Related posts:Costa Rica animal welfare bill gains momentum as horrifying abuse cases circulate on social media President Solís urges lawmakers to pass animal cruelty bill following ‘barbarous’ attacks Too many cats at the Legislative Assembly, says Costa Rica lawmaker Animal abuse reports on the rise Approval of Bill #18,298 — known as the Animal Welfare Bill — was scheduled for discussion by lawmakers in a full Legislative Assembly session starting this week, but it now has been postponed. President Luis Guillermo Solís on Monday evening tabled the proposal in order to prioritize passage of a construction bill for the highway between San José and San Ramón.The bill is among 19 proposals that have stalled in order to expedite discussions of the highway construction legislation. The list also includes tax proposals, indigenous rights issues, gender rights issues, maritime zones and other public infrastructure projects.At a press conference following his weekly Cabinet meeting, Solís commented on the Animal Welfare Bill by saying his decision doesn’t mean it’s not important for his administration. He said lawmakers would discuss the initiative in coming weeks.The bill calls for prison sentences of up to six years for those convicted of causing the death, suffering, injury or torture of animals. It was drafted during the previous administration, but President Solís last year promised to include it as a priority for his term.Lawmaker Marcela Guerrero from the ruling Citizen Action Party and a member of the Assembly’s Environmental Commission said the “temporary tabling of the bill will actually help us to draft a more complete version, because [lawmakers] continue receiving input from several interested groups.”The commission this week is holding hearings with both supporters and opponents of the bill. Among those weighing in, lawmakers on Tuesday met with leaders from the Agriculture and Agribusiness Chamber, pork producers, cattle producers and other groups who believe the bill’s current drafting may hurt their businesses.Following these meetings, commission members will make the necessary changes and submit it for discussion at the full Assembly.Last Sunday, hundreds of people dressed in black marched along Paseo Colón in San José to demand lawmakers pass the animal protection bill. A similar protest is scheduled for next Sunday in the province of Alajuela. Facebook Comments
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C ATEC believes inbound tourism can withstand Aussie dollar parity with the greenback The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) is confident that Australia’s inbound tourism industry won’t fall apart if the Aussie dollar remains at or around parity with the US dollar. ATEC managing director, Matt Hingerty said that while the industry appreciated the concern of economic commentators, the inbound sector, for the most part, was performing well relative to last year. “We have seen good growth coming out of the GFC, with a strong 5.6 per cent increase in inbound travellers in August,” he said. The strength of the Aussie dollar was being offset by reduced airfares into the country, strong growth out of China, strong growth in the corporate market and good marketing campaigns from Tourism Australia and state bodies, Mr Hingerty said. “However if the dollar remains historically high over the long term, it will impact us, and members report that the horizon beyond Christmas is less clear.” The backpacker market was the most heavily affected by the relatively weak purchasing power of the greenback. “The downturn in the backpacker market is largely due to other factors and Australia is receiving relatively fewer backpackers from the United States. Where the dollar may impact us, again in the longer term, is in the important student market, which is already suffering a downturn for other reasons,” Mr Hingerty said. However, the more pressing concern to the tourism industry and its large constituent of small businesses was interest rates, with high mortgage rates due to dampen demand in the domestic market and increase debt costs. The Aussie dollar stood bought a tad over 98.5 US cents as at 4.30pm, Monday 18 October, according to XE.com. The Aussie dollar hit parity with the greenback on Friday last week – the first time since the currency floated freely on 8 December 1983. Charts suggest the Aussie dollar could rise as high as USD$1.0236 in coming weeks, Reuters reported.
