No related posts. At least six lawmakers aspire to become the next president of Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly during the annual May 1 election. All parties must present their candidates at around 2 p.m. that day.Current Assembly President Víctor Emilio Granados from the Accessibility Without Exclusion Party will be seeking re-election.Libertarian Movement Party lawmakers are divided, as one group has supported Liberation candidates in past elections and voted in favor of bills presented by the ruling party, while others clearly oppose all PLN efforts.The Libertarians have two possible candidates: Marielos Alfaro and Patricia Pérez.Lawmaker María Venegas will be a candidate for the Citizen Action Party.The PLN has not decided on a candidate. Luis Gerardo Villanueva and Sianny Villalobos are leading candidates who have divided the party’s support.On Monday night, 21 of 24 Liberation lawmakers gathered for more than three hours with President Laura Chinchilla at Casa Presidencial, but no agreement was reached, according to top PLN lawmaker Fabio Molina.Molina said the “meeting was very fruitful,” although they were not able to define who will be the candidate of their party. He also refused to confirm or rule out support for the re-election of Víctor Emilio Granados.Talks between PLN lawmakers and President Chinchilla will continue on Tuesday. Facebook Comments
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A new trailer is offering fans a glimpse of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”The film features a young Han Solo, played by Aiden Ehrenreich, and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca, who is 190 years old. Woody Harrelson is a criminal who mentors Solo. Donald Glover plays a young Lando Calrissian.Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) asks Solo if he’s after revenge, money or something else as he embarks on a mission involving a gangster.Solo says he’s a driver and a flyer.The movie arrives in theatres on May 25. New trailer offers glimpse at ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ by The Associated Press Posted Apr 9, 2018 10:15 am PDT Last Updated Apr 10, 2018 at 5:42 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Apr 2, 2019 8:39 am PDT FILE – This March 3, 2018 file photo shows Travis Scott performing at the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Okeechobee, Fla. Scott and Cardi B are heading to the City of Brotherly Love to headline Jay-Z’s annual Made in America festival in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP) Cardi B, Travis Scott to headline Jay-Z’s Made in America NEW YORK — Cardi B and Travis Scott are heading to the City of Brotherly Love to headline Jay-Z’s annual Made in America festival.Live Nation and Roc Nation announced Tuesday that the festival will return to Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Aug. 31-Sept. 1 for Labor Day weekend.Other performers include Juice WRLD, James Blake, Kodak Black, Kaskade, Tierra Whack, Blueface, Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, Jorja Smith, Jacob Banks, KAYTRANADA, Grace Carter and Pink Sweat$.Tickets for general public go on sale Friday. Subscribers of Jay-Z’s streaming service, Tidal, will have access to purchase tickets through a presale on Tuesday.Earnings from the festival will benefit the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, and a portion of proceeds will support The REFORM Alliance.The Associated Press
THE government expects to have the bids for the third oil and gas offshore exploration round by July 22, DIKO MP Angelos Votsis said on Tuesday.Votsis, who chairs the House commerce committee, was speaking shortly after a meeting of MPs with Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis.The acreage opened up for bidding in the third licensing round are Blocks 6, 8 and 10. July 22 is the closing date for the bids.According to Votsis, the whole procedure is on track.“We hope – and the ministry as well is cautiously optimistic – that we shall have a number of interesting proposals for the blocks in question.”The MP was asked about reports that an Israeli-controlled company might scupper the third licensing round, and in particular the bidding process for Block 8.“The position of our government is that we are proceeding normally, with Blocks 6 and 8 – the contentious Block – and Block 10,” he said, evidently having been briefed by the energy minister, who did not comment on the matter.Votsis was referring to CO Cyprus Opportunity Energy Plc Co Ltd, which has mounted a legal challenge to the Republic of Cyprus’ decision not to grant it exploration rights in Block 8 during the second licensing round.On May 11, 2012, a consortium comprising Cyprus Opportunity and AGR Energy AS submitted applications for the second licensing round for Block 8.The company’s website states: “On May 26 2013, the second licensing round ended and Block 8 was not granted. According to The Company, the second licensing round has not been completed with respect to Block 8. On July 17 2013, the Consortium submitted a recourse to the Cypriot Supreme Court.”Cyprus Opportunity is listed on the Cyprus stock exchange and has a market capitalisation of €8.514 million.On its website, it cites Block 8 as a company ‘asset’.According to daily Politis, the company claims that because its elimination from the second licensing round for Block 8 is disputed, the same block cannot be put up for auction in the current third round until the matter is resolved legally.While its Supreme Court appeal is pending, Cyprus Opportunity reportedly has taken, or plans to take, recourse to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).There, it will be arguing among others that the Republic of Cyprus is in contravention of EURegulation (EC) 100/2013 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency.Politis also reports that Cyprus Opportunity has written to companies now expressing an interest in the third licensing round, advising them that it is claiming an interest on Block 8 with regard to the previous round.To