh off a 49-15 defeat, general manager Steve Keim says this disappointment will fuel him heading into next season.“I’ll get back to work in a couple hours here,” Keim told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday. “I’ll be on a plane to Mobile, Alabama starting to look at the 2016 draft class at the all-star game at the Senior Bowl, and I couldn’t be more excited to start putting the team back together.” “I will certainly answer the bell and get that started today,” Keim said. “I will try to put a team on the field that all our fans can be proud of.” – / 69 Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians answers questions after the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers won 49-15 to advance to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Comments Share An offseason priority for #AZCardinals: Locking up Tyrann Mathieu to a long-term deal, despite a year left. Should be a highest-paid safety— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 24, 2016Keim is determined to assess what went wrong against Carolina and construct a championship team for 2016. When asked what the Cardinals will have to do in order to reach Super Bowl 51, Keim emphasized the necessity of a pass rush.“I don’t care who it is, whether it’s Cam Newton or Aaron Rodgers, you have to affect the quarterback on a lot of snaps,” Keim said.Aside from the upcoming draft in late April, where the Cardinals will have the 29th overall pick, free agency gets underway on March 15, and Arizona has a lot on its plate.The team currently has 13 soon-to-be unrestricted free agents, including running back Chris Johnson, linebacker Dwight Freeny and corner backs Jerraud Powers and Rashad Johnson.Darren Urban wrote on Cardinals Blog that both Powers and Johnson “emphasized how much they want to return”.But the most important priority this offseason may involve the Honey Badger.According to NFL Network and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, securing safety Tyrann Mathieu will be high on the Cardinals’ offseason list. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Arizona released Taylor, who started the first three games before taking on a nickelback role, after he allowed a touchdown two weeks ago during a loss to the Oakland Raiders. The team followed a 45-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers by releasing Benwikere, who was benched in the midst of the Cardinals allowing quarterback Philip Rivers to complete his first 25 passes of the day.“It’s the NFL and anytime things don’t go well, especially when you get beat kind of like that, things happen in the league,” Amerson said Monday. “I’m not that surprised.“I’m just here to do the best I can, to lock in and really get the defense down and take care of everything I can control.”Related LinksVets out, youngsters in: Cardinals make flurry of roster movesArizona Cardinals claim tight end Darrell Daniels off waiversCardinals have looming decision over Steve Wilks after loss to ChargersRemembering that Peterson’s discontent led to behind-the-scenes trade requests earlier in the year, and concern over the defensive backs room will grow even more if his recommitment to the team following those leaked reports doesn’t hold heading into 2019.That the Cardinals are turning to inexperienced defensive backs in this system says a lot about their urgency with five games to play. It surely says something about the patience that was lost with the players who have tried to hold onto significant roles opposite Peterson this year. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams, right, makes a touchdown catch next to Arizona Cardinals defensive back David Amerson during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) 12 Comments Share Amerson, who played more than half of the available snaps on Sunday in Los Angeles, said the Cardinals struggled to adjust once the Chargers got a feel for how they were playing them.He added Arizona failed to make plays on 50-50 balls.Wilks, meanwhile, considered many of Rivers’ completions a result of the veteran quarterback taking the available checkdowns.“Philip is a future Hall of Famer. I’m not taking away anything in regards to that,” Wilks said. “A lot of the passes that had was short, quick, underneath, checkdowns — high-percentage passes. Kudos to him.”CUNNINGHAM BECOMES A FULL-TIME STARTERRookie tackle Korey Cunningham’s rise has been fast.He stepped in to the starting left tackle role two weeks ago. With D.J. Humphries out due to a knee injury for the second week in a row, Cunningham put together his second promising start.Now, he’s earned the full-time job — just on the other side of the line.Wilks expects Humphries back this week at Green Bay, and the team waived veteran Andre Smith on Monday, effectively naming Cunningham the starting right tackle.