The Hagia Sophia will remain a museum, after a petition – launched by the Turkish Union of Permanent Vakifs of Historic Monuments and the Environment – was overruled by the Constitutional Court.The Union claimed that reading passages from the Quran and having Muslim prayers in the halls of the church should be allowed, but the Court did not comply with their request.This was the third such attempt made by this non-profit organisation, after their 2004 plea towards the prime minister to change the law so that the Hagia Sophia could open as a mosque, which received no response, and their 2005 petition to the Council of State, which was also rejected.After the Court’s decision was announced, the Union declared that this refusal constitutes a violation towards the freedom of religion. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
More than half (55%) of respondents take an active and regular interest in their pension savings, according to research by chartered accountant and business adviser Price Bailey.Its Workplace pensions: the members’ perspective report, which surveyed 2,017 pension scheme members, also found that 42% of respondents do not know whether they contribute to a defined benefit (DB) or defined contribution (DC) scheme.The research also found:60% believe it is their employer’s responsibility to ensure employees understand workplace pensions.28% of respondents do not know how long they will need a pension income for after they retire.37% feel they lack the understanding and knowledge to be more actively engaged with their pension.Just over half (53%) of respondents would like to access financial education or advice through the web or interactive tools, and 44% would like one-to-one meetings with specialist financial advisers.88% consider how their pension scheme is managed and run as either fairly or very important.86% of respondents say that the overall investment return of their pension is important, and 43% would avoid investing in businesses that conflicted with their ethical views even if they offered a better investment performance.Tom Freeman, head of pensions at Price Bailey, said: “This research has highlighted what pension scheme members are looking for from trustees and their employers, but also the lack of clarity which they have over how and where their money is being invested, and what the options are when they come to retire.“There is a clear expectation on employers to provide scheme members and employees with the education, information and access to advice in a clear, easily accessible form. This is vital to enable members to make informed decisions about their pension and to plan appropriately for their retirement, before it is too late.”
Stay on target HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster “Things end. That’s all. Everything ends. And it’s always sad. But everything begins again, too, and that’s always happy.”That sentiment, spoken so eloquently by the 12th Doctor last year’s Christmas special, exemplifies BBC favorite Doctor Who.Thirteen actors have stepped into the titular role, transitioning from one to another through the concept of regeneration—instituted in 1966 to allow the show to continue after the departure of its main character.Now, with the impending exit of star Peter Capaldi and another regeneration expected in December, YouTube user TheGaroStudios picked the right time to share a tribute to the Time Lord.The video, titled “Everything Ends,” recaps the Doctor’s story—from his ninth incarnation (Christopher Eccleston) to his 12th (Capaldi)—in true wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey fashion. Just don’t blink.In this four-minute supercut, Georgian video editor David Garuchava pieces together the Doctor’s confessions, admissions, and final words before each recent regeneration. (I’m not crying, you’re crying!)TheGaroStudios’ “Everything Ends,” published Jan. 13, has more than 164,350 views and 6,500-plus likes; it even got the stamp of approval from the official Doctor Who YouTube channel.Season 10 of Doctor Who returns to BBC and BBC America on April 15, marking the final dozen episodes from showrunner Steven Moffat and Capaldi’s pragmatic Doctor.But, it also introduces new companion Bill (Pearl Mackie), and what appears to be a number of fresh—and refreshed—characters, including emoji-face robots and an update to classic villains, the Ice Warriors.If the 50-year-old reptilian rapscallions don’t feed your nostalgia, the BBC recently released Doctor Who‘s lost four-season serial “The Power of the Daleks” on DVD and Blu-ray.Also, keep an eye out this weekend as the Doctor’s greatest enemies hit the big screen in The Lego Batman Movie: Daleks (or “British robots,” as they’re called) team up with the Joker and a handful of other non-DC Comics “uber villains” to wreak havoc on Gotham City.
