Short URL By Paul Hosford Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Feb 16th 2017, 8:11 AM ENDA KENNY HAS been told that he must outline a timeline for his departure as party leader.During a “subdued” parliamentary party meeting last night, both Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, seen as the leading contenders to replace Kenny, told their party colleagues they needed to prepare for an early election.It’s understood that Kenny may outline his plans at next week’s parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday.The move comes after the government survived a vote of confidence last night. Kenny last night argued that “the last thing this country needs is a general election” and defended his record as Taoiseach.However, Fine Gael deputies believe they cannot fight an election with Kenny as leader, with many stating to TheJournal.ie that there was a sense of panic within the party earlier this week that they could be 48 hours from a general election.The call for the Taoiseach to be clear about his plans comes just days after Varadkar distanced himself from backbench TD Noel Rock’s call for Kenny to set out a timetable for his departure.Speaking on RTÉ Radio One on Monday, Rock said:“We know Enda Kenny has said he won’t be leading us into the election.“Therefore there is a bit of a vacuum whenever people are asked in a poll who they will be voting for.“They don’t know who they will be voting for if they vote for Fine Gael necessarily. So we need to clear that up sooner rather than later.”During last night’s party meeting, Enda Kenny sat quietly as the party’s leading figures such as Paschal Donohoe outlined the need for the party to be proactive and prepare.Overall, the party was described as “calm” with a sense the time had come for the party to brace for the future.No movementParliamentary party chairman Martin Heydon told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that, despite some calls, he does not expect there to be an early meeting to discuss the issue.“At the minute the parliamentary party meets at 5.30pm on Wednesdays and I probably expect that to be the same next week.“There was different views expressed at last week’s meeting as to when we’d meet again, but I’m in the hands of the members. I don’t really see the need for another meeting.”Heydon said that the parliamentary party had discussed the no confidence motion and the issues surrounding Maurice McCabe’s treatment. He said that there was no in-depth discussion on elections or the party’s leadership.“I can only deal with the facts as they are. This wasn’t an issue that was discussed at the meeting last night.”He added that Kenny should be “given the space” to decide the timeline for his own departure.Speaking to the same programme, vice chair Pat Deering said it was time the party had a “new focus”. However, he declined to explicitly say that if Kenny does not step aside he would move a motion of no confidence or who he would support.Deputy party leader Senator James Reilly told RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke programme today that as the longest serving TD in the Dáil, Enda Kenny’s mind is not consumed with reaching the history books as Fine Gael’s longest serving Taoiseach (John A. Costello currently holds the record).So when?Sources within the party indicate Kenny must give a timeline next week, and many expect it to be after the St Patrick’s Day trip to the White House.“Let him go to the White House and when he gets back the wheels will be in motion,” said one party member.While there has been speculation in the past that there could be a few Cabinet members interested in the job of Taoiseach, it really comes down to a two-horse race between Varadkar and Coveney.Choosing the next leader of Fine Gael can take up to three weeks and includes votes from parliamentary party members, MEPs, and councillors.“If we include the three-week contest after St Patrick’s Day, we are into April,” said one TD, who when asked if we would have a new Taoiseach by summer, said:“Easter comes before summer, it will be then.”However, one minister told TheJournal.ie that timeline predictions are a lot shorter than expected in reality.Additional reporting Christina FinnRead: Enda Kenny wins confidence motion in the governmentRead: Strike4Repeal to stage walkout on 8 March Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie Share Tweet Email Thursday 16 Feb 2017, 8:11 AM Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar. 16,375 Views 84 Comments Kenny on the ropes as Fine Gael hopefuls line up to challenge him Kenny has a choice of resignation or facing a vote which sources say he is unlikely to survive. http://jrnl.ie/3242335
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The Manchester United footballer has said he’s not worried about the final position for the club and he needs to play game by gameFor Manchester United footballer Ander Herrera, the possibility to finish top-four in the English Premier League doesn’t bother him.“When I saw we were maybe 12 points behind, I decided not to think about it, go game-by-game and that’s what we did,” the Spaniard was quoted by France 24.“That’s what I did at least, and things are going well, so I don’t want to change. I am not going to think about that.”Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“If we continue this run, we will be closer to the top four but it’s not something that kills my mind right now,” he commented.“Very important for (goalkeeper) David (de Gea). We wanted to make David happy because he was a little bit disappointed the last games.”“I had to cope with him after the game, killing my mind, telling me that he wanted a clean sheet and I’m happy for him as well because he got a clean sheet,” Herrera concluded.
