The Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned Belgium’s ambassador and warned that Moscow would consider taking similar action against Belgian accounts and property in Russia if the accounts of the Russian companies and diplomatic missions in Belgium were not released.Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said his government would challenge the seizures, considering them illegal, but he also acknowledged that Russia must be prepared for similar action elsewhere. He repeated that Russia had no intention of paying the $50 billion.Tim Osborne, director of GML, a holding company created for Yukos’ five major shareholders, said the judgment was “rolling out” in France and Belgium, with the expectation that it would continue in Britain and the United States.He said France and Belgium have frozen multiple bank accounts linked to the Russian government, beginning more than a week ago in France and on Wednesday in Belgium. He did not know the number of accounts or their balances, but said he expected GML would ultimately be able to recover the funds.“It’ll take years but it’ll get done eventually,” Osborne said.The Foreign Ministry said it issued a protest to Belgian Ambassador Alex Van Meeuwen, describing the freezing of the accounts as an “openly unfriendly act and gross violation of the recognized norms of international law.” Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian government on Thursday strongly condemned the freezing of Russian accounts in France and Belgium as part of an effort to enforce a $50 billion judgment for the destruction of the Yukos oil company.An arbitration court in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled last year that Russia must compensate the former shareholders of Yukos, which was destroyed in a politically driven legal onslaught that also sent its chief executive, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, to prison for 10 years. The accounts frozen in Belgium include those of Russia’s embassy, its missions to the European Union and NATO, and of a number of Russian companies, the ministry statement said. It made no mention of the seizures in France.Ulyukayev said the amount of Russians funds frozen in France and Belgium was “insignificant,” but he gave no specifics in remarks carried by Russian news agencies from St. Petersburg, where Russia’s annual investment forum opened Thursday.The frozen accounts in France include those of Russian companies held in the French subsidiary of Russian state bank VTB, Russian news agencies reported, citing VTB. No details were given.The Permanent Court for Arbitration ruled in July that the Russian government had used tax claims to take control of Yukos and silence Khodorkovsky, who had used his vast wealth to challenge the power of President Vladimir Putin. After Khodorkovsky was arrested at gunpoint in 2003, Yukos was dismantled and the main assets of what had been Russia’s largest oil producer were taken over by state oil company Rosneft.___Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Comments Share Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The vital role family plays in society 5 treatments for adult scoliosis
Source = Star Ratings Australia Star Ratings AustraliaStar Ratings Australia launches 2016 campaign ‘Star Tripping’Star Ratings Australia encourages Australian travellers to go star tripping on their next break by launching a series of star rated itineraries as part of its 2016 integrated marketing campaign.Star Ratings are an internationally recognised symbol for quality accommodation standards, used in more than 70 countries around the world. Star Ratings help Australian travellers make the right accommodation choice for them, ensuring the accommodation they expect is the accommodation they get.There are a variety of three, four and five star itineraries that have been developed for a range of different types of getaways, from outdoors and adventure through to luxury and indulgence. A number of these itineraries will be brought to life using cutting edge 360-degree video technology to demonstrate how Star Ratings provides travellers with the full picture. Star-Tripping.com.au focuses on building fresh and engaging content that will educate consumers about the benefits of independent reviewing in the travel industry. To help consumers better understand Star Ratings there is also an opportunity to test your star knowledge and win a tropical getaway by playing our unique Star Strike game.The 2016 campaign, led by Horizon Communication Group, is highly digital and will be seen across a number of digital platforms including Pandora. ‘I am thrilled to be a part of this campaign and to launch the interactive itineraries for Star Tripping. As we now have so many choices it is incredibly helpful to have a benchmark to help us narrow these down. I think Star Ratings Australia is crucial in helping the travel industry to maintain authenticity and accountability,” said Catriona Rowntree.“We are very excited to have launched Star Tripping. With widespread social media and self-ratings currently dominating the travel industry, independent ratings systems like Star Ratings are crucial for maintaining authenticity and accountability which is what Star Tripping aims to educate consumers about,’ commented CEO of Star Ratings Australia Michael Reed.
