Malaysia Tourism launched the much-anticipated ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’ campaign in Asia with a 3-city roadshow in one of its top 10 source markets, India. Driven by the zeal to build awareness and bring the latest developments in Malaysian tourism to the forefront, ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’ Roadshow promoted Malaysia as a destination of excellence with special focus on MICE, Weddings and Film tourism segments from India. The India roadshow series began in Amritsar on July 21, followed by Mumbai on July 24 and Hyderabad on July 27. 37 co-participants from Malaysia comprising 16 travel agents, four product owners, nine hotels, three airlines and five others visited the three cities in India to network with the travel trade and interact with travel media. Malaysia has experienced a huge influx in the number of Indian tourists, registering a growth of 15.5% from January to May 2019. As of 2019, the country has received nearly 3 lakh tourists from India. The purpose of the roadshow was to highlight India’s position as one of the most prominent markets for Malaysia. The Mumbai edition of the roadshow began with an inaugural address, followed by informative destination as well as product presentations by Sepang International Circuit, Legoland Malaysia, Desaru Coast, Lexis Hotel Group, Mega Water Sports and Tropical Charters and Genting Highland. In addition, a detailed presentation cum briefing on the visa process was also conducted at the roadshow. It was revealed that Malaysia has extended its e-visa exclusively for Indian tourists and plans to keep updating the procedure of visa application and processing to make travel hassle-free for Indians. The campaign logo of ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’ was launched at the Mumbai Roadshow held at St. Regis. Comprising widely recognised wildlife icons of Malaysia: a hornbill, a hibiscus (locally known as bunga raya) and the wild fern drawn in the vibrant colours of the national flag, the logo is an artistic blend of Malaysian hospitality as well as its culture and heritage. It has been designed by Alfred Phua Hong Fook, a graphic designer from Melaka. Visit Malaysia 2020 will focus on ecotourism, arts and culture and welcomes tourists from all over the world to experience the best of Malaysian hospitality. This year, the campaign tagline ‘Truly Asia’ is aimed at portraying Malaysia as a complete reflection of Asian warmth, culture and heritage. Speaking at the event, Razaidi Rahim, Deputy Director of the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board said, “The Indian market is one of the top 10 markets for Malaysia. Last year, Malaysia got more than 600,000 Indian visitors. This year we are looking at 70,000 arrivals and next year, we hope to have 80,000 tourist arrivals from India.” He revealed that the top travellers are from Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) segment, followed by leisure, travel, MICE, weddings and students. Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Director, Tourism Malaysia – Mumbai said, “We are happy to host Visit Malaysia 2020 Roadshow in Mumbai because this will enable us to do a quality networking with the travel trade fraternity and to boost Indian tourist footfalls to Malaysia.” At the roadshow, newest additions to Malaysia’s diverse tourist attractions were revealed which included the Desaru Coast – an integrated beach destination spanning 3,900 acres, Sea Life – an interactive aquarium in Legoland Malaysia boasting 13,000 fish and 120 other water species on display as well as Superpark in Avenue K, My Best Box in Berjaya Times Square, Futureland Fun Zone in Sunway Pyramid, the Rift in Mid Valley Mega Mall and Skytropolis in Genting. Malaysia currently enjoys better connectivity with India. 238 flights between the two countries are flown by airlines including Malindo Air, Malaysian Airlines and Indigo. Malaysia Tourism aims to bring a large number of Indian tourists to its shores in the coming days.
