Tags: Belize, Hilton, Luxury Travel Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Posted by SAN PEDRO — Belize’s first luxury resort from a global brand, built from the ground up on Ambergris Caye, is set to open this winter.Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, Curio – A Collection By Hilton, will open its doors in December 2017. The island resort is set on 60 acres and geared to guests looking for “relaxed adventure”. In all Mahogany Bay will have 205 cottages and villa-style accommodations with colonial-style detailing, heirloom-quality furnishings and sustainably-harvested local Belizean hardwoods.The resort’s General Manager, Niklaus Leuenberger, says Mahogany Bay “will be a one-of-a-kind, authentic, Belizean resort.” He adds: “Building a new property on an island as striking as Ambergris Caye has been a real labour of love. Every detail of the resort has been meticulously thought out – from the interior design to the selection of amenities, from the guestrooms to the public spaces. Local flavour has been infused throughout the entire resort, and we have worked hard to provide guests with what will be an exceptional product. I know I speak for the entire team, when I say we are eager for guests to experience Mahogany Bay when we officially open our doors at the end of this year.”Mahogany Bay Resort, BelizeMahogany Bay Resort, BelizeMahogany Bay Resort, BelizeLeuenberger has served as General Manager for The Peninsula Hotels in Philippines, Hong Kong, and New York over the course of 19 years. He was also Managing Director of The New York Palace Hotel and most recently held the position as Senior Vice President of Resort Operations of Baha Mar Casino & Hotel in Nassau.More news: CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionMahogany Bay amenities include the Bay Club with pool and bar and the private, white sand Beach Club, a short boat ride from the on-site marina. The property’s focal point is a 22,000-square foot Great House featuring a signature restaurant and bar, 8,000-square-feet of event space, the largest in Belize, plus a wrap-around covered veranda.The resort’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Edward Donaldson, has 30 years of global leisure and luxury sales experience including a stint as Director of Sales & Marketing for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ Tucker’s Point in Bermuda. “We are already receiving exciting feedback about Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club within the marketplace, and from my many years of experience, I am confident that the resort will be very well received when we officially open our doors this winter,” said Donaldson.Nightly rates start at US$369 for garden cottage accommodations. See mahoganybayvillage.com. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tiny Belize gets ready for its first big-name luxury resort Travelweek Group
Posted by Travelweek Group Thursday, April 25, 2019 Tags: Cayman Islands Share Save up to 40% off accommodations with Summer Only In Cayman campaign TORONTO — Fresh off its best month ever for Canadian visitation, the Cayman Islands has launched its Summer Only In Cayman campaign, featuring savings of up to 40% off on accommodations.According to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, a total of 4,567 Canadian visitors were recorded in February 2019, making it the best month in recorded history.With the Islands just a flight away from Canada, summer is the best time to visit, says the Department. Both Air Canada and WestJet offer twice weekly, nonstop, four-hour flights from Toronto to Grand Cayman, as well as easy connections from Canadian gateways. Packages are also available through Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations.The limited-time Summer Only in Cayman campaign, which is available to book until June 30, 2019 for travel between April and Dec. 19, 2019, includes special offers on airfare, accommodations, watersports, dining and more.Participating accommodations are offering resort credits an exclusive deals for Cayman Islands only experiences at reduced rates of up to 40% off. These:Kimpton Seafire Resort + SpaGrand Cayman Marriott Beach ResortThe Ritz-Carlton, Grand CaymanGrand Caymanian ResortWyndham Reef Resort Grand CaymanCoral Beach VillaSunset Cove CondosThe Heritage ClubHoliday Inn Resort Grand CaymanAvalon CondominiumsIslands Club CondosMargaritaville Beach Resort Grand CaymanMore news: Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Participating attractions, watersports and restaurants include:Pedro St. James National Historic SiteQueen Elizabeth II Botanic ParkRocky’s Diamond GalleryCaptain Marvin’s Watersports Ltd.Cobalt Custom ChartersCobalt Coast Grand Cayman ResortCayman Brac Beach ResortLittle Cayman Beach ResortAgua RestaurantCatch RestaurantFor more information go to visitcaymanislands.ca. << Previous PostNext Post >>
