Former Venezuelan boxing champion Antonio Cermeño kidnapped and killed

first_imgPdte @NicolasMaduro lamentó la pérdida del ex campeón mundial Antonio Cermeño pic.twitter.com/VIYImQMZJz— Delcy Rodríguez (@DrodriguezVen) February 26, 2014 Related posts:Fugitive Venezuelan opposition leader surrenders at rally Venezuela’s Maduro caught between pragmatism, ideology Maduro picks new scapegoat for Venezuela’s problems Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo López gets nearly 14 years prison Cermeño had been working as a trainer and took part in government programs to disarm the population in this country with rampant violent crime and promote sports as a way to keep young people away from street life.Authorities did not say what the motive of the kidnapping might have been nor clarify what happened to the family members abducted along with him.Civic organizations estimate an average of 65 people are killed violently each day in Venezuela, making it one of the most violent countries in Latin America. Facebook Commentscenter_img CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan boxing champion Antonio Cermeño has been abducted in Caracas and killed, local authorities said.Cermeño was a World Boxing Association super bantamweight and featherweight champion in the late 1980s and ’90s.Cermeño, 44, was kidnapped along with his family Monday in eastern Caracas and his body was found Tuesday along a highway in the northern state of Miranda.President Nicolás Maduro sent a tweet lamenting his death.last_img read more

The New York Times calls for marijuana legalization

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – The New York Times called for the legalization of marijuana on Saturday, ina bold editorial comparing the federal ban on cannabis to Prohibition.The prestigious publication said pot laws disproportionately impact young black men and that addiction and dependence are “relatively minor problems” — especially when compared with alcohol and tobacco.“It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished,” the newspaper said.“It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol. The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.”Noting that the editorial board reached its conclusion after much discussion, The Times described the social costs of marijuana laws as “vast.”Citing FBI figures showing there were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012 — far higher than for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives — it said “the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.”While advocating for a ban on marijuana sales to those under 21, the paper also said the “moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults.”The call comes just weeks after recreational pot sales began in the western U.S. state of Washington, which followed Colorado’s decision to let people buy marijuana with no medical prescription.And earlier this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill making New York the 23rd state to legalize marijuana for medical use.In another recent move reflecting growing public support for easing marijuana laws, the House of Representatives voted in May to bar federal authorities from raiding medical marijuana facilities or growers in states that have legalized its use. Elizabeth Owens protests on the steps of New York City Hall in support of the proposed Fairness and Equity Act, which would attempt to reform racially biased arrests in regards to marijuana possession in New York state, on July 9, 2014 in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFPCall sparks reader reaction The Times editorial, titled “Repeal Prohibition, Again,” kicks off a series of pieces on the issue by members of the editorial board and invites readers to weigh in.The first have already done so, with their views posted on the newspaper’s website.E.S. Lawrence, a self-described 20-year veteran high school teacher, expressed concern about children getting access to the substance, describing it as a “gateway drug” with detrimental effects on memory and learning.“It’s NOT a benign drug. As long as there’s a danger of pot being acquired by children, I’m against legality,” Lawrence posted.But Emmett Hoops argued that legalization would allow for both taxation and regulation, adding that “mere decriminalization keeps profits in the hands of criminal gangs.”“It is beyond ridiculous to keep marijuana illegal while tobacco and alcohol kill scores every day in our state,” Hoops, from New York, posted.In January, President Barack Obama made headlines when he said smoking pot was no more dangerous than drinking, though he called the practice a “bad idea.”In comments to The New Yorker magazine, the U.S. leader also noted that poor minority youths were more likely to get prison time for using marijuana than their richer counterparts.However, he stopped short of calling for legalizing the drug at the federal level. Facebook Comments Related posts:Medical marijuana opponents’ most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research Colombia president supports allowing medical marijuana 92 percent of California patients say medical marijuana works Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change.last_img read more

Haiti president defends first 2 years in office

first_img Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Marc pointed to a newly paved road in the Delmas district of the capital, where he lives, as one of the administration’s concrete accomplishments. He also hoped the government would be able to bring down the cost of basic food staples.Martelly’s critics showed their disdain for the president the past two years by organizing street protests, including one Tuesday, and by criticizing him on the Senate floor. But there has been no sign of a united front in the opposition.A potential opposition figure has emerged in Aristide, who made his first public appearance last week as part of trip to court to answer questions for a judge investigating the unresolved case of a slain journalist. The two-time president had not openly ventured from his home since returning from exile in 2011, and his motorcade through the capital drew thousands of supporters.A leader in Aristide’s Lavalas political party said it wants to run in still unscheduled legislative and local elections.The vote was supposed to have been held in late 2011 but was delayed because of infighting, the holdup frustrating Haiti’s international partners. A nine-member electoral council was created last month but has yet to announce a date for the vote. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019center_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober He also said he opposed the division that has long been a hallmark of Haitian politics and invited former leaders Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Jean-Claude Duvalier to meet with him.“It’s for you all that I’m working,” Martelly told a crowd of several thousand people on the plaza in front of where the National Palace stood before it collapsed in the devastating 2010 earthquake. “A lot of things are starting to happen.”As one of his biggest accomplishments, he pointed to a school program that he said has enrolled more than a million children by covering their tuition. There have been no independent studies to verify the number and critics have said they believe the number of students enrolled in the program is lower.Martelly, a former pop star known as “Sweet Micky” who was famous for his raunchy stage antics, spent his first year trying to install a government with an opposition-controlled Parliament. The second year was largely spent trying to implement government projects, many of them heavily focused on courting foreign investors and tourists.“I’m happy that we have a government that’s finally thinking about development,” said Jean Marc, a 28-year-old who sported a pink Martelly T-shirt that read “Victory is always for the population” _ a slight variation on a government slogan. PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Haitian President Michel Martelly defended his administration Tuesday as he marked two years in office, pointing to a national school-tuition program, social protection projects and the return of tourism as his leading achievements.Pacing on a stage in downtown Port-au-Prince, Martelly ad-libbed for about 30 minutes about his government’s accomplishments that were detailed in a 500-page book that he held aloft. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Quick workouts for men Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Agents still vital for intl bookings

