Regions leaders call for new social pact

first_img The Tico Times From the print editionBy Diego Urdaneta | AFPWASHINGTON, D.C. – Central America needs a new regional pact to overcome substantial social inequality and to defeat organized crime, according to participants in the Central American Peace Accords in the 1980s, who spoke Tuesday at a meeting of the Organization of American States.“I think the legacy of the peace plan is a fertile but inconclusive one,” said Oscar Arias, winner of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize and former two-term president of Costa Rica (1986-1990, 2006-2010). “In Central America, we have peace, democracy and development, but what’s lacking is quality in all of those variables.” Vinicio Cerezo. “It will be impossible to consolidate the democracy, plurality and peace achieved 25 years ago if we don’t decide to move forward toward necessary transformations,” said former Guatemalan President Vinicio Cerezo.Arias and Cerezo, two of five Central American presidents who signed the Esquipulas II Peace Accords in Guatemala in 1987, delivered keynote speeches during the OAS forum, which included other participants of the ’80s peace process, such as former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein.“We shouldn’t be satisfied with what the region has accomplished,” Arias said. Cerezo called for a new Esquipulas-type agreement to confront the “demons” of a social “debt” to the majority of Central Americans, as well as the violence and institutional weakness brought on by drug trafficking and organized crime. The new agreement should outline regional policy to confront the problems, the former president said. Continuing to ignore social injustice, Cerezo added, would “only continue undermining our society” and contribute to the “cultivation of future confrontation.”“The state is not functioning well, civil society is very fragmented and weak, and political society is defrauding citizens,” Stein said, adding that the new pact should include “minimum commitments” by countries of the region. Central American presidents met last week in Nicaragua to commemorate the peace accords, which put an end to decades of bloody civil war in the region.During last week’s summit, leaders debated the region’s priorities, including fighting organized crime, which has converted the isthmus into the world’s most dangerous region.Michael Barnes, who headed a subcommittee on Latin America in the U.S. House of Representatives in the ’80, called on U.S. officials to impose restrictions on the sale of weapons that later are trafficked to Mexico and Central America, where they end up in the hands of members of organized crime.OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza acknowledged that Central America’s problems can only be solved through solutions proposed by countries in the region.“The same courage that our leaders demonstrated [in signing the peace accords in 1987] is inspiring for today’s leaders who confront new challenges and threats against stability in the region,” Insulza said. Central America’s peace accords were “substantially important” for Latin America, as they were key elements that marked the process of democratization in the region,” he added.Said Insulza: “We can have discussions, but there are no other alternatives to democracy.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Featured Costa Rican properties

first_imgPlaya Tamarindo, Guanacaste. No related posts. Hollywood actor turned cop Steven Seagal nearly bought this Balinese-style estate located in Tamarindo, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. The word is that the tough-guy Buddhist actor loved the home, but wasn’t too fond of the country’s political leaders. “When Seagal came to our home he was blown away by the natural feeling of the property,” says owner Tony DiMaggio. The home sits on 4.29 acres of secluded countryside and was designed by famous Costa Rican architect Abraham Valenzuela, an expert on Pacific rim architecture. Started in 2008, it took more than four years to plan, design and build.Balinese architecture works well in Costa Rica, which has similar weather to the Indonesian province. Conchal, Guanacaste. From the print editionPlaya Tamarindo, Guanacaste. Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste.center_img Perched on a 2,300-acre golf and resort community, this three-level, Spanish colonial home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms is ideal for a second home or even a bed and breakfast. Built in 2005, Villa Melina spans 4,000 square feet. Its master bedroom occupies the entire third floor, while three guest bedrooms are spread out on lower floors.In addition to its spectacular ocean view and luxury interior, Villa Melina is located in Reserva Conchal, a resort community that has a $12 million beach club, a Robert Trent Jones II designer golf course, a Westin Resort and access to the gorgeous white sand of Playa Conchal, an ideal beach for snorkeling and swimming. In the beach club, homeowners can access a world-class spa, lap pool, kiddie pool, hot and cold water Jacuzzi, two restaurants, bars and a gift shop. Conchal, Guanacaste. Best of all, there are no homeowners’ association dues (Villa Melina is one of only two homes in the community exempt from the dues).For families looking to relocate to Costa Rica, Villa Melina is close to Country Day School, a great educational opportunity for expats, as the school has a top-notch curriculum and excellent teachers.Details: $894,00. Rebecca L. Clower, Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica, 8705-1850 (in Costa Rica), (813) 579-3350 (in the U.S.). Facebook Comments DiMaggio decided to name the home Casa Ventana, to highlight its breathtaking multidirectional views of the valley and the Pacific Ocean.Covering 10,000 square feet, Casa Ventana features four bedrooms and six baths, spectacular dining and living areas that open onto a long, covered patio, and a 60-foot infinity pool for sunrise swims.The estate’s seclusion makes it an ideal option for privacy-seekers, and more than one famous rock star has the home on radar. Details: $2.1 million. Tony DiMaggio, Coldwell Banker Tamarindo, 2653-1142, tony@cbtamarindo.com.Playa Conchal, Guanacaste.last_img read more