LONDON– Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has started taking reservations for the ultimate traditional London Christmas for their “Christmas Extravaganza” experience which includes priority arrangements at Harrods ‘Christmas Grotto’, the Royal Albert Hall’s ‘Christmas Carols by Candlelight Concert’, ‘Winter Wonderland Ice-skating’ in glorious Hyde Park, and a helpful gift collection and wrapping service.Guests are invited to spend the festive season in one of the most spectacular buildings of the Victorian era, for a time-honoured English Christmas with all the trimmings, unparalleled warmth, hospitality and service. Furthermore, the hotel’s concierge has created seamless arrangements to the most popular traditional Christmas festivities in the area.Priced from GBP 2525.00, the ‘Christmas Extravaganza’ programme includes:• Accommodation for a family of four over three nights in two deluxe inter-connecting rooms, adorned with individual Christmas stockings, festive decorations, a bijou Christmas tree, and festive goodies at turn-down every evening • Full English Breakfast at a family table in The Park restaurant every morning • A Golden Pass to the Harrods Children’s Christmas Grotto between at 12.30 or 1pm on Christmas Eve • Access to the Mandarin Oriental box at the Royal Albert Hall for the Raymond Gubbay ‘Christmas Carols by Candlelight’ concert at 7pm on Christmas Eve • Christmas Day Lunch in The Park with a special appearance from Father Christmas and gifts for the children • A family pass to London’s largest outdoor ice skating rink at the magical Winter Wonderland in adjacent Hyde Park • Complimentary porter gift collection for Christmas gifts from nearby Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the surrounding luxury boutiques of KnightsbridgeTerms and conditions:Prices are based on 2 inter-connecting rooms for a 3 night stay arriving 24 December 2008, for 2 adults and 2 children (0-12 years only) including a guaranteed early check-in at 9am and late check out to 4pm. This package is subject to availability and is non-combinable with any other offer or promotion, and excludes 17.5% VAT and 5% discretionary service charge. Bookings must be made two weeks prior to arrival. Additional nights are available at prevailing rates.http://www.mandarinoriental.com/london/http://www.mandarinoriental.com/london/tempting%5Foffers/festive%5Fseasons/Reservations can be made by contacting the hotel directly on +44 (0) 207 235 2000, or through Mandarin Oriental’s worldwide sales and reservations offices or the Group’s direct on-line reservations service, www.mandarinoriental.com. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is the award-winning owner and operator of some of the world’s most prestigious hotels and resorts. Mandarin Oriental now operates, or has under development, over 10,000 rooms in 23 countries with 16 hotels in Asia, 14 in The Americas and nine in Europe and North Africa.
August 18, 2014The Agua Fria river runs through the Cosanti Foundation property, during the summer a green ribbon of cottonwood trees that soothes the eye from the harsh greys and browns of the surrounding stone desert.[photos by Steven Bochinski, text by Sue Kirsch]In the Arizona heat, from late spring to fall, part of the river goes underground and the dry riverbed becomes a favored shaded hiking path where you can find all manner of twisted roots and stones of brilliant colors.Lots of birds have their homes along the riverbed and in the cliffs surrounding it. Among many different kinds of birds there is a family of hawks and one of four raucous ravens, a beautiful woodpecker has been sighted and sometimes at night one can hear owls calling to each other. Arizonas ‘Monsoon’ season usually starts the middle of July and we are warned to hike within the river bed with a weary eye. The run-off from rain around us collects in ever widening washes flowing into the Agua Fria, and before you know it a tremendous flash flood might be coming up behind you.We have had several such within the last few weeks. Here are photos by Arcosanti resident Steven Bochinski, taken last Wednesday August 13. 2014, a day after the main storm.You can see how high the water rose. Many of the steep banks along the river are silt and after each major storm the landscape of the rivers bed is changed.
