Finance Minister Harris Georgiades urged parties Friday to back structural reforms and consider them a national goal that will change the country and maintain economic growth.“Advancing reforms and changes in the structures and procedures of the state and the economy must be a national goal,” the minister told parliament during the budget speech.Georgiades outlined a policy framework including 13 actions, among others, denationalisation of state telecoms company Cyta, local authority and civil service reform, the introduction of a national health scheme, tourism reforms, and insurance sector reform.“What I have indicatively cited make up an ambitious but also feasible plan that will change our country if implemented,” the minister said. “This way we will maintain and expand the growth structure.”Georgiades said current public finances allowed the implementation of support measures for vulnerable groups of the population and tax breaks and incentives.He cautioned, however, that available funds were not unlimited.“There are specific limits that we can and must manage in a responsible way. Not everything can be done at once.”He told parties that everyone must pledge to continue consolidation efforts and avoid returning to the bad practices of the past.The 2019 budget provides for a €250m rise in expenditure, to €7.9bn, against €8.55bn in revenues.You May LikeYahoo SearchThe Early Signs Of Type 2 Diabetes. Search Type 2 Diabetes TreatmentsYahoo SearchUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
A man who had been missing since Wednesday in Limassol was found after police issued a missing person bulletin, police announced on Monday.27-year-old Christakis Papanastasiou was last seen at home at 6pm on Wednesday.According to the police announcement he is in good health.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
By Elias HazouTHE state-owned Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA) has started assessing the bids submitted by interested suppliers of natural gas for the use in power generation, it said yesterday.“At this stage, the evaluation concerns the application of a set of pass/fail criteria for proposals received. These criteria cover the bidder’s (i) financial standing, (ii) creditworthiness, (iii) experience and technical capability and (iv) the technical suitability of the bidder’s proposal,” DEFA said in a short statement.The assessment of the bids was expected to take a few weeks, the state gas company added.DEFA has received four proposals to supply natural gas to the island, an interim solution for power generation before its own reserves come on line.DEFA did not release details of the bidders, saying it was bound by confidentiality agreements.Subsequently, the partners developing Israel’s offshore Leviathan field announced on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange they have bid to sell gas to Cyprus via a pipeline. The Leviathan partners are Delek Group, Noble Energy and Ratio Oil Exploration.Israeli financial daily Globes estimated the bid to be worth around $3bn. Globes also reported that other bids have come from Dutch-owned oil trader Vitol, a group led by Azeri state oil company SOCAR, and a Greek consortium.Based on its initial invitation for proposals, issued in January, DEFA is seeking a supply line for up to ten years, commencing in January 2016.DEFA is looking for comprehensive solution involving all commercial and infrastructure requirements including sourcing, transportation and processing.It will sell the gas to the Electricity Authority of Cyprus.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoSenior Living | Search AdsCheap Senior Apartments in Rowland Heights Are Turning HeadsSenior Living | Search AdsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
The need to arrange a meeting between the Cyprus President and his US counterpart Donald Trump was one of the issues discussed in Washington on Tuesday between Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale.Bilateral relations between Cyprus and the US, developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Cyprus problem were among other issues discussed.Christodoulides described as important the role that Cyprus plays in the Eastern Mediterranean and noted that it positively affects its bilateral relations with the US.“We discussed bilateral issues, such as how to avoid double taxation, and the abolition of visas for Cypriots who visit the US. Moreover, we discussed the need to arrange a meeting between the Cyprus President and US President Donald Trump,” he said.Other issues discussed were the lifting of the US arms embargo on Cyprus and the trilateral agreements which Cyprus and Greece have established with countries of the region. In this framework, Christodoulides elaborated on the idea of establishing a regional cooperation and security organisation.Speaking about energy, Christodouldies underlined the importance of constructing the EastMed pipeline, and averting any Turkish actions that can disturb energy plans in the region.With regard to the Cyprus problem, the foreign minister underlined the need for negotiations to resume from the point they were left in Crans-Montana in 2017, as well as the need for the unobstructed renewal of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (Unficyp) mandate.He also spoke about the need to implement what was agreed in the framework of the Statement of Intent which the two countries signed last November in Washington.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 AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
