Tags: Promotions, Sunwing Share Monday, September 24, 2018 TORONTO — A total of 10,000 premium all-inclusive vacations are now on sale with Sunwing as part of its new ‘Vacation Better’ promotion.The limited-time promotion runs until Sept. 28 and prices vacations at just $1,295 per person, taxes included. Packages are available to over 45 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, with departures from 33 airports coast to coast.Savings are also available on select cruise packages with sailings across the Caribbean from various ports.Top-rated resorts and excursions are the first to sell out, said Sunwing, which is why agents are encouraged to book early to ensure clients get the vacation they want at the best prices.Also, said the company, there’s no need to wait until the last minute to ensure a great deal, as its Best Price Guarantee allows Sunwing to match lower prices and refund clients the difference.Included in the sale are popular resorts for families and adults, including the Grand Sunset Princess All Suites and Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Activities here include archery, kayaking and snorkelling, plus there’s a supervised kids club and numerous freshwater swimming pools.More news: AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsAlso available is Riu Montego Bay in Jamaica featuring spacious rooms designed to accommodate families of five or more. Amenities include a large pool with a swim-up bar, kids club, daily activities and evening entertainment programs. Alternatively, couples can head to Riu Republica, a lively adults-only resort in Punta Cana featuring an adults-only water park (the only one of its kind in the Caribbean), nine restaurants, nightly evening entertainment and RIU-topia perks like in-room liquor dispensers and reservation-free dining at specialty restaurants.There’s also the adults-only Sanctuary at Grand Memories Varadero in Cuba where guests can enjoy personalized butler service, an adults-only pool, specialty restaurants and access to neighbouring Grand Memories Varadero.The number of vacations priced at $1,295 are limited. Ten adults travelling together can receive special prices, added values and reduced deposits. Travelweek Group Posted by 10,000 vacations go on sale with Sunwing’s latest promotion << Previous PostNext Post >>
Facebook Comments ZURICH, Switzerland — FIFA’s ethics watchdog will on Monday give a verdict against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini with both facing lengthy bans over a suspect two million dollar payment. The FIFA president, 79, and vice president, 60, were suspended after Swiss prosecutors started a criminal investigation into the cash transfer that Blatter approved for Platini in 2011.The FIFA judges’ ruling is set to have far-reaching repercussions.It could bring an inglorious end to Blatter’s 17 year reign over world football. A ban for Platini would deal a fatal blow to the European football chief’s hopes of taking over when an election for a new president is held on February 26.FIFA investigators have sought life bans against Blatter and Platini and both men have signalled that appeals will be made.Blatter told Swiss newspaper Blick on Sunday that he was told corruption charges against him have been dropped but he is still believed to face charges of mismanagement and conflict of interest.Multiple scandals that have hit world football have intensified the spotlight on the inquiry into a two million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment that the FIFA leader authorized for Platini.The money was for work that the French football legend carried out as a consultant from 1998 to 2002.There was no contract and details of the sum owed only appeared in FIFA’s accounts after it was paid in 2011.Blatter was then seeking support for a fourth term as FIFA leader and facing a challenge from Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar. Platini endorsed Blatter for the presidency but he has insisted there was no link between the payment and the election.Combative accusedBoth men deny corruption and say there was an “oral contract” for the payment because Platini’s whole salary for his work could not be made at the time. No explanation has been given for the delay however.Chief FIFA Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert held hearings for the two men last week.Blatter gave a lengthy defence while Platini boycotted the hearing and had his lawyer read out a statement saying: “I am already judged, I am already condemned.”Blatter has already announced that he will give a press conference at 10:00 a.m. on Monday in a Zurich restaurant, the Sonnenberg, that used to be FIFA’s headquarters.The Swiss powerbroker has combatively attacked the FIFA action against him saying that it was like “the inquisition.”But he also faces a Swiss criminal inquiry into the case. Prosecutors have called the cash transfer a “disloyal payment” and accused him of criminal mismanagement.The allocation of television broadcasting deals is also being investigated.Blatter and Platini can attack any ban at a FIFA appeal tribunal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and even in a Swiss civil court.Blatter would be fighting for his reputation. For Platini, a ban would almost certainly rule him out of the FIFA election.The deadline for candidates to be registered and pass an integrity check is January 26.With FIFA’s reputation in tatters after the arrest of several top officials, Blatter announced four days after winning reelection to a fifth term in May that he would