The criticism by Turkey of the Rome declaration shows how annoyed the country is that the position of Cyprus on security and guarantees also reflects that of the international community, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Saturday.In a statement on Friday the Turkish foreign ministry said that the seventh paragraph of the joint declaration adopted at the fourth summit of the Southern European Union Countries (Med7), held in Rome last Wednesday with the participation of Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus, ‘contains distorted and unconstructive statements regarding the Cyprus settlement process’.“These statements reflect the Greek Cypriot stance that was the main reason for the failure of the negotiation process which began on the Island in 2008 and ended in 2017 with the closure of the Conference on Cyprus without an outcome,” the announcement said.It added that this was yet another example of how the Greek Cypriot side takes advantage of its EU membership in its efforts to hinder a settlement.“What is mentioned in the joint declaration of Rome is the position of seven EU member-states, it is the position of the entire European Union, is what the UN secretary-general himself is saying, it is what the international community believes regarding the chapter on security and guarantees,” Christodoulides said.What appears to have annoyed Turkey is the mention of no guarantees and that Cyprus’ EU membership ‘is the best safeguard for a reunified Cyprus’. Turkey – a guarantor power along with Greece and the UK under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee – is not willing to give up its status citing security concerns of Turkish Cypriots and has several times said it disagrees with the Greek Cypriot sides’ position – echoed by EU officials – that the best guarantee for security is being a functional state, and particularly being a member of the bloc.The paragraph of the declaration titled Bringing the EU forward in 2018 contested by Turkey said: “We closely follow and reiterate our support for a viable comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, in line with the UNSC resolutions and the EU acquis, that reunifies Cyprus and its people, and which safeguards Cyprus’ sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, without guarantees. The Republic of Cyprus is and will remain a member of the European Union after the settlement, and EU membership is the best safeguard for a reunified Cyprus.”“The fact that such statements, which are far from being impartial and exclusively reflect the position of the Greek Cypriots, were allowed in a declaration by the Med7, a grouping containing several prominent EU members, does not provide any positive contribution to the efforts to reach a settlement in the Cyprus issue,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.The declaration proves the annoyance of Turkey that this position also reflects the position of the entire international community on the issue of security and guarantees, Christodoulides said.The sooner Turkey and some circles in the north realise that, Christodoulides added, ‘the sooner we will achieve the settlement of the Cyprus problem’.He said that the government is not interested in making a good impression.“What interests us is the settlement of the Cyprus problem and we hope that Turkey realises soon that only through the framework described in the declaration in question a solution of the Cyprus problem can be achieved”.One of the key disagreements between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides is whether, following a settlement solution, Turkey’s security guarantees for the new, federal state are required to address security concerns among the Turkish Cypriot community, as their leader argues, or an outdated notion, insistence on which would breed suspicion among Greek Cypriots, as the latter’s leadership believes.You May LikeProstaGenix SupplementHow To: Boost Prostate Health (Do This Daily)ProstaGenix SupplementUndoSenior Living | Search AdsSee Why Cheap Senior Apartments in Rowland Heights Are Turning HeadsSenior Living | Search AdsUndoHead CrampVet Brings Home Baby Deer With A Missing Leg Only To Discover That He’s Not Everything He SeemsHead CrampUndo 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
LANSING – State Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, issued the following statement in response to the state Legislature deciding to not advance legislation involving municipal retirement health care and teacher pension plans before the end of the current state House of Representatives’ session:“It benefits everyone that the state House did not pursue major reform during the lame duck session. You can be assured I would not vote to make any changes to current municipal or teacher retiree plans, as I believe the benefits which were negotiated in good faith should be honored.“However, we must have a discussion at the state level about retirement programs for our first responders and educators for the simple reason that too many plans are underfunded and we must have an absolute and clear understanding as to why. Our current and future retirees agreed to a deal, so why are actuaries, finance managers, and local government and union leadership not keeping up their end of the deal? How is it we have certain retirement plans in one community over funded, while the next county over has its programs funded by only 60 percent or less?“This discussion will not be easy, but it has to happen as we cannot allow our local governments to go bankrupt, public services to be drastically eroded and the retirement plans for teachers, police officers, librarians, firefighters, and county road commission employees be subject to any type of cuts without an open hearing. Hopefully, we can have that in 2017.”### 09Dec Rep. Lucido seeks discussion on financing for retirement plans Categories: Lucido News,News
