Vice President Ana Helena Chacón hosted a breakfast Friday morning at Casa Presidencial to recognize Costa Rica’s Paralympic athletes and the country’s newly created Paralympic Federation at the end of a week observing the rights of people with disabilities.“You all not only represent the incarnation of the human rights for people with disabilities to health, recreation and sport, you also represent the best of the human spirit,” Chacón said during the ceremony, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.Costa Rican Paralympians, including well-known athletes such as cyclists Laurens Molina and Ernesto “Lobito” Fonseca, have yet to qualify for the upcoming 2015 Pan American Paralympic Games in Toronto. Several other Paralympians already secured their spots and are set to compete next year, including swimmer Cristine Bucheim and runner Guido Rodríguez.The Costa Rica Paralympic Federation was created on Sept. 22 to provide resources to develop athletes’ talent regardless of their physical or mental limitations. The newly founded organization is headed by Paralympic table tennis athlete Domingo Argüello.The event Friday closed the national week in observance of people with disabilities. On Monday, Chacón signed a decree that aims to improve training and work opportunities for people with disabilities in Costa Rica, some 58 percent of whom between 15 and 35 years old are unemployed, according to figures from the 2011 national census.“First, we want to start by seeing these people as champions,” Chacón said, adding that many people do not think of people with mental and physical disabilities as athletes.“Today, we’re breaking that paradigm,” she said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Why is the Ruta de los Conquistadores so hard? Saprissa pounds Kansas City to advance to CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals 6 top Costa Rica sports stories of 2014 Costa Rican cyclist Andrey Amador moves into third place in the Giro d’Italia
Tourism Tasmania re-develops int’l marketing scheme. Image: ozehols Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Tourism Tasmania plans to develop a stronger relationship with Tourism Australia, in an effort to harvest the pulling power of Australia’s current international marketing campaign.Tourism Tasmania’s new chief executive John Fitzgerald said he has reviewed and examined the body’s current international marketing efforts and tactics and decided on some changes.“These changes will allow us to focus our effort and resources on the markets and areas where we have the best chance of influencing potential visitors to experience this fantastic island state,” Mr Fitzgerald said.“While this new approach will be embodied in Tourism Tasmania’s five-year tourism marketing strategy, we will also closely monitor our international markets in case further adjustments are required in response to changing market conditions,” Mr Fitzgerald said.Aside from building “a much stronger partnership” with Tourism Australia, the state body will also see changes to its own in-market representation.The recent Tasmanian bushfires have been a priority for Mr Fitzgerald, but the new changes will begin to take place during the first half of 2013.
Australian developer Crown Group has revealed the details of its luxury penthouse apartments in Sydney’s CBD, North Sydney and Parramatta.Last year the Group sold all four level-27 penthouse apartments in its $250-million Sydney by Crown, which include access to an open-air landscaped rooftop area.The newest luxury penthouses will lead the way with technology inclusions geared for entertainment such as multimedia touch-controlled home automation systems.A 150sqm master penthouse, the only apartment on the building’s top level, is set be retained as a serviced-apartment suite and will be bounded by a tranquil water feature.Crown Group director of project and commercial sales Roy Marcellus said the Sydney by Crown penthouses allowed buyers to own a prestigious home in the city’s next architectural centerpiece.“The success of Sydney by Crown’s penthouses is proof the luxury market is alive and well. The penthouses at Sydney by Crown represented a chance for buyers to secure a top-tier, luxury retreat with unrivalled views of Sydney’s CBD and surrounds,” Mr Marcellus said.All of Crown Group’s penthouse apartments across its locations include car spaces and storage, and the Sydney by Crown is expected to complete construction in 2017.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Ben S. Bernanke Federal Reserve Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Treasury Department 2011-09-30 Abby Gregory September 30, 2011 441 Views The “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ has gone on record again regarding the current state of the U.S. economy. Chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, spoke out recently confirming the organization’s commitment to take whatever steps necessary should the nation’s economic standing continue its slide.