Bill Cosbys art collection to remain on view at Smithsonian

first_img Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home In response to the admission, Walt Disney World removed a statue of Cosby. Bounce TV and Centric networks stopped re-running “The Cosby Show,” and some civil rights leaders called for Cosby’s star to be removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A sexual assault awareness group has petitioned the White House to revoke Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom.Some art critics have called for the Smithsonian to stop showcasing Cosby’s art collection. The museum director, Johnnetta Cole, declined to discuss the exhibit.Cole, who is also the president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, is close with the Cosbys. At a preview for the exhibition, the Cosbys talked warmly of Cole and recalled how Camille Cosby wrote a $20 million check to Spelman College when Cole was president of the Atlanta school. In December, Spelman suspended its program funded by the Cosbys.The Smithsonian defended the exhibit on its artistic merits.“We certainly don’t condone his behavior,” Kurin said. “We’re just as deeply disturbed and disappointed as I think everybody else. But it’s not about Mr. Cosby. This is an art exhibit.”The Smithsonian is sensitive about changing exhibits. “First and fundamentally, this is an art exhibit,” Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian’s undersecretary for art, history and culture told The Associated Press. “So it’s not about the life and career of Bill Cosby. It’s about the artists.”About a third of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art’s 50th anniversary exhibition came from Bill and Camille Cosby’s extensive African-American art collection, and two-thirds came from the museum’s own collection.Most of the Cosby collection had never before been seen by the public. It includes paintings by one-time slaves, pieces commissioned for the Cosbys, a piece by Cosby’s daughter and quilts made in tribute to Cosby and his slain son, Ennis. The exhibit also includes images of Cosby and quotations from him.Even without the assault allegations, the exhibit raised concerns. Some critics frown on showcasing a private collection in a prominent museum because it can enhance the artwork’s market value. Also, Camille Cosby sits on the museum’s board and initiated the loan, which raises questions about conflicts of interest.Now the Smithsonian has revealed to The Associated Press that the Cosbys also funded the exhibition with a $716,000 gift, which virtually covers the entire cost. Museum industry guidelines call for museums to make public the source of funding when an art lender funds an exhibit. The Cosbys’ financial donation was not disclosed in press materials issued by the Smithsonian to publicize the exhibit, nor mentioned on the museum’s website. The exhibit opened in November. The Smithsonian said the information was available to anyone who specifically requested it. WASHINGTON (AP) — Over the past seven months, as sexual misconduct allegations against Bill Cosby mounted, a top Smithsonian official met privately with museum directors across the sprawling complex on the National Mall to decide what to do about an exhibit showcasing Cosby’s private art collection.While many companies and universities were distancing themselves from the comedian, Smithsonian officials ultimately concluded the exhibit should continue. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help “The only thing that could possibly be a criticism is that once a private collection is on display in an art museum … it begins to add to its status,” Morris said. “That could potentially add to its value if the collector wanted to sell something, for example, or even give it away to a nonprofit for a tax benefit.”But an art loan could also lead to a donation of artwork to a museum, Morris said.Smithsonian lawyers reviewed the Cosby loan and determined any increase in the artworks’ value was a non-issue, in part because the Cosbys did not intend to sell the art, Kurin said.___National Museum of African Art: Alliance of Museums Standards: Brett Zongker on Twitter at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2014, file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby gestures during an interview about the upcoming exhibit, “Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, ” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, in Washington. The Smithsonian Institution stands firmly behind an exhibition showcasing Bill Cosby’s private art collection, even as many other major institutions have distanced themselves from the comedian following unfolding sexual assault allegations against him. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Noah Kupferman, an art market expert at Shapiro Auctions who has taught about the economics of fine art, said such financial arrangements are not unprecedented, but museums must be transparent about them.“It just raises a little eyebrow that a trustee of a museum is lending (her) own collection, funding part of the exhibition and the exhibition is highlighting works … by less well-known artists whose work is considered by some to be undervalued,” he said. “Repositioning these artists’ works as suddenly important could have significant positive effect on their economic value.”The exhibit has drawn 150,000 visitors so far, according to the Smithsonian.A promotion for the exhibit is prominently displayed on Cosby’s website even as his reputation has collapsed in recent months amid accusations of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women. Many of the woman alleged that he drugged and raped them.Cosby, who turns 78 on Sunday, has never been charged with a crime. He has denied some accusations, while declining to comment or respond to others.Court documents obtained by The Associated Press revealed Cosby admitted under oath that he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   4 must play golf courses in Arizona In the past, it has removed some controversial pieces of exhibits under pressure, but “we’ve never taken an exhibit down,” said Kurin, who has worked at the museum complex for decades.In 2010, the Smithsonian was accused of censorship when it removed a video from the National Portrait Gallery exhibit about how sexual orientation and gender identity have shaped American art after complaints from a Catholic group and members of Congress.An outside review concluded that unless there is an error, changes should not be made to an exhibit once it’s opened without a full consultation with curators, museum directors and the Smithsonian’s governing board.For many museum experts and scholars, removing the Cosby exhibit would set a dangerous precedent.“You’d be sort of stomping all over the curatorial integrity of what you’ve put up,” said Jack Rasmussen, director of the American University Museum. “I think if museums had to investigate the morals of every lender, that would be kind of a new and very difficult situation. Really, it’s about the art.”Museums have displayed privately held art collections for decades because they can complement a museum’s own collection, said Martha Morris, assistant director of museum studies at George Washington University. 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

