10 Aug
2019

Ready set go How to spend 24 hours in these top 5

first_imgEvening: 1. Melbourne – fly from £430 A morning without brunch in San Francisco is a morning wasted. Right now, ‘millionaire’s bacon’ is all the rage – a thick, candied bacon with a hint of spicy, smoky cayenne pepper. Pair it with bottomless mimosas at Kitchen Story on 16th Street. Morning: It’s worth the early start and slightly steep ticket price to get a bird’s eye view of the Yarra River, Eureka Tower and West Gate Bridge from the wicker basket of a hot air balloon. The daily dawn trips with BalloonMan come with photos and a time lapse video souvenir. Afternoon: Fly to Dublin from £23 You’ll need a warming pint of Guinness after that. Get your fill on a literary-themed pub crawl, hopping from boozer to boozer in the old town’s warren of streets to quotes from Dublin’s famous authors. Throw all self-consciousness aside and go to a singalong performance at The Castro Theatre, where the likes of Grease, West Side Story and Frozen are belted out by audience members dressed up to the nines – each night begins with a costume contest, so don’t let the side down. Fly to Melbourne from £430 2. Dublin – fly from £23 Whenever you’re getting to know a new city, it never feels like you have enough time. We’re here to help you make the most of every hour in these five incredible cities – from dawn ’til dusk. Morning: Afternoon: Morning: Make like Scarlett Johansson and get down at Karaoke Kan, the karaoke bar from Lost in Translation – which happens to be super cheap and easy to find in central Shibuya. Fly to Bangkok from £285 4. Tokyo – fly from £452 Evening: Fly to Tokyo from £452 Burn off those breakfast calories on an urban hike from downtown to Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and Sutro Tower – the tallest point in the city.  Get even more travel goodness straight to your inbox.Sign up  Catch a movie at the intimate arts-house theatre Light House Cinema, which specialises in indie Irish feature films and documentaries. It’s in the up-and-coming Smithfield neighbourhood, as is the smart Maldron Hotel (prices start at £155) – which is also just a 10-minute tram ride from the lively Temple Bar district. Find hotel dealsCheck-inCheck-outGuests12345678910Rooms12345Search hotels Photo credit: Shahid A KhanPhoto credit: Conor LuddyPhoto credit: StockbytePhoto credit: Shahid A KhanPhoto credit: Conor LuddyPhoto credit: Conor Luddy Search hotels in Dublin Morning: Spend the afternoon floating down the Chao Phraya River on a boat trip, which is easily accessible from Wat Pho – although you’ll get a far cheaper ticket price if you opt to explore the waterways on the Chao Phraya Express Boat. Photo credit: BeboyltdPhoto credit: Coward LionPhoto credit: Beboyltd Search hotels in Melbourne Search for car hire Take a calming morning stroll through the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a 144-acre park that combines native, traditional Japanese gardens with French and English styles.center_img To round off the day, spend the night at Hotel Majestic, a romantic, historic hotel that dates back to 1902 and is adorned with vintage details and antique furnishings. Rooms start at £140. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map Photo credit: Aaron KatoPhoto credit: Edgar ChaparroPhoto credit: Braden CollumPhoto credit: Aaron KatoPhoto credit: Edgar ChaparroPhoto credit: Edgar Chaparro Afternoon: Photo credit: Thor AlvisPhoto credit: Sean PavonePhoto credit: Kazoka30Photo credit: Thor AlvisPhoto credit: Thor Alvis RelatedThe butcher, the baker and the donut-maker – London’s best street food revealed!Five years ago if you were visiting London you might have accidentally stumbled across the odd brilliant farmer’s market or a low-key food stall of sorts. Skate forward to 2016, and there are now so many street food traders selling their wares – think roti wraps, Chinese dumplings, chargrilled oysters,…£25, £50 or £150 a day: the best places to holiday whatever your budgetDreaming of a long-haul adventure but not sure you can afford it? Check out our roundup of global hotspots where even after paying for your flight you can still eat, sleep, and have fun without busting the daily budget. Your daily budget: £25 For a relaxing beach getaway: Ko Lanta,…24 hours in Dublin: a video city guideVisiting Dublin but stuck for time? Fear not, Dublin city centre is so compact that it’s possible to see all the main sights and get in a few sneaky pints in less than 24 hours. Here’s our quick guide to spending a morning, afternoon and evening in Dublin’s fair city. Head straight to the Queen Victoria Market for brunch so you can fuel up for an afternoon perusing the open-air stalls of fresh fruit and veg, bric-a-brac, clothes and knick-knacks. Be sure to pick up a hot jam doughnut from the American Doughnut Kitchen. Evening: There’s a reason why a visit to the ancient Wat Pho temple complex is on every visitor’s agenda: it’s home to the 46 metre-long Reclining Buddha, a gold-plated statue that was built in 1832 and is one of Thailand’s most recognisable sights. Evening: You’ll never go hungry in Bangkok, where grilled skewers and noodle soups are proffered on every street corner. But treat yourself to a really special meal at Nahm, currently 28th on The World’s Best 50 Restaurants list, where Aussie chef David Thompson crafts masterpieces from Thai ingredients using his classical French training. 3. Bangkok – fly from £285 Start the day with an icy dip at Forty Foot, an outdoor swimming spot on Scotsman’s Bay that’s not for the faint of heart – but legend has it that the clean, deep waters are good for your health. Deep breath… Afternoon: Morning: Download the Skyscanner app Less than 15 minutes’ walk from the market and hidden in an old bank vault is the basement bar Beneath Driver Lane, where inventive cocktails made from over 100 whiskies are served on thick leather coasters. After a nightcap or two, head back to the Mantra City Central hotel to lay your head among funky artwork and stylish décor. Prices start at £57. Search hotels in Tokyo 5. San Francisco – fly from £265 Afternoon: Search hotels in Bangkok For lunch, ramen is a no-brainer – but head to BumBunBlauCafe, which is famous for its kakigōri, shaved ice cream desserts, drizzled with homemade condensed milk. Search hotels in San Francisco Have you got 24 hours to spare and a city you want to explore? Find cheap flights below: All flight and prices mentioned in this article are estimates of the cheapest prices based on Skyscanner’s flight search tools. These are subject to change and were correct at time of writing on 7 May 2019. Fly to San Francisco from £265 Then it’s back to your hotel to sleep off all that food. We like Galleria 12 Sukhumvit Bangkok, which is simple and clean, with a relaxing pool area, right by ASOK Station. Rooms start at £35. Photo credit: GordonBellPhotographyPhoto Credit: BalloonMan / Lexicon ArtworkPhoto credit: Benjamin AshtonPhoto credit: GordonBellPhotographyPhoto credit: GordonBellPhotography Then, you won’t need to travel far if you book a room at the Shibuya Excel, which (luckily) has a 24-hour front desk. Prices start at £112 a night. Evening:last_img read more