Top Stories Comments Share You made some roster moves, where does that get you?“The first wave is done, and we’re down to the 75 limit. “A lot of battles still going on, for these two practices and Thursday night, to determine those last spots as well as practice squad spots.”One of the cuts was Lorenzo Alexander“It’s always hard when you let a vet go, who’s kind of been a cornerstone, a captain for two years. It’s never easy saying goodbye to those guys.”After watching the film, what are your takeaways from Sunday’s game?“I thought that obviously the pass protection was not great, but also a lot of it fell on the quarterback. I thought Carson was a little anxious to get big plays against his former team and not take what was there. They have turned into one of those teams that they’ll give you a shot, but you also have to take your check downs and live and die with it and just move the ball methodically like Drew did in his drive. And he got himself hit a couple times. Earl (Watford) played extremely well in the second half — that competition is heating up real nice, as did Lyle (Sendlein). I thought he played extremely well in the middle of the pocket — not that A.Q. didn’t — but he played exceptionally well. Those things, offensively. Defensively, really pleased with the run defense. I think we gave up the one third down and 16 where we should have had a sack, but overall very, very pleased with the defense. Really like the offensive guys in the second half. The first half, we just were not playing very well.” How will you work guys in at center and right tackle the next couple days?“Earl will be the right tackle, Bradley will play left tackle this week. The centers will just keep their regular rotation.”What’s the plan for Thursday night then?“Right now Phillip (Sims) will start and Logan (Thomas) will play second. The starters will not play.”What do you have to see between either QB to see who gets the third job?“Consistency. None of those real bad plays. Just be consistent.”Did Logan’s performance Sunday change anything in that competition?“Logan I thought did exactly what I hoped he’d do. We put him in that situation in case we got a two-minute drill. We got a two-minute drill, showed his toughness, took us right down the field and got a touchdown. That was an outstanding drive. Really good throws down the middle of the field to [Ifeanyi Momah] and you give your guys a chance, they’ll make plays for you, and he did. And Marion (Grice) ran extremely well down there at the end.”Are you adverse to letting Chris Johnson and/or Jermaine Gresham play Thursday?“No, I would like them to play but it’s going to be very iffy for Jermaine to be ready with the hamstring. Chris wanted to play the other night, just couldn’t cut. He feels very confident he’ll be able to play, and he wants to play in the game.” Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians gestures during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015 in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) You saw enough out of Drew Butler that you’re comfortable going with him?“Yeah. I think he won the battle easily on a daily basis.”Was the missed field goal from Catanzaro Sunday an issue of kicking from the dirt?“I think it was a little breeze in your face, on the dirt, and trying to crank it up when all you’ve got to do is hit it. The dirt gets in your head a little bit sometimes, but he nailed the next one going the opposite way with the wind. Those are things we’re going to continue trying and see where the cutoff point is.”What did you think about the running game Sunday?“I thought ours was average, at best, in the first half but pretty solid in the second half.”What has Ifeanyi Momah shown you in terms of getting playing time?“He’s been an excellent pass catcher since we’ve started in shorts. And he does not lack toughness to put his face in the fire and try to block. Get your ass kicked with dignity sometimes. But that’s a receiver playing tight end and this is his first time. I’m very pleased with where he’s at in that phase, and he gives us a pretty solid weapon and he keeps showing up every day.” Then there was the route where J.J. went the wrong way and Palmer’s pass got intercepted“That’s not his fault. We don’t run that coverage and we haven’t practiced it enough. It’s a specific route — had that been Michael Floyd I’m sure it would have been a completion. But to J.J.’s credit, he doesn’t know what that route means yet and we haven’t practiced it enough.”Where are you at with your inside linebackers?“We’re solid. Kevin (Minter) played outstanding. Kenny (Demens) was solid when he was in there. [Deone Bucannon] did a heck of a job. (Alani) Fua is really making good progress and we’ll see what [Sean Weatherspoon] does if he plays this week.”Has it come to the point where we can call Bucannon a linebacker?