By all appearances, Nicaragua’s formerly sleeping giant Momotombo ain’t going back to bed just yet.The picturesque stratovolcano, located near the city of León, continued erupting Sunday morning when these pictures were taken. Momotombo, on the northern edge of Lake Managua, about 40 kilometers northwest of Nicaragua’s capital, erupted for the first time in 110 years on Dec. 1, 2015, sending geologists and local townspeople into a tizzy. In fact, there’s been so much volcanic and seismic activity in Nicaragua lately that experts from the United States, the United Kingdom, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are carefully studying and observing the situation. (Google Maps)According to the AFP, citing Nicaragua government spokeswoman and first lady Rosario Murillo, geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and other institutions announced last week that they are studying and assessing risks from Momotombo and other active volcanoes in the country, including Télica and Masaya. In an unexpected and simultaneous event, Momotombo, Télica and Masaya began eruptive processes at about the same time, and another location, Cerro Negro, experienced ongoing seismic activity last week. Nicaragua’s Momotombo Volcano continues to erupt after a century of inactivity, on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016. Álvaro Sánchez/The Tico TimesTo date, the 1,297-meter-tall Momotombo hasn’t placed any nearby residents in danger, but that’s not to say it couldn’t. In 1610, a Momotombo eruption forced residents of the then-Spanish city of León to relocate 50 km to the west.“The danger of this seismic activity is because it’s from Plinian eruptions, which are characterized by a high level of explosiveness,” Nicaragua’s Seismology Network said in a statement. Plinian eruptions are the largest of all types of volcanic eruptions.We’ll continue to keep an eye on the situation. Meanwhile, have Momotombo photos you want to share? Post them on our Facebook page in the comments section.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH1c9Fu82nQ Facebook Comments Related posts:PHOTOS: A close-up look at Nicaragua’s Momotombo Volcano Telica Volcano erupts in Nicaragua Costa Rica’s Turrialba Volcano sees new ash, gas explosions Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano kicks off new year with quite a show
Six Senses Kitzbuehel Alps offers Electrifying RideSix Senses Kitzbuehel Alps offers Electrifying RideThere’s a whole new meaning to freeriding at Six Senses Kitzbuehel Alps. Residential owners who purchase a chalet at the sustainable resort development, which is set to open in summer 2021, will be among the first to own and drive the latest all-electric Porsche Taycan. The all new zero-emissions supercar which will take Porsche into a new era is the perfect accessory for a chalet that not only aims to set new standards in Alpine aesthetics but also defines the very essence of sustainable living.Supporting the Six Senses commitment to look after the environment and communities where it operates, the Taycan (which translates as lively young horse) marks Porsche’s entry into the electric market. The Taycan’s revolutionary technology can charge 63 miles (100 kilometers) range in just 4 minutes.“Sustainability is not just about what we do, but who we do it with,” said Bernhard Bohnenberger, president of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. “Our relationship with Porsche and its zero-emission model underlines our position to build and operate in ways that minimizes our ecological impact.”The Taycan is expected to have a minimum range of 311 miles (500 kilometers) and its top model can sprint from 0 to 62 miles (0 to 100 kilometers) in under 3 seconds. It presents itself as both, a pure breed sports car and a comfortable ride, engineered for every terrain. The Taycan truly is a silent force of nature.Its four-wheel drive capability ensures that owners will be able to carve with confidence both on the piste and on the road.“It’s not only about the excitement the car exudes, and the added value for the chalet buyer – this strategic alliance has deeper roots. With what we do, we want to ensure that our planet remains a safe and stable environment, full of natural wonders, for generations to come. We must take responsibility. Six Senses aims to be plastic free by 2022, Porsche are now diesel free. This is a clear signal that both brands are thinking in the same direction. All we do is plant the seed,” said Michael Staininger, co-developer of Six Senses Kitzbuehel Alps.“This is the perfect synergy. The evolution of alpine real estate, paired with the evolution of the Porsche sports car. We not only want to embrace the future, we want to shape it.” said Klaus Maerzendorfer, head of sales at Porsche Austria.Six Senses Kitzbuehel Alps lies just 20 minutes from the eponymous town center, high above the village of Jochberg in the Austrian Tyrol. The resort faces the majestic peaks of the Hohe Tauern – the largest nature reserve in the Alps – and borders a protected moss land where wild orchids bloom in the summer months. It features 80 guest accommodations and a small village of 50 private residences available for sale, 15 of which are freestanding top of the line chalets.Future owners can select from four- to five-bedroom chalets and also one- to four-bedroom apartments. All privately-owned units can be placed into the resort’s rental pool. As with all Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas projects, architecture and design blend into their surroundings. Architecture by IAW fuses with the artistic craftsmanship of master designer Martin Brudnizki to create a modern interpretation of classic Alpine style. Natural light and materials such as stone and wood create a warm and stylishly comfortable atmosphere, while energy efficiency and home technology are both put to good use.Additional highlights include the