Kolkata: Two youths were arrested for allegedly assaulting a ticket inspector of West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) and a police officer on Friday morning at Karunamoyee in Salt Lake. The youths were later arrested and were remanded to judicial custody till August 22 after they were produced before the Bidhannagar Court.According to police, two siblings, identified as Arijit Gupta and Soumyajit Gupta, were travelling in a bus from S-9 route on Friday morning. During the journey, a ticket inspector of WBTC, identified as Narayan Chandra Guha, boarded the bus and was checking tickets of the passengers. When he asked the duo to show their tickets, the duo stated that they haven’t purchased any tickets. When Guha asked them to purchase the tickets immediately Arijit and Soumyajit refused and used filthy languages at Guha. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataHowever, Guha remained silent till the bus arrived at Karunamoyee bus terminus. There he told the duo that not purchasing a valid journey ticket would attract fine. Hearing this again the duo used abusive words. This time, when Guha protested he was allegedly assaulted by the siblings.Immediately they were detained and Bidhannagar North police station was informed. After a few minutes, an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of police identified as Arunava Pan reached the spot and intervened. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateAfter hearing about the situation, he reportedly asked the duo to pay the fine and leave. Hearing this the youths went furious and assaulted Pan with fists and blows. As a result, Pan suffered serious injuries and was rushed to Bidhannagar Sub Divisional Hospital where he was treated and discharged. Later, Guha lodged a complaint and the duo was arrested on charges of obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions, voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty and assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.
Instead he described how he contacted the presidents of nearby African countries to discuss the threat from Somalia’s Islamic extremists, al-Shabab.Burundi, Kenya and Uganda contribute troops to the African Union force in Somalia that is fighting al-Shabab. The extremist rebels have retaliated by carrying out violent attacks in Kenya and Uganda.“You know that Burundi is among the countries that are contribute troops in Somalia and that’s why I came here to contact my friends and my fellow presidents in Kenya and Uganda and these countries are being targeted by al-Shabab,” Nkurunziza said in French.He said his aim in contacting fellow presidents was to find strategies to stop threats to Burundians’ security.Edouard Nduwimana, Burundi’s interior minister, called on protesters not turn up on the streets Monday because the security forces would not be able to differentiate between protesters and extremists.Speaking on state radio, Nduwimana said the security agencies had received information of extremists with explosives who could detonate them during the street protests.Mohammed Nibaruta, an opposition activist, said this is another way for the government to justify the illegal use of force to discourage the demonstrations over Nkuruniziza’s candidacy, which goes against the constitution’s limit of two five-year terms. Patients with chronic pain give advice “The government is going to use live bullets but this will not stop protesters from coming to the streets tomorrow and the day after until Nkurunziza withdraws his candidacy,” Nibaruta said.The protests began April 26, a day after the ruling party made Nkurunziza its presidential candidate.Nkurunziza was in neighboring Tanzania on Wednesday when a general announced a coup. Loyal forces crushed the rebellion and Nkurunziza returned to the country, but he had not been seen in the capital.The coup attempt came after weeks of street protests against Nkurunziza’s efforts to stay in power by standing in June elections for a third term.Burundi’s Constitution states a president can be popularly elected to two five-year terms. Nkurunziza maintains he can run for a third term because parliament elected him for his first one, leaving him open to be popularly elected to two terms. Opponents say a third term violates the Constitution and peace accords that ended a civil war here.In Rome on Sunday, Pope Francis called for a sense of responsibility to prevail in Burundi following the attempted coup. “I would like to invite you to pray for the dear people of Burundi, which is undergoing a delicate moment: May the Lord help all to avoid violence and act responsibly for the good of the country,” he said. Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza made his first appearance in the capital since an attempted coup against his government last week.Nkurunziza made a brief statement to journalists in the foyer of his heavily guarded presidential offices in Bujumbura Sunday morning. He did not mention the failed coup plot or protests that have rocked Burundi for weeks over his bid for a third term in office, decried by opponents as unconstitutional. At least 15 people have been killed in the unrest. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Seventeen security officials, including five generals, accused in the attempted coup appeared Saturday before a prosecutor who charged them with an attempt at destabilizing public institutions, lawyers of some of the suspects said. The general who announced the coup, however, remains at large.More than 105,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries recently, according to the U.N. The U.N. refugee agency said Sunday seven Burundi refugees had died in a camp in neighboring Tanzania since Wednesday of severe diarrhea and two cases were suspected to have been caused by cholera.The United States provided evacuation assistance to about 20 U.S. citizens on three commercial charter flights, as well as four Canadian citizens and other foreign citizens, according to a U.S. State Department statement.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories
Leading global travel authority Lonely Planet has named Australia as one of the world’s Top 10 Countries in the highly-anticipated Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016.Published today, the 11th annual guide features the best travel trends, destinations and journeys for the year ahead.The guide ranks Australia sixth in its list of Top 10 Countries for 2016, with Botswana taking the number one spot.Lonely Planet says 2016 is the ideal time to head to Australia, even though it might be a bit of journey for some.“Getting here usually involves folding yourself into a plane for 24 hours,” Lonely Planet said.“But with 2016 shaping up as a defining year for several of Australia’s key wilderness areas, it’ll be 24 hours well spent.“In fact, with the weak Australian dollar, anything you spend here this year will be value for money. Petrol prices are heading south too: perfect timing for your Great Australian Road Trip.”“Indigenous tourism is booming, with new Aboriginal tour companies such as Ngurrangga Tours in Karratha and Bungoolee Tours in the Kimberley offering authentic cultural experiences,” the book adds.“Contemporary Aboriginal art remains an Australian cultural high-water mark, as evidenced by the fab new Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts & Culture Centre in Katherine.”Best In Travel’s recommendations are compiled from suggestions by Lonely Planet staff, as well as travellers, bloggers and tweeters.Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries 2016 are:BotswanaJapanUSAPalauLatviaAustraliaPolandUruguayGreenlandFijiAustralia also features in other areas of the book, such as Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities 2016, where Fremantle came in seventh; Best Value Destinations, with Western Australia ranked tenth; and Melbourne placing fourth in the Most Accessible Destinations.To celebrate the release of Lonely Planet’s Best In Travel 2016, travellers have the opportunity to win a trip to a Best in Travel 2016 destination their of choice (conditions apply). Enter the competition hereSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Go back to the enewsletterRegent Seven Seas Cruises has opened reservations for its newest Navigate the World – Elements of the Pacific voyage. Embarking in January 2022, the 120-night roundtrip cruise from San Francisco will circumnavigate the Pacific Rim aboard Seven Seas Mariner, visiting 59 ports in 17 countries on three continents and featuring 18 overnight stays.The sailing will be Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ first world cruise to the Pacific Rim since 2009, reflecting the increased interest in Asia Pacific itineraries.The cruise will visit Hawaii, French Polynesia, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and Canada.‘Elements of the Pacific’ is Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ first world cruise to Asia-Pacific since 2009 and reflects luxury travellers’ increasing interest in experiencing Asian-Pacific destinations.“Our 2022 world-cruise itinerary, tours and events present an unrivalled experience to the growing number of luxury travellers craving to visit stunning and culturally enriching Asian Pacific destinations,” said Jason Montague, President and Chief Executive Officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “There is no better way to traverse this wondrous part of our world than in the company of like-minded friends in the care of the best staff and crew on the ocean.”Among the cruise’s highlights will be the chance to explore 43 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, includingTaputapuātea from Raiatea, French PolynesiaRoyal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens from Melbourne, AustraliaWet Tropics of Queensland from Cairns, AustraliaBorobudur Temple Compounds from Semarang (Java), IndonesiaHistoric City of Ayutthaya from Bangkok (Laem Chabang), ThailandClassical Gardens of Suzhou from Shanghai, ChinaHimeji Castle from Kyoto (Kobe), JapanVolcanoes of Kamchatka from Petropavlovsk, RussiaA selection of exclusive shoreside excursions will also be on offer, such as the following:A Classical Rendezvous in Sydney. Sydney, Australia — 22 February 2022Candles, Cuisine & Caves in Ha Long Bay. Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam — 27 March 2022Japanese Ceremony, Art & Cuisine in Tokyo: Tokyo, Japan — 14 April 2022The 18 overnight stays on the 28,000-nautical-mile voyage include: Honolulu, Hawaii; Papeete (Tahiti), French Polynesia; Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney and Brisbane, Australia; Bali (Benoa), Indonesia; Singapore; Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City, Hu/Da Nang (Chan May) and Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam; Hong Kong, Xiamen and Shanghai, China; Kyoto (Kobe) and Tokyo, Japan; Vancouver, Canada and San Francisco, California.Optional Overland Programs will also be available to explore Rotorua, New Zealand; Angkor Wat, Cambodia and The Great Wall & Terracotta Warriors.All-inclusive fares start at AU$88,740 per guest, with all luxuries included. The expedition will begin with a pre-cruise gala event in San Francisco and includes a broad collection of luxurious, bespoke amenities, such as unlimited valet laundry, US$450 shipboard credit per person, onboard medical services, 300 unlimited shore excursions, three exclusive shoreside experiences in Sydney, Australia; Ha Long Bay, Vietnam; and Tokyo, Japan and more.For more information on the program, click here.All images supplied with permission by Regent Seven Seas Cruises.Go back to the enewsletter
