Actors Sir Roger Moore KBE, best known as James Bond, and Imelda Staunton OBE, who stars in new Disney film Maleficent, have joined Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) Stop Circus Suffering campaign by writing to the Queen to urge her to include a commitment to a wild animal circus ban in her speech at the State Opening of Parliament on 4th June.Sir Roger and Imelda’s letter raises concerns that, despite Government promises, action to bring a ban on wild animals in circuses into law has been slow. Having been honoured by the Queen, they are now urging Her Majesty to include the ban in her speech at the State Opening of Parliament in order to ensure that wild animals do not continue to suffer in British circuses.“We, alongside many vets, animal welfare experts, animal protection groups, politicians and the vast majority of the British public, strongly oppose the use of wild animals in circuses,” they wrote in the letter. “In fact, a consultation undertaken by Defra found that an overwhelming 94.5% support legislation to prohibit wild animal use. It is clear that the public does not want to see wild animals perform demeaning and unnatural tricks that turn them into caricatures of their wild selves and this is a view that has been consistently held for many years.“Recognising the significant support there is for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, the Government announced in March 2012 its intention to introduce legislation to prohibit such acts, stating: “there is little or no educational, conservational, research or economic benefit derived from wild animals in travelling circuses that might justify their use and the loss of their ability to behave naturally as a wild animal.”“We are asking you, your Majesty, to ensure that the ban is swiftly passed ahead of the general Election in 2015 by including it in your speech at the State Opening of Parliament. By affirming the Government’s commitment to a ban we can condemn this archaic form of entertainment to history, just as 27 countries around the world have already done.”Last month, David Cameron reaffirmed his commitment to ban wild animal acts to an ADI delegation headed by former Conservative MEP and conservationist Stanley Johnson, and social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell, when they delivered a letter to the Prime Minister signed by 75 celebrities and politicians including Dame Judi Dench, June Brown MBE, Prunella Scales CBE, Timothy West CBE, Ann Widdecombe DSG, Brian Blessed, Dominic West, Eddie Izzard, Julian Clary, Michaela Strachan, Ben Goldsmith and Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle MP.ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, “I am delighted that Sir Roger Moore and Imelda Staunton OBE are urging the Queen to support the promised ban on wild animals in circuses, which has support from the public and politicians alike. The Government has promised a ban and we want to see it happen. Further delays will result in continued animal suffering.”The Government announced in March 2012 its intention to introduce legislation to prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses and last month ADI secured a commitment from the Prime Minister that a ban would be passed. However, following the publication of the Draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill last April, little progress has been made to bring this legislation into law, despite an implementation date of December 2015 being proposed in the Bill.The delay in bringing in the ban has already seen the return of big cats to the UK – a lion and tiger act from Ireland presented by Thomas Chipperfield, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield, who was prosecuted for animal cruelty following an ADI exposé in the late 1990s. The animals are forced to perform with Peter Jolly’s Circus, one of only two circuses still touring with wild animals in England, and the only act of its kind in the country.Following ADI’s shocking revelations of the brutal violence and constant chaining of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus – whose owner was found guilty of offences under the Animal Welfare Act – the Government announced its intention to ban wild animals in circuses “at the earliest opportunity.”The continued use of wild animals in circuses is widely opposed by vets, animal welfare experts, animal protection groups, politicians and a huge majority of the public. Indeed, in response to a consultation by Defra on the issue, 94.5% of respondents supported a ban.ADI is offering to help relocate the UK’s wild circus animals to sanctuaries where they can be rehabilitated. ADI recently relocated 25 lions after securing a circus ban in Bolivia which is documented in action-documentary Lion Ark. ADI is currently liaising with authorities to assist in the rescue and rehabilitation of Peru’s circus animals.
APTN National NewsJane Fonda was in Vancouver to show support for those who oppose pipeline expansions in the region.Fonda spoke with APTN’s Tina House about the Hollywood star’s activism and why she feels it’s important to get the message out.Here are some excerpts from that interview.