resort’s private access to the ski slopes and the availability of all Six Senses services to private property owners including a Six Senses spa and pioneering wellness concept.The Kitzbuehel region is a year-round alpine destination, featuring world-class ski slopes, outdoor activities plus excellent entertainment, dining and shopping. Hosting the greatest and most spectacular downhill race in the world, the charming little town with centuries of history and traditions has become an incomparable sports and jet set hub. Six Senses Kitzbuehel Alps is located 120 minutes by car from Munich, and 90 minutes from Salzburg and Innsbruck airports.For more information regarding chalet ownership at Six Senses Residences Kitzbuehel Alps, please contact Michael Staininger by phone +43 (676) 931 0039 or +1 (917) 963 4335 for the US or email firstname.lastname@example.org Source = Six Senses Kitzbuehel Alps
Go back to the enewsletterSingapore Airlines has chosen Adelaide as the launch destination for its first Airbus A350-900 aircraft fitted with all new medium-haul cabin products.Launching on 18 December from Adelaide, subject to regulatory approval, flight SQ278/279 will be operated daily by the two-class, 303-seat A350-900, providing South Australian customers first access to an unparalleled level of comfort and technology and increasing capacity by nearly 7%.The new A350-900 medium-haul aircraft is equipped with the airline’s recently launched new medium-haul Business class and Economy class cabin products and features 40 seats in Business class and 263 seats in Economy. The Business cabin boasts a 1-2-1 seat arrangement, providing every customer with direct aisle access, while the Economy cabin will be arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration.The A350-900 medium-haul will be fitted with the latest Thales AVANT in-flight entertainment system. Designed with a new user interface that offers a more intuitive user experience and navigation options, customers will be able to enjoy Singapore Airlines’ myKrisWorld personalised in-flight entertainment (IFE) now with even greater control. The jet will also be equipped with Inmarsat GX Aviation’s high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi, offered through SITAONAIR.“We have proudly operated services to Adelaide since 1984 and the deployment of our first A350-900 medium-haul aircraft with our new medium-haul cabin products to the South Australian capital is an exciting new chapter in our 34-year history,” Singapore Airlines Regional Vice President, South West Pacific, Mr Philip Goh said.“The decision to deliver increased capacity to the city reinforces our commitment to South Australia and will provide more opportunities to grow inbound and outbound travel.“The introduction of the new aircraft will allow us to better serve the South Australian travel market and continue to provide our customers with a premium service offering.Goh also announced that Brisbane would be the second Australian city to receive the A350-900 with the medium-haul cabin products, subject to regulatory approval, increasing lift by about 5%.“To better meet the growing demands of the market in Brisbane, we will deploy the medium-haul A350-900 with more Economy class capacity to Queensland next year,” Goh said.“This aircraft change will happen once we receive the second of our A350 aircraft fitted with the medium-haul product.” New Business classThe new medium-haul Business Class seats have been manufactured by Stelia Aerospace and are arranged in a forward-facing 1-2-1 staggered configuration to provide every customer direct aisle access. With each seat able to recline directly into a 76” fully flat bed, Business Class customers can rest in more comfort even on the shortest flights. Each seat measures up to 26” in width with retractable armrests that can be raised and lowered.Whether travelling alone or with a partner, adjustable dividers at the centre seats provide for a customised level of privacy to suit individual preferences.Customers can also look forward to other features to enhance their travelling experience such as ample stowage space for personal items, a business panel with in-seat power supply and USB ports, integrated reading light unit with adjustable lighting intensity and a personal 17” high-definition touchscreen monitor. New Economy classThe new Economy seat has been designed and built by RECARO and also offers customers an enhanced in-flight experience. Arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration, each of the 263 Economy class seats has an ergonomically designed contour backrest that provides greater comfort and a six-way adjustable headrest with foldable wings to provide more neck support.Economy class customers can also enjoy an enhanced entertainment experience on their personal 11.6” high-definition touchscreen monitor, as they browse from the selection of more than 1,000 movies, TV shows, audio programmes and games on myKrisWorld.Other features that Economy class customers can look forward to include personal storage space for small personal items, a coat hook, USB port and in-seat power supply.Go back to the enewsletter