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Travellers are returning to the more traditional form of booking an international trip with up to 55 percent of Australians using an agent to book overseas holidays last year.Roy Morgan figures found that although the figure was up from 53 percent of Aussies who used an agent for an international booking in 2010, it still remains below the 68 percent high of 2007.The company’s international director of tourism, travel and leisure Jane Ianniello explained that statistics emphasised the importance of an agent when it comes to booking a long-haul trip which tend to require complex itineraries. “The Roy Morgan Travel Agent Monitor shows that Australians taking long- or medium-haul overseas holidays to destinations such as Europe, the United States or the Middle East have recently increased their usage of travel agents when making a booking,” Ms Ianniello said. Last year up to 31 percent of Aussies used an airline to book their overseas trip down from 33 percent the prior year. Despite the commitment to agents, bookings on sites including Wotif and Webjet also continue to esculate with now 12 percent of travel trips booked online compared to seven percent in 2007. “The latest Roy Morgan State of Nation Report shows early signs of a move back to more caution in the Australian population,” she cautioned. “Whether the move back to travel agents is part of a larger shift occurring in the population or more of a reaction to recent airline disruption is important for all in the travel industry to understand and monitor.”last_img read more

Existing Home Sales Prices Up in February

first_img Existing-home sales rose 0.8 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million, the “”National Association of Realtors””:http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2013/03/existing-home-sales-and-prices-continue-to-rise-in-february reported (NAR) Thursday. Economists had expected the sales pace to climb to 5.01 million from January’s originally reported 4.92 million. January sales were revised up to 4.94 million.[IMAGE]The median price of an existing single-family home rose to $173,600 in February as the median price in January was revised down to $170,600.The inventory of homes for sale rose for the first time since last July, up 9.6 percent to 1,940,000. At the reported sales pace, that represents a 4.7-month supply of homes for sale, up from the 4.3-month supply reported for January.The month-over-month increase in sales was the eighth in the last 12 months. February sales were 10.2 percent ahead of the pace one year ago.The report on existing-home sales tracked NAR├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) which fell in December to its lowest level since June. The PHSI, however, bounced back in January to its highest level since April 2010. Weak prices continue to contribute to the reluctance of homeowners to list their homes. The median price of an existing single-family home averaged $176,500 over the last six months, down from $180,000 in the previous six months (which included the summer months, typically a stronger sales period). Listed inventory, according to the NAR, is 19.2 percent below a year ago, when there was a 6.4-month supply.Sales continue to be plagued by weak inventory. The inventory of homes for sale has averaged 2,189,000 for the last 12 months, down from 2,832,000 for the previous 12 months.Though the February median price was up 11.6 percent from a year ago, the median price of an existing single-family home has fallen for five of the last eight months. The median price is down 24.6 percent from the July 2006 peak of $230,300 and is off 8.1 percent from the 2012 peak of $188,800 in June.[COLUMN_BREAK]Distressed homes–foreclosures and short sales–accounted for 25 percent of February sales, up from 23 percent in January but down from 34 percent in February 2012. Fifteen percent of February sales were foreclosures, and 10 percent were short sales compared with January, when 14 percent of sales were foreclosures and nine percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in February, while short sales were discounted 15 percent. In January, foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent, while short sales were discounted 12 percent.Unlike the government report on new home sales which tracks contracts, the NAR report is based on closings, which means this report (though labeled ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£February├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø) actually reflects economic conditions in December, when contracts were signed amidst uncertainty that ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£fiscal cliff├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø negotiations would affect the mortgage interest tax deductions and other homeownership incentives.The median time on market for all homes was 74 days in February, 24 percent below 97 days in February 2012, the NAR said. Short sales were on the market for a median of 101 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 52 days and non-distressed homes took 77 days. One out of three homes sold in February was on the market for less than a month.First-time buyers, according to the NAR, accounted for 30 percent of purchases in February, unchanged from January; they were 32 percent in February 2012.Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 630,000 in February, 8.6 percent above February 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $238,800, 7.6 percent above a year ago and up 5.6 percent from January.Existing-home sales in the Midwest slipped 1.7 percent in February to a pace of 1.14 million, 12.9 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $129,900, up 7.7 percent from February 2012 but down 1.1 percent from January.In the South, existing-home sales increased 2.6 percent to 2.01 million in February, 14.9 percent above February 2012. The median price in the South was $150,500, up 9.3 percent from a year ago and up 2.0 percent from January.Existing-home sales in the West rose 2.6 percent to 1.2 million in February, 1.7 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West rose to $237,700, 22.7 percent above February 2012, but off 0.4 percent from January._Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 a.m. and again at 9:20 a.m. Eastern time._ March 21, 2013 427 Views Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Existing-Home Sales Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Mark Lieberman National Association of Realtors Pending-Home Sales Processing Service Providers 2013-03-21 Mark Liebermancenter_img Existing Home Sales, Prices Up in February in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

