Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Walesa’s backing was meant to influence Catholics and union members in the U.S. But Solidarity’s current leadership distanced itself from the event and criticized Romney as hostile to unions and labor rights.Romney is set to meet Tuesday with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and deliver a speech before returning home.The trip also took Romney to London and Jerusalem.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressGDANSK, Poland (AP) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is spending the night in Poland, the final stop on a three-nation tour designed to boost his foreign policy resume with voters back home.In Gdansk, Romney was endorsed by former Polish President Lech Walesa (lek vah-WEHN’-sah), who led the Solidarity anti-government movement in the 1980s.Walesa suggested the U.S. needs Romney’s leadership to restore its standing in the world. He told Romney: “Be successful.” Comments Share Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 ways to recognize low testosterone
Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 VIENNA (AP) — For the first time in its 60-year history, the Eurovision Song Contest may be won by — Australia.The land Down Under is making its debut in Europe’s favorite songfest, invited as a wild card due to its strong fan base. Its entry, Guy Sebastian, is one of the bookmakers’ favorites.Sebastian is touted as being among the top five contestants along with entries from Sweden, Italy, Russia and Estonia. But all 27 nations contesting the top spot Saturday after surviving the elimination rounds have at least a theoretical chance of walking away the winner. In this May 20, 2015 photo Australias’s Guy Sebastian performs the song ‘Tonight Again’ during a dress rehearsal of the Eurovision Song Contest in Austria’s capital Vienna. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Still, Australia’s participation is this year’s buzz at the extravaganza, which catapulted into world consciousness last year with the win of bearded Austrian diva Conchita Wurst. A co-host in this year’s competition, she has opted for a small role, so the spotlight stays on this year’s singers.The Aussies are already stoked, or as Sebastian put it, “bitten by the Eurovision bug.” Australian delegation head Paul Clarke attributed the huge interest among his countrymen in part to the country’s “incredibly strong European presence.”Delayed TV broadcasts of Eurovision contests have been shown for 30 years in Australia and Eurovision parties are common there. This year it will be shown live in Australia’s early morning hours, along with audiences elsewhere. Organizers expect a television audience of about 200 million to tune in globally to the spectacle taking place in Vienna’s sprawling Stadthalle, which has been outfitted with the latest stage and light technology.Huge public viewing screens have also been set up in key locations throughout the city for those brave enough to ignore Saturday’s predicted cold and windy showers. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Despite such sentiments, millions saw Wurst’s win last year as a triumph for tolerance. But it was not the first time Eurovision has pushed the boundaries of gender identity.The 1998 winner was Israel’s Dana International, who had male-to-female gender reassignment surgery before competing. Israel can participate due to its membership in the European Broadcasting Union, the event’s organizer.If Australia wins, the event will not go Down Under. The Aussies would be invited to compete next year but in a European country.Even without a change of continents, contest horizons can be further widened this year with a triumph by Polish contestant Monika Kuszynska, who is partially paralyzed and performs from a wheelchair. But hopes of a breakthrough by the Finnish punk band PKN — consisting of one autistic member and three others with Downs Syndrome — were eliminated in a qualifying round.That means Eurovision will rely this year on its usual mix of eclectic, sometimes vapid and often overwrought techno beats, love songs, ballads and pop tunes.The Finnish band was taking it all in stride.