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Saleint now representing Status Quo Travel in Canada

first_imgSaleint now representing Status Quo Travel in Canada Posted by Monday, June 24, 2019 Travelweek Group Sharecenter_img TORONTO — Status Quo Travel, a leading tour operator and Destination Management Company in southeast Asia, has appointed Saleint as its Sales Representative in Canada.Led by travel veteran Ashikur Raheman Sheikh, Status Quo was established five years ago and focuses mainly on Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar and Laos.As part of the new partnership, Saleint will offer exclusive Status Quo Travel products such as:• Tip to Tip: A 17-day trip of exclusively Vietnam, highlighting war-ravaged historic sites, vibrant nightlife and idyllic countryside by bike.• The Great Eastern Circuit: A 16-day trip of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, with Singapore added as a possible extension (time permitting). “Saleint is excited that its portfolio now includes Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos,” said Mahima Tripathi, Chief Brand Ambassador of Saleint Inc. “The inclusion of Thailand and Singapore is a perfect addition as several operators often seek quotes for this part of the world. Our clients will enjoy these high-quality and diverse travel options.”More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemAt present, Saleint’s DMCs can cover India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Vietnam Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and Oman.For more information go to or email Tripathi at Tags: Saleint, South East Asia, Status Quo Travel << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

PATA and TripAdvisor offer 1million prize

first_imgPATA and TripAdvisor offer $1million prizeThe Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is looking for new and emerging destinations to take part in the PATA CEO Challenge 2015 for an opportunity to win one of two advertising campaigns on TripAdvisor, each worth up to US$500,000. The two winning entries will work with TripAdvisor to develop and create digital marketing campaigns to showcase their destinations to TripAdvisor’s global audience, each valued at US$500,000. In addition, the winners will be presented the PATA CEO Challenge 2015 Top Destination Award during an award ceremony at the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner on November 2, 2015 in London, United Kingdom, prior to World Travel Market 2015.The PATA CEO Challenge 2015 embraces the uniqueness and diversity of heritages, cultures, customs and natural beauty of the world’s diverse destinations. It aims to promote and enhance the number of visitors to emerging destinations (regions, states, or provinces, and second-tier/third tier cities), and enhances tourism development in the most sustainable manner.Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA, said, “There are hundreds and thousands of destinations that are known, visited and experienced by world travellers. However, there are even more destinations that are ready to be discovered and deserve to be recognised for their authenticity and beauty. PATA, through the PATA CEO Challenge 2015, is honoured to highlight these new and emerging destinations.“Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing APAC, TripAdvisor, stated, “As the world’s largest travel site with 340 million unique monthly visitors, TripAdvisor is committed to working with destinations across the world to showcase their story to travellers from around the world.  Working with PATA on the PATA CEO Challenge 2015, our aim is to support destinations who have a great tourism offering and the desire to present their story.”The PATA CEO Challenge 2015 is open to all regions, states, provinces, second-tier cities, and third-tier cities worldwide, while countries and first-tier cities are not qualified to participate. Both PATA member and non-member organisations and destinations are welcomed to submit entries.Entries must show how their marketing campaign is contributing to the sustainable growth of tourism to the destination and economic empowerment to the local communities.Two awards will be presented during the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner on Sunday, November 2, 2015, prior to World Travel Market 2015 in London, United Kingdom, in the categories of States, Regions and Provinces; and Second-tier/Third-tier Cities. The dinner will be attended by hundreds of industry professionals and guests.Ms Mathews said, “Our global team will work with the two winners to develop a great digital campaign. It is our aim to support each destination with our knowledge on how travellers are inspired, research and book online and therefore to help the destination to paint their digital story to our global audience.”Mr Hardy added,  “A country’s beauty is not defined by one famous location, but by its people, culture, heritage and diversity. The PATA CEO Challenge 2015 will not only help new destinations showcase their unique offerings but enable today’s travellers to explore new frontiers and discover new experiences. Furthermore, the dispersment of tourists to these new destinations will also help spread the economic benefit of travel and tourism to the people in these communities.”PATA CEO Challenge Source = PATAlast_img read more

RCL Australia wraps up record breaking summer

first_imgRCL Australia wraps up record breaking summerExplorer of the Seas made her final visit to Sydney’s OPT this summer on Saturday 22 April, concluding RCL Cruises’ record breaking summer cruise season in Australia and New Zealand.The company’s three brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, based an unprecedented seven ships in the region – 15 percent of the global fleet – including two new ships; the newest and biggest Australia has ever seen, Ovation of the Seas, and the boutique, freshly revitalised Azamara Journey.“Explorer of the Seas’ departure from Sydney on Saturday evening, concludes what has been our biggest and most incredible season to date, carrying more than 300,000 guests on local cruises and injecting an expected AUD$200 million into the local economy in passenger spend alone,” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, RCL Australia & NZ.“We increased capacity by 17 percent, introduced two new ships to the region, completely refreshed another, launched a brand new cruise port in Wollongong, and wowed Aussies, Kiwis and more than 50,000 guests from overseas on over 90 different itineraries around Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia. What’s more, Royal Caribbean International became Australia’s largest cruise line in terms of capacity over the summer season. It truly has been a record breaking seven months,” Armstrong said.“Royal Caribbean changed the game for cruising down under when we introduced supercruising to Australia, with the incredible US$1 billion Ovation of the Seas,” Armstrong continued.The spectacular vessel arrived in December to much fan-fare and was the first brand new ship to be based in Australian waters. With almost 5,000 passengers and 1,500 crew, she also claimed the title of the biggest from sister ship Explorer of the Seas. With that size came an increased range of features found only on Royal Caribbean, including sky diving and surfing experiences, the North Star viewing capsule, bumper cars, the robotic Bionic Bar, 18 different dining options and spell-binding entertainment.On the other end of the scale, RCL also welcomed its smallest ship in the fleet, the 690-guest Azamara Journey for her maiden Australian season in February 2017. The boutique ship arrived completely refreshed after an extensive makeover, offering the line’s signature longer stays in unique Australian and Kiwi ports for more authentic experiences on land.Culinary favourite Radiance of the Seas made waves this season opening up a new port for the industry, becoming the first cruise ship to bring passengers to the NSW coastal city of Wollongong and arriving to huge celebrations from locals of the Illawarra. The City of Wollongong also welcomed Voyager of the Seas twice during the season.Radiance of the Seas also made maiden calls for Royal Caribbean to the beautiful South Pacific islands of Tonga, visiting Vava’u and Nuku’alofa in December. Meanwhile, identical sister ships Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, known as the South Pacific sisters, made their mark with dedicated sailings all season to the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.Australia’s favourite and highest rated cruise ship, Celebrity Solstice, sailed her fifth consecutive local season, fresh from a stunning makeover. Additions included the first Tiffany and Co store at sea for the region; a new Japanese dining option, Sushi on Five; beautiful cabanas on the famed real grass Lawn Club, and an outdoor movie screen that to host her new film and gastronomic experience, “A Taste of Film” for guests. Royal Caribbean Cruise LineSource = Royal Caribbean Cruise Linelast_img read more