A second suspect has been arrested in Paphos in connection with a case of defrauding a 63-year-old out of €117,000.The police arrested a 35-year-old foreigner who admitted to accepting the victim’s money and paying it into the account of another person from the same country for whom an arrest warrant has been issued.According to police they had initially arrested a 60-year-old who appeared to be involved in the case of extracting money under false pretences and threatening violence against a 63-year-old teacher, who is already being held on a seven-day remand order.In his statement to police, the 60-year-old said it was not him who deposited the money. He was arrested after police followed a money trail.The teacher handed over the money after making friends on social media with someone who later said he needed help, transferring the amount on two occasions.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 SupplementUndoAngels And EntrepreneursRobert Herjavec Announce Venture Could Make You RichAngels And EntrepreneursUndoDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
It’s said you don’t remember the pain of giving birth, just the miracle of this life-changing experience. Whether or not that’s strictly true, you’ve got to give serious credit to any woman who voluntarily chooses to have children and undergo the process… Even if you’ve never been in a delivery room, you’ll remember those Sex Ed videos from school; the films that made you want to hide under the desk and/or join a celibate order at the first possible chance! Of course, these days, there are relatively pain-free alternatives should the situation require it. But in Cyprus, such alternatives are often undertaken far too lightly (C-sections are frequently timetabled for weekdays and daytimes, or to coincide with auspicious dates: 08/08/2018 saw a record number of scheduled births on the island!) and without thought for the consequences.“The facts are very disturbing, especially in Cyprus where a record number of babies” – nearly 60 per cent, roughly four times the recommended World Health Organisation guideline – “are born via C-section,” explains Danae Stylianou, whose latest release, Birth Days, is an eye-opening exposition on women who are “reclaiming their own bodies and regaining their trust in the maternity care system here on the island.A renowned documentary filmmaker, with past triumphs including feature documentaries A Haircut Story and Sharing An Island, Danae takes in this rising trend for local C-sections in Birth Days. But her main focus is on the incredible positivity surrounding natural birth…“I started with the disturbing questions: How do we give birth to our children and what are the reasons behind the increase in C-sections? Has labour become a ‘cascade of intervention’? What are women’s rights at labour and how can a woman gain confidence in her own female nature? But in the process of filming Birth Days, I chose to highlight the positive instead of dwelling on the negative: telling real stories of real women. It’s a very human story, following the transformational journeys of four mothers – including one who is pursuing a natural birth after Caesarean – which will, I hope, empower women everywhere, and make them feel positive about natural birth.”Using audiovisual material of natural births, interviews with health care professionals, and a series of real events, Birth Days portrays the approach to labour as a unique natural experience. “The film is a vehicle which elevates the role of a woman who bears a child, breaking down the stereotypes surrounding the experience,” explains Danae. “A while back, I became acquainted with a number of very skilled and active midwives, who spent long hours with the labouring women, as well as involving themselves in activism on birth rights and labour. It was eye-opening for me, and the main reason I decided to make a documentary about midwifery and natural birth in Cyprus. Having a baby is a normal physiological process which can, for the majority of women and babies, be accomplished without complication. And yet studies have shown that a substantial proportion of healthy pregnant woman on the island are often subjected to needless and potentially harmful routine interventions. We should of course,” she adds, “be grateful for those C-sections which are life-saving. But in the course of my research it became obvious that these interventions were not being performed solely in emergency situations.”Highlighting the plight of parents-to-be who are supposed to select their birth attendants and obstetricians based solely on word of mouth, the film goes beyond an examination of the consequences of medicalisation of birth and has become “an ode to the women. Birth Days redefines women’s roles, and underlines their right to be respected at this important time in their life.”Aiming to promote natural birth, and to show that, given the right circumstances, a woman can have a positive birth experience, the documentary also questions the management of pain and the capability of the human body. “As a filmmaker, I wanted to go deeper, and explore how we, as humans, accept our pains and agonies, overcome our fears and find ways to