stand down and call a new election.Seven FIFA officials were arrested in a luxury Zurich hotel two days before the election congress.Now U.S. authorities have charged 39 football officials and sports business executives over more than $200 million in bribes for football television and marketing deals.Costa Rica’s Eduardo Li pleads not guilty in FIFA corruption scandalSwiss prosecutors are in parallel investigating FIFA’s management and the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.Facing pressure from governments and the International Olympic Committee for major reforms, there are currently five candidates to take over FIFA: Asian football head Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain, South African politician and tycoon Tokyo Sexwale, former FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan, UEFA general-secretary Gianni Infantino and Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA assistant general secretary from France. Related posts:Football: Platini fails to get FIFA suspension lifted Top US sponsors of FIFA urge football body to enact reforms Platini deal was ‘gentleman’s agreement’ – FIFA’s Blatter Platini withdraws bid for FIFA presidency
Cabinet on Wednesday approved last week’s interim agreement between the government and teacher unions on the streamlining of teaching time.According to deputy government spokesperson, Klelia Vasiliou, the cabinet ratified the agreement struck last week between teaching unions Poed, Oelmek and Oltek and the ministerial committee on education. The deal put an end to the more than two month-long dispute that led to a 48-hour teacher strike last month.The committee and public school teachers agreed last week to immediately start talks on the various problems faced by state education.The decision followed an interim agreement between the two sides to allow time for dialogue. No details were given on the agreement.Unions were up in arms when the education ministry decided last July to reduce the free time previously afforded to senior educators as well as to union cadres to engage in trade-union activities during normal working hours.With the change, certain union officials would have been forced to spend more time in the classroom.The government also proposed a reduction in the teaching periods, which educators got depending on years of service from two to one. Under the current system for example, primary school teachers have their periods cut by two to 27 after 15 years, and to 25 after 21 years.The government has since largely walked this back, bringing a revised proposal where the top officials from each trade union will be allotted a certain number of hours per week to engage in union work during normal working hours. You May LikeUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementAdd This One Thing To Your Dog’s Food To Help Them Be HealthierUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementUndoAngels And EntrepreneursRobert Herjavec Announce Venture Could Make You RichAngels And EntrepreneursUndoDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
29Sep Rep. Crawford welcomes ‘Rep. for a Day’ contest winners to the Capitol Sayre Elementary students take oaths as ‘Junior Representatives’State Rep. Kathy Crawford today hosted two very special guests in Lansing when Tristan and Avery Kraemer of South Lyon joined the lawmaker as “Representatives for a Day.”The siblings were selected as winners of Rep. Crawford’s summer reading contest. The reading contest—which took place between May and August—invited elementary school students to fill out an entry bookmark each time they completed reading 10 books to win a trip to the Capitol.“The dedication that these students have shown both inside and outside the classroom is something that shouldn’t go unnoticed,” said Rep. Crawford, R-Novi. “The importance of reading cannot be stressed enough, as it is crucial to students’ future success. Students like Tristan and Avery set a prime example for their peers.”After taking their oaths and being sworn in as “junior representatives,” Tristan and Avery toured the Capitol alongside Rep. Crawford and then participated in a mock committee hearing, followed by lunch with Rep. Crawford.“It was such a pleasure to have these two brilliant students at my side today,” Rep. Crawford said. “It is clear that these two will go on to do great things and will continue to set a positive example.”Rep. Crawford plans to host a similar reading contest next summer. Categories: Crawford News,K-Crawford Photos
State Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso announced his monthly in-district office hours for Monday, July 17 at the following times and locations:7 to 8:30 a.m. at the Durand City Hall, Council Chambers, 215 W. Clinton St. in Durand; and4:30 to 6 p.m. at the River Rapids District Library, 227 E. Broad St. in Chesaning.“I’m looking forward to connecting with members of the community at my monthly office hours,” Rep. Frederick said. “Talking with people about issues that matter to them is the most rewarding aspect of my job as a legislator.”No appointment is necessary. Anyone unable to meet during the scheduled times may contact Rep. Frederick’s office at (517) 373-0841 or email at BenFrederick@house.mi.gov. 07Jul Rep. Frederick to host July office hours Categories: Frederick News
