The battered bodies of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found Sept. 15 on the rocky shores of Koh Tao, a scenic island in the Gulf of Thailand known for its scuba diving. Autopsies showed that the young backpackers, who had met on the island while staying at the same hotel, had both suffered severe head wounds and that Witheridge had been raped.The first policeman on the scene, Lt. Jakrapan Kaewkao, told the court that he got a call at 6:30 a.m. that morning about two tourists’ bodies found on the beach. He said he arrived to find a gruesome sight.“I found a man’s body lying on the beach with seawater lapping his body,” said Jakrapan, the prosecution’s first witness. “Then I found the woman’s body behind the rocks.” The rocks were spotted with blood, he said. The two bodies were several meters (yards) apart and both were mostly unclothed, with Witheridge’s body bearing signs of physical assault, he said.Inside the small courtroom on Koh Samui, an island near Koh Tao, the accused sat in orange prison uniforms with their legs shackled.The two men — Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, both 22 — were arrested in early October and initially confessed to the killings but then retracted their statements, saying they were extracted through beatings and threats, which police deny. Human rights groups repeatedly called for an independent investigation and raised concerns that the men might be scapegoats. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Comments Share The victims’ families traveled to Koh Samui for the trial and issued a joint statement.Witheridge’s family urged the media not to focus on the “speculation, rumor and theory” that has surrounded the case, making “an unthinkable time harder to bear.”Miller’s family said that just hours before he died, their son called home and described the beauty of Koh Tao and the friendliness of the Thai people. “Over the coming weeks we hope to gain a better understanding as to how such a wonderful young man lost his life in such idyllic surroundings in such a horrible way,” they said in a statement.About 2.5 million people from Myanmar work in Thailand, most as domestic servants or in low-skilled manual labor industries like construction, fisheries or the garment sector.The gruesome killings tarnished the image of Thailand’s tourism industry, which has been struggling to recover after the army staged a coup in and imposed martial law in May 2014.___Associated Press writer Jocelyn Gecker in Bangkok contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The accused were indicted on several charges related to the murders and to illegally working in Thailand. Prosecutors say they have a solid case against them that includes DNA evidence linking them to the crime.Journalists were initially allowed into the small courtroom, which seats about 30 people, but then ushered out to make room for relatives of the victims, diplomats and others attending the trial. Prosecutors were also expected to call to the stand a doctor who examined the bodies.“We hope the truth will be revealed,” defense lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat said as he headed into the courtroom. “We hope the mechanism of justice in Thailand … will have the same standards of international countries.”From the start, the case raised questions about police competence. Investigators faced a variety of criticisms, including their failure to secure the crime scene and their releasing of several names and pictures of suspects who turned out to be innocent.Under intense pressure to solve the case, which drew global attention, police carried out DNA tests on more than 200 people on Koh Tao.Concerns that the men were tortured by police originated with advocates for migrant workers, who are often abused and mistreated without the safeguard of rights held by Thai citizens. But the allegations caught the attention of the British government, which expressed concern to Thai authorities about the way the investigation was being conducted. As a result, British police were allowed to observe the case assembled by their Thai counterparts. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility KOH SAMUI, Thailand (AP) — Ten months after two British tourists were killed on a resort island in Thailand, prosecutors called their first witnesses Wednesday in a case marked by claims that the accused — two migrant workers from Myanmar — were tortured into confessing.Following widespread attention, the case has been called a test for Thailand’s justice system and its treatment of migrant laborers. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Opa! Sun Island Tours hosted a premiere screening of Wog Boy 2: The Kings of Mykonos at Hoyts, Broadway last night. The film heralds the return of Steve Karamitsis (Nick Giannopoulos) who travels to Mykonos with his good friend Frank (Vince Colosimo) to claim his family inheritance. The island of Mykonos, which was marketed as the ‘third star of the film,’ is spectacularly shot and movie goers across the country are guaranteed to catch the travel bug after seeing this film. One lucky guest won Sun Island Tours’ grand prize, which was three nights accommodation in Mykonos. Below is the video of The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2 – FULL LENGTH Trailer [HQ]