2011 too soon to lift liquids restrictions says Airports Council

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> The Airports Council International (ACI) Europe is still having doubts about whether EU and EEA airports will be able to handle the lifting of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) restrictions in 2011.It has been proposed that from 29 April 2011, all passengers transferring within EU/EEA airports (from any originating country) will be able to retain all LAGs; and from 29 April, 2013 all restrictions on LAGs will be lifted in EU and EEA countries.Both dates are subject to European Parliament and European Commission approval.But while the European Travel Retail Council (ETRC) is celebrating the news, ACI Europe has voiced its concerns.Speaking to the Moodie Report, an ACI Europe spokesman said the lifting of restrictions needed to be under conditions which were compatible with efficient airport operations.“We feel that the agreement reached between the European Commission and EU Member States puts the cart before the horse – dates have been set without knowing whether efficient technology will actually be available by that time. “We still have strong concerns. This week at Airport Exchange in Barcelona, one of the main manufacturers of security equipment publicly stated that efficient technology might indeed not be available by 2013. “This has been recognised in the agreement reached as it expressly includes a safeguard clause stating that if efficient technology is not available, these dates will need to be reconsidered.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more

Access to Perth Airport to improve

first_imgToday the Perth Airport announced a contract with Brierty Limited to build a new access road into the current Terminal 1 and 2 precinct.The new road, Airport Drive is a 1.6 kilometre road that will connect Perth Airport to the Tonkin/Leach Highway interchange.The interchange will be the major access point for passenger traffic for Terminals 1 and 2 when complete in 2015.Perth Airport chief executive officer, Brad Geatches, said that the project is valued at $28.5 million and was awarded to Brierty because of their history with the airport.“Brierty has a long standing relationship with Perth Airport, having completed previous civil works such as car parks, major road intersections, internal link roads and expansion works” Mr Geatches said.Brierty managing director, Peter McBain was pleased that they had been selected for further work at Perth Airport and made clear that work is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2015.“Our record of securing repeat work is very important and demonstrates our track record in safely delivering projects, providing greater certainly to our clients,” Mr McBain said.Source = ETB News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Thailand and Qatar will be official host countries for World Tourism D

first_imgThailand and Qatar will be official host countries for World Tourism DayThailand and Qatar have been selected as official host countries for World Tourism Day (WTD) celebrations in 2016 and 2017, respectively, at the 21st UNWTO General Assembly in Medellín, Colombia (17 September 2015).WTD 2016 will be celebrated under the theme “Tourism for All – promoting universal accessibility” and WTD 2017 under the theme “Sustainable Tourism – a tool for development”.“I am looking forward to celebrating World Tourism Day in collaboration with these two prominent UNWTO Member States: Thailand, one of the world’s most visited destinations where tourism is a rooted part of society and Qatar, a prominent emerging tourism destination ”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.“Tourism must be in the forefront of national development plans. In 2017 we will arrange an event that will carry this message to the world”, said the representative of the Qatar Tourism Authority.“The Thai government would like to express sincere thanks to the Assembly for the opportunity to host World Tourism Day in 2016 and we will do our best to live up to our slogan and show you the Amazing Thailand”, said the representative of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand.Celebrated annually on 27 September, World Tourism Day aims to foster awareness among the global community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.WTD 2015 will be celebrated under the theme “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities”, highlighting the tourism sector’s vast potential to be an agent for positive change in countries and communities around the world.Source = UNWTOlast_img read more

230 year old warrior fort reopens as Alila Fort Bishangarh

first_imgSource = Alila Hotels & Resorts – Alila Fort Bishangarh 230 year old warrior fort reopens as Alila Fort Bishangarh230 year old warrior fort reopens as Alila Fort BishangarhAlila is the first international hotel group to open a property in the Aravalli hills between Delhi and Jaipur and Fort Bishangarh is thought to be one of the only warrior forts of its kind to be converted into a unique heritage resort of this stature. It has a remarkable presence, sitting up high on a granite hill with staggering 360-degree views of the Rajasthani landscape, surrounded by hills and dotted with havelis, villages and temples. A tiny village skirts its base and adds to the rural charm. This imposing structure is fortified by two-metre thick stone walls and majestic turrets with wonderfully intricate arched windows and jaalis — a perfect example of the Jaipur Gharana architecture influenced by both the Mughals and the British. The use of traditional materials in a contemporary manner is the basic design ethos.The quest in the preservation of this ancient warrior fort inspired the creation of a world-class boutique resort for guests to appreciate the beauty of the Aravalli hills. The project grew out of a love for the heritage outpost and the surrounding landscape, with sustainability as a core commitment. All residential rooms and public areas are within the fort premises. Guests rooms have been created by strengthening the existing structures and adding on partition walls and picture windows to vantage views.The Fort comprises of a tall central structure and the low-level podium, all located within the original premises of the property. One block of rooms was built from the central living area within the main structure that existed in the original fort where the King and nobles stayed. The other block of rooms is housed in the contiguous lower level structure where the soldiers stayed. Each of the 59-suites has been custom designed to make the most of the stunning views from the large openable windows, resulting in 22 different layouts. Rooms come with all the modern conveniences, including expansive bathrooms, footed/inbuilt bathtubs and large day-beds.Within the fort are various exciting F&B options innovatively curated by a renowned chef. There’s Amarsar, an indoor speciality restaurant and Nazara an outdoor grill dining venue on the terrace, with spectacular views. Madhuveni is the hotel’s bar, with a cigar/cognac turret and there is also the Kachhawa Lounge serving the 4 C’s – Champagne, Coffee, Chai and Cakes. The library, amidst old marble pillars is where the Alila journeys begin. Spa Alila, carved out between granite rocks, is located in the dungeon within the main fort. Darbar, a large grand banquet hall, Daawat, the show kitchen cum event dining space and Saheb, the conference room, round off the banqueting experience.Meanwhile, down the hill is the Haveli where some public areas are housed, comprising the arrival courtyard and tent, luxurious banquet lawns, the pool, pool veranda and terrace, a bar and pantry, fitness centre and the Play Soldiers Club for teenagers and toddlers separately.  An organic garden and a greenhouse set up amidst the ravines and various lounging areas located in this rural landscape brings one up close with nature.Bishangarh Village in the Aravalli hills is in the Jaipur district. It is a three-hour drive from New Delhi and an hour’s drive from Jaipur. It is ideally located to explore the charm and beauty of rural Rajasthan with Alila experiences covering five core themes:Cultural LearningDay visits to historic palaces, temples and forts. Amber Fort is a 45-minute driveConscious LivingWellness at Spa Alila, visits to the local communities for farming, seeing marble artisans and carpet weavers, teaching at the village schoolActive SpiritsWalks & picnics, biking, horse-riding, trekking, ATV adventures (All-Terrain-Vehicles), hot-air ballooningCulinary ArtsTraditional cooking school and special food trailsCouples CelebrationFrom grand celebratory events to intimate wedding ceremoniesRates at Alila Fort Bishangarh start from $280 per room per night. Price based on two people sharing, on a room only basis (excluding tax).For bookings CLICK HEREAbout ALILASurprisingly DifferentThe hallmark of Alila is the combination of innovative design and luxury in unique locations, set apart by an unprecedented level of private space, crafted artisanship, personalised hospitality, and bespoke learning journeys. Alila means “Surprise” in Sanskrit, which suitably describes the refreshing character of our properties and impressions of our guests when they stay with us. In support of sustainable tourism, Alila hotels adopt EarthCheck operating standards, integrating the natural, physical and cultural elements of their environments. To stay at any of Alila’s hotels & resorts is to embark on a destination experience – be it in recreating the flavours of the local cuisine, enhancing your well-being through ancient healing arts or the thrill of adventure sports, you will re-discover the luxury of living at Alila.last_img read more