Pepper spray will be more readily available for Michigan residents to carry for self-defense now that a reform introduced by state Rep. Michele Hoitenga was recently signed into law.Hoitenga said Michigan’s previous self-defense spray regulations were too restrictive.“Most pepper spray products on the market could not be purchased or carried legally in Michigan,” said Hoitenga, of Manton. “We needed to update the law to give vulnerable Michigan residents more access to this easy and effective tool to protect themselves and their families.”Before Hoitenga’s reform, Michigan only allowed pepper spray with a 10-percent concentration of oleoresin capsicum, the active ingredient. The majority of self-defense sprays are produced with a concentration of 18 percent, the limit allowed by the federal government and 45 other states.The legislation also allows self-defense sprays sold in Michigan to contain a ultra-violet dye that can help law enforcement officers identify offenders.“Anyone who knows me knows I’m a proud supporter of the Second Amendment. I personally carry a firearm for self-defense, but I also understand that not everyone is comfortable around guns,” Hoitenga said. “These sensible reforms increase the availability of pepper spray and offer reassurance for people who choose to utilize it to defend themselves from violence.”House Bill 5220 is now Public Act 98 of 2018.### Categories: Hoitenga News 04Apr Hoitenga plan to make pepper spray more accessible signed into law
Categories: Bellino News,News 02May Committee approves Rep. Bellino’s plan for enhanced law enforcement training related to school safety The Michigan House Appropriations Committee today approved state Rep. Joe Bellino’s plan to help improve school safety in Michigan through enhanced training for law enforcement personnel.Bellino’s measure would mandate consistent, standardized training related to school violence incidents be part of the requirements to become a licensed law enforcement officer in Michigan. The requirements initially would apply to new personnel and would apply to all law enforcement members by 2020.“School security requires a team approach – and law enforcement is a huge part of that team,” said Bellino, of Monroe. “The goal is to provide the best training possible to prepare our officers if they ever have to respond to an act of violence targeting our schools.”Bellino’s legislation is part of a broader House initiative approved by the committee with bipartisan support.The plan includes the creation of a School Safety Commission to review safety procedures in Michigan schools and more resources for security improvements in school buildings across the state. Other parts of the plan would make the OK2SAY school safety program permanent, require reporting procedures for school incidents and threats, and require safety-related measures in new school construction.The plan advances to the House floor for further consideration.###The legislation: House Bills 5828-30 and 5850-52.
05Jun Senate panel approves Tedder plan to help teachers in Michigan’s classrooms Bills will reduce unnecessary certification, substitute teacher standardsThe Senate Education Committee today approved two bills sponsored by state Rep. Jim Tedder to address Michigan’s shortage of substitute teachers and remove an unnecessary teaching certificate requirement for new teachers.Tedder, a former teacher and administrator in Clarkston, described substitute teaching as in “critical shortage” with only 85 percent of all substitute requests being filled, according to the Michigan Department of Education. House Bill 4069 will allow school districts to consider substitute teachers who have completed a minimum of 60 college credit hours or have earned an associate’s degree.“If we have educated professionals or students studying in college, we should allow them the opportunity to be in the classroom for the short term,” Tedder said. “The state has got to get out of the way, which is what we are doing with the current 90-hour requirement. Let the districts decide what works best in their own classrooms.”The Senate panel unanimously approved House Bill 4084, which removes the reading diagnostics course as a requirement prior to receiving requirement a professional teacher certification. Tedder stated the reading requirement is not needed for new teachers as part of professional development and should instead be part of college curriculum.“Students who need added reading instruction should be working with new teachers who had reading disability coursework in college, not with teachers waiting to complete it as professional development several years into their career,” Tedder said. “This requirement is a disservice to students and by removing it, we will allow newer teachers to focus on providing a quality education.”Both HB 4069 and 4084 advance to the Senate floor for consideration.##### Categories: News,Tedder News
11Dec Rep. VanderWall supports plan for Straits utility tunnel Categories: News,VanderWall News VanderWall: This plan is a safe and reliable solution for our energy needsState Rep. Curt VanderWall today supported a plan to protect the Great Lakes by providing proper oversight for the new underground infrastructure corridor in the Straits of Mackinac. The plan received bipartisan support.VanderWall, of Ludington, said agreements with Enbridge Energy to build a multi-use utility tunnel will allow for the decommissioning of the current Line 5 segment in the Straits and greatly reduce the risk of an oil spill between Michigan’s peninsulas.