While most of the nation wascelebrating Costa Rica’s long run in the World Cup Saturday, a large group of farmers in the country’s southeastern indigenous territory of Salitre were taking up arms.The non-indigenous farmers — who illegally occupy territory in the Bribrí indigenous reserve located outside Buenos Aires, Puntarenas — mounted the attack seven days after members of the Bribrí community reoccupied land where they had built farms. According to Bribrí residents in the area, approximately 80 farmers attacked the settlement with rocks and guns, forcing the indigenous residents to flee into the mountains. Police intervene in an indigenous conflict in Salitre, in July 2014. Courtesy of Public Security MinistryNon-indigenous people also have blocked roads, trapping the Bribrí in Salitre. According to indigenous people in the area, Bribrí residents have not been able to leave for work since Saturday.“So far they have burned down four of our houses,” said María Suárez, 30, a Bribrí resident in Salitre. “This is our land, they can’t be here legally.”Costa Rica’s Indigenous Law 6172 establishes the rights of indigenous people to reclaim land in traditionally indigenous areas, including the 12,700-hectare Salitre territory. According to the daily La Nación, Bribrí residents have reclaimed 75 percent of land in Salitre. In most cases, Bribrí residents enter land within their territory that is occupied by non-indigenous people and establish a settlement.Indigenous re-occupation in Salitre has spurred a number of violent squabbles in recent years. In January 2013, three Bribrí were sent to the hospital with gunshot and stab wounds following a similar conflict with farmers.According to a press release from the Public Security Ministry on Sunday, police have been in the area since the conflict began to control the situation. The release said that police are in control of the situation, but according to Suárez, only two policemen are present most nights, stationed with the Bribrí on the farm.Presidency Vice Minister Ana Gabriel Zúñiga has been leading mediation between the indigenous and non-indigenous groups for the last two weeks, and arrived in Salitre last night to meet with police and leaders of both factions.“We have been intervening for several days to maintain the fewest number of conflicts possible between indigenous and non-indigenous people,” said President Luis Guillermo Solís Monday.“We have signaled that the only way to resolve the problems in this area and other affected by agricultural conflicts is with negotiation. There is no other way,” he added.“This is an immediate priority for the government,” Ricardo Sánchez, a political adviser to the vice minister, told The Tico Times. “The president has instructed the vice ministry to dedicate its complete attention to the issue.”The United Nations office in San José released a statement Monday morning urging the government to resolve the issue quickly and peacefully. Last August, U.N. human rights observers issued a warning regarding the government’s “militarization” of indigenous relations, citing “persecution, threats and violent repression” against indigenous people. Related posts:UPDATE: Government negotiates peace agreement between farmers, indigenous group in Salitre conflict zone Tensions ease in Salitre indigenous crisis, but the dispute is far from resolved Costa Rica struggles with indigenous land rights Human rights commission ruling gives hope for Costa Rica indigenous autonomy Facebook Comments
Go back to the enewsletterClick the cover to view the online brochureScenic Luxury Cruises and Tours is offering a variety of great savings to encourage Australians to discover their own beautiful backyard in 2019. Released in conjunction with Scenic’s new 2019 Australia brochure – the Endless Wonders of Australia 2019 – the offers include a range of savings and flight offers.The Endless Wonders of Australia 2019 brochure features 12 itineraries ranging in length from seven to 23 days, across Western Australia and the Northern Territory, Tasmania, South Australia and Norfolk Island.When booking by 28 February 2019, the offers include:Free flights when booking the 23-day Treasures of the West Coast – a saving of up to $1,450* per couple (including taxes up to $190 per person)Partners fly free when booking the 12-day Top End and Kimberley Spectacular, 13-day South Western Mosaic or 20-day Territory Explorer and The Kimberley – a saving of up to $940* per coupleEarly-bird savings of up to $600* per couple for bookings on the 19-day Top End and Kimberley Snapshot Cruise, 9-day Territory Explorer, 13-day Ultimate Tasmania, 11-day Taste of South Australia or 8-day Historic Norfolk Island.Key itineraries include :23-day Treasures of the West Coast: Darwin to Perth, starting from $11,385 per person twin share. The west coast of this brown wide land features some of the most spectacular and rare landscapes in the world. Big skies, deep gorges, plains that stretch to the horizon and all the colours of the rainbow.12-day Top End and Kimberley Spectacular: Darwin to Broome, starting from $6,695 per person twin share. A