Categories: Cole News,News State Rep. Triston Cole today applauded his House colleagues in joining him to vote for a balanced budget that allocates a record amount for fixing and maintaining roads and bridges throughout the state.Cole, of Mancelona, said the fiscal year 2017-18 budget approved by the House includes strategic state government downsizing to put more funds into asphalt and concrete and less state taxpayer money for administration purposes. Additional money for local government to complete road projects and provide vital services such as fire, police and emergency medical care is included as well.“We made our transportation system – from the visible roads and bridges to the unseen infrastructure of underground water and sewer systems – a priority in this budget, and kept up pressure to make sure we had the funding necessary to have an impact,” Cold said. “The transportation system and infrastructure was all but ignored during the Lost Decade, and we have emphasized the need to dedicate more state money to fix the problems.”Cole said the budget also includes record funding for K-12 education, including additional money for students in Northern Michigan to close the per-pupil funding gap that has existed for decades between wealthy downstate districts and smaller schools in Northern Michigan.Other key factors of the budget include:The 2017-18 budget spends less on the state budget next year than was spent during the current year.Overall growth in spending does not exceed the rate of inflation. Just like families across Michigan, the Legislature is tightening the state’s belt by cutting inefficient programs and eliminating waste in state government.The budget helps make life better in communities across Michigan by adding money for road repairs, public safety departments, parks and other programs to improve our daily lives.The plan pays down millions of dollars in debt, helping relieve state liability and opening the door for a more secure financial future. 20Jun Rep. Cole lauds budget focus on fixing roads and bridges #####
01Nov Committee approves Rep. Lucido bills to improve safety for Michigan drivers Categories: Lucido News Legislation clarifies rules for drivers and ensures their safetyThe House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week approved two bills authored by state Rep. Peter Lucido updating the rules for drivers and ensuring their safety on Michigan roads.Current law says a license plate must be free from any obstruction. The Lucido legislation exempts any type of device designed to carry an object on the rear of a vehicle from being considered a license plate obstruction, including tow balls, bike racks and removable hitches.The definition of a “clearly visible” plate was removed from the bill.“The current statute is very broad and allows for law enforcement officials to issue a citation for an obstructed license plate,” said Lucido, of Shelby Township. “This bill gives motorists peace of mind when hauling a bike rack on their vehicle.”Police can conduct a traffic stop if the individual’s license plate has a foreign object that obstructs any portion of the license plate regardless the circumstances or construction of the vehicle.The second bill requires the drivers training curriculum to include instruction on what to do if pulled over by law enforcement. Currently, in Michigan it is not an educational requirement to teach drivers what to do when pulled over.This bill requires that people going through drivers training be taught what to do when emergency lights are activated by law enforcement through pulled over process.Lucido said it recently became law in Illinois to require drivers education to teach students the proper procedure when pulled over by police, to ensure public safety and officer safety.House Bills 4705 and 4881 move to the full House for consideration.###
27Feb Frederick supports legislation protecting children involved in abuse investigations Categories: Frederick News Bipartisan bill package requires the recording of forensic interviewsState Rep. Ben Frederick recently voted in favor of legislation aimed at bringing additional clarity to legal matters involving allegations of child abuse and neglect. The legislation was approved in the Michigan House with overwhelming support.The bipartisan three-bill package requires all forensic interviews conducted at child advocacy centers with children involved in abuse and neglect investigations to be recorded on video. The bills also allow recorded interviews to be used in certain court hearings, provide protocols for accessing and storing the recordings and increase penalties for intentionally disseminating the recordings to unauthorized individuals.Frederick said the child advocacy centers in Shiawassee and Saginaw counties already possess the required equipment and videotape the majority of interviews. A handful of centers in the state do not.“The children involved in these cases have already experienced enough trauma. When a video is made during their interviews it greatly reduces the likelihood they will have to repeat the painful details of their experience over and over again,” Frederick said. “This best practice should be used across the state to protect the victims of child abuse and neglect.”The Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect recommended videotaping forensic interviews as a best practice after a pilot program found recordings resulted in more pleas entered to the original charge rather than going to trial.House Bills 4298-4300 now move to the Senate for consideration.###
