Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ireland legalized life-saving abortions after the 2012 death in the hospital of a 31-year-old woman who was undergoing a protracted miscarriage but denied an abortion because her fetus still had a heartbeat. Days later the woman, an Indian dentist, died from blood poisoning.___Online:Report http://bit.ly/1QZserCCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 0 Comments Share New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland’s Health Department says doctors last year performed 26 abortions to protect women’s lives, including on three women who had threatened to kill themselves if denied one.Monday’s report is the first to document abortion in Ireland.The predominantly Catholic country bans abortion in its constitution. But the government in 2013 legalized abortions in cases where doctors judge that continued pregnancy poses a risk to the woman’s life. Granting an abortion to prevent a suicide requires a unanimous recommendation by a three-doctor panel. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona 3 international destinations to visit in 2019
Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Patients with chronic pain give advice South Korean media reported the six workers were on top of the storage at the time of the explosion, but fire officials said they couldn’t immediately confirm the reports.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 0 Comments Share Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — An explosion at a chemical plant in South Korea killed six workers on Friday, fire officials said.The victims were doing welding work when the blast tore down a waste storage facility at a chemical plant run by Hanwha Chemical Co. in the southeastern city of Ulsan, according to the officials.The exact cause of the explosion wasn’t immediately known. But fire officer Kim Jung-sik said that gas trapped inside the storage might have triggered the blast.
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Although Nkemdiche has had some off the field concerns, NFL Nation reporter Kevin Seifert views the Cardinals as the best possible landing spot for him.I can’t think of a better place for Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche than the Arizona Cardinals. Nkemdiche had well-documented issues at the end of his college career, but the Cardinals can surround him with a veteran roster and a free-thinking coach in Bruce Arians. Nkemdiche continues the Cardinals’ aggressive makeover of their pass rush, which produced the fewest sacks last season (36) of any 2015 playoff team. Nkemdiche will join defensive end Chandler Jones, acquired from the New England Patriots, and defensive end Calais Campbell for what is suddenly a formidable defensive front.While Nkemdiche does possess the skill set to be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks, ESPN NFL draft analyst Kevin Weidl thinks the defensive tackle has extensive baggage coming with him.One of the biggest boom-bust prospects in this class, Nkemdiche has a rare combination of size, explosiveness and natural athleticism, but comes with some risk both on and off the field. He is a versatile defender that flashes as quick and as explosive a first step as any defensive tackle in this class to create penetration up the field. However, while he is very disruptive on tape, he hasn’t been productive and can show better instincts to finish. In addition, there are major red flags with his off-the-field character and that could ultimately determine whether he can reach his potential as a player.Even with the ‘major red flags’, Cardinals fans and players reacted with a consensus excitement behind the Nkemdiche pick. The selection shows Steve Keim and Bruce Arians do intend to go all-in next season, and if Nkemdiche rises up to his potential, they have added a deadly piece to their defense. Mississippi’s Robert Nkemdiche poses for photos after being selected by the Arizona Cardinals as the 29th pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL football draft, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) The NFL Draft Thursday night did not go according to the countless mock drafts by analysts, fans and players alike, much to the Arizona Cardinals’ delight.Arizona is receiving high praise from numerous NFL insiders on the team’s selection of defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche from Ole Miss. NFL Nation reporter Josh Weinfuss gave the Cardinals a thumbs up in his post-first-round analysis.The Cardinals got a steal here with Nkemdiche, the risky defensive tackle from Ole Miss. He’s talented and makes the Cardinals’ defense (fifth in the NFL in 2015) even scarier with another pass-rusher. Arizona has taken on players who have dealt with off-field issues before, as Nkemdiche did in college.Sports Illustrated’s Doug Farrar handed out his grades for the first-round, and the Cardinals received an A- for the Nkemdiche selection. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories 0 Comments Share The Cardinals get one of the most dominant players in this class regardless of position, as Nkemdiche can be a real problem from any gap. His off-field issues will have to be vetted, as well as the concern that he doesn’t get everything out of his potential on the field, but if Bruce Arians can corral Nkemdiche’s talent as he did with Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona now has a run-stopping monster with the ability to rush the passer no matter where he is on the line.The Cardinals also received an A- grade from Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier.The Arizona Cardinals have a good track record with players whose college careers were a little sketchy. They are also in a good position to incur risk in the name of finding over-the-top impact. The Cardinals defense registered a modest 35 sacks last year despite playing some awful offensive lines in the NFC West. Adding Nkemdiche and Chandler Jones—another guy who had an eventful winter, substance-wise—changes the complexion of the Arizona front seven for the better.ESPN NFL insider John Clayton joined Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM in early April and mentioned that the Cardinals should absolutely consider Nkemdiche, but thought the defensive tackle would not fall to Arizona at No. 29. However, Nkemdiche’s arrest in December on marijuana possession likely prompted Nkemdiche to fall into Arizona’s lap. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo – / 35