VANCOUVER — Postmedia Network Inc. has struck a deal with Indochino to provide $40 million of advertising to the custom clothier in exchange for an undisclosed portion of its revenue in the Canadian market.Postmedia’s print and digital brands include national and regional newspapers such as the National Post, the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and the Calgary Herald.As part of its agreement with Vancouver-based Indochino, Postmedia will also have the opportunity to buy discounted shares of Indochino if the company goes public.“This is a great opportunity for two companies to leverage each other’s strengths in order grow their businesses,” Andrew MacLeod, Postmedia’s president and chief operating officer, said. “We believe it’s a perfect fit.” It isn’t the first time Postmedia has exchanged advertising with a company for a cut of its future revenue.In 2016, Mogo Finance Technology Inc. signed a three-year agreement for at least $50 million of promotional commitments from Postmedia in exchange for a percentage of revenue and rights to buy stock in the digital financial company.It also forged a similar deal with Agility Forex Ltd.’s international payments and currency transfers services, though Postmedia did not disclose the duration of the deal, the value of the advertising space or the revenue it expects to receive.
The vote was in line with the Government’s consistent stand to advance the objective, namely, the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.” “The close relationship has been further strengthened by high level visits, including those of the Minister of External Affairs in January 2012; Joint Parliamentary Delegation in April 2012; Minister of Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation in July 2012; Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles in August 2012; and Minister of Culture in August 2012,” she said. India has again explained the reason why it voted against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in March.According to the Indian media, Preneet Kaur, the Indian Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs had been asked at the Lok Sabha yesterday about the vote on Sri Lanka. She said India enjoys close, cordial and friendly relations with neighbouring Sri Lanka with whom it shares historic, civilisational and cultural links.“Today, India is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner overall and Sri Lanka is India’s largest trade partner in South Asia. India has emerged as the largest foreign direct investor in Sri Lanka. India also contributes to the largest number of tourists arrivals in Sri Lanka,” Kaur said. In a written reply Kaur said: “India voted in favour of the resolution ‘Promotion, Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Geneva on 22 March 2012.
49 Comments By Garreth MacNamee Image: Shutterstock/DGLimages 11,988 Views http://jrnl.ie/3856761 IRISH CONSUMERS ARE using their debit cards on a more frequent basis with €3.6 billion spent in December last year – up 15% on 2016′s figures.Information released by the Central Bank revealed that debit card transactions accounted for 57% of new transactions on all cards in December. Retail and services debit card expenditure all recorded double digit increases over the year to December 2017.Credit card spending was largely similar to the same period in 2016, experiencing a minor increase of €19 million.Irish people spent a total of €1.34 billion in December on internet shopping, with €949 million and €389 million attributable to debit cards and credit cards.The December value is 15% than the previous year. E-commerce accounted for 21% of new transactions on all cards during the month. It now forms 26% of debit card spending and 40% of credit card purchases.AIB reported a 6% increase in turnover in card sales for the sector for 2017. The bank released its 2018 Pubs Outlook, which also finds a 6% increase in spending by UK visitors to Irish pubs in the 12 months to the end of October 2017, despite a decline in visitor numbers from the UK.Food was a key driver of growth for the period, with food service in pubs reaching a market size of €982m in 2017, up 3% year on year. Irish