date, the company has not secured an injunction affecting the third licensing round.The daily further writes that, based on an advisory opinion from the Attorney-general’s office, the government is at the moment not concerned about Cyprus’ Opportunity’s legal challenge. In addition, the government has relayed assurances to the companies interested in the current licensing round.Meantime there has been no word from the government concerning the fate of Block 12, in which lies the only confirmed gas find in Cypriot waters – the Aphrodite prospect, holding an estimated 4.5 trillion cubic feet.The production-sharing agreement (PSA) between the government and the Block 12 partners – Noble Energy, Delek, Avner and Shell (British Gas) – expired on May 23.Unless a development plan for Aphrodite were sanctioned by that date, the PSA would lapse, although the government had the option of extending the agreement for a few months.On this point, DIKO’s Votsis said on Tuesday that the energy minister would be briefing MPs during a closed session of the House commerce committee.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 AboutLivestlyUndoModernizeIf Your Home Has Old Roofing, Read ThisModernizeUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
State Rep. Earl Poleski will host coffee hours in the 64th House District during the month of December.Rep. Poleski encourages residents to join him for an informal conversation regarding state government at the following times and locations:Monday, Dec. 7 from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Spring Arbor cafe, 7295 Spring Arbor Rd. in Spring ArborMonday, Dec. 14 from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Parma Cafe, 110 West Main St. in ParmaNo appointments are necessary to attend coffee hours. Those who are unable to attend may contact Rep. Poleski’s office with ideas, comments or questions by calling (517) 373-1759 or by emailing EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov.### 30Nov Rep. Poleski invites residents to join in December coffee hours Categories: News
Categories: Lucido News,News State Rep. Peter Lucido today announced he has been named to four House of Representatives committees, including serving as vice chair of Law and Justice.Lucido, of Shelby Township, was on the committee during the 20115-16 session when it was called the House Criminal Justice Committee.“Law and Justice – everybody knows that’s what I’m all about,” Lucido said. “I’m pleased to return to that committee, continuing to work on the incredible responsibility to improve the safety for all of Michigan’s residents.”He also highlighted his experience and Macomb County insight in working as a member of the Tax Policy, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Financial Liability Reform committees.“Each of these assignments is crucial to helping move Michigan forward,” Lucido said. “Our tax policy and financial liability policy needs to be updated with hard-working families in mind. The infrastructure above and below ground clearly needs to be addressed. We’ve got a lot of work to do over the next two years and I’m beyond ready to get right to it.”### 26Jan Rep. Lucido pleased to be vice chair of Law and Justice
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesMarch 10, 2014; Christian Science MonitorThis case may be as much about changing language patterns as anything else, but it is informative in terms of campaigns that use provocative or risky strategies, particularly with younger people.When Keep-A-Breast Foundation began to sell bracelets emblazoned with the slogan “I (heart) boobies” to support breast cancer awareness, administrators in the Easton Area School District in Pennsylvania, where they had become a fad, tried to ban them, saying that the slogan was inappropriate in a school setting and that it could promote a sexually hostile environment.But in November 2010, two girls aged 12 and 13 refused to accept the ban and sued the school district. They eventually were awarded an injunction disallowing the school from disciplining students for wearing the bracelets. The decision was made on the basis that the term “boobies” is not overtly lewd in and of itself.When the school district appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the court found that the bracelet was protected as free speech, so the school district appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has now refused to hear the case, thus permitting the decision to allow the bracelets to stand.The National School Boards Association, which filed an Amicus brief, asserts that this “new standard for analyzing regulation of student speech will leave school officials powerless when students push the envelope by including a sliver of political speech in an otherwise inappropriate image or phrase that school officials have determined has no place in that learning environment.”“School officials in the Third Circuit must now attempt to apply a new complex test to lewd student expression on endless ‘plausible’ political and social issues—testicular cancer, colorectal cancer, immigration, education, politics, the U.S. military and its role in foreign affairs—none of which will be subject to regulation unless they meet some legally defined notion of ‘plainly lewd.’”Mary Roper of the American Civil Liberties Union disagreed, writing in her brief that the language is familiar and nonthreatening to young girls who do not consider the term “boobies” to be vulgar.