[IMAGE]Noting the Fed’s willingness to make non-traditional decisions and policy changes in light of the country’s challenging economy, Bernanke emphasized efforts to fiercely monitor price trends during Wednesday’s speech in Cleveland, Ohio. “”If inflation itself falls too low or inflation expectations fall too low, that would be something we’d have to respond to because we don’t want deflation,”” Bernanke said.Elaborating on his initial statements, Bernanke went on to say that he did not feel a critical decline in pricing was imminent at this time, and he also cited the rise of prices to above the 2.0 percent mark, which represents the Fed’s established “”comfort zone”” in terms of inflation projections.Bernanke’s key concern throughout his speaking engagement was the high unemployment rate in the U.S. “”We’ve had close to[COLUMN_BREAK]10 percent unemployment now for a number of years, and of the people who are unemployed, about 45 percent have been unemployed for six months or more. This is unheard of,”” he commented.The Fed has endured criticism lately related to its bond purchases, with detractors expressing concern about future instability and inflation on the heels of unconventional moves. Last week’s policy meeting brought forward more unorthodox plans from the Fed, with its announcement that $400 billion in “”U.S. Treasury””:http://www.treasury.gov/Pages/default.aspx securities set to mature within three years will be sold and then replaced with more long-term bonds that carry six to 30 year maturation schedules.Based on the need to keep interest rates low, which the Fed recently announced it would do until at least 2013, the Fed will also stop the attrition of mortgage-securities from within its portfolio. Bernanke’s appraisal of the American economy bordered on controversial at times, with his positive commentary on the behavior of lawmakers in emerging-market countries such as China and India.Bernanke was explicit with his statements, saying, “”Advanced economies like the United States would do well to relearn some of the lessons from the experiences of the emerging-market economies.”” Bernanke’s complimentary words toward China were somewhat surprising, given his prior critiques of the nation’s tactics; he has previously come down hard on China’s efforts to keep its currency at an artificially low value.Bernanke’s speech was delivered as part of the “”Cleveland Clinic’s””:http://www.clevelandclinic.org/ideas/ “”Ideas for Tomorrow”” series, but audiences from Capitol Hill to Wall Street took note of his statements. The Fed’s chairman also gave specific nods to technological developments and educational initiatives that he feels would benefit the U.S. Bernanke On the Fed’s Future Economic Initiatives Share
We’re about a month into the “Peyton Manning to (fill inthe blank)” rumors, and since we’re over a month away fromManning’s fate with the Colts becoming a known quantity,they’re not going away any time soon.Manning’s future was a hot topic in Peter King’s MondayMorning QB column on SI.com.Writes King:Manning might be fine and ready to playfootball in 2012, and maybe even a year or two beyondthat. Or he might wake up on March 1 and not feel fitenough, and get his release from the Colts, and then spendmore time rehabbing, trying to get fit enough and strongenough in the neck and arm to play this year. Or he mightsay, with new twins in the house, it’s all not worth therisk.King also referenced longtime NFL executive Gil Brandt,who said, “my gut feeling is that we’ve probably seen thelast of Peyton.” Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Wow.Another layer of speculation was heaped on Sunday nightduring NBC’s coverage of the Pro Bowl, when Manning’sformer head coach Tony Dungy dropped his thoughts on thefuture of #18.“I do not think he’s going to play for another team,”Dungy said. “If he’s healthy enough, he’ll play for theColts. If he’s not healthy enough, he’ll retire.”Pretty strong words from a man who spent seven seasonswith Manning as his quarterback.Dungy’s statement came just hours after Colts owner JimIrsay took to Twitter to refute an NFL Network claim thatthe decision to waive Manning was made weeks ago. Comments Share Top Stories
Corinthia Hotel London is staging a year-long Neuroscience in Residence, a first for any hotel, to study the human brain.Running between November 2016 and December 2017, the five-star luxury hotel in central London’s Whitehall Place has teamed up with neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart. She will research the mental resilience of a selection of hotel staff and loyal business guests of the hotel. An analysis of how they cope with stress will generate a special Brain Power Study at the end of the residency.All participants will be given brain-boosting advice on how to maximise their potential, at work and at home covering sleep, hydration, diet, exercise and mindfulness.Tara will also give four talks throughout the year, explaining how the science of the brain can be applied to topics such as politics, technology and business. One will tackle why psychopaths, narcissists and sociopaths often occupy company boardrooms.Neuroscience is in the vanguard of research into how the brain affects behaviour and cognitive function; it is fundamentally changing our understanding of how the brain works and why people behave the way they do. Tara’s cutting-edge work helps leaders of some of the world’s most successful companies get a competitive edge by understanding and improving the physical condition of their brains, thus achieving mental resilience and peak brain performance.Guests and visitors to Corinthia Hotel London during the 13-month residency can optimise their brain power performance by sampling a specially-created Brain Power Package. The package nourishes the brain with a menu of essential nutrients that help create, protect and repair brain cells; hydrates the brain with a selection of Brain Power Drinks to help mental functioning; and indulges the five senses with a two-hour Mindful Massage with Yoga Nidra at the hotel’s ESPA Life spa. This is designed to help reduce stress and enhance focus through breathing and visualisation techniques; and helps the brain’s glymphatic system – the waste clearance system of the brain – do its essential night-time work by creating conditions in guest bedrooms for undisturbed sleep.Dr Tara Swart is a neuroscientist, leadership coach, award-winning author, Senior Lecturer at MIT Boston and medical doctor. She is the only top-tier leadership coach with both a PhD in neuroscience and a medical career as a psychiatrist.