in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News, Origination, Servicing Economic Growth and Housing Affordability Share Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist Doug Duncan expects economic growth to come in at 3.1 percent—recording an expansion high before it slows down to 2.3 percent the coming year and 1.6 percent in 2020. He noted that a fading fiscal policy, worsening net exports, and moderating business investment are all factors that will contribute to a slowdown in the economy in 2019, as Fannie Mae projected. Speaking of affordability, Duncan said, “If mortgage rates trend sideways next year, as we anticipate, and home price appreciation continues to moderate, improving affordability should breathe some life into the housing market. We also expect residential fixed investment to resume a positive growth trajectory amid continued rising housing starts and stabilizing home sales. However, affordability is likely to remain an industry concern, particularly among first-time homebuyers.” Barring the upward momentum of inflation, Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group forecasts mortgage rates and home sales to stabilize as the economy slows down in 2019. An increase in purchase mortgage originations is likely to rise and total origination volumes may slightly drop as refinances decline substantially, the research found. The labor market is projected to be one of the highlights of the economic growth and with inflation around Fed’s 2 percent target, Fannie Mae predicts that Fed will hike rates once more in December and two more times in 2019, despite rising market expectations of fewer hikes amid stock market volatility. Consumer spending is likely to be the largest positive contributor that will drive growth and consumer confidence. Business fixed income, on the other hand, is expected to slow considerably by the third quarter and may also remain constrained due to higher tariffs, trade uncertainty, and rising interest rates and input costs. The existing trade tensions between the U.S. and China and stock market volatility is among the most notable risks to the forecast, Fannie Mae stated. December 14, 2018 634 Views Affordability Doug Duncan Fannie Mae Housing Market mortgage mortgage originations 2018-12-14 Donna Joseph
Anybody up for seeing a field goal shootout?That’s what Thursday night’s game ended up being.The Arizona Cardinals made sure to give their placekicker more opportunities than St. Louis did, however.Chandler Catanzaro recovered from a poor outing last Sunday, drilling all four of his field goal attempts, including two from beyond 45 yards.That would be all Arizona would need as its defense locked down the home team. The Cardinals escaped by a 12-6 final, claiming their 11th win of the season and putting themselves in prime playoff position. They only have meetings with Seattle and San Francisco remaining. What little playoff hopes the Rams had were squashed at the Edward Jones Dome, as they fell to 6-8, bottom in the NFC West.Here’s a look the Thursday Night Football game, by the numbers:4Frostee Rucker had a big night on the defensive end with four tackles, including three for loss. He also had one of the Cardinals’ two sacks; Larry Foote had the other.18The 18 combined points were the lowest total in a Cardinals game this season, falling short of Arizona’s 14-6 win over the Lions on Nov. 16.29The Rams had shut out their last two foes, so when Catanzaro connected on a field goal on the Cardinals’ third drive, it ended a St. Louis streak of holding opponents scoreless on 29 consecutive possessions — dating back to the fourth quarter of a loss to San Diego on Nov. 23. Being that Arizona failed to score a touchdown Thursday, St. Louis still has a streak going of not allowing an opponent to drive for a touchdown in 40 straight possessions.30Quarterback Drew Stanton left in the third quarter with a knee injury, and Bruce Arians opted to go with recently re-signed Ryan Lindley instead of rookie Logan Thomas. Lindley hadn’t taken a snap in the regular season since 2012, his first time around with the Cardinals. The San Diego State product completed just 4-of-10 passes for 30 yards and a QB rating of 47.9, but he did lead Arizona to its fourth and field goal. Lindley still hasn’t thrown a touchdown in his NFL career, as opposed to seven interceptions. Stanton went 12-for-20 for 109 yards before exiting. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories 51The rookie Catanzaro tied his career-long with a 51-yard kick in the third quarter. His 4-for-4 mark Thursday also tied a career-best. The 23-year-old kicker is now 26-of-30 on the season, and he has now made 10-of-12 from 40 yards and beyond.69-59Arizona initially hurt itself with penalties, but St. Louis ended up losing more yards, despite fewer miscues. The Cardinals had eight penalties for 59 yards, while the Rams had six for 69.143Individually, nobody had a spectacular night on the ground for the Cardinals, but the unit collectively was successful and helped the team control the pace — which was slow, as you can tell. Kerwynn Williams followed up his 100-yard performance against Kansas City with 15 carries for 75 yards, and Stepfan Taylor had a solid night with 14 rushes for 61 yards. Arizona had 143 yards rushing as a team, while St. Louis managed just 69.900Larry Fitzgerald’s fourth catch of the game was the 900th of his career, and he became the youngest NFL player to reach that mark. Yeah, that happened. The 11-year veteran finished the game with seven catches for 30 yards.HISTORY! Larry Fitzgerald records his 900th career catch, becomes youngest player in NFL history with 900 receptions. pic.twitter.com/XwvBkGWB4D— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 12, 2014 Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact 0 Comments Share 1975The Cardinals haven’t had 11 victories in a season since 1975, when they played in St. Louis. They’ve only reached 11 wins three times in franchise history prior to this season. – / 46