By Poly PantelidesTHE ISLAND’S biggest lender, the Bank of Cyprus (BoC), deviated from good governance with its executives “enthusiastically” signing on for projects whose consequences they either misunderstood or concealed, said a long-standing member of the BoC brass yesterday.Evdokimos Xenophontos said even key decisions such purchasing Russian bank Uniastrum in 2008 were taken without an indepth study of available data. He was testifying at an inquiry into the near-collapse of the country’s economy and banking sector.“[Auditors] Ernst and Young prepared one of the best due diligence reports I ever saw, which highlighted many [problems]. I believe the executives only looked at the summary, which did not bring everything out,” Xenophontos said.As a matter of principle, the BoC should not have gone into retail banking in a huge country such as Russia, ending up paying over three times Uniastrum’s net asset value, and financing its capitalisation needs to the tune of an estimated €700 million, Xenophontos said.But in the meeting that sealed the deal in October 2008 everyone was “enthusiastic” and “excited” talking of a bargain deal and a new international era for the BoC, he said.Ernst and Young did not have representatives present to explain their due diligence report to those present, Xenophontos said.Instead, box files were laid out the day before the meeting so bank officials could study documents but they were not allowed to make copies, he added.Xenophontos – who was a board member at the time – advised either dropping the whole thing or else renegotiating the deal.But he let the matter drop and the minutes registered a unanimous approval for the purchase. “You understand, all decisions were presented as unanimous because they [the executives] did not want the Central Bank to raise questions,” he told the committee.Xenophontos first joined the BoC as chief accountant in 1967, going on to become general manager in 1974 and group chief general manager in 1993. He was kept on as an independent board member when he retired in 2004 and briefly served as vice-chairman from August 2012. He stepped down along with the rest of the board in March this year when the bank was placed under administration, as part of an international bailout deal for Cyprus.The run-up to that was what has mostly been presented as a unilateral decision by BoC executives to invest heavily in Greek government bonds. In December 10, 2009 former BoC group chief general manager Yiannis Kypri told financial news portal Stockwatch the bank had reduced its exposure to Greek sovereign and had reduced its holdings from €1.8 billion to €0.1 billion.On the same day, Eliades issued orders to start purchasing Greek bonds again. In about a year, the BoC held over €2.0 billion worth of Greek bonds and lost most of its investment during an agreement in 2011 to write-down sovereign Greek debt. The BoC presented most of those bonds as “held to maturity,” an accounting action made for assets expected to be redeemed when they expire, which allows the bank to present the bonds at face value and not at current values.“What they did was irregular in my opinion,” Xenophontos said, adding like other board members previously said, that he did not actually learn about the purchases until after the fact.He claimed that when he raised the issue later with board members and former Central Bank governor Athanasios Orphanides, it was suggested to him that Greece had pressurised the BoC to continue investing.When Andreas Eliades took over as CEO in 2005, bonuses and wages were raised to account for his own considerable pay, and along with his executive team, and a number of irregularities started seeping into the bank’s institution, Xenophontos said.This included Eliades’ decision to introduce bonuses for executives even though that was a corporate banking practice that was not relevant to the BoC, Xenophontos saidAlso for xample, the BoC would hand out loans without prioritising checks on potential debtors’ track records and their ability to meet payments, skipping straight to what collateral could be held against loans, he said.But Xenophontos’ niece, Maria Xenophontos, herself got some €347,000 worth of debt written-off, a move which he claimed he was not involved in, and which was negotiated by his brother in the context of his own obligations as her debt’s guarantor, he said.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementCardiologist: This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Eat GlutenGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)UndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
07Mar Rep. Julie Alexander begins March is Reading Month tour State Rep. Julie Alexander today kicked off her March is Reading Month tour. As part of March is Reading Month, the lawmaker will visit local schools throughout the district and read to students, encouraging them to take a lifelong interest in reading.Rep. Alexander wants to inspire and encourage students to pick up a book and let their imaginations do the rest. “A love for reading will benefit children their entire lives,” said Rep. Alexander. “I hope students see books as both a source of great entertainment, and information as their education advances.”For those schools interested in hosting Rep. Alexander for March is Reading Month, her legislative office can be reached by phone at (517) 373-1795, or by email at JulieAlexander@house.mi.gov. Tags: #SB Categories: Alexander News
Categories: Cole News 21Feb Rep. Cole votes in support of bill for additional funding to repair Michigan roads Legislation helps northern Michigan and entire stateState Rep. Triston Cole of Mancelona today voted in favor of a plan to invest an additional $175 million into road repairs across Michigan as soon as possible.“Fixing our Michigan roads is a top priority,” Rep. Cole said. “We have additional funding to repair Michigan roads this year and we can improve our roads without waiting for another budget cycle.”The money included in the bill approved today comes in addition to previous changes that provide more funding for road and bridge projects in Michigan.The new bill includes money for counties, cities and villages throughout Michigan.Estimated local allocations include Antrim County ($349,034), Otsego County ($388,355), Charlevoix County ($335,661), Montmorency County ($239,020) Oscoda County ($248,242), Bellaire ($9219), Elk Rapids ($16,480), Ellsworth ($6104), Mancelona ($11,561), Central Lake ($8655), Gaylord ($29,960), Vanderbilt ($7290), Charlevoix ($24,296), Boyne City ($36,444), East Jordan ($21,347), and Boyne Falls ($4091).The money is left over from a previous state government budget cycle and is already available, meaning no budget cuts or additional fees are required for the investment.House Bill 4321 advances to the Senate for further consideration.