Categories: LaFave News 26Sep Rep. LaFave plan removes overregulation from Michigan’s natural resources laws State Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Maintain, today announced a plan to decriminalize and repeal dozens of non-violent offenses outdoor enthusiasts might unknowingly commit.LaFave said his legislation will help ensure the punishment fits the crime when it comes to offenses laid out in Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.“Failing to put your name and address on your ice fishing tip-up shouldn’t land you 90 days in jail – but it could, under current law,” LaFave said. “The same punishment could currently apply if you allowed someone with a learning disability to drive a four-wheeler or tied your boat up to a neighbor’s pier.“While some of these actions are not advisable, I think we can all agree that you shouldn’t be thrown in jail for forgetting to wear your ‘hunter orange’ hat.”LaFave’s plan, laid out in House Bill 6362, would eliminate scores of non-violent misdemeanor offenses and reduce others to civil infractions punishable by fines, but not jail time.“Even a minor misdemeanor conviction can have serious consequences on Upper Peninsula residents,” LaFave said. “People have to shell out money for court costs and lawyers. Worse yet, it becomes harder for them to find jobs to help support their families.“While I am a fervent supporter of justice, we must draw a line at lunacy. It’s time to take a serious look at the consequences of overregulating the enjoyment of our great outdoors.”The legislation was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.###
State Rep. Bronna Kahle this week voted in favor of a plan to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and prevent individuals under 18 from possessing vaping products in Michigan.Kahle, of Adrian, said the number of teenagers who use e-cigarettes has increased dramatically over the past few years, prompting parents, teachers and law enforcement officers to reach out to her with concerns. In a recent study, one in five Michigan high school students reported having used an e-cigarette during the previous 30 days.“Vaping is becoming more and more popular among our teenagers, and I’m hearing that many have the misconception that it’s safe,” Kahle said. “It’s time we take action to reverse this alarming trend and get e-cigarettes out of children’s hands.”Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine and flavoring without burning tobacco. The devices are small and often look harmless – including a version that looks just like a computer flash drive – making them appealing to teens and difficult to detect in schools.According to the Centers for Disease Control, vaping nicotine can harm adolescent brain development and lead to addiction. Many vaping products also contain diacetyl, which is commonly associated with “popcorn lung” – a condition that damages airways.Senate Bills 106 and 155 received overwhelming support in the House and now head to the governor for consideration.### Categories: Kahle News 16May Rep. Kahle votes to protect Michigan youth from dangers of e-cigarettes
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJuly 31, 2014; SalonIt was something of a surprise to see Mark Ruffalo’s face in a crowd of protesters from the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and other groups calling for a moratorium on water shut-offs in Detroit. To his credit, his appearance was unexpected and not promoted like the protests of celebrities often are. The star of The Avengers and Now You See Me was standing with poor people in Detroit, who have gotten relatively little support from the mainstream political and philanthropic institutions that have steered clear of getting involved in the murkier aspects of the Detroit bankruptcy.To our knowledge, since Ruffalo’s appearance in Detroit, he has issued no statements of apology or clarification in his assertion that water is a human right. Other Hollywood celebrities, however, have weighed in on issues that have received extensive coverage in the NPQ Newswire and have sometimes felt compelled to explain themselves in the wake of press criticism.Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz attracted a hornet’s nest of criticism for their signing an open letter that appeared in El Diario, a newspaper in Spain, condemning Israel’s campaign of “bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.” They were quickly accused of being anti-Semitic, prompting both Oscar winners to issue clarifying statements, in part because the open letter characterized Israel’s actions as genocide.