Abuse case shows few rules protect kids in online

first_imgAbuse case shows few rules protect kids in online videos AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Astrid Galvan, The Associated Press Posted Mar 27, 2019 10:39 am PDT FILE – This file booking photo provided by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office shows Machelle Hobson. Hobson, who used to operate a popular YouTube channel featuring children, was indicted Monday, March 25, 2019, on charges that she abused and kidnapped five of her seven adopted children. (Pinal County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File) PHOENIX — A trip to the grocery store. A little league baseball game. A cute baby swinging from a tree. Millions of people have watched strangers do these everyday activities online.Family video blogs are a multimillion-dollar industry that has allowed some parents to quit their jobs and be with their children full time as they document their daily lives and post the footage for anyone to see. But the popularity of the videos, which draw corporate sponsors, has come with a price for some children.An Arizona woman was indicted Tuesday on charges of abusing her kids who had starred in a popular series of YouTube videos, including using pepper spray to punish them if they performed poorly during filming.While the case is extreme, it has raised concerns about the legal protections and ethical quandaries surrounding children who appear in money-making videos.“From a developmental perspective, you have a dual role as a parent — you are their boss as well as their parent, and that’s very confusing for a child, especially for younger children who want to please their parents,” said Yalda T. Uhls, founder and executive director of University of California, Los Angeles’ Center for Scholars and Storytellers, which offers insights from research to guide children’s entertainment.“Even though it may appear on camera they are playing, they are working,” Uhls said.Labour rules that protect children on movie and TV sets are not enforced online. State laws guide how long child actors hired by studios can work, how much schooling they must get and where their money is kept. In video blogging, parents are the only regulators.No other agency, including social media platforms like YouTube, plays more than a minimal role in labour protections for children appearing in online videos, which can earn families hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The videos carry ads and companies also offer marketing contracts for popular channels to feature their products.For some families, it’s a dream to earn a living from broadcasting their lives, whether it’s going to soccer practice or showing off scripted skits.Samuel Rader and his family have a YouTube channel with 2.6 million subscribers. It started five years ago when he and his wife, Nia, posted a video singing along in the car to a song from the Disney animated movie “Frozen.” The video got 23 million views.Within about a year, the family’s videos had gotten so popular that Samuel Rader quit his job as an emergency room nurse to focus on video blogging full time.“The impact was my wife and I were gonna be able to stay home and be with our kids basically every waking moment for them — and that was huge,” Rader said. “That was an easy no-brainer for me because I grew up with a very absent father, and that would have been a dream come true for me.”The Rader family, including 8-year-old Symphony, 5-year-old Abram and 2-year-old Juliet, gets monthly paychecks generated from ads. Rader said that the kids’ checks go into funds for when they’re adults and that he and his wife can’t touch the money.He said he’s heard plenty of criticism about exposing his children to the public but isn’t concerned.“They’re already accumulating retirement plans, and how can you possibly look back and regret that? I think they have it made,” Rader said.He said his kids aren’t always on camera, they’re not overworked and they have a choice about whether to be recorded.Kristine, matriarch of the YouTube channel Family Fun Pack with 7.9 million subscribers, said she goes to extremes to protect her six children, ranging from 1 to 12 years old.Kristine won’t publicly use the family’s last name or say where they live. When she was scouting baseball teams for her young children, she chose one that didn’t list the city’s name on the uniforms.Videos of a Halloween costume runway show and her twin boys crawling up their cribs are among the family’s most popular. Kristine said the channel’s wide viewership, and the money it generates, allowed her and her husband to quit their jobs and focus full time on creating videos.The family uses the income, but the kids also have their own channels that bring in money.“Every single penny they make is in their bank waiting for them,” Kristine said.Many people have concerns that not all parents have taken the same precautions.“The internet is like the Wild West,” said Paul Petersen, founder of A Minor Consideration, a non-profit that advocates for child actors. “Children are being exploited; we can all see it. It’s right there in front of you, and nobody’s doing anything.”Google, which owns YouTube, says it works closely with experts to protect families by providing educational materials like learning guides.Every time someone uploads a video, a notification pops up about YouTube’s policies and labour laws that apply to minors. There isn’t a federal child labour law, leaving states to address the issue.YouTube relies on content creators to enforce those rules, Google said. It says it works closely with families that have the largest viewership but essentially acknowledges that the site has too much content to track.The Arizona case showed the abuse that can emerge.Police say Machelle Hobson, 48, used pepper spray to discipline five of her adopted children and locked them in a closet without food, water or access to a bathroom for days. Police said the children were punished if they didn’t perform as instructed for the family’s YouTube channel, which got millions of views across 36 videos.YouTube has terminated the channel, posting a message that it violated its community guidelines.For many, watching families post about their everyday lives is wholesome entertainment. They see families spend time together and experience milestones in real time.“I think why these things are so popular is because it so reflects their own experience. Fictional content doesn’t always reflect their own experience,” said Uhls of UCLA.Astrid Galvan, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Nicosia needs crossings too – mayors want three more checkpoints