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJune 16, 2014; Scientific American and Dallas Morning NewsStaff science writer for the Dallas Morning News Anna Kuchment noticed something off about an exhibit at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science concerning global warming and climate change. Upon investigation, it turns out that one of the panels, which discussed the causes of climate change, including manmade influences like carbon emissions, had been omitted—lost in the shuffle—since the exhibit’s installation in December of 2012.This caused Kuchment to become suspicious, given some deep connections between the museum and the Texas oil industry, which has some investment in downplaying the connection between the use of fossil fuels and the rise in global temperatures. ExxonMobil has given more than a million dollars, and the earth sciences hall where the panel was slated to hang was named for the Rees-Jones Foundation, started by Chief Oil & Gas founder, president, and CEO Trevor Rees-Jones and his wife, Jan, which has donated more than $25 million.Steve Hinkley, vice president of programs at the Perot Museum, says he did not learn of the panel’s omission until a reporter began inquiring about it earlier this month, and has had a temporary panel installed. (The temporary panel is apparently also problematic; some scientists who’ve seen it say that it equates the influence of human activity on climate change with that of volcanic emissions, when the latest studies show that our carbon dioxide emissions are close to a hundred times greater.)According to Hinkley, “neither the museum’s donors nor its board of directors has any say in museum content. He added that none has ever expressed opposition to the display of information about climate change.” But just because donors and the board don’t act directly doesn’t mean that the desire not to court controversy hasn’t had an effect on what exhibits say and don’t. The News Chronicle article goes on to quote several different museum workers and representatives about their experiences handling what some outside the scientific community consider sensitive topics.“We try to avoid saying things that are not necessary to be said,” said Carolyn Sumners, vice president for astronomy and the physical sciences at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The museum doesn’t use the term “global warming” except in a historical context, such as the natural warming that took place during the time of the dinosaurs. Visitors are just as unlikely to find overt references to evolution. “We don’t need people to come in here and reject us,” Sumners said. The museum does have an extensive display about human origins and human ancestors — a subtle approach that one might call “just the artifacts.”Louise Bradshaw, director of education at the St. Louis Zoo, who has given talks about navigating politically controversial subjects, said, “Sometimes when you put the two words [global warming] together, it creates a flashpoint that gets distracting,” she said. “There are other ways to get there without picking a fight.”Several museums have found it helpful to post statements about climate change on their websites. The Science Museum of Minnesota’s site explains that climate change is “a fundamental element of scientific literacy and critical thinking.” The statement continues: “While the understanding of the drivers and consequences of climate change will continue to advance with additional research, the fundamental premise remains sound that human life has altered the atmosphere and is one of the causes of climate change.” The St. Louis Zoo and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums have posted similar position statements. In the end, part of the decision to avoid these and other sensitive topics lies with trying to court a broader audience that’s more interested in flashier topics like dinosaurs and comets than in “bummer topics” like global warming. However, if the goal of science museums is to leave their attendees informed as well as entertained, then they should not shy away from giving the latest and whole truth concerning what Paul Martin, senior vice president for science learning at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, called “about the most politically controversial topic that we can take on right now.”—Jason SchneidermanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share45TweetShare3Email48 SharesAugust 3, 2016; GlamourIn a personal essay for Glamour that quickly earned viral status last week, President Barack Obama penned his thoughts on the progress of women and his own progress as a feminist, particularly over the course of his presidential term. In his own words, President Obama reflects on his time in office, watching daughters Sasha and Malia grow up into “smart, funny, kind, wonderful young women” and admiring the First Lady’s balance of working woman and mother. The President writes further that he admittedly took for granted the conveniences he experienced while juggling his roles serving as a state legislator, law professor, husband and father. And refreshingly, for the second time this summer, the president declared, “This is what a feminist looks like”—a popular proclamation in the women’s rights movement.Despite the advances of women’s rights during the president’s two terms in office, he admits there is still much work left to do.We shouldn’t downplay how far we’ve come. That would be a disservice to all those who spent their lives fighting for justice. At the same time, there’s still a lot of work we need to do to improve the prospects of women and girls here and around the world.Specifically referring to the gains women have made in the workforce, President Obama points out that women “not only make up roughly half the workforce, but are leading in every sector, from sports to space, from Hollywood to the Supreme Court.” And while, yes, women represent 57 percent of the workforce, perhaps what the president means when he acknowledges some of the “work we need to do” is narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions in various career settings. To further illustrate the point, in 2016, Catalyst shared figures illustrating the number of women who hold leadership positions in S&P 500 companies. The findings were for the most part underwhelming: 4.4 percent of CEOs are women9.5 percent of top earners are women19.9 percent of board seats are held by women25.1 percent of executive/senior level officials and managers are women36.4 percent of first/mid-level officials and managers are women 44.3 percent of all S&P 500 employees are womenPresident Obama also admits more change is needed in how we as a country