Radisson Hotel Group raises USD 445000 to provide a better future

first_imgRadisson Hotel Group raises USD 445,000 to provide a better futureRadisson Hotel Group raises USD 445,000 to provide a better futureDuring its annual Community Action Month in June 2018, Radisson Hotel Group activated its global partnership with SOS Children’s Villages – carrying out more than 900 activities worldwide to help support children and young people.Radisson Hotel Group, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel groups, is pleased to share the highlights from its 2018 Community Action Month activities around the world. For the last 15 years, Radisson Hotel Group’s hotels, as well as its corporate and area offices, globally have dedicated one full month to making a difference in the communities they operate in by organizing various activities around its industry-leading Responsible Business program. This year, between them, all business units of the newly rebranded Radisson Hotel Group organized more than 900 activities in their local communities, dedicated more than 32,000 volunteer hours, and raised a total of USD 445,000 in cash and in-kind for SOS Children’s Villages and other local charities.“One in 10 children worldwide has lost, or is at risk of losing, their parental care. At Radisson Hotel Group, we are lending a helping hand to give some of these children food, shelter and a better future. Every day, more than 95,000 team members strive to make Every Moment Matter for our guests, owners, talent and for our local communities around the world. This special month of June, our teams engaged in fundraising activities, donations and great volunteering opportunities for SOS Children’s Villages,” said Inge Huijbrechts, Global Senior Vice President, Responsible Business and Safety & Security.“At SOS Children’s Villages, we greatly value the support of our partners in improving the lives of children, young people and families in countries all over the world,” said Patricia Molano, Head of International Corporate Partnerships and Philanthropy at SOS Children’s Villages International. “We are happy to see the engagement of volunteers, supporters and guests during the Community Action Month and we are looking forward to growing the partnership further in the coming years.”Some highlights of the 2018 Community Action Month included corporate employees of the group’s Americas HQ step-up/step-out to help the communities in the Midwest and beyond. They packed more than 8,500 meals for the local food banks and provided shelter by volunteering on the construction site, helping build homes for families in need and supporting the local shelter.During the group’s Asia Pacific Annual Business Conference in Batam, Indonesia, the company’s executive leaders visited the Virant Sejahtera Orphanage which Radisson Golf & Convention Center Batam has been working with for more than a year. Besides donating new mattresses, a computer and a guitar, the group invited the children back to the hotel to enjoy the facilities at the Kids’ Club. At the same time, a commitment was made to fund a scooter helmet swap shop for local children in Batam.The leadership team also took part in the Soap4Hope (S4H) initiative in Batam. In collaboration with global supplier Diversey, S4H sanitizes and reprocesses used soap bars from hotels, to be distributed to local people in need or sold to the hotel and other companies. This life-changing initiative not only helps reduce hotel waste; it improves hygiene levels and generates much-needed income for people in under-privileged communities.Some examples from our hotels around the globe include:Radisson Blu Chittagong in Bangladesh, who has recently received the 2017 Radisson Hotel Group Responsible Business Hotel of the Year Award, Asia Pacific, embarked on and completed 11 projects supporting the Bangladeshi community in 2017. Activities included cleaning local beaches, hosting events for a children’s orphanage and donating water purifying equipment to charitable organizations.The Radisson Blu Resort Fiji, through their ongoing ‘Adopt a School’ initiative, continued to provide Food.Shelter.Future to 30 local schools. This June, the team visited one of the schools and donated laptop computers and booksThe Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, Freetown in Sierra Leone is participating in a range of projects, including a youth employment program via the internationally accredited Youth Career Initiative – making the hotel the first ever nationwide to implement such a program.The group’s hotels in Tallinn, Estonia, sponsored and visited children of the local SOS Children’s Village, to offer in-kind donations of clothes and shoes.Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth Hotel in South Africa provided a ‘braai’ feast and a game of football. Throughout the year, Radisson Blu Hotel, Port Elizabeth has committed to support the SOS Children’s Village in maintenance work required on their property and their recycling program.The Radisson Blu Hotel, Hamburg Airport in Germany has provided SOS Children’s Villages Hamburg with help for a while. After a successful back-to-school support campaign, equipping the children for the new school year, the team provided food and catered for the local SOS Children’s Villages family day.The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo in Norway ran a successful Responsible Business lottery. The goal was to make everyone a winner, set SOS Children’s Villages on the agenda and allow our guests to win some great prizes. The lottery raised more than EUR 2,200.Radisson Hotel Group is encouraging each of its 1,100 hotels to sponsor the upbringing and education of at least one child per hotel, and to establish meaningful relationships with the SOS Children’s Villages in their respective countries. The business leadership team of the group is contributing by privately sponsoring more than 50 children from SOS Children’s Villages.The Community Action Month is a core element of Radisson Hotel Group’s overarching Responsible Business program. For more details about the company’s Responsible Business strategy, please visit radissonhotels.com/responsible-business.Watch our video with the highlights of Radisson Hotel Group’s Community Action Month: https://youtu.be/0IOHFTOuTB8Source = Radisson Hotel Grouplast_img read more

