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Former NFL player and NFL Networks Kurt Warner is

first_imgFormer NFL player and NFL Network’s Kurt Warner is interviewed during a media availability on set at the NFL Network studios, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in Culver City, Calif. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo It’s nice when you have a few connections and a bit of clout.Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner will be a Hall of Famer in just a few days, but he needed to get a little assistance on Thursday when his kids found themselves stuck at O’Hare International Airport. Delays had them late to arrive in Canton to celebrate Warner’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Warner used his Hall-of-Fame name, reluctantly, to see if United Airlines could get his kids out of Chicago in time for a pre-induction party. Hey, Kurt. Let’s see what we can do. Is it a group reservation? Do you have the confirmation number? DM us and let’s talk. ^TY— United (@united) August 3, 2017United responded to Warner, but it was a little too late.Cardinals president Michael Bidwill had already sent a private plane to pick up 13 members of Warner’s celebration party.Warner thanked the airline, and then noted that this wasn’t the first time the Cardinals had helped him out.center_img Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Thanks @united for helping, but #MichaelBidwill @AZCardinals stepped up to help the Warner fam AGAIN… #grateful2times— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) August 4, 2017That, we imagine, is a reference to the Cardinals bringing the quarterback to Arizona when his stint in New York made it appear his NFL career was reaching its conclusion.last_img read more

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USRussia probe sparked by encounter between two players with Cyprus connection

first_imgThe ongoing FBI Russia probe in the US that has dogged the Trump presidency was kicked off by two personalities with Cyprus connections, it emerged on Sunday.It was already known that George Papadopoulos who had been an adviser to Donald Trump on foreign policy had visited Cyprus three times as a guest of the public information office (PIO).Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty of lying as part of a federal probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, had lobbied for energy cooperation between Israel, Greece, and Cyprus, after significant natural gas resources were discovered in Israel.According to the New York Times on Sunday, Papadopoulos had told Australian former foreign minister and diplomat Alexander Downer in May 2016 that Russia had political dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Downer was the UN Secretary-General’s special adviser for Cyprus from 2008 to 2014.The conversation between Papadopoulos and Downer, in London was a driving factor behind the FBI’s decision to open a counter-intelligence investigation of Moscow’s contacts with the Trump campaign, the Times reported.Two months after the meeting, Australian officials passed the information that came from Papadopoulos to their American counterparts when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, according to the newspaper, which cited four current and former US and foreign officials.Besides the information from the Australians, the probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation was also propelled by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British and Dutch, the Times said.Papadopoulos, a Chicago-based international energy lawyer, pleaded guilty on October 30 to lying to FBI agents about contacts with people who claimed to have ties to top Russian officials.The White House has played down the former aide’s campaign role, saying it was “extremely limited” and that any actions he took would have been on his own. The New York Times, however, reported that Papadopoulos helped set up a meeting between then-candidate Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and edited the outline of Trump’s first major foreign policy speech in April 2016.Lawyers for Papadopoulos did not immediately respond to requests by Reuters for comment.Trump’s White House attorney, Ty Cobb, declined to comment on the New York Times report. “Out of respect for the special counsel and his process, we are not commenting on matters such as this,” he said in a statement.Russia has denied interfering in the US election and Trump has said there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue Book10 Electric Cars That Last the LongestKelley Blue BookUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Rep Albert seeks input from community members

first_img14Feb Rep. Albert seeks input from community members State Rep. Thomas Albert, of Lowell, today invited residents of Kent and Ionia counties to meet with him during local office hours on Monday, Feb. 27.“I look forward to sitting down with people from our district and hearing about the issues that matter most to them,” Albert said. “Residents can also ask me questions about the work I’m doing at the Capitol, and share any ideas they have about how we can make Michigan an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”Albert will be available at the following times and locations on Feb. 27:1 to 2 p.m. at Ionia’s Biggby Coffee, 2331 S. State Road.3 to 4 p.m. at Caledonia’s Biggby Coffee, 6426 100th St. SE.No appointment is necessary to attend. Anyone unable to meet during the scheduled times may contact his office at (517) 373-0846 or email ThomasAlbert@house.mi.gov.### Categories: Albert Newslast_img read more