endure them. To me, childbirth is a raw representation of how we emotionally and physically experience and overcome our pains in life. Also, I wanted to show women that, unfortunately, in modern times, it is not enough to just WANT to give birth naturally. Educating yourself, doing your research and finding trusted health professionals such as an experienced midwife, will allow women to have a sense of control through involvement in decision-making.”Filmed in a cinema vérité style, Birth Days saw Danae on call 24/7 around her four main characters’ due date. “This was spontaneous labour, filmed in an entirely non-intrusive manner: I don’t ask questions; I just follow what happens.” Documenting “women overcoming their deepest fears through the experience of giving birth naturally,” Danae’s footage is breaking down many a stereotype, such as “Those mainstream media images of women tied to the bed with open legs, screaming! Instead, we learn in Birth Days that a woman can be mobile at labour; she should be moving, exercising, dancing, eating if she wants to; she doesn’t have to lie down as if she is sick! And,” she adds, “we realise that women should be treated with respect and dignity: every birth is unique, but a longer labour shouldn’t automatically be an excuse for medical intervention.”Describing Birth Days as “empowering, thought-provoking, and raw”, Danae concludes that the experience has been emotional from start to finish. “When creating a documentary like this, you make the decision from the start that it will become one with your life. And through the process, you almost become a facilitator: enabling the coming together of people, the spread of knowledge, and the initiation of a dialogue. I believe,” she concludes, “that the documentary can be used as an educational tool for young adults. And it’s inspired me, personally, to initiate a public discourse on the subject, with the state, decision-makers, health professionals and the parents-to-be. I know that, because of Birth Days, certain people’s lives have changed for the better. It’s an incredible sense of responsibility. But with it comes great joy. In each case, I felt incredibly privileged to have witnessed the birth of a human being: it really is a miracle of nature!”Birth Days will be shown at the Rialto Theatre in Limassol on October 31 (8.30pm), at the Cine Studio in Nicosia on November 11 (8pm) and November 14 (9pm), and at Theatro Skala in Larnaca on December 3 (8.30pm). For more information and to watch the trailer, visit www.birthdaysdocumentary.com/ or the Facebook page ‘Birth Days – Documentary’ @birthdaysdocYou May LikeUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementAdd This One Thing To Your Dog’s Food To Help Them Be HealthierUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementUndoDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoGundry MDHow To Make Your Dark Spots Fade (Effortless 2 Minute Routine)Gundry MDUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoIsraeli rape suspects freed, woman who alleged assault arrested (Updated)UndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: Lucido News 16Jan State Rep. Peter J. Lucido named vice chair of House Judiciary Committee On the second day of the 98th Legislature, state Rep. Peter J. Lucido was appointed to serve on four House committees.Lucido will serve as the vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as serving on the House Criminal Justice, Energy Policy and Financial Services committees.“As a first-term lawmaker, I look forward to bringing my experience as a lawyer and small business owner from Macomb County to these committees,” said Lucido, a Republican from Shelby Township. “Serving as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee and on the Criminal Justice Committee will give me the opportunity to use my private-sector background, particularly my experience in the legal field, to have a positive impact on these important committees as a freshman lawmaker.”House committees review all legislation that affects their issue area and make recommendations as to whether to the full House should take up the bills.Rep. Lucido can be contacted in Lansing by calling (517) 373-0843, at P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909-7514 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.###
07Feb Rep. Theis bills protect minors involved in sex crimes State Rep. Lana Theis today introduced a bipartisan legislative package to protect young victims of sexual-based offenses, while helping local school districts better protect their students who are victims of such crimes.The legislation is in response to a recent Livingston County case involving a 16-year-old offender convicted of criminal sexual conduct against multiple victims, one as young as 12.