BoC CEO outraged over claims of preferential treatment V

first_imgJohn Hourican, the Bank of Cyprus’ CEO, said on Saturday he was outraged over allegations the bank has given preferential treatment to individuals with high-level positions in society, following the recent dispute over the president of the supreme court Myron Nicolatos, whose sister and daughter got out-of-court settlements with Bank of Cyprus.“I would refute and I am outraged at the idea that people would suggest that this is the case,” Hourican said in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency.Critics of Nicolatos have focused on the fact that his daughter and sister appeared to have benefited from out-of-court settlements with Bank of Cyprus (BoC) relating to lawsuits they had filed concerning the conversion of their deposits into bonds in the aftermath of the 2013 economic crisis.Nicolatos had adjudicated in an appeal filed by former BoC CEO Andreas Eliades who had been jailed for market manipulation.In a 2 to 1 decision, the three-bench supreme court found that Bank of Cyprus and Eliades, although they had made false representations about the financial status of the bank in the years leading up to the crisis, did not do so with intent to manipulate the market but rather to ‘reassure’ shareholders.The supreme court decision was criticised by attorney-general Costas Clerides and the Securities and Exchange Commission.In statements earlier this week, Clerides directly pointed the finger at Nicolatos, saying it was his vote that swung the decision in Eliades’ and the BoC’s favour when there was a conflict of interest because his daughter and sister had benefited from an out-of-court settlement in a separate lawsuit they had filed against the bank, relating to claims they made concerning the conversion of their deposits into bonds.The bond issue is just one aspect of the astonishing claims first made by lawyer Nicos Clerides, brother of the attorney-general, which sparked the fracas.Nicos Clerides claimed, and later provided details, that the courts are controlled by the Polyviou and Chrysafinis law firm which represents the bank.“There is not a single supreme court judge who does not have a child at the law office that promotes the banks’ interests,” he said.On Saturday, Hourican added it is ‘upsetting and annoying’ that a personal dispute between two high-office holders was being played out ‘in the football pitch of the Bank of Cyprus.’“This is not appropriate, not correct, and is damaging to the country’s reputation.”Following the crisis, he added that the country and the banks have spent five years trying to re-establish confidence in the banking sector, and that it was ‘wrong’ for people with personal disputes to ‘air them in this manner’.“We are absolutely not giving preferential treatment to individuals or relations to high members of Cyprus’ society.”Asked if the bank was giving off an image of support to the BoC’s former CEO Eliades, Hourican said that he did not know him nor had he met him, and that he was managing the consequences of how the bank was managed throughout the years.“We have to separate the management of a bank from the legality of issues pertaining to people, who were officers or not, of the bank.”He added that it was not his job to deal with these issues, and that it was the job of the courts to decide on legal matters.The bank is owned by its depositors, he said, adding that his job was to protect the bank.“I must remind everyone that the bank went effectively bust, and was recapitalised by its depositors,” Hourican said. His focus, the BoC CEO added, was to fix the bank not to protect any of the prior management, as it was in the ‘hands of the law’ to deal with that.On Friday, bank bondholders protested the loss of their assets outside the BoC HQ in Nicosia, following the allegations of preferential treatment given to Nicolatos’ family.The private holders of convertible enhanced capital securities issued by the Bank of Cyprus and now-defunct Laiki Bank claim they were mis-sold financial products, which were essentially wiped out following the March 2013 events, and have long demanded to be compensated.In his response on Saturday, Hourican said that he has ‘huge empathy’ for the situation the bondholders found themselves in, but that he must deal in the ‘inconvenience of the truth and the facts’.Hourican said the bank has run a scheme so that the affected bondholders could find some degree of settlement and many of the cases have been settled.“We are speaking to individuals on a one by one basis, to see whether the facts support that we did something wrong,” he said.Any settlement that the bank reaches, Hourican said, must come from the owners of the bank, who are the depositors.“We cannot respond to the shouts of the mob.  We must respond to the facts of the individual cases of each of our individual customers.”Regarding the bonds and a settlement, Hourican said that there could not be a generalised settlement.“We have to recover the money of our depositors, before we go up through the capital structure,” he said.The bank has no capacity to put everyone back whole, he said, adding that the bank needs to be strengthened in order to create value in the equity.“If the bank has done something wrong in its sales practices, then we will remedy that,” Hourican said, adding that the cases must be examined individually.Hourican added that the issues do damage the bank’s reputation, and that they have worked hard over the past five years to restore confidence.“The business of running a country is a serious business. And I would encourage all of those who have a responsibility or a part in running the country… to take this very seriously and resolve it properly.”      You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Good Government is Transparent and Accountable

first_img A column by state Rep. Beth GriffinAs your State Representative, I value transparency in state government, and I’m dedicated to holding state agencies and departments accountable. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Michigan residents have a right to know what goes on in their government.Under a plan introduced earlier this year, state departments would be required to fulfill FOIA requests within 60 days. Furthermore, if departments and agencies do not fulfill FOIA requests in a timely manner, they will be required to notify the Governor as well as the leadership of the House and Senate. Sixty days is more than enough time for state government to respond to requests from the people whose tax dollars fund those departments. Current law does not specifically set timelines for FOIA request fulfillments, and it’s about time we did something to streamline that process. Who could blame people for being frustrated when bureaucrats arbitrarily delay the processing of FOIA requests? It’s completely unacceptable. I fully support this plan to reduce wait times and ensure hardworking taxpayers receive the information they deserve.I also supported another measure last year, which would subject Michigan’s Governor and Lieutenant Governor to FOIA requests and require the state Legislature to follow similar requirements. You deserve to know how your elected officials are operating, and it’s long overdue that we bring increased accountability to these offices. Along those same lines, I supported a measure requiring all Michigan executive offices and branches to disclose employee salary information on their websites.As the person trusted to represent you in Lansing, I believe my job is not to appease bureaucrats – it’s about doing what’s right and giving the people of Michigan a means for holding state government accountable. I refuse to back down in the fight to make sure state government is as transparent as possible.### 23Jul Good Government is Transparent and Accountable Categories: Griffin Newscenter_img Tags: FOIA, Transparency last_img read more