“We didn’t make the finals,” drummer Toni Valitalo told Finnish television. “But we won the whole contest.” Sponsored Stories The winner will be decided by votes weighed equally between those from a jury and those called in by viewers. To eliminate the population advantages of larger nations, viewers cannot cast ballots for their own country.The annual competition is supposed to be removed from politics, and fittingly, this year’s theme is “Building Bridges.” Even so, the Ukraine crisis is making its presence felt.Kiev is not sending a candidate this year. With many in the West viewing Moscow as the aggressor in the Ukraine conflict, Russian contestant Polina Gagarina is raising some eyebrows with her pacifist-themed song, “A Million Voices.”And in Russia, where propagating homosexuality is against the law and many view Wurst as a threat to traditional family values, the Orthodox Church already is warning of the consequences should Gagarina win, since the winner’s nation usually hosts the next year’s contest.Tass and other Russian news agencies quoted Patriarch Kirill as saying her victory would bring the contest to Russia “with all those bearded female singers.” Acts such as Wurst’s promote values “repulsive to our soul and our culture,” he declared. ___Associated Press Writer Rod McGuirk contributed from Canberra, AustraliaCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like
4 must play golf courses in Arizona 0 Comments Share Prince Charles led a host of dignitaries Wednesday to kick off four days of commemorations Wednesday of the battle that changed the course of history 200 years ago Thursday. Napoleon’s defeat in the half-day battle against an overwhelming international coalition ended France’s supremacy in the world and opened the British century with the biggest of bangs.Little wonder the French are still gnashing their teeth two centuries later. “It is not easy for them — psychologically speaking,” said military historian Professor Luc De Vos.Earlier this year, the Belgians wanted to mint a commemorative Battle of Waterloo euro coin which many of the belligerents in the fight now share. Paris blocked the idea.Belgium promptly turned them into commemorative coins that do not need approval from other eurozone nations before minting.But France’s bruised ego over Waterloo has healed somewhat. Descendants of Napoleon and the French ambassador will show up during the four days of Waterloo commemorations just south of Brussels.On the battlegrounds themselves, kept intact down to the lush wheat that stands near full ripeness this time of year, everything has been prepared for official ceremonies and re-enactments. Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home In this June 16, 2007, file photo, actors dressed as soldiers re-enact the Battle of Waterloo in Braine-l’Alleud, near Waterloo, Belgium. The Battle of Waterloo, fought on June 18, 1815, was Napoleon Bonaparte’s last battle, as his defeat put a final end to his rule as Emperor of France. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)n The vital role family plays in society New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies So off went Napoleon, eventually to die in exile in Saint Helena, a speck of an island in the south Atlantic.Instead of France, Britain came to rule the waves of the 19th century, reaping a rich harvest in colonies around the globe and firing the furnaces of the industrial revolution in Europe.___Follow Raf Casert on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rcasert___This story has been corrected to show that not all belligerents are now part of the euro currencyCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility WATERLOO, Belgium (AP) — To the victor go the spoils: So Waterloo became synonymous with Napoleon’s demise, even if the worst of the battle never happened there.Ignoring the bloodied grounds of nearby towns, the victorious Duke of Wellington picked the name of the battle as the place where he slept after it was all over. And nothing has been the same since for the once-sleepy village — or for the world. Top Stories At the heart of the battle was the pivotal French assault on Hougoumont Farm, on whose wooden gate, in the Duke of Wellington’s words, the outcome of the entire world hinged.“Wellington was clear about the critical importance of this moment” said British general Sir Richard Shirreff. “The success of the battle of Waterloo depended on closing the gates of Hougoumont.”It remained closed at the critical point and once the smoke of battle lifted, France’s Grande Armee was in retreat and 26 years of Napoleonic warfare to unite Europe under French rule had ended.On the small battlefield, over 10,000 soldiers lay dead — and as many horses.On Wednesday, Prince Charles unveiled a memorial at the lovingly restored Hougoumont farm and surveyed the battlefield with the descendants of the troop leaders — the Duke of Wellington and Prince Charles Bonaparte of France.Through Saturday, some 5,000 re-enactors will roll the drums, fire the guns and cannons and walk through the gunpowder smoke, only to come to the same result: Napoleon lost.Napoleon “was 46, but in bad health. Wellington was fit. His staff was not functioning well. There was hesitation. At the end of the battle, he only had 70,000 men and his opponents had nearly double,” said De Vos.