landscape unchanged for thousands of years, the natural beauty and ancient heritage of the region that stretches across Australia’s Top End.8-day Historic Norfolk Island: starting from $3,875 per person twin share. Norfolk Island will fascinate with its rich history, beautiful environment and friendly locals who are always ready for a yarn or two above their beloved home.Offering an immersive exploration of several Australian states, Scenic’s luxurious fully escorted journeys feature included sightseeing through the Scenic Freechoice program. Guests can enjoy a Harley Davidson ride through the timeless outback at Uluru NT; cruising Peppermint Bay on the Derwent River TAS on board a new luxury catamaran; horse and carriage ride through the Norfolk Island countryside; cruising through the magnificent Chamberlain Gorge at El Questro WA; or a jumping croc adventure on the Mary River NT.Meanwhile, Scenic’s exclusive Scenic Enrich program promises unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences: meeting a traditional owner under the remarkable Boab prison tree at Fitzroy Crossing, a dinner cruise on the stunning Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge under a canopy of stars, or an epicurean guide to the magnificent tastes of Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Special Sundowners events also provide opportunities to soak up the ambience at beautiful locations such as Western Australia’s El Questro.All Scenic tours feature accommodation at the finest hotels available, such as new itinerary inclusion Cicada Lodge Katherine; included Scenic Freechoice sightseeing and exclusive Scenic Enrich experiences; the services of an expert, hand-picked tour director and knowledgeable local guides; return airport transfers, all tipping and gratuities.More at www.scenic.com.au/.Go back to the enewsletter
Netherlands – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle MagazineOceanco held a breakfast press conference on the second day of the 2010 Monaco Yacht Show to update the luxury yachting press with what lies ahead on Oceanco’s horizon and to introduce them personally to the Chairman of the company, Mr. Mohammed Al Barwani.Marcel Onkenhout, CEO, provided the opening remarks about the successful August launch of their latest 86m yacht Y706. Additionally, Onkenhout revealed the company’s plans for a new facility that marks the next step in Oceanco’s advance into the 100m+ market. Oceanco will be breaking ground on the land adjacent to its current facility for the planned 165m long x 52m wide x 32m high dry dock construction hall.Oceanco showed a fast–paced 3D animation film to demonstrate all of the topics discussed. On view at the stand were the scale models of the new 100m+ projects designed by Sam Sorgiovanni, Nuvolari & Lenard, and Elie Saab. At the conclusion of Onkenhout’s comments and the film, Mr. Al Barwani chatted openly and amiably with the press about why he purchased the company. He also shared his positive views about the current state of the megayacht market including the plans to serve clients demanding 100m+ yachts with Oceanco’s uncompromised build-quality.www.oceancoyacht.com
Categories: News Local residents invited to discuss road funding optionsState Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, invites residents of the 100th House District to attend an informational town hall meeting regarding the May 5 statewide ballot proposal.The town hall will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, at the Hart City Hall Community Center, located at 407 State St. Special guest Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama, will give a presentation detailing the roads proposal facing Michiganders to inform voters before they reach the polls.“I had the opportunity to speak with our neighbors in Fremont about Michigan’s road funding situation, and it was clear that people still have many questions about the proposal,” said Rep. Bumstead. “There’s a significant amount of information out there about Proposal 1, and we’d like to give Hart residents a chance to address their questions and concerns.”Residents who are unable to attend the town hall meeting are encouraged to contact Rep. Bumstead toll free at (877) 999-0995, or via email at JonBumstead@house.mi.gov. 15Apr Rep. Bumstead to host road funding town hall in Hart
Categories: Calley News,News 05Oct Rep. Calley votes for measure to prohibit local food taxes Lawmaker says levy would be extra burden on families State Rep. Julie Calley today voted for legislation that will ban local governments from imposing taxes on the manufacture, distribution and sale of all food and beverages.Calley, of Portland, said she cosponsored the bill, which gained House approval today, because it proactively prevents municipalities from creating a tax on food, which would make it difficult for some households on tight budgets.“There are families who find it difficult to provide shelter, food and clothing,” Calley said. “If a local government added a tax on food, some households would be forced to choose between a meal or another basic staple of life. Local taxes could literally take food off the table.”Calley said lower-income families allocate nearly one-third of their income on food, and a city, county or township tax could be devastating.“The Michigan Constitution prohibits state sales taxes on food and beverages, and it only makes sense that local governments be held to the same standards,” Calley said. “While locally this topic has not been a concern, all Michiganders need protection from further taxation that would affect our most vulnerable residents.”The bill, which passed in the House with strong bipartisan support, now goes to the Senate for consideration.#####The Michigan Food Access and Affordability Act is House Bill 4999.