“The details of this case are heart wrenching and expose a significant need in our state involving juvenile victims and perpetrators in criminal sexual conduct cases,” said Theis, of Brighton. “Everything from the conviction, punishment and possibility of the offender returning to the same high school attended by the victims show we have to treat this crime with the severity it deserves.”Under current law, a school must expel a student who commits criminal sexual conduct in a school building or on school grounds. The legislation would require schools to expel students who are convicted of criminal sexual conduct against another pupil enrolled in the same school district; and prohibit an offender from enrolling in a school building where their victim attends school. The legislation also requires that if a personal protection order is ordered for the victim of sexual assaults, the offender, regardless of age, would be prohibited from entering the victim’s school.“Criminal sexual conduct needs to be dealt with more seriously, especially when it involves minors, because the punishment handed down in Livingston County did nothing – to rehabilitate the offender, get justice for the victims or protect the community,” said Theis, a member of the House Law and Justice Committee. “We need to do better in Michigan.”House Bills 5530 and 5531 were assigned to the House Law and Justice Committee.##### Categories: News,Theis News
Categories: Hoitenga News,News ### 20Mar Rep. Hoitenga announces extra road repair money is headed to Mecosta, Osceola and Wexford counties More money for urgently needed road repairs is headed to Mecosta, Osceola and Wexford counties, state Rep. Michele Hoitenga said today, an investment coming without higher taxes or fees.“Improving the condition of our roads is one of my top priorities, because it is one of the top priorities of just about everyone I talk to from all of our communities,” Hoitenga said after a plan she supported was signed into law. “Too many of our roads are in bad shape and in desperate need of an upgrade. This money doesn’t solve all of our problems, but it most definitely helps – especially after this rough winter and all the potholes it caused.”The new law provides an additional $175 million in transportation funding statewide. Much of the money is headed directly to counties, cities and villages for road preservation and construction. The money is left over from a previous budget cycle by various state departments, meaning no budget cuts or additional fees or taxes are required for the investment.The road agency for Mecosta County will receive just over $455,000 in funding beyond what was previously planned. In addition, cities and villages within the county will get extra funding estimated as follows: Big Rapids ($70,522.49), Barryton ($3,096.25), Mecosta ($4,937.16), Morley ($4,983.62) and Stanwood ($1,995.56).Wexford County’s road agency will receive just under $420,000. Cities and villages within the county will get more money on top of that allocation including Buckley ($7,280.65), Cadillac ($82,292.32), Harrietta ($2,882.69), Manton ($11,432.26) and Mesick ($5,076.31). Amounts are estimates.Osceola County will receive just under $345,000, with Reed City getting an estimated $20,092.52, LeRoy getting an estimated $4,980.13 and Tustin receiving an estimated $2,880.68.The extra money comes in addition to record-level road funding provided by previous long-term reforms. The state also has strengthened its warranty system designed to make sure new and refurbished roads will last longer.
19Feb Rep. Cole seeks Michigan Supreme Court opinion on minimum wage, paid time off laws Categories: Cole News Representative: Opinion needed to end political gamesmanshipState Rep. Triston Cole today called on the Michigan Supreme Court to weigh in regarding the constitutionality of two laws enacted in December 2018.Cole, of Mancelona, said the action taken by the Legislature last year to adopt and later amend the ballot issues on minimum wage and paid time off was the right thing to do for Michigan workers and voters, and perfectly in line with the Legislature’s role.“Democratic leaders and the attorney general are raising questions about the bills we passed in an attempt to raise doubt about a cut-and-dried legal issue. They’re trying to pick a fight and create false doubts for political reasons,” Cole said. “By asking the Supreme Court to weigh in, we will be able to put these concerns to rest and eliminate any potential confusion on the issue once and for all.”Cole said the original ballot initiatives on minimum wage and paid leave were written by out-of-state interest groups, and the Legislature had a duty to step in and protect Michigan workers.“The ballot issues brought to the Legislature last year were poorly written and needed work. They had sloppy language and technical mistakes that needed to be fixed, so the Legislature stepped up and did its job to fix them,” Cole said. “It was the right thing to do, and I have no doubt it was legal. But the new administration and the AG have decided to make it about politics. I am asking the Michigan Supreme Court to provide an opinion so we can stop the gamesmanship and avoid wasting taxpayer dollars on an expensive legal fight.”House Resolution 25 has been referred to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.###