2019s greatest global incentive trip

first_img2019’s greatest global incentive trip2019’s greatest global incentive tripIndustry leader Trafalgar has just announced its annual agent incentive trip, Acclaim, will visit the brand’s newest destination of Africa in 2019. A trip 72 years in the making.The hottest ticket in town, Acclaim is already renowned for showcasing destinations to top performing agents, but in 2019 it has a new twist: for the first time the incentive is going global, with agents from all of Trafalgar’s sales regions having the chance to be part of the industry’s greatest incentive trip. To get things off to a flying start, with Trafalgar’s 10% early payment discount (EPD) expiring on the 31st of January, now is the time for agents to lock in bookings for 2019 travel, to be in the running for a place on this trip of a lifetime.The 10-day trip in seven destinations will once again see winners treated to Trafalgar’s incredible travel experiences with plenty of VIP surprises along the way.Starting in Cape Town, the well-deserving winners will experience highlights from the top selling Essence of South Africa trip. Iconic highlights include ascending the iconic Table Mountain and exploring Cape Peninsula, from trendy Camps Bay to Cape Point to the penguins of Boulder’s Beach and experiencing an exclusive Be My Guest lunch with a family in their 18th Century Cape Dutch home in the majestic Cape Winelands. A night to remember will also be the brands inaugural Gala en Rouge, held in a top secret venue.  As they say the best things in life are worth waiting for, with Trafalgar choosing to unveil surprises surrounding the trip in the coming months, as agents get one step closer to securing their spot.“We are AgentsFirst and we recognize the importance of providing our valued partners with an opportunity to experience first-hand the incredible experiences and moments that Trafalgar offers their customers as well as our brand innovation. With our seven brand-new African itineraries now launched and off to an extraordinary start, it was the perfect choice to take Acclaim to South Africa in 2019.” Says Gavin Tollman, CEO of Trafalgar.Hailing from South Africa, the destination is particularly special to Tollman, who is excited and proud to unveil the destination to Trafalgar’s Acclaim winners. “Africa sits very high on many people’s wish-list, but until you go there, you don’t really understand how it’s going to change you. It’s one of those places that, when you leave it, you understand the very essence of the reason we travel.”“The Acclaim trip is renowned as the industry’s best trade incentive. And with us returning to our family’s roots, our agent partners are guaranteed that this will be an extraordinary trip, to an extraordinary destination, that will be spoken about for years to come. We are pulling out all the stops.”With each Trafalgar booking, agents will be one step closer to securing their spot on Acclaim 2019. Agents in the running will receive a monthly maildrop to advise whether they’re in the running or can visit the Trafalgar Tribe Facebook page to keep up to date on how to get in on the action and where it will take them.“The greatest excitement I have is to give our travel partners the opportunity to encounter this special country in our own local and unique way. It is my hope, and certainly my intent, to ensure they feel Africa in a way that only Africans understand; so that they too may say sanibonani South Africa,” concludes Tollman.All information surrounding how agents can qualify, can be found here: further details agents can visit, call 1300 78 78 78 or visit, Facebook, Instagram and TwitterAbout TrafalgarTrafalgar is the world’s leading and most awarded travel brand, spanning all seven continents of the globe. From the iconic to the unexpected, we craft unique Trafalgar Highlights that connect guests to the real depth of the places we go, without them needing to worry about a thing. It’s 72 years of destination expertise and feedback from over five million happy guests that fuels our innovation to continually deliver Simply the Best holidays. #AgentsFirstSource = Trafalgarlast_img read more