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Rep Farrington says school safety plan approved by Michigan House features comprehensive

first_img State Rep. Diana Farrington said a plan approved this week by the Michigan House sets up the framework to help all schools in the state become safer.Farrington, of Utica, voted in favor of the plan establishing a statewide school safety commission to help review and audit security procedures in school buildings across Michigan. Grants to improve security would be distributed with priority going to schools with the greatest need. Schools would have local liaisons to work with the statewide commission.The commission is just one facet of the House plan, which won overwhelming bipartisan support.“There is no one single change that will magically ensure safe schools all by itself. It will take teamwork and a comprehensive approach on several fronts,” said Farrington. “This plan focuses on working together and common-sense steps to make our school buildings more secure.”Other details of the plan include:–Requiring schools to submit incident reports to the statewide school safety commission. The reports would provide the commission with examples of how incidents and threats were handled to develop best practices for other Michigan schools to follow.–Requiring new school construction or major renovation projects to include safety features such as reinforced entryways and remote door locks.–Making the OK2SAY program permanent by eliminating an expiration date currently in state law. The program allows the confidential reporting of tips on potentially harmful or criminal activity directed at students, school employees or school buildings.–Mandating consistent, standardized training related to school violence incidents as part of the requirements to be a licensed law enforcement officer in Michigan.House Bills 5828-30 and 5850-52 advance to the Senate for further consideration. 09May Rep. Farrington says school safety plan approved by Michigan House features ‘comprehensive approach’ Categories: Diana Farrington News,Newslast_img read more

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LaFaves plan to modernize boater safety certification system sails through House

first_img25Sep LaFave’s plan to modernize boater safety certification system sails through House State Rep. Beau LaFave’s plan giving Michigan boaters the option to present electronic proof of their boating safety certifications was unanimously approved today by the Michigan House.“It’s the 21st Century. We can do better than paper certificates that are destroyed the second they get wet,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “It’s time to give Michigan boaters and jet-skiers a modern alternative.”Under the plan laid out in House Bills 5836, 5988 and 5989, boaters would be allowed to present electronic proof of their boater safety certificates when stopped by law enforcement. Officers would be able to temporarily take the boater’s electronic device to their vehicle or request the documentation be forwarded by email or text.LaFave, who introduced the plan alongside two of his colleagues, said search and seizure protections are included to prevent officers from looking through phones if they are handed over for e-proof verification. The procedures are similar to those laid out in laws enacted in 2016 and 2017 allowing drivers to present electronic proofs of their vehicle insurance and registration.Additionally, LaFave’s bill requires a law enforcement agency to waive any fines imposed for failing to provide a boater safety certificate if an individual can show proof of a valid boating safety certificate within 10 days of receiving the citation.The legislation now meanders to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: LaFave News,Newslast_img read more

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State Rep Hank Vaupel Weekly Column Nov 4