With June just a few days away the Cultural Centre Technopolis 20 in Paphos is getting prepared to welcome the summer with a rich and diverse artistic programme in its beautiful garden.As with previous years, the Summer Music Jazz Series continues with artists coming from the Cypriot jazz scene and also from abroad. The audience will have the opportunity to enjoy traditional jazz sounds, but also contemporary jazz compositions and improvisations. The programme will include popular names with experience and also young talented musicians that will be introduced through the Technopolis 20 stage.June’s agenda begins with the Garden Opening – Jazz edition, with the Ioannis Vafeas Trio featuring Dimitris Papadopoulos, on Sunday June 9. The aspiration of the three important musicians of the Cyprus Jazz Scene, bassist Michael Messios, pianist Christos Yerolatsitis and drummer Vafeas is to add their personality and talent by bringing the sound of the original face of jazz music today.Vafeas and Messios have a long background together characterised by superb musicianship and creativity. Their common understanding and connection – on and off the stage – enables them to easily interact and bring their enthusiasm to their audience. The young and talented jazz pianist Yerolatsitis who has just returned to Cyprus from the Netherlands completes the trio with his talent and energy. This time, the trio will share the stage with Greek trumpet soloist Dimitris Papadopoulos, one of the most active members of the Greek Jazz scene.One of the most original, vintage jazz bands on the island, Mood Indigo promises an atmospheric evening with the title New York Sessions on Wednesday, June 19. The creators of the band, Irene Day (voice) and Greg Makamian (double bass), are back from New York, presenting a new repertoire inspired by the energy and music of New York City. After performing at various clubs in Manhattan with many great musicians, Mood Indigo is excited to share their experiences with the audience in Cyprus, including Paphos. The band is completed with pianist Marios Toumbas and the drummer Ioannis Vafeas.June events end with the Jazz the 3 of Us, which that had their first performance as a trio last summer at Technopolis 20, leaving the best impressions. This summer, they return for one more concert on Friday June 28. The band features the deep friendship between the three musicians, Loukas Louka on the keys, Stefanos Pontos on the bass and guitar, and Philipp Psillides on the drums. Their repertoire includes well-known jazz standards, mainly in swing and bossa nova, but also lesser known tracks in Jazz Rock, Latin and Funk styles. Summer Music Jazz SeriesLive jazz performances from local and international bands. June 9, 19,28. Technopolis 20, Paphos. 8.30pm. Reservations are necessary at 7000-2420 You May LikeSUVs | Search AdsThese SUVs Will Take Your Breath Away. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsSUVs | Search AdsUndoPopularEverythingColorado 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 AboutLivestlyUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
26Jan Canfield selected for key Michigan state budget committee posts State Rep. Edward J. Canfield, D.O., of Sebewaing, today was named to the House Appropriations Committee by House Speaker Tom Leonard.Canfield will chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. The U.S. Navy veteran also will be vice chair of the Military and Veterans Affairs appropriations subcommittee. He also will be a member of appropriations subcommittees dealing with Medicaid, the Department of Transportation, and the state’s budget supporting schools and the Michigan Department of Education.The House Appropriations Committee designates how the state’s budget is allocated among the various state departments and agencies.“I will ensure your voices are heard as we decide how best to invest in the state of Michigan,” Canfield said. “I am privileged to be included on committees dealing with issues so important to Huron and Tuscola counties.”Canfield, in his second House term, also was a member of the House Appropriations Committee during the 2015-16 session.### Categories: Canfield News,News
Categories: Hernandez News Rep. Shane Hernandez has announced his upcoming coffee hours schedule for the next few months. The representative will be available at the following dates, times, and locations:Friday, July 199:30 a.m. at Big George Coney Island, 7870 Lakeshore Road in Fort Gratiot; and12:30 p.m. at Triple J Cafe, 4020 E Chandler St. in Carsonville.Saturday, September 710 a.m. at Chef Shell’s, 324 Superior Mall in Port Huron; and1 p.m. at Eddie G’s, 6484 W. Marlette Road in Marlette.Friday, November 85 p.m. at Horseshoe Grill, 4000 Main St. in Brown City; and6:30 p.m. at Elk Street Brewery, 3 S. Elk St. in Sandusky. 18Jul Rep. Hernandez announces upcoming coffee hours
State Rep. Pauline Wendzel today announced that Lazy Ballerina Winery of St. Joseph has been selected as a recipient of a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development grant. Their project will be awarded funds under the competitive Value Added and Regional Food System Grant Program. Lazy Ballerina was one of the twenty projects that received funding out of a total of ninety-four different proposals.Funding in the amount of $30,000 will be used to expand their winery production to process Michigan grapes and fruits.“I want to personally thank Lazy Ballerina Winery and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for their continued investment in our community,” Wendzel said. “Small businesses employ a majority of our residents and help our communities thrive. I’m incredibly proud of this collaboration that will create even more economic opportunities in Southwest Michigan.” Categories: Wendzel News 30Jul Rep. Wendzel announces MDARD Regional Food System grant