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9 Aug
2019

Rep Chatfield announces February office hours

first_img05Feb Rep. Chatfield announces February office hours Categories: Chatfield News State Rep. Lee Chatfield invites residents of the 107th House District to join him during local office hours throughout the month of February.“I am pleased to be hosting community office hours every month in order for residents to personally share their concerns, ask questions and get help with issues involving state government,” said Chatfield, R-Levering.His office hours schedule is:Monday, Feb. 16Chippewa CountyThe Galley, inside the Cisler Center on LSSU Campus650 W. Easterday Ave. in Sault Ste. Marie9-11 a.m.Mackinac CountyAng-Gio’s Restaurant232 South M-134 in CedarvilleNoon-2 p.m.Friday, Feb. 27Cheboygan CountyRiver’s Edge Restaurant4208 S. Straits Highway in Indian River9-11 a.m.Emmet CountyThe Stained Cup Coffee Co.181 E. Main St. in Harbor SpringsNoon-2 p.m.center_img No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend.Anyone unable to attend may contact Rep.Chatfield’s office by calling (517) 373-2629, via email at leechatfield@house.mi.gov or through his website at www.RepChatfield.com.last_img read more

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9 Aug
2019

Rep Lucido announces summer reading contest

first_img Tags: Rep for a Day, Summer Reading Contest 29Jun Rep. Lucido announces summer reading contest Categories: Lucido News,Lucido Photoscenter_img State Rep. Peter Lucido will host a summer reading contest for local elementary school students in the 36th House District. The winner will have the unique opportunity to join Rep. Lucido at the Capitol in Lansing and serve as State Representative for a day.Rep. Lucido hopes that the contest will encourage students to keep their minds active and their reading skills sharp over the summer and beyond.“Reading is vitally important for the future success of our children,” said Rep. Lucido, R-Shelby Township. “Getting our kids excited about reading is more than just preparing them for the school year ahead, but encouraging the practice of this skill at an early age instills a habit which can benefit their future beyond academia.”Lily Urban of Shelby Township joins Rep. Lucido on the House floor earlier this year as the 2015 summer reading contest winner.All students in the 36th House District who are enrolled in the first through fifth grades are eligible to participate and must track their reading on special bookmarks that have been distributed to schools and local libraries. Readers who have finished 10 books can drop off the completed bookmarks to their local library by Sept. 1. There is no limit to the number of bookmarks that can be submitted, so long as each bookmark lists 10 completed books.Rep. Lucido will draw names to determine the winners of the contest, who will then be invited with their families to the Capitol this fall to act as state representatives for a day.“I am so excited to be hosting this contest again this year,” Rep. Lucido said. “It was a great turnout and I had a blast with the contest winner, Lily Urban of Shelby Township, who joined me on the House floor, participated in mock committee meetings and toured the Capitol with her family.”Contest bookmarks are available to download and print on www.RepPeterLucido.com and are available throughout the summer at the following participating libraries:Shelby Township Library51680 Van DykeShelby Twp, MI 48316Graubner Library65821 Van DykeWashington, MI 48095Kezar Branch Library107 Church St.Romeo, MI 48065For questions regarding the contest, please do not hesitate to contact Rep. Lucido’s office by phone at (888) MICH-REP, or by email at PeterLucido@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

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9 Aug
2019

Governor signs Rep Kahles bill banning child mutilation

first_img11Jul Governor signs Rep. Kahle’s bill banning child mutilation Categories: Kahle News,News Legislation that gives survivors of female genital mutilation the opportunity to seek criminal prosecution up to 10 years after the offense or the victim’s 21st birthday, whichever is later, was signed into law today.The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Bronna Kahle as part of a bipartisan legislative package addressing female genital mutilation (FGM), which is any procedure performed on girls intended to remove or damage the external genitalia.“The girls who suffer mutilation have faced a barbaric act few of us can comprehend,” said Kahle, of Adrian. “They should not be expected, at such a young age, to fully understand the lifelong impact of the damaging injuries they have endured.”Her legislation was part of an eight-bill package that prohibits FGM, sets sentencing guidelines, requires improved education on the procedure to law enforcement and health officials, and adds an extension on the civil statute of limitations to allow victims to recover personal damages.The package follows a February incident when two young girls from Minnesota were subjected to the procedure at a southeast Michigan clinic. A Livonia couple was arrested on federal charges in April for allowing and performing the procedure after hours at their medical clinic, while a third individual was fired from their emergency room doctor position for performing the procedure at the same Livonia clinic.Kahle’s House Bill 4690 is her second bill signed into law. It is now Public Act 79 of 2017 following Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature“I was pleased to work with my colleagues to make sure this happened,” said Kahle. “This procedure has no benefits. It’s only done to damage and relegate women to second-class status. There’s no place for it in Michigan.”#####last_img read more

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9 Aug
2019

Rep Noble backs bill for better student loan reporting

first_img30Nov Rep. Noble backs bill for better student loan reporting Categories: News,Noble News State Rep. Jeff Noble voted this week to require state colleges to provide annual updates to students on their federal student loan status to better manage their debt.“Our college graduates should not have to spend the first 20 years of their careers paying for their education,” said Noble, of Plymouth. “Giving students an annual update on their loans will go a long way toward making smart financial decisions during college and success after getting their degree.”The legislation calls for students to receive:Estimates of monthly repayment amounts, based on current projections.Access to student loan counseling services available through each college.Information on employment opportunities available in a student’s chosen course of study.Estimated national student debt has reached $1.4 trillion with average loans at Michigan universities increasing by approximately $10,000 over the past 10 years.“It’s very concerning to me that 63 percent of Michigan’s college graduates have student debt,” Noble said. “Armed with the information about their debts from the colleges, students will be able to better plan for their futures.”#####last_img read more

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9 Aug
2019

Rep Lauwers plan to increase government efficiency and transparency clears House committee