Hayatnagar: Corporator Koppula Vittal Reddy took out a rally in RTC Supervisors Colony on Sunday seeking community participation in ‘Saaf Hyderabad – Shandaar Hyderabad’.He sensitised people on the significance of segregating of dry and wet wastes. AMHO Prudhvi, GHMC staff, Swachh volunteers were present.
Asian shares slipped on Friday and the dollar nursed losses in a week marked by growing uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4 percent after brushing its lowest levels since early August. It looked set for a loss of 1.6 for the week.Investors have been unnerved in recent days by signs that the presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump may be tightening just days before Tuesday’s vote.That anxiety has rippled across global financial markets as investors ponder hedging the possible ramifications of a Trump presidency, overshadowing other events including Friday’s U.S. employment report for October.According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project, Clinton, who is seen as the status quo candidate by markets, maintained her narrow lead over Trump.But several swing states that the Republican challenger must win shifted from favouring Clinton to toss-ups, offering Trump a possible route to victory.”Even if opinion polls show that Clinton is maintaining a lead, anything can happen at the last minute, something the Brexit outcome taught us,” said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, referring to Britain’s surprising vote in June to leave the European Union.Trump, a political novice, has campaigned to clamp down on immigration, rethink trade relations and slap high tariffs on imported goods. Some fear his election would pose risks for global trade and growth.”There remains scope for a significant sell-off if Trump wins,” wrote Ric Spooner at CMC Markets.”Markets are currently attempting to strike the right balance between the greater probability of a Clinton win and the possibility of a significant sell-off on a Trump victory,” Spooner said.”The more the market falls in advance of the election, the greater the potential for volatility and a significant bounce if Clinton does get up.”On Wall Street on Thursday, U.S. stocks sagged, with the S&P 500’s eighth straight losing session marking its longest streak since the 2008 financial crisis. A slump in Facebook shares (FB.O) and the U.S. election jitter sapped investor confidence.Japan’s Nikkei stock index slid 1.4 percent, reopening after a public holiday on Thursday and catching up to losses in the previous global session. It was down 3.2 percent for the week, dragged down by the resurgence of the perennial safe-haven yen as U.S. election jitters mount.The dollar clawed back some lost ground against the yen, rising 0.1 percent to 103.05 and pushing away from the previous session’s one-month low of 102.54 yen, though still down 1.6 percent for the week. The euro edged down 0.1 percent to $1.1088, up about 1 percent for the week.The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six rival currencies, inched up 0.1 percent to 97.242, down 1.1 percent for the week and not far from a more than three-week low of 97.041 struck overnight.The non-farm payrolls report due later Friday is expected to show employers added 175,000 jobs in October, according to the median estimate of 106 economists polled by Reuters.U.S. data on Thursday showed that services industry activity cooled last month amid a slowdown in new orders and hiring, while planned job cuts by U.S.-based employers dropped 31 percent to a five-month low.That underscored the labour market’s healthy fundamentals, though more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.The pound was a stand-out performer overnight, rising to a nearly one-month high of $1.2494 on Thursday after a British court ruled that the government needs parliamentary approval to start the process of leaving the European Union. That could potentially delay Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans.The pound also got a boost from the Bank of England, which scrapped its plan to cut interest rates and ramped up its forecasts for growth.Sterling was last up 0.1 percent at $1.2476, poised to gain 2.4 percent for the week.Oil prices took back some ground after settling down more than 1 percent on Thursday as investors reacted to a record weekly surge in U.S. crude inventories and remained skeptical that OPEC will actually implement its planned output curbs.U.S. crude CLc1 added 0.2 percent to $44.76 per barrel. Brent crude LCOc1 also rose 0.2 percent to $46.46.
