Air Canada adds Vienna ex Toronto, seasonal service to Bordeaux out of YUL Tags: Air Canada, Bordeaux, New Routes, Vienna Travelweek Group Share Wednesday, October 3, 2018 TORONTO — Air Canada has announced new year-round flights between Toronto and Vienna starting April 29, 2019. Flights will operate on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, Air Canada’s flagship aircraft, with Signature Class, Premium Economy and Economy cabins. The new service will be daily except for November through March when it goes to five days a week. Flights are offered in partnership with Air Canada’s Star Alliance joint venture partner Austrian Airlines, complementing that carrier’s Montreal-Vienna flights also beginning in April 2019.Introductory fares start at $998 roundtrip, all in, and tickets are now available for purchase.The new service will connect conveniently with Air Canada’s extensive North American network through its Toronto Pearson global hub as well as in Vienna with Austrian Airlines destinations in central and eastern Europe and the Middle East, says Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.She adds: “With Austria’s high concentration of head offices and large number of conventions, our Toronto-Vienna flights offer business travellers a nonstop link to a key European market, while Austria’s fabled history, culture, cafés and markets all available in one of the world’s most livable cities will be of interest for leisure travelers. This new service, along with Austrian Airlines new Montreal-Vienna flights, demonstrates the commitment of our Atlantic joint venture to strengthen our customer offering.”Flight 898 (OS8248) will depart Toronto at 6:25 p.m., arriving the next day in Vienna at 8:30 a.m. On the return leg, flight AC899 (OS8247) will take off from Vienna at 10:40 a.m., arriving back in Toronto at 1:30 p.m.Austrian Airlines will also begin year-round nonstop service between Montreal and Vienna on April 29, 2019, onboard B767-300ERs. These flights will operate daily in the summer and five times weekly during the winter season.On that route, flight AC6212 (OS74) will fly out of Montreal at 6:45 p.m., arriving in Vienna at 8:45 a.m. the next morning. Coming back, flight AC6211 (OS73) leaves Vienna at 10:30 a.m., arriving in Montreal at 1:35 p.m.Air Canada is also adding new seasonal Montreal and Bordeaux service between June 15 and Sept. 15, 2019. Flights will operate four days a week with Boeing 737 MAX 8s. Introductory fares start at $798 roundtrip, all in.“As the only network carrier to offer non-stop transatlantic service to Bordeaux, the addition of a fifth destination in France further enhances Air Canada’s competitive position in the French market. Our four weekly flights are the most offered than any other airline between Montreal and Bordeaux providing travellers unique access to the famed wine growing region and the popular Nouvelle-Aquitaine market,” notes Guillemette. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>
Paraplegic volleyball players left their prostheses behind for an amazing day of scuba diving. By Sean Davis (http://seandavisphotographic.com) No related posts. Facebook Comments Once on the water, even the instructors were amped up about the dive. James “JT” Timeny, a dive master from Oceans Unlimited in Quepos, Puntarenas, broke out into a bouncy rendition of the Muppet classic, “Mahna-Manha.” Do, do, do, do, do…One by one, the divers rolled backwards from the boat into the ocean. Beneath the surface, they kicked and propelled themselves through water with their good limbs, and those sporting one leg came to resemble mermaids. Although nervous and breathing heavily at first – like any beginner – nearing the bottom changed everything. When humans enter an underwater world of vibrant tropical fish, moray eels and eagle rays, fear tends to take a backseat to fascination. Van der Poll said that if any of the participants wanted to continue diving and get certified, he or any of the instructors who attended would help. He added that the Professional Association of Diving Instructors had donated over 30 vouchers for e-learning courses for the No Barriers participants.Back on shore, Agüero, who had changed into his red-white-and-blue Costa Rican jersey, looked out over the water under the shade of the palms.“I couldn’t go underwater at first, I was too nervous and would just pop back up and gasp for air,” he said. “But by the third time, I got it. I saw the floor of the ocean and felt fine. I never thought it would be like that, an abyss. I just kept concentrating on popping my ears as I went down and forgot about the depth.”“The colors are amazing underwater, the blues, yellows, everything,” he continued, remembering the stingrays, trigger fish and snappers.