Michael Wolf, photographer of mega-cities, dies in Hong Kong AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Award-winning Hong Kong-based photographer Michael Wolf is photographed in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong in 2016. Hong Kong art gallery director Sarah Greene said that Wolf, known for his work depicting mega-cities, has died Tuesday night at his home. She said he was 64. Wolf won first prize in the World Press Photo competition in 2005 and 2010. (Blue Lotus Gallery via AP) by The Associated Press Posted Apr 26, 2019 6:28 am PDT HONG KONG — Michael Wolf, an award-winning photographer known for his work depicting megacities, has died at his home in Hong Kong. He was 64.Wolf died in his sleep on Wednesday, said Sarah Greene, an art gallery director who worked closely with him. She did not give a cause of death.Wolf won first prize in the World Press Photo competition twice, for contemporary issues in 2005 and for daily life in 2010. His body of work included Tokyo, Chicago, Paris and Hong Kong, where Wolf moved in 1994.“His main muse was Hong Kong,” said Greene, the director of Blue Lotus Gallery. “Hong Kong was his favourite city, which kept inspiring him, zooming out on the beehive with his iconic work ‘Architecture of Density’ and zooming into the veins of the city exploring the vernacular beauty of the back alleys.”Born in Munich, Germany, Wolf was raised in the United States and Canada and returned to Germany to study photography, according to his website. He spent most of his career in Asia.He started as a photojournalist and was a contract photographer for the German magazine Stern for eight years in Hong Kong. In 2001, he began focusing on his own projects and published several books, including “Architecture of Density” in 2012, which portrays Hong Kong’s dense urban development.Greene, who helped run his studio and organized some of his exhibitions and book launches from 2013 to 2018, called Wolf “a sensitive observer who perceived the world like no other.”___This story has been corrected to show that Wolf died Wednesday, not Tuesday.The Associated Press
08Sep Rep. Leutheuser honors 9/11 with Chief of Hillsdale Fire Department Categories: Leutheuser News,News State Rep. Eric Leutheuser was joined by Chief Kevin Pauken of the City of Hillsdale Fire Department and his wife, Valerie Pauken, today during the annual House of Representatives’ 9/11 ceremony at the state Capitol. House members invited first responders and military members from their respective districts as guests for the noon event, which included the ringing of a ceremonial bell for each of the 15 Michigan-based law enforcement, fire department, emergency medical personnel and members of the military who lost their lives in the line of duty since September 2015.
02May Rep. Alexander supports responsible budget with key investments for Michigan’s future Categories: Alexander News,News State Rep. Julie Alexander of Hanover today voted in favor of a Michigan House budget plan that is fiscally responsible while still making key investments to improve communities and schools.“We are proposing a smart, sound state budget,” Alexander said. “This plan prioritizes and gets the most out of the money taxpayers send us by focusing on what matters most to families in Jackson County and across the state.”Highlights of the budget include:State spending would be less in the next budget year than we spend today, with overall appropriations growth below the rate of inflation.Michigan’s K-12 schools would get the highest funding in state history with a proposed $14.3 billion, including $100 more per student across the state. Funding for career and technical training would increase for equipment upgrades and for intermediate school districts to hire counselors.Local governments would get 5 percent more in statutory revenue sharing for road repairs, public safety, parks and other programs to improve communities.The plan pays down school retiree debt and adds to state government’s main savings account for tough times, pushing that emergency fund above $1 billion.The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
By state Rep. Sue AllorMichigan, like much of the nation, is dealing with the consequences of chemical contaminants left behind by decades of industrial processes and decaying consumer products.These chemicals have long, complex names such as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl – known as PFAS for short. They have been used in everything from carpeting to food wrappers to firefighting foam to metal plating. Now they are showing up in our groundwater, a threat to public health that Michigan must address quickly and aggressively.As a former nurse, public health has always been one of my top concerns. That is still the case now that I am your representative in the Michigan House. That’s why earlier this year, I sponsored a resolution calling on Michigan’s PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) to use state funds as effectively and efficiently as possible. This resolution urges the creation of a scientific advisory committee and calls for conducting a scientific risk assessment, which then would be used to prioritize response efforts and create a logical plan moving forward.I also called on the federal government to do more to help us fight PFAS contamination, including the release of a study which was being held back from the public until just recently. We are still reviewing the study, but believe that it could help us learn more about how these chemicals affect human health. We also took additional action – including legislation and securing