###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares April 28, 2014; USA TODAYLast week, Republican Party leaders ran for the hills when they discovered—not that they had done any legitimate investigation—that Cliven Bundy, the poster child for their opposition to the Bureau of Land Management, was an unrepentant and vigorous adherent of some odious racist theories. This week, the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People faces its own version of this, explaining away why it had planned to give a lifetime achievement award to Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, at the chapter’s May 15th banquet.Apparently, prospective NAACP honoree Sterling was heard on a recording distributed by TMZ expressing a variety of racist comments in a conversation with a much younger woman identified as his girlfriend named “V. Stiviano.” The octogenarian Sterling’s comments to his black and Mexican girlfriend, apparently in her mid-20s included these statements, according to TMZ:“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” (3:30) “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that…and not to bring them to my games.” (5:15)“I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” (7:45)“Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.” (9:13)Like the sudden discovery of Bundy’s arcane and reprehensible beliefs, many people and institutions associated with Sterling, including the National Basketball Association itself, are expressing shock and surprise about Sterling’s rants. The new commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, committed to investigate Sterling, determine if the recording was authentic, and whether the league would take action against the Clippers owner.Sterling’s past history on issues of race was not unknown prior to the NBA’s investigation of the Viviano tape. In 2010, Dave Zirin, the sports columnist for The Nation, wrote about Sterling and the Clippers, referencing some evocative quotes and behaviors attributed to “the Slumlord Billionaire”:The real estate owner/developer Sterling settled a racial discrimination suit with the Department of Justice in 2009 for $2.73 million due to charges of renting apartments according to a racial quota system. “Sterling, who has a Blagojevichian flair for the language, says he did not like to rent to ‘Hispanics’ because ‘Hispanics smoke, drink and just hang around the building,’” Zirin wrote. “He also stated that ‘black tenants smell and attract vermin.’”That wasn’t Sterling’s only brush with housing discrimination. “In 2005, Sterling settled a housing-discrimination lawsuit filed by the Housing Rights Center, which represented more than a dozen of his tenants,” Zirin wrote. “He paid nearly $5 million in legal fees for the plaintiffs—a staggering amount—along with a reportedly massive, albeit confidential, sum.”Those are cases that Sterling had to settle and pay out on. Others have been replete with charges and countercharges, notably a suit filed by NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor alleging that Sterling had told him that he wanted a team “composed of ‘poor black boys from the South’ and a white head coach” –the Clippers coach at the time was Mike Dunleavy, a white man, but the coach is now Doc Rivers, an African-American.As a slumlord who has been draped in charges of racial discrimination for over a decade, Sterling does have a lifetime of achievement to account for, but that doesn’t seem to have fazed the local NAACP. When Sterling was up for this award back in 2009, around the time of Baylor’s discrimination lawsuit, Leon Jenkins, the president of the Los Angeles branch of the civil rights organization, was quoted to say that Sterling “has a unique history of giving to the children of L.A.,” including donating between 2,000 and 3,000 tickets to Clippers home games for youth groups. Jenkins added, “We can’t speak to the allegations, but what we do know is that for the most part [Sterling] has been very, very kind to the minority youth community.”The Clippers released a statement that questioned whether the recording was authentic or had been tampered with, which suggests something less than a complete denial of the TMZ report. The team’s statement included the following: “It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.” Sterling’s history suggests that he has lived his life in ways that don’t quite comport with that statement, and the apology to “anyone who might have been hurt” is, as pathetic as it is, an acknowledgement that the man has made statements to the effect of what he was allegedly recorded to have said on the Stiviano tape.So why would the NAACP give an award to Sterling, given his track record as a slumlord? Was his charitable giving so stunning? It is hard to really say. His personal foundation, the Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation, shows several grants annually of $5,000 apiece to Los Angeles area high schools, perhaps reflecting Sterling’s gifts of tickets for Clipper games. The team’s charity, the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation, funds a variety of youth and sports activities. Unless Sterling wrote personal checks for the NAACP, the only grant to the Los Angeles chapter seems to have been $5,000 in 2010 from the family foundation according to its Form 990, though the NBA shows Jenkins receiving another grant from Sterling just last year.Sadly, if the Stiviano recording had been revealed on May 16th, Sterling would have ended up brandishing his new award. Together, Sterling and Bundy have together done a fundamental disservice to the effort to combat racism. Because of their back-to-back statements, critics will be on the lookout for examples of overt racism, articulated by people who seem barely part of the twenty-first century, leading them to overlook the still-pervasive everyday behaviors, practices, and policies that create and perpetuate racial inequities.