China Airlines has announced it will grow its Taipei-Brisbane and Brisbane-Auckland services to a daily schedule from December 2017. The airline currently flies four times weekly between Brisbane and Taiwan, including across to Auckland.“The relationship between Queensland and Taiwan continues to strengthen with more and more people travelling between the two states for business and pleasure and we are pleased to be able to provide a direct daily connection from November,” said Ray Chang, China Airlines General Manager Brisbane Branch.“The new schedule is perfect for travellers looking to fly conveniently up to Asia, over to Europe or across to North America.“China Airlines also connects with 12 points in Japan, delivering travellers from Queensland right to the doorstep of the ski-fields in full service comfort with baggage and meals all included.“Our evening departure from Brisbane to Taipei means travellers can relax overnight and make easy onwards connections the next morning.” Julieanne Alroe Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director warmly welcomed the announcement saying the additional services would meet growing demand on the route.“The Taiwanese visitor market to Brisbane has grown consistently in the last few years with passenger numbers jumping by more than 10,000 new traveller every year since 2013 to just under 100,000 (inbound and outbound) in 2016.“China Air’s new seven days a week schedule with an evening departure from Taipei is also attractive to Australian business travellers looking for options to conduct their work in Asia and return home on a convenient overnight flight.IMAGE: Lance Broad airlinesairportsAucklandBrisbaneChina AirlinesTaipeiTaiwan
Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling TEMPE, Ariz. – With the game still five days away and no injury report needed to be released, head coach Bruce Arians shined very little light on who will play quarterback this week when the Arizona Cardinals visit Houston.The Cardinals practiced Tuesday and according to Arians, starter Drew Stanton was “one of the guys that practiced.” He offered no further details other than to acknowledge that Stanton’s right knee “affected him on two or three throws” last Thursday against Seattle. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) 4 Comments Share Top Stories A lack of takeawaysAmong the 32 NFL teams, the Cardinals rank near the bottom in takeaways.“I don’t really know (why). I guess other teams are taking care of the football,” Mathieu said. “A few balls haven’t been bouncing our way. A few tipped passes are going over our heads. We just got to stay within the moment, and like I said, those turnovers will come in bunches for us.”On the season, the Cardinals defense has forced nine turnovers, eight of them interceptions. Their one fumble recovery—at San Francisco—is the fewest in the league.“We know turnovers come in bunches, so hopefully this week is the week that we have a five or six turnover game. We just got to be ready for the opportunity,” Mathieu said.Pro Bowl votingFans may now vote to send their favorite Cardinals players to the 2018 Pro Bowl in Orlando.Voting is available online and on web-enabled mobile phones by going to NFL.com/ProBowlVote through Dec. 14.Pro Bowl rosters will be announced on Dec. 19 live on NFL Network’s Pro Bowl special “NFL Total Access: Pro Bowl Players Revealed” at 8:00 p.m. ET. Stanton hurt the knee on a late hit by defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson on the second-to-last play of the first quarter. Stanton finished the game, but then reports surfaced over the weekend he may miss some time, opening the door for Blaine Gabbert to get the start Sunday.The Cardinals also signed quarterback Matt Barkley.Arians, though, wasn’t about to tip his hand.“Yeah, and he got a bunch last week, but he’ll get more this week,” he said, referring to Gabbert’s first-team reps. “We’ll try to get Matt something along the lines.”None of the three quarterbacks were in the locker room during media availability. And the first official injury report won’t be released until Wednesday.Cardinals insider and co-host of the The Blitz on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station Mike Jurecki reported Gabbert is expected to start this week.“He’s our quarterback. We believe in him. I thought he did a great job in training camp,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “Obviously anytime you play a quarterback that can use their legs, it always adds an extra dimension to the offense. Hopefully he’s ready to go, and we’ll be encouraging him and try and give him the confidence that he needs to just go out there and play football.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Budda Baker is readyNever before in his football career had safety Budda Baker had to wait to get on the field. Yet, that was the case this season, his first in the NFL.Sure, Baker played a handful of snaps here and there but most of his work has come on special teams, where he’s excelled. Now, with the injury to Tyvon Branch, Baker is expected to assume a much larger role on the defense.“I’ll definitely be ready,” he said. “Going to have a great week of preparation and hopefully a great game.”Baker played most of the game against the Seahawks—Branch got hurt in the first quarter—and tied for the team-lead in tackles with seven, while adding a pass defensed in 44 snaps.In nine games this season, Baker has played a total of 84 defensive snaps.“(He’s) more than ready,” Arians said. “Rookies around Thanksgiving and the middle and first of November, they shouldn’t be rookies anymore.”For Baker, having veterans like Branch and Antoine Bethea to lean on has helped his transition from college to the pros.“On the field, I know the plays and I know what I’m doing,” Baker said. “It’s just having a veteran, like Antoine Bethea, he wants to make sure I’m right. When I call the call, he just wants to make sure that I’m 100-percent right in what I’m doing. I’m very comfortable. I know the plays. The veterans just try to reiterate it to me when I’m on the field.”