“My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction,” Bardem’s statement, titled “Plea for Peace,” read:“While I was critical of the Israeli military response, I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses. I am now being labeled by some as anti-Semitic, as is my wife—which is the antithesis of who we are as human beings. We detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war.”The star of No Country for Old Men added, “I was raised to be against any act of violence, and the consequent suffering of humanity for it, regardless of religions, ethnicities and borders. Too many innocent Palestinian mothers have lost their children to this conflict. Too many innocent Israeli mothers share the same grief. There should not be any political reason that can justify such enormous pain on both sides.”Cruz’s own statement read, “My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza. I am hopeful all parties can agree to a cease-fire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border. I wish for unity, and peace.”As much as the appearance of anti-Semitism in European protests is very troubling, as we have written, statements that criticize the extensive loss of civilian lives, including hundreds of children, as a result of the Israeli invasion of Gaza should not be automatically condemned as anti-Semitic. Time magazine noted recently that celebrities who have weighed in on the warfare in Gaza have encountered such virulent public ire that they have chosen to “walk back on—or delete—their original statements”One source of reaction to Bardem and Cruz came from another Oscar-winning actor, Jon Voight (father of actress/activist Angelina Jolie), who linked their statement with anti-Semitism. “I am heartsick that people like Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused,” Voight wrote. Describing a history of Palestinian attacks on Israelis, Voight said that Israel finally decided “enough is enough” and retaliated by attacking Gaza, but “instead of my peers sticking up for the only democratic country in that region, they go and take out poison letters against them.”“You should hang your heads in shame,” Voight concluded, without addressing the issue that Bardem and Cruz raised about the huge numbers of civilian casualties, particularly children, in Gaza. “You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.”Madonna’s controversy simply resulted from her calling for peace, but with an accompanying photo quite in line with her public persona. On Instagram, Madonna wrote, “Cease Fire! Inshallah!!! Baruch Hashem!! Praise the Lord! #ceasefireforever #peaceinthemiddleeast #livingforlove.” She attracted a bit more controversy by posting a picture of her self with two shirtless men, one with a Star of David on his abs, the other with a star and crescent, with the Instagram message, “No Separation! We all bleed the same color! #ceasefire #peaceinthemiddleeast #livingforlove.”Other celebs weighed in on social media, including Ruffalo who countered the Voight sentiment with a tweet that read, “Empathizing w/ Gaza does NOT make me anti-Semitic, nor pro-Hamas or anti-Israel. It makes me human.” Others, such as One Direction’s Zayn Malik, took to tweeting the #FreePalestine hashtag. Rihanna did the same, but quickly deleted her #FreePalestine tweet after getting barraged with social media criticism. Selena Gomez Instagrammed, “Please pray for those families and babies today. Please always remember what’s important in life. It’s not any of this. We are here to help, inspire and love. Be that change. #wearethenextgeneration” plus a caption on a picture that read “It’s about humanity. Pray for Gaza.”Here’s the issue: Why shouldn’t celebrities take positions on critical issues? The criticism that Rihanna got was that she shouldn’t take public positions on political issues because of the influence she might have on her fans. When Cruz and Bardem signed the public letter in El Diario, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post questioned what they could possibly know about genocide. Selena Gomez’s tweet earned her the condemnation of Joan Rivers, who snottily responded, “Oh, yeah. Selena Gomez. That college grad,” and then suggested that Gomez probably couldn’t spell “Palestinian.” The reality is that standing up and speaking out comes with risk for celebrities.It’s easy to imagine their PR handlers telling Bardem, Cruz, Rihanna, Gomez, and others to drop it because of the risk to their careers. Hollywood history is littered with careers destroyed because some celebrities believed strongly enough to stand up on critical issues—think of Paul Muni, the star of All Quiet on the Western Front, as a case in point. These stars weren’t speaking out on Detroit or Gaza because it was good press, but because of their deep commitment to the issues. In honor of Paul Muni, we stand by Madonna, Cruz, Bardem, and Ruffalo, and applaud for those who didn’t “tweet and delete” the courage of their convictions. Be citizens of the world and stand up for what you believe, even if doing will earn you publicity that your agents don’t particularly want to see.