By Stefanos EvripidouU.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Cyprus sent “loud” messages to the rest of the world that Cyprus can provide an alternative energy corridor for the supply of natural gas, said Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis yesterday.Speaking to public broadcaster CyBC, the minister said: “The visit of the US Vice President sends big and loud messages to many places abroad. (The Americans) see Cyprus not only as an alternative source of supply but potentially an alternative corridor of energy supply.”Cyprus and America have a number of priorities set that they will pursue in the following months to achieve tangible results, said Lakkotrypis.He mentioned examining ways to achieve the best possible exploitation of hydrocarbons in the region to ensure supply to the EU.The minister also spoke about the need to look at how the EU could provide practical assistance in the construction of an LNG terminal at Vassilikos.Asked whether pressure was put on Cyprus to agree to export its gas reserves to Turkey via pipeline, he said: “I can state categorically that the Americans have not raised this issue.”Lakkotrypis said the US and Cyprus delegations discussed Europe’s need to wean itself off of energy supplies- a likely reference to the EU’s dependence on Russian gas- and create alternative corridors of energy supply.Regarding Cyprus’ plans to build an LNG terminal, the minister said Biden stressed the various options that exist for dealing with hydrocarbon deposits and the need for Cyprus to choose the best one taking into consideration the time factor.“Look, certainly the US will also look at the interests of its partners active in the region,” he added.Asked about US views on the need to secure Cyprus’ rights over its Exclusive Economic Zone, in the face of continued Turkish harassment, Lakkotrypis said: “They consider it a given.”He called for patience, arguing that US diplomacy should be allowed to do its work.Assessing the Biden visit yesterday to reporters, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides highlighted the role Cyprus could play in enhancing regional cooperation.“Cyprus can be useful in the transport of natural gas, which cannot be done directly by some neighbouring countries,” he said, refraining from going into further detail.Some commentators suggest the US is interested in the possibility of Cyprus acting as a go-between for Israel and Egypt though, exactly how has not been made clear.Asked whether this regional cooperation would take place using pipelines, liquefied natural gas or compressed natural gas (CNG), Kasoulides said the government’s policy remains in favour of the use of an LNG terminal at Vassilikos to export natural gas.“This has not changed and is in our plans.”However, given the less than expected reserves found so far in Block 12, an LNG terminal for the moment is not sustainable, unless the relevant companies with Israeli offshore concessions decide to pool some of their deposits with Cypriot hydrocarbons to make a Cyprus-based LNG terminal viable.Otherwise, Cyprus has to wait and see the results of planned hydrocarbons exploration by ENI and TOTAL in Cyprus’ EEZ, he said.“We, like all others, are interested in the speedy economic exploitation of these hydrocarbons, and are obliged to have alternative solutions, like floating (LNG) units, Egypt,” he said; a possible reference to the option of sending Cypriot gas to one of the two currently inactive LNG terminals in Egypt for export as a short-term quick fix.Regarding CNG, he clarified compressed gas can only be used when dealing with short distances, for example, from Block 12 to Vassilikos, and would not work for export to distant markets.A pipeline to Turkey is also an option but only after a Cyprus problem solution, said the foreign minister, adding that this does not invalidate planning for a terminal “because it is wise for each country to have more than one method of export to secure their flow”.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoTruthfinderEnter Any Name, Wait These Seconds, See Instant ResultsTruthfinderUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: News,Pagel News,Pagel Photos 11Sep Pagel, local firefighter take part in House ceremony honoring 9/11 anniversary The Michigan House of Representatives today conducted a ceremony to honor the eight military members and first responders from Michigan who lost their lives in the line of duty in the past year. The ceremony also commemorated the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.State Rep. Dave Pagel (left) attends the third annual 9/11 ceremony held by the Michigan House of Representatives along with Lt. Dave Francis of the Berrien Springs/Oronoko Fire Department.