Peyton Manning is hanging up his cleats.After 18 years, two Super Bowl championships, five MVP awards and numerous league passing records, the Denver Broncos signal caller is announcing his retirement Monday.When Manning entered the league as a hotshot number-one overall pick of the Indianapolis Colts out of Tennessee in 1998, his first position coach was Bruce Arians. The current head coach of the Arizona Cardinals looked back fondly on his time tutoring Manning very early in his career. LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “I’m kind of happy for him and sad for the league,” Arians told Doug and Wolf Monday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “He’s had such a great career and is such a good guy. You see some of that funny side now, but this was one of the best practical jokers I’ve ever seen.”Manning spent three years learning under Arians and proved to be a quick study. His first year, the Colts went 3-13. The very next season, they flip-flopped that record, going 13-3 and qualifying for the playoffs. Yet, Arians acknowledged that things weren’t always easy.“Coaching him was probably the hardest job I ever had,” Arians said. “Keeping his mind busy — if you had an hour meeting, you better have three hours worth of stuff. Them poor other second and third quarterbacks couldn’t write fast enough.”Even though the Broncos won Super Bowl 50, the lion’s share of the credit went to their suffocating defense. Manning became a sort of game manager in their playoff run, throwing for only two touchdowns in the postseason while attempting 30.6 throws per game. The consensus around the league was that his skills had diminished. Your browser does not support the audio element. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact 0 Comments Share Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning (18) and quarterbacks coach Bruce Arians are seen during Colts minicamp in 1998 in Terre Haute, IN. (AP Photo/Seth Rossman) Arians is glad Manning is getting out of the game now.“Having loved Joe Namath and Johnny Unitas, I was scared (expletive) he was going to go to the Rams and look like them at the end,” Arians said. “They couldn’t hardly walk anymore and they still played.“It comes to all of us, but the mind never diminished. The ball was going to the right spot all the time and he still could get them into the end zone when they needed to.”
Find deals on hotels and accommodation in these top UK cities: RelatedCheap flights to dream honeymoon destinationsA honeymoon on a budget doesn’t mean you have to say no to Barbados, the Maldives or any of your other dream destinations. Pause all that stressful wedding prep for a moment and plan the perfect post-wedding holiday, without needing to extend that bank loan. There’s no need to panic,…Cheap flights for family breaks from £15It’s raining and the kids are bored. Swap the weekly supermarket shop for a family weekend away, be it a sunny short break or a weekend in a new city, and forget having to wash smelly sports kit or cook dinners for fussy teens. Treat your family and spare yourself…Weekend city breaks from just £20Make the most of the next bank holiday and get those Instagram filters at the ready. We’ve got cheap flights from airports across the UK – all you’ve got to decide is whether to go for a city break or a few days lazing on the beach! Go on, you… Not found the bargain you were after? Maybe try these…Flight deals for weekends awayCelebrate making it to the end of the week with a last minute flight out of here! Cheap flight deals of the weekLooking for cheap flights or fancy a last-minute holiday? Each week we round-up the best travel offers and the cheapest flights to a range of destinations. So whether it’s a sunny beach or a budget city break you’re looking for, check out the best deals here before you book.Bargain flights for romantic city breaksHere are this month’s cheapest flights to some of Europe’s most romantic cities.*Published September 2016. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map And in case you’re thinking of taking a staycation here in the UK, then you might want to check out our complete guide, full of ideas on things to see and do close to home:
January 11, 2012This continues our report from 1/6/12 about a group of students from KCAI, KANSAS CITY ART INSTITUTE, visiting Arcosanti for a two week intensive program in art and science.The group is lead by Professor Russel Ferguson, who is an Arcosanti alumnus and now Director of School of the Foundation Year at KCAI, KANSAS CITY ART INSTITUTE.Participants are:Sandra Bojanic, Illustration junior;Oliver Clark, Sculpture sophomore;Trent Coffin, Animation junior;Maylynda Eshleman, Photography senior;Kendell Harbin, Printmaking senior;Mavet Miller, Ceramics junior;Andrew Ordonez, Painting junior;Andrew Ozier, Illustration junior;Joey Watson, Ceramics sophomore;Issey Howe, Sculpture sophomore;Max Newman, Sculpture sophomore;Molly Ryan, Ceramics sophomore;Kahil Irving, Ceramics sophomore;Frederick Voder Bruegge, Painting junior;Shane Lutsk, Ceramics sophomore;Will Meipu, Painting junior;Jules Itzoff, Illustration junior.[photo by Jeff Stein] Also included are: Three sessions in the Soleri Archives to view original materials and scroll drawings. Here is the group with Soleri Archive photographer David DeGomez, who is explaining his set-up and method. ‘Greenhouse research’ presentation with Roger Tomalty. A day trip to Oak Creek Canyon.Several meetings with Paolo Soleri.Participation in an Erosion Control workshop.A talk with new Cosanti Foundation President Jeff Stein.Tour and supper and a lecture at Taliesin West.Tour of the Dome House.Visit to Cosanti.This report continues.[some of the text: Russel Ferguson] The two-week visit is packed with lectures, work sessions and tours. Activities include: Daily work sessions, drawing the Ceramics Apse, the Vaults, the East Crescent complex and the Foundry.‘History of siltcasting and construction at Arcosanti from 1970 until 1974’ with Cosanti Foundation instructor Roger Tomalty. Riparian tour of the Agua Fria riverbed with Roger Tomalty.