French panel backs assisted procreation for lesbian couplesPosthumous wedding for French policeman killed in ISIS attackFrance welcomes the first refugee from Chechnya during Putin visitRead the full article on Gaystarnews: :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/french-president-says-sacked-bodyguard-was-not-his-lover/ There were rumours that a paparazzi photographer had managed to take some salacious pictures of Macron with Gallet in a forest.Macron sacked Gallet from Radio France earlier this year, following the media boss’s conviction of corruption. However, some reports suggest this was a cover to dispel talk of a gay affair between the two.Rumoured affair: Former Radio France ceo also linked to Macron in gay rumours. Photo: Mathieu_Gallet TwitterThe French leader also launched an astonishing Trump-like attack on the media and its coverage of the scandal.‘We have a press that no longer seeks truth’, he told his party. ‘The media says, ‘Look. Looped images of a scene [Benalla’s violence]’, which is unacceptable and which I condemn.‘But I would like to see the scene before, the scene after, the context, what happened.‘Are the images shown with the desire to seek truth and to present facts in a balanced manner?’ he asked.Macron, 40, has been married to his wife Brigitte, 64, since 2007. They met in Amiens when he was a teenager and she was his teacher. The 24 year age gap in their relationship is a constant source of fascination to many.See also:Russian media: Macron is a ‘gay psychopath that hates France’ French President Emmanuel Macron has denied rumours he was having a gay affair with his sacked former head of security. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… GAYSTARNEWS- Presidential denial: Macron says bodyguard was not his gay lover. Photo: Présidence de la République eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . Twitter loses its mind over bromance between French and Canadian leaders Alexandre Benalla was sacked as Macron’s chief security officer last week, after a video of him beating protesters went public.The bodyguard: Arrested after video of him beating up protester emerged. Photo: Youtube videoThe French leader also had to assure party colleagues that the bodyguard did not have access to codes for the nation’s nuclear weapons.‘Alexandre Benalla has never had the nuclear codes … Alexandre Benalla is not my lover,’ he said at the beginning of a 30 minute address to his En Marche party.Macron also accepted full responsibility for the scandal surrounding the violent actions of his bodyguard in the video. He defended the sacking of Benalla, saying his behaviour in the video footage fell short of what he expected.‘What happened on May 1 is terrible, serious and, for me, it was a disappointment and a betrayal.’The Huffington Post has a video of the attack here:[embedded content]Police arrested Benalla earlier this week as investigators raided the Élysée Palace – the president’s residence – in connection with the investigation. Computers, notebooks and other material were confiscated according to the Daily Telegraph.Macron faced similar rumours with former radio bossIt is the second time Macron has had to deny he is gay. Earlier this year the French leader had to quash persistent rumours of a gay lover affair with handsome radio boss Mathieu Gallet. At the time, Gallet was ceo broadcaster, Radio France.
British Airways parent IAG eyeing a bid for Norwegian Air Thursday, April 12, 2018 Travelweek Group Share TORONTO — Just days after Norwegian Air put its plans for transatlantic flights out of Canada on hold, comes word that British Airways’ parent IAG could be looking to buy the airline.British Airways’ parent company said Thursday it is considering making an offer for the low-cost carrier.International Airlines Group says it has acquired 4.61% of Norwegian Air Shuttle “to establish a position from which to initiate discussions, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian.” IAG already operates LEVEL, a low-cost carrier out of Spain. With LEVEL’s launch IAG now has five main airline brands, including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling.IAG says no official discussions have taken place, and the company emphasized that it hasn’t decided whether it will make an offer.Shares in Norwegian Air jumped 37% on the news.Norwegian Air Shuttle has rocked the long-haul market with offers like US$140 tickets from Edinburgh to New York.More news: Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaHere in Canada, Norwegian Air filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency to possibly start transatlantic flights from this market starting summer 2018, however on Tuesday it was reported that the airline has pushed back plans for a possible Canada launch until at least spring or summer 2019 due to aircraft delivery delays.In a statement, the Oslo, Norway, based company said it had “no prior knowledge of this acquisition,” adding it had “not been in any discussions or dialogue with IAG about the matter.”“Norwegian believes that interest from one of the largest international aviation groups demonstrates the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth,” it said.For months there has been talk of a possible LCC alliance between Ryanair and Norwegian. Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary has said he has no plans to expand Ryanair’s operations across the Atlantic but the airline has been in talks with Norwegian about a possible partnership that would see Ryanair piggyback on Norwegian’s long-haul routes. Ryanair is now the biggest European airline in terms of passengers flown – or at least it was until 2017, when a snafu with pilot holiday time schedules led to the cancellation of thousands of flights (and Lufthansa Group grabbed the title).More news: Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problem With files from The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: British Airways, Norwegian Air Posted by