The Myths, Marvels & Monuments: A Cultural Mosaic 2022 World Cruise is comprised of eight individual segments of 12 to 19 nights, each available for individual booking. Highlights include:Central America focus-visiting Jamaica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Panama Canal and comprehensive exploration of the Mexican Riviera.Polynesia and South Pacific focus, from Hawaii to Tonga, with 12 days at sea to fully relax and indulge in the all-inclusive luxuries of Crystal Serenity.New Zealand and Australia focus, exploring the Lord of the Rings landscapes and the famed Barossa and Margaret River wine regions, with overnights in the cosmopolitan hubs of Auckland and Sydney.Indonesia and Indian Ocean focus, beginning along Australia’s west coast and highlighting the sacred temples of Bali and Sri Lanka, plus an overnight in Singapore to explore the famed skyline and on to the blissful Maldives.Intensive exploration of the Arabian Gulf and Holy Land, including overnights in Mumbai, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings (Safaga, Egypt) and Jerusalem/Tel Aviv; also visiting the ancient sites of Petra, Limassol and Rhodes and transiting the Suez Canal.Exploration of the Black Sea coast, overnighting in Istanbul and Monte Carlo and visiting historical and picturesque cities in Bulgaria, Ukraine and Romania, along with the Italian Riviera.Fascinating Trans-Atlantic route exploring Gibraltar and the famed limestone St Michael’s Cave; the military bastions of Cartagena, Spain; and Ponta Delgada, capital of Portugal’s Azores archipelago.Special events on board and ashore will highlight the Full World Cruise voyage, while dozens of Destination Discoveries ashore allow guests to visit some of the world’s most remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From architectural treasures like Sydney’s Opera House, Mumbai’s Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal to cultural wonders like the historic cities of Istanbul and Rome and mosaics of Paphos, there are experiences offered to suit virtually every traveller’s preferences.With Full World Cruise options ranging from 82 to 116 nights, guests can choose to sail round-trip from Miami or Los Angeles (116 nights); from Miami to Monte Carlo (102 nights); Los Angeles to Monte Carlo (100 nights); or Los Angeles to Miami (86 nights). Depending on the embarkation and disembarkation selected, Full World Cruise voyages may begin or end with a Panama Canal transit. Each of the Full World Cruise options affords benefits including two complimentary private transfers between port city airport and the ship; an extravagant gala event ashore; exclusively themed onboard events; special gifts; “As You Wish” shipboard spending credits; and fare savings for early booking and Crystal Society.A new deposit policy offers 15% reduced deposit requirement for any Full World Cruise guests also deposited on Crystal’s 2020 and/or 2021 Full World Cruises. Bookings are now open for previous, current, and future Full World Cruise guests; bookings open to the public on 10 April 2019.Lead image: Crystal Serenity at Busselton, WA – Image: Guy DundasGo back to the enewsletter Go back to the enewsletterCrystal Cruises has unveiled its 2022 Full World Cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity, a singular circumnavigation featuring five embarkation and disembarkation choices ranging from 86 to 116 nights, each option offering World Cruise benefits. The Myths, Marvels & Monuments: A Cultural Mosaic voyage marks the line’s 27th annual World Cruise, exploring the Panama Canal; Hawaii, Tonga and Samoa; Australia and New Zealand; Indonesia and Sri Lanka; Egypt, Israel and the Black Sea; and Greece and the French Riviera.“Crystal’s 2022 World Cruise again ups the ante of luxury exploration, a true full-circle global odyssey with a focus on choices,” said Carmen Roig, Crystal’s Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales.“A Full World Cruise with Crystal is the journey of a lifetime, and we believe it should be exactly what our guests want it to be. Multiple options to join or leave the ship in Miami, Los Angeles or Monte Carlo make it possible for guests to plan their air travel and calendars on very personal terms, and numerous opportunities to connect with the facets of the destinations that are most meaningful to them make it a truly personal experience.“The 2022 World Cruise will enchant even the most seasoned travellers, as our team outdoes itself each year to create original itineraries packed with the perfect mix of historical treasures and natural wonders,” she added. “Full World Cruisers will also enjoy a bevvy of special incentives and benefits that sweeten the experience even further, from shipboard credits and shoreside events to conveniences like our newly added complimentary two-day laundry service and medical office visits.”