first_img I attended the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Adam Griffith and presented a legislative tribute recognizing his achievement.  Adam’s Eagle Scout Project was to lead others in building nine shelves and two benches for the inside of the Highlander Reading Express book bus.  This mobile library was put into service this past June by Howell Public Schools.  The Highlander Reading Express visited areas around the community to promote summer reading.   Congratulations to Adam on becoming an Eagle Scout.***The Connection Youth Services recently held their Home for the Holidays annual benefit program.  Thank you to all the staff who does amazing work in helping youth and their families who turn to the Youth Connection for effective guidance and support. I want to thank everyone who supports the Youth Connection by attending their annual event, and those who volunteer and make contributions to help this successful program continue in our community.***I had the honor of attending the Howell S.C.O.T.S. BOTS FTC competition on Saturday.  I am amazed at the projects these robotics students of all ages are able to build.  Congratulations to all the robotics students who once again showed off their amazing work.***This week, I was invited to talk to Highlander Way Middle School students about our state government.  I always enjoy spending time with students, and was able to spend time answering some of their questions they had prepared ahead of time on state government issues.***The Fowlerville Family Impact Center held its annual fall event this past weekend with music performances by Sanctus Real and Mallary Hope in addition to a live art performance by Jared Emerson.  Thank you to Barb Dine and the other Impact Center volunteers for providing an enjoyable evening for the community.  Thank you to everyone who attended and those who donated raffle and door prize items.***I had the honor of attending the unveiling of the statue for the Zemp Legacy project located at the Howell Carnegie Library.  This statue is to honor the many accomplishments of the late Duane Zemper through his work as a community historian through the many photographs he provided over the years and his military service.### Categories: News,Vaupel News 13Nov State Rep. Hank Vaupel Weekly Column Nov. 4last_img read more

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Nonprofits and Thousands of Volunteers to the Rescue of State Parks

first_imgShare54TweetShare1Email55 Shares“BigRiver” by David Eppstein – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.August 10, 2015; Wall Street JournalThe Wall Street Journal reports on a growing public-private partnership, where private nonprofits have stepped into the void left by shrinking state parks agencies across the U.S.It highlights California’s parks system, which has a $1.2 billion maintenance backlog. Many of its parks are being maintained thanks to the work of conservation groups, which are rebuilding trails, renovating restrooms, and buying more land. The state parks department has outsourced much of its maintenance and repairs to nonprofits.The nonprofit California State Parks Foundation has had over 3,000 volunteers working nearly 24,000 hours to clean up facilities around the state over the past four years. For example, in remote Mendocino County north of San Francisco, two local nonprofits recently paid for half of the $160,000 cost of rebuilding a day-use area at a start park with old-growth redwoods.Similar public-private partnerships have formed in Florida and Pennsylvania. The Journal reports that in Florida, volunteer hours contributed to state parks in 2014 were up by a third over what they were in 2008. Meanwhile, full-time park staffing remained the same, according to the Friends of Florida State Parks. Volunteers in the Pennsylvania’s park system quadrupled in 2014 from six years earlier, according to the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation, after significant cuts by the state parks department in the wake of the Great Recession.Volunteers are also helping out at municipal parks across the U.S. New York’s Central Park Conservancy provides 75 percent of the park’s $65 million annual operating budget. Park officials consider these contributions invaluable; in many cases, these efforts not only preserve and protect open space, but boost local economies by keeping tourist attractions open.Some people say that the growing role of nonprofits in parks is concerning. One group in Washington State tells the Journal that using donations for parkland acquisition “makes no sense when many states can’t maintain current facilities.”Conservationists point out that this all underscores the importance of more reliable park funding—“general-fund monies for state parks has been cut nationally, forcing agencies to reduce costs by limiting hours and, in some cases closing facilities,” says the article, quoting a recent study.The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization, says that nonprofits are only a temporary fix for financing park operations. Between 2008 and 2010, 80 percent of California’s state parks were threatened with closure—that’s what prompting the California State Parks Foundation to create a grant program to help keep them open. And the Save the Redwoods League has accumulated about 1,600 acres of land it plans to turn over to the state, while expanding into park maintenance.—Larry KaplanShare54TweetShare1Email55 Shareslast_img read more