publicans are accepting card payments in growing numbers, with some city centre pubs now achieving 80% of their turnover from credit and debit cards according to Visa.David McCarthy, the bank’s head of hospitality and tourism, said: “Strong economic growth, customer sentiment, falling unemployment and a record year for tourism means that the Irish pub sector is performing strongly and there is a sense of optimism within the sector that we haven’t seen in many years.”Read: ‘We can’t afford to give a pub €5,000′: Craft producers hit out at exclusive drinks deals >Read: Which county in Ireland has the most pubs per person? Friday 16 Feb 2018, 8:35 PM Irish people spent over €1.3 billion on internet shopping last year – most of us used our debit cards Irish people spent a total of €1.34 billion in December on internet shopping. Feb 16th 2018, 7:54 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Short URL Share51 Tweet Email Image: Shutterstock/DGLimages
Joel Edgerton WhatsApp Google+ CREED II s Florian Munteanu to fight Anthony Joshua? July 12, 2016 at 8:48 pm July 12, 2016 at 9:42 am Aaron David Harwood Dolph Lundgren found superhero movie stunt scenes really difficult to shoot Jussie Smollett Says Sorry To Empire Cast I was about to say the same thing too Twitter How To Win A Trip To Meet The Miz And Becky Lynch Now Playing Up Next Videos Articles SPOILERS: 9/5 Impact TV Tapings from Las Vegas to air on Pursuit and Twitch Curtis Axel oh never mind, there was an ad in between :p Darryl Lacey Now Playing Up Next only 1 match? Now Playing Up Next July 12, 2016 at 9:41 am Comments are closed. Aaron David Harwood Now Playing Up Next Facebook Adam Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Sen. Kamala Harris Chimes In On Jussie Smollett Reports 3 COMMENTS Pinterest The following was taped on Monday night in Detroit, Michigan.7/11 WWE Superstars taping results:* Becky Lynch def. Summer Rae.* Sami Zayn def. Curtis Axel.Source: PWInsider.comRecommended videosPowered by AnyClipCREED II s Florian Munteanu to fight Anthony Joshua?Video Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 2:39/Current Time 0:03Loaded: 9.60%0:03Remaining Time -2:36 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list WWE RAW Results – 8/19/19 (King of the Ring Tournament begins, United States Title match) Now Playing Up Next SPOILERS: 9/1 NXT UK TakeOver Cardiff Fallout TV Tapings to air on WWE Network Videos Articles
CAMAS — Amazing how quickly youngsters can pop 12,000 Easter eggs into their baskets. It took just minutes Sunday at the 20th Annual Camas egg hunt in Crown Park.“River (a 1-year-old) only got one. He was happy with one. Very pleased with himself,” said River’s mom, Melissa McCusker of Camas. Her daughters, Saige, 4, and Cyenna, 5, got a few more.“It was great. Fast as usual,” McCusker said. “It was really good,” Cyenna added of the popular event.Krista Bashaw of the City of Camas Parks and Recreation Department said there were five age groups — from 2-3 to 10-12 — and the plastic eggs were filled with candy, small toys and prize tickets. She said 22 volunteers helped manage the wild affair. Nineteen sponsors helped make the event memorable. About 500 prizes were distributed.“They love it,” Bashaw said of Camas residents. “They come rain or shine.”Rain, this time.There were other diversions, including chasing bubbles, a hat and bonnet contest, and photos with the Easter Bunny. In addition, the Camas-Washougal FIRST Robotics Team demonstrated its egg-launching robot. No injuries were reported.Jeannifer Fangsrud of Camas was delighted to take a photo of her two children, Aiden, 3 this Wednesday, and Angelina, 10, posing with the big, white bunny.“It’s very exciting,” she said of the event. “Especially because Camas is such a close and tight (knit) community.”Bashaw said she especially appreciated help from students from the Washington State School for the Blind and Boy Scout Troop 562 of Camas. On April 13, they filled 10,000 eggs while munching pizza.As for the park, it turned a tad muddy after hosting an estimated 1,000 people.Bashaw said the city’s Jim Gant said not to sweat it.“The grass will come back,” she noted. “He says that every year.”