“Following the cable back up I came up slowly, slowly, and broke the surface.” Poolside at the Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, deck chairs reclined under umbrellas, offering some respite from the baking heat. Fluffy beach towels, sandals and beading glasses of ice water also sat in the shade, right beside some less likely items: empty wheelchairs, unattached prosthetic legs and dive tanks.The prosthetics belonged mostly to the members of the Costa Rican Paralympic volleyball team, who had traveled to the northwestern province of Guanacaste for “Sin Limites” (No Barriers), a discover scuba event for the disabled. The weekend was hosted by Connect Ocean, an all-abilities diving school, and Disabled Divers International.On Saturday, the team explored the pool during an introduction to adaptive diving, and on Sunday, they would be in open water for their first real taste of the deep-water adventure sport.Organizers said this is the first time a disabled discover scuba event has taken place in Central America.While the rain poured in the Central Valley last weekend, the Guanacaste sky was clear and waves crashed against the Four Seasons’ two beaches.Bobbing in the pool in small groups or relaxing on the warm stone edge, 23 athletes, including members of the Tico Paralympic track and field and cycling teams, teased each other about sharks as they waited for a turn to suit up and taste the plastic of a regulator. To the boat! By Sean Davis (http://seandavisphotographic.com) A man missing his right leg prepares to practice scuba diving in the Four Seasons pool. By Sean Davis (http://seandavisphotographic.com) To the seaThe excitement was contagious Sunday morning. The rain from the night before had cleared, leaving a clear blue sky to rival the lapis lazuli waters of Bahía Culebra, in the Gulf of Papagayo, where the dive would take place.Ernst van der Poll of Connect Ocean, the event’s organizer, rounded up the instructors to discuss the day’s dive. Buzos de Aventura, a diving company in Playa Hermosa, had donated the two red-and-white boats anchored offshore and all the gear for the event, and would take the new divers out to a rock formation off the beach of the Four Season’s property.Shark jokes hadn’t lost their appeal as the group joshed around waiting for their final dive briefing, but all the instructors insisted that the dorsal-finned predator wouldn’t make an appearance.A few of those in traditional wheelchairs snubbed the beach-accessible version with its bulbous moon-boogie tires, insisting on pushing their thin street tires through the wet sand.Despite the heat from the sun, the water was cool – just over 71 degrees Fahrenheit – Sunday morning. The first-time divers would descend 6-8 meters.“The first rule of diving isn’t remembering to take your iPhone out of your pocket, it’s to breathe,” van der Poll told his students.As one group suited up, a second played a match of seated volleyball while a third headed out for sea kayaking hosted by Wheels and Arms, a program to raise awareness about adventure sports for the physically disabled in Costa Rica.As the first group went out, DDI founder Bathgate came down to the beach in his wheelchair, nursing a paper cup of coffee, to watch the boats head out.“When I started diving, I was in a really dark place,” he said, reflecting on his long recovery in a Dubai hospital after a rock-climbing accident. “Diving turned my life around over night. It gave me back my life and I want to give back to others.”Today, DDI has dive centers around the world, from the United Arab Emirates, where Bathgate started the movement after becoming the first paraplegic certified diver, to Portugal, Germany and across Scandinavia.Bathgate and van der Poll hope that last weekend’s event will help spark an accessible tourism movement in Costa Rica, including rock climbing, kayaking and other sports, and make the country a destination for adaptive diving and other accessible adventure sports.Waves crashed against the shore, rocking the dive boats anchored just off the beach. Van der Poll made the decision that the pitching boats were unsafe for the athletes to board on their own. Some disabled divers wrapped their arms around the necks of volunteers who plodded through the surf to reach the boats, while others made their own way out into the water, hopping on one foot, before needing a final boost over the boat’s side. Jennifer Bricker – a professional acrobat who was born without legs – and Tiffany Joiner – a U.S. woman who fell from a balcony and lost 75 percent of the mobility in her legs – also attended the event to complete their open-water certification.“Diving is the only adventure sport that someone can buy off the shelf and not need any adaptation,” said Fraser Bathgate, the founder of DDI and an adaptive diving pioneer. “Water is the great leveler.”That phrase would be a leitmotif for the first-time divers throughout the weekend. Instructors and students alike commented that the experience of floating underwater offered a liberating range of motion and weightlessness.“I felt freedom for a few moments in the water,” said Christian Agüero, a Paralympic runner, still dripping from the pool as he balanced on one leg to take a picture of a friend.Agüero, from San Luis de Santo Domingo, Heredia, lost his other leg in a motorcycle accident when he was 21.“The first year after the accident, I was just figuring out my disability, what my limits were,” he said.Since then, he’s set out to break those limits. Agüero styles himself a “semi-professional” athlete, running marathons, 10-kilometer races and short track events. In 2011, he traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, to compete in the Pan-American Games.The opportunity to try scuba diving was just one more challenge he set for himself to overcome. But the experience affected him more than he anticipated.“It was like flying, like a bird does, just relaxing,” he said, wide-eyed and smiling.After the pool session ended Saturday, the divers met to debrief.When asked to share how the first day felt in the pool, another diver, Belky Sánchez Faerron, who uses a wheelchair, agreed that the sensation was like flying. “It feels like a link between heaven and Earth,” she said.