By Evie AndreouCivil servants union PASYDY took nurses union PASYNO to task on Wednesday for going on a two-day 12-hour strike and described their tactics as self-seeking.In an announcement, PASYDY said that PASYNO members’ strike measures which took place on Monday and Tuesday, were irregular and blamed the union for “taking advantage of PASYDY’s achievements”.The strike measures caused the cancellation of scheduled surgeries at the Paphos, Limassol and Paralimni state hospitals since the majority of their nursing staff there are PASYNO members, while a number of surgeries were also cancelled at the Nicosia and Larnaca state hospitals. Skeleton staff were handling emergencies.On Tuesday the head of PASYDY nurses’ branch Prodromos Argyrides urged PASYNO members to remain patient in pursuing their demands from the government.But by Wednesday however, PASYDY was openly criticising PASYNO for overlooking the consequences of the strike on the public.PASYDY said that the recent agreement it achieved for the immediate unfreezing of 185 nursing positions and which put an end to the “job insecurity of hundreds of doctors, pharmacists, nurses and all those colleagues working under the same status, paved the way for discussions for all other outstanding issues in the health sector and was welcomed by those affected”.PASYDY criticised PASYNO for go ahead with its own strike action partly to demand the issue of upgrading nursing school qualifications to university level.“PASYDY has always been a strong supporter in the struggles of nurses for improvement of their employment terms,” it said.It added that in 2002 PASYDY won increased pay for nurses and between 2006 and 2009 achieved a “significant increase” in the numbers of promotion positions.As regards the upgrade of nursing school qualifications, it said, it was PASYDY that had the issue added to the mixed staff committee’s agenda for discussion back in 2010, but since the issue meant an increase of state expenses, it was deemed that it could not be implemented at that point due to the economic recession.“PASYNO is taking advantage of this vital issue in an attempt to make it their primary request, demanding its immediate implementation at the worst timing,” PASYDY said.PASYNO on Tuesday warned their members were considering further strike action because they did not recognise the deal PASYDY reached with the health ministry earlier in the month over the implementation of the National Health Scheme (NHS) and hospital autonomy, because PASYNO was not included in the dialogue.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoEditorChoice.comIf You Have Any Of These 20 Toys Around, You Just Became RichEditorChoice.comUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Lawmaker: Plan prioritizes $1 billion for future investment Categories: News 14May Rep. Potvin says GOP road proposal a good place to start State Rep. Phil Potvin this week took part in the unveiling of a House Republican transportation plan that can fix Michigan’s roads and bridges by creating long-term and sustainable funding.Rep. Potvin, R-Cadillac, joined other Republican lawmakers in announcing the plan, which focuses on using existing dollars and reprioritizing other funding to dedicate more than an additional $1 billion annually for transportation within four years.“The people of Northern Michigan deserve better roads,” Rep. Potvin said. “This plan is a great start and puts us on the right track to providing better, safer roads for Michigan families.”Key elements of the House transportation plan include:Dedicate General Fund dollars to fix roads by phasing in spending—beginning with the 2015-16 budget—and dedicate a portion of General Fund dollars to roads;Create tax fairness by generating $45 million annually for roads on electric-, hybrid- and diesel-powered vehicle registration and an additional $117 million yearly by eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit;Reprioritize restricted funds by thoroughly reviewing how taxpayer money is used, generating $185 million a year for roads and bridges; andEnsure quality work by securing warranties and competitive bids on infrastructure projects so hard-working Michiganders know their tax dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently.House Bill 4566, sponsored by Rep. Potvin, will redirect sales tax money from fuel sales from the general fund to road improvements.“This is responsible, common sense leadership,” Rep. Potvin said. “My Republican colleagues and I are working to put existing funds into the roads as the people of Michigan have requested.”Committee discussion on the bill package will begin as soon as possible.