Army Secretary Mark Esper last week said one of his priorities for next year’s defense authorization bill was continuing to increase the service’s end strength. “We aim to see by 2028, and certainly sooner than that, an active-duty end strength of greater than 500,000 soldiers with associated growth in the Guard and Reserve,” Esper told reporters while visiting Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The fiscal 2019 authorization bill, which President Trump is scheduled to sign today, calls for adding 4,000 troops to raise the Army’s active-duty end strength to 487,500. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who accompanied Esper, said Congress is open to adding more soldiers beyond the growth included in this year’s defense policy bill, reported Military.com. Photo by John Martinez Dan Cohen AUTHOR
It’s not Winds of Winter news, but George R.R. Martin did announce another story set in the land of Westeros, and it’s coming soon.The author of the Song of Ice and Fire series announced that a short story that covers a crucial time in Westerosi history will be featured in The Book of Swords, an anthology edited by Gardner Dozois set to be released on Oct. 10.Martin shared the news on his Livejournal, while also expanded on the history of the story, which, like most of Martin’s works, originated in a writing sprint that got out of control.The story, called “Sons of the Dragon,” will chronicle the second and third Targaryen kings. If you’re an avid fan of Martin’s details, then you’ll know that this is Aenys I and Maegor the Cruel. Aenys had a very short reign before he died under mysterious circumstances and was replaced by his younger half-brother who, as you can tell by the title, was not a great person.“Those of you who enjoyed “The Princess and the Queen” in DANGEROUS WOMEN and “The Rogue Prince” in ROGUES will probably like this one too. It’s water from the same well,” he wrote. “A history rather than a traditional narrative. A lot of telling, only a little showing. (The opposite of what I do in my novels). But if you’re fascinated by the politics of Westeros, as many of my readers seem to be, you should enjoy it.”Martin said he came up with the story while putting together content for The World of Ice & Fire. It was one of the historical “sidebars” that were supposed to be in the book, but in typical Martin fashion, he got carried away with the word count.“Actually, I got rather carried away, until I found I had written 350,000 words of sidebars for a book that was supposed to have only 50,000 words of text (it ended up having a lot more that that, actually),” he wrote. So many stories were pulled, including the one that’ll make up “The Sons of the Dragon.”So for those waiting on the sixth book in the main series, Martin didn’t take a break to write this one. That one is still coming (with the possibility it’ll be out later this year, although he’s not so sure either).Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for Maegor. Courtesy HBOEither way, Game of Thrones fans should enjoy it, rather than getting hung up on an immense fantasy tome that’ll take some time to hit bookstore shelves. I’d rather have a polished product than a rushed one, so Martin can take all the time he needs.But there are so many stories to tell in this universe. The expansive–and I mean expansive–history of Westeros and Essos is sometimes more interesting than what is going on in the main narrative. Martin has done a fantastic job also making the history just as important as the present day in the Song of Ice and Fire series. There is so much history, and a lot of it had an impact on current events. Why is Daenerys in exile? That’s due to a coup against her father, the Mad King Aerys II. The long and complicated legacy of House Targaryen is all a set up for Daenerys’ internal conflicts and why it was important to get them off the throne.The show doesn’t make as much of a fuss about it as the books, which have the space to jump back and forth in time and to provide exposition. Later seasons have made an effort to introduce some of the more important aspects of Westerosi history, but it’s tough to parse in a television setting.But the characters are bound by their legacies and the relatives that came before them. Reading into centuries of history isn’t just memorizing facts in Song of Ice and Fire. It’s extra story material. Fans of Martin’s series will take all they can get.So basically, if you’ve been waiting for Winds of Winter, why not check out this anthology, which will have Martin’s story and many others? Also, maybe just let him write the damn book. Stay on target ‘Game of Thrones’ Director Explains Why Arya Ambushed the Night King’Game of Thrones’ Star Sophie Turner Predicts Sansa Stark’s Future