Istanbul, Turkey – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine2012 will mark the arrival of a Raffles Hotels & Resorts in Istanbul. Set to open in the fourth quarter, the hotel will open in Istanbul’s new Zorlu Center, Turkey’s first and only mixed use project that, in addition to the hotel, includes space for a performing arts center, officers, residences and retail.The $175 million hotel, designed to reflect the cultural heritage of the ancient city, will feature 130 guestrooms and 50 suites ranging from 700 to 3,982 square feet. Boasting glittering views of the Bosphorus, the hotel will also house two restaurants and bars, indoor and outdoor pools and a heliport for days when a car just won’t do. The signature Raffles Spa will be 32,000 square-feet of decadent pampering. Guests will also have direct access to the Performing Arts Centre that offers world-class plays and musicals that debut concurrently with their Broadway and West End openings.This will be the tenth property for the 124-year-old Raffles, which manages nine luxury hotels worldwide.www.raffles.com
Minnesota prosecutors object to giving data to Prince family by The Associated Press Posted Feb 9, 2018 10:48 am PDT Last Updated Feb 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CHASKA, Minn. – Minnesota prosecutors say they’ll object to releasing data connected to Prince’s death because a criminal investigation is ongoing.KSTP-TV reported this week that attorneys for Prince’s family members are requesting access to investigative data as the siblings determine whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Prince died April 21, 2016, from an accidental overdose of fentanyl. It’s not yet clear how he obtained the drug.Prosecutors in Carver County released a statement Friday saying law enforcement data is confidential because the investigation is active. It will stay confidential until a charging decision is made.County Attorney Mark Metz also won’t release medical examiner data because he can’t currently determine if it would impede the investigation. Once it’s closed, that data may be released to Prince’s next of kin.
By Stelios OrphanidesThe former owners of FBME Bank, the Tanzanian lender branded by US authorities as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern, said that two key suspects in the Magnitsky case sanctioned by the US were not included among the bank’s clients.“Neither Dmitry Klyuev nor the Andrei Pavlov who has been sanctioned were ever clients of FBME and we deny any wrongdoing,” a spokesperson for FBME Ltd, the holding company of FBME Bank, said.Its owners, Lebanese brothers Ayoub-Farid Saab and Fadi Michel Saab, barred from accessing the bank’s records after it was placed under administration in July 2014, have knowledge of the situation as “the relevant accounts at the bank were the subject of a detailed review by independent auditors instructed by the Saab family,” their spokesperson added.The FBME spokesperson was responding to a letter, sent by MEP Ana Gomes, to Cyprus’ Attorney-general Costas Clerides and made public on May 18. Gomes asked whether the Cypriot authorities had investigated the theft of $230m taxes –paid by three subsidiaries of Hermitage Capital– and uncovered by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. The latter died in a Russian prison nine years ago after the officers he had accused of the theft arrested him and deprived of him access to medical treatment.Ana GOMES – 8th Parliamentary termIn her letter to the AG, Gomes wanted to know if the authorities had investigated the activities of Klyuev and Pavlov, their assets in Cyprus and whether they had been questioned. She specifically asked whether Cypriot authorities would look into the accounts of two companies Altem Invest Ltd and Zibar Management Inc., both registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), for receiving $22m of the stolen funds uncovered by Magnitsky. The funds came, according to Gomes, from OOO Camelot and OOO Liga Invest, from accounts opened at Russia’s Universal Savings Bank, owned by Klyuev.In July 2014, the US Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposed the imposition of the fifth special measure und the Patriot Act to bar US financial institutions from opening and maintaining correspondent accounts with FBME. This prompted the Central Bank of Cyprus to place the Cyprus branch, which accounted for 90 per cent of the bank’s total operations, under administration and subsequently resolution.Last year, the owners of FBME Bank lost a legal battle in the US to have the FinCEN measure overturned.“We entirely support your campaign to get to the bottom of money laundering in Cyprus and we share your concerns,” Ayoub Farid Saab told Gomes in his capacity as chairman of FBME Ltd in a letter dated May 21, a copy of which was obtained by the Cyprus Business Mail. “We agree that the authorities should be pursuing the real culprits and dealing with the evident corruption and malpractice in the financial system in Cyprus. Instead, the Cyprus authorities have chosen to find a scapegoat to draw the focus away from the need for them to apply and enforce international regulation in a fair and impartial manner”.The Saab brothers resorted to the arbitration court of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris demanding up to €1.5bn in compensation citing Cyprus’s failure to protect their investment.