State Representative Steve Johnson invites residents of the 72nd House District to join him during local office hours:Thursday, August 9, 2018Kent CountyBob Evans6565 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Gaines9:00 am – 10:00 amAllegan CountyTujax Tu on Gun Lake11 126th Ave. in Wayland11:00 am – Noon“Open and honest communication with residents is instrumental in holding state government accountable,” said Johnson, R-Wayland. “I invite all residents to attend a local office hour gathering to share their concerns and ideas.”No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Those unable to attend are encouraged to call Rep. Johnson’s office at 517-373-0840, email StevenJohnson@house.mi.gov or visit his website at www.RepJohnson.com. Categories: Steven Johnson News 01Aug Rep. Johnson announces August office hours
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 9, 2014; Gatestone Institute The Gatestone Institute has recently railed against the UK’s nonprofit regulator, the Charity Commission. The Commission’s sin? Failing to regulate “the extremist and politicized nature” of a London mosque.The Daily Beast described Gatestone as “a spin-off of the Hudson Institute where right-wingers champion hawkish, often ‘pro-Israel’ policies and, not infrequently, rattle off Islamophobic blogposts.” One of the Institute’s more controversial attempts to “educate the public” was a blog post proposing there had been a fatwa announced permitting sodomy as a method to make easier the anal concealment of explosives. However, leave that as it may be. The UK Charity Commission has recently had more on its hands than the opprobrium of a right-wing U.S. think tank. Its primary role is to approve and register charities, and then monitor their fiscal and fiduciary action. The Commission has neither the responsibility nor the resources to conduct forensic investigations into allegations of terrorist activity. That is the role of the British police and intelligence services.Third Sector magazine described 2013 as an annus horriblis for the Commission: “Struggling with budget cuts of 40 percent, the regulator has been dragged through a series of controversies.” These controversies included accusations of bias against religion, failure to close down a tax avoidance scheme masquerading as a charity, and two separate damning parliamentary reports suggesting that it was no longer fit for purpose.However, as far as combating terrorism is concerned, within its limited remit the commission has been taking some positive steps. Its chairman has said that tackling terrorist abuse of charities would be one of the commission’s three areas of focus, and a former head of the London Metropolitan police anti-terrorist branch has been appointed to the regulator’s board.As for the East London Mosque, it is a well-respected institution serving that part of London that hosts the city’s largest Muslim population. The mosque’s website notes, “The East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre has hosted many hundreds of speakers and events over the past decade. As befits a religious center serving a large and diverse community, these range from Orthodox Muslim theologians, to interfaith gatherings, visits by politicians and foreign dignitaries, as well as hosting numerous community associations and charities.”The appearance of Imam Shakeel Begg at the East London Mosque was as a speaker at a forum of the Young Muslim Association. His biography indicates he is currently imam of Lewisham and Kent Islamic Centre and a Muslim chaplain at Goldsmith’s, University of London.—John GodfreyShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share1TweetShareEmail1 SharesJanuary 13, 2014; Providence Journal Rhode Island’s politics are as famous as New Jersey’s, and local politics can be very important to an agency’s survival, especially when political players control a critical asset.The Urban League of Rhode Island headquarters is located at 246 Prairie Avenue in Providence—at least for now. The organization, which has a current budget of $400,000, has approximately $2.2 million of debt, and Dennis Langley, the organization’s president, has a plan to resolve that situation that includes the sale of the building to a developer for $2.6 million to construct a medical facility. The only problem is that the building in question, which is assessed at $4.1 million, was sold to the Urban League for one dollar in 1990 with the