first_imgTHOSE were the good old days. In May 2015, soon after his election as Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci and Nicos Anastasiades, accompanied by Nicosia’s two mayors, were walking through the streets of the old town.The leaders’ entourage moved smoothly between the two sides of the divide, stopping for coffee and ekmek kadayif at the Buyuk Han and zivania in Ledra Street.The two mayors, Constantinos Yiorkadjis and Mehmet Harmanci, happily hosted the walkabout aware that Anastasiades and Akinci would soon embark on the peace negotiations that, at the time, everybody hoped would solve the Cyprus Problem once for all. Both mayors were eager to advance the process towards a successful outcome with their support for the opening of more crossing points in the divided capital.On the day of that symbolic walkabout, Anastasiades and Akinci left Nicosia’s old town each with a letter in his pocket from his respective mayor.“I wrote to Mustafa Akinci and my counterpart did likewise to Nicos Anastasiades,” Harmanci recalls as he sits in his office, noting that their letters were almost identical.“We asked them to open three new crossings in Nicosia – two for pedestrians, one for vehicles: one connecting Paphos Gate with Arabahmet; the second – for cars – connecting north Nicosia’s Caglayan area with Kaimakli and Pallouriotissa, and, for the third, opening up a southern entry at the back of the Bandabuliya covered market like it used to be in the past.”Days later, the leaders announced a series of confidence building measures (CBMs), including a promise “to work towards opening more crossing points, starting with Lefka and Dherynia.” They also made clear they had “referred a number of other proposed crossing points for further examination to the responsible committee”.On Friday, Cypriots finally learned that November 12 was set as the inaugural date for the opening of the two crossings first announced more than three years ago. As for the commitment to consider other crossings, almost nothing has been said since the promise made in 2015.A source in the Turkish Cypriot administration told the Sunday Mail that the two leaders had decided “that until the Lefka and Dherynia crossings were open, there would be no mention of any other crossings.”“Then, and only then, should the leaders decide they want to open more crossings; they will say so, and then we will get to work on them,” the source said.The recent flurry of hopes for the now confirmed opening of Dherynia and Lefka led the two mayors to conclude that it was time to renew their efforts on behalf of Nicosia.Harmanci believes it is imperative they focus anew on the plight of the divided capital. He and his counterpart have to contend with similar problems ranging from traffic congestion to pollution. “We need to work on a joint strategy on how to address these issues,” he said.“Nicosia was built as a circle, yet because of the division we can’t move around the city in a logical flow. More crossings, especially a vehicle crossing in the Caglayan-Kaimakli-Pallouriotissa area, would make life easier for everybody. It would give people who live in the east of the town a faster and more efficient way of traversing this part of the town. Turkish Cypriots from Caglayan and Kucuk Kaimakli would be able to go shopping in places like the Athienitis supermarket without having to drive through the whole town just to get there. Greek Cypriots from Kaimakli would benefit too, since the new route would mean they could reach the centre much faster,” he explained.Opening of the Caglayan crossing, Harmanci claims, would also help tackle the growing congestion at the Ayios Dhometios crossing where “torturous” delays are the norm these days as more and more Greek Cypriot motorists cross to shop and buy cheap fuel, taking advantage of the weakened Turkish lira.The Paphos Gate-Arabahmet crossing is another priority with both mayors fully aware that an additional pedestrian point in old Nicosia would make life a lot easier for people who cross daily between the two sides.Enver Eronen, a Turkish Cypriot architect living in Arabahmet, agrees. The Ledra Street crossing has become very crowded especially during the tourist season, he told the Sunday Mail. He thinks a new passage would revive the immediate area, just as it did with Ledra Street and Arasta. “Besides, with a crossing in Arabahmet, I could take my two little daughters for a walk in the municipal gardens in the south.”The Paphos Gate-Arabahmet crossing is a project close to the heart of mayor Yiorkadjis. Caught up in managing the move of his offices to the new municipality building in the heart of the congested old town, he was unable to contribute to this report. However, in his 2015 letter to Anastasiades, the mayor noted that the area is a focal point for five religions (Greek Orthodox, Muslim, Maronite, Armenian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic), and contended that a crossing would transform the area into a “religious promenade” which, if properly developed, “could be a microcosm of multiculturalism and co-existence of the faithful.”Salpy Eskijian Weiderud, Executive Coordinator of the Office of Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process under the auspices of the Swedish embassy, noted how the office has supported the mayors’ request for more crossing points in the walled city, especially in the Paphos Gate area.“These areas were once a thriving space of coexistence for the different communities of Nicosia,” she said. “With the Latin Catholic Church and the Tophane Mescid’i at one end, the Arabahmet Mosque at the other, with the Maronite Catholic and Armenian Orthodox Churches in between and a Greek Orthodox Church nearby, the area invokes a symbolic axis of what one might call The Religious Walk, which would open up new opportunities for our town.”Rev Father Jerzy Kraj, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Cyprus, who is based in the Church of Holy Cross located in the buffer zone next to Paphos Gate, concurs that making a reality of such an ecumenical tour would be a wonderful symbol of the multi-religious identity of the island’s capital.Not everyone, however, is convinced that old Nicosia is in need of more crossings. A source close to the Greek Cypriot side of the Technical Committee on Crossings suggested to the Sunday Mail that some government officials believe opening the old Aglantzia-Athienou road and the Pyrgos-Pachiammos road, going through the Turkish Cypriot enclave in Kokkina, should have greater priority.This source contends that opening the old Aglantzia-Athienou road would make it easier for Turkish Cypriots travelling to Larnaca, while the Pyrgos-Pachiammos proposal, if agreed to by the Turkish Cypriot side, would offer immediate benefits to affected communities in the area.“Just a right of passage for emergency vehicles such as ambulances in time of need would change the life of the Pyrgos community,” the source said.You May LikeUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementAdd This One Thing To Your Dog’s Food To Help Them Be HealthierUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementUndoLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. 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They entertain the tourists but are they being paid