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About Anne Frank The Historical Parallels Between the Syrian Crisis and the

first_imgShare108TweetShare2Email110 Shares“Bundesarchiv R 49 Bild-0131, Aussiedlung von Polen im Wartheland” by Bundesarchiv, R 49 Bild-0131 / Wilhelm Holtfreter / CC-BY-SA 3.0. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons.Nov. 24; The Washington PostNPQ’s ongoing series of newswires on the Syrian refugee crisis has shone a light on harsh attitudes towards refugees based on the arguments of security and safety, which amount to pure posturing to keep certain people out of the country.The parallels between European Jews during World War II and Syrians today are striking. At the start of this series in September, Ruth McCambridge made a link between the current refugee crisis and the Jewish plight during the war:It is hard not to see the similarities with the current refugee crisis, where the images of families being drowned in an attempt at freedom, confined in railway cars, and walking down tracks to uncertain futures is contrasted elsewhere with declarations of welcome and sharing of resources—even when it involves personal sacrifice, as in the less than prosperous Greek islands.The Washington Post has recently run a series of articles in a similar vein: First, on what American thought of refugees just before World War II; then, an analysis of the relevance of the connection between Jewish and Syrian refugees; and lately a concrete example of the impact of these attitudes on the life of a well-known persecuted family, namely, that of Anne Frank. This information comes from a 2007 white paper by Richard Breitman, a history professor at the American University, who wrote that “Otto Frank’s efforts to get his family to the United States ran afoul of restrictive American immigration policies designed to protect national security and guard against an influx of foreigners during time of war.”America only backpedaled on its anti-refugee stance and took action to rescue Jews in 1944, once the full horrors committed under the Nazis came to light. Yet, despite the turnaround and the amended 1948 Displaced Persons Act, anti-refugee attitudes still prevail in many sectors of the U.S. body politic, and this despite widespread knowledge of the atrocities in Syria, which have been documented by Amnesty International and the United Nations Human Rights Commission since the start of the 2011 conflict, as though the bombings in Europe somehow cancel them out. In this 2014 statement, Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, said, “I have run out of words to depict the gravity of the crimes committed inside Syria.” In the statement, he describes ISIS-led massacres and executions, a severe clampdown on women’s rights, and the exposure of children to violence, along with the Syrian government’s role as an “agent of death and destruction.”Since Paris, this evidence of horror has not garnered the sympathies of a number of U.S. politicians, such as those in Texas, and these attitudes aren’t limited to state legislatures. If we look at the Republican presidential candidates’ post-Paris stances on Syrian refugees, we can see a sprinkling of “a fear of the bad guys” (Ben Carson) mixed with “if only we could” tough love (Donald Trump) and emboldened with a resolutely Christian-only stance (Jeb Bush).Why the fear of refugees? In the 1930s, the U.S. was afraid of communists and anarchists, which many accused Jews of being. As President Barack Obama recently inveighed, the U.S. right is really fearful of “orphans and widows” and has magnified potential dangers into an “exaggeration of risks.” He also deftly dismissed the Republican criticism of the vetting process, and explained that the extensive 18- to 24-month system is actually so cumbersome it prevents the country from “showing the compassion that we need to.”All this time after World War II, these ideas seem too backward and rife with false severity to be even dignified with analysis. While fear from a public with limited information may be understandable, political candidates should know better. Instead of taking the time to understand and explain, they capitalize on knee-jerk, not-in-my-backyard reactions, as though the Syrian conflict and its international dimension erupted out of the blue in Paris.—Amy ButcherShare108TweetShare2Email110 Shareslast_img read more

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Heartbeat Abortion Bill in Ohio Headed to Governors Office