Categories: Featured news,News,Photos 30Sep Rep. LaFontaine honored by manufacturers association Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township, was honored as a recipient of the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) Legislator of the Year Award.Manufacturers joined state and local leaders on Sept. 29 to honor Rep. LaFontaine in Lansing during the annual MMA Legislative Reception.The Legislator of the Year Award recognizes legislators for their leadership and dedication to Michigan’s manufacturing sector and their role advocating on behalf of Michigan’s largest job-creating industry.“It is an enormous honor to be recognized by the MMA,” LaFontaine said. “Manufacturing has been a major key to Michigan’s success, and we must continue to focus on success and job creation in that field here.”Rep. LaFontaine was recognized for her advocacy for manufacturing job creation and retention in Michigan by breaking down regulatory barriers that have historically handcuffed Michigan companies from competing fairly with global competitors.“Representative LaFontaine regularly questions legislation before her to ensure local businesses remain competitive and Michigan’s role as a global manufacturing leader is maintained,” said Chuck Hadden, MMA president and CEO. “Her leadership has remained consistent and extends to all of the industry’s top issues.”Other state legislators recognized by the MMA at the event were Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City and Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton. Tags: LaFontaine, Manufacturers, MMA
The Michigan House today overwhelmingly approved a funding bill urgently needed to address health and safety issues related to the Macomb County sinkhole emergency.The bill approved with bipartisan support includes $3 million from the state to help protect people, property and the environment from potential sewage overflows as crews continue to address the sinkhole that developed in late December. A state of emergency continues in the area.“Time is of the essence when it comes to the sinkhole emergency,” said Rep. Jeff Yaroch, R-Richmond, who sponsored the funding bill approved by the House. “We have to act now to protect public safety and health. If we have another heavy rain, we can’t afford to have raw sewage backing up into our residents’ homes and polluting the Clinton River, Lake St. Clair and beyond. Our Great Lakes are too important to not just Macomb County, but the entire Great Lakes region, so we can’t afford any delays in this project.”Republicans and Democrats joined forces to support the bill with a sense of urgency. The House Appropriations Committee approved the measure earlier in the day.“Hard-working families have enough to worry about without adding sinkholes and infrastructure problems to the list,” said Rep. Patrick Green, D-Warren. “I’m grateful that the state Legislature is moving quickly to repair the sinkhole in Macomb County and to take steps to make sure this won’t happen again.”“I am pleased to see Macomb County receive additional funding to deal with the sinkhole disaster,” said state Rep. Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores. “This tells homeowners and businesses that we are focused on doing all we can to help with these massive infrastructure repairs.”The money approved by the House would go toward building a long-term bypass around the sewer collapse that started the sinkhole. The project is needed to prevent sewage from backing up into homes and waterways.“We need to make sure we do what we can to protect people in our communities, as well as the environment and our precious natural resources,” said Rep. Diana Farrington, R-Utica. “This funding is an essential part of that effort.”Legislators praised the bipartisan support and quick action.“I am glad to be a part of this effort to continue helping our Macomb County communities affected by this sinkhole disaster,” said state Rep. Henry Yanez, D-Sterling Heights. “Acting now to send additional help will prevent the situation from worsening.”The Macomb County sinkhole started along 15 Mile Road in Fraser, but its effects have spread across the region.“The impact is broad and devastating,” said Rep. Steve Marino, R-Harrison Township. “This disaster affects more than 500,000 people, nearly a dozen communities and Selfridge Air National Guard Base. These residents need and deserve our help, and the Legislature must deliver that help.”Rep. Bill Sowerby, D-Clinton Township, echoed those sentiments.“Many residents and businesses of my district are severely impacted, along with several families having lost their homes, due to this infrastructure collapse,” Sowerby said. “I am pleased to join my Macomb County colleagues and vote for this additional money to help with the infrastructure repairs.”Many local communities remain urged to limit water usage to avoid strain on the system.“Due to the urgency of this situation, we need to move swiftly to approve this legislation to clear the financial obstacles Macomb is facing,” said Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township.Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, agreed.“You can’t see sewer pipes. You can’t see water pipes. But they need to be kept in good repair, just like the roads and bridges we see every day do,” Lucido said. “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this help for Macomb County.”Said Rep. John Chirkun, D-Roseville: “I’ve heard from many constituents who are concerned about the state of our infrastructure since the sinkhole opened up, and I’m glad that I’ll be able to tell them that the state is taking action to address the problem. Moving forward, I will work to see our state invest in maintaining and updating our infrastructure to prevent another sinkhole opening up here or anywhere else in Michigan.”The bill approved today by the House now goes to the Senate for consideration. Categories: Yaroch News 22Mar Michigan House approves urgent funding for Macomb County sinkhole