first_img29Nov Rep. Lauwers plan to increase government efficiency and transparency clears House committee Categories: Lauwers News,News The House Agriculture Committee today passed state Rep. Dan Lauwers’ plan to update and streamline the state’s laws protecting Michigan’s animal food agriculture.“This solution is a great example of legislators and constituents working together to serve Michiganders and make government more efficient,” Lauwers said. “Our farming technology has changed dramatically since this law was first enacted in the 1980s, and I am pleased to see the important work of updating the law move forward. Thank you to our partners in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and various industry representatives for their work on this plan.”The bills’ movement signals great progress on a multi-year effort between the Legislature and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to update Michigan’s animal husbandry laws that began in 2015, when Lauwers chaired the House Agriculture Committee. This legislation also carried personal significance for Lauwers. His daughter, Lauren Lauwers, worked on this issue in 2015 while an intern for MDARD. She returned to the department after her internship to continue working on the issue.“These crucial changes bring order to Michigan’s Animal Industry Act, making it easier to follow and government more transparent,” said Dr. James Averill, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “By updating and streamlining the Act, Michigan will be more nimble in its response to technological advances in agriculture. I commend Rep. Lauwers on his work to move this important bill through the legislative process.”Since its enactment in 1988, Michigan’s animal industry law has been amended sporadically many times, which resulted in a hard-to-follow mishmash of regulations. Updates were needed to reorganize and streamline the law, making it easier for Michigan’s farmers to follow.“Making the law easier to reference and follow will help Michigan’s farmers and agribusiness owners take all necessary precautions to protect all aspects of food animal production,” Lauwers said.HBs 6205, 6206 and 6214-15 will proceed to the full House for consideration.last_img read more

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9 Aug
2019

Is Debt Collection the Next Frontier for Nonprofits

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJune 2, 2014; The StreetThere are a number of industries that sort of automatically feel odious. Do you want to be a staff member for a payday lender? That’s always been one that has made this writer’s skin crawl. Others we’ve asked suggested being a shyster lawyer (ever see “Better Call Saul?”), claims adjusters (geared to say no), and used car salespersons—sorry, meant to say “pre-owned.”Being a debt collector also is right up there. Calling people to harass or scare them into paying their credit card debts, for example; that has to be one of the less than pleasant jobs out there. Bill Bartmann, CEO of CFS2, a Tulsa-based debt collection company, thinks that this is a line of work that nonprofits should flock to. He points out that people in debt aren’t always people skipping out on purchases they made using bad judgment, but are frequently much more sympathetic.“Thirty-nine million of our fellow citizens in debt, and debt collectors make billions of phone calls intended to annoy, embarrass and abuse them into giving up the rent money or even money for food to take care of that credit card debt or payday loan or unpaid medical bill,” Bartmann writes. “Debt collectors file 10 million lawsuits a year. Contrary to common belief, these debts almost always were not the result of poor decisions. Largely they are the result of a lost job or an illness in the family.”Bartmann notes that nonprofits typically wouldn’t want to behave like the typical harassing, abusing debt collector, because they want to help people rather than to increase their misery. He thinks, however, that nonprofits would be better at debt collecting than many nonprofits. He has proposed to consumer advocacy groups that there should be a special tax credit for banks that donate unpaid consumer loans to nonprofits. If nonprofits were to be able to collect on the debts, they would be able to bank the money for their own programs. In addition, they would be given special rules enabling them to work with consumers to “restructure loans into payment terms that would truly fit the consumer’s specific situation.”Is there something about being a nonprofit that would make nonprofit debt collectors kinder and gentler versions of their for-profit forbears? Bartmann notes that “money corrupts…[and] even nonprofits can be corrupted.” He imagines that there would be “controls…in place to prevent these nonprofits from growing into a different type of voracious and abusive debt collector that was merely exempt from paying taxes.”In his view, the proposal is a win-win-win-win deal. “The further genius of this special tax credit is that there are so many winners,” Bartmann says. “The banks win because of the tax credit. The consumers win because they get out from under an impossible debt overhang. The nonprofits win because they have more resources to fulfill their core mission. The government wins because unemployment is reduced and the attendant cost of unemployment compensation and food stamps falls by billions of dollars. Our courts win because the rate of bankruptcy is cut in half and the number of debt collection lawsuits falls by 80%.” Only for-profit debt collectors lose in this scenario.Surprisingly, Bartmann doesn’t reference a comparable situation that arose some years ago with nonprofit credit counselors. A decade ago, there was a flurry of IRS and Congressional investigations of nonprofit credit counselors including a devastating Senate report, titled Profiteering in a Non-Profit Industry: Abusive Practices in Credit Counseling, aimed at the corrupting linkages between for-profit debt collection agencies and nonprofit credit counselors. In its executive summary, the Senate investigators wrote, “When profit motive is injected into a non-profit industry, it should come as no surprise that harm to consumers will follow…Some of the new entrants [into the credit counseling industry] now…provide no bona fide education or counseling and place every consumer onto a debt management program at unreasonable or exorbitant charge.” The IRS did its own investigation of a number of nonprofit credit counseling agencies, challenging the nonprofit status of several, including Take Charge America, which was still operating as a nonprofit as late as 2012.Bartmann is viewed by some as operating a clean shop at CFS2 due to his zero-tolerance policy regarding abusive practices by his employees. That earned him and his firm a “Friend of the Consumer” award in 2013 from the American Consumer Council. A former billionaire, Bartmann’s original CFS (Consumer Financial Services) collapsed years ago as a result of a federal investigation and subsequent indictment alleging fraud. However, a jury declared Bartmann himself innocent of all charges, even though his business partner went to jail, and Bartmann has reinvented himself as an advocate for cleaning up the debt collection industry. However, some people in the industry view him as a “huckster” and don’t buy the sincerity of his reform proposals.Does the nonprofit sector’s big-time entry into the debt collection business sound like the right thing to do? Would nonprofits be corrupted by the possible income stream they might get, in Bartmann’s vision, from restructured debt payments? Would financial incentives lure them into less than charitable treatment of debtors?—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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9 Aug
2019