“This plan is about protecting our Great Lakes while ensuring Northern Michigan families continue to have access to the reliable energy resources they need,” VanderWall said. “The proper oversight and transparency measures ensure improved safety for the entire length of the pipeline.”The plan laid out in Senate Bill 1197 creates a new, independent authority to provide oversight and take ownership of the proposed tunnel. The new body will be called the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority.VanderWall said Enbridge, not taxpayers, will pay for 100 percent of design, construction, operation and maintenance of the tunnel. Once the company reaches an agreement with the newly created Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, the authority would own the tunnel and provide proper oversight, including a public, transparent process for ongoing operation of the tunnel.“Enbridge is footing the bill for the tunnel, employing Michigan workers, protecting our natural resources and providing reliable access to energy vital to daily life,” VanderWall said. “I am confident in this solution for the people of Northern Michigan.”###
29Mar Rep. Kahle praises school safety grants awarded in Lenawee County Categories: Kahle News State Rep. Bronna Kahle this week praised the announcement of over $400,000 in state grants to school districts in Lenawee County to improve safety of school buildings.“Keeping students and teachers safe at school is a must so they can focus on learning,” Rep. Kahle said. “I was proud to support funding this program when it was voted on last year in the Legislature. These grants will allow districts to make important security improvements and continue to provide a secure learning environment in school buildings.”Some of the grant recipients in the 57th District include Addison Community Schools ($48,770), Sand Creek Community Schools ($97,371) and Tecumseh Public Schools ($210,268).Districts throughout Michigan will receive $25 million in state grants from the 2019 Competitive School Safety Grant Program to improve the safety and security of students, staff and school buildings through the purchase of technology equipment.Note: A complete list of school safety grants is available on this Michigan State Police website: https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-72297_34040_75045—,00.html
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares September 22, 2014; Fast CompanySome people looking to leave their job for good might feel the best way is to run out the door and never look back. Or how about creating a viral video to share your employment agonies with the world:But before making any drastic moves, you may want to consider planning out your exit strategy. Leaving on good terms can allow you to keep important work connections and references, which could be beneficial to your career down the line.To make certain you have a more graceful exit, here are eight suggestions from Fast Company on how to leave your job while ensuring professionalism:Contacts: Before checking out at work, you’ll want to check that your personal contact list is up-to-date. Make sure you have connected with any potential references or anyone you want to stay in touch with via LinkedIn, email, or telephone.Personal Belongings: To avoid making a scene on your last day, make sure you plan to remove some personal items in advance. Some organizations also require you clear out your office immediately upon resignation for security reasons, so going through your files at work to ensure that you aren’t leaving any important personal information behind is also a smart move.Keep Calm: Relax. A decision to leave your organization is bound to ruffle some feathers. Some coworkers may be afraid of the change that will come afterwards, and some people might even be envious of your decision to move on to new endeavors. Don’t take comments to heart, and don’t let backhanded comments or the opinions of others impact the personal career choices you have made.Put Your Resignation in Writing: Even if you plan on speaking to your supervisor and staff in person, composing a letter of resignation for your organization’s records is recommended. The letter should be positive and to the point, briefly explaining your reason for leaving but also letting the organization know you have valued your time with them.Give Notice: Losing an employee can really shake things up at an organization, specifically at smaller scale nonprofits. Looking for a replacement, scheduling and holding interviews, and going through the hiring and training process all take time and resources. So make sure you give your organization ample notice before springing the news on them. Founder of career blog Jobacle.com Andrew Rosen suggests that two weeks’ notice is the “bare minimum” for entry-level and low-level managerial jobs.Be Honest: An exit interview is your greatest opportunity to let the organization know what they need to improve on. If there was a part of your job that was making you miserable, let them know so they will have the opportunity to make the experience better for the next person who takes the position. Do be aware of the difference between constructive criticism and just flat out complaining, but take advantage of this moment to reflect and let your supervisor know where there is room to make progress.Transitioning: To make the transition smooth, be sure to finish up any projects or tasks that are in need of your assistance. Also, double-check that you are passing on all the knowledge you can to the next person who will fill your role, including any needed instructions or training manuals that you found valuable. Offering to give contact information to your replacement if they end up in a crisis and are in need of help could leave you highly respected and regarded by the organization.Following Up: Make sure to thank the people that you really enjoyed working with before leaving. Sending emails to check in or simply letting them know how appreciative you were of their hard work can go a long way.Nonprofit HR’s 2014 Nonprofit Employment Practice’s Survey data showed that turnover was the greatest human resources challenge facing nonprofits. Making this transition process easier for your organization as a whole will not only allow you to keep on good terms with networks and references, but it can also allow your organization to become more successful as you move on.