Quest South Perth Foreshore introduces a new standard

first_imgSource = Quest Quest South Perth Foreshore introduces a new standardQuest South Perth Foreshore introduces a new standard in extended stay accommodation to Western AustraliaQuest Apartment Hotels, the leading apartment hotel operator in Australasia, unveiled Quest South Perth Foreshore today – making it the network’s eleventh property in Perth and fifteenth in the state.Developed in partnership with Silverleaf, Quest South Perth Foreshore features 90 apartments comprised of studio, one, two- and three-bedroom apartments. All apartments are designed with the modern business traveller in mind, with generous space and technology on offer. Nestled amidst ‘The Mends Street Precinct’ and positioned off the South Perth Esplanade with access to a wide selection of upmarket cafes, retailers and a 24 hour supermarket, making it an ideal location for business travellers and tourists visiting Perth.Featuring postcard views of the Perth skyline Quest South Perth Foreshore is located just 6 minutes by car or 10 minutes by ferry from the city’s major corporate offices while being within walking distance from the Perth Zoo and the Royal Perth Golf Club. The apartment hotel is also close to Curtin University and the Bentley Technology Park.In addition to the well-appointed apartments, Quest South Perth Foreshore offers an onsite Gym, outdoor alfresco BBQ and entertaining area, as well as a business lounge and also features a range of meeting and conferencing spaces. The main conference room comes with the latest interactive audio-visual equipment, designed to make professional meetings, team building activities, training sessions and product launches an effortless task.Quest Apartment Hotels General Manager – Growth, James Shields, said that South Perth is seeing a growing number of business travellers and tourists enter the area, drawn by the suburb’s combination of strong economic activity in construction, logistics and health care services.“Business and leisure travellers at Quest South Perth Foreshore in this fantastic location will be able to enjoy a modern and premium apartment hotel experience featuring contemporary interior design and architecture which we’re proud to lead in the Australian market,” Mr Shields saidQuest South Perth Foreshore is part of a larger development by Silverleaf including the Millstream Retail Arcade forming an extension of the existing retail outlets on Mends Street. The development is part of the Mends Street Connect South project, a $7.5 million major project to enhance and invigorate the Mends Street precinct and foreshore area by creating a thriving business and leisure environment.Sue Doherty, Mayor for the City of South Perth said: “Connect South is an exciting major project that will transform the Mends Street precinct and improve public amenity through place activation, wayfinding, access to transport and greater economic opportunity,”“The project will create an attractive pedestrian-friendly piazza, improve lighting in the area, and create active and passive spaces for visitors. Additionally, Connect South will build a strong connection between the South Perth Foreshore and Mends Street, creating a gateway to South Perth and the Perth Zoo, improving the visitor experience and reinforcing the links between South Perth, Elizabeth Quay and the Perth Central Business District.”Quest Apartment Hotels Chief Commercial Officer, Craig Ryan, said that South Perth’s economic development will continue to attract relocation and business travellers to the area.“Quest remains committed to the needs of its corporate customers. South Perth is one of the state’s fastest growing urban areas with thousands of small and medium sized businesses, government departments, universities and residents calling it home. We are proud to now accommodate extended-stay and relocating business travellers in the area with South Perth’s leading apartment hotel,” Mr Ryan said.Quest South Perth Foreshore is one of 8 new property openings across Australia, New Zealand and the UK in the next two years including St Kilda Road, Burwood East (VIC) Joondalup (WA), Orange (NSW), Quest Tauranga Central, Quest on Tuam, Quest Mount Eden (NZ) and Liverpool (UK).About QuestQuest is the largest and fastest growing apartment hotel operator in Australasia with 170 properties located across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.Established in Melbourne, Victoria in 1988, the growth of Quest has been achieved through its commitment to meeting the accommodation needs of the extended stay business traveller.In July 2017 Quest Apartment hotels announced its partnership with one of the world’s leading serviced residence network, Singapore-based The Ascott Limited (Ascott). Ascott is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore-listed company, CapitaLand Limited – one of Asia’s largest real estate companies. The company operates under five international brands – Ascott, Citadines, Somerset, The Crest Collection and Iyf. Ascott has over 500 properties globally.Quest properties are managed by franchisees who follow a proven and successful franchise model.For more information on Quest Apartment Hotels go to read more

Furious 7 takes Abu Dhabi to a whole other level

first_imgAdrenaline, fast cars and incredible stunt sequences come together in one of the most anticipated movie releases of the year – Furious 7 – which was filmed in several locations across Abu Dhabi, the vibrant capital of the United Arab Emirates. The emirate offered the film’s producers an exciting backdrop with striking architecture, unique locations and stunning landscapes for the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise.“The filming of Furious 7 in Abu Dhabi allowed us to highlight the emirate’s fantastic mixture of stunning natural scenery and incredible modern architecture, which will undoubtedly raise our international profile,” said HE Jasem Al Darmaki, Acting Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.Filmed in April 2014, Furious 7 shows several iconic attractions across Abu Dhabi including Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the luxurious Emirates Palace and Jumeirah at Etihad Towers hotels, and Yas Marina Circuit – home to the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – in addition to the historic ‘Oasis City’ of Al Ain and the expansive and majestic Liwa Desert.“We hope the success of this movie and our efforts to attract major film companies such as Universal to our shores will be repeated. Abu Dhabi will continue to welcome filmmakers from around the world and extend all assistance for future projects,” added Al Darmaki.“We are delighted to see Universal Pictures choosing the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi, as a location for their movie. It’s nice to see how the longstanding relationship between the UAE and the U.S. has extended to world-class production, post-production facilities and use of Abu Dhabi’s unique locations, which only enhances the special relationship between the UAE and the U.S. We thank twofour54 for facilitating the filming of Fast and Furious 7,” said Consul General Abdulla A Alsaboosi, Consul General of the Consulate of the UAE in Los Angeles.last_img read more