portray gender roles, calling for an eradication of stereotypes.The good news is that everywhere I go across the country, and around the world, I see people pushing back against dated assumptions about gender roles.Maybe the country could start by giving attention to the stereotype associated with the word “feminist.” While 60 percent of women and 33 percent of men consider themselves a feminist, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 43 percent still consider it as an angry description. Despite the examples of shattering stereotypes and changing gender roles that President Obama mentions in his essay, including the nation’s first female Army Rangers and the number of men participating in the “It’s On Us” campaign—the president’s initiative to combat sexual violence on college campuses—a 2016 study published by Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ) suggests that gender stereotypes are just as strong today as they were in the 1980s. Surveys of adults in 1983 and 2014 revealed that gender stereotypes remained stable and female gender roles gained a significant increase in stereotyping. From family leave policies to increased access to STEM education to fair pay acts, Barack Obama has made empowering women and girls a core tenet of his presidency. Under his leadership, women and minorities for the first time in history represent a majority of top policy appointments. While Obama has been criticized for not raising his voice loud enough for abortion rights, he states in the Glamour piece that he will keep working on good policies, including protecting all reproductive rights. When it comes to advancing the rights and opportunities for women and girls, President Obama still might have some work to do, but he’s been a breath of fresh air from a feminist perspective. And as the president says, “The most important change may be the toughest of all—and that’s changing ourselves.”—Lindsay WalkerShare45TweetShare3Email48 Shares
Share2KTweet224Share17Email3K Shares“Incarceration rates worldwide” by November Coalition. [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsFebruary 24, 2017; The NationFor activists working on reducing mass incarceration as a cornerstone of criminal justice reform, the future looks more than a little daunting.On Friday, NPQ wrote about the new memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that brought private prisons back into play on the federal level. We pointed out that stocks for private prisons plummeted when then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates ordered they be phased out last year. We reminded you that the day after Trump’s election, those stocks soared. Now, we read in The Nation that in October, just before the election, two of Sessions’ former Senate aides, David Stewart and Ryan Robichaux, became lobbyists for GEO Group, one of the two largest private prison companies, and that the two were specifically engaged to lobby on government contracting.The private prison industry has a big investment in the future of mass incarceration. Even more infuriating, much of that in the short term may be tied to immigration enforcement policies. “With respect to detention services,” said GEO Group CEO George Zoley on a recent call with investors, “we would continue to be the largest provider of detention services to the three largest government agencies—that is, ICE, the Bureau of Prisons, and the U.S. Marshals Service.”David Dayen, writing for The Nation, said:It’s not just that the Sessions memo is good news for the private-prison industry in general. It’s good for GEO Group in particular. That’s precisely the type of crony capitalism and picking of winners and losers that conservatives have paid lip service to wanting to prevent for years. In Trump’s America, success is just one well-chosen lobbyist away.—Ruth McCambridgeShare2KTweet224Share17Email3K Shares
Share11TweetShare17Email28 Shares“Syrian primary school children attending catch-up learning classes in Lebanon” by UK DFID.April 18, 2017; National Public Radio, “nprED”Only half of refugee children have access to primary education, as compared with 91 percent of children worldwide. Nonprofits and corporations alike are exploring using technology to create school based-learning opportunities; the results have been mixed.The unrelenting conflict in Syria has spiraled into its seventh year. The war has taken the lives of close to half a million people. Over twelve million, or half of the country’s prewar population, have fled many to neighboring countries. Before the war, 94 percent of Syrian children were attending primary or secondary school. Now, the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates 900,000 are not enrolled, including over half a million living in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon—a decrease from 715,000 in these countries in February 2016.Concern over this staggering lack of access to education follows a conference in London in February 2016 and a second in Brussels on April 5, 2017. During the London conference, attendees, including donors and host countries, pledged to have all Syrian refugee children in school by the end of the 2016-7 school year. The U.S. pledged $933 million in aid, including $350 million directed to refugees in Lebanon and $250 million to Jordan. The pledge was remarkable given its size and the acute funding decline in previous years, particularly in areas of fighting across the world according to UNESCO.The critical funds and subsequent massive interest brought attention to the needs of Syrian children. Overall, 144 non-state organizations were involved, according to a recent study authored by Zeena Zakharia and Francine Menashy of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and released by Education International, a global federation of teachers’ unions. During the nine-month research period (May 2016 through February 2017), they identified 46 corporations, including Goldman Sachs, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Microsoft, and fifteen private foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the