25Oct Richmond City Council and state Rep. Yaroch honor Dr. McClellan for his 50 years of service on the Planning Commission Categories: News,Yaroch News Richmond Mayor Tim Rix presents the Richmond City Council resolution to Dr. Patrick McClellan. Dr. Patrick McClellan, chair of the Richmond City Planning Commission was recently honored by the Richmond City Council and state Representative Jeff Yaroch.Yaroch presented a special tribute to planning commissioner, Dr. Patrick McClellan for his 50 years of service to the residents of Richmond.“Dr. Patrick McClellan has helped the city of Richmond for over 50 years on the planning commission,” said Yaroch, of Richmond. “This special tribute recognizes his loyalty and devotion to public service.”The City Council recently passed Resolution 2018 to recognize McClellan for his 50 years of service to the City of Richmond’s Planning Commission. McClellan was appointed to the City of Richmond Planning Commission in March of 1968 and has served as the Chair of the Planning Commission since September of 1975.According to the resolution, Dr. McClellan, through his leadership on the Planning Commission, has played an important role in land use decisions in Richmond for the last half century which have had a great impact on the orderly growth and development of the community. The City Council stated that Dr. McClellan not only played a vital role in the City of Richmond’s quality of life, but set an example for all citizens to follow through his service on the Commission.In addition to Resolution 2018-6, the City Council also named Dr. McClellan the City of Richmond Volunteer of the Year for 2018. The award is given in memory of longtime community volunteer Doug Pentzien. The Pentzien family provided funding to create the award, which will be given annually by the Richmond City Council.Dr. McClellan has a long history of volunteering in the City of Richmond. He is currently active in the Richmond Area Historical & Genealogical Society and he and his wife Sandra volunteer with the Backpack Blessings program that provides food to families in need. In addition to the many ways in which Dr. McClellan volunteers in the city, the City Council felt it was appropriate to name him as the first recipient of the award based on the number of years that Dr. McClellan and Doug Pentzien served together on the Planning Commission.###State Rep. Jeff Yaroch (right) presented a special tribute to Dr. Patrick McClellan for his 50 years of service on the planning commission.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 20, 2015; New York TimesFor most of us, a few unexplained truant days in grade school likely resulted in a chat with the principal and, at worst, a call home. But in Texas, school truancy is classified as a class-C misdemeanor, which has disproportionately affected black and Hispanic students. Now, Texas Governor Greg Abbot has signed a new measure to decriminalize unexcused absences effective September 1st.In 2013 alone, Texas filed 115,000 truancy cases for those students who had three unexcused absences in four weeks. Schools with students who had missed 10 days in six months were required to file a misdemeanor for failure to attend school. The law carried a hefty potential fine of $500, a fine some families had not been able to pay, leading their children through the court system.Of course, the issue of truancy is not new, but students’ missing several days at a time is troubling. Teachers and school officials have tried for years to figure out how to stamp out chronic absenteeism productively. Criminal prosecution for missing school is different, and it has prompted the Justice Department to investigate whether it does more harm than good.A study of the state’s truancy policy by social and economic justice advocacy group (and opponent of the law) Texas Appleseed found serious counterproductive effects, especially on black, Hispanic, and disabled students. Four out of five students sent to court for truancy were economically disadvantaged and eligible for free or reduced lunches. Over the course of three years, judges ordered about 6,400 students to drop out of school and take the GED test, only to fail. One in five of those students required special education.As indicated in an article from NPR earlier this year, an illness, familial circumstances, or a learning disability could cause a student to miss school but would not warrant a court-ordered appearance. Instability at home or personal issues like pregnancy or drug use suggest that the student would benefit from support rather than incarceration.“In the vast majority of cases, the school, working with the student and family, could address the truancy problem if it made meaningful attempts to do so,” said Mary Schmid Mergler, director of Texas Appleseed’s School-to-Prison Pipeline Project, in the study. “Instead, schools often pass the responsibility to courts that are not designed, equipped or trained to provide meaningful assistance to students and their families.”Texas Appleseed has filed a complaint with the Justice Department against the Dallas County truancy courts, which at 36,000 prosecuted more truant cases in 2012 than any other Texas County. Accord to Texas Appleseed’s study, despite the record number of truancy court cases, the state’s absenteeism has not improved.—Shafaq HasanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
DVR technology company TiVo is acquiring TRA, an advertising software company.TRA’s platform includes a database that links information from households about what viewers watch with what they buy. TRA matches television exposures from 1.5 million TV homes with specific purchase transactions.TiVo said the acquisition will give it insights that will offer the TV advertising industry internet-level measurement and accountability in the television analytics business. The unit will be known as TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA).Tom Rogers, CEO and president of TiVo said, “TV has long been the best medium for advertisers to influence what consumers buy. TRA has proven its platform can determine the effectiveness of TV advertising by connecting the exposure of ads to actual purchases, helping advertisers identify the right audience and get the most out of their ad dollars. TRA has driven a substantial client list of advertisers, agencies and networks with this proposition. With this new level of unique audience insights and analytics, TiVo will be able to provide insights nobody else has in an industry increasingly seeking alternative ways to measure audience behavior accurately while increasing efficiencies in media spending.”