10Sep Rep. Price hosts local first responders in Michigan’s Capitol building PHOTO CUTLINE: State Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, hosted Captain Valerie Weiss of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department and Chief Kurt Gernaat of the Blendon Township Fire Department at the state Capitol for a ceremony honoring local heroes. First responders and soldiers from across Michigan were welcomed by legislators to attend a ceremony to mark the anniversary of terrorist attacks that shook the United States in 2001. The names of 14 first responders and servicemen from Michigan who died in the line of duty during the past year were read during the ceremony. Also pictured: state Rep. Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville, and Sergeant Jeff Steigengei.### Categories: News
26Jan Rep. Lower to serve as chair of Local Government committee Categories: Lower News,News Rep. Jim Lower, of Cedar Lake, will be chair of the House Local Government Committee for the current 2017-18 session.Today’s announcement by House Speaker Tom Leonard also includes Lower’s selection as a member of the Energy, Communications and Technology, Tax Policy, and Capitol committees.“It’s time for us as a state to take a serious look at the way we organize, fund, and structure local government,” Lower said. “Our basic design of local government was laid nearly two centuries ago. It is exciting to be named chairman of this committee on Michigan’s 180th birthday. The leaders of the past would expect us to bring our system of government into the 21st century. I consider it an honor, a privilege, and a huge responsibility to help ensure our local governments are successful as we move into the future.”Lower also highlighted the importance of all his committee assignments and is committed to helping families and small businesses.“Making technological improvements to our communications and energy infrastructure will also help make our local governments successful,” Lower said. “Reducing taxes for all citizens and all businesses, rather than focusing on handouts to favored industries will create a more fair and competitive environment for us all.”#####
PHOTO INFORMATION: State Representative Daniela R. García interacts with students from Innocadamy in Zeeland at the 17th Annual Student Technology Showcase at the Capitol. The event allowed lawmakers to see firsthand how technology is used in the classroom across Michigan. Categories: Garcia News,Garcia Photos,News,Photos 07Dec Representative García welcomes local tech students to state Capitol
Categories: Calley News State Rep. Julie Calley welcomes residents to office hours in two communities on Monday, June 3.Rep. Calley, of Portland, will give a legislative update to attendees. Then, if residents have individual concerns, she will take one on one meetings.Rep. Calley will meet with constituents at the following locations:The Village of Middleville, 100 East Main St., Middleville, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.; andThe Barry County Courthouse, Commissioners’ Chambers, 220 W. State St., Hastings, from 1 to 2 p.m.“Accountable representation requires consistent feedback,” Rep. Calley said. “Office hours present an opportunity for productive dialogue with those whom I serve.”No appointment is necessary. Residents unable to attend scheduled office hours may send their questions and ideas to Rep. Calley via email at JulieCalley@house.mi.gov or by calling her at 517-373-0842. 21May Rep. Calley plans local office hours on June 3
26Jun Rep. Yaroch introduces plan to reform Emergency Manager law, prevent another Flint Water Crisis State Rep. Jeff Yaroch of Richmond introduced a plan that would reform the state’s emergency manager law, replacing the single person emergency management structure with a three-person Financial Management Team.The plan is part of a larger reform package addressing the safety and security of Michigan’s drinking water supply.“If we learned anything from the Flint water crisis it’s that one person should not be in charge of a community— it takes a team of skilled people to help a community get back on its feet,” Rep. Yaroch said. “These changes will help ensure oversight of the major public services delivered by local government to residents—especially families’ drinking water. I am proud to stand behind this bipartisan effort to prevent another Flint Water Crisis and keep our state’s drinking water safe.”House Bill 4752, introduced by Rep. Yaroch, includes recommendations from the 2016 Joint Committee on the Flint Water Emergency, which replaces the single-person emergency management structure with a three-person committee made up of one financial expert, one local government operations expert and one local ombudsman. The governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, would be responsible for making all three appointments, having selected the local ombudsman from a list of three local residents recommended by the local unit of government.In addition to Rep. Yaroch’s plan, the package includes House Bills 4742-4769. The 30-bill reform proposal looks at water quality across the board: from improving municipal safeguards and oversight to tightening up environmental protection and conservation.