“I came out of high school, a 225-pound tight end,” said Arizona’s 2018 seventh-round draft choice, who played both tackle spots at Cincinnati. “I guess I can say I got overlooked and everything like that so, you know, that’s just what motivates me now.” – / 14 Top Stories TEMPE, Ariz. — It’s become the Arizona Cardinals’ version of Russian Roulette.As they’ve played a game of “Who’s that corner opposite Patrick Peterson?” this season, it’s felt like a bullet has always been in the chamber.Jamar Taylor (three games) and Bene Benwikere (eight games) made starts at cornerback this season, but come Sunday as the 2-9 Cardinals visit the Green Bay Packers to face future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, it’ll likely be veteran David Amerson acting as the next man up. “I think it’s real hard period to find a legitimate, number two corner in the league. You just don’t have them,” Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks said.“Coming in, you have expectations for those guys. As the year has gone on, you can see the inconsistency there. You can continue to sit there and allow that to happen, and as head coach it’s my responsibility to try and do what’s best for the team,” he added. “We wanted to make sure we gave other guys the opportunity to step up and see what they can do as well.”That Wilks is turning to Amerson is a bit shocking in itself.The six-year pro who had 68 games played for Washington and Oakland heading into this year, joined Arizona less than two weeks ago and has already been waived and re-signed. Undrafted rookie Chris Jones could also see time at corner, while fellow veteran Leonard Johnson has earned snaps as an interior defensive back.Amerson is still attempting to build a chemistry with the regulars in Arizona’s defensive backfield.“I think this scheme, it has a mixture of everything. It’s just … getting the communication down, knowing how to work with your safeties and getting that chemistry together,” Amerson said. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Go back to the e-newsletterSmall Luxury Hotels of the World has welcomed four new independently spirited hotels to the brand: a luxury spa hotel on the Île De Ré, a wellness resort in Okinawa, a modern city-centre gem in Barcelona and a boutique retreat in Madrid, all of which now bare the coveted SLH seal of approval.The Terrace Club at Busena: Okinawa, JapanRooms from JPY 52,000 per room per nightThis oceanside resort is located in a peaceful corner of the subtropical Okinawa Islands. Centred on health and wellness, the resort offers an extensive array of innovative spa treatments such as beachside climatotherapy, ‘aerosol napping’ and personalised treatment plans based on thalassotherapy. For the more active guests, the hotel offers private yoga classes and invigorating Nordic Walking sessions along the sand. The resort has 68 rooms and suites all decorated in fresh neutral tones and flooded with natural light. Designed so that guests can take advantage of the stunning scenery surrounding the resort, all the rooms feature a private terrace offering views of the East China Sea. There are four restaurants and cafes in the resort – offering everything from light refreshments at the poolside bar to fresh seafood and Japanese/European fusion cuisine in the Fine Dining Restaurant.Insider tip: Book an Ayurvedic treatment at the spa; the Kati Vasti involves warm oil poured onto the lower back in a chickpea poultice and is an effective treatment for back pack and improves circulation and stiffness.Le Clos Saint-Martin Hotel and Spa: Île De Ré, FranceRooms from EUR 190 per room per nightQuieter than the Cote D’azur but with just as much charm, Île De Ré on the west coast of France is where Parisians go when they need a break from the city. Le Clos Saint-Martin, a classic elegant French villa with a modern twist, is the perfect place to stay while enjoying the food, wine and picturesque views of this traditional French fishing village. Set in an 18th-century house, this boutique hotel has 33 rooms and suites, two outdoor pools, beautiful manicured gardens dotted with eye-catching sculptures and an exclusive Clarins Spa. The rooms and suites pair modern luxury with authenticity through natural oak flooring, large windows with