funds – to address this very serious issue.Late last year, I joined with my colleagues in securing $23 million to respond to PFAS contamination in our state. Money is being used to test, monitor and provide technical assistance at PFAS-contaminated sites statewide – including the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda and the Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena.In the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year budget, which was signed into law last month, I successfully secured additional funding for Northeast Michigan to combat PFAS contamination.It helps to have great local partners when pursuing this kind of support, and we have one in Oscoda Township Supervisor Aaron Weed. He is a key part of a team driven to finding solutions to this problem and make sure residents have clean water. Aaron approached me with a plan to help connect homes in affected areas to municipal water so residents don’t have to use at-risk water wells. With this information, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work bringing home the $325,000 needed to complete the project in Oscoda Township.It is a great example of bringing our hard-earned tax dollars back home to Northern Michigan – where they can benefit our communities and preserve our way of life.I also spearheaded the successful effort to allocate $115,000 to study the effects of PFAS contamination on wildlife. This is incredibly important here in Northern Michigan where deer and fish will make their way to our dining room tables – we’ve got to do everything possible to ensure they’re safe for our families’ consumption.Also, more than $4 million will be added to PFAS contamination response programs statewide in the new budget. This includes more money for grants to local health departments and improved laboratory capacity to more quickly identify and respond to contamination, making us a leader in our nation when it comes to responding to this contaminant.All of these initiatives will help Michigan respond to PFAS concerns more quickly and effectively – protecting public health. I encourage you to learn more about PFAS by visiting this website: https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/(Rep. Sue Allor represents Alpena, Presque Isle, Alcona and Iosco counties, as well as part of Cheboygan County, in the Michigan House.) 05Jul Rep. Allor: Bringing home more resources to fight PFAS contamination Categories: Allor News,News
Categories: Bellino News Tags: Health Policy, Locking Vials, Opioid 05Sep Bellino’s locking prescription vial plan prevents teenage opioid abuse Legislator: Youth opioid abuse starts in the medicine cabinet, not on the streetsState Rep. Joe Bellino today delivered testimony during the House Health Policy Committee in support of his plan to prevent teenage opioid abuse and pilfering from the family medicine cabinet by implementing locking prescription vials.Pilfering, Bellino explained, is the process of skimming a few pills from a family member’s prescription bottles without them noticing, and studies show it’s the leading cause of opioid abuse in children and teenagers.“This is a very personal cause for me as an addict in recovery,” Bellino said. “I was lucky enough to receive help with the support of professionals, but not all are so fortunate, and far too many lives have been lost as a result of opioid abuse. We must do all we can to prevent abuse to begin with.”The legislator believes part of the solution is to make locking prescription vials the standard. The locking vials can only be able to be opened by individuals who know the combination code, preventing pilfering.“For nearly fifty years we have been using childproof vials, and my proposal is no different from that concept – except it’s more effective. It simply updates existing law,” said Bellino. “Child-resistant bottles are simply inadequate in this day and age. If we really want to protect Michigan families, we need to make it more difficult for young people to access potentially dangerous drugs.”Bellino stated this is a low-cost tool to keep teens from initiating abuse, and believes drug companies should be responsible for covering the cost of the vials.“The real question we should be asking is ‘what is the cost of doing nothing?’” the Monroe representative said.Joining Bellino for testimony were Detroit Red Wings play-by-play announcer Ken Daniels and Mike Hirst, founder of non-profit opiate abuse support organization Andy’s Angels, who both lost their sons to opioid overdose and have committed their lives to opioid awareness.“We are all working for the drug dealers and we don’t even realize it,” Daniels said. “Our own medicine cabinets are the kick starters.”House Bill 5857 remains under consideration by the House Health Policy Committee.To learn more about this legislation, contact Rep. Bellino’s office at (517) 373-1530 or JoeBellino@House.MI.gov.###
Share43TweetShareEmail43 Shares“The Rent Is Too Damn High wallpaper,” Tiger PixelJuly 27, 2018; New York TimesLast week ended with the nation receiving some encouraging news: The economy had one its best quarters of growth. Month after month since October 2010, things have gotten better. Or have they? Readers of NPQ will find it no surprise that for millions of Americans, even those with full-time jobs, affordable housing is far away. While many nonprofits continue to work to ameliorate the human impact of this growing problem, there are few signs that the politics and policies that have allowed the problem to fester are changing.Since the crash of the housing market in 2007, the demand for rental housing has been strong, outstripping the construction of new units as rents rise higher and higher. More than a decade after the crash, and despite strong overall economic