“No. He’s a safety. In the box.”Is there going to be some tough calls at WR when cut time comes?“It depends on how many we keep and looking at other positions. Like I’ve said, I’ll keep six receivers if the sixth receiver is better than the fifth guy at another position. We’re not going to cut a good player just because we’re overloaded.” Is Drew Butler better now than he was at the end of last year when you saw him?“He had a heck of a year other than the playoff game — the playoff game he struggled getting out of a funk, but he’s hit it really solid the whole time.”Are you putting Bradley Sowell to get him left tackle reps?“Yeah. He played right tackle for two weeks and again in the game. If he’s going to be a swing tackle he needs to practice left side.”How do you approach practice this week with a game on Thursday?“You’re lucky because the young guys didn’t play that much. Some of them played 10, 12 plays, so they’re going to play the majority of this game. So they’ll practice today. The veteran guys won’t practice at all. We’ll have a 7-on-7 tomorrow with them outside while the rest of the guys practice inside for Denver.”Do you foresee any starters playing Thursday?“No.” Tempe, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, now in his third year with the team, meets with the media the day after every game.In this space we will highlight some of what Arians had to say, and Monday he talked about his team following a 30-23 victory over the Oakland Raiders in the third preseason game.He started with an opening statement:“Just minor things coming out of the ball game, injury-wise. Logan (Thomas) has got a little sore ankle, but he should be able to play this week. Xavier (Williams) same things, with a little hyper extension of the knee — he should practice limited today. Chris Johnson will be limited today. Hope to get (Sean) Weatherspoon back running today, maybe practice tomorrow. (Troy) Niklas, (Jermaine) Gresham will both be out today.” How do you assess your tight end group, even with Gresham and Troy Niklas out?“I’m very, very confident. Darren (Fells) is playing really well. He was one of the few bright spots in the run game — he blocked his guy really solid. He’s been a good, steady pass receiver. Mo, obviously, was the star of the game as far as tight ends, and Gerald (Christian) is a tough guy.”What was the difference in the running game between the first and second half?“It was actually still their first defense, we just blocked better. We blocked better as a group. I probably called a few better ones, formationally, than I did in the first half.”How do you think Shaq Riddick looked in his first game action?“He looked good, he looked good. He had a couple nice rushes. Disappointed he let (Christian) Ponder make him look slow when he broke out of the pocket on him — I think he was afraid of pulling his hamstring — but it was a good start for him.”Looked like J.J. Nelson had a rookie day“J.J. had a very rookie day. J.J. slipped on the dirt in warmups and couldn’t handle it. It was just every route he ran on the dirt, it looked like he was playing on ice.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
The long, lithe national dress of Vietnam, the ao dai, is at the heart of an alluring new package from La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa.The new ‘Long Lithe Vietnam’ package celebrates the 1000-year-history of a garment as singular to Vietnam as the kimono to Japan, and coordinates the made-to-measure production of an ao dai for one female guest.The three-night package includes tickets to a fashion show on the city’s most glamorous boulevard and accommodation in a room that drinks in views of the fabled Perfume River.As a garment, the ao dai defies pigeon-holing as a dress or a pant suit. Its close-fitting tunic top drapes two long panels as far as the ankles, with slits from the hips to the hemline. The sleeves are tight, the collar typically buttoned up, and the underwear slacks rather blousey. It’s quite frequently said that the ao dai reveals everything and shows nothing at the same time.“After the conical hat, nothing quite says Vietnam like the ao dai,” said Phan Trong Minh, general manager of La Residence. “It’s as iconic as our pho, our cyclos and our water buffalo.”Unlike the cyclo and water buffalo, La Residence is helping guests take home this icon. ‘Long Lithe Vietnam’ provides escorted visits to a renowned local tailor of the ao dai for material selection in silk and cotton and fittings for a custom-made garment.The package steps out from 1 November 2017, and runs through October of 2018. The cost is USD $699 and includes accommodation, tickets to the fashion show, one bespoke ao dai and daily breakfast for two.