Rep Vaupel announces release of 20192020 House Republican Action Plan

first_img Plan includes priorities for 2019-2020 legislative termState Rep. Hank Vaupel, of Fowlerville, joined his colleagues on Tuesday for a press conference unveiling the 2019-2020 House Republican Action Plan, which serves as a guide for legislative activity over the next two years.Vaupel, who is serving his second term as chair of the House Health Policy Committee, says he’s encouraged that the plan put emphasis on the need for increased mental health care access, health care affordability and opioid abuse and overdose prevention.“We made great strides last term in the way of mental health care access, but there’s more to be done to eliminate stigma and create an environment in Michigan that is more understanding of and better cares for those experiencing mental health challenges,” Vaupel said.“The opioid epidemic continues to be a struggle this year as well,” he said. “I’m very proud of our collaboration with law enforcement, doctors and substance use specialists last term and I look forward to building on that momentum over the next two years. No one is immune to opioid addiction, and too many have fallen victim already. We must work together to craft effective solutions to prevent further tragedy.”The entire House Republican Action Plan is available to the public on the Michigan House Republican website.### 20Feb Rep. Vaupel announces release of 2019-2020 House Republican Action Plan Categories: Vaupel Newslast_img read more

Bollin House budget sends record funding to roads schools without tax increase

first_img The Michigan House this week passed its state budget plan, which lays the groundwork necessary to build a long-term road funding plan while increasing record funding to Michigan schools without raising taxes, state Rep. Ann Bollin, of Brighton Township, announced today.The budget plan was passed with Bollin’s support.“The House came together– combing through state spending department-by-department and line-by-line—to do the responsible accounting it takes to reduce waste and inefficiency while sending record funding to roads and schools,” said Bollin. “This is a fiscally responsible budget and responsive to the needs of Michigan families. By streamlining our budgets and reducing inefficiencies, we are able to meet more of the priorities that matter most to Michigan families, from schools and roads to environmental protection and workforce development.”Under the proposed budget the current 6% sales tax at the pump would be used exclusively for roads, ensuring that every tax dollar paid at the pump will go to fix Michigan roads and bridges. In addition, the House proposal streamlines and enhances the funding available for K-12 schools by removing higher education line items.Overall, the plan raises the state’s minimum per-pupil foundation allowance $180 per student for all Livingston County schools. This comes on top of the largest annual per-student increase of the past 15 years while continuing to close the gap between the state’s lowest- and highest-funded districts. Early literacy and career training are special focuses as the overall school aid fund would surpass $15 billion.The budget plan also continues investment in state programs and services crucial to protecting our environment and drinking water.Bollin is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and has been working on the budget for the last six months. Bollin has been engaged in developing budget proposals for the state’s agriculture, higher education, general government and transportation needs. 13Jun Bollin: House budget sends record funding to roads, schools without tax increase Categories: Bollin News,Newslast_img read more

Friendsof Charities Raising Money for Overseas Groups—Including Israeli Military Concerns