growth, housing from coast to coast often requires more than the salaries of many households, hourly wage workers, and the unemployed can bear. According to a recent New York Times article, “An estimated 12 million Americans, most of them poor, now spend more than half of their earnings on housing…while prices are cooling at the high end of the market in many big cities, the low- and middle-income housing markets in Nevada, Texas, California, Florida and Colorado are so hot, local officials say, that landlords routinely reject subsidized tenants because they can charge more to other renters.”A report by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2018, documented how widespread the problem is.In no state, metropolitan area, or county can a worker earning the federal minimum wage or prevailing state minimum wage afford a two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent by working a standard 40-hour week. In only 22 counties out of more than 3,000 counties nationwide can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom rental home at fair market rent.An already bad situation is being made worse by the federal government’s current view that much of the problem is local and needs to be solved at that local level. Federal tax incentives, which subsidize the development of below-market-rate housing, became less attractive with the passage of last year’s tax cut bill, even if the final version passed wasn’t as damaging to affordable housing as some proposals would have been. Accountant Michael Novogradac was cited by NPQ at the start of 2018 when it examined how significantly these changes would effect affordable housing: “It’s the greatest shock to the affordable-housing system since the Great Recession.”While federal policy may decrease construction of new units, HUD Secretary Ben Carson is also pushing to reduce funding for rent subsidies and has proposed increasing the rents paid by low-income renters. While telling Congress that he continues “to advocate for fiscal responsibility as well as compassion,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson has proposed raising the maximum rents paid by the poorest households in public housing to $150 a month from $50.According to the Times, Secretary Carson acknowledges the crisis in most of his speeches. “Alarmingly high numbers of Americans continue to pay more than half of their incomes toward rent…many millions remain mired in poverty, rather than being guided on a path out of it.” He sees the cause as primarily one of red tape and bureaucracy holding the private market back from building new housing and keeping rents affordable.Raffi Williams, Carson’s spokesperson, says, “Subsidies are a piece of the puzzle, but we must also address the regulatory barriers relative to zoning and land use in higher-cost markets that are preventing the construction of new affordable housing. This is not just a federal problem—it’s everybody’s problem.”NPQ has covered many local responses to the affordable housing shortfall. Private foundations and corporations have recognized that the harm that shortages cause to the quality of life of their communities. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s “efforts to increase affordable housing parallel the plans of Facebook, the source of CZI’s resources, to expand its corporate headquarters in Menlo Park, California. As announced last year, the expanded campus will include 1,500 residential units, with 225 being rented below market rates.” NPQ also has looked at how local government and organizations not normally in the housing business, like libraries, have become involved in increasing affordable housing options. There is a growing use of land trusts to empower nonprofits to protect the erosion of affordable housing, too.Energizing state and local governments to do their part and bringing the philanthropic and nonprofit community on board can be part of the solution. But without a robust national effort, those efforts will fall short. Chad Williams, executive director of the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority, told the Times that “to be brutally honest, I think that we aren’t really getting any help right now out of Washington, and the situation has gotten really bad over the last two years.…I think Carson’s ideas, that public housing shouldn’t be multigenerational, are noble. But right now, these programs are a stable, Band-Aid fix, and we really need them.”—Martin LevineShare43TweetShareEmail43 Shares
Netflix has promoted Cindy Holland to vice-president, original content and content acquisition making her responsible for acquiring and launching original series across the streaming service’s entire 25 million-strong domestic and international customer base. Jason Ropell, who joined Netflix last year, meanwhile, will take on Holland’s former responsibilities and oversee licensing content for the US market as well as the Canadian and Lat-Am markets for which he was already responsible.Both executives report to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “Cindy has worked closely on every aspect of our original series launches,” he said. “We are also delighted to give Jason an important role in our biggest market. As head of our Latin American and Canadian acquisition teams over the last year, he’s skilfully managed the growth of those businesses.”Previously, Holland oversaw domestic TV licensing for Netflix after starting her career at the company in DVD acquisition. Before joining Netflix in March 2011, Ropell was vice president, business d development at NBC Universal. Netflix added that it has embarked on a search for a new leader for its Latin America content acquisition team and is seeking an executive with deep knowledge of the region and extensive industry ties.