Existing housing that is currently empty could be put to use to offer some relief for the homeless, Volunteerism and NGO Commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki said on Tuesday.Yiannaki told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that in a letter to Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides, he proposed that “we make use of existing housing potential for those who need aid, such as in refugee neighbourhoods, where there may be apartments or houses that are not being used.”There are also Turkish Cypriot houses, Yiannaki said, “which could be given to vulnerable groups.”Yiannaki called on the relevant services to evaluate both the problems burdening the vulnerable groups of Cyprus, as well as the current situation in terms of the use of existing housing structures.“After such an effort, if we see that there are still deficiencies and the construction of additional housing is required – various such proposals have been made – the state will have to take on the task of construction, either this consists of modular homes or something more permanent.”You May LikeFreedom Debt ReliefPeople In Heavy Debt Are In For A SurpriseFreedom Debt ReliefUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoComparisons.orgRowland Heights Pays Homeowners to Install Solar. See if your zip code qualifiesComparisons.orgUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
President Nicos Anastasiades departs on Sunday night for Moscow for a two-day official working visit that will include meetings with senior state officials.According to a statement, Anastasiades, flanked by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Finance Harris Georgiades, Transport Minister Marios Demetriades and government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, will meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday and President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.On the agenda will be bilateral relations, the latest developments in the Cyprus problem talks, Russia’s relations with the European Union, as well as regional and international matters.During the meeting with Putin, Anastasiades will sign bilateral agreements in areas like commercial shipping, international road transportation and communications, as well as memoranda of cooperation in areas like the economy, the statement said.The two presidents will make remarks to the press after the meeting.During his stay in Moscow, Anastasiades will also have contacts with Russian businessmen at a dinner organised by the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency, as well as reporters at a news conference for the Russian media at the Tass news agency.The president and his delegation are scheduled to return to Cyprus on Tuesday.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoSmart Tips DailySeniors With No Life Insurance May Get A $250,000 Policy If They Do ThisSmart Tips DailyUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
01Feb Webber: Bipartisan bills provide access to government Categories: News,Webber News Representative says accountability a priority State Rep. Michael Webber today joined his colleagues in a Capitol news conference to unveil bipartisan legislation that gives people access to public records and continues to make state government transparency a priority.Webber, of Rochester Hills, co-sponsored the 11 bills that create the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) and subjects the governor and lieutenant governor to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The bills are similar to a legislative package that Webber supported last session that passed the House but never made it to the governor’s desk for signature.“The government works for the taxpayers, and people deserve access to public records that show how the money entrusted to the state government has been used,” Webber said. “Michigan and Massachusetts are the only two states that do not allow this type of transparency. It’s high time we changed that.”Webber said local governments are subject to FOIA provisions, and state government should not be exempt.“During my time as a Rochester Hills City Councilman, I was always subject to FOIA,” Webber said. “The fact that, as a state legislator, I am not subject to the same requirement just doesn’t make sense. These bills work to address that concern.”The LORA bill exempts some records, among them letters to and from people in the district, human resources files, and ongoing legislative investigations or lawsuits. Only one other state exempts its legislature and governor from FOIA-like scrutiny.#####
State Rep. Beth Griffin today voted to approve a package of bills aimed at providing income tax relief for families and seniors.The bills continue and increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on their income taxes, while providing additional relief for senior citizens.Griffin, of Mattawan, voted for the three-bill package that will enable people to keep more of their hard-earned money.“This is a win for all of the taxpayers in southwest Michigan,” Griffin said. “The state budget is in good shape and our economy continues to grow. The time is right to ease the tax burden and put more money back into the pockets of Michigan families.”Griffin said the technical fix related to the federal reforms saves $172 per person on state income taxes each year, or $688 for a family of four. Raising the personal exemption provides an additional $102 in relief for a family of four.The legislation, House Bills 5420-5422, will:Ensure Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming personal exemptions on income taxes after federal tax reforms signed into law last month, andIncrease the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,300 for the 2018 tax year, with gradual increases reaching $4,800 for 2020;Certify taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax will continue to be able to claim exemptions; andHelp senior citizens in addition to the personal exemption increase by providing a $100 income tax credit for a single filer age 62 or older – or $200 for joint filers.House Bills 5420-5422 now go to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: Griffin News 25Jan Rep. Griffin votes to provide tax relief to Michigan families, seniors