first_imgShare8TweetShareEmail8 SharesDecember 7, 2016; ReutersLegislators in Ohio have passed a bill banning abortion at the first sign of a fetal heartbeat, making abortion illegal as early as six weeks after conception, when many women are still unaware they are pregnant. If anti-abortion Republican Governor John Kasich signs the bill, it will become one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws.Previously, Kasich has questioned whether the “heartbeat” law would even be constitutional. Courts in other states have struck down similar laws, with the Supreme Court refusing to hear appeals. But with a vacant SCOTUS seat waiting to be filled by the incoming Republican president, anti-abortion advocates and the GOP hope such legislation will be less vulnerable to challenges.“A new president, new Supreme Court appointees change the dynamic, and there was consensus in our caucus to move forward,” said Ohio Senate President Keith Faber.The Ohio legislation, part of a wider child abuse bill, allows for abortions in cases where the mother’s life is at risk but not in cases of rape, incest, fetal anomalies or maternal mental health issues.Abortion has been legal since 1973, when the Supreme Court ruled that women had a constitutional right to control their own reproductive health. But the issue has become one of the most divisive in American politics, with the Republican Party making it their mission to undermine Roe v. Wade with increasingly restrictive state-level abortion laws.At the end of the 2016 state legislative session in June, 14 states had passed laws making access to abortion more difficult, the fifth year in a row that saw a large number of anti-abortion restrictions passed in states. Restrictions already on the books include requiring abortions be performed by a licensed physician, prohibiting private insurance plans from providing coverage, allowing hospitals to refuse to perform the procedure, and enforcing mandatory counseling for women seeking an abortion. This often includes telling women that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer, although this has never been proven.Women’s health organizations, not surprisingly, slammed Ohio’s six-week ban legislation. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director, Kellie Copeland, released a statement saying: “Once a woman has made the decision to end a pregnancy, she needs access to safe, legal healthcare in her community. This bill would effectively outlaw abortion and criminalize physicians that provide this care to their patients.”Planned Parenthood Action Fund Executive Vice President, Dawn Laguens added: “After years of passing anti-abortion laws under the guise of protecting women’s health and safety, they lay bare their true motives: to ban abortion in the state of Ohio. Make no mistake –– these bills punish women.”Planned Parenthood also detailed John Kasich’s “record of decimating women’s health care in Ohio,” which includes restrictive measures that have shut down almost half of the state’s abortion providers. Kasich has also signed off on legislation that prohibits counselors from telling rape victims about abortion access, and has defunded wide-ranging Planned Parenthood health care services including cancer screenings, domestic violence prevention, HIV testing and the state’s largest infant mortality prevention program, putting the lives of both women and children at risk.—Melinda CrosbyShare8TweetShareEmail8 Shareslast_img read more

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Medicaid Work Requirements at Play in States

first_imgShare2Tweet18Share3Email23 Shares“‘I don’t care of poor people…’” Photo Credit: emilius da atlantideAugust 8, 2017; Post-GazetteThe relationship between employment and access to health care is a hallmark feature of the United States’ health care system. While this was not the case with Medicaid, the government-sponsored health insurance program for those living in poverty, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced earlier this year that states could apply for Section 1115 demonstration waivers that include a work requirement component.Section 1115 waivers allow states to pilot an expansion of Medicaid services to those who would not otherwise be eligible or provide services that are not otherwise offered by Medicaid. Thus far, a dozen states have applied for Medicaid waivers with varying levels of work requirements. Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is currently considering legislation that would allow the state to seek an 1115 waiver with not only employment and job search requirements, but also restrictions on benefits considered nonessential, such as hearing aids, patient education, and dental care, which can help manage chronic conditions as well as prevent others.Work requirements would apply to Medicaid-eligible individuals who are not pregnant, do not have a disability, and are not elderly. While Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf does not necessarily support the idea of work requirements, the legislation may sneak through as part of a larger budget bill. Further, it is possible that Pennsylvania’s 1115 application will get approved by CMS, as many aspects of former governor Tom Corbett’s 1115 proposal were approved, although plans were scrapped once he lost the election in 2015. Corbett’s proposed application was quite stringent, with 20 hour-a-week work requirements, mandatory completion of 12 job training activities per month, and declining eligibility for noncompliance.The very idea of Medicaid work requirements is wrong for several reasons. To begin with, work requirements are in opposition to the parameters set forth by Medicaid for 1115 waivers, which include criteria to “increase and strengthen overall coverage of low-income individuals” and to “improve health outcomes for Medicaid and other low-income populations.” Increasing eligibility criteria makes it more difficult for low-income individuals to receive coverage. Further, implementing a work requirement changes the goal of Medicaid from health insurance coverage to a welfare program that seeks to get people off government assistance.Thirdly, good health is an unstated requirement for employment. Individuals cannot go to work when they are dealing with chronic health conditions or pain. If they lose their job due to missing too much work, and then eventually lose health coverage because they are not employed, this cycle places individuals who are already vulnerable at an even greater loss with no way out.Lastly, work requirements fail to take into consideration that the majority of Medicaid recipients already work without being required to do so. Those who are not currently employed have a valid reason, such as an illness or disability, caregiving, student status, or a current search for work. Thus, a large financial burden would be undertaken by the states to administer a program with little return.These are just three reasons that work requirements should not be a criteria of Medicaid eligibility, but there are many more. As more states apply for 1115 waivers including work requirements, legislatures and advocates need to consider what purpose Medicaid serves and why a basic right such as healthcare is tied to employment.—Sheela NimishakaviShare2Tweet18Share3Email23 Shareslast_img read more