BSkyB’s OTT service Now TV is a response to underlying technological change and not to the launch of Netflix, according to Sky’s chief operating officer Mike Darcey. Speaking at the IBC conference in Amsterdam this morning, Darcey said that Sky’s main goal with the service was to appeal to free-to-air homes that had hitherto been resistant to pay TV.Broadcasters that embrace new innovations and trends are likely to win out over those who appeal to regulators or attempt to resist change by other means, said Darcey.Getting content as widely distributed as possible was key to allowing Sky to make a return on its investment in content, said Darcey. He said that free-to-air homes were willing to pay for content on their own terms, evidenced by the fact that people went to the cinema and rented movies to view. “That’s why we launched Now TV,” he said. “There are now two distinct ways to access and enjoy content form Sky – the full-fat version and semi-skimmed.” He said Sky now had “two rods fishing in the pool” of the UK’s remaining free-to-air homes. He also said that BBC-backed connected TV platform YouView represented “a promising route” to reach out to new homes.Live viewing of TV still dominated time spent viewing video content in the UK, Darcey told attendees. For sport in particular, live viewing was crucial, he said. This did not necessarily mean viewing on the TV screen. For flagship dramas like Mad Men, meanwhile, fragmentation of viewing and time-shifting was increasing.Hybrid viewing and the use of second screens as companion devices was clearly on the increase, and Sky is catering to this, said Darcey. “The key is getting the connectivity between the satellite service and third party devices such as the iPad,” he said. “The challenge for us is to get these devices to talk to each other and also to sort our the rights issues.”Darcey said that Sky would increase its investment in UK-originated programming from £450 million (€570 million) to £600 million by 2014. Sky believes that success comes from content worth paying for and from making it easy for users to access that content, said Darcey. He said that Sky’s customers came to it primarily for content rather than for “boxes or for pipes”.“Every year we’ve been in operation we’ve increased the amount of money we’ve spent on content,” he said. “Initially we focused on movies, sport and 24-hour news.” He said that Sky was still looking to add depth and breadth to its sports offering, but was now focusing on adding to its entertainment portfolio. He highlighted investment in channels including Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts.Darcey said the content gap between pay and free “should continue to widen” meaning that the pay share of viewing in Sky homes would continue to increase.Addressing future technology priorities, Darcey said the jury was still out on 4K TV. “One issue is [whether] people’s houses are big enough to benefit from this in the UK,” he said.
Tesco has launched its Clubcard TV streaming service, offering free movies and TV shows to customers of the supermarket chain.The service is powered by Tesco’s Blinkbox on-demand rental service, which Tesco acquired in 2011.At launch Clubcard TV will offer “hundreds” of titles, including films like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Shawshank Redemption and shows like The Only Way is Essex and Doc Martin.“The reason we can offer great programming for free is because customers will see relevant advertising before and during the movie or TV show they are watching. We’ll use Clubcard data to tell us what might be relevant for our customers and therefore help us deliver a more personalised service,” said Michael Comish, CEO of Tesco Digital Entertainment.
Intelsat has started distributing a draft registration statement ahead of its planned IPO, which will see it listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The satellite operator plans to make an initial public offering of 21,739,130 common shares and 3,000,000 Series A preferred shares, it said in a statement.Intelsat has granted the underwriters of the IPO a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 3,260,869 common shares and an additional 450,000 Series A preferred shares.Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are acting as joint book-running managers, with Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse Securities, Deutsche Bank Securities, Nomura Securities International and UBS Securities acting as book-runners.Evercore Group, HSBC Securities, RBC Capital Markets, LionTree Advisors and Raymond James & Associates are acting as co-managers for the proposed offerings.