Online video distribution specialist Rightster has appointed Robin Pembrooke as vice-president of products and solutions.He will focus on scaling Rightster’s product management and user experience capabilities in the UK, US and India. Pembrooke joins Rightster from ITV where he was head of the UK commercial broadcaster’s online business.Charlie Muirhead, founder and CEO at Rightster, said: “Rightster makes the task of distributing, promoting and getting advertisers for video content online more efficient and Robin brings a wealth of experience to the table in improving the quality, distribution and usage of online and on-demand platforms. I’m thrilled to have him on board and the his skills and expertise will be invaluable in the continued drive to offer our customers innovative solutions on how best to maximise the value of their video content.”
Cloud-based TV revenues will grow to over US$750 million (€580 million) by 2017, up from US$120 million in 2013, according to a new report from research group MRG.According to MRG, growth in cloud-based TV will be driven by the development of multiscreen and TV Everywhere services as well as cable networks’ migration from QAM to IP video networks.
Former Canal Plus chief Pierre Lescure’s report on the adaptation of France’s cultural policies to the digital age has suggested that a new tax be levied on laptops, smartphones and tablets to help support the content industry’s migration to digital, that the Hadopi commission be abolished and that the strict rules governing video content distribution windows be relaxed.The report, which was delivered to minister of culture Aurélie Filippetti yesterday, said that manufacturers of computers, smartphones, tablets and connected TVs could be subject to a tax of up to 1% to compensate the transfer of the value of content. Former Canal Plus chief Lescure also envisages that a current tax on private copies could be merged with other taxes or replaced.Lescure has also proposed that the powers of the Hadopi, the organisation set up to combat internet piracy through a controversial ‘three strikes’ regime, should be transferred to media regulator the CSA. The Hadopi’s controversial power to cut off the internet connection of persistent infringers of copyright would be abolished.The report also recommends that France’s system of content windowing should be relaxed, with a possible reduction of the time after which movies can be shown on video-on-demand services reduced from 36 months after their theatrical release to 18 months.Hadopi president Marie-Françoise Marais welcomed the report as broadly justifying the legitimacy and usefulness of the body’s mission and said that their consolidation within the framework of a “more global strategy” would give them a solid footing.
Swiss-based content protection specialist Nagra has extended its partnership with Dish Network and EchoStar Technologies in the US.Dish and EchoStar are deploying Nagra’s MediaLive Player (NMP) – which includes its MediaAccess Persistent Rights Management (PRM) technology – and Nagra’s studio-approved DRM solution, which will secure the Dish Anywhere multiscreen VoD service for computers, smartphones and tablets.“More and more consumers are demanding greater flexibility in the way they enjoy their Dish content. To successfully provide this service, we chose the Nagra MediaLive Player with PRM because of their proven ability to effectively protect our content investment while at the same time meeting the requirements of our premium content providers. What’s more, our close security partnership with Nagra allows us to focus on creating innovative new services,” said Vivek Khemka, Dish senior vice president of product management.Nagra is owned by Kudelski Group and claims to be the world’s leading independent provider of content protection and multiscreen television solutions.