Clinical Trial Awareness Day great success

first_img State Rep. Gail Haines yesterday hosted Michigan’s first Clinical Trial Awareness Day at the Capitol. Twenty-eight different medical institutions from around the state attended to present information on 44 different clinical trials.“I am so pleased we were able to bring awareness to the great medical research that is taking place across our state,” said Haines, R-Waterford. “Many of these clinical trials focus on some of the most debilitating diseases a person can suffer from such as cancer, diabetes and mental illness. Clinical trials are a way for patients to find hope and therapeutic comfort.”William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Sparrow Medical Center in Lansing, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit were some of the organizations present. They were able to give the public a glimpse of the more than 3,400 clinical trials that are taking place in Michigan. These trials have provided 95,000 jobs and brought $12 million to Michigan’s healthcare industry.“The medical research and devices that are being worked on here in Michigan can provide so much for our economy,” Haines said. “I think as we continue to look at ways to improve our financial infrastructure and road infrastructure, that it is important for us to include our medical infrastructure in that conversation.”For those interested in discovering more about the clinical trials in Michigan visit www.clinicaltrials.gov, where there is a searchable database that shows all current and past clinical trials in the state of Michigan.“Clinical Trials in Michigan provide new hope for patients,” Haines said. “However, many people do not know how to find about them. My hope is that this day was an opportunity to learn more about what trials are offered in our state, and it is my goal to make Michigan even more research friendly for the future.”##### Categories: News 31Jan Clinical Trial Awareness Day great successlast_img read more

Rep Pettalia attends ceremony honoring Frank Kelley with state complex walkway

first_img23Oct Rep. Pettalia attends ceremony honoring Frank Kelley with state complex walkway Former Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley (center), who served from 1961 to 1998, was honored this week at a ceremony that named the state government complex walkway east of the Hall of Justice building after him. The legislation for the recognition was approved unanimously by the Legislature, and House and Senate lawmakers attended the Oct. 23 ceremony, including Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle (second from left.). Kelley began his law career in his native Alpena and served as city attorney before being elected to state office, where at 37 years he set a national record for longest serving attorney general. The 2½ block-long Frank J. Kelley Capitol Walkway carries pedestrian traffic between the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals office building and state government buildings named for Kelley’s contemporaries: William Milliken, governor from 1969 to 1983, and Richard Austin, secretary of state from 1971 to 1995. Categories: Newslast_img read more

Rep Sheppard Michigan House approves plan to improve roads

first_img Plan helps Monroe County and entire stateState Rep. Jason Sheppard of Temperance today voted in favor of a plan to invest an additional $175 million into road repairs across Michigan as soon as possible.“This additional money will significantly help improve the roads in Monroe County,” Rep. Sheppard said.  “This investment is from money left over from a previous budget cycle, and I am glad to see it being used to improve our infrastructure.”The money included in the bill approved today comes in addition to previous changes that provide more funding for road and bridge projects in Michigan.The new bill includes money for counties, cities and villages throughout Michigan.Estimated local allocations include Monroe County ($1,232,033), Dundee ($32,436), Petersburg ($9,596), Luna Pier ($11,255), and Milan ($41,587).The money is left over from a previous state government budget cycle and is already available, meaning no budget cuts or additional fees are required for the investment.House Bill 4321 advances to the Senate for further consideration.### 21Feb Rep. Sheppard: Michigan House approves plan to improve roads Categories: Sheppard Newslast_img read more

Rep Whiteford Raise the Age reforms approved by House committee

first_img16Apr Rep. Whiteford: ‘Raise the Age’ reforms approved by House committee Categories: Whiteford News Plan ends policy requiring 17-year-olds to be treated as adults in courtThe House Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved state Rep. Mary Whiteford’s plan to improve the way 17-year-olds are treated in Michigan’s criminal justice system.Whiteford, who sponsored the plan alongside a bipartisan group of her colleagues, said Michigan is one of just four states still requiring all 17-year-olds to be prosecuted as adults – even those who commit the most minor offenses. She said eliminating this outdated practice will help rehabilitate young offenders and reduce the likelihood of them breaking the law again in the future.“Sending young people to serve in adult prisons alongside hardened criminals is not the right approach,” said Whiteford, of Casco Township. “The juvenile justice system is better equipped to help 17-year-olds get back on the right track, so they’re less likely to reoffend in the future.”The proposal would raise the age at which individuals are considered adults for the purposes of prosecuting and adjudicating criminal offenses, allowing 17-year-olds to be treated as minors within the juvenile system in most circumstances beginning Oct. 1, 2021. Prosecutors would continue to have discretion, allowing them to waive minors who commit violent crimes into the adult system when appropriate.The measure also includes a funding plan to ensure local communities do not incur any additional costs associated with keeping 17-year-old offenders in the juvenile system, which is administered at the local level. Funding was the key sticking point that halted similar reform efforts in the past.Whiteford said the proposal is expected to save public tax dollars over time. Other states that have raised the age have downsized their juvenile justice systems and lowered both short-term and long-term costs. Including 17-year-olds in the juvenile system has been shown to reduce reoffending by 34 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.House Bills 4133-46, 4443 and 4452 now move to the full House for consideration.###last_img read more