caveat that the city would get it back if the organization moved out.Providence’s city council and its mayor, Angel Taveras, are not moving quickly to resolve the issue, saying that they need to look carefully at the Urban League’s finances.But the picture is further muddled by other things that smack of unstable organizational aid and political “complications.” Last month, for instance, Rhode Island Housing fired Gayle A. Corrigan, deputy director at the state housing agency, after she urged a criminal investigation into possible irregularities at the Urban League involving federal funds. She asserted that the Urban League which runs Safe Haven, a shelter in Pawtucket that serves homeless people with mental illness and substance abuse issues, had not paid staff in months and that the shelter building had neither heat nor hot water. Corrigan had only been in the position for seven months and had received glowing reviews and a salary increase in that time.Some are placing responsibility for the organization’s current state directly at the feet of executive director Langley. One former Urban League board member, Raymond Watson, is quoted as saying, “The leadership’s only plan is to sell a building that was acquired—prior to current leadership—for $1…. That’s not even the matter—it’s more of a matter of covering up mismanagement.”Langley states that many nonprofits in Rhode Island have similar budgetary issues and claims that the City of Providence is playing politics with the League, even upping the ante with, “I met with representatives with the mayor’s office, who told me in no uncertain terms, ‘Why should we help you, when you have a council member on your payroll who opposed our budget?’…They had their beef. I told them we need to grow up, I said we needed to start acting as adults here.”It is true that many organizations are looking at this time to rehouse themselves to bring costs into line with revenue, but the Urban League looks like it faces an uphill battle to carry off this particular deal.—Ruth McCambridge Share1TweetShareEmail1 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares July 30, 2014;Harvard Business Review BlogsIn a thoughtful blog written for HBR by Rich Leimsider of Echoing Green, he takes on a number of misconceptions people have that may lead them to believe that a for-profit social enterprise is better than a nonprofit. We have summarized those here:Bad Reason #1: Only for-profits use “business discipline.” It is patently absurd to think that for-profits have a monopoly on business disciplines. There is no magic formula passed along with a business designation.Bad Reason #2: Only for-profits can sell a product or service. Of course nonprofits can sell products. They sell cookies, tickets, human blood, and a host of other products. Once in a while, you may run into a restraint of trade snafu when there is a limited market in which you are competing head-to-head with businesses and they claim you have, by virtue of tax status, an unfair advantage, but these disputes have been relatively limited in the U.S.Bad Reason #3: Only for-profits properly compensate employees. Stuff and nonsense. There are many over and underpaid people in both sectors.Bad Reason #4: Only for-profits have a sustainable revenue model. Leimsider writes, “There are usually two intertwined misconceptions here. First, there is the earned income fallacy (see Bad Reason #2). If an earned income model is most sustainable for a particular company, they can pursue it as a nonprofit. The second misconception, however, is that philanthropic revenue is somehow less reliable than earned income. The official statistics show that more than 50% of start-up for-profit businesses fail within the first five years. Earned revenue can be highly variable.” Bad Reason #5: Nonprofits are “old-fashioned” and only for-profits earn respect in their sectors. Sigh. This seems just plain silly to us, but we know such thinking exists. Download a Free Guide to Nonprofit Executive Leadership Leimsider also had three good reason to establish a social enterprise as a for-profit.Good Reason #1: When local laws require it. Which domestically probably means never.Good Reason #2: If equity investment is the best way to get start-up capital. Leimsider reminds us that this is a decision that should be made thoughtfully and with all options fully explored. “The trick here is not to lose sight that this will close off some philanthropic doors, and that equity investors will want to influence the business to get their money back.”Good Reason #3: To send a signal to key partners or others about the role of for-profit markets. —Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares 360b / Shutterstock.comSeptember 3, 2014;Litchfield County Times and Law360In late August, a D.C. appeals court upheld the dismissal of a case Greenpeace brought against Dow Chemical and other corporations. Greenpeace accused the for-profit corporations of conducting a campaign of espionage against the nonprofit, alleging that they stole documents, hacked phone calls, and more. The suit was filed six years ago following an