“To be clear, while FBME does hold two accounts (one open and one closed) for an Andrei Pavlov (a common name in Russia) his date of birth is eight years apart from the Andrei Pavlov that has been sanctioned,” the chairman of FBME Ltd said. “Furthermore, neither Altem or Zibar were owned or controlled by Dmitry Klyuev and the bank closed both of these accounts and reported Zibar to Mokas in January 2013. We also confirm, that neither OOO Camelot nor OOO Liga Invest were clients of FBME”.In October, the founder of Hermitage Capital Bill Browder said that Klyuev was linked to both Altem and Zibar.Gomes had asked the AG whether authorities had identified the senders of $11m to accounts held by Assertive Trading, to Baymont Securities Investments ltd, Bernisco Enterprises Ltd, Elite Developments Ltd, Favei Ltd, Green Pot Industrial Corp, High Tech Company Ltd, Invest Com Ltd, Investment Worldwide Group Corp, Lordplace Holding Ltd, Mobex Ltd, Paler Trading Ltd, Rubicon Trad Ltd, Uni-Invest Group Ltd, Winpremious Ltd, and Sinthoma Holding.The funds, she said, were wired by six shell companies; Moldova’s Bunicon-Impex and Elenast-Com, Belize’s Eviac Holding and Dorid Management and Vanterey Union and Mellam Holding from the BVI and Transcreditbank account.Ayoub-Farid Saab said only Sinthoma held an account with FBME and was reported to Mokas, the Cyprus financial crimes unit, in 2013. He added that the owners of FBME Ltd were “not aware of any other accounts at FBME having received funds from the shell companies you list”.He also said that FBME Bank retained and tasked Ernst & Young (EY) immediately after FinCEN announced its findings about the bank to carry out an investigation into the allegations.“Unfortunately, the Ernst & Young team was initially barred access to the bank by the Special Administrator appointed by the CBC (Central Bank of Cyprus),” the FBME Ltd chairman said.When in October 2014, the US Treasury included Issa al-Zeydi in its sanctions list, FBME Bank was already under the full control of the bank supervisor, he added.“Nevertheless, FBME’s management immediately carried out all the required actions in respect of the updated sanctions list and reported those actions to the Cypriot authorities,” Saab continued. “Furthermore, FBME invited Ernst & Young back to carry out specific reviews based on the updated sanctions list. EY Did not find any contracts, transactions or invoices related to Syria after August 2011, when comprehensive U.S. economic sanctions were enacted”.The eldest Saab added that the bank found no connection to Syria after it carried out “a thorough review of 196 external counterparties with whom Balec transacted”.Last year it emerged that a report produced by Ernst & Young and obtained by the Cyprus Business Mail showed that Balec, a BVI based company, owned by al-Zeydi, a Syrian national, was linked to Syria’s production of chemical weapons, implemented by the Syrian Scientific Research Centre.You May LikeRich HousesCeline DionTells Us What Fans Have Been Wondering LatelyRich HousesUndoTymOut10 Cholesterol Reducing Foods You Should Include in Your Diet!TymOutUndoInfo-life.xyz10 Best Concept Cars In The WorldInfo-life.xyzUndo Mayors lobbying president to prevent local govt mergersUndoGreece to overturn law that made universities no-go zone for policeUndoHigh temperatures increase risk of firesUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Tags: #SB 15Apr Rep. Hughes invites Muskegon area employers to Lansing Categories: Hughes News,News Local residents express support for continuing electric choiceState Rep. Holly Hughes (R-Montague), welcomed Wes Eklund, CEO of Fleet Engineers, and John Workman, co-owner of Eagle Alloy, two important employers in Muskegon County, to Lansing on Monday as they testified before the House Energy Policy Committee.Rep. Hughes, a committee member, invited Eklund and Workman to testify because of their roles in business, and as chair and vice chair of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee. In their testimony, Eklund and Workman outlined the significant cost-savings that both businesses and schools in Muskegon County have realized as a result of electric choice.“It was interesting to get the perspective of our county’s employers on what the impact of eliminating electric choice would mean not only to businesses, but also our schools,” said Rep. Hughes. “I was very surprised to learn that employers are saving between 25%-30% on electric costs through choice, and our area schools are saving nearly $2 million each year by having the ability to choose alternative electric suppliers.”The House Energy Policy Committee took nearly 12 hours of testimony on Monday, discussing a package of bills that would make a number of changes to the state’s electric laws. One of those bills would eliminate the ability for commercial electric customers to choose their electric supplier. Currently, Michigan law allows up to 10% of commercial customers to make this choice.“Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative is a valuable program for schools in Michigan. In Muskegon County alone, neighborhood public school districts have saved nearly $2 million cumulatively through December 2014,” said John Severson, superintendent of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. “On average, schools saved around $30 per pupil annually for the past few years alone. Such savings translates into more money being utilized in classrooms, and allows public school leaders to continue their work as good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”The Energy Policy Committee adjourned at 8 p.m. on Monday evening but will continue discussing the package of bills over the coming weeks. Rep. Hughes invites any constituents that may be impacted by the proposed changes to testify in person or send her office their testimony for inclusion into the committee’s record. For further information, constituents are encouraged to e-mail her office at email@example.com or call 517-373-3436.###
20Jun Afendoulis, Michigan House lead sweeping, bipartisan water quality plan ### State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis today introduced part of an extensive, bipartisan plan to address water quality across the state of Michigan.“Water quality issues have touched every corner of this state and it is our responsibility to restore Michigan families’ confidence that the water that they drink, bathe in or swim in is safe,” said Afendoulis, of Grand Rapids Township. “We inherited serious water problems—like PFAS contamination and lead exposure—that were created over the course of many years. This plan demonstrates a commitment to working alongside families and communities to ensure the safety of our state’s freshwater resources.”Afendoulis’ proposal would require a local government to conduct a comprehensive lead and copper analysis report at least one year prior to any change in water source, except for emergency situations.The 30-bill reform proposal looks at water quality across the board: from improving municipal safeguards and oversight to tightening up environmental protection and conservation of recreational waterways.“I am proud to stand alongside my colleagues today to put forward a plan that will protect public safety and increase government transparency around decisions that impact this precious and critical resource,” Afendoulis said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. Every Michigan parent deserves to know the glass of water they hand their child is safe to drink.”The proposed plan updates lead testing requirements at common sources of public drinking water, makes improvements to the state’s emergency manager law to increase transparency, clarifies the authority of the Office of the Auditor General to inspect public documents and increases reporting and analysis requirements to public water quality.“The safety of our state’s drinking water was put on the line in large part because decisionmakers didn’t know what they didn’t know,” Afendoulis said. “A severe lack of coordination and information impeded our state’s water quality. These reforms put our state back on the right track.”The full package includes House Bills 4742-4769. Categories: Afendoulis News
Share16TweetShareEmail16 SharesBy Abraham Cresques of Mallorca [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsJuly 20, 2018; Washington Post, Forbes, and Inside Higher EdAs NPQ covered a month ago, a proposal by the nonprofit College Board to lop off 9,000 years from the world history curriculum was not well received by many history teachers and their students. At the time, Trevor Packer, senior vice president of Advanced Placement and instruction at the College Board, hinted that some kind of adjustment was in the work.“Constructive feedback,” said Packer, “has suggested a path forward that will enable us to achieve several priorities that I believe we share and can agree on.”What was that constructive feedback? Apparently, it was to only lop off 8,750 years. Problem solved.As Valerie Strauss writes in the Washington Post, “Responding to an outcry over proposed changes, the College Board has agreed to restore 250 years to its AP World History course to ensure that students learn how civilizations outside Europe influenced the modern era. The course will start at the year 1200 rather than the previously announced shift to 1450.”This change is an improvement over 1450, in that more non-Western history is likely to be included. A course beginning in 1200 might cover the Inca and the Aztecs in the Americas—hopefully, with an eye to understanding their rise before the Spanish conquistadores arrived—Mansa Musa and the Mali Empire in Africa, and the Mongol Empire in Asia.Colleen Flaherty, writing for Inside Higher Ed, adds that according to the College Board, “Essential content for the 1200-1450 period includes global trade networks; state building in the Americas and Africa; how religion shaped Africa, Asia and Europe; and the intellectual, scientific and technological innovations and transfers across states and empires.” Some historians, such as Mary Beth Norton, president of the American Historical Association, have expressed relief that a more inclusive history is being preserved.Still, a few things in human history did occur before 1200. Strauss mentions “the