traditional pretty blue shutters and white walls. The Lounge Bar, ‘Le Petit Bec’ serves light meals and afternoon teas in the sunshine by the pool or guests can order to enjoy in the comfort of their room.Insider tip; Hire a bike and take the cycle path from Saint-Martin through La Flotte to the Cistercian Abbaye des Châteliers, with cornfields to one side and the blue sea dotted with yachts on the other you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into a French impressionist painting.The Grand Hotel Central: Barcelona, SpainRooms from EUR 272 per room per nightIn the beating heart of Barcelona, between El Born and the Gothic quarter, this boutique luxury hotel is one of the largest of SLH’s collection with 146 rooms and suites across seven floors. Contemporary urban cool is intermixed with 1920s heritage design to create a modern yet classic interior – with views of the historic city from almost every window of the hotel. The real showstopper, however, is the rooftop SkyBar, where guests can enjoy a jaw-dropping panoramic view of the city while sipping cocktails or taking a dip in the infinity pool. The City Restaurant offers an inventive take on classic Mediterranean cuisine all created from market-fresh ingredients. The hotel also has its own wellness suite where expert massage therapists can tailor a treatment to your needs, or enjoy a steam in the thermal suite.Insider tip: Visit Gocce di Latte, for some of the best gelato in Barcelona – the unassuming shop is just five minutes from the hotel and serves up classics like pistachio and chocolate as well as flavours for the more adventurous such as lemon and chilli or banana and peanut.The Principal Madrid: Madrid, SpainRooms from EUR 209 per room per nightThis contemporary boutique hotel in the centre of Madrid exudes the cosmopolitan style and sophistication the cultural city is famed for. Located on the edge of the fashionable Gran Vía, the hotel is the perfect spot from which to enjoy this buzzing neighbourhood. Inside the 76 rooms and suites feature high ceilings and huge windows, a nod to the hotel’s turn-of-the century heritage. On the sixth floor sits the hotel’s restaurant Ático, which offers classic Spanish flavours with a contemporary twist in an ultra-modern setting overseen by double-Michelin-starred chef Ramón Freixa. After their meal, guests can head to the Terazza – a lush urban garden and rooftop bar which boasts views of Madrid like no other, standing taller than any other hotel bar in Madrid.Insider tip: Stop by Del Diego, one of the best bars in Madrid just a few moments from the hotel on Calle de la Reina. This lively bar is a popular spot with locals and a great place to enjoy delicious cocktails and a variety of tapas dishes. Go back to the e-newsletter
Viking Cruises is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, marking two decades of innovation in the cruising category.Founded in 1997 by Chairman Torstein Hagen with the purchase of four river ships in Russia, Viking now employs over 4000 staff worldwide. In 2000, Viking purchased Europe’s KD River Cruises to grow its fleet, to leverage 175 years of river cruising experience and to acquire rights to prime docking locations in key European cities.Viking is continuing its significant rate of expansion in its 20th year of operation. The company has already welcomed two new Viking Longships in Europe and its third ocean ship, Viking Sky was christened in February. Its fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun, will debut in October and will visit Cuba before embarking on a 141-day World Cruise. Viking Spirit will join the fleet in 2018, and will sail itineraries in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Alaska. A sixth, yet-to-be-named sister ship will be delivered in 2019.“2017 is an exciting year for Viking, as we continue to welcome new ships to our fleet and offer new itineraries across the world,” said Michelle Black, managing director, Australia and New Zealand. “We also have seen a great response from the Australian and New Zealand market for our ocean offering. Our destination-focused approach with compelling itineraries, combined with our extensive on-board inclusions and beautiful ships are proving to be a winning formula with this market.”To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Viking is offering the opportunity to fly free to Russia where it all began and save either $3000 per couple or fly free to Russia and save $2000 per couple, when booking a 2018 Russian river cruise. Offer is only valid until 30 June 2017.