first_imgEntertainers hired by agencies to perform in hotels say they are being cheatedBy Bejay BrowneSeasonal entertainers in Paphos hotels are complaining that the agencies that hire them are not paying their wages and in some cases threaten violence when they complain.The Sunday Mail has spoken to a number of singers, dancers and other acts that say that some agents are pocketing wages for themselves.“It’s like the mafia. There are a couple of agencies in particular, one in Paphos and one that works island wide, that you don’t want to get on the wrong side of,” one entertainer told the Sunday Mail.“They use their muscle to scare you and they are scam artists. I wish I was brave enough to give my name, but I just can’t.”All but one of the entertainers requested to remain unnamed when they spoke to the newspaper, as they are fearful of possible serious repercussions, both financial and physical.Another professional performer said that the owner of an agency had actually threatened to kill his pregnant wife. He owed the pair money and was also angered when a hotel employed them directly, instead of using his agency.“We didn’t go to the police, as these people can be very volatile. There are many dancers that don’t want to come to work in Paphos as it has a reputation for not paying,” he said.Paphos police spokesperson, Nicos Tsappis, told the Sunday Mail that no such instances have been reported so far.“If any threats are being made against people by employers, then the police will investigate and take the matter very seriously,” he said. “People should not be afraid to come forward.”Yet those that say they have been cheated clearly are scared.They say they have been scammed in a number of ways: wage cheques issued and then cancelled before they can be cleared by the bank, and in some cases professional dancers and performers remain unpaid by the agents after they refused to give them any money at all.This can be hard to prove when no contracts have been issued or signed, just verbal agreements and a ‘gentleman’s handshake.’Most entertainment agencies in Cyprus are well run and operate above board, but, as is the case in tourist hot spots all over the world, there are always exceptions.Adverts such as this one found online appear on social media and entertainment sites and in publications aimed at performers: ‘Hotel entertainers (animators) with or without experience for seasonal contracts. If you are interested and, please send us a message for more information.’Often, inexperienced youngsters will apply and can expect to be paid around 500 euros a month, plus accommodation and food. Higher amounts apply to those which don’t include these.“I know of dancers and singers who are in their teens, who were hired in Paphos on contracts for the season and the agency failed to pay them anything,” one dancer said. “They can’t go to court as they have no money for a lawyer and they end up leaving Cyprus empty handed.”She explained that venues and hotels are paying the agencies, but then some agencies are pocketing the money for themselves and not passing it on to the acts.The head of the hoteliers’ association of Paphos, Euripides Loizides, who has his own hotel and pays an agency for his performers, said that he is unaware of any such cases.If he found out performers at his hotel were not being paid by the agency that hired them, he would step in and pay acts directly the following month, he said.“We (hotels) use agencies as we trust them to do the job better than us in this area, as it’s their profession, they have the experience and connections. I have used various entertainment agencies through the years.”Loizdes pays around 8,000 euros a month for his entertainment programme which includes a full time ‘animator’, and an animation team. They offer aqua aerobics, all sorts of day time activities, a kids’ disco and seven full shows every week.“I am surprised to learn that this is happening. It’s down to each hotel to decide if they use individual performers directly or employ an agency. Some have limited budgets and make savings,” he said. “At my hotel, it is important for us to have entertainment and we always check that the agency has employers’ liability insurance.”Giedre Sky arrived in Cyprus from Lithuania in 2010 after answering an advert. She underwent training in Ayia Napa. She speaks four languages.She has experienced both good and bad situations. One job saw her and three other girls, as well as their luggage, crammed into a single room.“Once, I worked in Paphos at a hotel doing all sorts of things like aqua aerobics, kids club and other stuff, It was nice and relaxed, but I received another offer from Ayia Napa which was more money and I explained this to the agency. They said they were fine with it and I gave two weeks’ notice and trained up another girl to take my place.”However, their attitude changed once she left.“They kept making excuses and then said they would bring me my salary to Ayia Napa, but they never did. Then they stopped answering my calls. I complained to the authorities, but they didn’t do anything about it.”Many hotels employ people to run aqua clubs for children as part of their entertainment programmeSky then worked for a Danish owned company and said the experience was totally different and a much better experience.“It’s better if you work for a hotel directly as you get paid directly from them. Agencies can always find a reason not to pay if they don’t want to and the system will ensure the hotels have to pay you.”One performer said that after trying, and failing, to get paid money owed to him from a Paphos agency for work last year, enquiries uncovered that an entire group of entertainers were all owed more than one month’s wages, some an entire season, as they were told they would be paid at the end of the season.“For a long time, these people have been issuing cheques and then cancelling them before they get paid into our accounts. Some of the venues and hotels know what they are doing but they keep on using them, they don’t care.”No contracts were made in most instances, only agreements via text messages. He added that their calls and emails are now going unanswered.Lawyer Tasos Coucounis urged unpaid performers to seek legal advice as soon as possible.“It’s better to have a written contract,” he said. “But also text messages confirming terms of employment, pay and these sorts of things are also admissible evidence in court.”But an initial consultation with a lawyer could be anything from 80 to 170 euros.Tsappis said that if agencies are issuing cheques and purposefully cancelling them, there is a case and victims of such a crime can report it to the police or get legal advice.“As the lawyer says, text messages are evidence and any cancelled cheques are exhibits. In fact this is the best exhibit to prove the charge,” he said.Obviously, he added, a charge of non payment of cash is more difficult to prove.He said that complaints can also be made to social insurance. Employers are afraid of this route, as very high fines can be imposed if the employer is not following the regulations.But the fear of going to the authorities remains.“We all know that this is a crime and must stop, but people are afraid to stand up for themselves and so this practice will just continue,” one entertainer said.  You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoLonnyThis Is What A Lake House Looks Like When You’re A BillionaireLonnyUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoAuthorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoVarosha move merely a ‘PR stunt’ by Ozersay, expert saysUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Rep Victory lauds Gov Snyders signing of House bills to save schools

first_img15Jul Rep. Victory lauds Gov. Snyder’s signing of House bills to save schools money Categories: Victory News State Rep. Roger Victory today applauded Gov. Snyder’s approval of House Bills 4496 and 4497, which give schools the opportunity to save money through refinancing without additional bureaucratic barriers.HBs 4496 and 4497 – now Public Acts 96 and 97, respectively – enhance local power by allowing schools to make their own refinancing decisions and eliminate the need for annual waivers from the state. With these new laws in place, school districts across the state and their local communities will save money in the long run.The two new laws also have found resounding support from local officials who favor more options being put on the table for their communities.“It was an easy, common-sense decision to introduce this legislation after listening to all of the stake-holding taxpayers who invest in Michigan’s schools,” Rep. Victory said. “I’m very thankful that the Legislature and Governor Snyder saw all of the money-saving benefits these laws will have for schools and the local communities they serve.”Residents with any thoughts or questions regarding this legislation or other state matters are encouraged to contact Rep. Victory’s office by phone toll free at 888-MICH-088, or by email at read more