Neolithic/Agricultural Revolution; the creation of the first civilizations; the migration of humans across Earth; and the development of classical empires such as Rome, Greece and China.” One might add that most of the world’s major religions were founded well before 1200. And of course, this also leaves out a range of cultures and civilizations far too lengthy to name.Writing in Forbes, Virginia Tech medievalist Matthew Gabriele notes that his colleague Monica Green, a medievalist at Arizona State, “said that the choice of the year 1200 CE seemed a bit odd.” According to Green, where you begin a story “depends on what kind of story you want to tell. If the AP wants to tell the story of the history of nation-states, then maybe ca. 1200 is the ‘correct’ place for them to do so…[But] I want to tell stories about how humans have dispersed and innovated and reconnected repeatedly. I trained as a Europeanist and a Medievalist. For many historical questions…you need a viewpoint with a larger perspective.”The sad part of all of this is that it is precisely this question of what stories should be told in world history that the College Board has studiously avoided.“Currently,” writes Flaherty, “the single AP World History exam covers about 10,000 years. While some teachers like the scope of the exam, others say that it is simply too sweeping and that real learning suffers as a result.”But this is hogwash. Certainly, as NPQ noted, “learning 10,000 years of history does require more than a year.” But truth be told, the same holds for 550 years (or, now, 800 years). Still, it is possible to create a course that can be manageably taught in a year for advanced placement high school students that includes the classical period. The problem is not one of having to cover too many years, but rather a failure to settle on key themes that make for a coherent curriculum.In the end, however, the College Board has found it easier to lop off years rather than do the admittedly complicated work to build a consensus in the field as to what are the essential themes of world history high school students should learn. This “post-Renaissance plus selected non-Western history” approach may appease some, but, as Green notes, it leaves out a lot of “world history that everyone should know. We are all inheritors of the global human experience.”—Steve DubbShare16TweetShareEmail16 Shares
Bosnia and Herzegovina-based telco BH Telecom is to launch an OTT TV service using a technology platform supplied by Slovenia-based Beenius.Beenius will supply BH Telecom with an OTT TV delivery platform based on its BeeSmart middleware and an extension of its existing IPTV and VoIP system, which it says represents one of the first of such deployments in central and eastern Europe.Beenius’s system will support delivery of services to PCs, Macs, iOS and Android devices and will support the HLS adaptive bit-rate standard.“The new OTT distribution system based on Beesmart will provided new advanced TV services to our subscribers and offer the TV experience at anytime and anywhere through their smartphones, tablets, and laptop devices. Service will also be available for users of other networks in and outside BiH,” said Nedžad Rešidbegović, general manager at BH Telecom. “BH Telecom will remain the leading telecom operator in Bosnia and Herzegovina thanks to the constant development of new services and their level of quality, thus responding to increasing market demands and customers’ needs more than expected.”
LG Smart TVSome 49% of US households now have at least one TV set connected to the web, up from 38% in 2012 and 24% in 2010, according to new research by Leichtman Research Group.The firm – which counted TVs connected via a video game system, Blu-ray player, smart TV, or stand-alone device like Roku, Apple TV, or Google Chromecast – said that 24% of adults watch video from the internet via a connected TV at least weekly.This compared to 13% of people two years ago and just 5% four years ago.“Connected television use is heavily skewed towards Netflix subscribers, with 49% of Netflix subscribers watching video from the internet via a connected device weekly, compared to 8% weekly use among all non-Netflix subscribers. Among Netflix streaming video users, 78% say that they watch Netflix on a TV set – a similar level to the previous three years,” said Leichtman Research.Other findings of the study were that 80% of all Netflix subscribers also subscribe to a pay TV service, compared to 85% in 2012 and 88% in 2010. Some 48% of people who don’t subscribe to a pay TV service were also found to use Netflix – compared to 29% in 2012, and 16% in 2010.Overall, 47% of US households subscribed to one or more of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus, while, on a daily basis, 31% of adults watch video on non-TV devices – including PCs, mobile phones, iPads, tablets and eReaders.“Emerging Video Services have truly emerged over the past two to three years. This recent growth was spurred by Netflix’s decision in the third quarter of 2011 to focus on streaming video, coupled with the proliferation of connected TV devices, smartphones, and iPads and tablets,” said president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Bruce Leichtman.
BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand has appointed the chief financial officer of mobile phone retailer AMT Group, Tim Curry, as its new director of finance. Curry will lead a nine-strong finance team and provide commercial direction for the Australia and New Zealand business, which owns six subscription TV channels, including the new premium drama channel BBC First on FoxtelBBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand also distributes programmes to all TV and digital platforms in the region, and has a range of other commercial interests from DVDs, consumer products and digital apps to live events and advertising sales.Curry will work alongside regional managing director Jon Penn and the senior management team to provide financial analysis and strategic planning.Prior to joining AMT Group, Curry worked for international market research and strategy services company, The Leading Edge, and before that was group financial controller at pay TV provider Austar for six years from 2006 to 2011.
Talks between Italy’s Mediaset and potential investors in its pay TV arm have lost momentum as a result of the higher valuation placed on the Premium unit following Telefónica’s investment in the business in July, according to Reuters.Telefónica agreed to purchase an 11.11% stake and invest €100 million in the pay TV unit as part of a deal that saw Mediaset sell its 22% stake in Canal+ Spain to the telco. The deal valued Mediaset Premium at €900 million.According to Reuters, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, Al Jazeera, widely tipped as a potential partner for Mediaset for most of this year, cooled on the idea as a result of the raised valuation. The news agency also cited a source close to Vivendi as saying that the French company – the other potential investor in Mediaset Premium – would not be interested in the short or medium term as it was focusing on acquiring a stake in Telecom Italia – which it will acquire as part of its deal to sell Brazilian telco GVT to Telefónica.
Vice has launched a female-focused online channel, called Broadly.tv, in the UK, US and Canada.The new website will publish daily video and editorial on topics like politics, culture, sex, and fashion.Broadly marks the launch of Vice’s eleventh channel, with others including international news channel Vice News, electronic music and culture channel Thump, technology channel Motherboard and food channel Munchies.“The same principals Vice applies to its storytelling will also apply to everything Broadly will do – we’re telling original stories you can’t find anywhere else, in the same voice and tone as that of our audience,” said Broadly’s publisher, Shanon Kelley.Broadly will launch new series including: interview show Broadly Meets; a series exploring reproductive health called Ovary Action; and fashion industry show Style and Error.
Telefónica is to launch video services in seven new Latin American markets next year.The Spain-based telco plans to launch services in Ecuador, Uruguay, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua in staggered rollouts throughout 2016, making a range or linear and on-demand services available. The company said it would continue to increase its commitment, including the development of its own production and exclusive content distributed on multiple devices via multiple technology platforms.Telefónica currently offers video services in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela through different platforms including IPTV, DTH, cable, VoD and OTT. Currently, Telefónica has more than 4.5 million pay TV customers in Latin America, out of 8.2 million in total.“At Telefónica we are reaffirming our commitment to Latin America and we have the goal of becoming the first pay TV company in the world in Spanish and Portuguese. This year we have become the leading provider of high-definition content, and we continue to grow throughout the region. Furthermore, in 2016, we are going to market our video services in more than twice the number of countries that we do today,” said Luis Delamer, director of Telefónica’s video unit of Latin America.“We are determined to continue promoting the development of the pay-TV industry in the region, and content is now a core feature of the services we provide.”
Vivendi-owned Canal+ has reorganised its executive ranks in an effort, it said, to keep better control of costs.Vivendi bosses recently said that Canal+ cannot continue to bleed red ink after four consecutive years of losses.Today Canal+ said that “in order to better control costs and control the income statement of its pay-TV operations in France” Gérald-Brice Viret will become director of Canal+.Jean-Marc Juramie becomes director of the CanalSat DTH operation.Rivet joined Canal+ last year, joining from Lagardere where he had been running the Gulli kids channel.Before that he was at the NRJ channels group. He will continue in his previous role as MD of channels, as well as taking on new responsibilities at Canal+. He reports to Canal+ chief Maxime Saada.Juramie has been at Canal+ for over a decade, joining the pay TV operation from Numericable in 2005. He will report to Frank Cadoret in his new role.
SVOD service Icflix has teamed up Orange Jordan to extend its reach in the country.The MENA-focused streaming service will be offered for free, for a month, to Orange customers.It is the second time Icflix has worked with a telco in Jordan, afterit teamed with Umniah Telecom last year.“This partnership will give Orange customers access to the largest library of Jazwood (Arabic) content available online,” said Carlos Tibi, founder and CEO, ICFLIX.Jerome Henique, Orange Jordan CEO, said: “Partnering with a content provider like ICFLIX will enable our customers to enjoy an increasingly robust array of on-demand content, making their digital experience more personalised than ever”.