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesDecember 16, 2014; HaaretzIn the aftermath of the latest war between Israel and Gaza, and with indications that hostilities between Israel and Palestine may yet be renewed as the Palestinian Authority plans to take a bid for statehood and a timetable to get Israel out of the Occupied West Bank to the United Nations, there is a lot of attention in the U.S. to supporting Israel’s armed forces—notably, significant funding in the CRomnibus for the Israel Defense Forces and for the “Iron Dome” missile protection shield. However, assistance for the Israeli military doesn’t flow only from government sources, but also from charitable donors.Haaretz has an article describing some of the complexities of providing assistance to the IDF through charitable arms such as Yashar LaChayal (Hebrew for “straight to the soldier”), Gear Up Our Soldiers (using crowdfunding to raise money), and PizzaIDF (which sends pizza and holiday foods to soldiers on the front lines). A well-known supplier of aid to Israeli soldiers is Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), a registered U.S. 501(c)(3) for which donations by U.S. taxpayers are federally tax deductible.The FIDF and, apparently, many other charities that give to Israeli soldiers indicate that they don’t provide combat or tactical equipment, but they do provide material desired and appreciated by soldiers—for example, hats and neckwarmers for soldiers on Mount Hebron in the Golan Heights, supplied by Yashar LaChayal; ice and travel pillows for soldiers going into Gaza, also from Yashar; and from the FIDF, winter wear for soldiers. However, Gear Up for Our Soldiers has provided tactical gear, such as kneepads, combat gloves, and bulletproof vests.FIDF raised $67.8 million in contributions in 2012 and $61.7 million in 2011, ending 2012 with a fund balance of $87 million. Aside from donations made through community foundations or federated foundations like the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles and the Boston Foundation, the top U.S. foundations providing grants to the FIDF in the past several years, as reported on the Foundation Directory Online, include the foundations of Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, the Circle of Service Foundation (a largely youth-oriented funder in the Chicago metropolitan area), the Mitzi & Warren Eisenberg Family Foundation (established by the co-founder of Bed Bath and Beyond), and the Klarman Family Foundation (founded by investor Seth Klarman). Some seven-figure grants, including $1 million in 2011 and $2 million in 2012, came from the Marcus Foundation (founded by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus) and multiple though smallish grants came from the Pritzker Family Foundation, related to but not controlled by President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce. More seven-figure grants come courtesy of the Saban Family Foundation (established by Haim Saban, whose entertainment distribution firm was known for its “Power Rangers” franchise) and the Baltimore-based Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation—and that’s but a few of the many foundations that have assisted FIDF.It is challenging to think about donating to the Israel Defense Force or Israeli charities that assist Israel in its military efforts, but the strategy of giving to 501(c)(3) public charities with the name “Friends” is a frequently pursued but not well understood mechanism in U.S. charity philanthropy. According to the Jewish Daily Forward, one out of every twenty dollars donated to a Jewish charity goes to a “friends of” group registered in the U.S. The Forward asserts that there are nine large Jewish “friends of”-type charities with administrative structures that include sizable salaries for their executives (for example, compensation in 2012-2013 of $723,000 for Marshall Levin, the executive vice president of the American Committee for Weizmann, almost double of his compensation the previous year).Interestingly, FIDF provides online access to its financial audits and gets a top rating from Charity Navigator. It isn’t clear, however, whether the IRS audits “friends of” organizations, prompting experts to suggest that it would be better to have foreign charities simply register with the IRS to receive donations directly rather than through “friends” groups. However, it might be questionable to think that the Israel Defense Forces or, in other cases, entities that provide combat or technical gear for military purposes, soliciting tax deductible donations. In any case, it is a complicated and controversial issue in U.S. charity and philanthropy.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Just How Public Should Nonprofits Have to Be Reflections on Ownership

first_imgShare12Tweet20Share22Email54 Shares“Key to the Open Door” by Tawheed ManzoorMarch 22, 2017; Chicago TribuneHow much information about public institutions should be public? When we learn about illegal or unethical behavior, we seem to agree that public business should always be conducted in an open manner. Yet, we continue to debate where the limits of public access should be and whether nonprofit organizations should be held to the same standards as governmental bodies. Recent events in Chicago and North Dakota may help further this discussion.Chicago is known for its rough-and-tumble, machine-driven politics. So, it’s not very surprising to find another recent case where the importance of open records laws is very clear. For months, Chicago’s Better Government Association has led a push to force the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, to make public emails from a personal account that concerned city business. In December, he gave up the fight and released thousands of documents with an important story about good government to tell those he serves.The Chicago Tribune reviewed over 2,600 pages of emails and found what it believed were 26 cases where ethics rules had been violated. All were instances that involved “lobbyists, corporate executives and longtime Emanuel associates and campaign donors sought action from—or access to—the mayor or city officials without registering as a lobbyist or reporting their contact with ethics officials, as required by law.”Because of open records laws, the public could learn about “scores of pitches to Emanuel from business owners, representatives from Airbnb advocating against home-sharing regulations, American Airlines executives pushing the mayor to back a merger, Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts seeking security around Wrigley Field and a representative for United Airlines negotiating on the expansion and modernization of O’Hare International Airport.” Chicago Alderman Ameya Payar described the problem of access in a statement he released to the Tribune:These big corporations have direct access, and to them, it doesn’t matter if they follow the law or not, because they can pick up the phone or get a private email and get directly to the person. […] Those officials are willing to meet with the mayor on issues involving their profits, but not with aldermen or workers who want to discuss improving wages and working conditions for their contract workers.Whether or not the city’s Ethics Commission finds actual illegality as it investigates the mayor’s activities, clearly these are matters of public importance, and voters should be aware of them. Do we want to know who is funding nonprofit organizations in the same way we want to know who is influencing government?As the Chicago story plays out, the North Dakota Senate is debating legislation that would exempt nonprofit organizations from open records requirements and allow them to keep donor information private. Dana Schaar Jahner, executive director of the North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations, testified before the legislative committee considering the issue:The types of nonprofits that are sometimes deemed public entities in North Dakota include arts organizations, humane societies, historical societies and domestic violence organizations. We do not believe that personal donor information, such as contact information, tax records and estate plans, should be subject to open records laws.Senator Rich Wardner introduced the bill out of concern that some donors would withhold their funding to avoid publicity. “Nonprofits are the friend of government,” Wardner said. “It helps the nonprofits to fundraise.”Nonprofit organizations are formed for a public purpose and benefit; they have no private owners. They are legally accountable to the states in which they are incorporated and to the federal government, but morally accountable to a wider group of stakeholders that comprise the “public” in public purpose. We recently looked at how the anonymity of donations to nonprofit 501(c)(4) organizations could be corrupting the political process. Does money’s power to give access and influence in the operation of all nonprofit organizations need to be checked or balanced by openness if nonprofits are to remain accountable?—Martin LevineShare12Tweet20Share22Email54 Shareslast_img read more