September 4, 2009 Welcome to the August 30. 2009 workshop participants: [back from left]: Tommaso Osti and Naree Kim (seminar week). [front from left]: Andrew Chisholm, Amanda Carson and Morgan Jacobs (internship in landscaping). [photo: sa & text: Anna Tran]
Categories: McCready News 24Apr McCready votes for responsible budget to keep Michigan moving forward The Michigan House today approved its Fiscal Year 2014 budget recommendation, state Rep. Mike McCready announced.“Responsible budgeting has put our state on solid financial ground and the House budget reflects our commitment to fiscal responsibility while at the same time prioritizing spending where it’s needed most,” said McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills. “Long-term planning is keeping us on course to continue Michigan’s comeback.”McCready, chair of the appropriations subcommittee on Michigan State Police, worked with colleagues to cut government waste and prioritize funding for public safety, schools and roads.“By continuing to make efficiency and effectiveness priorities as we completed the state budget, we were able to cut spending while still making sure MSP has the resources it needs to protect Michigan’s hard-working taxpayers,” McCready said. “I’m proud of our responsible budgeting and the focus on improving public safety in our state.”The House recommendation reflects several key Republican priorities, including the following-$20 million for public safety initiatives.-An extra $32 million for higher education and community colleges.-$229 million more for K-12 education than last year, including special funding for early childhood development programs.-$39 million more in revenue sharing to help fund critical services provided by local governments.-$9 million more for veterans’ programs, including job training and access to benefits.-$50 million deposited into the state’s “rainy day fund,” which stabilizes the budget and leads to improved credit ratings.-Keeping the overall spending increase below the rate of inflation to respect the hard-working taxpayers of Michigan, even with the increases in key areas listed above.House Bills 4228 and 4328 now move to the Senate for consideration.####
Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso today announced a combined grant award of $1,005,720 to the City of Owosso from the Michigan Department of Transportation. Projects under the Transportation Economic Development Fund Category A were awarded funds for construction on several roads in Shiawassee County.“I applaud the City of Owosso for earning this vital grant,” Frederick said. “It is essential to continue enhancing our roads and improving local infrastructure to support businesses and attract new job providers in mid-Michigan.”The first grant of $288,545 will be used to reconstruct McMillan Street from Monroe Street toward South Street by installing intersection improvements, updated signs and pavement markings. The second grant of $599,175 will be used to reconstruct Monroe Street from McMillan Street westerly to Gould Street. The final grant of $118,000 will be used to mill and resurface Gould Street from Monroe Street northerly to M-71.The Transportation Economic Development Fund operates under the Michigan Department of Transportation, and aims to enhance Michigan’s competitiveness in the global market by providing funds to state, county, and city road agencies for highway needs. Categories: Frederick News 01Nov Rep. Frederick announces MDOT grants
Representative Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker) released the following statement regarding his “no” vote on House Bill 5013, which failed to pass the Michigan House. House Bill 5013 seeks to amend Michigan’s auto no-fault system. “It is long past time for Michigan’s drivers to get a break on their auto insurance rates. I remain committed to finding a solution that will truly lower auto rates. Unfortunately, this bill has a number of major shortcomings and I could not, in good conscience, vote for this measure.“Instead of focusing on government-mandated rates that try to entice the consumer to lesser coverage, the Legislature should focus on addressing fraud, costly attendant care policies, and increasing transparency within the auto no-fault system. These measures would offer consumers more protection than this proposal.“As someone who has always supported free markets, I am extremely wary of any bill which imposes price fixing or mandated fee schedules on services between private entities. West Michigan is home to incredible organizations, such as Hope Network and Mary Free Bed, which provide the community with vital health care programs. I am not willing to adopt a government mandated fee schedule that could devastate programs that so many in our community rely on.“I applaud the efforts of the bill sponsor and the Speaker to address auto no-fault reform. However, I could not support this bill. I stand committed to work with all interested parties to develop a plan that benefits all Michigan residents. There are a number of reform bills pending before the Legislature that I support. I think it is time to move forward reviewing each of those reform measures on their own merits.” 03Nov Statement from Rep. VerHeulen on opposition of HB 5013 Categories: VerHeulen News