Calhoun County residents are invited to attend a town hall on Proposal 1 hosted by state Rep. John Bizon.The town hall will take place on Wednesday, April 29 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, located at 111 E. Michigan Ave. in Battle Creek. Joining Rep. Bizon will be House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Rep. Peter Pettalia.“There is a lot of information going around about this proposal, and I wanted to give local residents the chance to get answers to any questions they may have about it,” said Rep. Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “This is an important issue, and I want to make sure everyone is informed when they go to the polls.”Residents who cannot attend are encouraged to contact Rep. Bizon’s office at (517) 373-0555 or by email at DrJohnBizon@house.mi.gov.### Categories: Bizon News 22Apr Rep. Bizon hosting town hall on Proposal 1
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJuly 11, 2014; Washington PostIt must be difficult and scary to be an Israeli, having to run for air raid shelters as a defense against the small number of Hamas rockets that get through Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense. As of Friday, 123 Israelis had been treated for injuries—80 of them for shock and anxiety—as a result of the Hamas missiles, but no one had been killed.At the same time, there had been more than 100 Palestinian casualties due to the bombing of sites in Gaza by the Israel Defense Force. Late on Saturday, the death toll in Gaza due to the recent hostilities had reached 160, including 23 on Saturday alone, plus 1,100 people injured. While the Hamas rockets are simply instruments of terror without much military impact, the Israeli response is quite effective: Witness this compelling video of a building in Gaza as it receives a “knock on the roof” from an empty Israeli mortar shell, followed by a devastating bombing 57 seconds later—and Palestinians in Gaza generally don’t have bomb shelters to use.For the moment, we don’t need to explore the pros and cons of the counterproductive Hamas missile strategy, the uselessness of the Palestinian Authority under Abbas, or the “collective responsibility” character of the Israeli military response that is taking a huge toll on Palestinian civilians in the densely populated Gaza. Our issue in this newswire is how assistance is supposed to get in, given that the crossings in and out of Gaza to Israel have been generally closed even before the latest warfare started, and the crossing into Egypt at Rafah opened only recently so that Egyptian ambulances could take out some of the wounded.Charities associated with the wealthy Gulf emirates have begun to funnel money into Gaza. The Qatar Charity announced it is providing QR20 million for Gaza relief and reconstruction. The head of the Emirates Red Crescent showed up in Gaza to monitor whether relief convoys were reaching the embattled area. Despite having closed the Rafah crossing again, the Egyptian Army reports that it has ordered 500 tons of food and medical supplies back into Gaza.Malaysia and other countries are sending doctors, but the Egyptian pledge is noteworthy: Gaza needs supplies, particularly medical supplies. According to Doctors Without Borders, the problems of emergency treatment at hospitals will be worse because of the shortage of medical supplies that existed prior to the warfare.We’ve written in the past about the difficulty of getting humanitarian aid into Syria where the Assad government frequently refuses to guarantee secure corridors for aid workers to get to rebel territory. In Iraq, the collapse of the government and the passivity of many government and military leaders have led to an ongoing and worsening humanitarian crisis. For all the difficulties of getting aid into war-torn areas like Iraq and Syria, where rebels are fighting against less than fully functional military authorities, the Gaza situation is different. Gaza is facing off against a very powerful military able to use jets, helicopters, and drones with deadly efficiency, albeit with much collateral damage in the form of civilians injured or killed. Every possible access point for aid to get to civilians in Gaza is just about closed. It is difficult to fathom how aid—in the form of supplies—will get to Gazan Palestinians, how much of it will get through, and how much aid is simply not going to reach people whose lives are caught in a conflict without an easy and obvious end.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesImage Credit: Konstantin LeonovAugust 25, 2015; Bucks County Courier Times, Quad-Cities Online, and the News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)As NPQ readers may already know, three states—Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina—remain without budgets as Labor Day approaches. While governors and legislators remain at loggerheads over the role of government, the best way to encourage economic growth, state deficits, and whether or not they can or should raise more revenue, local officials and the leaders of nonprofits and schools struggle behind the scenes with the real impact of gridlock. And with each week without a solution to the impasse, these struggles become harder and harder.The Bucks County Courier Times recently provided a picture of how it looks in Pennsylvania:Since 1986, Chris Carabello, of