investigative report detailing the supposedly illegal activity that was published in Mother Jones.In their verdict, the judges did not deny that Dow and the others may have committed the espionage as charged; instead, they upheld an earlier court’s dismissal of the charges. The dismissal was based on technicalities. Among them:Greenpeace’s claim that Dow and others stole documents that had been put into the trash was discarded, with the argument that once they were thrown away and put into the trash at the office building, Greenpeace had no claim to own them any longer.Greenpeace’s claim of invasion of privacy for trailing activists, using undercover agents to enter the offices, and other claims were rejected as falling outside a one-year statute of limitations. The claim was made more than one year after the actions were allegedly taken.A report from the end of 2013, entitled Spooky Business, detailed as many as 21 cases of espionage against nonprofit organizations. (NPQ covered this story in November.) But, as reported by Ralph Nader, not one of the cases that took place on American soil has resulted in a guilty verdict against the for-profit corporation accused of espionage. Guilty verdicts have been handed down in other countries, but not here. Nader suggests this means that “three words may well spring to their minds when contemplating whether to go after nonprofits with espionage: Go for it.”When conducting research for this article, it was shockingly hard to find coverage in any major newspaper. Searches in such august and supposedly liberal publications as the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and the Washington Post resulted in no articles found covering the verdict. The op-ed piece by Ralph Nader was found in the Litchfield County Times, which covers the northwest corner of the state of Connecticut.The number of espionage cases detailed in Spooky Business is scary enough. That the courts found technicalities to allow the alleged perpetrators to get away with it seems to open the door to even more. The almost complete lack of coverage of the verdict suggests that there are not even many watchdogs willing to shine the light on this shadowy activity. At the very least, this means that nonprofit organizations such as Greenpeace engaged in work challenging large corporations are going to have to be very careful with their garbage disposal and very mindful of anyone suspicious entering their office. It means conducting business in an atmosphere of fear—not a happy work environment.—Rob MeiksinsShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweet1Share1Email2 Shares“Privacy” by Isengardt.July 19, 2017; Hechinger Report“I can access data now with my right click that I used to have to access in a vault,” said Williams, a government and economics teacher at Appling County High School.This statement may be thrilling or terrifying for you, depending on where you sit. The use of data to tailor instruction for individual students is an emerging concept. Time to Act 2017: Put Data in the Hands of People is a new report by the nonprofit organization Data Quality Campaign. DQC, according to its website, calls itself “the nation’s leading voice on education data policy and use.” The report summarizes states’ efforts to act on DQC’s previously released Four Policy Priorities and provides recommendations to fully realize the benefits of student data sharing in promoting positive educational outcomes.Writing for The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news website named for the former education editor of the New York Times and an advocate for public education, Nicole Dobo discussed the report’s call to action.Using data and sharing it takes on renewed urgency due to new federal regulations under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Among the changes are requirements that states track and publish information on specific kinds of students, such as those in foster care, by next year. At this point, just one state (Washington) publishes data on those students—although undoubtedly many more states are collecting that information. And Alaska is the only state that publishes data on students who come from military families.Nearly all states collect and store student data, but few easily share it with parents and teachers, let alone a host of other vital stakeholders in promoting student success such as after-school programs. The report holds that the focus needs to shift from merely collecting data to prioritizing the effective use of data at all levels; apparently, the way it has been misused is no matter of importance.That is where this new report appears to become stunted. It rightly decries how the data is used and misused, and how “it has primarily been used to punish educators rather than support student learning.” But the central (largely missing) issues have to do with student privacy laws and sentiment.Strangely, no results emerge when placing the infamous word “inBloom” into DQC’s search window. NPQ reported about the brief lifespan of this “go big” $100 million student data project, as well as other well-meaning misfires