State Rep. Jason Wentworth is encouraging residents to take a step back and acknowledge June 27 as Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Awareness Day in the state of Michigan.Every year, 10,000 Michigan veterans return to the state after spending significant time in combat environments and exposed to traumatic, life-threatening events. Wentworth, of Clare, co-sponsored the House resolution that declared June 27, 2017, as PTSI Awareness Day.“It’s important that we increase PTSI awareness in Michigan,” said Wentworth, chair of the House Military and Veterans Committee. “Everyone should know about the often invisible injury that plagues thousands of our men and women in the United States Armed Forces.”There have been many significant steps taken to ensure active and non-active military personnel have every possible resource at hand to ensure their lasting physical, mental and emotional well-being. However, awareness of PTSI remains a problem not only in the state of Michigan, but throughout the country.“I commend the state of Michigan’s , Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency’s (MVAA) and the Adjutant General’s commitment to continue working to educate our active service members and veterans, their families, and the public on the severity of PTSI and spreading awareness as to where to seek care and treatment,” said Wentworth.Specialized treatment for PTSI is available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. For a complete list of VA medical centers and community clinics, visit MichiganVeterans.com or call 800-MICH-VET (800) 642-4838.### Categories: Wentworth News 27Jun Rep. Wentworth promotes June 27 as PTSI awareness day
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares July 23, 2014;VentureBeatOn Wednesday, Rob Meiksins wrote a newswire concerning the efforts of tech industry companies to address the lack of diversity in their organizations. In that piece, he brought up the efforts of Freada Kapor Klein of the Kapor Center for Social Impact to get social media outlet Twitter to reveal its diversity statistics, as Google and Facebook have already done. Ms. Klein need strive no more on that score; on Wednesday, Twitter released a blog post containing its diversity data, including the graphs printed below.Source: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2914/14541026549_22906c8475_o.pngSource: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3894/14541021348_da6b76abe8_o.pngAs is shown, the numbers are typical of those revealed by the other companies in the field: the leadership at Twitter is just under 80 percent male and just over 70 percent white. Concentrating on the tech side of the organization moves the needle even further; that aspect of the company is 90 percent male. VentureBeat notes that these proportions sync up with percentages of women pursuing careers in the computer science field. As far as ethnicity goes, based on employee self-reporting, Twitter overall is 60 percent white and 30 percent people of Asian descent. That last ten percent comprises people who identified as Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, or “being of two or more races.”Twitter acknowledged in their blog post that they “had a lot of work to do” in making for a more balanced, equitable company. In her entry, Janet Van Huysse, VP, Diversity and Inclusion, listed a number of ways that Twitter would strive to be “a business they could be proud of.” Among them are listed several initiatives involving nonprofits:Continued strong support for Girls Who Code. (Twitter CTO Adam Messinger sits on the board of GWC.)Hiring interns through a longstanding program with YearUp, a Boston-based nonprofit that endeavors “to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.”Local affiliation with the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation, a group that “aims to inspire and empower middle school girls to pursue an education and career in technology.”“By becoming more transparent with our employee data,” Van Huysse wrote, “open in dialogue throughout the company, and rigorous in our recruiting, hiring and promotion practices, we are making diversity an important business issue for ourselves.” Let’s hope that these efforts will move Twitter into the vanguard of inclusion and away from pack of technological clones that appear, from this particular perspective, largely the same.—Jason Schneiderman ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares September 10, 2014; WABC-TVLast week, a number of students at Madison Park, Boston’s only vocational-technical high school, walked out in protest of treatment from the school system that implies to many that these students do not count.Five school days into the year, these students were still waiting for schedules that would tell them which classes to attend. Justice Jackson, a senior, said, “We’re supposed to have new schedules and classes, but we don’t know what they are yet, so we can’t actually start our academic year.”