Share2TweetShareEmail2 SharesPhiladelphia Inquirer / Paul SablemanJanuary 12, 2016; Philadelphia InquirerNews that ownership of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the website Philly.com would be transferred to the Philadelphia Foundation took the journalism world by storm. Owner Gerry Lenfest, who bought the media at auction in 2014 for $88 million, announced that the plan to transfer the properties to a new media institute managed within the foundation’s Special Asset Fund had been in the works for some time and is meant to preserve independent public interest journalism in Philadelphia, free from the demands of profit-seeking stakeholders. Included in the deal will be a $20 million endowment.In a column at the Poynter website, writer Rick Edmonds points out that there is a precedent for this historic move in the gifting of the Tampa Bay Times to the Poynter Institute. In that case, he said, the shift has kept the Times “committed to ambitious journalism, independent and locally owned.” But this deal is quite different. The holding of Lenfest’s Institute for Journalism in New Media inside of the Philadelphia foundation is definitely a new, untested wrinkle. The mission may fit—Foundation President and CEO Pedro Ramos, who has been in leadership at the foundation for six months, called the match a good one, saying at the announcement that democracies and “great cities need and depend on quality journalism”—but the structure of the deal is complex.Management of the media entities and a separate board of directors will remain at the for-profit Philadelphia Media Network. This group is charged with making business decisions. The institute will, according to Lenfest, start with only “an executive director, a program officer, a development officer and a secretary,” but the institute basically is the umbrella owner of the whole. The governance systems are separate.The agreement also stipulates: “The editorial function and news coverage of PMN shall at all times remain independent of the institute, and the institute shall not attempt to influence or interfere with the editorial policies or decisions of PMN.”What is clear is that Lenfest intends to use the new tax status to attract philanthropic dollars from wealthy individuals and local and national foundations. He thinks that the new entity’s success will depend upon its ability “to raise the endowment to many times what it is now.” He also says he hopes that the institute will act as a laboratory, testing new technologies and models for delivering public interest journalism.Lenfest, whose background is in media, has given away close to a billion dollars in his career as a philanthropist. He says he believes that this may be the most important thing he has ever done. A note of caution: NPQ has recently covered a few stories, including one on the JFK Library, about the problems that can occur between related institutions with separate governing bodies awkwardly patched together. We look forward to watching this develop and seeing the details of how this will work and what it will produce.—Ruth McCambridgeShare2TweetShareEmail2 Shares
Share3TweetShare4Email7 Shares110325-G-5709T-028-Ethics Forum, Eric Greitens / US Coast Guard AcademyOctober 11, 2016; St. Louis Post-DispatchEric Greitens is the Republican nominee for governor of Missouri after winning the Republican primary in August 2016. Greitens is a former Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL (Bronze Star and Purple Heart are among his military awards). He founded The Mission Continues in 2007 after leaving military service. A primary initiative of The Mission Continues is to offer six-month “Fellowships” to post-9/11 veterans to volunteer at nonprofit or community organizations of their choice. Greitens stepped down as CEO of The Mission Continues in July 2014 and resigned from the board of directors in 2015.David Lieb, writing for the Associated Press, reports that in potential violation of federal law, Greitens asked The Mission Continues donors to support his campaign.Financial records analyzed by the Associated Press show Greitens has received nearly $2 million from donors who previously gave significant amounts to The Mission Continues—an overlap that was especially beneficial during the crucial startup of his campaign.A separate Excel spreadsheet obtained by the AP suggests that correlation is no coincidence.The spreadsheet, labeled “All donors $1K total and up—as of 5-7-14,” shows the names, email addresses and phone numbers of people who gave at least $1,000 to The Mission Continues.Its properties show it was created by a Mission Continues employee May 6, 2014, shortly before Greitens stepped down as CEO, and was last saved March 24, 2015, by Michael Hafner, who had been working for Greitens’ gubernatorial exploratory committee.Greitens denies any coordination with or intentionally soliciting the donors of The Mission Continues. Greitens does acknowledge raising money from donors who had become his friends over time: “We were calling people who had become friends and gotten to know me over the course of seven years, who invested in The Mission Continues, and got to know me as a leader.”NPQ has reported in its nonprofit