Upper West Side Landlord Harassment Nonprofit Legal Assistance is Critical

first_imgShare12Tweet3ShareEmail15 SharesJune 19, 2015; New York Times“Before this, Meyer and I lived in a crummy rent-controlled apartment in the city,” said Jessica Orbach about the mansion in Englewood, New Jersey, where she and her husband, real estate mogul Meyer Orbach, live. The tenants of the apartments the Orbach Group has purchased in the last several years know that rent-controlled units can be lifesavers, but the Orbach Group wants to toss them out.According to Corey Kilgannon writing for the New York Times, the Orbach Group has purchased a number of buildings around Columbia University in Manhattan and is engaged in trying to push out existing tenants in order to make way for higher-rent-paying Columbia University students. The stories Kilgannon relates—for example, about retired doorman Tommy McCarthy trying to hold onto his rent-controlled apartment where he has lived his entire life, or former policeman Vincent Simplicio who has battled with Orbach over the legality of the lease his common-law wife has for his apartment—aren’t unusual if you have experienced rapidly gentrifying housing markets.For tenants like McCarthy, Orbach has adopted a strategy which, given the legality of their rent-controlled tenancy, is aimed at disrupting their way of life. For these long-time tenants on the West Side, a typical activity is sitting on the front stoop. It is the gathering place for neighbors, the spot where people interact and, for those of us who lived in apartment buildings with stoops, look after each other. Described by Kilgannon as a “hardened stoop-sitter,” McCarthy has received letters from Orbach charging him with loitering on the front stoop of his building. Orbach has installed metal gates on the stoops of some two dozen buildings it owns just south of Columbia with the clear intent to chase away the stoop-sitters.According to The Real Deal, Orbach Group acquired a 33-building residential apartment building portfolio for $246 million in 2013 and closed this past April on a 48-unit apartment building on West 108th Street (McCarthy lives the next street over on 109th Street) for $27.5 million. In 2013 alone, Orbach acquired multi-family properties in Central Harlem and the Upper West Side amounting to more than 1,000 units.The desired tenants are Columbia University students who will pay many more times the rents that current tenants do. The Orbach Group markets its apartments under the name CoSo Apartments—“CoSo” meaning Columbia South—with a company logo in Columbia University’s colors and an academic-looking drawing of buildings and an open book. It also offers tenants free shuttle bus service to Columbia. The university maintains that it has no connection to Orbach/CoSo and does nothing to market the units to its students.Orbach’s targeting of the lucrative Columbia University student market is all you need to know about why nonprofit tenant advocates are so essential in gentrifying—or regentrifying—areas. The nonprofit MFY Legal Services is representing scores of tenants resisting Orbach’s efforts to get them out. The Orbach strategy, according to MFY Legal Services attorney Jason Blumberg, is to pursue eviction cases against tenants, including tenants in good standing, with efforts that require detailed and precise answers. Some tenants end up failing to answer motions properly, miss deadlines, and ultimately lose their leases. “Part of the strategy is, you sue everybody and you get people out bit by bit, and the whole enterprise sort of pays for itself,” MFY’s Blumberg said.Recently, the office of New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman informed some tenants that the AG’s office was investigating Orbach for tenant harassment, “frivolous eviction proceedings,” and “aggressive, unwanted buyout offers to vacate rent-stabilized units,” much like the strategy Blumberg described.This isn’t the first time that Orbach Group has been accused of tenant harassment, not by a long shot. Last year, for example, West Side Manhattan newspapers documented Orbach/CoSo strategies, including installing cameras inside smoke detectors for tenant surveillance, hiring private detectives, and other techniques to strong-arm tenants out of their apartments. Marti Weithman, the president of the nonprofit Goddard-Riverside SRO Law Project, says that tenants began coming to her organization complaining about strong-arm landlord tactics as far back as 2009 when Orbach first began building the company’s portfolio on 109th Street.As expected, a lawyer for the Orbach Group told Kilgannon that everything on the landlord’s side was on the up-and-up. Avi Schick said that the landlord was committed to fixing up apartments that had been acquired in bad shape, that tenant actions were taken against renters who were not using their apartments as their primary residences (which under rent control would be a legal violation), and, “If tenants are paying their rent, as low as it might be, no one’s doing anything to them.”There is such animus against rent control and against tenants, who are sometimes implicitly viewed as a lower-order player in the housing markets than more desirable homeowners, that the kinds of vacancy decontrol tactics being pursued by the Orbach Group don’t get much attention in the public and even among nonprofits. No one seems to care much about the low-income tenants who are being bullied out of their apartments; Greg Smith recently reported in the New York Daily News that in a portfolio of 24 buildings Orbach Group owns, the company had filed 215 cases against tenants, roughly two suits for every three tenants. The tenants are often older, often Latino, and hard-pressed to keep up with the legal juggernaut of Orbach suits. If it weren’t for the nonprofit legal assistance groups, themselves constantly underfunded, understaffed, and overworked, one can only imagine where these tenants would find themselves.Jessica Orbach might want to remember that she left her “crummy rent-controlled apartment” voluntarily, because she and Meyer had designed a house beautiful for themselves in Englewood. The approximately 2,000 tenants that Orbach controls in Upper West Side apartment buildings don’t have a luxury home waiting for them.—Rick CohenShare12Tweet3ShareEmail15 Shareslast_img read more