Samsung is to launch the first commercially available Higher Dynamic Range (HDR) video content as part of a new UHD video pack, possibly as early as next month, according to a report in Forbes magazine.According to the report, Samsung will air two full-length Hollywood movies at a native UHD resolution, the titles of which have yet to be confirmed. The two titles will be complemented by non-HDR UHD content as part of the package, according to the report. Titles have yet to be confirmed.Samsung last year launched a UHD video pack to highlight the capabilities of its TVs, available via an external device, with movies that included GI Joe: Retaliation, X-Men Origins, Night at the Museum and Life of Pi.News of Samsung’s HDR plans follows its trial broadcast, with satellite operator SES, of HDR UHD TV over DVB at SES’s Industry Days event in Luxembourg earlier this month.Samsung and SES used technology developed by the BBC to broadcast HDR content to its new SUHD TV devices simultaneously with other UHD TV content to existing UHD screens. HDR technology is designed to bring greater contrast to the screen, making colours appear richer, brighter and more lifelike.Last month Amazon announced that it would bring HDR content to its Prime Instant Video service in the UK, Germany and the US later this year via Amazon Originals.
Carl IcahnBillionaire investor and Apple shareholder, Carl Icahn, said he expects the firm to make a “more dramatic push” into the TV market next year. In an open letter, addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Icahn said he believes TV’s role in the living room is a “strategically compelling bolt-on to the Apple ecosystem” and predicted the launch of a much-rumoured Apple branded TV set.“In addition to an Ultra High Definition television set, we expect Apple to launch a related suite of tiered products and services, including a ‘skinny bundle’ of pay TV channels (partnered with various media companies) and an updated Apple TV microconsole (which will continue to service the massive install base of televisions offered by other OEMs),” said Icahn in the letter, which was co-signed by son Brett Icahn and business partner David Schechter.“This will enable Apple to pursue the entire market by offering multiple products at various price points across the demographic spectrum. Netflix offers a similar tiered approach to pricing today by charging a higher price for those seeking the ability to receive ultra high definition content.”Icahn said that a larger move into TV would benefit Apple’s other devices and services – suggesting that the recently launched Apple watch could be use as a remote control.“Similarly, as we expect Apple to launch a larger 12.9” iPad, it would offer an enhanced viewing experience for an Apple pay TV service, or act an improved “second screen” to an Apple UltraHD television,” said Icahn.Outlining the opportunities in the TV space, he claimed that people spent an average 25% of their free time watching TV and that excluding advertising, the addressable market for TV is roughly US$575 billion – “which is larger than the smartphone market.”According to previous reports, Apple is planning to launch a revamped version of its Apple TV set-top box in June, along with a new version of its App Store and a software development kit optimised for the device.It is also reported to be planning to launch an online TV service this autumn in partnership with broadcasters including ABC, CBS and Fox.However, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Apple’s long-rumoured TV set plans were “quietly shelved” more than a year ago after almost a decade of research. Crediting people familiar with the matter, the WSJ reported that Apple did not consider features that it was looking at “compelling enough to enter the highly competitive television market.”Carl Icahn is currently ranked 31 on the Forbes rich list, with an estimated worth of US$22.4 billion.
Sky cited Frontier Economics research that BT had scaled back investment in OpenreachSky has called on UK competition watchdog the CMA to investigate BT’s Openreach division, accusing it of under-investment in the national broadband network used by Sky to serve its customers.In a submission to regulator Ofcom’s strategic review of digital communications, Sky called on Ofcom to make a market investigation reference to the CMA and said that “the common thread” to problems with the UK broadband sector was “BT’s ownership of Openreach”, which carried a risk of “diminishgin retail competition as the UK transitions to fibre-based broadband services”.Sky’s cited BT’s failure to invest in and maintain the network as leading to a wide range of service quality problems. It says over 90% of new line installations, which require an Openreach engineer to attend, take over 10 calendar days and almost one in 10 installations take over 30 days. Sky accused Openreach of changing the agreed installation date for its customers on average around 36,000 times a month and of missing over 500 appointments each month to install new lines for Sky, as awell as failing to complete a further 4,000 jonbs per month.According to Sky, fault rates across the Openreach network increased by 50% between 2009 and 2012. The broadcaster said that Openreach’s performance in fixing faults is consistently below targets agreed with third-party service providers.Sky cited research by consultancy Frontier Economics, which it said showed years of declining investment in maintaining the copper network, to back up its claims. It said that capital expenditure on Openreach activities other than fibre had fallen by a third over the last decade.“The forthcoming Ofcom review is an important piece of work so it is disappointing that Sky are engaging in selective spin rather than constructive dialogue. They claim that Openreach investment is down yet it is up. They can only substantiate their claim by ignoring the billions of pounds we have pumped into fibre broadband,” a BT spokesperson told DTVE sister publication Telecoms.com.“They also make claims about customer service whilst failing to acknowledge that Openreach has passed all sixty of the service targets it was set by Ofcom. We acknowledge there is more to do on customer service but breaking up BT is not the answer. It would lead to huge uncertainty and fundamentally undermine the case for future investment dragging the UK backwards at the very time it needs important investment in its infrastructure.”