“These brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep our local communities and our nation safe, and I am glad we were able to honor them in this way today,” said Rep. Dave Pagel, R-Oronoko Township. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of their families and loved ones.”The event included an invocation by Rep. Bruce Rendon and the presentation of the colors, as well as acknowledgment of all first responders and their families in attendance and recognition of the fallen first responders and military.Pagel was joined by Lt. Dave Francis of the Berrien Springs/Oronoko Fire Department during the Michigan House’s annual ceremony.###
Categories: News,Roberts News 06Apr Rep. Roberts demands transparency, accountability by MCCA Mid-Michigan lawmaker outraged by sudden auto insurance rate hikeState Rep. Brett Roberts, of Charlotte, is calling for the legislature to look into the books of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), in the wake of a 13-percent increase per vehicle slated to begin on July 1, 2018.“The Catastrophic Claims Association was established in statute,” Roberts said. “There’s no logical reason that the legislature should be barred from seeing the details to help protect ratepayers across the state.”The MCCA was established in Michigan’s Insurance Code, specifically Act 218 of 1956. Those that write insurance policies in the state are members of the association, and they are the sole administrators of the collected dollars.“The fund has over $20 billion in it, and it is still growing. Now we are led to believe that there is not enough money to match their potential liabilities. If $20 billion is insufficient, they shouldn’t have any trouble proving it to us,” Roberts continued. “To effectively reform the insurance system in Michigan, we need to look at legislation that includes transparency for the MCCA, rather than ignores it.”The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association is not currently subject to state government oversight, including the Freedom of Information Act or the Open Meetings Act.#####
State Rep. Daire Rendon of Lake City will sponsor local office hours for the month of June.“I always look forward to the opportunity to meet with my constituents,” Rendon said. “I want residents to know I am invested in them and effectively represent their interests and needs in Lansing.”The representative will be available at the following times and locations:Friday, June 1Crawford County: 9 to 10 a.m. at Goodale’s Bakery, 500 Norway St. in Grayling; andKalkaska County: Noon to 1 p.m. at Trout Town Tavern & Eatery, 306 Elm St. in Kalkaska. Categories: Daire Rendon News Friday, June 8Ogemaw County: 9 to 10 a.m. at West Branch Area Chamber of Commerce, 422 W. Houghton Ave. in West Branch;Roscommon County: Noon to 1 p.m. at Roscommon Township Hall, 8555 Knapp Road in Houghton Lake; andMissaukee County: 3 to 4 p.m. at Missaukee County Commission on Aging, 1980 S. Morey in Lake City. 22May Rep. Rendon invites residents to June office hours No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those who are unable to attend, but would still like to speak with the representative, may contact her Lansing office at (517) 373-3817 or DaireRendon@house.mi.gov.###
Categories: Reilly News 08Jan Local residents can meet with Rep. Reilly on Jan. 21 State Rep. John Reilly invites residents to join him for local office hours in Oxford and Orion Township on Monday, Jan. 21.“I am committed to making state government accessible and accountable to the people,” Rep. Reilly said. “Local residents who are interested in discussing legislative matters or have questions related to state government are encouraged to stop by at their convenience.”Office hours take place at the following times and locations:6 to 7 p.m. at the Oxford Library, 530 Pontiac St. in Oxford; and7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Orion Township Library, 825 Joslyn Road in Orion Charter Township.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Reilly at 517-373-1798 or via email at JohnReilly@house.mi.gov.