by the Gates Foundation. The nonprofit inBloom launched in February 2013, and by May 2013, parent and teacher protests were bringing the initiative to an unexpected end. inBloom shuttered its open source platform for data sharing and other tools by April 2014.DQC’s Time to Act 2017 report seems to long for the very same services that inBloom offered school districts and states. inBloom provided a way to maintain data from multiple systems in a common and accessible location. Using a set of application programming interfaces to enhance ease of use, inBloom gathered previously walled off state education data to accelerate the development of useful personalized learning tools and to help school districts meet their state and federal reporting requirements.What inBloom did not anticipate was the public’s immediate and public intolerance for risk and uncertainty. It could be said that inBloom’s greatest mistake was its failure to communicate the benefits of its platform and its intentions to key stakeholders. Silicon Valley’s go-big (“fail early and iterate”) approach did not stand a chance against The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the risk-averse stance of states and school districts, let alone organized parents. At least one parent filed a restraining order against inBloom with the New York State Supreme Court. Lawmakers began to ask probing questions about the threat of the education technology industry outstripping federal student privacy rules. This letter from Senator Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, to Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, remains as relevant today as it was in October 2013.DQC’s Time to Act 2017 report begins with and then explains this forceful statement: “The Big Idea: When students, parents, educators, and partners have the right information to make decisions, students excel.” The teachable moment of inBloom’s collapse shows that any new student data-sharing project needs to first win the trust of parents. It will more likely succeed if initiatives are calibrated carefully, and if they are closed, school district-specific, not cloud-based information systems managed by third party vendors. New initiatives need to be adopted piecemeal allowing stakeholders time to buy-in to the benefits of safe and secure data sharing. To date, apparently no large-scale data sharing technology initiative since inBloom’s demise has succeeded in American K-12 schools.Perhaps DQC’s vision is too much too soon. The Data Quality Campaign’s greatest strength in promoting its agenda may be that it is primarily a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization. If DQC’s Time to Act 2017 report can be viewed as a PR initiative to keep their Big Idea of student data sharing alive, DQC’s report is spot-on. But their report would be more convincing if it also gave us a well-considered autopsy of the shocking $100 million failure of inBloom and, by extension, the Gates Foundation’s judgment. But, let’s get real: Gates has been a multimillion-dollar supporter.—James SchafferShareTweet1Share1Email2 Shares
Romtelecom plans to make changes to its over-the-top offering with additional pay TV services and a premium movie offering later this year, according to Peter Terpak, director for product marketing and TV business at the Romanian telco.Speaking to DTVE ahead of Informa’s Digital TV CEE conference in Prague next week, Terpak said Romtelecom plans to enhance and upgrade the offering towards the end of the year. It is currently offering a package of linear channels for free and a premium package on top, currently sold at the €12 for the first six months. Existing Romtelecom subscribers can benefit from bundling with other services and a 50% discount. Terpak said the service would benefit from the addition of linear pay TV channels, and said that Romtelecom also planned to boost the offering with additional movies.Terpak says the main use case for the OTT service is “on the go”, enabling existing customer to view content on multiple devices. The service is squarely targeted at existing pay TV subscribers and Terpak believes there is relatively little room for organic growth in the market as the vast majority of Romanians already subscribe to a service.Separately, Romtelecom is involved in a dispute with public broadcaster TVR that has led to the latter pulling coverage of Euro 2012 football from Romtelecom’s service. The dispute involves an invoice for €550,000 relating to advance payment for coverage of the Olympic Games in London that Romtelecom says was wrongly calculated. The telco said TVR’s withdrawal of its Euro 2012 coverage was unacceptable and that it reserved the right to use all legal means to protect its interests.This article has been amended. It originally said that Romtelecom planned to “relaunch” its OTT service before Christimas this year and to acquire premium movie rights. Romtelecom said that it planned to enhance and upgrade the service rather than relaunch it. Romtelecom also said that it has plans to bring some new movies to the service, but has no current plans to add premium movies.