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 8, 2015; San Francisco ChronicleThe tech sector may be iconic of this economic era, but if so, it says volumes about how problematic that economy continues to be for workers of color. Although there have been many confessions and declarations of reform over the years, the proportion of black and Latino employees in Silicon Valley tech organizations are about half the representation of those groups in the overall population in the Bay area, and a reporter points out that the numbers have not enormously changed from when the San Francisco Chronicle covered this story in a 1998 exposé. In 1998, approximately five percent of Apple’s workforce was black and seven percent was Latino; today, seven percent of that tech workforce is black and 11 percent is Latino.Making matters predictably worse, at seven companies that recently provided information on the diversity of their technical workforces, blacks and Latinos made up only 2 and 3 percent of technical employees, respectively. And out of 307 executives, there were just six blacks and three Latinos. Most of the black and Latino employees hold factory, service, and support jobs.According to this article, “The average number of black employees at 11 of the largest companies that released data is about 4 percent. The average number of Latinos is about 5 percent. In 2013, of the total Bay Area workforce, blacks made up about 11 percent of the total workforce and Latinos made up about 16 percent.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share361TweetShare14Email375 SharesIsle De Jean Charles / Karen ApricotMay 3, 2016; New York TimesAnyone following the reports, studies, and news articles about climate change knows of the widely touted claim that our world is literally drowning. However, while the ice caps are melting and the oceans are heating up, it’s hard to imagine the impact of climate that’s physically occurring right now. For the residents of Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana, climate change is very real, and it’s taking place in their backyards.Situated in the webbing of the wetlands in Southern Louisiana, Isle de Jean Charles, a town of about sixty people, has been dealing with the encroaching seas for years as the state’s coast continues to sink. Due to several manmade and natural causes, the coast is slowly becoming a part of the Gulf of Mexico, and if unabated, it’ll be taking towns like Isle de Jean Charles, its residents, and their homes with it. Combined with erosion caused by loggers and now-rising seas, since 1955, about 90 percent of the town’s original land has sunk.As such, the residents will be the first “climate change refugees.” The Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated the town a $48 million grant for the resettlement, which is part of part of $1 billion set aside to help communities living under the threat of rising sea levels.“We see this as setting a precedent for the rest of the country, the rest of the world,” said Marion McFadden, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development who is running the resettlement program. The relocation plan comes amid other substantial state and federal efforts to address climate changing, including the president’s strongly contested Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions, and the multi-state attorney general coalition to start holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for its part in climate change.Under the plan, members of the community will be voluntarily relocated to another area where a community does not currently exist. All federal funds must be spent by 2022. While giving a community of just 60 people six years to relocate themselves may seem easy, as noted by the New York Times, there are some significant challenges. The town has tried to relocate three times since 2002 with similar plans, and each attempt broke down due to both logistics and the inherent politics of the situation. For example, what about the residents’ jobs? While some jobs may have the flexibility to work remotely, fishermen or those working in Louisiana’s oil industry won’t have the same flexibility. And will the residents still own any of their land when they move? Where exactly are they moving to, anyway?Overly complicating the issue is the attachment many feel to the land. While the move is voluntary, it is only so to a certain degree, as the land becomes more unlivable. Particularly regretful for Isle de Jean Charles is the history that is being lost, inch by inch, into the sea. Many residents are still attached to their homes. For nearly 200 years, the Native American Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe has called the town their home. “We’re going to lose all our heritage, all our culture,” said tribe chief Albert Naquin. “It’s all going to be history.” Edison Dardar, 66, put up a sign at the entrance of the island saying he did not want to leave. With only 60-odd people, one can imagine the issues a town would face moving hundreds or even thousands of people.While Isle de Jean Charles may be the first town of its kind undertaking such an endeavor, it is certainly not the only one, and will not be the last. It’s estimated between 50 million and 200 million people worldwide will be forced to relocate due to climate change, many likely without the benefit of a federally funded package. Some of the world’s most vulnerable people are likely to be impacted not only by rising sea levels, but droughts, flooding, and reduced access to fresh water.As seen with the Isle de Jean Charles resettlement, the plan is to relocate people before they become homeless. Amid climate talks in Paris last year, the UN discussed a proposal to help “climate affected” individuals move, though it was not included in the final agreement.“You don’t want to wait until people have lost their homes, until they flee and become refugees,” said Walter Kaelin to the Times. Kaelin is the head of the Nansen Initiative, which has been working with the UN to address the impact of weather-related displacement. “The idea is to plan ahead and provide people with some measure of choice.”Isle de Jean Charles’ resettlement may serve as a model for future plans or of what to avoid, but it is certainly a necessary step to provide the residents an affordable chance to restart their lives.—Shafaq HasanShare361TweetShare14Email375 Shares