TAT designates August 2016 as a month for women travellers

first_imgBy June MukherjeeSpeaking with Travel News Digest, Isra Stapanaseth, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand (New Delhi) gave some new insights of Amazing Thailand.What are the promotional activities that you will be doing this year?This year we will be conducting the Amazing Thailand Roadshow in August in tier two cities of Raipur and Bhubaneswar and Luxury Roadshow in October in Kolkata and Delhi. We will continue to carry out joint promotions/activities with travel agents and participate in local events and advertise through local mediums in tier II and III cities.We will also be organising more FAM trips for media, travel agents/tour operators as well as wedding planners to new and lesser known gems in Thailand.Tourism Authority of Thailand designated August 2016 as a ‘month for women travellers’, in a way of marking Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s birthday, to encourage the growth of global and domestic female traveller segment in conjunct with our strategy to promote Thailand to be a Quality Leisure Destination.In order to promote this initiative and inspire female travellers to come to Thailand, TAT has come up with five different promotional concepts: Beautiful LOOK, Beautiful SHAPE, Beautiful RETREAT, Beautiful MIND, Beautiful EXPERIENCE, which are all designed to meet the varied needs of women travellers and to boost Thai tourism products and services that are geared towards female travellers.Under this initiative, various hotels, spas, aesthetic and holistic centres, restaurants, attractions, etc. are offering special rates for women. Details of special offers are on our website Any new products that you are planning to introduce?This year we will continue to promote new destinations and itineraries for the India Market. Beach Destinations like Trang, Koh Tao,Koh Samet, Koh Phagan and Khao Lak and the Hills of Thailand like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have started becoming popular in the India market.We are also going to focus on promoting Thailand for sports tourism like Golf, Marathons, Muay Thai  (Thai Boxing)as well as biking/cycling holidays in Thailand. What will be your focus at this year’s TTF editions?Our focus at TTF would be to meet and engage with the Travel Trade from East India and introduce new properties, attractions and destinations in Thailand which they could further promote and sell to their clients. TTF will also give us an opportunity to promote Thailand as a destination to the consumers.last_img read more

Silversea Cruise to take a world tour in 2020

first_imgSilversea Cruise will take a world tour in 2020 to about 32 countries in 7 continents. The total duration of this tour would be 140 days. The cruise has a capacity to carry 382 passengers along with 302 crew members.This luxury cruise will feature restaurants, theatre, spa, pool, libraries to name a few. Silversea Cruise will cover destinations like Caribbean Islands, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Singapore, Europe, India, Egypt and Antarctica in a span of 140 days.Luxury Owner’s suite in the cruise will cost around INR 1,56,51,600 per person and INR 40,21,630 for a one-bedroom suite.last_img

Visit California and Air New Zealand sign MoU to promote tourism

first_imgIn a bid to promote travel in California, Air New Zealand and tourism board of California, Visit California have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).Under the MoU, Air New Zealand and Visit California will undertake several joint promotional and marketing activities to lure travellers over the next two years. Cam Wallace, Chief Revenue Officer, Air Canada asserted that the airlines and Visit California have worked together in the tourism industry for many years and are happy with the MoU formalising this partnership.“California is an important destination for Air New Zealand, with the airline operating more than 500,000 seats into the western U.S. state with up to double daily direct services from Auckland to Los Angeles, a daily service between London and Los Angeles and up to daily Auckland-San Francisco service,” Wallace said. “This popular destination is a key focus for our sales and marketing teams across the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Joint activity to be undertaken across these markets by Air New Zealand and Visit California will include consumer campaigns, joint investment in showcasing California’s attractions through international media programmes and trade media, as well as trade education,” he continued. Leona Reed, Associate Vice President, Global Marketing, Visit California said, “We have enjoyed a great partnership with Air New Zealand in recent years and are excited to continue to grow our relationship on a global scale in the years to come. Its creativity and forward-looking brand match up well with our destination fuelled by innovation, diversity and impeccable customer service.”last_img read more

Study More Mortgage Professionals Choose Paperless Lending

first_img September 22, 2011 453 Views Study: More Mortgage Professionals Choose Paperless Lending in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology More loan officers, underwriters, and attorneys are filing their loan documents and closing deals in a paperless environment, according to a recent survey. “”Xerox””: released a survey Wednesday that found some 61 percent of mortgage industry professionals are ditching their loan folders, logging in to online systems, and doing more business without paper.[IMAGE]The seventh annual Path to Paperless survey revealed some 96 percent of respondents agreeing with the notion that collaboration in the workplace depends in no small measure on a paperless environment.””There’s traction in the industry’s path to achieving a true eMortgage, evidenced by the growing need to extend electronic collaboration to all participants in the loan process,”” Nancy Alley, general manager with “”Xerox Mortgage Services””:, said in a “”statement””:[COLUMN_BREAK]According to the survey, the number of respondents going forward with an eMortgage rose by some 15 percent from last year.Sixty-one percent of respondents acknowledged substituting an online system for paper in their origination and underwriting business, while another 61 percent admitted to delivering closed loan folders electronically. Meanwhile, 39 percent of respondents came clean about submitting their acknowledgement agreements and disclosure documents with electronic signatures.For “”Scott Sheldon””:, a loan officer with Santa Rosa-based “”Sonoma County Mortgages””:, praises the transition to paperless as a costless transaction.He tells _MReport_ that he made the transition to keep track of his paperwork, manage his loans, and observe their progress with borrowers.Sheldon says he tracks his loans from start to finish via “”PC Lender InHouse Services””:, which he accesses by way of “”W.J. Bradley Mortgage””:, his affiliate company.Paperless systems like InHouse are “”super-efficient and much faster, because we can get loans through the system much more proactively than we would doing it old-school,”” he adds.His word of advice to paper-only brokers? “”If you’re doing anything paper in this market, good luck, because you’re [probably] too small to do a lot of volume,”” he says.center_img Agents & Brokers Company News Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Disclosures Processing Service Providers Valuation 2011-09-22 Ryan Schuette Sharelast_img read more