IKEA Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation. Forty-two percent of the participating organizations were businesses and private foundations, over three-quarters were from the Global North, and over 60 percent did not primarily focus on education.Unfortunately, the study also found that the funds were not used very effectively, mostly due to a lack of on-the-ground coordination, an excessive dependence on technology, and friction between nonprofit and corporate objectives. For example, the authors found only one percent of funds directed toward children’s social and emotional skills and five percent on extracurricular activities, while half underwrote educational technology. This was in areas where children had one hour of electricity a day at best.The study is an example of funders’ desire to distribute aid quickly to build their brands rather than long-term connections or an understanding of the environment. Identifying local partners and building relationships take time but yield more valuable results.—Gayle NelsonCorrection: This article has been altered from its original form to correct an error. As per the UNHCR report, 49 percent of refugee children globally lack access to primary education, as opposed to only those refugee children in the U.S. NPQ regrets the mistake. Share11TweetShare17Email28 Shares
Share23TweetShare1Email24 Shares“The Great Journey of Leonard the Leaf” by Nicholas CardotMay 17, 2017; Boston GlobeIt is no secret that the U.S. has a large prison population. The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ latest data indicates that there were 1.53 million prisoners across the country during the year 2015, which sadly represents the smallest prison population since 2005. Additionally, there were an estimated 4.75 million adults under supervision such as parole. This incredibly high prison population is a huge burden on society, leading to broken families and taxpayer frustration.Although advocates have long been fighting for a solution (see NPQ coverage here, here, and here), there is no easy fix. Progress may be within reach, however. A new ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court may have a positive impact on decreasing recidivism rates among persons with disabilities in the state’s prison system. Earlier this week, the state’s high court ruled that, as an extension of the Americans with Disabilities Act, prisoners with disabilities who are seeking parole need to be connected with community resources to help them once they reenter the community. The court went on to say that, if needed, experts should be hired to ensure prisoners have a plan for addressing their disability once they are out in the community.While it may seem to be a small consolation, if implemented correctly, this ruling could have huge implications for Massachusetts’s prisoners with disabilities. Some disabilities, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), can hinder proper decision-making. For instance, damage to the frontal lobe, where people weigh the consequences of their actions, can lead to impulsivity and recklessness. Other disabilities, such as autism, can have triggers that when ignited cause people to become violent. In either case, prison is not a solution; in fact, it may exacerbate the issue, as individuals with disabilities may not be able to understand orders and end up relegated to solitary confinement.Current statistics indicate that 20 percent of prisoners and 30 percent of jail inmates have a cognitive disability, and both prisoners and jail inmates were more likely to have a disability than the general population. Clearly, there is a disconnect between the legal system and services for persons with disabilities. At the very least, there is a systemic misunderstanding about the role disabilities can play in criminal or violent behavior.The ruling in Massachusetts appears to be a step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done to prevent persons with disabilities from ending up in the prison system to begin with if they do not truly belong there. As James R. Pingeon, a Massachusetts attorney involved with the SJC ruling, aptly said, “Prison beds should be reserved for people who are truly dangerous and not wasted on prisoners with disabilities who could live safely in the community if the parole board would help them find appropriate housing and services.”— Sheela NimishakaviShare23TweetShare1Email24 Shares
SES has increased the reach of its Astra Satellite System in the Benelux markets at 23.5° East by more than 140,000 households to 870,000, an annual growth of 20%, the satellite operator has announced.In total, 1.1 million homes in the Benelux are today receiving their programmes from Astra. Of those, 80% are receiving programmes from the 23.5° and 19.2° degrees East orbital positions while the other 20% are served from 19.2° East only. SES said the growth of the 23.5° East location in the Netherlands and Belgium had been fuelled by the launch of Dutch regional channels and various HD channels operated by M7 Group-owned providers CanalDigitaal and TV Vlaanderen. The orbital position is also used for the transmission of the Luxembourg TV channels.Norbert Hölzle, senior vice-president commercial Europe, said: “We are very happy with the outcome of the SES Satellite Monitor. It confirms that, in only five years time, Astra 23.5° East has firmly established itself as the leading and fastest growing satellite position for the Benelux region, in conjunction with the Astra 19.2° East position. This great success in a region formerly dominated by terrestrial infrastructures is the result of a very close and solid cooperation between all market partners involved: M7 Group, free-TV broadcasters, the satellite equipment resellers, installers and SES.”Separately, pan-European broadcast group RTL has inked a deal with SES for extra capacity. It will use the capacity at the 19.2° East orbital position for a widened high-definition channel offer and to transmit the Austrian versions of its current HD channel line-up on the AustriaSat platform.