Go back to the enewsletterSingapore’s landmark Marina Bay Sands will add a new luxury hotel tower and a 15,000-seat arena under new expansion plans revealed by owner, Las Vegas Sands.The new project will add “significant new tourism offerings to the property”, the company said.To be located immediately adjacent to the existing Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort (IR), the key elements of the development will be a state-of-the-art 15,000-seat arena, additional MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, and Exhibition) space and a new five-star hotel.Since opening in 2010, Marina Bay Sands has attracted more than 330 million visitors. The property has brought over 700 new MICE events to Singapore since opening and hosted 3,680 events at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in 2018 alone.The new 15,000-seat arena will play a key role in bringing new and repeat visitors to Singapore. With leading design and cutting-edge technology, the venue will attract top entertainers from Asia and around the world. Its state-of-the-art production capability will appeal to performers who might not have previously included Southeast Asia on their tours.The hotel tower, which will feature approximately 1,000 all-suite rooms and set a new standard of luxury in Southeast Asia, will also include a sky roof with a swimming pool and a signature restaurant. The tower will feature a dramatic atrium and terraces along with exciting food and beverage offerings and a combination of meeting rooms, ballrooms and exhibition halls.The planned new 1,000 Suite Luxury Hotel Tower, complete with infinity edge rooftop poolThe company said Moshe Safdie, who designed the original property, Aedas and Gensler are planning to be part of the team responsible for the design elements of the building. The current total projected budget for the expansion is approximately US$3.3 billion (S$4.5 billion) and a timeline for its completion is not yet available.“New luxury hotel accommodations and a world-class entertainment venue are exactly the catalysts we need to drive additional visitation to Singapore, and specifically to Marina Bay Sands,” said Rob Goldstein, the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer.“The expansion of our Singapore IR is a key component of our company’s strategic growth plan and also reflects the strong tourism and business potential in Singapore. The additional hotel rooms are extremely important to us in addressing the demand created by our leisure and business tourists and our premium gaming customers.”Go back to the enewsletter
White Plains, NY — Joseph T. Lombardo, executive vice president, Aerospace, General Dynamics, and president, Gulfstream Aerospace, has been elected to the board of directors of Corporate Angel Network, according to a press release received by Elite Traveler.“Corporate Angel Network is delighted to welcome Joe Lombardo to membership on its Board; and for his commitment and guidance as we move forward in CAN’s mission to provide timely, comfortable, and free transportation to cancer patients as they pursue treatment,” said Randall Greene, Chairman of Corporate Angel Network.“Gulfstream Aerospace, and its parent company General Dynamics, have been strong participants in Corporate Angel Network for more than 27 of CAN’s 28 years, by flying patients on their aircraft during company business missions. In addition, Gulfstream has embraced CAN’s message by promoting CAN’s mission and the role that business jet transportation can provide in reaching the best cancer treatment facilities for individual patient needs in a low-stress, convenient, and comfortable travel environment.”“It is an honor to participate in this worthwhile organization, which does such meaningful work on behalf of cancer patients,” Lombardo said. “Corporate Angel Network is an excellent example of how business aircraft owners contribute to the communities where they live and work. These trips help cancer patients get much-needed medical care and relieve some of the burden patients face when seeking treatment.” Corporate Angel, in operation since 1981, arranges free transportation to treatment for cancer patients using empty seats of corporate aircraft. It arranges for more than 200 patient flights to treatment every month.
by Jake Coyle, The Associated Press Posted Jan 23, 2018 6:11 am PDT Last Updated Jan 23, 2018 at 3:20 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email In Oscar nominations, fresh voices lead the way NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Academy Awards showered outsiders, on screen and off, with milestone-setting nominations that celebrated Guillermo del Toro’s full-hearted ode to outcasts “The Shape of Water,” embraced first-time filmmakers like Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele, and made “Mudbound” director of photography Rachel Morrison the first woman nominated for best cinematography.In nominations that spanned young and old, studio blockbusters and passion-fueled indies, the 90th annual Academy Awards on Tuesday gave many who have long been shunned by the movie business — women directors, transgender filmmakers, minority actors, even Netflix — something to cheer about.Leading all nominees with 13 nods, including best picture, was “The Shape of Water,” by veteran Mexican filmmaker del Toro, whose Cold War-era fantasy is about a mute office cleaner (Sally Hawkins) who