State Rep. Sarah Lightner invites residents to join her for local office hours this month.“I always encourage residents to share their thoughts and concerns on matters of state government,” Rep. Lightner said. “As a legislator, I strive for solutions that help us work toward a better Michigan for our children and grandchildren.”Monday, Jan. 14: 11 a.m. to Noon at Cambridge Township Hall, 9990 M 50 in Onsted.Monday, Jan. 21: 11 a.m. to Noon at Eaton Township Hall, 3981 E. Clinton Trail in Charlotte.Monday, Jan. 28: 11 a.m. to Noon at Biggby Coffee, 3039 E. Michigan Ave. in Jackson.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Lightner at 517-373-1775 or via email at SarahLightner@house.mi.gov. 07Jan Rep. Lightner announces January office hours Categories: Lightner News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares April 10, 2014; PoliticoKathleen Sebelius tendered her resignation as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) late Thursday. Her almost five years of service in President Obama’s cabinet was marked by her high profile and combative oversight of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. The widely-reported problems associated with the rollout of the insurance signup site healthcare.gov, including its exorbitant cost and shaky technology, are seen as the key events associated with her tenure as HHS Secretary.Although Politico says that Sebelius is “leaving on her own terms,” the timing and nature of her departure leaves no doubt that even her supporters were ready for a change at HHS. As recently as March 31st, she said that she would remain as HHS Secretary at least through November 2014. “I’m in,” she said at the time. Many reports of the announcement of her resignation were based on HHS statements, not the White House, and there has been a notable weakness in the standard praise and regret quotes from the White House that typically accompany the resignation of a Cabinet officer. (More than twelve hours after her resignation was reported in the press, the White House website had no press release or remarks from the president on her resignation.)Sebelius has been the classic “good soldier,” being the target of blame for the negative effects of Obamacare while allowing the president to be the lead spokesperson for the controversial law’s successes. She was a lightning rod for critics of the Affordable Care Act while also being blamed by supporters for any action her vast department took that appeared to call the ACA into question. Four years after its becoming law, HHS is still grappling with implementation of the ACA. Thousands of waivers from coverage requirements, delays in drafting key regulations (including regulations required to program the healthcare.gov website), and dozens of administrative decisions to change various deadlines associated with the law have frustrated both opponents and supporters of the president’s signature healthcare legislation.Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the current head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is expected to be nominated as the new HHS Secretary. Formerly the head of the Walmart Foundation and president of the Global Development Program for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Burwell has extensive nonprofit foundation experience. She has been a politically active Democrat since her childhood in West Virginia, including work on the Dukakis and Clinton campaigns and on the Clinton transition team. She served in the Clinton administration as chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Deputy Chief of Staff to President Clinton.The Wall Street Journal praises Burwell as one of the most experienced members of the Obama administration, a low-visibility individual who works across party lines to achieve goals. It’s notable that the 2013 U.S. Senate vote on her confirmation as OMB Director was 96–0. Conservative Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) praises her ability to “budget responsibly.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says, “Sylvia Burwell is an excellent choice to be the next HHS Secretary.” Bipartisan praise and a history of having done well in the Senate confirmation process are two signs that the Obama administration seeks a drama-free transition at HHS.Any tension or fireworks in Burwell’s Senate confirmation hearings are likely to center on HHS policy and priorities, especially the Affordable Care Act, where her low-key reputation will be tested. Will the continuing controversy over the ACA force Burwell into the harsh public spotlight, or will her leadership style help take HHS and the ACA off the front pages during the drawn-out implementation of healthcare reform?—Michael WylandShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares August 15, 2014; USA TodayAs our readers know, journalism is changing shape rapidly and there is a good deal of experimentation going on. This is one more iteration on developing models in the coverage of breaking news—in this case, in Ferguson, Missouri.This morning, the governor of Missouri called in the National Guard after another night of “unrest.” Residents, including families, were tear-gassed during a peaceful demonstration in protest of the shooting of an unarmed teenager in that primarily African-American community—a community in which of 53 police officers, only three are African American, and a community in which the police presence over the past week has become increasingly militarized. All of it looks excruciatingly familiar and persistent. The gassing occurred after a few local incidents of what Ronald S. Johnson, the Missouri Highway Patrol captain brought in by Governor Nixon to head security, called “premeditated