“We’re going to be far behind in academic work, and this is our senior year, and we can’t really have that,” said senior Yves Pierre. “We’ve got to get everything set up for next year.”Stephen Gray, a junior, said “The first schedule I got this morning had no classes on it. Just had my name on it. It said ‘sheet metal, sheet metal, sheet metal.’ It’s not supposed to. And we had about 30 students with blank schedules.”Madison Park was reportedly being reorganized. Apparently, the teachers did not get schedules either and, in fact, were not actually hired until mid-August.Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said, “This is unacceptable. We should have had the schedules, but,” he added, “a little bit in defense, we did want to change the schedules so we can address the needs in the school that haven’t been addressed in a few years.”Later that week, in Newark, about 150 activists blocked an intersection as part of the second day of student protests against the One Newark plan, which has revamped Newark’s educational system, in part by expanding charter schools and reassigning students.“We are building a movement to take back democratic local control of our schools,” said Kristin Towkaniuk, president of the Newark Students Union. “Our action…will be an escalation demonstrating the community’s unrest over Chris Christie’s efforts to privatize our public schools.”Parents have already led a boycott after a failed transportation plan left many children stranded on the first day of school. But students are learning—students from Science Park High School, Arts High School, and Central High School are participating in short courses on the history of student activism, artmaking for activists, and a workshop on student rights.“We are tired of taking orders without our consent,” student Jose Leonardo said. “She (superintendent Cami Anderson) is an outsider. She should work with the community, [but] she’s not doing that. So if she can’t work with us, she might as well leave.”It will be interesting to see whether such demonstrations become more common and focused over the year to come.—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share23TweetShare1Email24 SharesNovember 7, 2015; Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewThe Pennsylvania state budget gridlock has persisted for more than five months, and for the state’s nonprofits, that means the proportion of their budgets that has been seriously delayed can be as high as 40 percent, depending on an organization’s degree of dependence on the state. What’s more, the history of the tenure of unpassed budgets in the state is not necessarily all that promising, with the longest delay lasting 336 days.Bridge to Independence Inc. in Braddock is owed around 35 percent of its annual budget. As a result, it was scraping bottom, facing having to cut back its sheltering, mental health, and drug abuse services. The nonprofit had gone to two banks for a bridge loan and was turned down, but in September, Bridgeway Capital approved a $100,000 loan for them.The moment of receiving the phone call telling them they had gotten the loan was a release of tension. “I just choked up, and then my secretary choked up, and it just seemed to go down the line,” CEO Deana Nell, said. “The whole staff cried. If it hadn’t come through, I don’t know what we would have done.”Bridgeway has 17 deals done or in the works with nonprofits, with the total lent now at $2 million. Their loans are extended to drug and alcohol resource rehabs, mental health counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, and programs serving children and families.“The services that these nonprofits provide are vital and fall directly in line with our mission-based lending,” said Royce Woods, senior growth officer at Bridgeway Capital. “Unless we do this, or a miracle happens and the state budget gets passed tomorrow, these nonprofits are going to go broke and people will go out of work. And then the mentally ill, people recovering from drug and alcohol abuse and at-risk kids would not have these resources.”Still, even for those organizations lucky enough to get a loan, the arrangement is an extra cost. Bridgeway’s loans, which are relatively cheap, start at a five percent fixed interest rate with a one percent origination fee. To cover the interest on these loans, the Forbes Funds (an arm of the Pittsburgh Foundation) has joined with Staunton Farm Foundation to set aside $50,000 to fund grants of up to $5,000 per organization, but only mental health or substance abuse treatments will be able to apply.—Ruth McCambridgeShare23TweetShare1Email24 Shares