newswire on the ambiguities inherent in the IRS guidelines on “The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations.” And we would want to give a war hero such as Greitens the benefit of the doubt. But politics is anything but forgiving.Greitens received nearly 14 percent of his money from donors who previously gave at least $1,000 to The Mission Continues or who are tied to businesses and foundations that did. Of the more than $525,000 he raised during an initial two-month period in 2015, about 85 percent of it came from donors who previously gave to The Mission Continues.Greitens received a PhD from Oxford, created a renowned charity doing good work with veterans, and served as a White House Fellow. Greitens is currently a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy Reserve after being deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan. Whether he can now survive Missouri politics and the never-ending vagaries of IRS rules remains to be seen.—James SchafferShare3TweetShare4Email7 Shares
Share5Tweet16Share13Email34 SharesBy Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsOctober 4, 2017; Bakersfield Californian and WABEAfter nine months of the Trump presidency paired with unified Republican control of Congress, it is very clear that, at all levels, our assumptions about public policy and funding need to be reconsidered. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with the new administration’s direction; if you are responsible for governing an organization that partners with a state or federal program, you are facing a very changed landscape.For example, as October began, funding authorization for several long-standing federal health insurance programs was allowed to lapse. Nonprofits depending on funding connected to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Community Health Centers, and the Health Service Corps were left in limbo. They await word on if Congress will act and reauthorize some or all of their funding and to see if the president will agree to sign. While this drama plays to its end, they face a crisis.Amy Simmons, who directs communications for the National Association of Community Health Centers, told the Bakersfield Californian that “Facilities across the nation have begun instituting hiring freezes, limiting hours at health centers, reducing staff hours and tapping into their reserve funds. The health center funding cliff is affecting health centers right now. You can’t deliver healthcare effectively on a month-to-month basis. That’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to patients’ lives being on the line.” Carole Maddux, the executive director of the Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center in Jasper, Georgia told WABE that “it’s affected her ability to plan for the center, which has been expanding. For instance, I’ve got several openings on my staff right now that I’m trying to fill, and in the back of mind there’s always this uncertainty because the funding hasn’t been renewed yet.”These are examples of nonprofit leadership stepping up in the midst of a funding crisis to make the necessary decisions in response to an immediate threat, limiting damage to their clients and their organizations. While they’re at it, they ought to advocate for political leaders to support their programs and to restore funding as well. This is hard and important work, and planning for these challenges should have begun perhaps months, or even years, earlier.Nonprofit Quarterly, in covering the impending loss of funding for important health programs, recognized, that “the September 30th deadline was set up two years ago and so should not come as a surprise.” Was that when serious planning should have begun?The 2018 federal budget just approved by the House targets much of the federal ‘safety net’ for drastic funding cuts. In almost every sphere of government activity, there are powerful forces pushing for rollbacks and reversals. Whether these changes make it through the Senate or not, that they’ve gotten this far should be enough to prompt serious planning to develop the strategic directions needed to respond to the “what if?” question.So, why are we caught scrambling so often when possible scenarios become our realities? Are we afraid to place another burden on the agendas of organizations that are already stretched? Are we afraid to take on a difficult balancing act, one that requires meeting today’s pressing needs while we think through the next year and beyond? Is the discussion of unpleasant possibilities and difficult choices, like those now facing Community Health Centers, too upsetting and demoralizing to have before the checks stop arriving?Good governance requires good planning, and good planning requires an assessment of many possible futures. It allows us to think through how we would respond to even unpleasant possibilities before we have no choice. It lets us consider new solutions. It does not guarantee a future free of pain or risk, but it gives an organization a better chance to take control of its future.—Martin LevineShare5Tweet16Share13Email34 Shares
Swisscom is launching a new catch-up TV service as it revealed the growing popularity of its on-demand platform.The telco has begun market testing a service that enables customers to watch programmes from 70 channels up to 24 hours after the original broadcast. Several hundred customers currently have access to the service that the telco said would gradually extend to its entire customer base by mid-year.Last year, Swisscom had 6.3 million requests for on-demand content from its 600,000 TV customers. It also revealed that its iPad app, which lets users watch Swisscom TV on the device, has been downloaded 150,000 times since launching in July, 2010.