Mississippi Reps Contemplate Designating the Bible as the State Book

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 12, 2015; AL.comIf the U.S. Constitution weren’t persuasive enough, one might think current events throughout the world would convince two Democratic state representatives from Mississippi, Tom Miles and Michael Evans, that designating the Bible as the “state book” isn’t a great idea.In neighboring Louisiana, lawmakers last year had considered making the Bible Louisiana’s official book, but after devoting a little thought to the constitutional issues, the bill was withdrawn. Miles and Evans, however, appear undeterred.“Me and my constituents, we were talking about it, and one of them made a comment that people ought to start reading the Bible,” Evans said in explanation of the origin of the bill. Making the Bible the state book “doesn’t force anyone to read it,” Evans affirmed.Apparently, coalescing around the Bible is difficult for the two major political parties. Republican state representative Tracy Arnold, who is also the pastor of a nondenominational Christian church, has his own Bible-as-state-book bill in the legislature.The Louisiana bill was pulled before it ever reached the floor for a vote. Although experts suggested that the Louisiana bill wouldn’t actually violate the Constitution, equating the “official book” designation with stamping “in God we trust” on coinage, the legislation still didn’t go ahead. Perhaps the sponsor of that bill, Republican Thomas Carmody, was concerned that his original bill, which honored a specific historic copy of the Bible in the Louisiana State Museum, had been hijacked by his peers and amended to make any version of the Holy Bible the state book.Or maybe it was simply the silliness of adding the Bible to the category of things that get “state” designations—birds, shells, and who knows what else. Expect nonprofits that believe in the separation of church and state, others that support people who honor different versions of religious scripture, and still others who think that the Mississippi legislature could be focused on more important issues, to weigh in if Miles and Evans continue to pursue their biblical quest.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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9 Aug
2019

When PublicPrivate Partnerships Impinge on Constitutional Rights

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares Image Credit: Girl.in.the.DJanuary 28, 2015;Detroit NewsThe Detroit News reports that the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has brought a federal lawsuit against a private group managing Campus Martius Park. The suit claims that the park, along with its security team, has violated the free speech of two groups of marchers by evicting them from that park. The park, presumably, should be a public space since it is city-owned, but it is managed by a nonprofit (Detroit 300 Conservancy) on the city’s behalf and was funded and designed by a group made up of businesses and philanthropies.“With the growing number of city assets being overseen through public-private partnerships,” said a spokesman for the ACLU, “citizens cannot allow public spaces to be converted into Constitution-free zones,”In two incidents, protestors were told to leave the park. According to this report:“In February 2014, four members of Moratorium Now! attempted to pass out fliers and circulate petitions opposing Detroit’s bankruptcy. They were approached by a Guardsmark officer who ordered them to leave the park or risk arrest, according to the lawsuit. A Detroit police sergeant arrived and backed up the security officer’s claim, according to the lawsuit.”And…“In June 2013, about 15 to 20 members of Women in Black–Detroit were confronted by security as they tried to march single file through the park as part of a silent protest against violence. The guard forbade them from walking through the park.”Robert Sedler, a Wayne State University professor of constitutional law, thinks the ACLU has a good case. “Campus Martius is a public park,” Sedler said Wednesday. “People are allowed to protest in a public park. It doesn’t matter if it is managed by a private firm.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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7 Aug
2019