The Uncomfortable Truth Race Matters Are National News

first_imgShare6TweetShare3Email9 Shares“Games are Rocked by Black Power – 1968.” Photo credit: Martin BelamJune 2, 2017; Chronicle of Higher EducationThe headline reads, “A Polarized Campus Struggles to Understand How Racial Tensions Became National News.” Really? Could it have anything to do with the fact that, lately, any racial tension is national news? Or maybe it is because the most widely read publication among college and university professionals, the Chronicle of Higher Education, has over the last three years published more than three hundred articles on the subject of race issues. Historically, media coverage on race did not matter unless it was negative or destructive.In recent years, we see that much of the engaged media share a sense of urgency for racial and ethnic issues in the United States. Coverage across a variety of sources has focused on watershed events, including a rash of police shootings. There has been a common theme of fear, including, variously, fear of the police and fear of rapid demographic change. Liberal and conservative media have characterized these events and the reporting of them differently.In 2016, the New York Times created a newsroom-wide team for covering race. The thinking is that given the complexity of race, the media coverage should be more thoughtful.The “polarized campus” is a decidedly liberal liberal arts college located in Olympia, Washington, where close to 60 percent of its residents vote Democratic. Evergreen State College is a racially diverse institution. In 2016, the college reported 25.6 percent minority population, including African American, Native, Asian, Hispanic, and Pacific Islanders. The events at Evergreen State University and the resulting media coverage is an example of how the source of media coverage underscores why race matters.The controversy began with Black students’ accusations of campus police harassment and culminated with what appears to be miscommunication around this year’s observance of the campus-wide Day of Absence. The “Day,” observed since 1970, was an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to go off-campus to discuss campus race issues. In later years, a “Day of Presence” was added to allow campus-wide discussion with returning Black students.This year, organizers decided to try and reverse the process by asking non-Blacks to observe and participate in the Day’s activities instead. Things took a decidedly downward turn. Bret Weinstein, a professor known for his progressive beliefs and actions, chastised the Black students for progressive racism. As he wrote in an email, he believed that “there is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles… and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away.” That was followed by a student outcry of racism, institutional racism, protests on campus protests in his classroom, and a demand to the college president that Weinstein be fired. Finally, a credible telephone threat of armed violence resulted in a two-day shutdown. The school reopened June 3rd.In the beginning, when there were only campus memos, letters, emails and lists of demands, the matter attracted the attention of blogs and local print and media coverage. Media coverage began to influence and drive events at the college. Angry state legislators, citing racism on the campus, vowed to introduce a bill phasing out Evergreen’s funding. State Rep. Matt Manweller claimed there was peer pressure to force white people off campus and that protests had been reminiscent of communist witch hunts by some in Congress in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as intimidation tactics of Nazi “brownshirts.” They questioned if political correctness influenced the president’s granting student demands—most notably, excusing protesters from homework assignments.The shutdown brought increased social media attention as well as national print and media coverage from both ends of the political spectrum. Videos circulated of protesters confronting Weinstein have shown tense and sometimes angry moments. Weinstein appeared on Fox News to talk and even wrote a provocative titled op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “The Campus Mob Came For Me and You, Professor, Could Be Next.”After the Fox News appearance, right-leaning media outlets, including Breitbart News, covered the story with fake-news commentary about the mainstream media’s lack of coverage, in spite of the New York Times’ eyebrow-raising op-ed, “When the Left Turns on Its Own.”The downside is that media coverage has begun to influence events at the college. On Monday, June 5th, another campus-wide threat of violence kept Evergreen State College closed until 3 pm, with classes cancelled. KATU News reports the school is open today.—Mary Frances MitchnerShare6TweetShare3Email9 Shareslast_img read more

KIT Digital the cloudbased software provider for

first_imgKIT Digital, the cloud-based software provider for multiscreen video management and delivery, has closed the asset purchase of US OTT specialist Sezmi.KIT Digital paid consideration of approximately US$27 million (€21 million) in a mixture of stock and cash, plus earn-outs for Sezmi. As part of the transaction, the company has acquired 18 patents related to over-the-top platform provision in the mobile, online and digital terrestrial television environments“Sezmi has been an early mover and one of the few direct competitors providing integrated, multi-device platforms for OTT premium content offerings with unique capabilities in hybrid 4G/LTE and DTT deployments,” said Gavin Campion, president of KIT Digital. “Our companies share a commitment to serving the most complex client needs in our industry, and we are excited to kick off 2012 with the addition of their major clients, valuable technology and patents, and world class personnel.”The company said it estimates that “contracted and visible pipeline business” from Sezmi will generate revenues of at least US$20 million this year.last_img read more