“Ensuring safe drinking water is a top concern to our residents. State and local government need to work together to address the condition of our water infrastructure system,” Rep. Yaroch noted. “If we don’t fix the broken Emergency Management Law, we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes made in Flint.”HB 4752 has been referred to House Committee on Government Operations for further consideration. Categories: Yaroch News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares July 28, 2014; The InterceptAs we all know, our legal rights and our right to an unfettered free press are core to a healthy democracy. But in a joint report entitled “With Liberty to Monitor All,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch warn that these functions are highly threatened by massive domestic spying practices. The report lays out the chilling effects of these practices in some detail using responses to a survey of journalists and lawyers. The report makes the case that the legal and free-press pillars of civil society are rendered less functional by the surveillance practices of the United States Government.What the reported effects of surveillance are on journalists (from the summary of the report):Journalists told us that officials are substantially less willing to be in contact with the press, even with regard to unclassified matters or personal opinions, than they were even a few years ago. This can create serious challenges for journalists who cover national security, intelligence and law enforcement, and who often operate in a gray area—working with information that is sensitive but not necessarily classified, and speaking with multiple sources to confirm and piece together the details of a story that may be of tremendous public interest.In turn, journalists increasingly feel the need to adopt elaborate steps to protect sources and information, and eliminate any digital trail of their investigations—from using high-end encryption, to resorting to burner phones, to abandoning all online communication and trying exclusively to meet sources in person.Journalists expressed concern that, rather than being treated as essential checks on government and partners in ensuring a healthy democratic debate, they now feel they may be viewed as suspect for doing their jobs. One prominent journalist summed up what many seemed to be feeling as follows: “I don’t want the government to force me to act like a spy. I’m not a spy; I’m a journalist.”This situation has a direct effect on the public’s ability to obtain important information about government activities, and on the ability of the media to serve as a check on government. Many journalists said it is taking them significantly longer to gather information (when they can get it at all), and they are ultimately able to publish fewer stories for public consumption. As suggested above, these effects stand out most starkly in the case of reporting on the intelligence community, national security, and law enforcement—all areas of legitimate—indeed, extremely important—public concern.Read the section on Journalists here.What the reported effects are on lawyers (from the summary of the report):Lawyers face a different challenge. They have a professional responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of information related to their clients on pain of administrative discipline. They also rely on the ability to exchange information freely with their clients in order to build trust and develop legal strategy, which is especially important in the realm of criminal defense. Increased government surveillance undercuts these longstanding and central elements of the practice of law, creating uncertainty as to whether lawyers can ever provide true confidentiality while communicating electronically with clients.Lawyers we interviewed for this report expressed the greatest concern about situations where they have reason to think the US government might take an intelligence interest in a case, whether it relates to the activities of foreign governments or a drug or terrorism prosecution. As with the journalists, lawyers increasingly feel under pressure to adopt strategies to avoid leaving a digital trail that could be monitored; some use burner phones, others seek out technologies they feel may be more secure, and others reported traveling more for in-person meetings. Some described other lawyers expressing reluctance to take on certain cases that might incur surveillance, though by and large the attorneys interviewed for this report seemed determined to do their best to continue representing clients. Like journalists, some felt frustrated, and even offended, that they were in this situation. “I’ll be damned if I have to start acting like a drug dealer in order to protect my client’s confidentiality,” said one.The result is the erosion of the right to counsel, a pillar of procedural justice under human rights law and the US Constitution.Read more about the responses from lawyers and their clients hereThe report finds that “uncertainty is a significant factor shaping the behavior of both journalists and lawyers. The combination of the sheer number of surveillance programs, the complexity of the underlying legal regimes, and the lack