UAE-based pay TV operator YahLive has added a local version of kids channel Cartoon Network to its DTH platform.Cartoon Network Arabic is now available to YahLive subscribers in HD. The channel airs various international and locally produced kids shows including LazyTown, Ben 10 and Powerpuff Girls.Mohamed Youssif, CEO of YahLive, said: “With Cartoon Network Arabic HD going live on our satellite, we are able to bring children’s favourite cartoon characters to life in high definition. As the home of HD, YahLive is delighted to have Cartoon Network Arabic be a part of our growing channel bouquet and a new addition to the HD hotspot for the region.”
Netflix on YouView search screenUK connected TV platform YouView has added Netflix access to its set-top boxes, allowing its users to click to access the subscription video-on-demand service.Rolling out today, the Netflix app will be available on Humax-made YouView boxes bought from a retailer, as well as on pay TV provider BT’s YouView-powered set-top boxes.YouView boxes provided by pay TV provider TalkTalk, as well as retail set-top boxes from Huawei will receive the Netflix update early in the new year, said YouView.“Netflix is a brilliant addition to our already impressive line-up of TV programming. We are really excited about Netflix and giving YouView audiences even more choice,” said YouView CEO Richard Halton.Netflix offers TV box sets, films, comedy specials, documentaries and children’s programming and its titles will now will be integrated into YouView’s ‘seamlessly integrated search’ function.Existing Netflix subscribers can login to the player on YouView by entering their Netflix username and password using the YouView remote control.BT first revealed that it had agreed to offer Netflix access to its TV customers last week. BT TV customers, who sign up for Netflix alongside BT broadband and TV offers, will also be able to pay for Netflix via their BT bill –a first for Netflix.YouView now offers free and paid on-demand content from services including BBC iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player, Demand 5, UKTV, Quest from Discovery, NOW TV from Sky and Sky Store.
UK video-on-demand regulator ATVOD has ruled that two adult services have breached statutory rules put in place to protect children. The regulator ruled that Daisy Rock UK and She Bang TV allowed under 18s to access content viewable on-demand by allowing free, unrestricted access to videos and images and by making full-length videos available to any visitor who paid a fee.ATVOD said that the operator of Daisy Rock UK subsequently put its content out of reach of children, but had appealed with Ofcom against a separate ATVOD ruling that its service falls within the scope of the statutory rules.The operator of She Bang TV failed to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD. The service provider has therefore been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction.
Telekom Austria has partnered with SPI International/Filmbox International to launch the FilmBox thematic channels in the territories where it is active.Telekom Austria Group plans to introduce the channels in “at least two” of their markets in the first half of this year.With its ‘direct2home’ platform Telekom Austria Group will also act as a technical distribution and contribution provider for the FilmBox channels’ Balkan and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) feeds over the Eutelsat 16A satellite.