Doylestown, has helped adults with disabilities find jobs. But after 54 days without a state budget, Carabello’s nonprofit organization, Employment Technologies Inc., is now worried about providing a paycheck to its caseworkers. […] Employment Technologies is one on many nonprofits contracted by federal and state governments to help the poor and disabled. […] Officials with the Pennsylvania Treasurer’s office confirmed it may not be able to release some federal grants without an approved state budget.To try to bridge the funding gap, local officials are stepping into the breach by funding organizations using available local funds and risking that when the state’s budget crisis is solved, they will be reimbursed. “I don’t think it’s a risk,” said Brian Hessenthaler, chief operating officer for Bucks County. “We’re paying out that money in the hopes of getting it back. We’re pretty confident that we will be able to fund these organizations.” Montgomery County Chief Financial Officer Uri Z. Monson said the county would use $14 million to pay the vendors.Where local governments are unable or unwilling to assume this risk, have not had the benefit of local governments providing bridge funding until the impasse ends. Larger, well-funded organizations may have the option of using reserve funds to allow them to bridge the funding gap. For smaller and less well funded organizations short term loans are an option if they can be found and afforded.In Illinois, Quad-Cities Online reported on one example of the stalemate’s impact.Since the new budget year began July 1st, groups such as Alternatives for the Older Adult in Moline have gone without funding from the state. “We’re living on a line of credit,” Kathy Weiman, the agency’s CEO, said at a forum Wednesday on how the budget standoff has affected local service providers. Ms. Weiman said her group helps about 18,000 seniors in 10 counties stay independent and out of nursing homes. She said home-delivered meals to Henderson County seniors have been stopped because of the lack of funding, and other programs could soon follow. […] Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging supports a number of smaller nonprofit organizations, said Jen Boedecker of the agency. But she said it will have to close its doors Sept. 1 unless the state sorts out the budget crisis.Late last week, North Carolina’s political leaders agreed on the amount of their new state government budget, but the lack of consensus on specific levels of funding for social services and education means uncertainty continues to plague those who will be funded. With public schools set to open, the News & Observer looked at how this uncertainty is unsettling school leaders:Without a final state budget, schools around North Carolina are opening Monday uncertain about how much state funding they’ll receive for the new school year. This means teachers and support staff don’t know if they’ll get any state raises. Thousands of teacher assistants don’t know if they’ll have a job. School districts don’t know if they’ll be offering driver’s education…Some school districts have put a hiring freeze on teacher assistants or warned those employees they may be laid off. Wake school officials have continued to hire teacher assistants as normal and say they’ll make any adjustments if needed.Doug Thilman, Wake County’s assistant superintendent for human resources, said at a press briefing Friday, “If we have to come up with a Plan B, we certainly will. We don’t have that yet because we’re confident that the folks at the legislature will recognize and see the value those TAs add to our classrooms.”—Martin LevineShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Chinese consumer electronics provider Hisense has chosen PacketVideo’s Twonky software for use in Google TV products and some Linux-powered connected TVs for international markets.Twonky is designed to enable smart TVs to play content from any device in a suer’s local network or to use their mobile phone or tablet to control the TV. Twonky software also makes Hisense TVs DLNA compatible, according to PacketVideo.“We are excited to work with Hisense, one of China’s leading and most innovative TV manufacturers, to create a truly innovative and unique multi-screen experience for end-users,” said Jim Brailean, CEO of PacketVideo. “Hisense shares our commitment in creating a seamless living room experience that bridges the gap between tablets and smartphones and the living room. We look forward to continuing to work with Hisense to bring the best possible experience to consumers.”
Apple’s brand preference rating fell by 5.1 points between Q2 and Q4 2013, according to new Strategy Analytics stats. The research firm said that Apple’s performance was one of the weakest of 21 major technology brands with its rating falling furthest in its “core affluent and younger demographics.”“This may be attributed to its relative lack of new product introductions,” said Strategy Analytics.The survey, which polled people in aged 15 to 65 in Europe and the US gave Apple a preference rating of 17.3 – behind HP with 19.7, Microsoft with 24.5, Sony with 43.9 and Samsung, which came top with a rating of 57.2.Samsung retained its place at the top with gains in continental Europe, despite falling back in the US and UK.However, “the best performance came from Chinese brand Huawei with an increase of 3.8 points since Q2 2013 and strong gains in upper income segments,” said Strategy Analytics.The brand preference rating is designed to indicate the balance between consumers who say they would choose a brand and those who would not, when buying technology products like TVs, computers and mobile phones.