Share9Tweet6ShareEmail15 SharesGreen New Deal.March 4, 2019; New Yorker and The InterceptAdvances in technology and the falling costs of clean energy make the Green New Deal’s goal of transforming the US economy to zero emissions by mid-century “eminently achievable,” writes John Cassidy in the New Yorker. “Last month’s rollout of the Green New Deal,” explains Cassidy, “has sparked a good deal of controversy” for its aggressive carbon reduction targets. Still, often the controversy, as Kate Aronoff points out in the Intercept, stems from fossil-fuel firm opposition.Aronoff interviewed Derek Seidman, author of a report titled the Anti-Green New Deal Coalition, published last month by the Public Accountability Institute. Seidman notes that the Green New Deal approach “is in tension with their economic and policy ideology, their donor bases, or the gradualist, incrementalist ways” by which US politics has been conducted.As Seidman explains, “The fossil-fuel industry possesses immense resources and power that it will use to try to destroy the Green New Deal. The top 25 oil and gas companies alone generated $2.2 trillion in sales and $73 billion in profit in 2017. Fossil-fuel-tied industries spent nearly $2 billion lobbying in the US from 2000 to 2016—and that was just around climate legislation. Since 2012, it has thrown at least $333.5 million into federal elections alone.”One sign of the fossil fuel industry’s pervasive influence: Joe Crowley, the liberal, 10-term Democratic congressman who Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated last year, now works for a law firm that counts “major corporate powerhouses from the defense, private prison, and fossil fuel industry” among its clients.Still, if the political obstacles can be overcome, the technological hurdles are relatively minor by comparison.“Right now, we have about 90 percent or 95 percent of the technology we need,” Mark Jacobson, an engineering professor at Stanford, tells Cassidy. In a series of papers, Jacobson and his colleagues have laid out “roadmaps” to a zero-emissions economy. As Cassidy explains, “Just as in the Democrats’ Green New Deal, the central element of these roadmaps (and others) is converting the electric grid to clean energy by shutting down power stations that rely on fossil fuels and making some very large investments in wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal facilities.”One development that has helped in recent years, notes Cassidy, is a “steep fall in the cost of generating electricity from renewable sources.” Gains in efficiency with wind power have been particularly impressive. Costs have also fallen sharply in the solar-power industry. As Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, points out, a decade ago “electricity generated from sunlight cost about twice as much as electricity generated from coal; now, the costs are roughly equal.”Some communities are already shifting. For instance, the state of Iowa now generates more than 35 percent of its electricity from wind, yet the cost of electricity is a low 8.73 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to a national average of 10.48 cents.Still, as Jonathan Koomey, a special adviser to the chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, notes, “So far, all the tweaking around the edges hasn’t reduced carbon emissions nearly enough. You need to start shutting down high-carbon infrastructure on a schedule, and you need to stop building new carbon infrastructure. Ultimately, there is no other way.”Of course, as Cassidy points out, “Even if we did succeed in creating an electricity grid entirely powered by renewable energy, getting to zero carbon emissions for the over-all economy would involve overcoming some tough problems, such as finding practical ways to store large amounts of energy for longer periods of time, and weaning long-distance air travel and commercial shipping from the fossil fuels on which they now rely.” Here too, however. are technological advancements that could make achieving Net Zero emissions far more feasible than it used to be. For example, Mara Prentiss, a Harvard physics professor, emphasizes the possibilities of low-carbon biofuels and synthetic fuels.According to Jacobson, his plan to convert the US to clean energy would cost between 10 trillion and 15 trillion dollars. If the plan was enacted over 30 years, that would come out to as much as 500 billion dollars a year, or about 2.5 percent of current gross domestic product (GDP). As Cassidy points out, however, even at 2.5 percent of GDP, that is less than half of the annual defense budget.—Steve DubbShare9Tweet6ShareEmail15 Shares
Interactive TV technology specialist Ensequence has secured commitments for additional funding of about US$26 million (€20 million) that it says will help accelerate its expansion into mobile and connected TV.The latest funding round was led by venture capital firm Myrian Capital.Ensequence has also named Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer at Proctor & Gamble and CEO of consultancy The Jim Stengel Company, and a member of Myrian Capital’s advisory board, to its board.