TV manufacturer Samsung is considering spinning of

first_imgTV manufacturer Samsung is considering spinning off its LCD activities to focus on more profitable next-generation flat-screen panels.The LCD business has been hit by oversupply and the entry of low-cost Chinese manufacturers.According to local reports, Samsung may merge its LCD business into Samsung Mobile Display, which was set up by Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI to make organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, panels. Samsung and other manufacturers are looking to use OLED technology, which can be used to produce very thin displays and is currently mostly used in smartphones, in TVs.The LCD business posted a loss of 750 billion won last year.last_img read more

German cable operator Kabel BW has added shopping

first_imgGerman cable operator Kabel BW has added shopping channel QVC HD to its offering and will begin airing QVC Beauty next month.The HD version of QVC, which launched in September, airs daily themed shows covering fashion, accessories, beauty and vitality, household, technology, jewellery and watches, kitchenware and hobbies. QVC Beauty focusses on beauty, wellness, care and styling products.last_img

BSkyB has secured live rights to English Premier L

first_imgBSkyB has secured live rights to English Premier League football in Ireland for the next three seasons. Sky has secured 116 live matches per year for the 2013-16 seasons. Sky has been awarded live rights across all platforms, including satellite, cable, IPTV, online and mobile.“These rights mean that Sky Sports remains the home of the Barclays Premier League in Ireland. With more live matches than ever before, our Irish viewers can enjoy an unrivalled choice of the biggest and best games across Saturday evenings, Sunday afternoons and Monday nights,” said Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports.last_img read more

Polish IPTV service provider Netia has said CEO Mi

first_imgPolish IPTV service provider Netia has said CEO Mirosław Godlewski is resigning from the firm, after announcing underwhelming full-year 2013 results and cutting its guidance for 2014.In a statement, Netia said that Godlewski, in agreement with the company board, had decided to stand down by August 31 at the latest, but has “contractually agreed” to remain in place until his replacement is found.The news came as Netia reported a 12% year-on-year drop in full year revenues, which came in at PLN1.876 billion (€443 million) – lower than the firm’s original guidance of PLN1.925 billion.Adjusted full year EBITDA was down 7% year-on-year at PLN551 million, but surpassed Netia’s original target of PLN525 million.In spite of this, the firm cut its full year targets for 2014 to revenues of PLN1.735 billion and adjusted EBITDA of PLN505 million as it aims to shore up its business and cut costs.“Management expects 2014 to be a year of consolidation with a focus on providing the foundations for the newly established B2B and B2C Business Units,” Netia said in a statement.“While Management expects to continue growth in on-net services with broadband, TV and B2B services all registering growth, the short-term priority will be to add additional product features, improve processes and reduce the cost base in order to sell more effectively in subsequent years.”last_img read more

TV Everywhere viewing in the US was up 63 yearon

first_imgTV Everywhere viewing in the US was up 63% year-on-year in the second quarter, according to Adobe’s latest Digital Video Benchmark report.The study said that some 12.7% of pay TV viewers were watching this content on different devices in Q2 2015, a 19% jump over Q4 2014, but down slightly compared to Q1 2015.Authenticated viewing on TV-connected devices, such as Apple TV and Roku, grew 110% year-on-year, though Adobe said this growth is slowing.“What we’re starting to see is that potentially some of the friction in the process of setting up TV Everywhere or figuring out which device you want to use might be starting to cause a slowdown,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for Adobe Digital Index.“We think generally the demand is there, but we may have reached a tipping point where to get to the next level it needs to be simpler to sign in.”The Adobe report said that the iPad was the number one device that consumers used to view TV Everywhere content, with some 22.3% using an iPad to do so. Second on the list were PCs at18.3%, followed by iPhones at 18.2% and Apple TV at 12.8%.In total Apple accounted for up to 61% of TV Everywhere viewing, according to the study, which claimed that Apple’s install base “paves the way for an all-in-one solution from Apple.” This follows reports that “Apple will make some sort of announcement in September about a streaming TV service, which could spur a major growth cycle for TV Everywhere.”last_img read more

FC Portos Estádio do Dragão Portuguese service pr

first_imgFC Porto’s Estádio do DragãoPortuguese service provider Meo – the brand used by Altice-owned Portugal Telecom – has pulled Porto Canal, the TV channel of football club FC Porto, from the TV service of rival pay TV operator Nos after the pair failed to strike an acceptable deal.The pair are engaged in a battle over football rights. Meo secured the rights to FC Porto matches in a deal that also gave it distribution rights to Porto Canal earlier this year. Nos meanwhile secured the rights to rival clubs Benfica and Sporting – in the case of the former from this season and for the latter from 2017-18 – along with the distribution rights to both teams’ TV channelsNos accused Meo of failing to present a realistic proposal for the carriage of Porto Canal and said that the failure to strike a deal validated its strategy of seeking to own sports rights.Meo meanwhile accused Nos of failing to respond to its proposal.The Portuguese football championship itself is currently broadcast on the Sport TV channel owned by Nos and Portuguese businessman Joaquin Oliveira, with the exception of Benfica home matches, which are exclusive the Benfica TV channel until the end of the current season. Both FC Porto and Sporting’s matches are set to remain on Sport TV  via contracts with Oliveira’s PPTV for the next two seasons.last_img read more