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Netflix has signed a content deal with BBC Worldwi

first_imgNetflix has signed a content deal with BBC Worldwide that will bring various programming from the public broadcaster to its streaming platform when it launches in the UK and Ireland next year.Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed but Netflix said that BBC shows including Torchwood, Spooks, Little Britain and Fawlty Towers will be available for Netflix members to watch in the UK and Ireland on connected TVs, tablets, game consoles, computers and mobile phones. Netflix announced in October that it would launch its service in the UK and Ireland early in 2012.“BBC shows are a big favourite of our over 20 million streaming members in the US, Canada and Latin America,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer. “Members love watching back-to-back episodes of BBC series where and when they want, at the click of a button. We are incredibly proud to make these high quality programmes available to Netflix members in the UK and Ireland.”last_img read more

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Shares in Russian service provider VimpelCom fell

first_imgShares in Russian service provider VimpelCom fell sharply following a ruling by a Moscow court blocking dividend payments by the operator as a result of a dispute involving the Russian Federal antitrust regulator and VimpelCom shareholder Telenor.The antitrust regulator filed a suit in April to block Telenor’s move to increase its holding in VimpelCom to 36.36% by acquiring shares held by Egyptian entrepreneur Naguib Sawiris. The regulator maintained that this move broke rules on foreign ownership of strategic industries. Telenor has been in a long-running dispute with fellow shareholder Alfa Group over the future direction of VimpelCom.last_img read more

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UK commercial broadcaster Channel 4 has announced

first_imgUK commercial broadcaster Channel 4 has announced a range of digital initiatives for its online platform 4oD.Next year, Channel 4 will become the first commercial broadcaster to launch free ad-supported offline viewing, meaning viewers will be able to download and watch Channel 4 shows to various devices, including smartphones and tablets. Viewers will be able to pause a programme on 4oD on one platform and then resume watching from the same point on another device.In addition, all of Channel 4’s main channels will be available to watch live on iOS and Android devices from early 2013.Channel 4 said that its database of registered viewers will exceed six million this month, with registrations currently increasing at a rate of over 10,000 a day.Channel 4’s commercial and business development director, Sarah Rose said, “We’re very excited to be the first commercial public service broadcaster in the UK to offer mobile offline viewing, enabling our viewers to catch up with Channel 4 wherever they may be. And the introduction of Watch Live on the move and cross platform Pause and Play is great news for our young-skewing audience who are increasingly watching our content on multiple mobile devices. These new product innovations both reward our registered viewers and further strengthen our viewer engagement strategy.”last_img read more

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Deutsche Telekom has given its Croatian subsidiary

first_imgDeutsche Telekom has given its Croatian subsidiary an enhanced role as a technology centre for IPTV and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).T-Hrvatski Telekom’s Zagreb facility will become a centre for the provision of advanced technology for IPTV, and will provide IMS technology and services for Deutsche Telekom’s subsidiaries in Slovakia, Macedonia and Montenegro.The move is part of the One DT Europe programme launched two years ago to create greater technology efficiencies within the group. Under the programme, one member of the Deutsche Telekom group assumes responsibility for group activities in a particular sector – an initiative known as the Shared Service Centre.last_img read more