falls in love with an amphibious creature.The film, shot in Toronto and Hamilton, came just shy of tying the record of 14 nominations shared by “All About Eve,” ”Titanic” and “La La Land.” Toronto native J. Miles Dale shares in the best picture nomination for the film.But the nominations also carried forward some of the ongoing reckoning of the Me Too movement that has been felt especially acutely in Hollywood, where male filmmakers outnumber women by a ratio of approximately 12-to-1.Gerwig, the writer-director of the nuanced coming-of-age tale “Lady Bird,” became just the fifth woman nominated for best director, following Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow, the sole woman to win, for “The Hurt Locker.” Speaking by phone Tuesday from Los Angeles, Gerwig said the distinction was extremely meaningful.“When I think about Kathryn Bigelow winning and me sitting there watching it and feeling suddenly like, ‘It’s possible,’” said Gerwig. “To be nominated as the fifth woman, I hope that what it does is that women of all ages look at it and they also find the spark within themselves that says: ‘Now I have to go make my movie.’ That’s what I want. And I want it selfishly because I want to see their stories.”Morrison posted Twitter of her nomination: “I hope it tells all the dreamers out there (especially the young girls with cameras in their hands) that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”In what’s been a wide-open awards season, Oscar voters chose nine best-picture nominees, including four with female protagonists: “The Shape of Water,” ”Lady Bird,” Martin McDonaugh’s rage-fueled comic drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jordan Peele’s horror sensation “Get Out,” Joe Wright’s Winston Churchill drama “Darkest Hour,” Steven Spielberg’s timely newspaper drama “The Post,” Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic “Dunkirk,” Luca Guadagnino’s tender love story “Call Me By Your Name” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s twisted romance “Phantom Thread.”One of Gerwig’s first calls of congratulations was to another first-time filmmaker, Peele. The two have been brought together by Hollywood’s months-long Oscar campaigning and their mutual rookie status. (Gerwig previously co-directed a small feature.)Peele becomes the fifth black filmmaker nominated for best director, and the third to helm a best-picture nominee, following Barry Jenkins last year for “Moonlight.” He’s also the third person to receive best picture, director and writing nods for his first feature film after Warren Beatty (“Heaven Can Wait”) and James L. Brooks (“Terms of Endearment”).“I’m going to write. I’m now going to get hard at work on the next one,” Peele said by phone. “One of the greatest things that I get from this whole process is this faith in my voice. It’s like jet fuel. It makes me want to make as many movies that I can in my life.Del Toro said in an interview Tuesday that he would celebrate with an extra chicken sausage for breakfast: “That will be my indulgence for the day.”“You realize that we are all, in some way or another, a bit of an outsider in different ways,” said del Toro of his film’s resonance. “Not fearing the other but embracing the other is the only way to go as a race. The urgency of that message of hope and emotion is what sustained the faith for roughly half a decade that the movie needed to be made.”All of the acting front-runners — Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards”), Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”), Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”), Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards”) — landed their expected nominations. But there were plenty of surprises and more than a few landmarks in the nominations announced from Los Angeles ahead of the March 4 ceremony, to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.Meryl Streep scored her 21st nomination, for “The Post,” and John Williams (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) his 51st. Two 89-year-old legends became the oldest nominees: Agnes Varda (“Faces Places,” best documentary) and James Ivory (“Call Me By Your Name,” for adapted screenplay). There were eight first-time acting nominees, including 22-year-old “Call Me By Your Name” breakthrough Timothee Chalamet and Daniel Kaluuya, 28, of “Get Out.” Saoirse Ronan, that grizzled 23-year-old, landed her third Oscar nom, for “Lady Bird.”Denzel Washington (“Roman J. Israel, Esq.”) was nominated for best actor, likely eclipsing James Franco (“Disaster Artist”). Franco was accused of sexual misconduct, which he denied, just days before Oscar voting closed.Canadian Christopher Plummer, who replaced Kevin Spacey in Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” also sneaked into the best supporting actor category. Added to the film in reshoots little more than a month before the film’s release, 88-year-old Plummer is the oldest acting nominee ever. “Everything has happened so quickly of late that I am still a trifled stunned but excited by it all,” said Plummer.Perhaps most unexpected was the broad success of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread,” which scored not only nods for Daniel Day-Lewis for best actor and Lesley Manville, for best supporting actress, but also nominations for best picture, Anderson’s direction, costume design and Johnny Greenwood’s score.Anderson likely