German cable operator Kabel Deutschland (KDG) has added Turner Broadcast’s female-oriented channel Glitz to its programming line-up.Glitz, which focuses on fashion, lifestyle and celebrity, and is available in standard and high-definition, launched yesterday. The channel is available as part of KDG’s digital package.
Russian pay TV operator Tricolor TV believes it can reach 17 million subscribers by 2014, including seven million HD customers.CEO Alexander Makarov told local journalists that Tricolor would hit 14.5 million customers by the end of next year, overtaking the US’s Dish Network to become the global number two pay TV service by subscribers.
Chase CareySky Italia recorded a US$25 million (€18.4 million) uptick in EBITDA profit in the quarter ending December 31, thanks to lower marketing and operating costs.21st Century Fox revealed the figures in its fiscal third quarter earnings, claiming that Sky Italia had a subscriber base of 4.8 million for the three and six months ended December 31, 2013, consistent with the corresponding periods of fiscal 2013, while customer churn was down.Sky Italia’s average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) remained consistent at roughly €42. However, overall EBITDA for Fox’s ‘DBS segment’, which includes Sky Italia’s profit alongside that of Sky Deutschland was US$30 million – down compared with US$55 million in the corresponding period a year earlier.The company said the decrease was caused by incorporating Sky Deutschland’s results, including of the cost of Budesliga football rights, into the division.Elsewhere, poor X Factor ratings, extra programming costs and currency issues in several international markets weighed on 21st Century Fox’s latest results.Internationally, Fox said that weak currencies in some its emerging markets will impact the results at its channels unit and the company said it now anticipates an adverse impact of US$50-US$75 million more than previously forecast.Longer term, the company said its new six-strong bouquet of Star Sports channels in India will be one its largest growth drivers over the next five-to-ten years.Currency issues and the cost of launching new channels including FXX and Fox Sports 1 meant a modest 2% increase in revenues of US$1 billion at the cable networks division. The company noted international affiliate fees increased 22%.At the Fox US broadcast network the company said it was continuing to grow retransmission revenues and enjoyed the success that came with broadcasting the most-watched Super Bowl ever and the success of some of its new scripted series.However, company president Chase Carey told analysts that broadcast had underperformed. “While we had success with new series, Sleepy Hollow and Golden Globe winner, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the combination of disappointing ratings from X Factor, larger programming write-ups than planned and a bit of extra programming and marketing costs leave us well behind our goal.”Fox also said American Idol “will deliver results below our targets”.Carey noted a new strategy for the network is starting to evolve and cited new shows, including 24, Cosmos and Heiroglyph and said that Fox is experimenting with new formats and production models – namely largely cutting back on expensive drama pilots in favour of straight-to-series orders.He added that digital and SVOD is a key growth area, noting a new exclusive deal with Amazon for FX series The Americans and other library fare.Overall company revenue was US$8.2 billion compared with US$7.1 billion a year earlier. Overall guidance was revised downward.Carey said: “I’d like to be clear that I’m not minimising our disappointment in the adjusted guidance. However, that disappointment does not distract from the momentum that exists across our company and the confidence in our ability to achieve the overall three-year goals we outlined last August.”