Lebanese army soldiers stand guard as supporters of Christian politician Michel Aoun chant slogans and hold flags of the Free Patriotic Movement, during a demonstration near the government headquarters in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, July 9, 2015. Lebanese supporters of Aoun later clashed with the troops who were blocking them from reaching the prime ministry where a cabinet session is underway. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein) Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home BEIRUT (AP) — Dozens of Lebanese supporters of a Christian politician scuffled on Thursday with troops who blocked them from reaching the government building in downtown Beirut where a Cabinet session was underway.Leader of the Free Patriotic Movement Michel Aoun had called for the demonstrations following a dispute over security appointments in the government.Aoun, a former army commander, insists that the government should make the appointments a priority while government officials have said only regular items would be on the agenda. The meeting ended later with an agreement to postpone the discussion until July 23. Earlier, Lebanese soldiers beat back dozens of protesters with batons as they tried to break a security barrier, triggering hours-long skirmishes at the entrance to the posh Beirut souks in the downtown. The army said seven soldiers were being treated for various injuries while the FPM, Aoun’s party, said that around 17 protesters were hurt.Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 and Aoun has accused Prime Minister Tammam Salam of taking advantage of the presidential vacuum and running the country as if he were president.Lebanon is the only country in the Arab world with a unique power-sharing system under which the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shiite Muslim.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 5 treatments for adult scoliosis
Categories: News 11Feb Pettalia measure ensures access to government Northern Michigan Caucus working together so technology advances don’t leave rural residents behindState Rep. Peter Pettalia introduced a resolution Tuesday to remind Gov. Rick Snyder and state department leaders that while electronic documents and computerization can be efficient and less expensive for conducting business, not all state residents are prepared to go paperless.House Resolution 14 urges all Michigan executive departments to provide paper options for residents to submit government forms and documents. The resolution is co-sponsored by all of the House lawmakers in the bipartisan Northern Michigan Caucus – Reps. Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City; Scott Dianda, D-Calumet; Triston Cole, R-Mancelona; Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan; John Kivela, R-Marquette; Ray Franz, R-Onekama; Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac; Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo; Joel Johnson, R-Clare; Lee Chatfield, R-Levering; and Larry Inman, R-Williamsburg – which Pettalia chairs.“Michigan, the federal government and even many local governments are modernizing their services with electronic-based information systems, and while that may provide better efficiency, reduced processing times and lower overhead costs, we still have residents without access to, or knowledge of, the necessary technology,” said Pettalia, R-Presque Isle. “In addition to the people who don’t have high-speed Internet service available in their area, places where it is available can come at a substantial cost, which can create more barriers between citizens and their government.”He pointed to two of Michigan’s biggest cities, Detroit and Grand Rapids, as locations where 90 percent of households have computers but only 75 to 80 percent have high speed internet available.Pettalia offered another example of the need for a paper option that he heard from local residents about was when the federal government completed its transition of paper-based program payments, such as Social Security and veterans benefits, to electronic deposits.“People figured it out and got used to it, however, we need to ensure at the state level there is simple, affordable access for everyone at all times in all places,” he said.HR 14 has been assigned to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.