displaced Steven Spielberg (“The Post”) and Martin McDonagh, the director of the film many have tapped to win best picture, “Three Billboards.” His absence is a major knock for a film that has endured the harshest backlash of the contenders, with many claiming it’s out of touch in matters of race.Still, “Three Billboards” scored seven nominations Tuesday, behind only “The Shape of Water” and Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.” The World War II epic, thus far little-honoured in Hollywood’s awards season, emerged especially strong with Oscar voters, taking eight nominations, many of them in technical categories. It’s Nolan’s first nomination for best director.Though the favourites are largely independent films, a number of blockbusters fared well, including five nods for “Blade Runner 2049,” four for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” three for “Baby Driver,” two for “Beauty and the Beast” and two for Pixar’s “Coco,” which is up for best animated feature. The Wolverine film “Logan” even notched a screenplay nod, a first for a superhero movie.Yet Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman,” which became the highest grossing movie ever directed by a woman, failed to receive any Oscar nods despite an awards campaign. Sean Baker’s far lower budgeted “The Florida Project” also managed only a supporting actor nomination for Willem Dafoe despite hopes for more.Though some minorities were still absent from the acting categories, the film academy, which has worked to diversify its membership in recent years, voted for a field of nominees almost as diverse as last year when “Moonlight,” ”Fences” and “Hidden Figures” powered a rebuttal to the “Oscars So White” backlash of the two years prior. Four black actors — Washington, Daniel Kaluuya, Spencer and Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”) — were among the 20 acting nominees.The documentary category — also including “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” ”Last Men in Aleppo” and two Netflix entries: “Icarus” and “Strong Island” — likewise contained history. Yance Ford, the director of “Strong Island,” about Ford’s investigation into his brother’s 1992 murder, became the first transgender filmmaker nominated for an Oscar.Some had lobbied for “A Fantastic Woman” star Daniela Vega to become the first transgender actor nominated. While Vega didn’t garner a nomination, her film, from Chile, landed in the best foreign language category. The other nominees are: “The Insult,” from Lebanon; “Loveless,” from Russia; “On Body and Soul,” from Hungary; and the Palme d’Or winner “The Square,” from Sweden.Last year’s Oscars broadcast drew 32.9 million viewers for ABC, a four per cent drop from the prior year. More worrisome, however, was a steeper slide in the key demographic of adults aged 18-49, whose viewership was down 14 per cent from 2016.Though the show ran especially long, at three hours and 49 minutes, it finished with a bang: the infamous envelope mix-up that led to “La La Land” being incorrectly announced as the best picture before “Moonlight” was crowned.This year, the academy has prohibited the PwC accountants who handle the envelopes from using cellphones or social media during the show. The accounting firm on Monday also unveiled several reforms including the addition of a third balloting partner in the show’s control room. But the movie business has larger accounting problems. Attendance hit a 24-year low in 2017.It was a dominant if bittersweet day for 20th Century Fox. Its specialty label, Fox Searchlight, is behind both “Three Billboards” and “The Shape of Water,” and Fox released “The Post.” Yet Fox’s leading 27 nominations may soon count for the Walt Disney Co., which last month reached a deal to purchase Fox for $52.4 billion.Both Amazon and Netflix failed to crack the best picture category but earned nominations elsewhere. Netflix’s “Mudbound” scored four nods and Amazon’s “The Big Sick” grabbed a nomination for Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s original screenplay about their real-life romance.“At times we worried it would be insurmountable, or would rip us apart, or even worse — that no one would like it,” Nanjiani and Gordon said in a joint statement. “The fact that it connected with audiences is exhilarating, and this nomination proves that our love is real. We have decided to stay married.”___Associated Press writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report from Los Angeles.___For full coverage of awards season, visit: https://apnews.com/tag/AwardsSeason
Kurelek painting sells in auction for $472,000, more than doubling estimate TORONTO – A painting by Canadian artist William Kurelek sold in a Toronto auction for $472,000 — the second highest on record for the artist and more than double its estimated value of $150,000 and $200,000.Consignor Canadian Fine Art says the 1972 paining, titled “Hot Day in Kensington Market,” is one of 21 works in Kurelek’s “Toronto” series depicting life in the city where the Alberta-born artist found commercial success and raised a family.The auction house says a second painting by Kurelek, “Hauling Hay,” fetched $94,400.It says the most surprising result of Tuesday night’s auction was a record set for Canadian artist Charles Comfort, whose piece “Smokestacks, Copper Cliff” sold for $33,040, which was six times its estimate of $3,000 and $5,000.The painting is one of several preparatory sketches to the final canvas, “Smelter Stacks, Copper Cliff,” which is in the National Gallery of Canada’s permanent collection.All prices include an 18 per cent buyer’s premium.Meanwhile, Quebec-born abstractionist Paul-Emile Borduas will headline the Heffel spring sale Wednesday with the 1956 “Figures schematiques.”The auction house says the painting could fetch between $3 million and $5 million, challenging Borduas’s best price at auction, which was a canvas sold for $737,500 in 2015.Auction house vice-president Robert Heffel says at roughly 1.3 metres by two metres, the canvas is the largest of Borduas’s black-and-white paintings in private hands.