Peter Smith Antenna Group has launched an SVOD ser

first_imgPeter SmithAntenna Group has launched an SVOD service in Greece. The ANT1 Next streaming service rolls out today and comes after Antenna tested the market with a TVOD service last year.ANT1 Next is priced at €2.99 a month and has exclusive scripted programming including popular local dramas – Brousko and Tamam – and box sets and catch up content.“We are delighted to be launching our new SVOD service in Greece following the huge success of our TVOD platform last year,” said Antenna Group managing director, Pete Smith.“Viewers want more flexibility in how they consume content and ANT1 Next allows our audience – particularly the younger demographic – the opportunity to watch an episode of their favourite show before it airs on our linear channel or to catch-up on one of our primetime entertainment programmes.”Tariq Syed, its managing director of digital assets and thematic channels told DTVE sister title TBI that the with low pay TV uptake and continuing economic woes, the TVOD launch last year was a way to gauge the appetite of Greek consumers.“With the economy, and low pay TV penetration, there isn’t an established propensity to pay for content, so we didn’t know if it was the right time, but we decided to test the market,” he says. “Free-to-air is around for the long term, but we think [on-demand and streaming] will be the future at some point. We wanted to get in early.”Having demonstrated there was an appetite for paid-for services the group decided to launch SVOD he added. A crucial differentiator to Netflix will be the emphasis on local content. “In the smaller markets where there will generally be one key service that people go to,” Syed said. “We’re programming our service with local content. Netflix is a higher price and has a non-local portfolio.”Antenna Group also operates web TV platform Netwix, which offers exclusive short-form content across comedy, entertainment, lifestyle and gaming genres.last_img read more