Lovefilm has signed a deal with UK animation house Aardman that will bring movies from the Wallace & Gromit franchise to the online video streaming platform.Other Aardman movies and shorts, including Shaun the Sheep, Morph, Angry Kid and Rex the Runt, will also be available to Lovefilm customers.Jim Buckle, managing director at Lovefilm, said: “Aardman’s stop-motion animations are loved by generations of fans and it is exciting to be able to bring their catalogue to our customers. Our deals with iconic studios like Aardman make us the number one subscription service for films and TV series. We have the best content, available on a huge range of living room devices, internet-connected TVs and tablets.”
German cable operator Kabel Deutschland has teamed up with the Berlin-Brandenburg media authority to launch a public Wi-Fi project in Berlin.KDG is supporting 44 public hotspots across the city, providing download speeds of up to 100Mbps. Current areas covered include Hackescher Markt, Gendarmenmarkt, Unter den Linden and Kastanienallee and Kollwitz. A further 60 hotspots will be created by next summer in Berlin-Mitte, Tiergarten and Charlottenburg in the center of Potsdam.A Hotspot Finder has been created, available via the Apple App Store, to enable people to find the nearest hotspot, with an Android version to be launched in November.Each user will have access to 30 minutes of free surfing a day. Payment options will be introduced next year for users that require more time online. KDG customers who register will have access to open-ended free Wi-Fi.
CanalSat in Africa is to become the first pay TV platform to carry a new adult channel, Penthouse Black.The latest Penthouse channel will provide a range of black and multiracial adult content for international audiences, according to Penthouse. The channel is delivered in full native HD, with a standard-definition version also available.The channel’s programming line-up will comprise 80% black/black adult hard core content and 20% multiracial adult hard core content.Penthouse Black joins the group’s existing line-up of services – Penthouse HD, HD 1, HD 2 and Penthouse 3D – that collectively reach about 350 million homes worldwide.“We are pleased to launch this new chapter of Penthouse branded entertainment with a powerful global leader like the Canal Plus Group,” said Kelly Holland, managing director, Penthouse Entertainment. “By expanding our selection of offerings on such a large platform, we remain extremely confident that this inaugural event will bring even greater international acclaim and success to the brand, and express our commitment to Penthouse’s customers and its diverse audiences.”
The UK’s Digital TV Labs has become a DLNA accredited Independent Certification Vendor for suppliers that would like their products to comply with the home networking standard.Achieving DLNA ICV status builds on work that Digital TV Labs has done for DLNA in developing test streams to be used as part of the latest DLNA test suite utilised for certification.“Of course to guarantee DLNA interoperability, the industry requires a rigorous test and certification program, which has been established. Digital TV Labs is very pleased to now be offering DLNA Certification services to further broaden the wide range of testing services covering multiple consumer electronics standards currently provided by our lab,” said Keith Potter, CEO of Digital TV Labs.Andi Hall, director of technical operations at DLNA, said, “More consumers are embracing a fully connected, digital lifestyle, where they expect seamless interoperability between products. The high service levels and technical competence provided by Digital TV Labs as an accredited ICV will enhance the DLNA Certification Program as it continues to grow.”