No agreement is in sight between Germanys biggest

first_imgNo agreement is in sight between Germany’s biggest cable operators and the country’s public broadcasters over the latter’s refusal to pay retransmission fees for their services.“We seriously believe that our legal position is correct and we are willing to defend it at all levels,” said Kabel Deutschland CEO Adrian von Hammerstein, speaking on the opening panel at ANGA COM this morning.“Must carry, must pay,” said von Hammerstein. “In Germany we have a unique situation where the public broadcasters make very good programmes but there are 22 public broadcasters.” Must carry rules mean huge capacity demands on cable, he said.Von Hammerstein said that the fee to subscribers in Germany was “remarkably low” compared to other European countries. “The transmission model we have for free TV is a proven model and we shouldn’t jeopardise that,” he said.He added he was nevertheless “optimistic” that the broadcasters and operators together would find a solution.Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries, speaking on the same panel, said that German consumers paid €8.5 billion to public broadcasters and the dispute was over the relatively small sum of €50 million. He said cable delivers to half of German households and is innovating at “a pace that far exceeds [pubcasters’] innovation”. He said it was “short-sighted” of the broadcasters to argue over such a relatively small sum.Dietmar Schickel, COO, Tele Columbus Group, said Germany’s smaller cable operators did not receive feed-in fees and had launched lawsuits two years ago because of this discrimination. He said a financial contribution from pubcasters would help the smaller operators against larger competitors. Schickel said he believed the smaller operators had a strong legal case to pursue. “We had a [court] decision in Hamburg, but the decision is not yet complete. I think it will be clarified,” he said.Speaking for the other side, Andreas Bereczky, director, production, ZDF, said the public broadcasters were willing to negotiate and that the decision to switch off the signal to cable some months ago “did not come out of the blue”.Karola Wille, chairwoman, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, said public broadcasters needed equal opportunities. She said the courts had said there was no legal right to feed-in fees.Conrad Albert, executive legal, distribution and regulatory affairs for commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat1said private broadcasters still paid feed-in fees to the big three operators and public broadcasters were currently not paying anything, which was not fair.Albert said commercial players said that in the German market average media spend was EUR20 less than the European standard. Cable operators are paid twice – by the content providers and by the subscribers – but subscribers were paying a lot less than they did in other markets. He said a change would mean a wider adjustment to “international standards”.last_img read more

Londonheadquartered music service Spotify is part

first_imgLondon-headquartered music service Spotify is partnering with US network Bravo to build playlists of songs relating to a number of the latter’s shows.The partnership, designed to coincide with Bravo’s November TV premieres will see Spotify build evolving playlists for programmes including The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Vanderpump Rules and Thicker than Water.“These custom playlists will update the day of each episode’s premiere to provide a fun new way to engage fans with their favourite shows,” said Spotify in a blog post. The playlists will be updated weekly to reflect “each series’ tone and theme.”Last month, the BBC teamed up with Spotify, Deezer and YouTube to launch new digital music product, called BBC Playlister, that lets listeners export music they hear on the BBC to online playlists.last_img read more

Vodafone closed the quarter ending March 31 with 9

first_imgVodafone closed the quarter ending March 31 with 9.1 million TV customers and 11.3 million broadband customers in Europe as it moves forward with plans to become a “full service, integrated operator”. Announcing its fiscal fourth quarter and fully year results, the mobile operator said that 25% of its service revenue in Europe now comes from fixed line, compared to just 10% five years ago.“We are well on the way to becoming a full service, integrated operator in our main markets. Through organic investment and acquisition, we now cover 28 million households (and thousands of businesses) across Europe with our own fibre or cable infrastructure,” said Vodafone.“In addition, we can reach a further 21 million households by accessing the incumbent operators’ networks.”The company said that it is due to launch its consumer broadband offering in the UK “in the coming weeks” and that its planned UK TV service will follow “later in 2015.”“As a result will be offering integrated fixed and mobile services in all of our major European markets,” said Vodafone.In the past year, Vodafone completed its acquisition of Spanish cable operator Ono and said it made “strong progress” in integrating KDG in Germany – “combining our fixed and mobile networks and beginning to migrate Vodafone broadband customers to our new infrastructure.”Overall for the year ended March 2015, Vodafone said group revenue was up 10.1% to £42.2 billion, while EBITDA was up at 7.5 year-on-year to £11.9 billion.last_img read more

TV remains the dominant video platform across all

first_imgTV remains the dominant video platform across all demographics, with millennials still spending 80% of their video time with TV, according to the Video Advertising Bureau.The US-based VAB’s second quarter Multi-Screen Insights report claims that TV still commands 90% of total video viewing time and that among teens and young adults “TV is still the principal viewing platform.”However, the migration of video viewers from computer to smartphone has also accelerated, with a 16% increase in smartphone video consumption and an 8% drop in consumers watching video on computers, according to the report.The VAB said that smartphone apps and web use is driven by both young and old viewers, across all ethnicities, but that the largest increases in multimedia usage was among younger consumers.last_img read more