The growth in popularity of watching catch-up services via a PC is slowing down in the UK, according to regulator Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report.The number of users watching TV via a PC-delivered catch-up service increase by just three percentage points year-on-year to 29% for the first quarter of 2012 as catch-up services become increasingly available via internet-enabled TV sets.The Communications Market Report also highlighted that 5% of UK households with a TV own a smart TV. However, it noted that this figure is set to rise, as smart TV set sales have doubled in the past year and now represent a fifth of all TV sales. Among owners of smart TVs, 65% said they had used the internet connection on their TV. This is despite the fact almost half (47%) of smart TV owners said that internet functionality was not a consideration for them when choosing a new set. Ofcom also found that smart TVs are used most widely for watching catch-up TV. Among users of smart TVs, 51% had used their set to watch catch-up TV, while activities including social networking (25%) and online shopping (13%) were less commonly undertaken on smart TVs.The Communications Market Report found that total TV industry revenues increased by 4.9%, or £579 million (€737 million), in nominal terms to £12.3 billion in2011, driven by continued growth in TV subscription income, coupled with an increase in TV net advertising revenue. Revenue from pay TV subscriptions has remained largely unaffected throughout the economic downturn and increased again in 2011 by £403 million (or 8.3%) to £5.2 billion.
Mariner, the specialist in IP video service monitoring and troubleshooting, has announced that its Mariner xVu product is now monitoring more than seven million devices.“Globally, Mariner xVu is now monitoring more IPTV set-top boxes — on a managed network — than all other vendors combined,” said Curtis Howe, president and CEO of Mariner. “The Mariner xVu product monitors beyond the edge of the network, and consistently detects and isolates complex IP video problems that other monitoring tools miss.”Mariner xVu has been supporting the Microsoft Mediaroom environment since 2009 and has recently announced support for the new functionality in Microsoft Mediaroom client 2.2. Other ecosystems supported include Cisco Videoscape, Viaccess-Orca (RiGHTv and Compass), and Minerva iTVFusion.
The Guardian Media SummitSky has no plans to follow the BBC in commissioning programming exclusively for online, according to the satellite firm’s director of corporate business development and investments Emma Lloyd.Speaking on a panel discussion at The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit last week, Lloyd said that Sky’s online strategy focused on partnering with “innovative companies like Zeebox” and enabling content producers to put additional content on the second screen – but not in making new shows specifically for it.Referring to Zeebox, the companion app that Sky invested in back in January 2012, Lloyd said integrating this service into its Sky Plus app last year, allowing users to control their set-top box with it, was a significant step for the firm.“We can really start to see what customers are doing – they’re logged in with Sky ID and that helps our programmers, it helps with scheduling, it helps with understanding what programmes are working, and it enables us to experiment – but at the moment we’re not going as far as the BBC in terms of originating content purely for digital,” she said.The comments came as the BBC announced it had ordered a strand of six original dramas exclusively for the iPlayer through its youth-skewing network BBC3 in a bid to bring through new talent and showcase more content on the service. Last month, the BBC also said that it plans to debut 40 hours of content on the iPlayer before linear TV. The first of these, announced today, is Car Share, a six-part BBC1 comedy that will be the first-ever series to premiere on BBC iPlayer in its entirety before a linear transmission.Speaking alongside Lloyd on the conference panel, called Beyond the box: What does television look like in a social, mobile-first, user-centric world?, Victoria Jaye,BBC Vision’s head of IPTV and online content, said that the BBC’s online strategy was a “no-brainer” after it experimented by airing a string of online BBC3 comedy pilots last year.“These pilots – we did seven of them in total – had a million views in the 10 days they were available on the iPlayer. They were more viewed than on-demand programmes from BBC3 during those 10 days, and one of those web pilots was the most-shared content in the whole of iPlayer in the month of July. So that gives us a good indication we’re onto something.”Discussing its strategy, Darren Childs, CEO of UKTV, added that using the web to source new on-screen talent from sites like YouTube was a valuable resource, with social media helping to feed audience interest“Dynamo, which has been one of our biggest hits, was discovered online. We brought him in and nurtured him and turned him into a big star and gave him a big audience, which has built his online presence. So his Facebook and Twitter presence is now in multiple millions of users, so we have an engagement model now as well,” said Childs.