The EBU plans to hold a series of meetings and workshops through to the end of this year to further the cause of ultra-high definition TV, following a conference held at Dolby’s offices in London last week.The EBU will organize a meeting of national HD Forums in Geneva on July 2 under the aegis of the Forum for Advanced media in Europe (FAME). A further EBU workshop has been provisionally scheduled for November 26-28 to examine new findings and provide an opportunity to align the needs of industry, service providers and broadcasters.Issues still outstanding include the trade-off between the choice of a frame rate that will deliver a more realistic picture and the additional cost of TV receivers that a very high frame-rate would entail.“We knew we couldn’t resolve all the issues in one conference, but we now have a much better understanding of what needs to be done and the time it will take,” said EBU head of media fundamentals and production technologies Hans Hoffmann. “Most broadcasters have not yet made firm plans for broadcasting UHDTV; many are still investing in the transition to HD. But they can rest assured that when the time comes the system will have been carefully chosen through this week’s meeting and the development work of the EBU, with partners such as DVB, the International Telecommunication Union and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.”
UK terrestrial broadcaster Channel 5’s owner, Richard Desmond, has quietly stepped down as a director ahead of a potential sale.An Independent newspaper report revealed Channel 5 owner Richard Desmond has stepped down from the board of parent company Channel 5 Broadcasting, along with other senior executives.The paper also reports Desmond has sent out a detailed information memorandum, including financial information, to prospective buyers and is said to have set a deadline of February 27 for initial offers.With Channel 5’s financial state in much better shape than when Desmond’s Northern & Shell acquired it four years ago from European broadcasting group RTL for £103.5 million, he could seek up to £700 million on a sale.NBCUniversal, Turner Broadcasting, Scripps Networks Interactive and Discovery Communications have all reportedly expressed interest in the business.
Comcast-owned video management and publishing firm, thePlatform, has launched a new service to help broadcasters publish their linear TV channels online.Mpx Replay is a premium service that thePlatform will offer as part of its mpx video publishing system.“Mpx Replay provides instant asset creation for publishing and distribution, automated metadata to support richer search and discovery, pre-set availability windows, ad policy enforcement, and increased monetisation options,” according to thePlatform.Marty Roberts, co-CEO of thePlatform claims the service address distinct but similar needs facing broadcasters, particularly in Europe and North America.“In Europe, broadcasters need a faster and more efficient way to address the growing demand for catch-up TV across any screen. In North America, broadcasters need an optimised C3 video process that keeps national ad loads intact when bringing their channels online. mpx Replay provides a streamlined, cloud-based solution for both,” said Roberts, referring to Nielsen’s C3 measure of ads watched both live and through three-days of DVR playback.
Swisscom has launched a new no-frills brand targeted at “digitally savvy” younger customers that will include an optional TV offering.Swisscom is launching Wingo, a brand that is says will offer individualised products stripped down to meet basic needs.Swisscom aims to target residential customers that existing Swisscom offerings have been unable to reach effectively.Communication with customers, ordering subscriptions and support will only be offered online. The fixed network offering will only be available in areas where customers have been supplied with Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH), so as to minimise technical complexity.High-speed internet access will be available for CHF75 (€72) a month. The TV option, for CHF14, will give access to 150 TV channels.“Wingo will allow us to specifically target digitally savvy, urban customers that Swisscom has so far been unable to reach effectively. We will acquire new customers with a reduced service, simplified offerings and low prices,” said Marc Werner, Head of Swisscom Residential Customers.