The pay TV industry is due to face a period of un

first_imgThe pay TV industry is due to face a period of “unprecedented global change”, according to Nagra’s latest Pay TV Innovation Forum report.The study, produced in partnership with research consultancy MTM, found that 82% of polled industry executives agreed that competition in the pay TV industry is set to increase over the next five years.Some 71% said they believe that service providers will struggle to grow their businesses during the same period.Three “key disruptive challenges” that were identified by the report were: the rise of cheaper OTT services; changing consumer behaviour and demand; and the rise of content piracy.Two thirds of executives agreed that competition from SVOD services will have a negative impact on pay TV, with the same proportion predicting a new wave of mobile-first services to cater to evolving viewing habits.At 85%, the vast majority of executives agreed that, in order to grow, pay TV service providers will have to “innovate strongly” over the next five years – up from 78% in 2016.Some 74% considered innovation to be a top strategic priority, while 64% said they believed delivering standalone OTT services to be a commercially attractive area and opportunity.“This research shows that while external pressures are intensifying, the pay TV industry still has a strong competitive edge in delivering   video entertainment services,” said Jon Watts, managing partner at MTM.“In this period of change and disruption, those service providers that are prepared and willing to innovate by deploying new pricing models, technology partnerships and improved user experience will be successful in meeting quickly evolving consumer demand.”Nagra’s Pay TV Innovation Forum covers 42 countries across four regions – Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America and Latin America.The study ran from March to September 2017 and the report was put together from analysis of pay TV service provider product and service portfolios, and interviews and surveys with leading industry participants.Access the full report by clicking here.last_img read more

Jette NygaardAndersen Modern Times Group MTG di

first_imgJette Nygaard-AndersenModern Times Group (MTG) digital chief Jette Nygaard-Andersen is to leave the group to pursue new opportunities.Nygaard-Andersen joined MTG in 2003 and has held several managerial positions within the group’s Nordic and international operations and, most recently, with MTG’s digital video content division. She will leave the group at the end of February.MTG CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann said: “I want to thank Jette for her outstanding contribution to MTG over the past 16 years. She has been instrumental in the success of a wide range of our entertainment operations and in our digital transformation. I have enjoyed working closely with Jette and wish her all the best as she pursues opportunities outside MTG.”MTG has also named Lars Torstensson as EVP and head of communications and investor relations for the group, effective from June 19. David Boyd has been named a s interim head of investor relations from January 29.Torstensson is currently chief communications officer at Swedish listed consulting company Sweco and has held communications, investor relations, strategy and business development positions at Gelato and Tele2 Group. He previously worked at Swedbank Robur and Handelsbanken Asset Management.Boyd has most recently been head of investor relations at Northgate Group, Millicom and Inmarsat.Torstensson’s appointment follows the naming of current MTG EVP and head of communications Matthew Hooper as EVP, head of corporate affairs and CEO of NENT Group UK, the UK arm of soon-to-be-split-off broadcasting and streaming arm Nordic Entertainment (NENT).“I am delighted that Lars is joining our team. As we proceed with the split of the company, our priority is to develop and expand MTG’s portfolio of hyper growth global companies in eSports, online gaming and digital video content. Lars’ in-depth knowledge of both finance and communications, combined with his passion for business development, makes him a perfect match for us as we accelerate our development,” said Lindemann.last_img read more

ALTNAGELVIN HOSPITALCRegganDS BRIAN REIDMAGOWAN PA

first_img ALTNAGELVIN HOSPITALCRegganDS BRIAN REIDMAGOWAN PARKSUSPECT ARRESTED OVER MAN SERIOUSLY ASSAULT IN CREGGAN A 36-year-old man has been arrested and taken to the custody suite at Strand Road PSNI station.Detective Sergeant Brian Reid has appealed to anyone who has any information about this incident to contact detectives at Reactive and Organised Crime in Strand Road police station on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 330 28/08/16.Or alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers  on 0800 555 111.SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER MAN SERIOUSLY ASSAULTED IN CREGGAN was last modified: August 29th, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweetcenter_img A man in his 30s has suffered serious injuries after being attacked in Derry.Police said the man was seriously assaulted at about 4 am on Sunday morning, August 28, in Magowan Park in the Creggan area.He was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital for treatment and remains in a serious condition.last_img read more

Irish Water Safety CEO John Leech arriving at the

first_img Irish Water Safety CEO John Leech arriving at the inquest in Buncrana. (North West Newspix)A water safety expert has pleaded with people to buy inexpensive items which could save their lives if their cars become trapped under water.Chief Executive Officer of Water Safety Ireland, John Leech, was speaking at the inquest into the loss of five lives in the Buncrana Pier tragedyThe victims of the drowning tragedy, who were all from Derry, were Sean McGrotty, 49, sons Mark McGrotty, 12, and Evan McGrotty, 8,  Ruth Daniels, 57, and her daughter Jodie Lee Daniels, 14 He also gave a step-by-step guide of what is recommended to people who become trapped in their cars.Surprisingly he first advised people not to use their phones to contact the emergency services.Instead, people should free themselves from their seatbelts, then break a window and allow children to escape the vehicle first before the adults.He added “People have to remember that cars float for a long time in the water and people should get out as quickly as possible and then they can hang onto the cars.”He also revealed he is currently in discussions with the Irish Coastuard Service whereby they issue advice to people trapped in their cars in water.The victims were, from left, Mark McGrotty, 12, and Evan McGrotty, 8, Sean McGrotty, 49, Ruth Daniels, 57, and Jodie Lee Daniels, 14If someone is trapped in their car and do contact the Coastguard Service, they could be given this advice to acted upon immediately, he added.“It is an issue in Ireland and we have people drowning every year,” he said.He added how he also supported a new system called an Automatic Window Opening System which will see cars open their windows if it pitches to a certain level when in water.EXPERT PLEADS WITH PEOPLE TO BUY INEXPENSIVE ITEMS TO HELP THEM GET OUT OF SUBMERGED CARS was last modified: November 23rd, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICEREXPERT PLEADS WITH PEOPLE TO BUY INEXPENSIVE ITEMS TO HELP THEM GET OUT OF SUBMERGED CARSJOHN LEECHLouise JamesSEAN MCGROTTYWATER SAFETY IRELAND ShareTweet Mr Leech, a naval officer for more than 20 years, gave a moving experience of how he has recovered many bodies in his career from both cars and fishing trawlers.He showed those at the inquest at the Lake of Shadows Hotel of some items which could be used to help people get our of their cars if they ended up under water.These included a seatbelt cutter and a centre-punch which could easily break a car window.“These items are very inexpensive, I got some fo them for as little as €10, and they can save a life,” he said.last_img read more