criminal acts” intended to provoke the police.Beacon, a company in Oakland, California originally funded by Y-Combinator and designed to crowdfund journalism, has been running a campaign to pay journalists working on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri.Beacon spread the word about its invitation-only campaign by tweeting its interest in hearing from independent journalists who wanted to cover the developments in Ferguson. One might argue that the press was already very much in evidence in Ferguson, but for Beacon, it was a bit of an experiment on its model and therefore worth a try in terms of testing new practice.An explanatory blog post from Beacon is headlined, “Can We Crowdfund Breaking News?” In Ferguson, the importance of citizen journalists and paid journalists should be obvious. Citizens have turned over cellphone videos of the shooting of Mike Brown, revealing the sad truth about what happened to that unarmed young man.Whether they are crowdfunded or not, paid journalists have a crucial role, underscored by the repeated arrests of journalists by the county and state police, including journalists from the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the Financial Times, The Telegraph, and even Sports Illustrated. The fact that these reporters were arrested and then quickly released could be construed as press intimidation (and the reporters could, if they wanted, claim false arrest, though it appears that they are all assiduously trying to keep the focus on the events happening on the ground and not on themselves). As a clear example of intimidation, a tear gas cannister was lobbed directly at an Al Jazeera film crew; when they ran away, the police came and dismantled their cameras and lights.Do crowdfund more people able to report on what is happening in Ferguson, but remember the important role of the press and press freedom in making sure that the truth of Ferguson reaches the public nationwide. We’d like to hear your reactions to this.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share29TweetShareEmail29 Shares“Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore used under CC License.January 22, 2017; GuardianIn his first weekend as president, Donald Trump has delighted his populist base and offended almost everyone else, from the bipartisan political establishment to the media. The weekend featured his inaugural address on Friday, a visit to CIA headquarters on Saturday, and the first press briefing by Sean Spicer, the new presidential press secretary. Each of these events provided fuel to stoke the fires of critics and supporters alike.Trump’s inaugural address, running less than 1,500 words and delivered in just over 16 minutes, was short and strident. We quote extensively from the transcript to preserve context. It was unashamedly populist, contrasting both Democratic and Republican establishment Washington with the population as a whole:Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people. For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs, and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.The speech was also explicit and insistent on defining America’s foreign policy and negotiating stance:We are assembled here today issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power, from this day forward, a new vision will govern our land, from this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.The speech was widely criticized for its dark portrayal of the condition of America’s cities, its military, its infrastructure, and its education system. One of the more curious lines most open to interpretation and redefinition in the address was, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”There was so much in the speech that the use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” in a pledge to implicitly reverse Obama administration policy to not even use the term, was barely mentioned in post-speech media analysis.We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones—and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.Trump said “The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.” Both his supporters and his critics are awaiting Trump’s first steps as president.After an interfaith prayer service on Saturday morning, Trump made a visit to CIA Headquarters in nearby Langley, Virginia. Standing in front of the wall honoring the CIA employees killed in the line of duty, Trump appeared to hold a pseudo-campaign-rally that offended many people by its location as well as through some of what was actually said. The president said that allegations he was fighting with the intelligence community or held it in low regard were false, blaming allegedly poor media coverage. “I am with you 1,000 percent,” Trump said. He also openly speculated that most of the audience at the CIA had voted for him, but he wouldn’t put them on the spot by asking them. He even bragged on how often he has appeared on the cover of Time magazine.Trump repeated his inaugural pledge to “eradicate radical Islamic terrorism,” adding a chilling comment about Iraq and the Iraq war: “We should have kept the oil. Maybe we’ll have another chance.”Former CIA Director John Brennan said he was “deeply saddened and angered” at Trump following the speech. House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-NY) issued a short statement, summarized by the Los Angeles Times:“While standing in front of the stars representing CIA personnel who lost their lives in the service of their country—hallowed ground—Trump gave little more than a perfunctory acknowledgment of their service and sacrifice,” Rep. Adam Schiff said, adding that Trump “meandered through a variety of other topics unrelated to intelligence.”