“Borduas was one of Canada’s most important postwar contemporary painters,” Heffel says. “(The painting is) a culmination of his career.”The Heffel auction will also feature eight works by the Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris, a portrait by Emily Carr and a Tom Thomson painting that was recently recovered from an Edmonton grandmother’s basement.Note to readers: CORRECTS headline to reflect sale price of $472,000 The painting “Hot Day in Kensington Market” by William Kurelek is seen in this undated handout photo. “Hot Day in Kensington Market” is one of 21 works in Alberta-born artist William Kurelek’s “Toronto” exhibition. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Consignor Canadian Fine Art *MANDATORY CREDIT* by The Canadian Press Posted May 29, 2018 5:00 am PDT Last Updated May 30, 2018 at 8:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email LOS ANGELES — To say Andy Serkis has been through the wringer with his adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” is a bit of an understatement. It was always going to be an ambitious project for a first time director — dark, intense and more in the spirit of Kipling’s stories, with a big studio (Warner Bros.) behind it, a blockbuster budget, A-list talent to match, from Christian Bale to Cate Blanchett, and all the high-pressure stakes that go along with that.But five years ago when he signed up to direct, Serkis didn’t know that Walt Disney Studios would soon be announcing its own live-action Jungle Book, which would beat his to theatres by over two years and become a nearly billion dollar box-office sensation. And no one would have guessed that at the 11th-hour this summer, after promotions had already begun, his own studio would sell his version to Netflix.“This wasn’t the easiest ride for anybody,” Serkis said on a recent afternoon. “It really did go through a massively long journey.”Serkis was even able to direct another movie (“Breathe”) and star in at least one (“War for the Planet of the Apes”) during the post production for “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” which debuted on the streaming service Friday.The affable Serkis, kind and soft-spoken, who made his name as a pioneering talent in motion capture performance in “The Lord of the Rings,” ”The Hobbit” and “The Planet of the Apes” films, is just excited people are finally going to get to see his passion project.The Callie Kloves-written screenplay takes the Mowgli myth away from the sunny, toe-tapping Disney versions, and back to Kipling’s original vision of the boy raised by wolves.Actor Rohan Chand (“Lone Survivor”) was brought on to lead the film at age 10 (he’s now 14), opposite heavyweight actors like Bale, who plays Bagheera, Blanchett as Kaa, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, Naomie Harris as Nisha and Serkis himself as Baloo.“I actually grew up reading Rudyard Kipling short stories,” Chand said. “I love Mowgli. He was almost like my hero in a way.”In order to see through Serkis’s grand vision, Chand had to essentially shoot the film twice. First with the “A” talent like Bale and Cumberbatch, wearing motion capture tech on their faces and arms, and then again on location with a different set of actors mimicking the movements of the jungle animals.“Rohan was extraordinary,” Serkis said of his young star who he helped guide through some intense scenes, emotionally and physically. “He had to endure real physical pain and a lot of technical challenges which he did with great ease.”For parents wondering whether or not their young ones should watch, Serkis said it depends on you as a parent. The Motion Picture Association of America gave it a PG-13 rating.“There is nothing in it that is gratuitous. There is no violence that is gratuitous. It is the lore of the jungle and there is violence and there is animal violence but it is not overly gory and it’s not enjoying it in a salacious way. It’s truthful storytelling and totally represents the level of darkness that’s in the book,” Serkis said. “It’s an emotional story, it’s an intense story. That’s what separates it from other versions.”Serkis was deep into planning when Disney’s version was announced, and, although he knew the films would be quite different, there was still pressure to be first. Once that “went away” when Disney beat them to theatres, Serkis said, they decided to take the time they needed to refine the story and get the performances and the technology right.The Netflix switch was not a third act complication Serkis could have foreseen, however.In April, Serkis and a few cast members were part of a massive Warner Bros. presentation to the nation’s theatre exhibitors in Las Vegas. Then this summer, on the last day of doing one of the final mixes for the film, he got a call from the studio.