Rep Roberts visits Arnold Elementary for March reading

first_img24Mar Rep. Roberts visits Arnold Elementary for March reading Categories: Roberts News,Roberts Photos State Rep. Brett Roberts, R-Charlotte, helped kindergarten students at Arnold Elementary in Michigan Center celebrate March is Reading Month on March 18 with the book, “How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?”.Rep. Roberts, a sixth-generation farmer with 20 years of experience growing row crops, said relating the story to children is a highlight for the state’s agriculture industry because almost every food product in the book is grown in Michigan.“This book teaches kids about food production from the time it’s harvested to the time it gets into their lunchbox,” the lawmaker said. “The only food mentioned in the book not produced in Michigan is cocoa, so I get to not only share the importance of reading with the students, but also the key role our state has in feeding people.”Studies show that reading improves vocabulary, enhances memory and reduces stress levels in children.The lawmaker has several more school reading visits planned in the coming weeks.last_img read more

Rep Victory bills support Michigan farmers producers

first_img Legislation ensures local growers have access to national distributorsLegislation introduced by state Rep. Roger Victory, of Hudsonville, creates consistency for Michigan farmers who are facing new federal food safety requirements.Victory, a farmer and distributor by trade, said the legislation aligns Michigan standards with new federal guidelines and allows the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to better assist growers and producers in meeting the rules.If Michigan does not adopt the new standards, Victory said inspections completed by MDARD would no longer meet the requirements of the federal Food and Drug Administration. That would require farmers to undergo an additional inspection by federal regulators.“Keeping the inspection process as local as possible is in the best interest of Michigan farmers and producers,” Victory said. “These bills allow MDARD to train and support local growers as they adapt to the new rules.”In addition, Victory said many companies are using the federal food safety guidelines as the minimum requirements when making purchases.“We need to make sure fruits and vegetables grown in Michigan are not kept off the table,” Victory said. “Complying with the Food Safety Modernization Act will ensure products grown here are available to national distributors, and give Michigan farmers access to international markets.”The House Agriculture Committee approved House Bills 4811-12 today, advancing them to the entire House for consideration.### Categories: Victory News 27Sep Rep. Victory bills support Michigan farmers, producerslast_img read more

Some Nonprofit Hospital Executives Make 8Figure Salaries

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares April 6, 2014; Crain’s New York BusinessNonprofit hospital CEOs have never been thought of as poorly paid. Small rural critical access hospitals pay their leaders six-figure salaries (often the highest salary in town, other than the doctors). Hospitals in many cities pay their executives more than $1 million a year when base pay, retirement, and bonuses and other incentives are included in the total. However, a few nonprofit hospital systems have recently paid their current or former CEOs in excess of $10,000,000, according to the business publication Crain’s New York.The biggest reason for the jump in compensation in recent years, according to the article, is that hospitals and systems are paying CEOs to stay in their positions as long as possible. It’s no secret that healthcare in the U.S. is changing radically and rapidly, and hospitals are more important than ever as they build integrated healthcare delivery systems that include everything from surgery to fitness centers to clinic practices to insurance companies. As NPQ has reported recently, annual hospital CEO turnover in 2013 was 20 percent, the highest level reported in more than thirty years.Do these increasing compensation packages set a new benchmark for hospital executive compensation, or will they spark a stronger move for caps on salaries of nonprofit execs? Regardless of the justification for such lofty salaries, reduced hospital operating margins and pressure from employees, unions, donors, and communities will likely contribute to increased scrutiny of major corporation pay for charitable healthcare leadership, as was documented in a recent newswire about UMPC. The same demographic trends influencing hospitals are affecting other nonprofits, too.—Michael WylandShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Preserving Farmlands and Building Community in Washington State

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares February 18, 2015;Bonney Lake Courier-HeraldIn Pierce County, Washington, thousands of acres of farmland have been lost in conversion to non-farm uses over the last twenty or so years. The county wants to reverse that trend through market-based mechanisms, and their biggest project to date has been the conversion of the century-old, 153-acre Matlock Farm. The deal to do so was crafted with the help of Forterra, a regional conservation and community building nonprofit, ensuring in the end that this large working farm will be farmed for generations to come.Here’s how it worked: Using grants, the county purchased 37 acres of the farm through its conservation futures program to protect waterways. It also purchased a conservation easement on 116 acres of the property, which protects it from development and conserves it for farming. Then, two local family farmers bought the land, which they will manage for agricultural purposes.All parties appear to be well pleased:“Protecting this property fairly compensates the existing landowners for their long-term investment, makes the land affordable for new farmers, and keeps the land for farming and open space forever,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “Whether we live in cities, suburbs or out in the country, we all benefit from local farms.”“As stewards of the property for more than 60 years, we are very happy to see it go to the next generation of Puyallup Valley farmers,” said Ivan Matlock, co-owner of the farm. “Forterra has been an exceptional partner for our family.”“By guaranteeing that the property will forever be a working farm, we can ensure that it will continue to provide community, economic, and environmental benefits for generations to come,” said Jordan Rash, the nonprofit’s conservation director.On its website, Forterra says it has “successfully led efforts to conserve nearly 234,000 acres of forests, farms, shorelines, parks and natural areas and restore critical landscapes.” It “encourages collaboration across all sectors and balances environmental, social and economic needs. We emphasize the link between vibrant cities and healthy rural lands and use creative new ways to protect land on a scale never seen before.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Planned Parenthood Stops Accepting Reimbursements for Fetal Tissue