Swedish-based investment firm East Capital Explorer has agreed to buy a majority stake in Estonian cable TV, broadband, and phone services provider Starman.East Capital Explorer will invest approximately €24 million to acquire 51% of the company based on a total enterprise value of €107 million, it said. The remaining 49% will be held by Starman’s founders, Peeter Kern and Indrek Kuivallik.East Capital Explorer will acquire the shares from the existing owners, a consortium led by Bancroft Private Equity. The founders will increase their current equity stakes in Starman by investing an extra €5 million on the same terms as East Capital Explorer.Gert Tiivas, head of Baltic private equity for East Capital, said: “Starman is a well-managed company with a track record of solid financial performance and high profitability. We see further opportunities for growth in this area in the Baltics and Starman is well-positioned to take advantage of this growth.”The transaction is subject to approval from the Estonian competition authorities, and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2013.
Global pay TV households are expected to reach almost one billion by 2018, up from 772 million in 2012, according to the latest report by Digital TV Research.According to the Digital TV World Household Forecasts report, The Asia Pacific region will account for 59% of pay TV homes by 2018, with China expected to be the world leader with 313 million subscribers, followed by India with 158 million. Together with the third-placed US’s expected 107 million pay TV homes, the top three countries are expected to account for 58% of global pay TV households.The other members of the pay TV top 10 in 2018 will be Russia, with 32.3 million subscribers, Brazil with 30.5 million, Japan with 27 million, Germany with 23.1 million, Mexico with 19 million, South Korea with 16.9 million and the UK with 16.3 million.Digital TV Research estimates that global analogue and digital pay TV penetration reached 53.6% at the end of 2012 and this is expected to rise to 63.1% by 2018, ranging from 86% in North America to 29% in the Middle East and Africa.The global pay TV penetration leader in 2018 is expected to be the Netherlands, with close to 100% penetration. The others in the top 10 will be Denmark, Belgium, Hong Kong, South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Puerto Rico, Singapore and Estonia.Digital TV homes are expected to grow by 667 million between now and 2018 to reach 1.453 billion, with an additional 127 million households expected to migrate to digital this year. Global digital penetration is expected to rise from 54.7% at the end of 2012 to 92% by 2018. Cable is expected to account for 513 million digital homes by that date, followed by 363 million primary digital-terrestrial , including 16 million pay TV homes, 167 million pay IPTV homes, 251 million pay DTH homes and 143 million free-to-air DTH homes.The global TV household total is expected to rise by 141 million households to 1.58 billion between now and 2018.
UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has ruled that ITV must deliver more regionalised news reports as part of its new public service requirements when its current license expires at the end of 2014. Setting out terms for the next 10-year license for ITV, STV, UTV and Channel 5, Ofcom approved proposals for a more localised Channel 3 news service across England, with ITV to provide regional news in 14 separate news regions, compared to the eight it currently operates.In all but two of ITV’s licences, requirement for a weekday regional news bulletin in the early evening will be reduced from 30 minutes to 20 minutes, though ITV said it will continue to run 30 minute news segments. ITV’s proposal to reduce the volume of news coming out of the London and North West England regions were rejected.“Ofcom considers that, in most regions, the benefits to viewers of a more localised news service will more than offset the reduction in the amount of regional news that ITV is required to provide under its licences,” the regulator said.ITV provides the Channel 3 service in England, Wales, the Border region and the Channel Islands. STV takes the same EPG slot in northern and central Scotland, while UTV serves viewers in Northern Ireland.In Scotland, Ofcom said there should be “enhanced coverage of Scottish affairs in the area covered by ITV’s Border licence that lies in Scotland to better serve viewers” and ordered a further weekly 90 minutes of regional programming to be scheduled in Scottish part of the Border region, on top of the 30 minutes of weekday early evening news relevant to the region.The current requirements for regional programming in central and northern Scotland will remain the same. In Northern Ireland, Ofcom rejected UTV’s proposal to reduce the amount of regional non-news programming, which will remain at two hours a week.A new licence for the whole of Wales will be created, Ofcom said. This will include “a requirement to retain a full 30 minutes of regional early evening news, while reducing the length of lunchtime, late evening and weekend regional news bulletins in line with the English regions.”No changes were made to the programming obligations of Channel 5, which broadcasts throughout the UK.