Categories: Paquette News 10Jun Rep. Paquette announces June office hours State Rep. Brad Paquette announced an upcoming opportunity to meet with area residents during local office hours for the month of June.“It is my belief a state representative should be in direct contact with those he or she represents,” Rep. Paquette said. “If you cannot make the upcoming office hours, I am always willing to work my schedule around yours.”Rep. Paquette will be available Saturday, June 15 at the following times and locations:10 to 11 a.m. at Atomic Bean Coffee, 205 E. Main St. in Niles; and12 to 1 p.m. at Three Oaks Public Library, 3 N. Elm St. in Three Oaks.No appointments are necessary. Those who are unable to attend at the scheduled times, but would like an opportunity to talk with Rep. Paquette may call his office at (517) 373-1796 or email BradPaquette@house.mi.gov.###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesFebruary 7, 2015; New York Daily NewsAny community-based nonprofit that can convince powerful state legislators to appropriate funding to their programs is in an admirable position. But it’s still the public’s money, and you had better deliver, or your work is just another example of graft and corruption.The New York Daily News reports that N.Y. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie steered more than $600,000 to a Bronx nonprofit that had no official board and filed no tax returns for years while receiving public funding and, ultimately, declared bankruptcy.The Bronx Business Alliance (BBA) stopped filing its 990s after the 2008-09 tax year, when it reported a deficit. However, Heastie kept funding them—his final grant was for $115,000 in 2009-2010, while other politicians provided hundreds of thousands of dollars more in 2010-2011.The group went out of business in 2012, according to the Alliance’s board chairman during the time Heastie was supporting it; he owns a storefront in one of the neighborhoods the association targeted for improvement.It gets worse, according to the paper: In 2010, the BBA tried to get a state grant to renovate four Bronx buildings owned by a board member of a nonprofit the association was partnering with. The state awarded the $200,000 grant, but the building owner ultimately had other plans for the property.Heastie’s grant of $115,000 in 2009-2010 was the last round of money the group received. Other Bronx politicians sponsored money in 2011, but then-Gov. David Paterson stopped the appropriations for the BBA and other similar projects.Because the group stopped filing tax returns, says the Daily News, it is unclear what happened to all the money or who was overseeing the funds, despite state and federal laws requiring transparency. The Speaker responded to the story, saying that “it wasn’t his responsibility to follow up and see if the public dollars he’d doled out were spent appropriately by the association.”The group told state funders it would use the money to give “start-up assistance” and “business plan development” advice to local small business owners. Heastie placed the blame for lax oversight on the various state agencies charged with administering the grant funds.Meanwhile, some individuals listed as board members contacted by the paper said they were not board members in any official capacity.—Larry KaplanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share30TweetShare3Email33 SharesFebruary 9, 2016; TimeOne way Bernie Sanders might particularly resonate with young Black and Hispanic women is by emphasizing his stance on the relief of student loan debt. A just-released study of 2007–2008 graduates from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) shows that women pay off their student debts at a slower rate than men, and for African American or Hispanic women, the differences between their payoff rates and those of white or Asian American women are even more significantly.This, if you have not yet figured it out, infuriatingly correlates to gender and race gaps in salaries. According to the study, a year after graduating, women are paid about 82 cents on the male salary dollar while Black and Hispanic women make about 64 percent and 56 percent, respectively, of the salaries of white men.The data also shows that 53 percent of women—compared to 39 percent of men—are repaying their loans at a rate higher than they can afford. “The gap in debt repayment may also make it more difficult for women to take risks that could pay off in the long run, like changing job sectors or starting a business,” the AAUW wrote in the report.—Ruth McCambridgeShare30TweetShare3Email33 Shares
Share88Tweet4Share34Email126 SharesMarch 26, 2016; Bulletin (Bend County, OR)In recent years, as technology and social media have expanded many non-profits have chosen to use these resources to help homeless people. In 2014, we reported on statistics that showed that homeless people increasingly owned cell phones. One homeless woman even credited Twitter for singlehandedly pulling her out of homelessness. The government has gotten on the technology bandwagon to help solve the problem of homelessness as well, launching the Project REACH (Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless) competition in 2012 to build a mobile web app for smartphones and tablets that could help the homeless find nearby resources. Our Calling, a nonprofit in Dallas, Texas, developed an iPhone app homeless people can use to find shelters, food pantries, free meals and job training. Others can also use the app to snap a photo to direct staff and volunteers to the GPS location where a homeless person is in need.But do the apps available now serve the homeless well? Are they asking the right questions to serve this population’s exact needs? One group in Central Oregon didn’t think so, and they have designed a new app determined to find out. Stand Up, a local homeless advocacy group, has been using its app to survey homeless Central Oregonians every day since the beginning of February. The daily survey, which asks only one question—“What do you need right now?”