Telia’s period of exclusive talks with UK-based cable investor Zegona Communications over the potential sale of Spanish mobile operator Yoigo has ended without a deal being struck, according to local press.Zegona, which owns Spanish Asturias region cable operator Telecable, had entered into exclusive talks with Telia to acquire Telia’s 76.6% stake in Yoigo in March.Zegona said at the time that it would need to involve other stakeholders in the deal and that it had no agreement with them at that stage. According to Spanish newspaper Expansión, citing unnamed sources close to the process, Zegona reached a deal with Telia but had run into problems with Yoigo’s minority shareholders ACS, Abengoa and FCC. The ending of the exclusive window of negotiations opens the way for other potential bidders to submit proposals. Mobile operator MásMóvil is seen as a key potential rival and has previously proposed a bid of €550 million for Yoigo.
Satellite operator SES says it is working with a number of US cable operators to test 4K Ultra HD content across its network in preparation for UHD TV trials later this year.SES has so far UHD trial agreements in place with Cable America in Missouri, Golden West Telecommunications in South Dakota, MTC Cable in New York, Sjoberg’s Cable TV in Minnesota and ATMC in North Carolina. As part of the programme aimed at accelerating 4K delivery to homes across America, SES is shipping 4K/HEVC set top boxes to cable operators participating in the trials.SES is currently carrying four UHD channels on satellites serving cable, reaching nearly 100 million homes across North America – Fashion One 4K, NASA TV UHD, High 4K TV and its own UHD1 channel.“As millions of cable subscribers increasingly press for 4K content on their new Ultra HD TVs, some of the smallest cable operators in the US are now leading the way to bringing Ultra HD to homes across the country,” said Steve Corda, vice-president of business development in North America at SES.“SES’s breakthrough, fully-managed Ultra HD platform is enabling us to conduct the first-ever trials, which are bound to play a key role in the national and global rollout of Ultra HD.”
Vimeo has added support for 360° videos, allowing content creators to upload, share, and sell immersive content. Vimeo announced the launch last week and published a collection of 360 immersive videos from its community of video makers to a new, curated 360 Cinema channel.At launch viewers can watch 360° videos via Vimeo’s iOS and Android mobile apps using compatible devices and headsets such as Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream and Zeiss VR One.Vimeo said that support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are “coming soon”, and that Vimeo 360° videos can also be downloaded in HD quality to watch offline.Creators can upload 360° videos to Vimeo in up to 8K resolution, add metadata and insert calls-to-action directly in the embedded player. They can also sell their immersive content via Vimeo On Demand.At the same time, Vimeo is also offering educational resources to help creators learn the basics of 360° video – including in-depth tutorials on 360 cameras, pre-production, shooting and editing.Vimeo will introduce its new 360 experience at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas this week, and said it will demo it at key festivals and events throughout the year in partnership with Zeiss VR One.YouTube first added 360-degree video support to its service in May 2015, and introduced 360-degree live-streamed video and spatial audio in April 2016.Google then launched its dedicated Daydream View VR headset and controller, along with Daydream and YouTube VR apps in five markets in November last year.The Future of Music from Greg Barth on Vimeo.
Polish politicians from the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party are mulling changes in the country’s media rules that could restrict foreign ownership of media assets to as little as 15%, according to local reports.The PiS government plans to introduce new legislation covering concentration of media ownership in the autumn. According to leading daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the government has been working on the legislation in secret, and will publish its plans in mid-September.According to online magazine Super Express, citing an unnamed senior PiS legislator, meanwhile, the government wants to introduce restrictions on foreign media ownership that would limit the share of foreign capital in media groups to 15%.Such a move would have a major impact on commercial broadcaster TVN, currently owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, which itself is being acquired by Discovery.A threshold of this type would go far beyond a proposal submitted by media regulator the KRRiT in March for a limit on any one company or group of companies controlling more than a 30% market share in terms of advertising revenue or audience share.The Russian government introduced a highly controversial 20% limit on foreign ownership of media in 2014 that saw, among others, Modern Times Group exit its interests in the country.Any attempt by Poland to restrict ownership of media could attract the wrath of the European Union, already in conflict with the Polish government over its attempts to subject the judiciary to political control.Super Express quoted deputy culture minister Jarosław Sellin as saying that other EU states had regulations in place to prevent domination of the media market by foreign entities.