Global streamer Netflix and British pubcaster the BBC will remake Watership Down, with John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Ben Kinglsey (Sexy Beast) attached to star.The four-part animated miniseries will also star Nicholas Hoult (X Men: Apocalypse), James McAvoy (Atonement) and Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace), and comes with the backing of UK-based production management group 42.This comes after Martin Rosen’s influential 1978 animated movie, and an animated TV version, which went out on YTV in Canada and CITV in the UK between 1999 and 2001.Tom Bidwell (My Mad Fat Diary) will write the new show, which Noam Murro will direct. The BBC and Netflix are coproducing, with 42 and Murro’s Biscuit Films attached.Pete Dodd (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and Hugo Sands will lead animation production along with Ireland’s Brown Bag Films. ITV Studios Global Entertainment has international distribution rights thanks to a first-look deal with 42.42’s Rory Aitken, Ben Pugh, Eleanor Moran and Josh Varney will executive-produce, along with Murro and BBC Drama commissioning editor Michael Read.Watership Down will be based on the Richard Adams classic novel set in southern England and about a group of strong-willed rabbits who are forced to flee in face of certain destruction of their warren.“Before there was Harry Potter there was Watership Down; Richard Adams’ novel is one of the most successful books of all time and one of the biggest-selling books in history,” said Read.“It is fantastic to have the opportunity to bring a modern classic to a mainstream BBC One audience withsuch an incredible roster of actors alongside the talented team overseeing the animation. This fantastic take on the novel will unite the whole family, and bring this classic story to a new generation.”“Adapting this much-loved novel in afresh and innovative way is a truly exciting opportunity,” added 42 co-founder Aitken. “Telling the story over four hours of CG animation allows us to explore the characters from the novel and their adventure in a way not previously achievable on screen.
Joel Whitten ‘Whit’ Richardson IIITurner Latin America has named Joel Whitten ‘Whit’ Richardson III as its president, in effect replacing Juan Carlos Urdaneta.Richardson is a 23-year Turner veteran, and in his new role has taken charge of the company’s regional general entertainment, kids, sports and free-to-air channel brands; distribution of the CNN news services; and L&M activity.He is known internally for aiding the launch of Turner’s Argentinian business, helping it go from a business of 15 employees in 1998 to more than 750 as of today, and for the acquisitions of the likes of Chilevision, Esporte Interativo and CNN Chile.His appointment come after long-serving Turner Lat Am chief Urdaneta exited last year, leaving Turner Internationa president Gerhard Zeiler to lead the regional operation in the interim.Zeiler said Richardson was “a highly respected executive inside and outside Turner”, adding he had “a clear vision of how we adapt the organisation to truly become a next-generation media provider”.Richardson who was previously executive VP of distribution and GM of Argentina, said he would “prioritise collaboration, innovation and change” to “aggressively position for continued growth and success”.Turner has a total of 54 channels in three languages in 44 territories across the Latin American region.
Channel 4’s digital service, All4, is launching support for 360° video ads from this week.The UK broadcaster’s 4Sales division announced the new Ad 360 format today, and Honda and South African Tourism will be the first brands to use the 360° interactive VOD ads.“Ad 360 enables All 4’s audience to engage with brands in a new and exciting way using the latest developments in 360 degree content creation, strengthening our existing suite of innovative digital ad products,” said Channel 4’s digital and creative leader, David Amodio.The Ad 360 format was developed by video technology partners Innovid, and the firm claims that together with Channel 4 it is bringing “360° interactive video experiences to the European market for the first time.”