09May Speaker Chatfield, Chairman Wentworth respond to House approval of car insurance reform Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and state Rep. Jason Wentworth, chair of the House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates, today issued the following statements in response to the Michigan House approving no-fault car insurance reform:Speaker Chatfield: “This has been a top priority for the House of Representatives, because it is a top priority for the people we represent. Everyone in Michigan, from every corner of the state, is overpaying for their car insurance and that has real, lasting effects on household budgets. It is well past time we fixed this rigged system and achieve meaningful solution. This historic bill is our best chance to guarantee lower auto insurance rates, increase consumer protections, lower hospital bills, and help Michigan families in every community around the state make ends meet. Solutions like this are exactly what the people of Michigan sent us here to do.”Rep. Wentworth: “Here’s the bottom line: Michigan families are sick and tired of paying astronomical car insurance rates they cannot afford. The House has delivered a real, long-lasting fix to the state’s broken no-fault car insurance system because that’s what drivers demand and deserve. It’s a clear top priority. We were successful because we took a different approach from years past. By creating a special committee solely dedicated to reducing costs for every motorist across the state, we were able to spend the past 15 weeks taking testimony, hearing from Michigan drivers and their families and meeting with every stakeholder working on this issue in an inclusive, transparent and deliberative process. We rolled up our sleeves, set our differences aside and approached the issue with open minds to come up with a plan to lead the way to a better Michigan. We delivered.” Categories: Wentworth News
ShareTweet7ShareEmail7 Shares“Hawksbill Turtles floats underwater, Indian Ocean coral reef, Maldives.” Photo credit: Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock.comMay 6, 2019; New York TimesA new 1,500-page United Nations report finds “that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction,” reports Brad Plumer in the New York Times. Yesterday, a summary of its findings, approved by representatives from 132 countries, including the US, was released.While recognition of humanity’s global environmental impact is not new—leading some to label our present era the Anthropocene—the latest UN report paints a grim picture. In addition to foreseeing mass extinctions, other findings include:Land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23 percent of the global land surface, up to US$577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss.100-300 million people are at increased risk of floods and hurricanes because of loss of coastal habitats and protection.In 2015, 33 percent of marine fish stocks were being harvested at unsustainable levels.Plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980.300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped annually into the world’s waters.Fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean “dead zones” with a land area of nearly 95,000 square miles (larger than the United Kingdom).Absent transformative change, these trends are expected to continue to 2050 and beyond. “For a long time, people just thought of biodiversity as saving nature for its own sake,” Robert Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which conducted the assessment for the UN, tells Plumer. “But this report makes clear the links between biodiversity and nature and things like food security and clean water in both rich and poor countries.”Standard approaches such as measures that protect individual species (such as the Endangered Species Act in the US) or wildlife refuges are inadequate to the task at hand, the report explains. Instead, what is required are more “transformative changes,” such as curbing wasteful consumption, reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint, and strict controls on logging and fishing.Sandra Díaz, a lead author of the study and an ecologist at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina, adds that, “We need to build biodiversity considerations into trade and infrastructure decisions, the way that health or human rights are built into every aspect of social and economic decision-making.”The report notes that, since 1500, at least vertebrate 680 species have been driven to extinction “including the Pinta Giant Tortoise in the Galapagos in 2012.” But things could get a lot worse. The report notes that “an average of around 25 percent of species in assessed animal and plant groups are threatened…suggesting that around one million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss. Without such action there will be a further acceleration in the global rate of species extinction, which is already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years.” At risk are 40 percent of amphibian species, a third of marine mammals and a third of reef-forming corals. More broadly, more than 500,000 land species face extinction risk “many within decades, unless their habitats are restored.”Global warming, notes Plumer, makes matters worse. “Roughly five percent of species worldwide are threatened with climate-related extinction if global average temperatures rise two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the report concluded. (The world has already warmed one degree.)”Still, climate change is only one of many drivers of extinction. “If climate change were the only problem we were facing, a lot of species could probably move and adapt,” Richard Pearson, an ecologist at the University College of London, tells Plumer. “But when populations are already small and losing genetic diversity, when natural landscapes are already fragmented, when plants and animals can’t move to find newly suitable habitats, then we have a real threat on our hands.”Declining biodiversity not only eliminates species from the planet, but also harms human welfare. “Most of nature’s contributions to people are not fully replaceable, and some are irreplaceable,” the report authors note.There have been some successes. Conservation measures have saved some species, such as the Arabian Oryx and Przewalski’s Horse. The report adds that, “At least 107 highly threatened birds, mammals and reptiles (e.g. Island Fox and Seychelles Magpie-Robin) are estimated to have benefited from invasive mammal eradication on islands.” Plumer reports that 15 percent of the world’s land and seven percent of its oceans have set up nature reserves and wilderness areas, which still means most areas are unprotected.Plumer notes that world diplomats will gather for meetings under the Convention on Biological Diversity, a global treaty, over the next two years to discuss how to step up their conservation efforts. But as Jake Rice, a leading Canadian fisheries scientist, tells Plumer, at this point “our options are all about damage control.”—Steve DubbShareTweet7ShareEmail7 Shares