Yuliana SlashchevaThe target audience shares of CTC Media’s Russian TV networks were affected by overall audience fragmentation and increased competition from news broadcasts in the third quarter, causing the firm to mull changes to its output.Announcing its latest results, CTC Media said it was evaluating a “potential transformation” of its Peretz network, making it a “more cutting edge and dynamic channel, with a focus on edgy action content.”It also said it was considering changing its audience demographic for its female-skewing Domashny network from women aged 25-59 to women aged 25-50, with an updated programming and content policy attracting “significantly younger audiences to this channel.”CTC Media CEO Yuliana Slashcheva said that its flagship CTC Channel, which targets an audience of young adults, experienced “strong pressure from news channels throughout the third quarter” due to the “political turbulence” from the situation in the Ukraine. Slashcheva added that there was also a shift in the type of entertainment shows that consumers wanted to watch.“The demand is shifting from humour and sitcoms to drama and happy-ending dramedy shows. We took this trend into consideration for content production, and CTC Media came up with a series of new projects in these genres that we are expecting to launch across our channels in the coming months,” she said.Peretz, which has traditionally focused on humour and reality TV, saw its target audience share fall year-on-year from 2.3% to 2.1%. CTC attributed this to increased competition from channels that broadcast political news on the situation in Ukraine, audience fragmentation and the “relative underperformance of certain programming.”Domashny channel’s target audience share decreased year-on-year in Q3 from 3.9% to 3.7%, again because of fragmentation and competition from news broadcasts – though this was partially offset by changes in the programming schedule in daytime and primetime slots.The CTC Channel maintained its place as the third most-watched broadcaster in Russia in its target demographic of 10 to 45 year old viewers. However, its target audience share was down year-on-year from 11.6% to 10.3%.Overall, CTC Media said that it outperformed the Russian TV advertising market in both Q3 and the nine months ended September 30, 2014. However, its operating revenue grew more slowly due to “weakening content sales in Ukraine.”Devaluation of the ruble, which lost 15% against the dollar during the third quarter and declined 17% year-on-year, also “significantly affected” CTC’s third-quarter performance.In the quarter, operating revenues came to US$158.6 million (€124.6 million) – up 3% year-on-year in ruble terms, but down 7% in dollar terms. Net income came to US$31.6 million, down 24% in rubles and 32% year-on-year in dollar terms.At the same time CTC Media has appointed two international firms – Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Habif, Arogeti & Wynne – and a Russian firm, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, to provide legal and tax advice ahead of planned changes to Russian media law. This will reduce the permitted level of foreign ownership in Russian media firms from 50% direct ownership to 20%.
Media services provider Globecast has partnered with Virgin Media to supply seven channels for the platform’s expanded international TV content.The new channels are being added to Virgin Media’s Worldbox service, a new app that offers live streams of international channels via Virgin Media’s TiVo set-top boxes.The channels will be launched in two stages, with four launching now and the rest to be added to the app in early 2015. Globecast is supplying the channels: 1+1 International from the Ukraine; BFM from France; Canal 24 Horas from Spain; CTC from Russia; Eurochannel from France; Nessma from Tunisia; and SIC International from Portugal.Virgin Media announced earlier this week that it is adding a total of 10 new international channels to its platform.
Opera TV has launched a new update to its TV app technology platform, Opera TV Snap 3.0.According to the technology company, the latest version offers a complete OTT app generator for broadcasters, content providers and VoD service providers that enables content and service providers to mix live broadcasted streams, video clips from recent episodes, and full series content in one app with a multi-tier category navigation.Opera TV Snap 3.0 has expanded to include support for Brightcove Video Cloud, Dailymotion, JW Player, Ooyala, and Zype, enabling content providers on these platforms to reach Opera-enabled smart TVs devices.The Opera TV Snap solution allows content owners to re-purpose their online video channels and existing video inventory into HTML5 apps.The latest version features a side menu for easier navigation, support for full series content, updated user interface, and improved support for viewer analytics, according to the company. It also allows broadcasters to feed live streaming content to viewers on their smart TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes.