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share33TweetShare1Email34 SharesRefugee Camp / Mack MaleOctober 8, 2015; New York TimesPresident Obama issued an unusual apology in a telephone call yesterday to Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of the NGO Doctors Without Borders, for the U.S. bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The attack, which he called “mistaken,” killed 22 and wounded 37. Officials say the apology included a commitment by the president that he would make whatever changes were necessary to make such incidents less likely in the future and that he would ensure that a “full accounting” of who was to blame would be completed, leading to a consideration of changes to the military’s rules of engagement.The apology was not unexpected. On Wednesday Gen. John F. Campbell, the American commander in Afghanistan, told congressional leaders that the attack was “a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command.” and press secretary Josh Earnest revealed that the president had concluded “that he had learned enough about this matter to conclude that it was appropriate for him to offer an apology.”The president’s apology was met only with an acknowledgement that the call had been “received,” as Dr. Liu reiterated her demand for an independent investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.In a press conference yesterday, Liu had said that the hospital’s patients burned in their beds, and medical staff members were killed even as they worked. “Our colleagues had to operate on each other,” she said. “One of our doctors died on an improvised operating table—an office desk—while his colleagues tried to save his life.”“It is unacceptable,” said Liu, “that the bombing of a hospital and the killing of staff and patients can be dismissed as collateral damage or brushed aside as a mistake.”Doctors Without Borders has expressed skepticism about the independence of the three investigations in progress—variously initiated by NATO, a joint United States-Afghan group, and the Defense Department—and their ability to uncover the truth.—Ruth McCambridgeShare33TweetShare1Email34 Shares
US firm Kwarter, a startup based in San Francisco which partners with broadcasters and TV operators to build second-screen apps, has closed a new round of funding worth US$4 million (€3 million) with T-Venture, the venture arm of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, and Kinetic Ventures.According to TechCrunch, the company has already partnered with major broadcasters including Turner Broadcasting and big brands like drinks manufacturer InBev, and will be using the new funding to help grow its platform and attract the attention of new partners.This latest round of funding brings the total raised by Kwarter to US$5 million, including US$1 million in convertible notes. The company was founded in 2011 and now expects to more than double its employee base from the current nine to over 20.It will be up against some increasingly powerful players though: more established names in the social TV space include GetGlue and Zeebox, and there is a wide variety of app developers that are eschewing the B2C model in favour of pitching their services directly to brands and broadcasters.
Polish pay TV provider Cyfrowy Polsat has launched a new series of offers that include a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 3G tablet, providing access to mobile internet and with pre-installed applications for OTT video services ipla and HBO Go and music service muse. The tablet is available as part of a series of data offerings that include unlimited access to specific sites. Cyfrowy Polsat is charging PLN29.90 (€6.90) for 3GB, PLN49.90 for 10GB, PLN59.90 for15GB, PLN79.90 for 20GB and PLN99.90 for 25GB.
On Digital Media-owned South African pay TV operator TopTV has dropped three of its Top-branded channels from its programming line-up, according to local reports.The pay TV provider pulled Top Crime and Top History and replaced Top Learn with a new service, Mindset TV.On Digital Media received an investment boost earlier this year from China’s StarTimes. There is now speculation that StarTimes is planning to rebrand the TopTV service.
Phyllis EhrlichTelevision “is here and it’s here to stay”, with ad dollars actually now starting to move back from online to broadcast, according to Time Warner Cable Media executive Phyllis Ehrlich.Speaking at TV Connect this morning, Ehrlich, who is senior vice-president, chief client solutions officer, said: “being at the conference for the last three days has been music to my ears, because I was at so many sessions where the speakers talked about the fact that linear television is alive and well. There still is nothing that can compare.”She said that while there has been been a definite shift in TV ad dollars and budgets moving online in recent years, “what we’re hearing from some of the top brands and global brands is that now dollars are shifting back to television.”“Why? Big challenging issues like ad-blocking, a lot of fraud in the system. We are going directly into subscribers homes where subscribers are paying a significant amount of money for our services,” said Ehrlich.She claimed that last year was Time Warner Cable’s best in the last nine years in terms of adding video and broadband subscribers, and that based on Nielsen stats from earlier this year 20% of people’s time is still spent watching live or time-shifted TV, compared to 6% of time spent on the internet.“In the first quarter of 2016 TV viewing is up a little [at] 0.3% – definitely stable. In the boomer generations it’s up 3%. So it’s here and it’s here to stay,” said Ehrlich.
Liberty Global-owned Unitymedia said that 88.4% of its TV customers were digital at the end of June, as it gears up for the final cessation of analogue broadcasting next year.In figures published yesterday, the German cable provider said that the level of digitisation was up 11.5% year-on-year and that the leader among the provinces is Hessen, with more than 90% digitisation in the network.