State Legislatures Seek to Limit Protestor Rights

first_imgShare75Tweet14ShareEmail89 SharesNational Archives Archeological Site [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsFebruary 16, 2018; The NationOur freedoms of speech and association let us call out the wrongs we see in our society. Acts of social protest have been central to our nation’s democratic life and remain an important tool for the powerless to make their voices heard. Social action and mass protests made the economic gains of organized labor and the fall of government-sanctioned segregation possible. Recently, at Standing Rock in the Dakotas, the need to protect cultural rights and the environment moved residents to action. And, just this week, busloads of students, teachers, and parents rode long hours to reach state capitals to demand that gun laws be changed. Others held vigils and community meetings, or just displayed protest signs.As significant as this history may be, challenges to the right to protest have the potential to take this tool away from those who most need it. State governments across the nation are considering legislation that will make it harder to protest, even criminalizing tactics that have been part of our democratic legacy. A recent article in the Nation describes a “conservative backlash to direct action—a backlash that resulted in a wave of legislation introduced in states across the United States. Overall, according to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, lawmakers in 30 states have introduced 56 bills to restrict public protest since Trump’s election.”According to Vera Eidelman, a fellow with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, “What we saw in the last legislative session was a surprising and unusual surge in anti-protest legislation, which went after those fundamental rights to go outside, speak out, dissent.”While the specific legislation introduced varies from state to state, they share the intent of limiting the scope and impact of those who rise to protest and ask for change.The South Dakota legislature passed a measure…that allows the governor or local sheriffs to ban groups of 20 or more people from public land and schools. Lawmakers in Mississippi proposed a bill to make obstructing traffic a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A Republican senator in Oregon introduced a bill requiring public universities and colleges to expel students convicted of rioting. Lawmakers in half a dozen states—North Dakota, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Rhode Island—introduced legislation to protect some drivers who “unintentionally” hit protesters with their cars. In Washington State, a Republican state senator…reintroduced a bill adding a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 days to any crime that “cause[s] economic disruption,” such as blocking traffic or railways.Beyond state law, efforts to quell the voice of protest have risen in the management of our institutions. Students moved by the recent horror of their peers being shot down face the same backlash. In a letter to his school community, the superintendent of the Needville School District in Texas said that if students choose to peacefully walk out of school and gather in protest, “they will be suspended from school for 3 days and face all the consequences that come along with an out of school suspension.… Life is about choices…every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative. We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved.”Identifying protesting with criminal, even terrorist, behavior is a tactic often used to justify limits to protest rights. According to the Nation, the Department of Homeland Security has called environmental protestors “extremists,” and the FBI “recently issued an internal report warning that ‘black identity extremists’—a novel term—motivated by racial injustice pose a violent threat to law-enforcement officers. Civil liberties experts worry these labels will be used to justify further surveillance of activists.”New laws and more heated and threatening language make speaking out more difficult. They will further weaken those who already have little power. In an age when money has become a potent force in electoral and legislative politics, protest is a currency that can be spent by “the 99 percent.” Take it away, and the scales become even more unbalanced.—Martin LevineShare75Tweet14ShareEmail89 Shareslast_img read more

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7 Aug
2019

Ericsson is set to acquire the broadcast services

first_imgEricsson is set to acquire the broadcast services division of Technicolor.Ericsson has submitted a binding offer of €19 million and a potential earn-out based on 2015 revenues of the division’s activity of up to €9 million. The company said the acquisition would boost its broadcast operations in terms of the number of channels managed and households reached.“As the TV industry is undergoing fundamental changes with the transition to multi-platform, on-demand television, teaming up with a trusted partner enables broadcasters to meet the increasing commercial and technological complexity and competition in the TV market,” said Magnus Mandersson, executive vice-president and head of business unit global services, Ericsson. “We combine our service and technology leadership with strategic investments in playout operations, broadcast capability and competence.”The closing of the acquisition is subject to relevant customary regulatory administrative approvals and consultations.last_img read more

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7 Aug
2019

BT has confirmed that it will begin offering the Y

first_imgBT has confirmed that it will begin offering the YouView TV service in the autumn.The telco is one of seven launch partners for YouView, the UK’s connected TV service that launched earlier this month. It said the service would appeal to customers “looking for the next evolution of the Freeview service” but did not reveal details of how it would bundle YouView with its broadband and telephony products.BT has also announced that it is to offer its BT Vision Essential TV package for free to customers signing up to its TV, broadband and calls package. The package normally costs £17 (€21) per month, but the price is being reduced to £13 for a limited time, with the £4 per month Vision Essentials element offered for free.The deal will boost BT Vision subscriber numbers, which stood at 728,000 at the end of June after the telco added 21,000 subs during the second quarter.BT Vision Essential gives customers up to 50 Freeview television channels and lets them pause, record and rewind live TV. Customers can catch up with the last seven days’ TV from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 and may also, on a pay for view-basis, watch thousands of TV shows and music.Alex Green, TV commercial and product director, BT Vision, said: “BT Vision is the fastest-growing digital TV service in the UK because it gives viewers exactly what they want: great TV, film and sport when it’s convenient for them to watch. We’re delighted to offer it free for a limited period so that even more people can see what they’ve been missing.”last_img read more