—Aine CreedonShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share16TweetShareEmail16 SharesJune 3, 2015; The American ProspectBack in 2008, Congress created a National Housing Trust Fund meant to be funded by dedicated revenues outside the current appropriations process from government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Unfortunately, a few months after the legislation was passed, Fannie and Freddie went into financial free-fall along with much of the economy, resulting in a suspension of potential GSE contributions. This means that since the National Housing Trust Fund was created, it has had no money.Obviously, funding exists that could be redirected toward the trust fund. Fannie and Freddie are making money again, and as of the end of 2014, the two GSEs began setting aside money for the Trust Fund (from a 4.2 basis point assessment on Fannie and Freddie business volumes). However, the House of Representatives has passed a transportation and housing budget with the all-too-telling acronym of “THUD” that takes the money that would have gone to the NHTF and uses it to cover the shortfall in the HOME program—that Congress has created through repeated budget cuts.It is a bit of a shell game. The House has cut the HOME program and now wants to make up some of what they cut from the program by killing the trust fund. The losers in this deal would be the nation’s poor, who find themselves increasingly shut out of the housing market unless they want to assume excessive housing cost burdens. “We have a broken market that doesn’t work to produce housing that extremely low-income people can afford to rent, period,” says Barbara Sard of the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities. “It just does not happen without subsidies of some sort.”The legislation that created the National Housing Trust Fund still stands, with the requirement that Fannie and Freddie dollars would go to it when the two GSEs were back to earning healthy revenues. So if the Republican budget fails, the Fannie and Freddie money would continue to the Housing Trust Fund, which could amount to as much as $133 million for Fiscal Year 2016.The Obama administration is on record against the current House budget that cuts $130 million from the HOME program and directs the NHTF resources to cover some of the loss. Senate Democrats who agree with the administration note that the NHTF is meant to be new money specifically addressing extremely low-income rental housing. HOME funds have a broader purpose and are not meant to replace other housing funds in the regular appropriations process.The National Low Income Housing Coalition under Sheila Crowley has long been the stalwart advocate for the National Housing Trust Fund, producing excellent status updates, technical reviews of the draft regulations, and explanatory fact sheets and PowerPoint slide decks. The information is out there, but the need will be for other anti-poverty advocacy groups to line up behind the Coalition in protecting the National Housing Trust Fund from “effective elimination,” which is what the House plan to redirect funds to HOME would be, and to prevent the $130 million cut in the HOME budget itself.As described by Stephen Schneck in U.S. Catholic’s blog, “It’s down to the wire and not enough people are paying attention.” The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called on Catholics around the nation to lobby Congress on this issue. According to the Bishops’ action alert, this is a time when “we should be increasing our support for programs like the Trust Fund, not eliminating it.”Schneck writes, “Having a home gives roots to human dignity. A home makes family and community possible. A home is a morally necessary condition for human life. If, as Catholics, we are really concerned with defending human life in all of its stages, if we are really concerned about what’s happening to families, about what’s happening to community, then we need to join our voices with those of our bishops in saying that it is a human right to have a home. Let’s pray that Congress listens.” Congress will listen, but only if the voices in favor of National Housing Trust Fund funding are organized, loud, and insistent—and do so now.—Rick CohenShare16TweetShareEmail16 Shares