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesOctober 13, 2015; NewsweekIn a letter to the head of the National Institutes of Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) CEO Dr. Cecile Richards announced that PPFA affiliates would no longer accept reimbursement for charges associated with fetal tissue procurement.PPFA and its more than 700 clinics in the US have been under fire since a series of clandestine videos was released by the nonprofit Center for Medical Progress. Some of the videos showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing fee structures and processes for fetal tissue procurement with people posing as representatives of tissue procurement companies.Dr. Richards’ letter defends PPFA at length and only declares the change of policy on page two:In order to completely debunk the disingenuous argument that our opponents have been using—and to reveal the true political purpose of these attacks—our Federation has decided, going forward, that any Planned Parenthood health center that is involved in donating tissue after an abortion for medical research will follow the model already in place at one of our two affiliates currently facilitating donations for fetal tissue research. That affiliate accepts no reimbursement for its reasonable expenses—even though reimbursement is fully permitted under the 1993 law.The change in policy is, in part, a recognition that PPFA’s public relations effort in the wake of the CMP videos has been less than successful. PPFA has portrayed the videos as heavily edited and misleading, and critics of the activities documented in the videos as anti-abortion as well as anti-women’s healthcare, especially healthcare for poor women. The videos make people uncomfortable, regardless of their stand on PPFA, fetal tissue procurement, and the broader issues of abortion and women’s health. PPFA’s early response did not address that discomfort at all, as NPQ’s Rick Cohen pointed out here, though Richards did state publicly that the tone of the PPFA doctor involved was unacceptable.Imagine if PPFA had responded immediately by posting the clinics’ price list for reimbursement of costs? Such a proactive step would have deflated all the arguments that clinics were negotiating rates. PPFA had the option of identifying its clinics’ costs and finding philanthropic or other support to underwrite the costs, taking the entire issue of reimbursement and compensation out of the controversy.Also evident in Dr. Richards’ Congressional testimony were a lack of proactivity and a sense of how arguments would play to the general public. Her handling of attacks on her compensation was poor, assuming PPFA follows federal law and regulation in setting her compensation. Rather than Richards merely congratulating PPFA for disclosing her compensation on the IRS Form 990 (which it is required to do), she could have been prepared to discuss the board-led process by which her compensation is determined, why it was increased significantly between 2009 and 2013, and that her current compensation is comparable to (and, in some cases, even significantly less than) similarly qualified CEOs of other national charities of similar revenue and scope. While perhaps Richards was being rational in preparing primarily for questions of relevance to the matters at hand, the wise nonprofit leader is always ready to respond to the generalized obsession with nonprofit leader compensation. It’s amazing that a seasoned nonprofit executive facing Congressional testimony was unprepared to explain publicly available information about her compensation.PPFA’s announcement to NIH will do little to stop the four Congressional committees (soon, perhaps, to be a special committee) looking into its activities. It will also likely do little to deter the multiple states that have cancelled Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood affiliates, resulting in headlines, lawsuits, and federal sanctions against some states that have cancelled payments. But this is more of the same for the embattled organization, and the conversation appears to be morphing into another tack—namely, if, as advocates assert, Planned Parenthood is the only way poor women can access healthcare, is it healthy for the federal government to pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year to support a nonprofit healthcare monopoly? Is Planned Parenthood’s indispensability a good reason to revisit the size, scope, and effectiveness of the federally funded community health system, which has a mission to serve poor people in need of basic healthcare?The basics of crisis communication these days include full disclosure, absolute honesty, and (over)communication. Having good policies and procedures in place serves any organization well when crises arise, whether they be policies on executive compensation, program management, or crisis communications.—Michael WylandShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Is Marketing a Core Competency for a Good School

first_imgShare7Tweet3Share16Email26 SharesJuly 25, 2016; DianeRavitch.netAt last week’s Republican Convention, Donald Trump, Jr., boldly told us how the marketplace outperforms government in providing effective public education: “You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school. That’s called competition. It’s called the free market.” Just let citizens become customers. Let service providers act like vendors, strip government from the equation totally, and all will be well. Choice and competition are the secrets to educational success for all children.To unleash the market forces that will drive quality higher and increase efficiency, the argument follows that these citizen-customers must be able to learn about the choices they can make. Thus, service providers and vendors must effectively market the benefits of their “products” to potential customers. In a recently published paper by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Professors Sarah Butler Jessen (Bowdoin College) and Catherine DiMartino (Hofstra University) looked at how schools have taken to the task of selling their services and identified areas of serious concern.Using a sample of New York and Boston schools that included schools run by charter management organizations (CMOs), independent charter schools, public magnet schools, neighborhood public schools, and private schools, the authors were able to compare messaging and marketing effectiveness. Here’s what they found: Schools affiliated with high-status and well-funded organizations, particularly CMO charter schools, such as the Success Academy, Urban Assembly, or KIPP networks tend to have highly glossified Web sites, and very active social media and YouTube outlets. In short, CMO charters are much more in control of the marketing message than other schools—even autonomous charter schools—and are attempting to create a perception of quality through marketing.Effective marketing comes at a cost. Websites, social media, and effective messaging require skilled personal, management attention and money—all resources in short supply for many public schools. Back in 2010, the New York Times found that “for most schools, the marketing amounts to less than $500, raised by parents and teachers to print up full-color postcards or brochures. Typically, principals rely on staff members with a creative bent to draw up whatever they can.” Compare this to the Success Network in N.Y., with a six-figure marketing budget. If marketing matters, the ability pay to do it effectively must be equally supported.No matter how much weight we put on how the message is communicated, the message itself also matters. Jessen and DiMartino examined published mission statements and found significant differences. CMO-managed schools focused heavily on academics and totally omitted community from the message. For traditional public schools, community was as important a feature as academics.Does it matter if all public schools do not have a common mission?  If we want—again, in the words of Donald Trump, Jr.—“all Americans to have the same opportunities,” can we achieve that if our schools have different philosophies and priorities?If some parts of the public education marketplace are not able to market themselves effectively, is that an indicator of poor educational performance? Will this difference result in a selection process driven not by educational quality but by sales skills? Do we want schools to divert scarce resources from teaching to selling? For those who are convinced that the marketplace will level the playing field, answering these questions must be a high priority.—Martin LevineShare7Tweet3Share16Email26 Shareslast_img read more