OTTtv World Summit speaker Peter Fregelius, head of competence team entertainment at Swisscom, talked to Digital TV Europe about his company’s entry into the OTT space. Why did Swisscom decide to make such an early move in the OTT space? The reason that Swisscom made such an early move in the OTT space is the huge customer need in this area. The need to be able to watch live TV or on demand content wherever you are, at whatever time you want. Whenever Swisscom sees such a clear customer need we work as fast as possible to cover it with a new product, service and/or product feature. Our multiscreen TV offer Swisscom TV air is one example.Should OTT services be offered as value-added service to customers, or can they be used to generate revenue in their own right? We believe that OTT services can be offered in different ways, for example as a value-added service on existing products, as part of new offers or as a new service to generate revenue by itself. The decision between these possibilities depends on the service itself. Swisscom decided to offer its multiscreen TV offer as a value-added service for customers with a product bundle subscription but also sell the product as a separate service – and so is generating revenue with it.Would you ever consider delivering all your video services over-the-top, ie without the need for a set-top box? To deliver our Swisscom TV service directly to a TV screen is something that we are interested in but only when it’s possible to guarantee a high quality user experience to our customers.What role should social media play in the development of OTT services? This is a really good question and I’m not quiet sure if there is currently anybody who knows the ultimate answer. We know that social media is playing an active role within the recommendation area. You get recommendation from friends telling you what content they have liked or disliked. It’s the same as happens in any social interaction today. The question is how we can include it in our existing offers so that it gives value to the end customer without being too intrusive. Other possibilities like generating personal playlists and spreading them in social media forums must first be tested to see if there is a real customer need. But we are convinced that social media will play a much stronger role on smartphones and tablet devices than on the big screen at home. Smartphones and tablet devices are personal devices. The big screen in the living room is a shared device that isn’t optimal for social media services that tend to be very private. Even within a family.How important is it to ensure a consistent experience across different devices? What are the main challenges that need to be overcome with this regard?In our opinion it’s very important for the end user to have a homogenous user experience to find his way around the service across all devices as quickly and simply as possible. So it’s important that there are at least certain parts of our TV service accessible by any screen. We recently launched the possibility to watch your recordings from the STB at home via smartphones and tablet devices while you are on the go. The other way around, the possibility to programme a recording or to bookmark a video-on-demand on your smartphone while travelling and then watch it on the big screen in the living room when you are home again, gives the end user freedom and flexibility and generates value for them. To implement these kinds of services in a way that they are easy to use becomes quite complex IT projects. But as long as there is a value for our customers we will try to identify these use cases and to implement them.
Satellite operator Eutelsat has named Antoine Castarède as chief financial officer and Raphaël Mussalian as chief technical officer.Castarède will join Eutelsat on September 1. He comes to Eutelsat from Oger Telecom, the majority owner of Turk Telekom, where he has been CFO since 2006, based in Dubai.Ariane Rossi, Director of Accounting, Controlling & Corporate Finance, and currently Acting Chief Financial Officer, will become Deputy Chief Financial Officer.Mussalian succeeds David Bair who is moving to Washington DC as the new CEO of Eutelsat America, replacing Ron Samuel.
Robert RuijterSatellite operator Inmarsat has appointed Robert Ruijter, the former CFO of firms including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, publishing company VNU and electronic components maker ASM International, to its board.Ruijter will join as an additional non-executive director on February. He currently also sits on the supervisory boards of Dutch cable operator Ziggo and piping manufacturer Wavin and is also on the board of Interxion.“The Inmarsat board is delighted that Rob Ruijter has agreed to join our board. He brings excellent financial experience from across a broad range of global companies. The board believes he will be a great addition, providing strong financial and commercial inputs,” said Inmarsat chairman, Andrew Sukawaty.
Failed cloud TV service Aereo has reportedly put its intellectual property and hardware up for sale at a bankruptcy auction this week. According to a Bloomberg report, Aereo has predicted that its assets could fetch from US$4 million (€3.5 million) to US$31.2 million, which will be used to pay back creditors.The firm is reportedly looking to sell one approved patent and 17 pending patents relating to its blocked cloud TV service, as well as its disk space, server racks, electronics and office items.Speaking to Albert Fried & Co analyst Richard Tullo tipped Dish Network, Verizon Communications and Apple as major firms that may be interested in Aereo’s IP.Aereo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, citing the regulatory and legal challenges to the company that “have proven too difficult to overcome.”In a blog post at the time, Aereo said that it has appointed Lawton Bloom of Argus to serve as Aereo’s chief restructuring officer and claimed that Chapter 11 proceedings would allow the firm to “maximise the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts.”In June last year, the US Supreme Court ruled by a majority of six to three that Aereo’s strategy of charging customers a monthly fee for retransmitted streams of US broadcast channels violated copyright and was illegal.