South African public broadcaster has launched its news channel internationally on the Multichoice pay TV platform. SABC News will be available to around 50 countries in Africa. Multichoice said that the channel would be particularly valuable for the hundreds of thousands of expatriate South Africans who live in other parts of the continent.SABC News was launched on Multichoice’s DStv in South Africa two years ago. The international launch is the state broadcaster’s second attempt at launching an international news channel. An earlier incarnation, loss-making SABC News International, folded in 2010 after three years.DStv has about 2.4 million subscribers outside South Africa.
A French version of Dutch music channel DJAZZ.tv will broadcast in HD via French pay TV operator Free’s triple play Freebox service from this week.The channel will be included in Freebox’s basic package at position 77 and offer both international and French programming.DJAZZ.tv, which first launched in 2012 on CanalSat said the rollout marks a “new phase of expansion” for the channel, which has seen an increase in its international distribution since it recent acquisition by Stingray.The Canadian multi-platform music products and services provider agreed to buy music channels Brava NL, Brava HD and DJAZZ.tv in July. At the time of the transaction, DJAZZ.tv was distributed in 42 countries in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.
The global number of pay TV subscribers climbed by 35% between 2010 and 2016, taking the figure to 969 million at the end of last year, according to Digital TV Research.The new report estimates that operators added 254 million pay TV subscribers across 138 countries between 2010-2016, with customer growth in digital cable TV offsetting declines in analogue cable TV.Over the research period digital cable TV added 256 million subscribers; satellite added 77 million extra subscribers; IPTV added 76 million, nearly quintupling its total; and pay DTT added 5 million. At the same time, analogue cable TV lost 218 million subscribers.Excluding analogue cable TV, digital pay TV jumped from 380 million subscribers in 2010 onto 852 million at end-2016, according to the research.Overall, pay TV subscriber numbers doubled in 53 countries between 2010 and 2016, but fell in nine countries – including the US, which was down by 4.4 million.“Asia Pacific is the world’s largest pay TV subscriber region, contributing 60% to the global total,” according to Digital TV Research. “China supplies about a third of the world’s pay TV subscribers, with 313 million by end-2016.”
Disney completes its US$71 billion acquisition of the bulk of 21st Century Fox today, paving the way to create what chairman and CEO Bog Iger described as “the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”Disney is acquiring 21st Century Fox’s film production businesses Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Family and Fox Animation; Fox’s television units Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; pay TV network FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Networks Group International; pay TV outfit Star India; and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.The mouse house will divest 21st Century Fox’s regional US sports channels as a condition for regulatory approval of the deal.21st Century Fox yesterday completed the spin-off of the principally linear broadcast assets that will comprise the new Fox Corporation, including Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network.Disney is also acquiring US$19.8 billion of cash and assuming approximately US$19.2 billion of Fox debt as part of the deal.For its part, Fox has named a raft of new directors as it begins life as a standalone company.Fox has named Anne Dias, founder of investment fund Aragon Global Holdings, current Formula 1 chief and long-term Murdoch associate Chase Carey, former Telemundo chief and current media investor Roland Hernandez and Republican party Congressman and former House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan to its board, working alongside Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch and Jacques Nasser.“We are thrilled to welcome our new colleagues to the Fox board. We look forward to working with and being guided by them as we begin a new chapter, steadfastly committed to providing the best in news, sports and entertainment programming,” said Lachlan Murdoch.The merger comes ahead of Disney’s planned launch of its new streaming service Disney+ later this year, part of Iger’s strategy of reorientating the company with a set of direct-to-consumer services that also includes ESPN+ and Hulu, in which Disney will now have majority control. While Disney+ will be targeted specifically at a family audience, Hulu will continue to offer a more adult-focused line-up of content including series produced by Fox FX and Fox Searchlight.Disney will now be under pressure to realise cost savings from the merger, with a significant number of redundancies expected in the combined company’s US workforce. In addition to the elevated cost of financing a deal that came about after a ferocious bidding war with Comcast, Disney also now has to absorb the cost of investing in its new platforms, including foregoing US$150 million this year from its decision to retain rights to content rather than license them to Netflix.