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Morten Mogensen Modern Times Groups Danish progra

first_imgMorten MogensenModern Times Group’s Danish programme director has been promoted to chief content officer for the broadcaster’s free TV channels across Scandinavia.Morten Mogensen takes on the new post following a six-year stint as programming chief in Denmark.He joined MTG in 2005 as commissioning editor, before becoming head of in-house/own productions two years later and programme director a year after.In his new role, he reports to MTG’s executive VP of Scandinavian free TV and radio operations Anders Jensen.“Morten has done a great job in Denmark and I am confident he will bring great value across our Scandinavian operations,” said Jensen. We operate in very competitive markets where some of the world’s best content is created and produced. The appointment of Morten will guarantee that we are a truly great partner and that we drive and plan our needs for the best content.”last_img read more

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Connected TV use is gaining ground in Spain with

first_imgConnected TV use is gaining ground in Spain, with a quarter of connected TV users saying they are watching less linear TV and over half of users turning to smart TVs to access connected services, according to a new report.According to the second annual survey of connected TV and video online by trade organisation IAB Spain in association with ecommerce specialist VIKO and video ad platform Smartclip, 54% of connected users access services via smart TVs, up 20% on last year, while 24% of users say they now watch less traditional TV.The survey reported a 20% increase in consumption via websites hosting online TV, while access to online video via social media sites fell by 5% between the two surveys. YouTube dominates online video with 76% of users accessing video via the site.Spanish viewers said they would pay an average of €6 a month to access film, TVoD, music and exclusive internet programmes, while 64% also said they would be willing to accept online video advertising if that meant they could get free content.“The adaptation and evolution of connected connectivity is a reality that opens up many options for users and advertisers,” said Antonio Traugott, director general of IAB Spain.
”Smart TV penetration will continue to grow, which will mean increased investment in advertising and communication on connected TVs. Its evolution will accelerate so that eventually investment in digital will surpass conventional television.”last_img read more

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Russian multiplay service provider MTS has report

first_imgRussian multi-play service provider MTS has reported a 3.1% rise in revenue for 2014 to RUB410.8 billion (€165 million), with operating income before depreciation and amortisation rising 0.3% to RUB175.5 billion. Consolidated net income fell by 35.1% to RUB51.8 billion against a background of foreign exchange losses and other factors.The company had 7.062 million fixed-line subscribers at the end of the year, compared with 7.69 million in 2013. However ARPU was up 6.9% year-on-year to RUB343, thanks to success in marketing double and triple-play services and success in migrating TV customers to its digital platform.MTS said that its revenue may grow by about 2% this year, driven by the domestic Russian market, with an OIBDA margin in excess of 40%.last_img read more

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TV software provider Wyplay has tapped VNova to p

first_imgTV software provider Wyplay has tapped V-Nova to provide compression technology for a major European TV operator, understood to be Sky in Italy. Though V-Nova could not reveal the details of the tier-one operator, the partnership comes in the same week that Wyplay announced that its Frog By Wyplay software solution is powering Sky’s new broadband HD TV decoder in Italy, which it is offering in partnership with Telecom Italia.Under the Wyplay-V-Nova agreement, V-Nova’s Perseus video compression technology will be integrated into the set-top box platform, which will also run Frog Client middleware.V-Nova, which has been operating in stealth mode for the last five years, unveiled its Perseus compression technology at a press conference in London earlier this month.V-Nova claims its will revolutionise video distribution by permitting the delivery of UHD quality at current HD bitrates, HD at SD bitrates, and SD video at audio bitrates.The company says its proprietary technology can provide compression or the order of a factor of two or three over existing MPEG technologies, including HEVC, H.264 and – for contribution applications – JPEG2000.Telecom Italia struck a wholesale TV deal with Sky last year and the partnership went live this month.The agreement allows Telecom Italia customers to gain access the full Sky television offer through its high-speed broadband network.Sky are providing the My Sky HD decoders, specially created for internet TV, to power the offering, with the deal allowing it to expand its pay TV sales base and appeal to potential subscribers who cannot install a satellite dish.The Sky-Telecom Italia offer is available at an equivalent price to Sky’s existing satellite service in Italy, and will include the same content.Telecom Italia said last year that the Sky offer will be primarily directed towards customers who have a fibre-optic connection, and will be a driver for the development of ‘ultrabroadband’.last_img read more