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesMay 18, 2014; BET (Associated Press)The new president of the NAACP, Cornell Brooks, appears to be a credible choice to run the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization. A Yale-educated lawyer who also holds a Master’s in Divinity from Boston University, Brooks was the president and CEO of the nonprofit New Jersey Institute for Social Justice based in Newark, known for research and advocacy on behalf of inner-city residents in the Garden State. Among the issues that the Institute had addressed during Brooks’ time at the helm have been zero-tolerance school discipline policies, juvenile detention alternatives, community benefit agreements with anchor institutions, an environmental job training program for unemployed Newark residents, and expansion of federally qualified health centers, just to name a few.Running the NAACP wasn’t an easy road for Ben Todd Jealous and won’t be any easier for Cornell Brooks. Some of the challenges are on the policy side:Brooks told the Associated Press that he was “a beneficiary, an heir, and a grandson” of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision overturning the “separate but equal” doctrine in public education. That decision, along with the Civil Rights Act of 1965, was a landmark achievement for the NAACP and the civil rights movement. The resegregation of public schools in the U.S., exemplified by the recent study that more than half of Miami-Dade schools are now racially “isolated” (with student populations comprised of one ethnic or racial group), indicates that the problem is real and demonstrable, made more difficult by the nation’s changing racial demographics. Voting rights are under attack in many states due to restrictive and unnecessary voter ID laws. Other benchmark civil rights laws have been weakened in Congress and in the courts. Brooks inherits a leadership organization that has to deal with state and federal efforts that have been chipping away at or sometimes undermining those achievements. Reversing the momentum of public policy that has been steering away from the priorities of the civil rights movement is going to be on the organization’s agenda.In addition to diplomas from Yale and Boston University, Brooks also holds a certificate of having graduated from Head Start, one of the original anti-poverty initiatives emanating from the War on Poverty. Federal support for anti-poverty initiatives has been on the cutting block for some years now. Many outside of the anti-poverty movement view community action as a failure, and many inside suggest that it needs to be reinvigorated and perhaps somewhat reinvented. Young people may not remember, much less feel the importance of the War on Poverty that emanated from the racial and economic inequities that were endemic in American society. Can Brooks reconnect and reinvigorate support for a new War on Poverty, given that in recent years, poverty in the U.S. has actually remained stagnant or even increased?Other challenges relate to the internal dynamics of the NAACP and its more than 2,000 local branches, councils, and chapters:The decision of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP to try to award a second lifetime achievement award to Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has raised scrutiny of how local NAACP chapters have been raising money, causing some collateral damage to the credibility and brand of the organization. Sterling was well known for his repugnant discriminatory attitudes long before being outed by his paramour, V. Stiviano, on tape, but whatever he was giving or promising to give the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP was sufficient in the minds of the chapter’s leadership to overlook his racially charged behavior. With news of more incidents of individuals and corporations charged or convicted of racial bias in housing, employment, and bank lending buying their way out of such problems by giving big sums to the NAACP, critics such as Occidental College’s Peter Dreier have eviscerated the organization, with Dreier noting “The NAACP, with its glittering history of incredible activism, has become an empty shell.” The problem of appearing to have the NAACP’s sympathy if not silence purchased by entities guilty of racial discrimination is not new, and Brooks is going to have to address it to rebuild the organization’s brand.Two weeks before the announcement of Brooks’ appointment, the national NAACP announced the layoff of seven percent of its employees. There hasn’t been much detail from the NAACP about the causes of the layoffs or their impacts on the organization’s programs. Roslyn Brock, the chairwoman of the national board of the NAACP, described the layoffs as elements of “proactive steps to improve our financial stability,” but in an email sent to NAACP, the interim president, Lorraine Miller, cited “severe budget shortfalls” and the “need to align the shortfall with cuts.” Although during his time as president Ben Todd Jealous was credited with putting the NAACP on better financial footing, it appears that Brooks will have to navigate some choppy financial seas of his own.As incidents ranging from Donald Sterling’s taped racial commentary about Stiviano’s companions and his feelings about Magic Johnson to the Wolfeboro, New Hampshire police chief’s use of a racial epithet to describe President Obama—which spurred part-time Wolfeboro resident, Mitt Romney, to call for the police chief’s resignation—Brooks and the NAACP will have plenty of overt racial animus to confront in the months and years ahead. The more difficult challenge will be to address and overcome the policies and practices that, undertaken without obvious or even any racial animus, nonetheless lead to demonstrable, continuing, and deepening racial inequities. All of the talk in academic and philanthropic circles about addressing institutional and “structural racism” is leagues ahead of the design and implementation concrete, effective actions. That also is, by definition, on the NAACP’s agenda.Periodically, due to crisis and change, the NAACP goes through a dynamic of reinvention. With the election of Brooks as president, another one of those moments of reinvention is at hand.