DocMagic Capabilities Available Through LendingQB

first_img “”LendingQB””:, a California-based company that provides loan origination software, and “”DocMagic””:, a California-based creator of document production technology, have teamed together to offer a more seamless approach to loan origination. [IMAGE]DocMagic’s document preparation functions, including eDelivery and eSigning, are embedded into LendingQB’s loan origination system. [COLUMN_BREAK]LendingQB noticed its users spent “”entirely too much time keying data and changing loan information in the document provider’s system, and then having to go back and reconcile the data in our LOS,”” according to Binh Dang, company president. “”This might about to just a few minutes of effort per loan, but when calculated across multiple users and files, it becomes a substantial loss of productivity,”” Dang added. With DocMagic technology embedded directly in the LendingQB system, users do not have to switch back and forth between systems and re-enter the same information more than once. This not only cuts down on wasted time but also eliminates opportunities for errors. The new solution ensures compliance with all state and federal regulations, according to the two companies. “”The tight integration we have with LendingQB allows lenders to generate accurate compliant documents the first time ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô every time ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô while remaining in their native system of record, thus ensuring data consistency,”” said Steve Ribultan, DocMagic’s director of business development. Share in Origination, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-09-28 Krista Franks Brockcenter_img DocMagic Capabilities Available Through LendingQB September 28, 2012 434 Views last_img read more

CFPB Enhances Mortgage Data Tool

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau HMDA Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2014-02-10 Colin Robins CFPB Enhances Mortgage Data Tool The “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau””: (CFPB) unveiled a new tool Friday aimed at making Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data more user-friendly. In a report released the same day, the CFPB said it collected HMDA data from 7,400 financial institutions in 2012 on 18.7 million loan applications.[IMAGE]The tool is intended to improve residential lending information, and provide a better understanding of a borrower’s access to credit. The tool could potentially make it easier for consumer groups, watchdog organizations, and mortgage regulators to identify potential cases of predatory lending.The data fields currently available include loan amount, lender name, property type, and location. Additional fields include the applicant’s race, ethnicity, sex, loan amount, and loan purpose.New information is being considered for inclusion into the HMDA data.[COLUMN_BREAK]””Better public HMDA data would help us improve upon an important resource that already allows regulators, government agencies, housing groups, and consumer rights groups to study and monitor the single most important consumer financial product in the United States: the mortgage loan,”” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.New data fields under consideration include loan length, total points and fees, and teaser terms. The borrower’s age and credit score would also be included, as well as information about home-equity lines of credit.The CFPB is also considering a requirement for lenders to explain reasons for a rejected application, and whether the lender considered the loan to be a Qualified Mortgage.The addition of the new information mostly includes data that lenders are already collecting for loan processing, underwriting, and pricing.Not all new information would be made publicly available, and the new reporting guidelines would largely be in line with current industry standards.””Approximately 70 percent of all loans eventually sold to the GSEs use the Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset of the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) data standards for residential mortgages,”” Cordray said. “”Where possible, alignment of the HMDA data requirements to this open and free standard already being used by most lenders provides an opportunity to improve market efficiency, market understanding, and market oversight.””The CFPB HMDA tool is available “”online””: in Government, Technologycenter_img February 10, 2014 424 Views Sharelast_img read more

Senate Banking Leaders Unveil Proposal for Housing Finance Reform

first_img Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Politics Senate Banking Committee 2014-03-11 Tory Barringer in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News, Secondary Market Updated to include additional industry comments.The leaders of the Senate Banking Committee announced Tuesday plans to move forward on a new proposal to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in favor of a new government backstop for private financiers.According to committee chairman Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) and ranking member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the newly unveiled reform proposal is the result of months of exploratory hearings, negotiations, and drafting work from members on both sides of the aisle.“There is near unanimous agreement that our current housing finance system is not sustainable in the long-term and reform is necessary to help strengthen and stabilize the economy,” Johnson said. “This bipartisan effort will provide the market the certainty it needs, while preserving fair and affordable housing throughout the country.”The proposal builds on a bill introduced last year by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia), keeping as its base the eventual elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and installation of a Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation (FMIC), which would be modeled after FDIC and which would assist private creditors with losses after the first 10 percent.Also included in the proposal is a provision requiring strong underwriting standards that would mirror the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s qualified mortgage definition and would set a phased-in down payment requirement of 5 percent—except for first-time borrowers, who would be required to pay 3.5 percent.Finally, other provisions in the outlined plan call for the elimination of affordable housing goals (to be replaced with funds created through a small FMIC user fee) and the formation of a mutual cooperative owned by small lenders to ensure institutions of all size have access to the secondary market.“This agreement moves us closer to ending the five-year status quo and beginning the wind down of Fannie and Freddie while protecting taxpayers with strong private capital, building the components for a stable secondary market and avoiding repeating the mistakes of the past,” Crapo said.With Johnson and Crapo’s draft not yet complete, it remains to be seen how the proposal will fare in front of the largely Democratic Senate and the Republican-controlled House.On the industry side, responses seemed positive, with Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) president and CEO David Stevens saying the announcement “reinforces the immediate need to address GSE reform in a substantive, transparent way.”“Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Crapo are to be commended for coming together in a bi-partisan fashion and advancing a comprehensive solution to improve the function of the secondary mortgage market in a way that engages private capital and reduces risk for taxpayers,” he added.Also adding their praise were the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), who each pledged their support to secondary market reform efforts, and Corker, who said he is “pleased the Banking Committee is demonstrating their commitment to this effort by putting pen-to-paper and releasing a set of principles based on the bill we introduced.”Perhaps less enthusiastic would be Fannie and Freddie’s investors, who have sued the government, urged corporate changes, and even offered to buy parts of the GSEs’ businesses in hopes of seeing returns now that both enterprises are profiting again. Sharecenter_img March 11, 2014 477 Views Senate Banking Leaders Unveil Proposal for Housing Finance Reformlast_img read more