Videoondemand gives broadcasters the chance to t

first_imgVideo-on-demand gives broadcasters the chance to tap into the growing demand for consumers to be able to watch content on their terms – at any time on any device.Online on-demand services including iPlayer and Hulu have proved popular. While on-demand viewing is nothing new, operators are beginning to see real demand from customers for VOD services and broadcasters have taken note.For Lousie Cottrell, vice-president of affiliate sales for pan-European broadcaster Chello Zone, demand for traditional linear channels remains strong but the popularity of on-demand has increased, particularly over the last year. She says that, for Chello, the role of VOD is to build loyalty amongst its viewers: “On-demand services have served as an additional means of taking our content and brands to a wider audience. This means viewers that are creating their own channel environment via PVR or VOD are keeping our brands front-of-mind. If we can offer the content audiences are looking for across our range of channels and they can find this content without having to try too hard, it will increase our chance of building solid viewer loyalty.”Her sentiments are shared by Greg Ricca, president and CEO Discovery Networks International. Discovery has invested heavily in its digital presence across the globe and Ricca says it is playing an important role in getting viewers to interact with the brand beyond the linear channels. “It is increasingly important for us to connect with consumers through multiple touch points. In today’s fragmented environment they turn to brands they can trust, like Discovery,” he says, adding that VOD is just one way of reaching consumers. The broadcaster currently offers 17 online destinations, mobile services, online VOD, download-to-own content (via iTunes) as well as content syndication.One reasons for the growth in on-demand is the development of digital networks, particularly amongst European cable operators. MTV Networks International’s emerging markets division focuses on developing channel brands in emerging EMEA markets. Its approach to VOD varies by market, according to Bhavneet Singh, the company’s managing director and executive vice-president: “Within emerging markets we’re seeing more operators asking for VOD content and we’re seeing VOD becoming an increasingly important part of the mix as the industry develops and especially as major platform operators start upgrading their infrastructure.”HBO Central Europe, headed by CEO Linda Jensen, is another international broadcaster present in the CEE region. It has developed an SVOD service featuring the same content available on its premium channel alongside HBO-branded library content. For Jensen, international broadcasters including HBO must provide a branded multi-screen environment, something that VOD services can help to deliver. “With the advent of on-demand, this can be implemented either by another branded feed or by the products available on the on-demand service.”For Niall Curran, chief operating officer of Chello Zone’s parent Chellomedia, it is important to follow the lead of service providers in giving them what they need for on-demand services. “Our task is to be there as it’s needed,” he says. Chellomedia’s most promising venture in this area is its SVOD service in the Netherlands. The basic model, he says, is to deliver SVOD services to accompany and complement the linear channels.“We’re seeing more operators asking for VOD content and we’re seeing VOD becoming an increasingly important part of the mix as the industry develops.”Bhavneet Singh, MTVNI Emerging MarketsWhile the BBC has seen great success with iPlayer in the UK, it has yet to take it out to the international market. However, the corporation’s Global Channels unit, a division of its commercial arm BBC Worldwide, has been developing a broadcast SVOD service. While launching linear channels forms the core strategy, says Dean Possenniskie general manager and senior vise-president EMEA, VOD could offer a key route to market. “Part of the reason that pay-TV has held up well in this recession is the value for money that’s being offered through new technology such as VOD and HD. So it’s critical that we’re bringing a strong VOD package to market, with very good content within it,” he says. “Our focus is on channels and building those channel brands, but we definitely think that VOD is really important and we have been working over the past six months to build a branded SVOD offering that we can take to platforms. As a relatively new channel provider it’s an important means of market entry.”For sports broadcasters, the live nature of events means a traditional VOD services is unlikely to prove popular with sports fanatics, but catch-up services might work. “Live sport does not have a long shelf life,” says Eurosport’s managing director distribution and development Jean-Thierry Augustin. But that’s not to say recently broadcast footage loses its appeal instantly. Catch-up services that allow users to watch a match they’ve missed within a few days can be popular. While Eurosport sees most value coming from live coverage of  sport, it has launched a catch-up service with several operators in Europe. “Live sport is something viewers want to see directly or rapidly after the event,” says Augustin. “But we believe there is a market for catch-up TV if it enables viewers to catch-up on a game or event that they have missed.”OnlineIn terms of online catch-up services, BBC iPlayer was the success story in Europe when it launched last year, boasting 271 million requests to view programmes during the year. Its popularity has carried on into this year but the BBC is not alone, with similar services from the likes of Channel 4 and ITV in the UK, and TF1 and Canal Plus in France also proving popular. The demand for online catch-up service has not gone unnoticed by international broadcasters. “I believe without a shadow of a doubt that the internet is the future of television,” says Linda Jensen, CEO, HBO Central Europe. “I don’t believe any serious channel brand will continue to exist ten or fifteen years from now unless it begins to generate significant traffic to its own website for its own product in the near future.”Most broadcasters dabbling in the online space are focusing not only on developing their own websites, but also syndicating content to certain third party websites – whether via general-interest websites including YouTube or niche players.According to MTVNI’s Singh, broadcasters must be prepared to develop own destination sites as well as syndicating content to third parties. “While we do invest in strong verticals around our channel brands, such as Comedy Central through key properties like South Park with the southparkstudios.com site, we are also more than happy to work with high traffic aggregators such as MSN.” There is also a third option, Singh says – content embedding: “It’s a great way to empower consumers to evangelise your content. We’re certainly seeing very significant incremental streams and consumption where we have this functionality in our platforms and it’s something we’re very focused on rolling out further.”Discovery International has improved the video functionality on a number of its websites recently but still sees value from third-party sites. “Online platforms provide opportunities for Discovery to add breadth to its offering and extend its reach to the widest possible audience,” says Ricca. “We’ve refreshed our website assets with new content players and other rich media applications to create a more interactive user experience. We have also extended our network strategy with online destinations…including a recent partnership with Baidu.com in China and the launch of four international YouTube channels last year.”As with sports, questions also remain over the relevance of VOD for news content, although some broadcasters have still forged ahead with on-demand packages. However, there is little denying the relevance and popularity of delivering online video footage – something that can give users instant and graphic coverage of events, especially whilst away from home via computers and mobile phones. The BBC recently signed a deal with UK newspapers the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Independent and Daily Mail to share its video content on their websites. Video news covering UK politics, business, health and science/technology will be made available in a branded video player.Sky News in the UK has the advantage of being part of a larger organisation with a significant online presence, which has contributed to its view that it is best to rely on its own proprietary platform for distribution. “Partnerships make sense in getting reach, but having control of our product means it’s best to go it alone,” says Steve Bennedik, head of technology at Sky News. The channel’s online presence was revamped this year with enhanced graphics and video features. “In terms of online we have had strong growth over the last year,” says Bennedik. Sky News’ online audience is 65% UK-based but it has a significant – mostly expatriate – and growing international audience. The channel has moved some way towards integrating its broadcast and online news teams by basing them in the same facility. “For Sky News today, all platforms are of equal importance,” says Bennedik.France 24 has also embraced online, both through syndicating its content to third party sites and via its website France24.com which attracted seven million users in June. According to Philippe Rouxel, vice-president worldwide distribution, France 24, spreading content across third party websites has helped the brand gain visibility and a larger audience in a short period of time. “Given the nature of the channel, when you join and collaborate with other key media, it also adds credibility to your editorial,” he says. He warns, however, that broadcasters should find a balance between syndication and developing their own core audience.Middle East news provider Al Jazeera has made a play in the mobile space and has even managed to attract a significant number of paying customers, according to Phil Lawrie, director global distribution Al Jazeera Networks. “Our mobile service is deployed on over 60 operator platforms with a quarter of a million paying subscribers,” he says. “We established our bespoke Al Jazeera English VOD bulletin this year which is tailored to the small screen of website media players and mobile handsets and this service is gaining increasing traction with partners.” July also saw the launch of the Al Jazeera English iPhone application. “We continue to be very active in all technologies,” Lawrie says.last_img read more