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share16TweetShareEmail16 Shares June 15, 2015; Washington PostCorporate giving programs are often inextricable from their marketing, part and parcel of their strategies for profit enhancement. This assumption is generally taken to be true despite the fact that those organized as foundations are not, by law, allowed to use the status in this way. Now, the Washington Post reports that more than a dozen nonprofits from across the nation have filed a complaint with the IRS against the Walmart Foundation.Their claim is that the foundation violated its tax-exempt status by using its “charity” to ease the corporation’s entry into various large urban markets, including Boston, New York, D.C., and Los Angeles. In a 22-page complaint, the group alleges that the foundation is completely controlled by the company and that it “appears to target its donations and influence its grantees primarily to assist Walmart to achieve those expansion goals, ultimately providing Walmart more than an incidental benefit. Walmart Foundation’s activities are impermissible under the Code,” which prohibits it from operating in the sole interest of a private entity.The nonprofits filing the IRS complaint include:The Alliance of Californians for Community EmpowermentAlliance for a Greater New YorkBernal Heights Neighborhood CenterCausa Justa (Just Cause)Chinese Progressive AssociationColeman Advocates for Children & YouthC. Jobs with JusticeGrey PanthersMujeres Unidas y ActivasNew York Communities for ChangeRespect D.C. CoalitionSan Francisco Jobs with JusticeSenior & Disability ActionSouth of Market Community Action NetworkThese groups claim that Walmart not only increases its donations in cities in which it is trying to gain entrance, but that it also targets groups that it believes might otherwise oppose the retailer’s setting up shop in their neighborhoods.The foundation’s funding guidelines say that donations may not be given to any programs that “directly benefit Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in any way (e.g., driving customer traffic to stores, purchasing only Walmart product or gift cards, supplying candidates for Walmart employment, etc.)”The complaint alleges that the company integrated lobbying, advertising and donations in their bids of approval of sites in the cities named.—Ruth McCambridgeShare16TweetShareEmail16 Shares
Share29Tweet1Share14Email44 Shares“Tax.” Credit: TaxRebate.org.ukJune 11, 2017; MiBiz (Michigan Business News)Language has been introduced in tax proposals currently under consideration in the Michigan state legislature that would restore an individual or family credit for donations to charitable organizations. (Notice this makes it available to even non-itemizers.)If passed, a set of bills would restore a previous credit eliminated in 2011 as a piece of balancing the state’s budget. What Michigan officials seem to have learned is that by ending a relatively small credit funded by the state, Michigan lost out in leveraging private dollars that helped fill community gaps in the human safety net, ultimately costing more dollars for the state to provide needed services. Rob Collier, president and CEO of the Council for Michigan Foundations, estimates the return on investment for giving incentives to be about $3 for every state dollar spent.Of perhaps even more importance, community foundations applauded the proposed return of a tool that actually helped shaped human behavior in developing giving patterns, particularly for lower income taxpayers. The tax credits were attributed with rising giving practices of lower amount gifts, and therefore not just a tax benefit for the top 1% of wealthy donors. People who make charitable donations at younger ages, even at lower levels, are thought to become lifelong charitable donors, increasing capacity in their communities for the long term.Individual donors benefitted, as well. Giving a small reward for monetary gifts seems like a worthwhile investment to reap the benefits of the greater good and to promote community responsibility. When the Michigan credit was eliminated, a significant drop in even $200 donations was felt. Individuals like to do good, and recognition of that can go a long way.So, if legislators see the value in it, community foundations encourage it, and individuals change their behavior positively because of it, it’s a no-brainer, right? Well, not so fast. Sadly, state budgets that are determined on an annual or even biennial cycle promote short-term thinking and sometimes even act against long-term gain. To add even more pressure to this dilemma, proposed tax changes at the federal level may even disincentivize charitable giving at all levels, a reminder that all politics is local. Especially now, local problem-solving may be the sector’s best shot at maintaining needed government and nonprofit services that people rely on and want. For that, we applaud Michigan’s reconsideration of this measure and await its eventual outcome.— Jeannie FoxShare29Tweet1Share14Email44 Shares