“He will need to do more than use the agency memorial as a backdrop if he wants to earn the respect of the men and women who provide the best intelligence in the world,” Schiff added.Trump seemed preoccupied with press reports of relatively low crowds attending his inauguration the previous day. A tweet from the National Park Service compared pictures taken from the top of the Washington Monument in 2009 at President Obama’s first inauguration with the same view at the same time on Friday, showing a far smaller audience. CIA staff listening to Trump were apparently uncomfortable when the president brought up the subject and blamed the media for underestimating the crowd size.White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer threw down the gauntlet to the media Saturday evening in an angry press briefing that lasted five-and-a-half minutes and allowed no questions from reporters. The primary subject of the briefing was inaccurate or “false” press coverage of the inauguration day crowds and an erroneous social media report by a Time magazine correspondent that the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. placed in the Oval Office by Barack Obama had been removed. The core message of the briefing was in the statement that “There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable. And I’m here to tell you that it goes two ways. We’re going to hold the press accountable, as well.”The problem was that Spicer included several untrue or at least disputable comments in his briefing, from the size of the inaugural crowds as measured by subway ridership to the use of plastic tarps to protect the grass on the National Mall.The inaugural speech, the CIA visit, and the first Trump White House press briefing have one thing in common. They each serve to confirm the impressions and opinions of those witnessing them that what’s in progress is the continuation of a presidential campaign rather than the beginning of a presidency. Trump is doubling down on his agenda and viewpoints rather than reaching out to adversaries and seeking common ground. Moreover, he has chosen to offend official Washington—Democratic, Republican, and media—during his first days in a city where he is the new kid in town.Having run as a Republican, Trump appears to be signaling from the start that he will govern as an independent populist. To date, he has been successful beyond all political predictions by steering his own course and picking his own allies (and far more enemies). He is right about one thing, though; Washington is a company town, and the company is the federal government. It’s far more ideologically divided than in previous decades, but new threats from the White House may, almost unbelievably, cause D.C. establishment adversaries to become allies under the classic maxim that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”—Michael WylandShare29TweetShareEmail29 Shares
Dutch telco KPN is making its online TV service available on smartphones within subscribers’ households. The service is available to iPhone users from today, with Android phones to follow on August 6.The telco has also made UK channels BBC 1 and BBC 2 available via the service and will add the iTV online service on the iPad and Android tablets in the coming weeks.KPN last year made live TV services available on tablets and laptops. The service now includes 22 channels.
Eutelsat is exhibiting at ANGA COM on Stand H11, Hall 10.2 Eutelsat KabelKiosk has selected Tvinci’s OTT 2.0 platform to power a new wholesale OTT TV offering for its network operators.KabelKiosk, operated by Eutelsat Germany, is using the Tvinci platform to allow about 300 affiliate companies to provide an internet-based TV service to more than 3.5 million German homes.Using the KabelKiosk infrastructure and content, these affiliates can operate pay TV networks under their own brand and provide linear, EPG, restartTV, VOD and catch-up TV to their end users.The move marks an extension of Eutelsat KabelKiosk’s hybrid DVB & IP platform into a new multiscreen solution.Eutelsat KabelKiosk will make content available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Hbb TV set-top boxes and PCs or Macs, and KabelKiosk’s network operator partners can choose to customise the service as much or as little as they want.“Consumers are looking for a more immersive TV experience – something more than just a straightforward multi-screen service. Tvinci’s OTT 2.0 platform enables us to deploy a fully managed solution with an exceptional user experience,” said Martina Rutenbeck, managing director of Eutelsat visAvision, which operates KabelKiosk.Other partners involved in the development include Harmonic for ingestion, Broadpeak for CDN and Playready and Marlin for DRM. Rovi and PPS also helped supply VOD and EPG solutions, while Farncombe, a provider of product strategy and technical consultancy to the TV industry, helped to develop the solution.Tvinci sales VP Adina Eckstein told DTVE that the KabelKiosk service is designed to serve small and medium-sized operators. “In terms of market potential, we foresee this to be very, very successful. We have good reason to believe that it will be adopted by a very high number of operators,” she said.The service is expected to roll out for customers later this year.