Are Mobile Phones Part of a New Accountability Environment

first_imgShare7TweetShare14Email21 SharesHuawei P8 smartphone / Maurizio PesceAugust 8, 2016; GuardianThink you couldn’t live without your mobile phone? The availability of mobile phones in many African countries is having a total game-changing effect on politics, economics and society in general. In some African countries, there are more mobile phones than adults, according to the Guardian. John Githongo, a Kenyan anti-corruption organizer, said, “The growth in access to smartphones leads to the creation of networks that are broader, deeper and more durable than we have seen in the past.” Mobile phones are leading to an increase in transparency in countries where the old-school telephone companies were inefficient and information was not easily shared.In a sign of technological leapfrog, many citizens are currently accessing the Internet via their smartphones, never having experienced a desktop computer. This leap forward is also visible in the number of innovators and entrepreneurs who are creating opportunities in both healthcare and education. NPQ has covered the impact of emerging technology in Africa, here and here.Examples abound of how social services and health care are changing their outcomes through mobile technology, including:Early HIV diagnosis is made possible in Nigeria, as a mobile program called SMART uses battery-operated printers paired with SMS technology to receive and print results without computers or Internet access.In Zimbabwe, a social protest movement grew out of a post on the Internet. The campaign, #ThisFlag, allowed citizens to express opposition to the government in a way previously not possible. Citizens are using their mobile phones as a way to communicate across vast spans of territory with minimal government control.Seventy percent of Kenyan adults are using their smartphones for payments for business and government agencies, taking advantage of services that were previously severely limited by bank locations. Citizens deposit money with an agent and then the money is credited to their password-protected digital wallet, which is used from paying for taxis to paying utility bills. The app allows micropayments as low as 10 cents.In Ghana, a mobile application provides timely information to pregnant women. Nurses use another app to collect patient data, uploading the info to a centralized location.iCow is a subscription service allowing farmers to better track their cows’ fertility cycles so as to maximize the breeding possibilities.There’s a major opportunity to have African schoolchildren grow up as “digital natives.” To promote that goal, Vodafone is providing free Wi-Fi in primary schools in Kenya.Some of the limitations of the current technology deal with “last mile” coverage, which is always the most expensive to build up. Market analysts are predicting a 76 percent share in mobile broadband connections in 2020, which will be up from just 17 percent in 2014. The founder of iCow, Su Kahumbu Stephanou, expects that mobile technology will help Africa close the digital divide.—Jeanne AllenShare7TweetShare14Email21 Shareslast_img read more

Power Play Erupts for Leadership of New ProTrump Nonprofit

first_imgShare76TweetShare78Email154 SharesDecember 19, 2016; PoliticoDonald Trump has not yet been sworn in as president, but plans are already underway to start a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Trump’s policies and attack perceived enemies. The nonprofit doesn’t yet have a name, much less tax-exempt recognition from the IRS. However, campaign aides and billionaires are vying for leadership and control of the organization-in-waiting.Kellyanne Conway, professional pollster and Trump’s latest campaign manager, is unabashedly interested in the position. Brad Parscale, Trump’s digital director, is definitely headed to the nonprofit, although it has not been decided in what capacity. Others included:Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen, Trump’s deputy campaign manager David Bossie, senior Trump communications adviser Jason Miller, Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s senior adviser Marc Short, and Rebekah Mercer, the most influential donor in Trump’s orbit.“That group that met in that room is going to be the nucleus,” one senior Trump adviser said.Rebekah Mercer’s presence is especially intriguing because she is the sole officer of the Mercer Family Foundation, a private 501(c)(3) foundation funded exclusively by her father, Robert Mercer. NPQ wrote about Rebekah Mercer in her role as a board member of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by Trump senior adviser and former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon. In addition to serving on GAI’s board, the family foundation Mercer leads is the largest contributor to GAI. GAI is the focus of several conflicts of interest, which have included Bannon and others receiving full-time compensation from GAI while simultaneously working full-time for other, for-profit entities.One interest of Mercer’s is to assure that the new Trump nonprofit maintains its business relationship with Cambridge Analytica, a data and analytics provider partly owned by the Mercers and a vendor to the Trump campaign. The campaign has been praised for its digital strategy, but Trump digital director Parscale downplays Mercer’s company’s role in that success.The new organization is said to be modeled on the nonprofit group established to support Barack Obama’s election as president and, subsequently, to provide communications and logistics for issues and initiatives. OFA started as Obama for America, then became Organizing for America, and is currently the 501(c)(4) social welfare nonprofit Organizing for Action. Similar nonprofit organizations, Correct the Record and Priorities USA Action, were established to promote the candidacy of Hillary Clinton under the leadership of David Brock, the founder of MediaMatters. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has encountered ethical difficulties in operating a similar nonprofit early in his mayoral tenure (since disbanded) that persist to this day.To those who hoped that the end of the campaign would somehow lead to a respite from hearing about candidate related nonprofits with interlocking big money ties, Trump’s proposed nonprofit is a disappointment. It seems that these organizations are becoming the norm for candidates and elected officials to maintain a personal communications and advocacy structure between elections that can support their policy goals. The problem is that they also provide a fertile environment for influence peddling and sweetheart deals outside the ethics restrictions of government service.—Michael WylandShare76TweetShare78Email154 Shareslast_img read more