Share270Tweet26ShareEmail296 SharesRob87438 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia CommonsApril 1, 2019; ACLU BlogThe South Dakota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has announced it is suing the state of South Dakota in federal court over three laws called the “Pipeline Package,” which the ACLU says violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution “by chilling protected speech and failing to adequately describe what speech or conduct could subject protesters and organizations to criminal and civil penalties.” A copy of the complaint filed in federal court is available here.While no one has a good definition of what “riot boosting” is, South Dakota now has a law against it as a part of the Pipeline Package, which gives the state authority to sue individuals and organizations for doing it. Attorneys Andrew Malone and Vera Eidelman of the ACLU point out that the law is written very vaguely and broadly as to what constitutes riot boosting, casting a net wide enough to scoop up or at least threaten all activists exercising their free speech rights in connection with a protest in that state. Malone and Eidelman add that this could be something as simple as a tweet exhorting friends to get to a protest “and give it all you’ve got.”Those found to be in violation of the law could be subject to some combination of up to 25 years of prison time, and fines, and civil penalties of up to $50,000. Malone and Eidelman write:Let’s be very clear: States are within their rights to prohibit incitement of violence—a narrow category of unprotected speech that refers to words intended and likely to cause imminent violence. But these laws go far beyond that by criminalizing impassioned advocacy that lies at the core of our political discourse. They instill a fear among peaceful organizers that their actions or words could be misconstrued by the government as “riot boosting.” As a result, activists are now forced to think twice before even encouraging others to join a protest, let alone train, educate, or advise those who plan to protest. And, because of these laws, they may forgo such speech and association altogether.That is a clear First Amendment violation—and why we are in court to challenge the laws on behalf of the Sierra Club, NDN Collective, Dakota Rural Action, and the Indigenous Environmental Network.The Riot Boosting Act was developed in close conversation with TransCanada, which is set to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline, and “other stakeholders”—a designation that did not include Native American or environmental groups—and it allows that company and other third parties to join the state in suing protestors.Nick Tilsen, an Oglala Lakota Nation citizen and president of NDN Collective, says, “They’re basically criminalizing anybody who is standing up for their rights and putting their voice out there—and those who support us,”Putting a cherry on the top, any monies that results from the lawsuits can be used to fund the pipeline.“I fully support the freedoms of speech and assembly, but we must also have clear expectations and the rule of law,” said [South Dakota Governor Kristi] Noem. “My pipeline bills make clear that we will not let rioters control our economic development. These bills support constitutional rights while also protecting our people, our counties, our environment, and our state. I’m proud of this proactive approach that will spread the risks associated with pipeline construction, and I’m glad to sign it into law today.”Noem’s Pipeline Package outlines a two-pronged approach for pipeline construction. First, it creates the Pipeline Engagement Activity Coordination Expenses (PEACE) fund for the coordination of law enforcement expenditures. This includes a transparent process for fees and other funds to be collected through a variety of sources that will pay for the extraordinary costs incurred by the state and counties because of pipeline construction. Secondly, it creates an additional fund and legal remedies to pursue out-of-state money fueling riots that aim to shut down the pipeline build.“I believe this approach could serve as the next generation model of major energy infrastructure development,” concluded Noem.Malone and Eidelman see the law as a vaguely drawn next generation of suppression:In just the last two years, we’ve seen a rise in government efforts to stifle protests, particularly those led by Indigenous and environmental activists, often in opposition to pipelines. There have been attempts to equate protesters with domestic terrorists and saboteurs. Law enforcement authorities have partnered with private security companies to surveil activists and control protests. Known FBI informants have infiltrated activist spaces and camps. The federal government has implemented “no-fly zones” to black out media coverage during heightened police crackdowns.This particular so-called “riot-boosting” ban is taking place, of course, in South Dakota, far from the gaze of most media outlets. But, as NPQ has noted before, we live in a time when US democracy itself is at risk. A threat to one is, in fact, a threat to all. Also, the Dakotas are where one of our most critical climate change struggles is under way. If our sector fails to pay attention here, we do so at our own peril.—Ruth McCambridgeShare270Tweet26ShareEmail296 Shares
Lithuanian telco Teo has added the Sony Entertainment Television channel to its Gala TV pay TV service.The channel broadcasts series including Sex and the City, Friends, The Tudors and Nip/Tuck. It is available to Gala TV’s digital customers for no additional fees.Sony Entertainment Television is available in about 140 countries, reaching almost 500 million homes.