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French media powerhouse Vivendi has made three pro

first_imgFrench media powerhouse Vivendi has made three prodco acquisitions in its ongoing content drive, including Can’t Stop Media, the formats creator and distributor run by former Zodiak Media executive Matthieu Porte.Vivendi has also bought French prodco Flab Lab, a talkshow specialist that is well-known in France, if not internationally. The third deal is for prodco La Parisienne d’Images, which makes entertainment and drama programming and has been rebranded Studio+.The deals come as Vivendi pushes aggressively into content, moving for a minority stake in Banijay Zodiak, ramping up TV drama production and distribution via StudioCanal, and launching a new dedicated Vivendi Content division, which is expected to be helmed by Havas boss Dominique Delporte.Can’t Stop was created by Matthieu Porte in 2011  after he left his role as senior VP, entertainment, at Zodiak. It creates formats and shops them internationally and has been working with Vivendi’s Canal+ over the past year, helping its DTT channels source entertainment shows and formats.Porte brought Mum of the Week to D8 and the format has travelled to Poland, Finland and Turkey  among other territories after a ten-episode run on the DTT channel.The other notable Can’t Stop and Canal+ link-up is Back to the Present, the one-off special looking at whether the future imagined in the Back to the Future films has come to pass and reliving classic moments from the 1980s movie. It was ordered by D8 and has sold well internationally, with a US deal thought to be in the offing.Matthieu Porte couldn’t be reached for comment, but it is thought Can’t Stop will continue to create new formats for the Canal+ family of channels and then take these out to the international market. Flab Lab will likely produce some of the Can’t Stop shows locally.Financial details of the trio of acquisitions have not been broken out, but Vivendi is investing heavily in content production, distribution and platforms including paying €217 million (US$241 million) deal for video streaming site Dailymotion.Vivendi confirmed the acquisitions and said they were in line with its investment in content and strategy to make bolt-on acquisitions.The deals come amid restructuring at Canal+ as Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré (pictured, top) attempts to have Vivendi and Canal+ more closely integrated.last_img read more

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The BBC reported 255 million requests for TV progr

first_imgThe BBC reported 255 million requests for TV programmes on the iPlayer in October, up by 15 million compared to the same month a year earlier.In its iPlayer Monthly Performance Pack, the BBC said that “as the nights draw in, TV increases in appeal” with requests for both TV and radio shows coming to a combined 313 million for the quarter.There was an average of 10.1m daily requests for content on BBC iPlayer in October – 8.2 million for TV programmes and 1.9 million for radio. This compares to 7.7 million TV and 2.6 million radio requests in October 2014.The BBC said that for TV programming there is a “seasonal pattern” for iPlayer viewing, with the highest activity in autumn and winter – “however, major events and schedule variations cause significant monthly differences.”The latest iPlayer report said that TV requests were up by 50 million compared to June this year.Across TV and radio, requests from computers, mobiles and tablets all increased this month – up 5%, 9% and 8% respectively.In terms of the most popular TV programming, The Apprentice was the most watched show on the iPlayer in October, followed by Doctor Foster. Episodes of Great British Bake Off also made the top 10.The BBC said that “data issues” prevented it from publishing an iPlayer report in September.last_img read more

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