Justice Department Issues New Threats against Sanctuary Jurisdictions

first_imgShare11Tweet11Share1Email23 SharesBy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsJanuary 25, 2018; ColorLines and McClatchyDCLast week, even after a number of courts have ruled against his efforts to impose federal enforcement procedures on local officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ratcheted up the pressure on cities and states that protect immigrants with undocumented status via sanctuary laws and policies.In this latest throwdown, the attorney general threatened to issue subpoenas for documents that would show if the 23 cities named were abiding by federal immigration laws. If these cities—among them, Chicago, Los Angeles, West Palm Beach, Louisville, and New York City—and the entire states of California, Oregon, and Illinois are found to be out of compliance, they stand to lose federal grant money, some of it retroactively.It is helpful to understand just what this letter from the Department of Justice is seeking from sanctuary jurisdictions. As Kate Irby from McClatchyDC explains:The letter sent to the jurisdictions requests “all documents reflecting any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees (including, but not limited to, police officers, correctional officers, and contract employees), whether formal or informal, that were distributed, produced, and/or in effect during the relevant timeframe, regarding whether and how these employees may, or may not, communicate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or their agents, whether directly or indirectly.”“For example, if there’s a city council request to a police chief or sheriff to issue a directive to officers not to cooperate with ICE agents,” then that would fall under DOJ’s demands, the senior official said.When asked how jurisdictions could provide documents that prove they are not doing something, the senior DOJ official said he understands it’s a “complex issue.”If a jurisdiction fails to respond or respond sufficiently in a “timely manner,” DOJ plans to issue subpoenas to obtain the information, the senior official said. If those documents fail to prove the jurisdictions are in compliance with Section 1373, DOJ may force the return of certain federal grants to those jurisdictions or withhold them in the future. DOJ specifically pointed to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program, the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.Attorney General Sessions couched these actions in issues of safety for citizens of this country, saying, “I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk. Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law.”His statement, and the threat of both subpoenas and loss of funding, were met with swift responses from mayors from many of the 23 cities on this list (and others who made earlier lists) who were meeting in Washington for the US Conference of Mayors. New Orleans’s Mayor Mitch Landrieu, chair of the conference, canceled a meeting at the White House and issued this statement: “Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s decision to threaten mayors and demonize immigrants yet again—and use cities as political props in the process—has made this meeting untenable.”If precedent holds, the likelihood of such tactics resulting in success for the DOJ is not good. Previous threats and attempts at withholding funding from sanctuary cities has resulted in court decisions that favored the cities, not the Department of Justice. According to the Washington Post, Sessions threatened to pull $39 million in grants to sanctuary cities in fiscal year 2016, but this was blocked by two federal judges. Another federal judge found that Sessions’ had overreached when he was sued by Chicago in a suit that contended his federal policy was unconstitutional. A permanent injunction was issued in November 2017 to block Trump’s executive order denying federal funding to sanctuary cities after San Francisco and Santa Clara County filed lawsuits.Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel referenced this judicial precedent in response to Attorney General Sessions’ current threats, saying, “The idea that you are also going to take leaders, mayors, and put them in legal and criminal jeopardy because there’s a disagreement—where in fact the courts already ruled both in our case and I think also the California case in San Francisco contrary to the Justice Department—it is really an amazing take for the attorney general to disregard what the court system has already said uniformly from coast to coast.”The issues and threats here play out at many levels. If cities, counties, and states put in place their own statutes of how and when they will and will not cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies, issues of jurisdiction become paramount. Both local and federal agencies believe they are upholding laws and protecting citizens. At the local level, the trust and cooperation of all residents, whether documented or not, in local law enforcement is seen as helpful in keeping the peace and enforcing the law. At the federal level, being able to count on local law enforcement to turn over all undocumented immigrants is deemed essential.As those who live and work in sanctuary cities look at how their communities deal with this next onslaught of legal and punitive efforts at mandating compliance with efforts to deport undocumented immigrants, the question for nonprofits and all who will be touched by these issues will be: Will you stand by and allow this to happen in your city or town?—Carole LevineShare11Tweet11Share1Email23 Shareslast_img read more

US Civil Rights and LGBTQ Groups Brace to Protect Transgender Rights

first_imgShare5TweetShareEmail5 Shares© Copyright Oast House Archive and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.October 21, 2018; AdvocateYesterday, the New York Times revealed that Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services has been circulating a memo that proposes a uniform approach to gender to be used by key government agencies to redefine transgender rights or lack thereof under anti-discrimination statutes like Title IX. This approach would define one’s “sex” by the genitals one is born with “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective, and administrable.” Gender would thus be defined as either male or female and would be immutable. Disputes would have to be resolved through genetic testing. HHS plans to present the new policy to the Justice department before year’s end.“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring. “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”The proposed change would eliminate any federal recognition of the transgender population and would remove the civil rights protections they are now afforded. This is part of an ongoing effort to undo Obama-era reforms; the effort has, according to the New York Times, included an effort to bar transgender people from the military, to roll back transgender rights embedded in the nation’s health care law, and the rescinding of policies that recognized gender identity in schools, prisons, and homeless shelters. Questions about gender identity were also taken out of the 2020 census survey.The ACLU has promised to sue, and Harper Jean Tobin, the policy director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, has called the push “an extremely aggressive legal position that is inconsistent with dozens of federal court decisions.” In fact, the NYT suggests that it is these court decisions that sparked this effort at a rollback of formal rights.—Ruth McCambridgeShare5TweetShareEmail5 Shareslast_img read more

G20 governments need to do more to promote the dev

first_imgG20 governments need to do more to promote the development of broadband networks, applications and services, according to the Broadband Commission.The Commission sent an open letter to the G20, urging them to take more action on the development of broadband. “In the Information Society of the 21st century, countries must make the necessary investments to enable their citizens to participate in and benefit from the digital economy and global innovation – or risk exclusion,” the letter said.Governments need to take action to stimulate broadband deployment by putting in place pro-competitive and pro-investment policies, lowering barriers to entry and making direct investment, where appropriate.ITU figures show that 2.4 billion people are now using the internet. There are now over one billion mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide, and mobile is set to be the access platform of choice for most people in the developing world, where fixed line penetration remains low. However, well over half the world’s people have yet to access broadband, according to the organisation.last_img read more

Amazon is reportedly developing its own internets

first_imgAmazon is reportedly developing its own internet-streaming TV set-top box with plans to launch the device this autumn.According to a Bloomberg report, which cites unnamed sources, the device will give viewers access to Amazon’s Instant Video store and Prime Instant Video pay-monthly service on their TV sets and will compete with the likes of Apple’s Apple TV offering and streaming devices by firms like Roku and Boxee.Amazon’s Lab126 division in Cupertino is reportedly developing the device. Former Cisco executive Malachy Moynihan is said to be running the project.The news comes just days after Amazon made  eight comedy pilots and six kids pilots available online, with viewers to decide which shows will go to series, as it moves forward with its own original content strategy.last_img read more

News network Russia Today RT has passed 1 billio

first_imgNews network Russia Today (RT) has passed 1 billion video views on YouTube, marking the first time a TV news channel has reached the milestone figure on the site.The global news network, which broadcasts from Moscow and Washington studios and can be seen on cable networks around the world, first launched on YouTube in 2007 and now has more than 869,000 subscribers on the site.“Very few of our partners can boast a billion video views, and RT will be the first news channel to get to this number,” said YouTube VP of marketing Danielle Tiedt, adding that it is YouTube’s “largest news partner in the world.”“RT was one of the first channels to come to YouTube, back in 2007, and to create video content aimed specifically at ‘generation c’ – the kind of content that our users gladly watch and share,” said Tiedt.RT’s editor in chief Margarita Simonyan hailed the billion hits as an “amazing achievement,” particularly when it comes to targeting a young audience. She said: “From RT’s very first days we knew that in the nearest future the battle for viewers will be taking place on the Internet, on new platforms. This is why we are especially proud and happy to be the first.”last_img read more