Share74TweetShareEmail74 SharesExcerpt from the National Association of School Psychologists’ infographic, “Who Are School Psychologists?”August 26, 2018; TennesseanAccording to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “one in five children and adolescents experience a mental health problem during their school years,” reports the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).Tennessee is no exception. “More than 265,000 kids in Tennessee ages 2 to 17 have been diagnosed with a mental health issue, according to estimates by the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse,” note Jessica Bliss, Holly Meyer, and Brett Kelman in the Tennessean. (The state’s population of minors, including infants, is 1.463 million). In the past year, roughly “62,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 have had a major depressive episode” statewide.Yet, as Bliss and her colleagues write, “Few districts in the state meet the recommended national guidelines of having one psychologist for every 1,000 students”—the minimum ratio recommended by NASP. If more comprehensive and preventive services are provided, then NASP recommends one psychologist per 500 to 700 students. Instead, “statewide, schools employed 540 psychological personnel during the 2016–2017 school year, an average of one for every 1,784 students.”“We’ve seen shortages for a long time,” Kathy Cowen, communications director for NASP, tells the Tennessean. “Up until recently, many schools didn’t understand the importance of mental health in how it affects the school’s climate and how it interacts with safety.”To address the gap, schools are “bringing in nonprofit organizations that provide their own mental health therapists to support students and stem behaviors that could be precursors to serious mental health issues,” Bliss and her colleagues explain. Therapists may be funded through grants, Medicaid (TennCare), or a family’s personal insurance.A new state policy requires school counselors to spend 80 percent of their time face-to-face with students. “Until now, counselors would routinely be pulled into other duties—like test proctoring,” the Tennessean notes. Bliss and her colleagues add that psychologists who work every day at schools often find that they spend most of their time “on administrative duties and Individual Education Plan responsibilities.”“When the ratio is really big, the school psychologist is limited to only doing assessments for special education under federal special education law,” Cowen says.Metro Nashville “employs 70 full-time and two part-time psychologists for its 86,000 students,” which is somewhat close to the recommended ratio, but, add Bliss and her colleagues, “only three Metro Nashville schools have a full-time school psychologist.” To fill the gaps, “many Tennessee school districts create partnerships with nonprofit community health organizations, including Centerstone, the Mental Health Co-op and STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand).”Bliss and her colleagues write that Centerstone “provided therapists for about 300 Middle Tennessee schools during the 2017-18 school year, including 55 elementary and middle schools in Davidson County.” Centerstone is mostly funded through TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program. STARS raises its budget of $4 million a year from “individual donor contributions, grants, United Way support, and $1.6 million in contract services” from local school districts.Denise Owens, a counselor at E. A. Cox Middle School in Columbia, Tennessee, says, “Right now, there are more children coming in than ever before with mental health issues.” Owens adds that she and her fellow school counselors often “spend their time scrambling to find free or low-cost services for children, including faith-based services and local nonprofits.”Nationally, NASP notes that “up to 60 percent of students do not receive the treatment they need…of those who do get help, nearly two thirds do so only in school.”As Bliss and her colleagues make clear, while referring students to outside providers is better than no support, the result is often less consistent care. As one parent, Shaunqueen Leatherman, says regarding her seven-year-old son Johnathan, the challenge is that the providers “don’t see him every day. They don’t know how he acts, because they aren’t there to see it.”—Steve DubbShare74TweetShareEmail74 Shares
France Telecom-Orange has entered into a put and call option that will allow it to sell its 20% stake in Portuguese telco Sonaecom to majority owner Sonae.The call is exercisable by Sonae over the next 18 months and the put will be exercisable by France Telecom during the three months following this period. Both put and call are exercisable at the same price of €98.9 million, but the price could rise to up to €113.5 million if Sonaecom is involved in a transaction that sees further consolidation or restructuring of the Portuguese telecom market.In December, Portuguese pay TV leader Zon Multimédia signed an agreement that would see it merge Sonaecom’s telco unit Optimus into its business. The operator’s services include the Optimus Clix IPTV offering.This agreement is subject to the confirmation of the Portuguese Securities Commission.