HBO and Apple are reportedly in talks that could see Apple TV become a key launch partner for HBO’s planned new US OTT service.According to the International Business Times, HBO and its online video platform provider, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, have held talks with Apple ahead of the planned launch of the HBO Now service in the US next month. The service is expected to debut with the fifth season of flagship show Game of Thrones.According to the report, Apple, which already provides the HBO Go service to authenticated HBO cable subscribers, may add a second app for the HBO Now service in a bid to drive uptake of Apple TV. HBO is planning to use a range of streaming devices and services, including Sony PlayStation and Xbox games consoles, and the Roku streaming service to reach US consumers direct, although some cable operators have expressed interest in bundling the service with broadband for subscribers that do not take TV. The service is expected to be priced at US$15, according to the IB Times, less than previously expected but higher than a subscription to Netflix.
Spotify is reportedly planning to move into the online video space and is said to have held potential partnership talks with a number of multichannel networks (MCNs).According to a Wall Street Journal report, which cites people familiar with the matter, digital video specialists that are talking to Spotify include Maker Studios, Tastemade and Fullscreen.The report claims that Spotify approached the MCNs to discuss both acquiring content and co-creating original video series. It said Spotify has also discussed possible partnerships with traditional media companies like Time Inc.The music streaming company could announce its video plans as early as this month, according to the WSJ.Spotify’s video service is likely to be available to both subscribers and non-subscribers and could eventually include advertising, it added.
TVN’s chief financial officer John Driscoll has resigned his position. Driscoll, who is also quitting as vice-president of the TVN management board, will continue with the company in an advisory capacity for a specified period of time.Piotr Korycki, member of the TVN management board in charge of business controlling, has been appointed as vice-president of the management board and will assume responsibility for the majority of these corporate functions that previously reported to Driscoll.Markus Tellenbach, president of the TVN management board and CEO, said: “John has played a key role in the operating and financial management of TVN since 2010, culminating in the acquisition of TVN by Scripps Networks Interactive and the transition of TVN from a public company to a privately held company, and on behalf of TVN I would like to thank him for his loyalty and all his outstanding contributions to the group.”Driscoll said: “I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Markus Tellenbach and the TVN management board during the last five years, and to have contributed to the management and development of the group during this period. With the change of ownership to Scripps, and the taking private of TVN, it was the right time to move on and explore other potential future opportunities. I wish the management board and the employees of TVN good fortune and best wishes for the future.”
Facebook has started to test live video streaming in the US, allowing users to broadcast from their phone in real-time.Facebook said it had rolled out the new feature to a “small percentage” of iPhone users based in the US, having first tested the feature with a handful of celebrities in the summer.To share a live video, users can tap on their Update Status and then select a new Live Video icon. They will be able to see which of their friends are tuned in and the video will be saved to their Facebook Timeline once they have finished broadcasting.“No matter where you are, Live lets you bring your friends and family right next to you to experience what’s happening together,” according to Facebook.The social network also announced a new collage feature that will let users grouping photos and videos that were taken together on their phone into “a scrolling, moving collage”.“As we were building Live we needed to reconsider the process of sharing from mobile devices. We are currently piloting a new design with a few people on iPhone and Android where they can now tap ‘What’s on your mind?’ at the top of News Feed to see a drop down menu of all the different options they can share. This will allow us to include new sharing features in the future,” said Facebook.In August, Facebook first said it would let site users connect and interact with public figures via live video, with celebrities like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Serena Williams and Michael Bublé signing up for these early trials.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced that Bluetooth 5 will launch either in late 2016 or early 2017 and will include “significantly increased range, speed, and broadcast messaging capacity.”The SIG said that the extending range in Bluetooth 5 will deliver robust and reliable Internet of Things (IoT) connections that will make “full-home and building, and outdoor use-cases a reality”.It claimed that higher speeds will send data faster and optimise responsiveness, while increasing broadcast capacity will boost the next generation of ‘connectionless’ services like beacons and location-relevant information and navigation.“Bluetooth 5 will transform the way people experience the IoT by making it something that happens simply and seamlessly around them,” said Mark Powell, executive director of the BluetoothSIG.“Increasing operation range will enable connections to IoT devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed supports faster data transfers and software updates for devices.”The SIG now has 30,000 members, with membership up 11% since the end of 2015. The group estimates there are 8.2 billion Bluetooth products in use today and that Bluetooth will be in more than one-third of all installed IoT devices by 2020.