“They said, we’ve shown it to Netflix. They really love the movie and want to acquire it,” Serkis said. He was shocked.Selling a film to Netflix is not an unprecedented move. Earlier this year, Paramount sold the international rights for its Natalie Portman film “Annihilation” to Netflix, and worldwide rights to “The Cloverfield Paradox.” Universal made the same move with “Extinction.” It’s become a safe exit strategy for a major studio concerned about a possible underperformer, and none of the aforementioned films had a billion dollar Disney success overshadowing its release like “Mowgli.”Still, Serkis had imagined a premiere at a major festival, Cannes or Venice, and a big international theatrical run. And then he started to see the silver lining in making his film immediately available to 117 million Netflix subscribers in 190 countries worldwide. It’s also playing in select theatres too.“This could actually be the best thing for the film. It was not a straight up, four-quadrant, popcorn blockbuster movie,” Serkis said. “Netflix has a huge global reach…That it will be available to the rest of the world immediately is by far the best thing for the film to be seen by people.”And as for his new partners?“They’ve been incredible,” he said. “They want it to be seen.”___Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahrLindsey Bahr, The Associated Press After a long, bumpy journey, ‘Mowgli’ settles in at Netflix In this Nov. 28, 2018 photo, Andy Serkis, left, and Rohan Chand pose for a portrait at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles to promote their film “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle,” streaming on Nextflix on Friday, Dec. 7. (Photo by Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP) by Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press Posted Dec 8, 2018 6:59 am PDT
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Gloria and Emilio Estefan to receive Gershwin song prize by The Associated Press Posted Feb 1, 2019 1:17 pm PDT PASADENA, Calif. — Gloria Estefan didn’t think she’d get married. Her focus was on attending the Sorbonne in Paris. But Emilio Estefan “landed in her lap” and music became her career.The native Cubans will receive the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in May. They are the first married couple (together 40 years) and musicians-songwriters of Hispanic descent to receive the honour.Estefan told a TV critics’ meeting on Friday that the success of their personal union is due to having the same values and priorities.The couple met when Emilio saw her sing in church. Six months later, he was playing a wedding and he asked her to join the band for a song.Rita Moreno and Andy Garcia co-host the Gershwin tribute airing May 3 on PBS.The Associated Press
Jury selection to begin in New York group’s sex-slave case by Tom Hays, The Associated Press Posted Apr 8, 2019 2:57 am PDT NEW YORK — Jury selection is set to begin Monday for a trial expected to detail sensational allegations that a cult-like group based in upstate New York recruited sex slaves for its spiritual leader.Potential jurors have been summoned to federal court in Brooklyn to fill out questionnaires in the sex-trafficking case against Keith Raniere and three co-defendants prosecutors say were part of an inner circle of enablers. They include wealthy heiress Clare Bronfman and TV actress Allison Mack.Court papers allege the purported self-help group called NXIVM formed a secret society of women who were branded with Raniere’s initials and forced to have sex with him. The four defendants have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and other charges. Defence attorneys have insisted any relationship between Raniere and the alleged victims, including an unidentified actress and other women expected to testify against him at trial, was consensual.After an initial screening of a pool of candidates, a jury will be picked in time for opening statements on April 29. Who jurors will see seated at the defence table that day remains an open question in wake of new allegations that Raniere exploited a teenage girl. His co-defendants have since sought separate trials and engaged in plea negotiations.Two other women charged in the case, former NXIVM executive Nancy Salzman and her daughter, Lauren, have already pleaded guilty.Lauren Salzman entered her plea at a hearing that did not appear on any public calendar, and prosecutors had portions of a transcript blacked out. That’s led to speculation she may co-operate against alleged cult members at trial.Salzman admitted holding a women from Mexico hostage in an upstate home for more than two years under threat of having her deported “if she did not complete labour requested by myself and others,” according to the redacted transcript.Bronfman is a daughter of the late billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr. Mack is best known for her role as a young Superman’s close friend on the series “Smallville.”The jury questionnaire covers several topics, including asking candidates for their opinions about “rich individuals,” about people who “engage in relationships with multiple sexual partners” and whether they “believe that people under the age of 17 should be able to consent to sex with adults.”Tom Hays, The Associated Press AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email