TDF Media Services has launched its new over-the-top platform at IBC, enabling its customers to go multiscreen.TDF said it has deployed a 24/7 fully-monitored OTT platform with full redundancy and high SLA commitment, to provide broadcast quality over broadband.The end-to-end solution allows customers to manage media across screens, live and on-demand and enables encoding, DRM encryption, metadata processing and delivery through its own CDN. It can also provide back-office tools for the management and monitoring of video-on-demand stores on a SaaS mode.“Whether they are broadcasters, content owners, VOD operators or Internet service providers, customers rely on TDF Media Services to manage all the complexity of their linear and on-demand workflows,” the firm said.TDF Media Services already provides OTT services to firms including HBO Nordics, Film2Home and Canal+.
Ericsson and Australian telco Telstra have completed what they claim is the world’s first LTE broadcast on a commercial LTE network.Ericsson’s LTE Broadcast Solution was trialed on Telstra’s network with the transmission of large files and video feeds – including a sports match replay, sporting network news, horse racing coverage and news.These were transmitted to enabled devices running on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and using Qualcomm Labs’ LTE Broadcast SDK and Middleware.“The trial is an important step in testing this technology to see how it provides network efficiencies while providing consumers the content they want in a high-quality experience. Our goal is to ensure consumers can get the content they are looking for easily and to explore the wider benefits that might be obtained using broadcasting technology,” said Mike Wright, Telstra executive director, networks.
Ole Fruekilde MadsenDanish cable operator Stofa has named Ole Fruekilde Madsen as its new CEO following its acquisition by energy group SE. Madsen has been head of SE’s energy and climate division for the past three and a half years. His appointment marks the unification of Stofa and SE under a single management structure combining all residential, commercial and associated businesses.SE president Niels Duedahl said the integration of the two groups’ activities would enable the combined company to realise synergies and enable it to take on competitors in all the business areas in which it operates.Former Stofa CEO Klaus Hoeg Hansen left the company in April following completion of its sale by Ratos to SE.Separately Stofa has hired an additional technical support staff in Sonderborg and Aarhus. The company highlighted this as a point of differentiation with dominant provider TDC, which has recently outsourced its customer services operation.
Vodafone has said that talks with Liberty Global about a possible asset swap have been terminated.In a statement issued today, Vodafone confirmed that the early-stage discussions – regarding a possible exchange of “selected assets” – will not go any further.The news comes after Liberty Global chairman, John Malone, signalled earlier this month that the two companies had not been able to come up with a combination or asset swap that would work for both partners.In an interview with Bloomberg, Malone said that while “there’s a price at which Liberty could be bought”, a full merger or acquisition was unlikely.Vodafone confirmed it was in early discussions with Liberty back in June, but said at the time: “There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor is there certainty with respect to which assets will ultimately be involved.”Talk of a possible deal between the companies had previously focused on Germany, where both have cable assets – but where a combination could be opposed by Deutsche Telekom on competition grounds. Other territories where the pair could have combined forces included the UK, where Liberty Global owns cable operator Virgin Media and Vodafone is major mobile player.In May, Malone commented that a combination of Vodafone and Liberty Global would be a “great fit” for the latter. He said that an agreement to work together or a combination of the two companies could deliver “very substantial synergies” and cited the benefits of a merger in markets including Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.Liberty and Vodafone have combined annual revenues of over US$80 billion (€70 billion) and a combined market value of US$130 billion.
Set-top box maker ABOX42 will host the first German edition of its international IPTV industry breakfast series at ANGA COM. The event, which will be co-hosted by M-net, Zattoo and DNMG, will explore the challenges of modern IPTV projects. Specifically, the speakers will look at how to compete with incumbent telco operators by offering a fast to deploy, latest technology and future-proof IPTV solutions for first and second screen. “Looking at the IPTV and OTT market and the rapid changes happening these days, we believe it is the right moment to extend our international industry breakfast series to Cologne during ANGA COM, to talk about todays challenges and solutions for operators and city carriers in a competitive landscape,” said Oliver Soellner, member of the management board of ABOX42.Soellner will speak at the breakfast event alongside M-net’s head of IPTV, Thomas Bichlmeir, and Zattoo’s chief officer, B2B TV solutions, Gernot Jaeger.The First German IPTV Industry Breakfast will be held on Wednesday June 8 from 8:00 – 10:00 at the Dorint Hotel Cologne, opposite the Koelnmesse.