HUD Proposes Equal Faith Participation Amendment for Housing Programs

first_img Share Equal Housing Programs HUD Religious Groups 2015-08-05 Staff Writer August 5, 2015 469 Views HUD recently announced the proposal of a new rule that would amend its already in place regulations on the equal participation of religious organizations in HUD programs, allowing different religious providers to apply for Federal funding without compromising their religious identity.HUD’s proposed regulations are consistent with those of other Federal agencies, and amend HUD’s existing regulations.According to HUD, the newly proposed amendments are expected to implement Executive Order (EO) 13559, Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations, which President Obama signed in November 2010.The EO 13559 regulation allows religious providers to contend for Federal funds without compromising or hiding their religious preference, HUD noted. The rule also provides protection for program beneficiaries, including a referral process for beneficiaries who object to the religious character of an organization that operates a program with direct Federal funds.The Interagency Working Group on Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Partnerships (Working Group) was also established under the EO 13559 to review and evaluate  existing Federal agencies’ regulations and policies, and develop a model set of regulations.Under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), agency heads were instructed to adopt regulatory changes and guidance consistent with model regulations and guidance developed by the Working Group in August 2013.HUD’s Proposed Regulations:Define the following terms to distinguish between “direct” and “indirect” Federal financial assistance in applying the rule: direct Federal financial assistance, Federal financial assistance, and indirect Federal financial assistance;State that decisions about awards of Federal financial assistance must be free from political interference or even the appearance of such interference and must be made on the basis of merit, not on the basis of religion or religious belief;Replace the term “inherently religious activities” with the term “explicitly religious activities,” and define the latter term to include “activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization;”Explain the responsibilities of intermediaries and define the term “intermediary;”Require faith-based organizations that receive direct Federal financial assistance from HUD to carry out activities under a HUD program to provide written notice to beneficiaries and prospective beneficiaries describing certain religious liberty protections available to them; andDescribe the steps that must be taken to refer a beneficiary to an alternative provider when the beneficiary objects to the religious character of an organization carrying out activities under a HUD-funded program.This proposed rule has been submitted for publication in the Federal Register. HUD is offering the general public 60 days from the date of publication to comment on the proposed rule.Click here to view HUD’s proposed rule.center_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News HUD Proposes Equal Faith Participation Amendment for Housing Programslast_img read more

Unlocking Homeownership Potential

first_img June 11, 2018 743 Views Unlocking Homeownership Potential in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Rick Sharga, EVP, Carrington Mortgage Holdings, recently spoke to MReport about how Carrington’s non-prime products are helping underserved borrowers achieve their dream of homeownership and the key factors that differentiate these products from subprime loans issued prior to the Great Recession.M // Carrington recently announced it was expanding into the non-prime space. What was the push behind this decision?Sharga // There’s a huge underserved market of potential homebuyers who are locked out of the market due to the risk aversion seen from most lenders since the Great Recession. An Urban Institute study suggests that between 2009 and 2016 the number of such borrowers could have been as high as 6.3 million. These are people who might have a FICO score that’s blemished or a higher debt-to-income ratio than current lending practices allow but have historically proven to be credit-worthy and can often sustain their homeownership.There’s a great underserved market that deserves a chance at homeownership or to be able to tap into their home equity to better their life situation. We were well-suited to fill that need because we have been a leader in serving the underserved market with government loans. Our origination platform has the skill set needed to work with this set of borrowers and help them achieve or sustain the dream of homeownership.In addition, we have a high-touch servicer, which is essential to success in this strategy. Our servicer has gained tremendous experience in working with borrowers over the last 10 years. Over that period, Carrington has been one of the largest purchasers of non-performing loans allowing us the opportunity to help borrowers who were already in foreclosure avoid being foreclosed upon. The combination of our underwriting skills and our ability to service those loans in a way that helps people maintain their homeownership is critical to the strategy.M // What are the underwriting procedures for these loans?Sharga // It’s all about going back to common sense underwriting, where if a borrower has an area of risk in one part of a loan application, we try to mitigate that risk somewhere else. For example, if somebody has an unusually low FICO score, they can probably expect to make a higher down payment and possibly have more in cash reserves.These loans are manually underwritten. They don’t go into an automated underwriting system and let the system crunch out an approval or denial of the loan. We have very highly trained individuals who look at the borrower’s whole profile for this process. That obviously includes a thorough review of their financial situation, too.Before the Great Recession, some of the lenders would layer risk. They would make a loan at low down payments to borrowers who had a bad FICO score, no money in the bank, and unstable income. Today, instead of layering risk, we’re looking to offset it.Manual underwriting also helps us navigate multiple borrowers with the same FICO score. There’s a fundamental difference between somebody who has a 620 FICO score because they perennially make late payments and somebody with a 620 score who has been a good credit customer but had one bad issue during the Great Recession and had their finances go sideways. Small business professionals who may have their personal credit tangled up with their business credit and have a blemish on their FICO report, but have cash in the bank, a steady income, and can make a larger down payment are another example. You must look at what’s behind the FICO score to make that kind of intelligent decision as a lender.M // What percentage of loans originated by Carrington do you anticipate will be in the non-prime space moving forward?Sharga // We’ve just launched the program, so it is a little too early to know what percent of our activity these loans will make up. We have noticed a couple of interesting trends since the launch of this product. First, a lot of the people who have reached out to us and applied for non-prime loans turn out to qualify for conventional, FHA, or VA loans instead. They don’t need to go into the non-prime products. Many borrowers in today’s market understand just how difficult it is to get loans, and they assume they wouldn’t qualify for a conventional or FHA loan, but when they reach out to us we find out that they do. We hadn’t anticipated this trend, and it may keep the number of loans we issue through these products lower than expected. And second, we thought that the potential customer for these loans would be homebuyers who have been locked out of traditional financing. However, we have found that there are many existing homeowners who are looking to refinance. These customers have experienced significant equity appreciation in their homes that they would like to access to restructure their credit.M // Can you share with our readers the important distinctions between subprime and non-prime loans that are at times confused?Sharga // A lot of confusion is just in the naming. Some of the bad lending practices have probably tarnished the notion of subprime loans in the early to mid-2000s. Regarding qualifications of the borrowers, there are a lot of similarities between today’s non-prime or near-prime loans and the borrowers who were looking at subprime loans. It’s the lending processes that are entirely different. Subprime loans were characterized by taking on enormous risk with little “Skin-in-the-Game” from borrowers. These loans were issued to completely unqualified borrowers. They were written in a way that got these borrowers into over-priced houses by creating zero down payment loans with an adjustable or teaser rate. In many cases, if the lenders had done their homework they would have found that when the rates adjusted, these borrowers were not qualified to handle the increased payments. Consumers weren’t sophisticated enough to understand that going from a 2 percent interest rate in the teaser to a 4 percent interest rate later wasn’t a 2 percent increase – it was 100 percent. Everything that could have gone wrong back then really went wrong.Today, companies like ours are manually underwriting the loans and taking an extensive look at a borrower’s financial history. The loans are fully documented; something that subprime loans were not. They worked on stated income without any supporting documentation. In our case, we’re generally looking at 24 months of bank statements, or tax records, or at least a minimum of 12 months of bank statements. You can tell a lot about somebody’s financial condition by looking at those documents.We put people through the Ability-to-Repay protocol implemented by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP), which is something that didn’t exist in the subprime era. Through these practices, we’re offsetting, instead of layering risk. The market is also supporting this difference in processing.M // Regarding the secondary market, what interest is there today in prime non-prime loans?Sharga // The buyers on the secondary market are interested in non-prime products, but only if they’re carefully underwritten and serviced, and only if there’s reasonable assurance that the underlying collateral properties are valued at what’s indicated in the loan documentation. The buyers of these types of loans are people who typically have a long-term financial horizon. They’re looking at loans that will pay out over a period. We believe there’s a market for people buying both whole loans or securitized pools. There is interest, again, if the loans are the kind of high-quality loans that have always interested the market.center_img Borrowers Carrington Credit Profile Credit Risk FICO Score Great Recession Lenders loans mortgage Non-Performing Loans Non-Prime Purchasers Subprime 2018-06-11 Radhika Ojha Sharelast_img read more