Share44Tweet14Share5Email63 Shares“Big Brother Is Watching You” – Obey Giant Los Angeles Street ArtOctober 21, 2017; Wired UKChina’s State Council plans to launch a new system for rating its citizens’ “trustworthiness” in 2020. The Chinese government first released its plan for a national “trust score” system on June 14, 2014, in a document titled, “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System.” (NPQ first wrote about it last year.) The policy states, “It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility.”The Chinese government says it needs to do something to increase trust. China doesn’t have a credit score system, so the majority of its citizens cannot get credit. Further, micro-corruption is rampant: “According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 63 per cent of all fake goods, from watches to handbags to baby food, originate from China.” In February 2017, China’s Supreme Court revealed that it banned 6.15 million citizens from taking flights over the previous four years and 1.65 million from taking trains for “social misdeeds.”But critics call it “gamified obedience.” According to Rachel Botsman, who excerpted an article for Wired UK from her book, Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart, this system would monitor and evaluate your daily activities—“what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not)”—to create a Citizen Score. Ratings will be compared against the whole population to determine eligibility for social goods. Further, a person’s score is affected by the scores of their online friends; in other words, “if someone they are connected to online posts a negative comment [online], their own score will also be dragged down.”Participation is currently voluntary but will become mandatory in 2020. Millions of people have already signed up, ostensibly for the perks of a high score. In fact, “higher scores have already become a status symbol.” For example, according to Sesame Credit, one of the two companies conducting social credit pilots,If their score reaches 600, they can take out a Just Spend loan of up to 5,000 yuan (around £565) to use to shop online, as long as it’s on an Alibaba site. Reach 650 points, they may rent a car without leaving a deposit. They are also entitled to faster check-in at hotels and use of the VIP check-in at Beijing Capital International Airport. Those with more than 666 points can get a cash loan of up to 50,000 yuan (£5,700) … get above 700 and they can apply for Singapore travel without supporting documents such as an employee letter. And at 750, they get fast-tracked application to a coveted pan-European Schengen visa.On the other hand,People with low ratings will have slower internet speeds; restricted access to restaurants, nightclubs or golf courses; and the removal of the right to travel freely abroad with…“restrictive control on consumption within holiday areas or travel businesses.” Scores will influence a person’s rental applications, their ability to get insurance or a loan and even social-security benefits. Citizens with low scores will not be hired by certain employers and will be forbidden from obtaining some jobs, including in the civil service, journalism and legal fields, where of course you must be deemed trustworthy. Low-rating citizens will also be restricted when it comes to enrolling themselves or their children in high-paying private schools.Alibaba, which runs Sesame Credit through a financial affiliate, generates the social credit score through a secret proprietary algorithm, which takes five factors into account: credit history; fulfillment capacity, or the ability to pay one’s debts; personal characteristics (such as phone number and address); behavior and preferences (shopping habits); and interpersonal relationships (including sharing “positive energy” messages online).The government documents summarize the social credit system as one that will “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” Botsman writes, in response, “The new system reflects a cunning paradigm shift…instead of trying to enforce stability or conformity with a big stick and a good dose of top-down fear, the government is attempting to make obedience feel like gaming.”But, she also notes, “Governments around the world are already in the business of monitoring and rating.” In the US, FICO (credit) scores are used to determine financial decisions, the National Security Agency digitally follows its citizens, and data-collecting giants like Google, Facebook, and Instagram—even FitBit—already collect our behavior and preferences. Last year, an app called Peeple launched that allowed people to assign ratings and reviews of people they know, which adds up to a “Peeple Number.” Once your name is in the system, you cannot opt out. For those familiar with the British sci-fi series Black Mirror, the consequences of such a system play out in the episode titled “Nosedive.”Botsman concludes that while it may be too late to stop this impending new reality, one thing we can do is make this one-way rating system into a two-way system by rating the raters. Or, as Kevin Kelly writes in his book The Inevitable, our choice is between surveillance and “coveillance.”—Cyndi SuarezShare44Tweet14Share5Email63 Shares
Swiss cable operator UPC Cablecom has acquired local operator Télémeyrin. The Liberty Global-backed operator now owns the whole of the company, which operates cable services in Meyrin, which is the fourth largest town in the canton of Geneva and has a population of 22,000.UPC Cablecom acquired the stake in the company it did not own from the municipality of Meyrin and Geneva Cantonal Bank. ”The Télémeyrin takeover is another milestone in the company s efforts to extend its coverage area and strengthen its market position. upc cablecom is strongly represented in French-speaking Switzerland where it employs more than 140 people. French-speaking Switzerland is an attractive growth market for us. The Télémeyrin takeover strengthens our position in West Switzerland. In acquiring cable networks throughout Switzerland we aim to develop our business and offer our products to even more potential customers,” said Iván Nash Vila, senior vice-president and chief financial office, UPC Cablecom.