Chris McCarthyViacom has upped Chris McCarthy to president of its cable nets VH1 and Logo.The exec was only promoted to general manager of the channels last year, and will now take the helm at the pair.Before that promotion McCarthy was general manager of MTV’s digital nets.In his new role he will continue to report to Doug Herzog, president of the Viacom Music & Entertainment Group, who said: “Within a remarkably short time, Chris has driven record growth across all screens and done an incredible job of reinventing the VH1 brand, bringing the focus back to its rich pop culture heritage.”McCarthy is credited with overseeing a successful ratings revamp of the MTV2 and Logo channels in the US, and more recently reinvigorating VH1 and Logo.
New on-demand film site Flix Premiere has gone live in the US, a week after it rolled out in the UK.The service, which bills itself as an “online Cineplex”, offers new films that will premiere on the platform. Users can buy ‘tickets’ for £3.99 in the UK or US$4.99 in the US to watch each film.The US launch marks Flix Premiere’s second market, and forms part of a seven-country global launch plan for the next year.Flix Premiere’s catalogue of films changes every ten to twelve days and all films stay exclusive to the site for twelve months.“Our curation team is scouting film festivals around the world to bring the best movies into the Flix Premiere Online Cinema,” said Flix Premiere founder and CEO Martin Warner.“Launching in the world’s largest movie market, the US, is take two of our global mission to bring the magic of theatrical releases to mobile screens. Every week US consumers spend 5.6 hours of watching movies, TV shows and videos online, according to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics study. That’s about 292 hours of streaming media consumption per year per person, with a preference for exclusive content.Flix Premiere is currently available via web browsers and as an iOS app and Android app across a full range of mobile devices, with streaming media device and games console support to follow later this year.
Illicit streaming devices in the UK market present a significant fire risk to users, according to a study by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and Electrical Safety First.According to the study, 100% of illicit boxes entering the UK market fail to meet national electrical safety regulations.Steve CurtlerNone of the illicit streaming devices that were tested in a joint initiative by FACT and Electrical Safety First had been supplied, designed or manufactured in accordance with the principal elements of the safety objectives given in Schedule 1 of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, according to the pair.FACT cited an Intellectual Property Office estimate that over one million illegal devices had been sold in the UK over the last two years, and the EU recall notice issued in June for a Chinese-made Kodi box, to highlight the scale of the risk.Steve Curtler, Product Safety Manager at Electrical Safety First said: “This year consumers thinking about buying an illegal streaming device for Christmas need to know that by plugging them into their TV they could be potentially be putting themselves, their home and their family at risk. We urge anyone with one of these devices to unplug it and stop using it immediately. Not only are these devices breaking the law, but they could be putting your loved ones at risk.”Kieron Sharp, Director General of FACT said: “The fact that so many illegal streaming devices have all failed to meet UK safety standards is shocking. Alongside the risks of exposing your home network to damaging malware and your children to inappropriate content, it should now be clear that the dangers these illegal devices pose far outweigh any benefit of buying them. We believe hundreds of thousands of illicit streaming devices were sold between Black Friday and Christmas last year. This year, if you want to safely and reliably enjoy premium sports, TV or films go directly to the official provider.”
Swisscom saw its TV base edge up by 3.5% to 1.47 million in the year to March, helped by the success of bundled offering inOne, in the face of what the operator described as “stiff competition from cable networks”. However, the company’s overall TV subscriber base was more or less flat quarter-on-quarter.Swisscom added net 49,000 TV customers last year. The company launched a new operating system and user interface last November.The small increase in TV subscribers year-on-year represents a lower gain than the 76,000 additions recorded in the year to the end of September, when Swisscom had already admitted it was facing “a noticeable trend towards market saturation”. However, the net gain in subscribers between September and the end of year was only about 2,000.On a more positive note, Swisscom said that its bundled inOne offerings had attracted 1.3 million customers by the end of last year, with the number of customers using a bundled offering up 235,000, or 14.1%, to 1.91 million by the end of the fourth quarter.Revenue from bundled contracts rose by CHF335 million (€257 million) year-on-year to CHF2.837 billion.Swisscom posted overall revenues of CHF11.662 billion for the year, up 0.2%. Core business revenue dipped by 2.1% to CHF9.058 billion due to falling fixed-line phone and roaming revenues.EBITDA was flat at CHF4.295 billion. While net income was down 2.2% to CHF1.568 billion.“Despite fierce competition, we managed to assert ourselves well on the market and we achieved the targets set. The inOne bundled offerings were a particular hit with our customers; we’ve never had such a successful product,” said CEO Urs Schaeppi.