Polish cable operator Vectra is adding more sports channels to its offering. From August 1, Vectra’s Sport na Ostro package will include four new services: Nautical Channel, Ginx HD, Trace Sports HD and Fitness TV.The additions will mean that Sport na Ostro will comprise 16 channels in total, including nine HD services. The price of the package will remain unchanged.Nautical Channel, focusing on marine sports and lifestyle, including sailing and extreme marine sports, with coverage of the America’s Cup World Series and ASP World Tour, is available in English, French, Russian, German and Italian. Games-focused Ginx TV is avaialble in Polish, broadcasting 24 hours a day, while Trace TV focuses on sports stars.
In a sign of intensifying lobbying around the future of French Vivendi-owned mobile and fixed line telco SFR, Patrick Drahi has told Le Figaro newspaper that he has no intention of making large-scale redundancies at the operator and would seek to maintain both SFR’s 8,500 employees and Numericable’s staff of 2,400 if he succeeds in engineering the merger of the pair. Drahi, controlling shareholder of cable operator Numericable through his investment vehicle Altice, took the step after a reported meeting between Martin Bouygues, proprietor of rival telco Bouygues Telecom, and French president François Hollande last week.According to Le Figaro, Drahi has promised to look to French suppliers to support his investments in France and also overseas, where Altice has interests that brought in €2 billion in revenues last year, in contrast to Bouygues, which has turned to suppliers including Huawei and Samsung to deliver its mobile infrastructure.According to Le Figaro, Drahi wants to crate a large fixed-line operator based on Numericable’s cable network – but using the SFR brand – with mobile, where the market is characterised by smaller margins and a less stable subscriber base, playing a smaller role.Drahi’s wider aim is to intensify investment in Numericable’s fibre networks to cover 15 million homes by 2020 and recruit about six million subscribers from the 21 million who currently use ADSL broadband in France. He also hopes to capture about 30% of the enterprise market, according to the paper.
SatLink Communications has launched a new DVB-S2 platform on Eutelsat’s Hot Bird satellite. The platform offers powerful wide beam coverage to Europe and the Middle East, and will support the delivery of HD and SD channels to European cable, satellite and pay TV platforms.The Hotbird DVB-S2 platform will be located at 13.0° degrees East and provide from SatLink’s facilities in Israel. It was developed in conjunction with Sky Italia, and supports the Italian TV platform’s conditional access system.“The launch of the new Hot Bird DVB-S2 platform is another step in our continued development of SatLink’s services and offerings as we look to address the needs of both broadcasters and Pay TV platforms. The continuing growth of the HD market is the future for broadcasting across the regions as broadcasters look to enrich the viewer’s experience,” said David Hochner, CEO of SatLink Communications.SatLink is a global teleport, content management and HD playout services provider, while Eutelsat’s Hot Bird satellites currently broadcast to some 120 million homes across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Pay TV revenues in Germany passed €2 billion for the first time in 2013, according to new stats by Germany’s commercial broadcasters association the Verband Privater Rundfunk und Telemedien (VPRT).The VPRT said that in Germany, pay TV and paid VOD revenues came in last year at €2.05 billion – an increase of 11.4% year-on-year – and are forecast to rise to €2.3 billion in 2014.Across the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the figure was an even higher €2.2 billion in 2013 and is tipped to rise to €2.5 billion this year.The revenue increase was attributed to a “significant subscriber growth of pay-TV channels and platforms.”The VPRT said that the number of pay-TV subscriptions in Germany has risen by almost 50% in the past five years to 6.4 million at the end of 2013.It added that in the German-speaking countries, the number stands at around 7.1 million pay-TV subscribers.