UK cable platform Virgin Media has launched a new games service that allows its subscribers to play games on the TV.The MSO, which was acquired by Liberty Global earlier this year, has teamed up with TV technology firm Two Way Media to roll out Play Games.The portal allows the 1.5 million Virgin subs with a TiVo settop to play casual games.Creators of casual games, meanwhile, are being encouraged by Virgin and Two Way to work to integrate, test, host, launch and monetise games on TiVo using its Two Way’s game framework, which it claims can make Flash games ready for the platform in under a week.Games available on the service now include Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Scooby’s Creepy Cake Factory.Two Way Media chief executive James Turner said: “Virgin Media’s TiVo platform makes it very easy for their customers to find and play games, and their growing subscriber base provides an excellent opportunity for developers to generate meaningful revenues from their games.”
Apple’s current generation Apple TV boxApple is expected to make games a “primary selling point” of its next generation Apple TV set-top box, which is tipped to launch this week, according to a New York Times report.Citing people briefed on Apple’s plans, the NYT said that the new Apple TV will be more powerful, have better graphics, a new remote that could double as a games controller and an app store to buy and download games.The report claims that the move could see Apple target the large market of casual gamers, as opposed to providing an alternative to games consoles like the Xbox One and PS4.Unofficial Apple news site, 9to5Mac reported last week that Apple will launch a premium fourth generation version of its Apple TV set-top at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday.According to this report, the new device is due to launch in October and is expected to be priced at either US$149 or US$199.While this is a significant increase on the US$69 that the current generation of Apple TV box retails at, it is also much cheaper than devices like the Xbox One, which is currently priced from US$349 in the US.
Hulu is canning its ad-supported streaming and catch-up service with a chunk of the free content moving to a Yahoo View, a new service from the ISP.The core Hulu services will be paid-for US$7.99 (€7.20) and US$11.99 SVOD services. The news comes soon after Time Warner bought into the on-demand business for US$583 million, and ahead of Hulu launching its live streaming on linear nets, for which there are not yet any pricing details.Hulu has been moving away from its free service for some time, making it less easy to locate than via the paid service, and driving free customers to the paid-for alternatives. It has also, like Netflix and Amazon, been investing in originals and high-profile acquisitions such as Seinfeld, Homeland and Fargo.The company now says the free service is not in sync with that offering.“For the past couple years, we’ve been focused on building a subscription service that provides the deepest, most personalised content experience possible to our viewers,” said Ben Smith, head of experience, at Hulu.“As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy.”Yahoo, itself in the throes of being acquired by US telco Verizon, saidYahoo View is a “community TV-watching site”. It will have thousands of episodes of shows that were on the free Hulu service including network series Scandal and Empire. There will also be extras and links to related TV blogs.In a blog post, Jess Lee, vice president of Lifestyles Product for the ISP said: “We’ve seen awesome things happen when you add community and content together (think of the passionate communities on Yahoo Sports, Polyvore and Tumblr to name a few) and are excited to be taking this first step towards creating a powerful community TV-watching experience.“Today’s launch is only scratching the surface of what’s possible, and we are looking forward to rolling out more content and community-related updates soon!”
Altice has made an offer to acquire the 22.5% of French service provider subsidiary SFR that it does not already own and has unveiled plans to further tighten up its procurement processes, including by acquiring key suppliers, and to launch a new content studio and channel operation.Altice is offering SFR shareholders eight new class A Altice shares in exchange for five SFR shares, in a deal that has secured the approval of the respective boards of each company. The exchange is not subject to any ownership threshold.Altice said the goal was to simplify the group’s ownership structure and enhance organizational flexibility. It held out to SFR shareholders the prospective benefits of being able to diversify into higher growth markets, particularly in the US, with the additional incentive of participating in the upside of its ongoing restructure of US assets within Altice USA.Other incentives highlighted include continued exposure to the French market, which Altice said still accounted for 47% of its business, and increased weighting of “more scalable” fixed and cable assets than is the case with SFR alone. Altice said the fixed and cable segment now accounted for 70% of its business.The offer, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, has been submitted for approval by the French market regulator the AMF and its Dutch equivalent.Because Altice already has a controlling stake in the French operator, SFR’s board has appointed an independent expert, Accuracy, to assess the fairness of the proposed transaction under the supervision of the independent directors, in accordance with the AMF’s rules, and has appointed Perella Weinberg Partners to act as financial advisor to the company.The move to integrate SFR more fully came as Altice unveiled plans to invest further in content creation and further centralise core strategic, operational and technical functions.Altice is to create Altice studios to create new original movies and series, and Altice Channel Factory, to create more new channels following the launch of a raft of services under the SFR brand in France.Altice said that its subsidiaries stood to benefit from collaboration in content – which has been a key are for the operator through its investment in SFR Media – via its international media and content organisation as part of its overall focus on convergence.The company identified a number of key core areas of expertise from which its subsdiaries stand to benefit – including selecting strategic suppliers through centralised procurement.As part of this, Altice said it planned to take control of networks, upgrade and maintenance supplier Parilis, including its subsidiary ERT Group, and customer services supplier Intelcia.It said that the vertical integration of these suppliers would enable it to enhance its expertise and ensure further quality of service.Technical core areas identified include improving network quality through upgrades and new build, improving customer relationship management through a focus on efficient IT platforms, digitisation and simplifying processes, delivering key technology services and R & D through Portugal-based Altice Labs, developing new products, services and business models, including convergent services delivered via home hubs, and branding and marketing synergies.