Share2Tweet17ShareEmail19 Shares September 22, 2014; Washington PostThis past Saturday, Emma Watson delivered a powerful speech to the United Nations confronting the issue of gender inequity and a world that is still willfully complicit in discrimination. The speech comes in the midst of the NFL domestic violence scandals and President Barack Obama’s “It’s On Us” campaign, which NPQ readers may also be following.As a goodwill ambassador for UN Women, Watson launched the HeForShe campaign at the UN summit in a speech geared toward dispelling misconceptions about feminism and engaging men to recognize how detrimental gender discrimination can be not only to women, but to men as well.“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong,” said Watson in her address. “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals…. We can all be freer, and this is what HeForShe is about.”The message comes at an auspicious time, just a day after the Obama administration initiated the “It’s On Us” campaign against sexual assault on college campuses. It, too, targets men and encourages them to avoid the pitfalls of the bystander effect. Efforts by nonprofits such as Men Can Stop Rape have already been underway to create allies in men to speak up when a friend is trying to take advantage of an intoxicated woman and stop gender-bashing comments.In our modern world today, not only do women contend with emotional, physical, and mental abuse, but they are now also made to bear digital abuse as well. Take the world’s reactions to the recent nude photograph hacking scandal involving several female celebrities, like Jennifer Lawrence and, most recently, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian, among others. There was much discussion in the media of how women are sexualized in ways where men would absolutely not receive the same treatment. Others went on to blame the women for taking the private pictures in the first place.In truth, the heart of this abuse is gender discrimination, because the media would not react in the same manner if a male celebrity’s privacy were violated, as some have already noted. When Dylan Sprouse’s nude photos surfaced, the outrage was directed at his being a former star on the Disney Channel, rather than that he posed for the picture for an ex-girlfriend. Prince Harry’s photos from Las Vegas two years ago were quickly laughed off as a royal joke.However, as Watson observed, we must be very careful that our discussions of violence against women do not devolve into “man-hating” and that we are cognizant of the related problems faced by men:“Men, I would like to give this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society…. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a man. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and heart disease. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.”Rather, the important (and perhaps game-changing) takeaway from Watson’s speech, the recent happenings in the NFL, the celebrity photo scandal and the White House campaign, is that gender discrimination is a losing war for both women and men. Finding equal footing among genders is going to take a combined effort and, as noted by Watson, the HeForShe campaign is such a collaboration.—Shafaq HasanShare2Tweet17ShareEmail19 Shares
Share6TweetShareEmail6 SharesPope Francis / TheTurduckenNovember 21, 2016; CNNLast year, NPQ reported on the “Holy Year of Mercy” proclaimed by Pope Francis, devoting special attention to his decision to allow all priests to hear confessions and offer relief from excommunication to women who had “committed the sin of procured abortions.” Until late last year, such authority was limited to bishops or, at a bishop’s discretion, priests specially trained and designated by each diocese around the world. Excommunication literally means the separation of an individual from communication or communion with the church. It does not remove one’s status as a Catholic; it simply means one is basically in exile from the church and may not participate in many Catholic sacraments and rituals.As the Extraordinary Jubilee year came to a close on November 20th, the pope announced on Monday that the authority would be extended indefinitely. Francis is emphatic that this should in no way be interpreted as a change in viewpoint about abortion: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.”The change that Francis asserts and emphasizes comes in the next sentence: “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”This extension of priestly authority and these viewpoints on abortion are both consistent with the pope’s previous statements reported by NPQ that “I like to use the image of the field hospital: Some people are very much injured and are waiting for us to heal their wounds.”The 14-page papal letter, Misericordia et Misera, or “Mercy with Misery,” is a phrase from the works of St. Augustine summing up the biblical story of the adulterous woman brought before Jesus in John 8:1-11: “Two are left, misery and mercy.” For the truly penitent soul that is in misery and seeking mercy, Francis’s letter means that healing relief through readmission to the church and the Catholic community (lifting of excommunication) will continue to be made available through a local priest rather that from a remote and (usually) unknown bishop.—Michael WylandShare6TweetShareEmail6 Shares