YouTube has launched 4K live streaming for both 360° videos and standard videos.The move is part the Google-owned online video platform’s push into live video, as well as the latest development of its six-year old foray into 4K.Live events are automatically available on iOS, Android 4.0+, game console devices and mobile devices via the YouTube app and m.youtube.com.YouTube is live-streaming the Game Awards (pictured) live in 4K as part of its launch effort.YouTube, like other social media platforms, is increasing emphasis on the live element of its service, as EMEA chief Stephen Nuttall outlined at a Royal Television Society event in London this week.“Supporting this new format will let creators and partners stream incredibly high-resolution video, and let viewers enjoy the clearest picture possible when watching a live stream on 4K-supported devices. The image quality is just mind-blowing on screens that support it, and in 360 degrees…the clarity can truly transport you,” said Kurt Wilms, Senior Product Manager at YouTube, in a blog posting.4K video isn’t just a little different from HD video; it’s a giant leap. It shows eigh million pixels total, with an image that has four times more image definition than even 1080p video. What does this mean in real world terms? Live streams look better, show a more detailed, crisper picture, and aren’t as blurry when there’s fast action on screen. Basically, 4K makes everything better to look at. And because we support 4K at up to 60 frames per second, creators can make content that looks silky smooth, and more realistic than ever before.For creators this means the ability to take advantage of an incredibly clear picture for recorded and now streaming video.”
Spanish satellite operator Hispasat has teamed up with satellite services and teleport provider Media Broadcast Satellite to provide 4K content distribution services in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The deal, signed at IBC, combines the capacities of Media Broadcast Satellite’s teleport in Usingen in Germany with Hispasat’s satellites at 30 degrees West, with high quality coverage over Europe and North Africa specifically designed for the distribution of audiovisual content in the region. The technological solution is based on a shared digital platform that facilitates the transmission of individual channels within digital multiplexes, sharing the carrier with other 4K channels.The 4K distribution platform offered by Media Broadcast Satellite and Hispasat incorporates what the pair describe as a business model specifically dedicated to 4K content providers, for which a flexible risk-sharing approach has been developed to remove a barrier to entry in the shape of high distribution costs.Christian Fleischhauer, Managing Director of Media Broadcast Satellite said, “This cooperation provides the perfect opportunity for broadcasters to grow their audience and distribute their content in a superb 4K quality.”Ignacio Sanchis, Business Director at Hispasat, said, “Hispasat has been committed to 4K for years in different initiatives with the aim of promoting this technology, for which the satellite offers a differential value. This agreement with Media Broadcast Satellite will enable us to offer our customers high value-added solutions to accelerate the deployment of 4K services in Europe and make this advanced technology available to a larger number of viewers as soon as possible, enabling them to enjoy a better visual experience.”Hispasat is exhibiting at IBC on stand 1.C37
Portuguese pay TV operator NOS has struck a deal to secure content from Fox+ on its streaming service NOS Play.The streaming service, now rebranded from N Play, will provide access to the Fox+ catalogue.The addition of Fox+ to NOS Play will enable subscribers to view shows including The Walking Dead, The X-Files, 24 and American Dad, along with shows new to Portugal such as comedies Baskets and The Last Man on Earth.The deal means that NOS Play subscribers will now have access to a total of 80 series from multiple providers, including Game of Thrones, Kingdom, Big Little Lies and Fargo. In addition, NOS Play offers a catalogue of about 2,000 movies and 3,500 animated episodes.N Play launched two years ago with a mix of movies and series, with over 10 millions of hours of content viewed and monthly growth of 6% in subscribers.