The Berlusconi family has moved to shore up its defences against Vivendi as Mediaset prepares to present its three-year business plan to international investors in mid-January. Vivendi revealed just before Christmas that it had now upped its stake in the Italian broadcaster to 28.8%, with control of 29.94% of the voting rights, following a series of moves that saw it take control of Mediaset shares over the previous two weeks.Vivendi’s stake is now just short of the 30% threshold that would force it to make a mandatory public offer for the rest of the company’s shares.Mediaset is expected to clarify its strategy for pay, free and OTT TV at the January meeting, which has been delayed a number of times as a consequence of the battle with Vivendi, following the French company’s decision not to go ahead with last April’s deal to take control of the Italian broadcaster’s loss-making pay TV arm. Investors are also likely to look for clarification on whether the war with Vivendi will continue or whether Mediaset will seek a compromise deal.The Berlusconi family has sought to shore up support from allies as well as boosting Finvinvest’s stake to 39.7%, just short of the threshold that would require it to launch a takeover bid.With trading on the Italian stock market reopening today after the New Year break, observers are focusing attention on Vivendi’s aims as well as Mediaset’s defensive strategy.The French media group’s moves ahead of Christmas prompted analysts at Berenberg to downgrade Mediaset to ‘hold’ after the Italian group’s shares spiked.Berenberg said that the group’s valuation reflected “the situation with Vivendi, rather than the fundamentals” and raised its price target to €4.20, based on the assumption that either Mediaset Premium would be sold to Vivendi or that a deal with “the same financial outcome” would emerge.Vivendi is thought unlikely to make an offer for the whole of Mediaset at this time as its prospects of squeezing out Fininvest are poor. Berenberg said that the acquisition of the 28.8% stake would nevertheless “put a floor under [Mediaset’s] shares for the near to medium term”.Berenberg speculated that Vivendi may still “conclude a transaction as originally envisaged”, which it said would “clear the air to some extent, and demonstrate Vivendi’s goodwill towards Mediaset” as well as supporting the Italian group’s share price and removing the risk of damages of up to €2 billion being imposed on it by the Italian courts.Italy’s competition regulator has meanwhile hinted that an alliance between Vivendi and Mediaset could raise competition issues, particularly if it involves Telecom Italia, in which Vivendi is the largest shareholder. In a report on the Italian audiovisual sector, ACGOM said that integration of a major TV company and the dominant telecom operator, built around converged offerings, could pose competition risks.ACGOM had earlier said it intended to investigate whether Vivendi’s moves breached cross-ownership rules.
Nvidia’s Shield TVNvidia unveiled its new Nvidia Shield TV media streamer and gaming device at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week.The redesigned Android TV-based device will ship with both a remote and a game controller, support 4K high dynamic range images, and in the coming months will be expanded with artificial intelligence capabilities – including hands-free Google Assistant integration on TV.The device will give users access to streaming services like Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube and Google Play Movies, as well as access to an expanded catalogue of streamed games – including Ubisoft catalogue games like Watch Dogs 2 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.Shield TV is available to pre-order now and will ship in the United States, Canada and select European regions later this month. Including controller and remote, it will be priced at US$199.99 in the US, £189.99 in the UK and €229.99 in Germany.