Share65Tweet23ShareEmail88 Shares March 22, 2019; Denver PostDemocratic Colorado Governor Jared Polis “is taking action on one of his top economic development priorities—promoting employee ownership of businesses and companies in the state,” reports Aldo Svaldi in the Denver Post. Polis, Svaldi notes, when he was in the US House of Representatives, was a member of the Cooperative Business Caucus.” Svaldi adds that Polis has “long supported shared-ownership models.”Specifically, the Polis administration is putting together an Employee Ownership Center within the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, according to executive director Betsy Markey. The center, Markey says, will work with law firms and accountants to simplify the process and reduce costs associated with converting to an employee-owned model.“It is a way to help businesses that want to be employed owned,” Markey said of the new center.John Kovacs, program analyst for the state’s Employee Ownership initiative, asserted, “We are looking to make Colorado the Delaware of employee ownership.” Delaware, for the uninitiated, is the state where a majority of US-based publicly traded companies and more than three in five Fortune 500 companies are incorporated.As NPQ noted, two years ago, after a campaign led by the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center, Colorado’s legislature passed HB17-1214, which sets up a revolving loan program to help finance transitions to employee ownership. This fund, notes Svaldi, “can provide up to $10,000 towards the cost of accounting and legal services involved with forming an ESOP” [employee stock ownership plan company].Colorado, like many communities across the country, is seeking to prepare for the threat of what has been widely labeled a “silver tsunami” of small business closures as Baby Boomers retire. As Svaldi reports, as “Baby Boomers move deeper into their golden years, many are finding that their children and family don’t want to take over. Willing buyers can be hard to find, especially in parts of the state that aren’t seeing growth.”“This could be a game changer in rural Colorado,” said Tara Marshall, a member of the Economic Development Commission’s board of directors, which oversees the office Markey leads. Marshall, whose day job involves serving as the director of community development for the small town (population 8,000) of Trinidad, located nearly 200 miles to the south of Denver, told Svaldi about a family-owned dry cleaner that had closed after the owner failed to find a buyer. According to Marshall, seven people lost their jobs, and now the nearest dry cleaner is 87 miles away. A transition plan that would have enabled workers to buy out the owner and keep the dry cleaner open would have been a better solution for the community, Marshall explained.—Steve DubbShare65Tweet23ShareEmail88 Shares
Some three million French homes, or 10.7% of the total, were equipped with connected TVs at the end of the first quarter, up 40% on the previous quarter, according to research by Médiamétrie.Médiamétrie’s study found that close to 1% of households envisaged acquiring a connected screen in the next six months and 4%, or close to a further million homes, envisaged buying one over the next two years.The total number of devices with screens in each home now averages 6.2, according to Médiamétrie. Some 63% of homes with smart TVs are equipped with several other screens, versus 50% of homes without smart TVs. Homes with children are more likely to acquire a smart TV than homes without.
Mediaset vice-chairman Piersilvio Berlusconi confirmed that the Italian media company had received interest from international operators in its pay TV business yesterday.Berlusconi told a shareholders meeting that Mediaset did not want to sell the business and that no binding agreement had been signed. However, he said that the company takes a favourable view of an industrial partnership to develop Mediaset Premium and Mediaset’s 22% stake in Spain’s Digital+.Berlusconi said that he hoped a deal could be finalised by June. However said Mediaset placed a higher value on the Premium business than that given by analysts recently.Berlusconi said that Mediaset could pay for a share of Serie A football rights from the cash generated by the pay TV platform and that the company did not need to seek external capital for this.Berlusconi also told shareholders that Mediaset had no further plans to cut costs, despite uncertainty about the Italian advertising market.
Scottish commercial broadcaster STV has been awarded local licences to deliver services in Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee by Ofcom. STV plans to deliver all three services in partnership with educational institutions to provide media students with the opportunity to learn and train in a live TV environment.The broadcaster will work with Robert Gordon University and North East Scotland College in Aberdeen, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) in Ayr, and Abertay University and Dundee and Angus College in Dundee.STV will deliver local news and current affairs content for all three services.Bobby Hain, director of channels at STV, said: “STV is committed to delivering local content for viewers in Scotland and the award today of three additional TV licences will serve to complement our existing STV family of broadcast, online and mobile services. Local TV is a long term commitment for STV and we look forward to working with our education partners in Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee to deliver these new services.”