Erik Dähne and Richard FahringerGerman cable operator Tele Columbus has named a new management team to take charge of HL Komm, the enterprise business-focused unit it acquired along with Pepcom last year.Tele Columbus has named Richard Fahringer and Erik Dähne as co-CEOs of the unit, charged with developing the company’s position in the enterprise market under the Tele Columbus umbrella.HL Komm will continue to offer wholesale services to businesses including telephony, internet, networking and data centre services.Fahringer was named managing director of HL Komm in January, having previously worked for director of transformation and business development at IT and cloud specialist Nexinto.Dähne joined HL Komm with responsibility for project management and was most recently head of products and solutions.Fahringer and Dähne replace Uwe Nickl and Jürgen Mattfeldt, who are leaving the company.
Neil GaimanUK pubcaster the BBC and subscription VOD service are creating a six-part comedy based on the Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett novel Good Omens.Gaiman (American Gods) will be showrunner on the 6×60 mins series, which is set to go out on the BBC and Amazon in 2018.Amazon will get the global premiere rights, the BBC debuting it on British linear TV afterwards.The commission is significant for the BBC’s production arm, BBC Studios, which is set to become a commercial subsidiary with the ability to produce for third-party channels and services after receiving regulatory approval to do so.BBC Studios director Mark Linsey said the commission “demonstrates there is considerable appetite for BBC Studios to make programmes for other broadcasters”.The production company will coproduce Good Omens with Narrativia and The Blank Corporation.BBC commercial arm BBC Worldwide licensed the global SVOD rights to Amazon, and has first-run distribution rights for territories were Prime Video does not operate and global second-window rights.Good Omens is a satire about the prophesised end of the world, in which a fussy angel and fast-living demon who’ve been living on Earth decide they enjoy their mortal lives and attempt to sabotage the apocalypse.Cult novelist Gaiman will executive produce with Caroline Skinner (Doctor Who) and BBC head of comedy Chris Sussman (Fleabag).Gaiman and the late Disc World novels creator Pratchett wrote Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, which was released in 1990.“Almost 30 years ago Terry Pratchett and I wrote the funniest novel we could about the end of the world, populated with angels and demons, not to mention an eleven-year-old Antichrist, witch-finders and the four horsepeople of the apocalypse,” said Gaiman. “It became many people’s favourite book.“Three decades later, it’s going to make it to the screen. I can’t think of anyone we’d rather make it with than BBC Studios, and I just wish Sir Terry was alive to see it.”Referencing current geopolitical instability around the world, the BBC’s Sussman said:“It feels like a good time to be making a comedy about an impending global apocalypse.”“Spanning not only the universe but also the entirety of time, Neil Gaiman has created a story that may be the largest ever told on television,” said Joe Lewis, head of comedy and drama at Amazon Studios. “We’re excited to be working with BBC Studios to bring Neil and Terry Pratchett’s incredible book to life and to Prime members everywhere.”Amazon has also commissioned a second season of its new drama Sneaky Pete, which Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) co-created. The show became Amazon’s second-most-streamed original series for its first day release on January 13, behind The Man in the High Castle.
The collapse of public service broadcasting in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be “completely unacceptable,” attendees at an EBU event in Sarajevo heard this week.The conference was organised to address fears that public service media could collapse in the country due to insufficient and unsustainable funding and the need for reforms to media law.“Strong public service media is essential for the social, democratic and economic wellbeing of the country,” said EBU director general Ingrid Deltenre.MEP Cristian Preda added: “The idea of a future member state of the EU without public service media is unthinkable. It is as much an issue of European law as it is an issue pertaining to the democratic character of the country.”The EBU, which represents public service broadcasters, called for urgent financial help for Bosnian national broadcaster, BHRT, and said there needed to be public service media reform in the mid term to ensure “independent, professional and credible broadcasting”.The conference was held in in the offices of BHRT and was organised by the EBU, BHRT, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Journalist Association, the Council of Europe, the Office of the OSCE Representative of Freedom of the Media, the European Federation of Journalists and the South East Europe Media Organisation.