of clarity as to their scale and scope renders it practically impossible for any layperson to discern which forms of communication and data storage are secure and when they may be reasonably subject to surveillance.” Human Rights Watch and the ACLU strongly urge the United States to:end large-scale surveillance practices that are either unnecessary or broader than necessary to protect national security or an equally legitimate goal;strengthen the protections provided by targeting and minimization procedures;disclose additional information about surveillance programs to the public;reduce government secrecy and restrictions on official contact with the media; andenhance protections for national-security whistleblowers.NPQ has written on numerous occasions about the dependence on civil society on civil liberties, but this report sends a chilling shot across the bow for us all.I would like to acknowledge that the source article for this newswire came from the Intercept, a new news site established this past year by Pierre Omidyar.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share18TweetShare4Email22 SharesDamen & Concord, Wicker Park, Chicago / Richie DiesterheftOctober 2–8, 2015; Chicago NewsThese aren’t pleasant times in Chicago. The truly horrible news is that this past September was Chicago’s deadliest September since 2002, with more than 60 homicides. For the year, homicides so far are up over one-fifth compared to the same time period in 2014, and shooting incidents are up 75 percent. While the nation focuses on the truly horrible mass murders that occur with regularity, such as the recent tragedy at Umpqua Community College where a young man executed nine people, in Chicago, the homicides come nearly daily, usually in multiples on weekends, and continue so inexorably they are almost accepted as facts of life and death in some of the city’s neighborhoods.Prior to the bankruptcy, a similarly spiraling crime rate and impending sense of violence and danger could be found in neighborhoods in Detroit and in the downtown area. When cities start to collapse, the indicators are multiple and interrelated. Although plenty of cities are in the midst of economic boomlets, that wasn’t the case in pre-bankruptcy Detroit and may not be the case in Chicago today.In the Chicago News, a weekly free newspaper, David Malone asks whether Chicago’s financial crisis is making the city into a new Detroit. While Chicago has cut expenses and raised revenues to reduce the city’s operating deficit to its lowest level since 2008, the city is still in fiscal difficulty. Malone cites the statement of Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, that the city started 2015 with a deficit of $426 million. “There is no doubt this year’s budget will require difficult choices,” the mayor wrote in the cover letter for the city’s Annual Financial Analysis.Emanuel said that the solutions, if there are any, necessitate an “all hands on deck” commitment from “elected officials and residents alike.” Echoing Detroit, one of the big challenges is to pay down the city’s unfunded pension debt for the pensions of police and firefighters and presumably other retired public servants. In this year’s budget, the City adopted a property tax increase, and for 2016 is expected to charge households for garbage pickup and to tax e-cigarettes. Despite these increases plus already having one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation, the new revenues will not eliminate the deficit of unfunded pension liabilities or the challenges in maintaining municipal services.Malone asks his readers, “Is Chicago in as much trouble as it seems and do we have another Detroit on our hands? Or will the ship begin to right itself?”“All hands on deck” would seemingly involve Chicago’s philanthropic foundations and its community of nonprofits, much like it did in Detroit, though with solutions that fit Chicago’s distinct circumstances. Mayor Emanuel has not declared bankruptcy, the city’s political dynamics have not taken the kind of body blow dealt to Detroit’s under the leadership of now jailed ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and despite the financial crisis, there do not appear to be federal judges and major foundations crafting a Chicago version of Detroit’s “Grand Bargain.” That being said, there will be questions about what Chicago’s nonprofit sector is prepared to do and when.On the website of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the largest grantmaker based in Illinois, there is a statement of commitment to its home city: “MacArthur is committed to Chicago, our headquarters and our home. The Foundation seizes opportunities to work locally as an expression of civic commitment and because being rooted in Chicago yields a deeper understanding of issues faced by urban areas and how to address them.” The foundation is certainly attuned to the deficit issue, providing grant support to the Fiscal Futures Project at the University of Illinois, which this year issued Apocalypse Now, a devastating critique of the state’s structural deficits compounded by a history of financial gimmicks.Not long ago, however, the MacArthur Foundation announced that it was ending its significant portfolio in housing (and other areas) in order to focus on climate change and violence reduction, which had significant impact on the 75 or so local groups that have long received MacArthur support. MacArthur “genius” award winner Hipolito “Paul” Roldan, president and CEO of the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, described the MacArthur decision as “not good, especially at a time when we have a governor biting economic bullets and a city verging on bankruptcy.” If Mayor Emanuel were to approach MacArthur with a request that it play a substantive, financial role in helping the city through its fiscal crisis, there is no saying how the new mission focus of the foundation might shape its response.MacArthur may be the “bigfoot foundation” in Chicago, but it has company with other respected grantmakers on the scene. For example, MacArthur was joined by the Joyce Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, and the Chicago Community Trust in paying for the Civic Federation’s 2011 analysis of the city’s financial challenges, a sober review of the city’s structural deficit and the shortcomings of one-off non-recurring revenue responses. That analysis and others didn’t delve into the “other” deficits that the city and state face, including the huge shortfall in the budget of the Chicago public schools, projected earlier this year at $1.1 billion.Malone asks his readers if Chicago is another Detroit. The issue is much more than Chicago’s serious problem of gun violence and homicides—not just a strategy of responding to this problem, but a question of how to pay for the policing and programs necessary to stem the spate of shootings. The question for Chicago’s philanthropic sector may be, do Chicago’s philanthropic leaders have a strategy in mind for what foundations could and should do in case the mayor and the aldermen show up to ask the tax-exempt sector for Detroit-like emergency help?—Rick CohenShare18TweetShare4Email22 Shares
Share11TweetShare10Email21 SharesJanuary 1, 2016; Topeka Capital-JournalOne of the nonprofit roles most crucial to democracy is that of holding government and corporations accountable. But performing this role is hard to do when you cannot see in, even when it comes to voting for the representation you want. It’s for this reason we need the “sunshine” nonprofits that help open up the transparency of government so that accountability is possible. In many cases nonprofits and media outlets work together on accountability projects, and this is one such situation.In Kansas, which recently received an “F” from the Center for Public Integrity for its level of integrity, state legislators can (and mostly do) submit bills under cover of anonymity. In fact, in 2015, 92 percent of the 750 bills filed were not attributed to the legislator introducing the measure but to a “committee.” It is the only state to provide this kind of “cover” for those meant to represent the public.Partly on the basis of that ranking, the Capital-Journal has called for a good-government reform bill that would ban anonymous bills:In our new era of openness, researching the identity of bill sponsors would be no more complicated than pressing a few buttons on the Legislature’s website. In the event of a legislator proposing a bill on behalf of a special interest, the motion could read: Introduced by Rep. Dennis Hedke, R-Wichita, on behalf of American Petroleum Institute.It would also require all House and Senate committee meetings to be streamed online. The technology, the paper points out, is already there, having been installed in the latest state house renovation, and the packaging of bills into large bundles would be ended. Additionally, “informational” committee hearings, which the paper asserts “encourages committee chairs to orchestrate one-sided hearings on issues would be ended.”Other states given a failing grade by the Center for Public Integrity were Delaware, Maine, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Wyoming, and, dead last, Michigan.—Ruth McCambridgeShare11TweetShare10Email21 Shares
Over 90 satellite operators, manufacturers and financiers have written to various governments voicing their concerns over a proposed piece of international legislation called the Unidroit Space Assets Protocol, sponsored by the Unidroit organisation, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law.This Protocol aims to develop a new legal framework for financing satellite and space programmes despite the fact that, according to the group of operators, manufacturers and financiers, no problems have been identified with the existing framework for financing satellites.“Rather than promoting financing, the Protocol in fact risks complicating and damaging what is currently in place. The industry would be confronted with the prospect of obligations and costs from new legislation that purports to remedy a problem that simply does not exist,” the companies said in a statement.They said that the legislation is counter-productive when governments are urging industry to create more jobs and spur growth. “Additional bureaucracy will bog down procurement, would reduce investment and result in the creation of fewer jobs in one of the most innovative and successful industries in the world,” they said.