—is intended to make it simple for people without homes to make their needs known.Kevin Colussi, who started Stand Up, is a stay-at-home dad with a background in software development. Pressed to find out directly from the source exactly what the homeless community needed, he told central Oregon media outlet The Bulletin:I was at a (Homeless Leadership Coalition) meeting and a 17-year-old stood up and said that he had been homeless for three years and nobody had ever asked him what he needed. We had 20 NGOs participating at that meeting and nobody knew what the real problem was. So I was like, let’s get some data and see what we can do.The Bulletin reports that Colussi created the app using KoBo Toolbox, an open source, data collection platform that was also used to help track the Ebola outbreak in Africa last year. The app allows survey respondents to anonymously choose from a list of 16 answers about what they need that includes such options as “permanent housing,” “medical assistance” and “addiction assistance.” GPS coordinates are recorded, so the idea is that once the survey results are mapped, recorded, and quantified, area nonprofits that apply for grant money to offer homeless services will be able to use the information to better target their efforts.“Rather than the leaders saying ‘this is what we’re going to do and this is how we’re going to do it,’ if we’re listening to the voices of the people and what they’re telling us they need, we can find better solutions for grants,” says Alexandra Sweet, a Stand Up volunteer who surveys homeless people with the app. Sweet goes out every day to locations where homeless people are—in camps, in their cars, on downtown streets—to conduct the survey. So far, she’s found out from about 200 homeless people what their needs are.But not every app designed to find the homeless is intended to help. In New York City, which has the greatest homeless population in the United States, many people use an app called Map The Homeless. The app is meant for residents frustrated by homeless people aggressively begging and urinating in public places to use to report them to law enforcement. It allows people to take a picture of the homeless person and post it with the location and description of the person. Many of the hashtags associated with postings include “NeedsMedicalAid,” “Encampment,” “AggressiveBegging,” and ‘‘Violent.”David Fox, a 25-year-old software data engineer who designed the app, told the New York Post he developed the app because “I want to help [city officials] be able to find these people and keep them off the streets.” But homeless advocates say that the exact opposite has happened. Many feel the photos humiliate the homeless by portraying them as an unsightly nuisance in forums where they’re sometimes scorned as “scum” and “human trash.”So, can apps help solve the problem of homelessness in compassionate, strategic ways? The Stand Up group certainly hopes so. They have partnered up with Beulah’s Place, a Redmond nonprofit that focuses on helping and housing homeless teenagers, to train others to conduct surveys. Andi Buerger, executive director of Beulah’s Place, says, “There are a lot of needs. This [app] is going to help us understand where the money should be directed instead of people just guessing where they think it should be directed.” And this might be just the correct technology tool needed to begin to really start tackling this issue that ultimately affects everyone everywhere.—Alexis BuchananShare88Tweet4Share34Email126 Shares
Netflix has inked a programming deal with the Weinstein Group. The content streaming and delivery service’s deal with the movie producer and distributor gives it access to a raft of features including The Artist, which will now debut on Netflix ahead of premium cable in the US.The multiyear deal also gives US-listed Netflix Weinstein’s Undefeated, which will also debut on Netflix ahead of cable. The features covered by the deal will be available on Netflix within a year of their theatrical release. Other titles include The Intouchables, W.E. and Bully.“We couldn’t be happier to be working again with Harvey and Bob, who have an unmatched track record of creating critically acclaimed and commercially successful movies,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.“It is a fantastic coup for Netflix to acquire The Artist and the package of additional titles,” said TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, “It’s exciting that we can offer consumers a supremely convenient way to see the kinds of movies that made us want to be in this business in the first place.”