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7 Aug
2019

Liberty Global is planning to bid for UK cable ope

first_imgLiberty Global is planning to bid for UK cable operator Virgin Media, with a move expected in the coming days, according to the UK’s Financial Times newspaper, citing sources familiar with the situation.In a brief statement, Virgin Media confirmed that the pair had been in talks. “Virgin Media confirms that it is in discussions with Liberty Global, Inc., a leading international cable company, concerning a possible transaction. Any such transaction would be subject to regulatory and other conditions. A further announcement will be made in due course,” the company said.Shares in Virgin Media on the NASDAQ exchange closed at US$38.69 (€44.74) yesterday, giving Virgin Media a valuation of US$10.4 billion. The company has an estimated enterprise value of US$20 billion including debt. Liberty Global reported cash reserves of US$3.3 billion in its third quarter earnings, with some of that earmarked for the company’s buyback programme.A successful bid for the UK’s sole large-scale cable provider would put Liberty Global chairman John Malone in direct competition with his old rival Rupert Murdoch, chairman of BSkyB’s main shareholder News Corp.In the UK, Malone has previously attempted unsuccessfully to bid for NTL, and also acquired a significant stake in Telewest, the two companies that later merged to form Virgin Media.There was some speculation in 2011 that he would make a bid for BSkyB in the wake of the collapse of News Corp’s move to take control of the company, but Malone quashed this, saying he would not bid against Murdoch.last_img read more

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7 Aug
2019

Hulus senior vice president of international Joh

first_imgHulu’s senior vice president of international, Johannes Larcher, has reportedly stepped down from the firm.According to Bloomberg, Larcher resigned earlier this month. The news comes as Hulu is said to considering a string of takeover bids from firms including Yahoo!, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV.Larcher joined Hulu in 2009 and two years later oversaw the US VOD-site’s move into the Japanese market – its only foreign launch to date. Prior to this he held a number of internationally focused roles, including VP and general manager of international for Friendster and general manager of international at Overture, which was later taken over by Yahoo!.Larcher’s reported move follows the departures this year of CEO Jason Kilar and chief technology officer Rich Tom – a decision that the pair first announced in January.According to stateside reports, Hulu is currently mulling takeover bids from seven or more interested parties, which is said to include private equity firms KKR, Guggenheim Partners through its Guggenheim Digital arm, and Silver Lake Partners in conjunction with Hollywood talent agency WME.last_img read more

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7 Aug
2019

Eurosport has acquired the rights to the German wo

first_imgEurosport has acquired the rights to the German women’s Bundesliga football league for the next two seasons.Eurosport has secured the rights to broadcast live matches on each of the 22 match days for the 2013-14 an 2015-16 seasons. The deal with the DFB gives Eurosport international options to broadcast the Women’s Bundesliga across its 54 markets in Europe and 17 markets in Asia-Pacific. All matches will be broadcast in HD.Eurosport already holds rights to as the FIFA Women’s World Cup, UEFA Women’s Euro, Women’s UEFA Champions League, Algarve Cup and age-group international competitions such as the U17 and U20 FIFA World Cups and U17 and U19 UEFA European Championships.last_img

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7 Aug
2019

Satellite operator SES has delayed the launch of i

first_imgSatellite operator SES has delayed the launch of its Astra 5B satellite, claiming that launch partner Arianespace said it would not have its Ariane 5 booster ready in time for next month. The satellite was due to blast off from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana, on December 6 and arrived there on November 6  to be readied for launch.SES said in a statement that the Astra 5B launch would now take place in January 2014 and that the satellite will “be put into safe storage until the launch preparations can resume.”last_img