European football body UEFA has awarded the 2012-15 Champions League media rights in Slovenia to SportKlub and Telekom Slovenia.Each match week SportKlub will show live the best-pick Wednesday match, followed by a highlights programme.Telekom Slovenia has been awarded the rights to all the remaining matches and will broadcast the best-pick Tuesday match each match week, followed by a highlights programme on Planet TV. Further matches will be broadcast on Telekom Slovenia’s IPTV channel.The Champions League final and Super Cup have been awarded to both broadcasters on a co-exclusive basis.
Danish service provider TDC is to merge its cable TV outfit YouSee with its mobile operator Onfone.The move will see YouSee marketing mobile telephony service as part of its offering, although the Onfone brand will remain. The merger will take place next year.TDC said its decision was aimed at offering “seamlessly integrated household solutions”.
Lithuanian service provider Teo’s base of IPTV subscribers grew by 12.2% last year to 172,300, according to the company.Teo’s multiscreen online TV service, Interneto.tv, saw subscriber helped boost its IPTV performance, the company said.Digital-terrestrial TV homes served by the company fell by 11.4% however, to 66,080.The overall number of pay TV subscribers in Lithuania grew by 4% in the same period to 728,250, according to the company.Teo now has a 29.7% share of the pay TV market in terms of revenue and a 44.1% share of the digital TV market in terms of revenue.The company’s share of the pay TV market in terms of subscribers now stands at 23.5%, followed by Cgates wth 16.8%, Viasat with 13.9% and Init with 14.3%.Teo reported that its broadband subscribers also grew rapidly in the course of 2013, ending the year with 431,000 subs, up 11.7%, with growth in fibre and wireless access compensating a loss in ADSL subs.Revenue from TV services grew by 8.1% in 2013 to LTL62 million (€17.9 million), accounting for 8% of total revenue, the company said.
Motive Television is set to integrate Google’s Chromecast technology into its TabletTV apps, so that viewers with the device can ‘cast’ what they are viewing onto TV screens. The new functionality will become available during the next two months via an update to the TabletTV app, according to Motive. The new functionality will work with the existing TabletTV iPad app, as well as an upcoming app for Android tablets.Motive launched TabletTV – a digital tuner that is designed to let UK viewers watch Freeview TV from a tablet or mobile device in conjunction with a TabletTV app – for pre-order in December.“This exciting development is an example of the huge potential of TabletTV to partner with major technology and television platforms to create a better, more flexible, high-value experience for the consumer,” said Motive CEO Leonard Fertig, commenting on the Chromecast launch.“This is just the first of our anticipated strategic and product cooperation agreements with industry players that will benefit TabletTV customers.”
Paul StechlyThe board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) has named its 2015 lineup of directors and has appointed a number of new officers and governors to fill vacant positions.Paul Stechly has been appointed SMPTE finance vice-president to complete the term of Matthew Goldman, who was elected in October to serve as the Society’s executive vice president.William C. Miller becomes SMPTE membership vice-president, and Douglas Sheer will serve as New York Region governor. Andrew Setos will serve as Hollywood Region governor, replacing Clyde Smith, who is retiring.Alan Lambshead, SMPTE standards vice president, has reappointed Bob Edge and Howard Lukk to serve as standards directors along with the newly appointed Paul Treleaven.Patrick Griffis, SMPTE education vice-president, has reappointed Michael DeValue, Michael Bove, Peter Putman, and Al Kovalick as education directors. Karl Kuhn was reappointed as North American membership director. The SMPTE said additional appointments would follow.
The BBC’s iPlayer saw a 2% month-on-month increase in iPlayer requests in May, bucking what it said was the usual seasonal trend of lower usage in spring and summer.The catch-up service recorded 276 million requests in May, TV requests were up 10% year-on-year to 122 million – an additional 20 million requests compared to May 2014.Tablets and mobile devices accounted for 46% of all requests in May, with TV platform operators accounting for 12%, and TV devices as a whole accounting for 19%, up due the recategorisation of some TV devices. For TV requests, TV platforms and devices accounted for 23% of requests, with tablets and smartphones accounting for 44% and computers for 26%.Peter Kay’s Car Share accounted for four of the top five requested programmes in May.