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has reduced stake in Vivendi, according to business news service BFMTV, which noted that Qatar Holding is no longer included in the French media giant’s list of principal shareholders.Qatar Holding acquired a 1.55% stake in Vivendi in 2011, later augmented to 2%, a holding worth around €450 million. It had reduced its stake to 1.6% by the end of last year but has now disappeared from the list of principal shareholders, meaning that its remaining holding is less than 1%.Vivendi confirmed to BFMTV that the fund was no longer included in its list of principal shareholders.Qatar’s acquisition of a stake in 2011 coincided with the arrival in France of Al Jazeera-owned BeIN Sports as a rival to Vivendi-owned Canal+. BFMTV noted, however, that the intensity of the battle between the pair has eased over the last year.
Bundling of TV services as part of fixed-broadband offerings is becoming more common across developed markets, according to the International Telecommunications Union’s Measuring the Information Society 2016 report.Basic TV services are included in 24% of 2016 fixed-broadband offers across OECD countries, as compared to 19% in 2011, according to the report.By comparison, 41% of all fixed-broadband offerings in the OECD countries including standalone services included fixed-voice, as against 33% in 2011.While bundling is a key trend in developed countries, watching TV over the web is growing in popularity particularly in developing nations, according to the report.Watching web TV is among the top three internet activities in 3% of developing countries and among the top five activities in 7% of developing countries. Web TV does not make the top five activities in any developed country, where internet use is spread across a wider range of activities spanning email, social media, entertainment – including music, movies and games – reading newspapers and books, government services and getting information about goods and services.The report cites Cisco research that predicts IP video will account for 82% of all IP Traffic by 2020, up from 70% in 2015.
The BBC has launched a public consultation on plans to “reinvent” the BBC iPlayer service, including making content available for at least 12 months after it is first shown as well as extending the availability of box-sets on the service.The move is the first step in the Public Interest Test ordered by regulator Ofcom on the proposed changes, which the BBC said would be published in the spring.The BBC is now proposing that all programmes be made available initially for at least 12 months, with complete series box-sets for selected titles for returning series to be made available for longer, along with more archive content.The BBC also said it would “continue to look at” the amount of content it commissions specifically for iPlayer as viewing habits evolve, even if it makes “very few programmes” for iPlayer only currently.The public broadcaster wants to be able to show all past episodes from previous series of returning series for drama and comedy shows such as Doctor Who, as well as BBC archive material for 12 months “or potentially longer”, which it says is “in line with market norms”.The BBC said it would remain constrained about how it put new programmes on iPlayer by the terms of its business framework and the rights obtained from independent producers, as well as by having to compete with other broadcasters and VOD providers for the rights to put content on the service.The consultation will run from today until February 15. The BBC says in its document that it is proposing the changes because it “must adapt to reflect the expectations and demands of licence fee payers”, with BBC iPlayer increasingly becoming “the front door to the BBC’s content offer” for viewers.The broadcaster said that the current limit of 30 days for catch-up content “needs to be improved to match the expectations and needs of our audiences” and that it risked “becoming irrelevant” if it failed to adapt.The corporation also provided a reminder that Ofcom had itself called on the broadcaster to “find new ways of reaching younger people that suit and reflect their viewing…habits” in its first Annual Report on the BBC as regulator.The BBC said that the consultation would “give stakeholders an opportunity to comment before the BBC carries out a Public Interest Test”.The broadcaster said that other UK players such as ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 had already taken steps to improve their on-demand offerings, with ITV planning an SVOD service alongside improvements to ITV Hub and Channel 4 making a wide range of box-sets available on its service.Charlotte Moore, director, BBC Content said: “We know that in the future BBC iPlayer will be the main way many people will want to watch the BBC. It already is for many younger viewers. These changes are about ensuring we continue to deliver value for money to licence fee payers – and meet expectations of viewers who want to watch full series whenever they choose to. It’s also important that regulation recognises that there should be a level playing field for public service broadcasters – to ensure British stories are being told for British audiences.”In November Ofcom ordered the BBC to conduct a Public Interest Test on its planned changes to iPlayer, in a ruling that contradicted the pubcaster’s board’s own assessment of the impact of the proposed changes. The regulator presented a set of interim instructions on what the BBC could and could not do ahead of the Pubic Interest Test at the end of last year.