The BBC said that it received more iPlayer programme requests in the week from December 26 to January 1 than during any other week in the history of the catch-up service.Announcing iPlayer stats for the festive period, the BBC said that during the week of New Year, 69.3 million programme requests were made.December was also the BBC iPlayer’s best ever month, with 281 million programme requests logged, according to internal BBC figures.By device type, connected TVs continued to be the most popular device for watching BBC iPlayer content, growing 7% on 2015 to reach a weekly average of 7.48 million unique browsers in December. Tablets came next at 4.19 million, followed by mobiles at 3.6 million, and computers 3.55 million.The BBC also reported a “big surge” in live viewing on the iPlayer on New Year’s Eve with mobile viewing driving an 80% spike at around midnight.For the period 20 December – 2 January, the most popular programmes by series were Eastenders, followed by Mrs Brown’s Boys, Outnumbered, Sherlock and Call The Midwife.“Christmas is always a popular time for people to watch programmes on BBC iPlayer, but it’s fantastic to have had our best ever week in our best ever month over the festive season,” said head of BBC iPlayer, Dan Taylor-Watt.
Google is rolling out an update to its Google Expeditions app on Android in a bid to extend take the experience outside of the classroom.A new ‘solo mode’ for the app will allow anybody to explore more than 600 different tours on their own.Previously the app, which first launched two years ago, was designed to be a classroom educational tool to help students to see and experience the world in new ways, visit university campuses, and gain exposure to new career paths.“During this time, we’ve heard from students, teachers, and even our friends, that they’d love to explore and learn from Expeditions outside the classroom,” said Google software engineer, Jiabei Lei.“Self-Guided Expeditions let anyone explore anywhere. Students can go on tours at home and share the experience with their family. Teachers can assign tours as homework to complement in-class work.”The Android Google Expeditions app is compatible with Google Cardboard and the company’s newer VR platform, Daydream. Google said that a version of the Expeditions app will also be out soon for iOS devices.
The ability of virtual reality to remove distractions and enable viewers to enjoy an immersive cinema-like experience was one of the key benefits experienced by participant in a BBC research programme on the technology, but key problems must be overcome – notably, a range of issues concerning VR headsets, difficulties with the user interface and sub-par experiences.The BBC teamed up with Ipsos Connect to conduct in-depth research into how audiences interacted with and reacted to VR, kicking off with research that involved asking participants to use VR headsets over a three-months period.Participants were drawn to a relatively limited range of experiences including horror stories, rollercoasters and other extreme experiences.They appreciated experiences that allowed them to “walk in someone else’s shoes” or to experience something they “wouldn’t normally do”, such as skydiving, as well as to learn new things.According to a blog posting by Tim Fiennes, senior market analyst, audiences at the BBC, participants particularly appreciated the removal of distractions, including when watching 2D widescreen content in a ‘virtual cinema’. This included watching long-form scripted content from mainstream video-on-demand providers as well as music videos.“We know from broader media behaviour research that audiences will tend to seek out the best screen available when watching long-form video; however, whether a virtual big screen counts ‘as the best screen available’ given the resolution challenges devices currently have is questionable – it would certainly appear the largest though,” said Fiennes.“Our emerging hypothesis is that headsets provide audiences with a rare opportunity to engage with content utterly free from distraction. The rise of the smartphone being rarely away from one’s side means that it can often be challenging for audiences to be fully immersed in any kind of activity.”According to Fiennes, successful VR experiences were those that involved a clear narrative journey, those that made the most of technical possibilities of the medium, and those that gave participants time to process and understand what was happening around them.The study found that major challenges nevertheless stand in the way of VR emerging as a mass entertainment medium. The use of headsets emerged as a major barrier. Participants were alienated by having to find and set up the headset, by being isolated when using it and by finding it awkward to use while seated and having to turn their heads around.Even when a headset was used, participants found navigating between apps and finding content frustrating and difficult, the study found. One key lesson, said Fiennes, was that audiences “need to exposed to content they might not automatically choose to expand their range of tastes in VR”.The study also found that participants experience playout problems, overheating handsets and poor resolution due to variable WiFi speeds.Fiennes warned that VR could experience a “trough of disillusionment” similar that of 3DTV unless concerns are addressed. He said there is a need for consistency and open standards to ensure a “frictionless user experience”, and a need to better understand audience perceptions rather than focus on what the technology can achieve.