Disney-owned sports broadcaster ESPN is considering making its content available via the Apple TV service, according to US reports.The sports channel operator is reportedly considering allowing authenticated pay TV customers access to the WatchESPN app via Apple TV although it is not, it said, yet involved ion active discussion to that end.WatchESPN, which includes digital channel ESPN3, is already available via Microsoft’s Xbox console and via certain pay TV subscriptions. ESPN has also worked with Facebook to allow authenticated users to watch content online.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has issued new recommended standards for 3D TV production and distribution.It has also recommended methods to evaluate 3D TV image quality, depth and viewer comfort level. The ITU said its work will provide a boost to the fledgling 3D TV sector.“3DTV has made a huge impact on TV viewers around the world and led to new developments and opportunities in the broadcast and manufacturing sectors,” ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Touré said. “The new ITU-R Recommendations will provide fresh impetus to this exciting television format.”David Wood, chairman of ITU-R Working Party 6C (WP 6C), said: “These recommendations will be of great value to those who make and distribute 3DTV programmes today and in the future. They will make the 3DTV world more comfortable for the media community, and will surely encourage the success and further development of 3DTV.”Christoph Dosch, Chairman of ITU-R Study Group 6 added, “This suite of recommendations illustrates the coordinated work of experts from various disciplines working together in the ITU Study Group. The ITU-R’s main job is to agree recommendations, and we are clearly succeeding with 3DTV.”Separately, the ITU has launched its second IPTV Application Challenge, inviting individuals, small-to-medium-sized companies and corporations to submit ideas for socially beneficial smart TV applications.The winning application in the individual/SME category will be awarded a cash prize of US$3,000 (€2,400). There is a separate category for corporate entries. Winners will be announced at the quadrennial World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly (WTSA-12), in Dubai from November 20-29.
Digital terrestrial television is booming in Latin America and will be in 94.5% of homes by 2020, according to a new report.This means 132 million DTT homes will be added in the region in the decade between 2010 and 2020, according to the Digital TV Latin America report, and that DTT will account for half of all digital TV homes added by 2020.In comparison, just 18.1% of homeswere DTT-enabled four years ago.“Much of this growth is being driven by satellite TV, especially lower-cost and prepaid packages – although these subscribers are forcing down average ARPU figures,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, the report’s creator.Nearly 14.4 million satellite pay TV households will be added between 2013 and 2020, with 3.1 million added this year alone. Pay satellite TV penetration will be 21.1% by end-2014 – up from 9.6% in 2010 – and up to 25.8% in 2020, which indicates much of the fastest growth has already taken place.Free-to air DTT will overtake pay satellite in 2015, Digital TV Research predicts. This will see the number of primary DTT homes rocket from 4.3 million at end-2010 (3% penetration) to 27.1 million (18%) in 2014 and on to 71.1 million (42%) by 2010.Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are predicted to dominate the region. Brazil alone will add 37 million digital TV households between 2013 and 2020, with Mexico contributing 15 million and Argentina nearly seven million more.Digital TV households will also increase rapidly in the other 16 countries covered in this report – collectively adding 34 million digital homes between 2013 and 2020.The report studied trends in 19 territories across the region, and each will see rapid increases in digital FTA uptake, with a collective 34 million homes added between 2013 and 2020. Pay TV penetration will also rise, but not as significantly – up 12% in 2010 from year-end-2013.Pay TV revenues will be US$4.5 billion higher in 2020 than in 2013, taking an overall US$24.7 billion. Satellite will remain the largest contributor at US$17.6 billion, while cable will add US$6.1 billion.
Sky in Germany has rolled out a major expansion to its Sky Anytime service, offering more content to stream on-demand through its Sky+HD receivers.Sky said that via web streaming, customers can now access up to six times more content than before, including recently released movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and series premieres of TV shows like the second season of True Detective, immediately after their US launch.Other content now available via on-demand includes entire past-seasons of shows like House of Cards and Game of Thrones, as well as documentaries, Sky Arts content, children’s programs and sports highlights.“By expanding the streaming function, we offer subscribers with Sky + receivers a lot more variety of programs on demand precisely where our content is most used: on TV,” said Peter Schulz, vice president of on-demand programming at Sky Germany.Customers can access the on-demand content by connecting their Sky+ receiver to the web via a network cable or a Sky WLAN module.
Liberty Global-owned German cable operator Unitymedia is adding five new TV channels to its programming line-up.The new services are ARD and ZDF-owned factual channel Phoenix HD, kids channel KiKA HD, entertainment channel Universal Channel HD, Asian channel Zee TV and Germany’s channel for refugees living in the country, Handshake2Deutschland.All the new channels are offered free of charge with the exception of Universal Channel HD, which is is part of the premium Digital TV Allstars package.The channels will be added on February 16.Unitymedia said it plans to add further HD services in the course of this year.