Vivendi has abandoned attempts to replace Telecom Italia (TIM) board members nominated by arch-foe Elliott Advisors and has said it is “prepared to give credit” to CEO Luigi Gubitosi’s request for it to withdraw its motion.Vivendi did not provide details about what Gubitosi had promised.The meeting of TIM shareholders requested by Vivendi as part of a move to regain control of the board took place yesterday, approving the company’s accounts for 2018 and naming Ernst & Young as external auditors until 2027.Vivendi pulled its motion proposing the revocation of the mandates of five board members and the election of an alternative slate at the 11th hour, after it became clear that the French media group could not command the support of sufficient shareholders to overturn the board.“As publicly known, Vivendi has invested €4 billion in TIM. As a long-term industrial shareholder, Vivendi sees a lot of potential for the company and has always expressed its willingness to establish the best conditions to restore value at Telecom Italia,” said Caroline Le Masne de Chermont, Vivendi group head of legal affairs.She said that “Vivendi is more interested than any other shareholder in re-establishing an harmonious and collegial Board governance that supports the management in conceiving and implementing value creation plans, in the interest of the company, its shareholders and its employees.”Le Masne de Chermont said it was now time to focus “on the changes we would like to see in the near future” with a board that was “more reflective of the company’s shareholder base and to be led in an independent, transparent and fully inclusive manner”.She added that “what needs to occur next, may at this stage be left in the hands of the Board members and their individual conscience. However, said Le Masne de Chermont, if the Gubitosi makes good on promises he has made, “he can count on our loyal and stable support as the company’s largest shareholder.”The shareholders meeting did not approve TIM’s remuneration policy for 2019 and rejected an update on the company’s long-term incentive plan.
While IPTV services once comprised basic video-on-demand offerings, a number of providers are now looking to offer more advanced applications.According to Stephen Petheram, Microsoft Mediaroom’s (IBC Topaz) director of media services for EMEA and APAC, operators are looking to applications to differentiate their services from their rivals: “TV applications are seen as a key competitive advantage for IPTV operators, enabling them to deliver new and exciting interactive experiences,” says Petheram.Microsoft developed the Mediaroom Presentation Framework to help operators develop various personalised services. “New ways to converge and connect are constantly being developed and consumers expect to be able to access media in a number of ways. Service providers need to make sure that the TV is at the centre of this experience,” says Petheram. Consumers are showing an appetite for on-demand viewing across all platforms and Petheram believes IPTV operators should develop applications to drive consumer interest in this area.For Richard Baker, vice-president of sales and marketing at ANT, operators are showing strong interest in portal services, such as widgets and walled garden applications covering various content. “These applications and services help increase ARPU and reduce churn for operators, while presenting an opportunity to differentiate from the competition,” he says. ANT launched the ANT Academy this year, which aims to bring digital TV developers together to create applications to run on its Galio platform, and developed an online resource that provides forums, sample code and technical specs to help members develop to the company’s standards-based platform.Tandberg’s (IBC 1.D61) IPTV business development director Alan Delaney argues that a standards-based, open environment drives down cost and lead times of developing IPTV services. He points to the company’s OpenStream digital services platform: “OpenStream is based on open, published interfaces, which means operators can deploy using VOD servers, networks, billing systems, client applications, conditional access systems and other system components of their own choice.”Applicatons provider Accedo Broadband’s (IBC IP126) CEO Michael Lantz believes the current economic situation means that using applications to generate customer loyalty and increase revenues is becoming increasingly relevant. “At this time of recession, it important to actually be able to prove the value of an application to the end user or to the service provider. Applications have to either generate revenue directly or stimulate loyalty and reduce churn.” At IBC, Accedo will launch a range of high-definition games for IPTV operators, which Lantz says are the first full HD games available for IPTV.ActiveVideo Networks (IBC 5.B46) provides cloud-based interactive TV platforms and applications. Edgar Villalpando, senior vice-president of marketing, says service providers realise that web video viewing on the PC is eroding their market share and the value propositions of their video bundles. “They’re investing more time and money finding ways that the can generate new revenue from PC viewing or, better yet, give subscribers the experience they desire at the TV.” The company helps operators to deliver applications from games and home-shopping to user-generated content.A corollary of offering advanced applications to users is that they need to be able to interact with the screen. Remote control specialist Ruwido (IBC 1.D68) develops various solutions to make the process easier. “Our focus is on the new forms of interaction techniques that will be used in the living room in the near future,” says Dr Regina Bernhaupt, head of user experience research. The company believes so strongly in the future of interactivity that it has created a “usability lab devoted to developing solutions that “allow us to understand the real needs of the user”, according to Bernhaupt. “We want to bring people closer to the product, and bring people closer together,” she says. The company has developed a “social communication solution” that allows people to communicate whilst watching TV that it will show at IBC.