MTS has confirmed that it has contracted Ericsson to supply its hybrid TV platform combining cable TV access with internet-based services.The Ericsson platform will be deployed by local system integrator Nvision, beginning with MGTS’s network in Moscow.The platform will support all MTS’s existing TV services, including cable, IPTV, OTT, MTS mobile TV and interactive services. Applications supported will include time-shifted viewing, video-on-demand and catch-up TV.The platform will enable MTS to deliver a single TV experience across different devices, the company said.Users will be able to synchronise their viewing on multiple devices.MTS procurement director Valery Shorzhin said that in the future MTS could offer all its TV services via a single tariff plan, bundled with broadband, mobile and fixed phone products.Shorzhin said the technology platform would enable MTS to cut about 30% from its content procurement cost through being able to buy content rights across multiple distribution channels.
Some 15 pay TV operators have lined up to use the RDK cable set-top framework, according to Mark Hess, SVP business and industry affairs, Comcast. Speaking at a lunch event organised by technology supplier Cisco at IBC yesterday, Hess said that RDK overall is “good” for the set-top industry.Hess said that the RDK, the open source initiative to set a framework for next-generation set-top boxes, is currently supported by 180 partners with 15 different pay TV operators supporting it. He said the platform is on the way to delivering scale and enabling operators to innovate much faster and escape the need for costly and time-consuming firmware updates and proprietary implementations.Hess also said that RDK would boost the set-top box industry. “RDK does good things overall for the set-top industry,” he said, even if as it reduces costs for the operators. He said it allowed manufacturers to put more intelligence into gateway devices that could serve content to multiple low-cost boxes in the home.“We will still need set-tops in a lot of places and use them to add value,w hicih is all about the user experience,” he said. “Those boxes might be smaller, but they will also still need a gateway to talk to.”Hess said he saw RDK as part of wider trend towards open source solutions in areas where operators do not compete, creating a level playing field for them to innovate and differentiate their offerings through the user experience while enabling them to innovate at a speed that matches that of OTT players. He highlighted the role of OpenStack, the initiative designed to give operators a single way to manage applications across different data centres, as an example of this.
French video sharing site Dailymotion today has launched a new live-streaming platform dedicated to gaming. The website, Dailymotion Games (games.dailymotion.com), based on Dailymotion’s video and live-streaming technology, offers an environment for viewing, sharing, uploading and streaming personal gaming and gaming competitions, according to Dailymotion.Dailymotion said that gaming content on its site currently generates more than 180 million video views per month and, according to comScore, attracts more than 11 million unique visitors per month globally.The site allows live streamers to create live streams, monitor them through a dedicated control panel and make revenue from their content via user-controlled video advertisements.General users can discover and find content by using the site’s recommendation engines, search bar, and filtering tools. Dailymotion has also provided a chat system to accompany all live streams to allow for real-time conversations between live streamers and viewers.Dailymotion Games apps are also available for download on smartphones, iOS and Android tablets and PS4 consoles.Key partners for the gaming venture include Eclypsia, Millennium, joinDOTA, OnGameNet, IGN, JeuxVideo.com, Gamespot and Gamekult.“Since 2011, with the first Dailymotion Cup on Starcraft, Dailymotion has accompanied eSport growth on the Internet.” said Martin Rogard, Dailymotion’s chief operating officer.“Dailymotion Games is entirely dedicated to eSports fans and streamers who come together every evening to form an amazingly talented and gregarious community. Over the coming months, we will significantly increase our investment in the eSport domain to ensure worldwide recognition of all our talented content producers.”
UK broadcaster ITV’s acquisition of Northern Irish commercial broadcaster UTV is expected to complete at the end of this month following Irish government approval of the deal.ITV struck an agreement to acquire UTV Television from UTV Media Group. For £98 million last year. The latest regulatory approval for the deal, from Ireland’s ministry of communication, energy and natural resources, enables completion to happen ahead of the originally envisaged date at the end of March, and follows approval by the Broadcasting Authority of Northern Ireland and the Irish competition watchdog.In addition to its Northern Irish operation, UTV operates the loss-making UTV Ireland, a recently launched channel aimed at audiences in the Republic of Ireland.The acquisition will give ITV control of 13 of 15 UK regional licences for the Channel 3 network.UTV Media Group will retain its Irish radio assets post-completion of the sale of the TV assets.