AOL has announced plans to build a state-of-the-art, 360-degree content studio in downtown New York.The public-facing studio is due to open this autumn on Broadway and will expand AOL’s “commitment to provide an immersive live and virtual reality experience,” according to the firm.AOL Build, the internet firm’s live interview series, will be filmed at the new 13,400 square foot studio. The series currently produces some four hours of live programming each day and 75 live events per month, with more than 800 episodes having been filmed to date.Jimmy Maymann, executive vice-president and president, AOL Content and Consumer Brands, said that the new studio would connect “the physical and digital worlds for our consumer”.“The studio reflects our commitment to creating immersive live experiences and creating a studio that will serve as a cultural destination, digitally, as well as within New York City.”
Altice-owned French service provider SFR has launched its planned SFR Sport and SFR News channels, following the earlier launch of SFR Presse and SFR Play.The latest launches fill out SFR’s plan to become a major media player with activities centred on five poles – SFR Presse, SFR Sport, SFR News, SFR Play and SFR Family. SFR Family, which is already available, is designed to complement the TV and press offering by providing up to 40GB of mobile data to be shared between family members, with the ability to share content across multiple devices, while SFR Presse gives SFR customers access to the press titles of the recently formed Altice media Group, including newspaper Libération and magazine L’Express.SFR Sport is a bouquet of channels dedicated to sport. SFR Sport 1 is dedicated to Altice’s flagship property, its exclusive rights to the English Premier League in France. SFR Sport 2 carries the Aviva Premiership rugby competition, Pro A and Pro B basketball, tennis and skiing, while SFR Sport 3 specialises in extreme sports. SFR Sport 4K offers UHD TV coverage of key sports, and SFR Sport 5 covers combat sports and martial arts.SFR News includes the existing BFM TV, BFM Business and Israeli i24 channels, as well as two new services – BFM TV Sport, which is launching in time for the Euro 2016 football championship, and BFM TV Paris, which will launch in October.SFR is providing multiscreen access to the new services, including live sports.
Netflix’s teen suicide drama 13 Reasons Why was the most ‘in-demand’ digital original in Germany in the second quarter of this year, supplanting Q1 favourite The Grand Tour, according to Parrot Analytics’ Global Demand Report for the second quarter.Click to enlargeParrot Analytics analyses the demand for recent popular digital titles across international markets, based on the application of artificial intelligence to expressions of demand across social media, fan sites, peer-to-peer protocols and file-sharing platforms.13 Reasons Why attracted an average of 5.837 million demand expressions in Q2. Amazon’s The Grand Tour, which topped the rankings in Germany in Q1, slipped to fourth place with an average of 2.15 million in Q2, according to Parrot. The Grand Tour did however see a spike in demand expressions in June following presenter Richard Hammond’s car crash while filming the latest series.Amazon has been seen as the leading international SVOD player active in the Germany market, in contrast to many other international markets, where Netflix is seen as the dominant player.However, for the three months to June, Netflix dominated the top 25 most in-demand digital originals in the country in Parrot’s ranking, with House of Cards and Orange is The New Black taking the number two and three spots respectively.Overall, Netflix took 18 of the top 25 slots in the list, with Amazon taking four – for The Grand Tour, The Man in the High Castle, Bosch and Hand of God.Demand expressions for US police procedural drama Bosch jumped 528% when it was released in April. The show performed best in Germany according to Parrot’s ranking, only appearing in its top 25 in two other countries.Netflix’s Gilmore Girls ranking meanwhile outperformed other markets, despite a lack of new episodes.Amazon’s first German original, You Are Wanted, which was released in March, did not appear in Parrot’s top 25 in Q2.Other non-Netflix originals in the top 25 list for Q2 included high-school drama Skam from Norway’s NRK. The series is officially geo-blocked for copyright reasons, but is evidently attracting interest in any case.As part of a collaboration with Parrot Analytics, Digital TV Europe will provide regular updates on the most in-demand shows across key European markets, based on Parrot’s unique datasets.Parrot’s Global Demand Report for the second quarter will be published next week.