What is Causing a Sudden Shift in Refinance

Determining Affordability for Firsttime Buyers

first_img January 9, 2019 1,050 Views First-Time Buyers Home Homebuyers HOUSING Zillow 2019-01-09 Radhika Ojha Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newscenter_img Determining Affordability for First-time Buyers What is the difference between first-time buyers who bought a home and those who didn’t? According to an analysis by, it could well be $30,000—the median income difference between those first-time buyers who could afford a home and those who couldn’t.The analysis said that the typical first-time buyer earned more than the median household income that helped them towards affording a home.The analysis revealed that the median income for a first-time buyer is $72,500, compared with the national median household income of $60,700. The difference in income for first-time buyers is more pronounced when compared with their peers who didn’t buy, who have a median income of $42,500.The analysis found that while most buyers relied on savings as well as proceeds from the sale of a home to finance the down payment on a new property, first-time buyers didn’t have the same resources. This is where a higher income came into play to help them save for a down payment.”Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a major step in a lot of people’s lives,” said Justin LaJoie, General Manager at “But with home prices climbing ever higher, and inventory yet to see sustained increases, getting a foot in the door is incredibly difficult for new buyers who can’t rely on selling another home to come up with a down payment.”Looking at the down payment that first-time buyers could afford, the analysis revealed that this group of homebuyers usually put down slightly smaller down payments. The median down payment for first-time buyers according to Zillow was 14.5 percent of a home price compared to the traditional 20 percent down. Fifty-eight percent of repeat buyers, on the other hand, put down at least 20 percent down payment.With this smaller down payment, the analysis indicated, first-time buyers, earning a median income could afford to buy a $338,000 home, meaning they could buy about 68 percent of available homes.last_img read more


first_img Comments   Share   “If that’s not an American Idol-like audition I don’t know what is,” Sports 620 KTAR’s Dave Burns said of the workout that likely involved Larry Fitzgerald being on the receiving end of some Kolb tosses. “Come on, that is tryout time, right?”Burns and Sports 620 KTAR’s John Gambadoro said it was a good idea if that was in fact the idea behind the workout.“If the price tag was too high for Kolb…I was always of the belief you could wait until next year, get a stopgap,” he said, adding that the Cards could have looked towards next year’s rookie class for a solution. “The only problem with that is I don’t know that Larry Fitzgerald is going to go through another 5-11 season. “You’ve got to appease Fitz now.”Indeed, the threat of Fitzgerald leaving is not only legitimate, but something the Cardinals are probably thinking about as they map out the rest of this offseason.However, the receiver has stated that winning is his top priority, so while he may approve of the team getting Kolb, if the QB struggles and takes the team down with him there’s a good chance Fitz will be wearing a different team’s uniform next season anyway. With news of Larry Fitzgerald and Kevin Kolb working out together in Arizona coming down Thursday, all the attention has turned to whether or not this means Kolb to Arizona is basically a formality.There are probably a few details that need to be worked out so that the Eagles backup can come lead the Cardinals, but at the very least this would seem to show that a certain Cardinals Pro Bowler would be satisfied if Kolb is indeed the choice. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Top Stories center_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more