Game of ThronesHBO has launched a dedicated service for Portugal, giving audiences in the country access to full seasons of HBO and third-party shows, movies, documentaries and family content.HBO has struck a deal with Vodafone to distribute its service to TV customers, making the company the exclusive service provider partner for the streaming offering in the country.The service, which is also available on the web at hboportugal.com, can be accessed via smartphones, tablets and devices including PC, LG TV, PlayStation 4, Android TV, Chromecast and Apple TV.HBO Portugal will include access to over 4,500 episodes of content including all seasons of HBO Originals such as Game of Thrones, True Detective, Westworld and Big Little Lies, library series like Sex and the City, The Sopranos, The Wire and Girls, and series from other content providers such as Patrick Melrose from Sky/Showtime, A Discovery of Witches from Sky/ Sundance TV, Krypton and Deadly Class from SyFy, Legacies and Charmed from CW and Killing Eve from BBC America/AMC.HBO is providing a one-month free trial for all new subscribers, and the service will have a monthly cost of €4.99, allowing subscribers to register five different devices and watch two simultaneous streams of dubbed and subtitled content.HBO has been been present in the Portuguese market since 2015 through a partnership with pay TV operator NOS, with its content distributed on NOS’s TV Cine & Séries channels. Following reports last year that HBO was mulling an OTT launch in the country, NOS told local press that was “reviewing the scope” of its partnership with the US outfit.Vodafone is making the service available free for three months to all new TV subscribers, while some of the operator’s TVNetVoz and TVNetVoz + Mobile packages will include HBO Portugal for 24 months.The service provider is also launching a 360° marketing effort with the tagline ‘HBO Portugal is on Vodafone TV’ and a TV ad campaign featuring ators Ana Guiomar and Diogo Valsassina.Mário Vaz, CEO of Vodafone Portugal said that the partnership with HBO was “a source of great pride”. He said that the deal “reinforces one of Vodafone’s main objectives: to give our customers what we know they want to see, with the best television experience powered by the best telecommunications network in the market”.Vodafone has a close relationship with HBO in neighbouring Spain, where Vodafone España was the exclusive distributor of the SVOD service when it launched in the country in 2016. More recently, the operator began offering a selection of HBO España content to its converged and mobile contract customers within a dedicated section of its Videoclub on-demand service.Separately, HBO Europe has green-lit 30 Coins (30 monedas), an original eight-episode Spanish horror series directed by Álex de la Iglesia and co-written by Jorge Guerricaechevarría. Produced by Pokeepsie Films, 30 Coins will shoot this year in Spain. The series is an HBO Europe original production.
German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 has named former YouView and Cisco service provider video technology chief Nick Thexton as its CTO.Nick ThextonThexton, who comes to ProSiebenSat.1 from Inmarsat, where he is currently chief digital and product officer, will take up his new role in June, reporting to CEO Max Conze. He will be part of the group’s new extended executive board.Thexton will be charged with managing all business functions on group level that support the ongoing transformation of ProSiebenSat.1 into a technology and data-led company. His remit is to connect individual components, such as data management, tech solutions and digital business models, more effectively and synergistically in order to significantly accelerate digital growth at the technology front.Conze said: “Now more than ever before, success in the entertainment business is based on continuous technological progress. Therefore, we are delighted that a true technology innovator such as Nick Thexton is joining us, to support ProSiebenSat.1 and take us to the next level.”Thexton said: “With its diversified business, ProSiebenSat.1 has a wide range of technological components. I am looking forward to bringing in new ideas and developing the technological ecosystem of ProSiebenSat.1, together with my new teams.”Thexton’s appointment comes as ProSiebenSat.1 is revamping its management structure, with its Entertainment arm to be split off as a standalone company under co-CEOs Wolfgang Link and Michaela Tod, currently president of vacuum cleaner outfit Dyson’s Greater China region.The broadcaster’s ‘three pillars’ of Entertainment, production unit Red Arrow Studios and non-TV activities outfit NuCom Group will each be led by two co-CEOs going forwards. The parent company will establish a new executive committee on April 1 comprising CEO Max Conze, the SFO and deputy CEO and group general counsel.ProSiebenSat.1 set out a five-year transformation plan last November to grow its top line from €4 billion to €6 billion.Separately, ProSiebenSat.1 has extended its existing deal with German studio Constantin Film, securing it rights to exploit all national and international cinema in-house and co-productions of Constantin Film which start shooting between January 2019 and December 2021 Content covered by the deal includes forthcoming comedy Das perfekte Geheimnis.