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7 Aug
2019

Netflix has set up a new team to work on innovati

first_imgNetflix has set up a new team to work on “innovative approaches” for using data, in a bid to improve the service’s streaming quality of experience (QoE).In a blog post, Netflix said the types of problem it is looking to solve include understanding the impact of QoE on user behaviour, determining what movies and shows to cache on the edge servers based on member viewing behaviour and improving the technical quality of the content in its catalogue using viewing data and member feedback.Netflix said it also aimed to create a personalised streaming experience for each member, looking at algorithms that run in real-time once playback has started to determine what bitrate should be served and what server to download that content from.“User behaviour refers to the way users interact with the Netflix service, and we use our data to both understand and predict behaviour. For example, how would a change to our product affect the number of hours that members watch?” asked Netflix.“We need to determine a mapping function that can quantify and predict how changes in QoE metrics affect user behaviour. Why is this important? Understanding the impact of QoE on user behaviour allows us to tailor the algorithms that determine QoE and improve aspects that have significant impact on our members’ viewing and enjoyment.”last_img read more

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7 Aug
2019

Amazon has agreed to buy Twitch a video platform

first_imgAmazon has agreed to buy Twitch, a video platform and community for videogame enthusiasts, for US$970 million in cash. The deal follows reports from May that linked YouTube to the videogame site, with Google-owned YouTube said to be ready to imminently announce an acquisition for a similar US$1 billion price tag.Announcing the deal, Amazon said that Twitch had more than 55 million unique visitors in July, who viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content on the site, produced by more than 1 million broadcasters.US-based Twitch launched in June 2011 is used by gamers to live-broadcast, watch and chat about videogames. Users can stream their gameplay direct from their connected Xbox or PlayStation consoles.Amazon said that the site is also used by publishers, developers, media outlets, conventions and e-sports organisations – as well as by individual gamers.“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.“Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community.”Twitch CEO Emmett Shear added: “Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world.”Twitch’s shareholders have approved the cash deal, which is expected to close in the second half of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.last_img read more

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7 Aug
2019

UK broadcast regulator has appointed Philip Schles

first_imgUK broadcast regulator has appointed Philip Schlesinger, a professor in cultural policy at the University of Glasgow, to its content board to represent the interests of people in Scotland. Schlesinger takes up his now role on the content board on December 1, and will hold the position for three years. He has been on Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Scotland since 2004 and has been its chairman since 2009 – a role he will continue until the end of the year.Ofcom’s content board is the committee of the main Ofcom board with delegated responsibility for TV and radio content issues – including setting and enforcing quality and standards. It includes members who represent each of the four nations of the UK.last_img

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7 Aug
2019

UKbased pay TV company Sky and commercial broadca

first_imgUK-based pay TV company Sky and commercial broadcaster Channel 4 have both bought into Dial Square 86, the parent company of new rights trading platform TRX.The pair have taken an undisclosed minority stake in the Dial Square, which oversees soon-to-launch digital distribution platform. It is the first time Sky and pubcaster Channel 4 have co-invested in a start-up.Channel 4 invested through its Growth Fund, which has to this point only made investments in production companies. Before making this investment just under half of the £20 million (US$26 million) Growth Fund, which was slated for 2014-2017, was left.The new funding round that Sky and Channel 4 have joined is for up to £5.2 million for TRX.Channel chief executive David Abraham said: “In post-Brexit Britain, it’s even more important for the UK’s creative industries to have access to innovative ways of trading across the globe.“We recognise that the new TRX tool is a valuable online resource which will enable indies to connect with the world and export their programmes in a digital marketplace and will help support a buoyant UK indie sector well into the future.”Dial Square is run by former Zodiak and RDF boss David Frank. He said: “We are absolutely delighted that two of the UK’s leading content players with such reputations for innovation and excellence have decided to back what we are doing.“There is real momentum behind TRX now and we’re excited about launching a truly global product that can make programme distribution faster and easier while opening up the TV rights market to previously disenfranchised buyers and delivering extra value to rights holders.”Emma Lloyd, group business development director, Sky said: “This latest investment reflects our ambition to partner with pioneering start-ups that can help transform the TV landscape. We’re delighted to be backing such an innovative UK-based company, with its roots firmly in the creative sector. Together with Channel 4, we can help TRX to grow the TV rights market, which will benefit everyone in the industry.”Dial Square’s chief operation is TRX, which has soft-launched in Asia and will roll out globally soon. Discovery Networks International, PBS Distribution and Turner have all taken part in a beta test of the platform. Distributors including Cineflix Rights and Sky Vision, the sales arm of one of its new investors, are also among the beta testers.It has completed several funding rounds, albeit previously not with such high-profile industry backers, and put together a high-profile advisory board that includes the likes of Stephen Lambert, Nadine Nohr and John McVay.last_img read more

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