Set-top box manufacturer Dune HD has partnered with content security specialist Verimatrix.Verimatrix’s VCAS for IPTV solution and embedded ViewRight security client have been integrated with Dune HD’s line of media players.“A robust and flexible approach to digital rights management is crucial for operators, and our partnership with Verimatrix enhances the options available to protect content on Dune HD media players,” said Konstantin Dyshlevoy, CEO, Dune HD. “Through this agreement with Verimatrix, we are putting operators in control of content delivered on our digital media players, enabling them to protect their services, maximise revenues and deliver a wider range of content to subscribers. Our partnership provides operators with a perfect combination of security and high performance when they are looking to deploy IPTV and multi-network services.”
Set-top chipset provider ALi Corporation has joined forces with the Moscow Scientific-Research Television Institute (MNITI) to develop a reference set-top solution for the country’s DVB-T2 digital-terrestrial TV deployment.DVB-T2 services are expected to be available in 39 of Russia’s regions by March 2013.Konstantin Bystrushkin, deputy director of JSC MNITI, said, “Since 1998, the Institute has been actively participating in the preparation for digital television transition in Russia. At present, MNITI is in cooperation with domestic enterprises to develop digital set-top boxes for the deployment of DVB-T2. ALi is a world leader in set-top-box solutions providing high level of integration, design flexibility, and cost/performance value. With the collaborated reference solution from ALi and MNITI, local STB manufacturers can speed up the supply of DVB-T2 enabled set-top boxes to meet the demand from Russian viewers.”
The BBC’s new smartphone sports app has reached one million downloads less than two months after going live.The milestone figure was reached as the BBC said that January was a record month for traffic to its Sport site, excluding the Olympic period last summer.BBC Sport notched up 42 million unique users and more than one billion page views during the month, with 43.4% of this traffic coming from mobiles or tablets, the BBC said.The BBC Sport smartphone app went live in the UK on iPhone on January 7 and on Android device on February 20.
French cable operator Numericable signed up 121,000 subscribers to its LaBox advanced TV offering by the end of last year.The operator posted a 4.6% increase in its EBITDA for 2012 to €456 million. CEO Eric Denoyer said 2012 had been one of the company’s best years since it was created in 2005-06.Numericable had 635,000 subscribers to its fibre network out of a total of 1.6 million customers at the end of last year. The operator said it had 1.26 million very high-speed internet customers defined as those with speeds of 30Mbps or above.
More than 50 European pubcaster bosses have demanded the Greek government reverses its decision to shut broadcaster ERT.France Televisions’ Remy Pflimlin, DR’s Maria Rørbye Rønn, ZDF’s Thomas Bellut, Rai’s Anna Maria Tarantola, the BBC’s Tony Hall and RTVE’s Leopoldo Gonzalez Echenique are among the signatories of an open letter to Greek officials issued through the European Broadcasting Union slamming the closure.“We, as directors general of Europe’s public broadcasters, express our profound dismay at the action taken by the Greek Government on Tuesday, 11 June in shutting down ERT with immediate effect,” their statement read.“This undemocratic and unprofessional action of the Greek government undermines the existence of public service media in Greece and its independence from the government.”They “strongly” urged Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to “immediately reverse” the decision and added they “wholeheartedly support the open letter sent by the EBU president and director general on 11 June”.In other developments, EBU president Jean-Paul Phillppot has written to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso to take a “clear stand to defend European values” and oppose the closure of ERT, which came at the cost of around 2,700 jobs and the first closure of a European pubcaster since the Second World War.ERT staff continues to broadcast from their studios via an online stream, which the EBU has been retransmitting from its homepage.
Fox International Channels (FIC) has secured a slew of rights for a new Fox Sports channel it will launch in Italy later this year.FIC will launch the service in August and has secured a raft of premium football rights including English FA Cup and Premier League as well as games from Spain’s top divisions.FIC has moved heavily into sport, launching Fox Sports in Brazil and Japan, buying a majority stake in the group that owns Dutch Eredivisie rights and converting ESPN Star Sports to Fox Sports throughout Asia, having bought Disney out of that joint venture.The news of the Italian launch comes soon after reports that FIC is looking at organising a summer soccer competition fearturing top international sides, to be played at locations around the world.Speaking about the upcoming Italian launch, Hernan Lopez, President and CEO said: “Our goal is to bring all the passion of Fox Sports to the most passionate sports fans around the world – and in this ranking, Italy comes high up on the list.”