Next Post9yearolds Lemonade Stand Raises Over

first_img Next Post9-year-old’s Lemonade Stand Raises Over $5K For Baby Brother’s Medical Bills Home NewsWatch Red Robin Offering Free Burger, Bottomless Fries To Teachers Next Week Pinterest Linkedin WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY)- Red Robin is saying “thank you” to teachers with a free burger and bottomless fries at its restaurants next month. Tumblr NewsWatch Red Robin Offering Free Burger, Bottomless Fries To Teachers Next Week By Daniella HankeyMay 30, 2018, 08:24 am 793 0 Facebook “We are able to do #BurgerMath because of great teachers who have taken the time to help us grow and learn,” said Dana Benfield, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Red Robin. “Red Robin knows that remarkable people make us better and we look forward to welcoming all educators to our restaurants on June 5 to show our appreciation for all the hard work they put in throughout the school year.” Daniella Hankey Red Robin is also encouraging teachers to share their knowledge of “burger math” on social media using #BurgerMath. Google+ Mail The restaurant chain said to say thanks to those who taught us the fundamentals of #BurgerMath, Red Robin is offering a free tavern double burger and bottomless steak fries on dine-in and to-go orders Tuesday June 5 for any teacher or administrator who presents a valid school ID. Twitter Previous PostDunkin’ Donuts To Offer Free Donut On National Donut Day Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Websitelast_img read more

Previous PostMcDowell County Family Receives Gift

first_img Previous PostMcDowell County Family Receives Gift from Anthony Bourdain Day Before His Death Tumblr FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Sunday, June 17 one resort is honoring fathers in a special way!Fathers can come and enjoy the outdoors as Adventures on the Gorge will be hosting a Father’s Day bbq.They will be pulling their best grills out and cooking everyone’s favorite bbq and steaks, vegetarian options will be available as well. Employees told Newswatch, the event is designed to be very casual and simple just like fathers.A.O.T.G Senior VP, Dave Arnold said, “The food is going to be fantastic we’re open starting at 5 p.m. on Father’s Day we prefer advanced reservations but you can walk on if you need to.”The bbq is $35 to attend. This weekend visitors who participate in any of the activities at A.O.T.G. can bring their father along for free. Pinterest Facebook Google+ Next Post$2.3 Million Water Expansion Comes To Union Local NewsNewsWatch Adventures on the Gorge to host Father’s Day BBQ By Terell BaileyJun 15, 2018, 18:37 pm 474 0 center_img Terell Bailey Bio Coming Soon Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Twitter Linkedin Mail Home NewsWatch Local News Adventures on the Gorge to host Father’s Day BBQlast_img read more

Home NewsWatch Local News Gov Justice announce

first_imgHome NewsWatch Local News Gov. Justice announces $1.39 million in federal grant funding for water line extension in Wyoming County Twitter Facebook A grand total of $10.7 million of the overall CDBG funds awarded in West Virginia will go toward similar water line and wastewater line projects, benefiting thousands of people in seven different counties across the state.Gov. Justice will announce more of West Virginia’s 19 total CDBG awardees over the coming weeks. Previous PostUPDATE: Four Current, Former Richwood Officials Waive Preliminary Hearings Tyler Barker Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.com Linkedin Mailcenter_img Google+ PINEVILLE, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia has secured nearly $1.39 million in federal grant funding that will be used to extend existing water lines in Wyoming County to make water service available to more families in the Upper Huff Creek, Brush Fork and Road Fork areas.“Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how important it is to have clean, reliable water,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s the very lifeblood of all of us, and when you don’t have easy access to water, that can be pretty doggone tough. That’s why we’re so incredibly excited to be able to extend these water lines in Wyoming County and provide for more people than ever before.”These funds are just one piece of $13.1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars that have been dedicated for various water, wastewater and broadband improvement projects throughout West Virginia this year by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.In Wyoming County, part of the grant will be used to construct more than 25,000 linear feet of new water lines to the Upper Huff Creek, Brush Fork and Road Fork areas, located north of Oceana.The project also calls for building a new 54,000-gallon water storage tank in the area, along with a booster station, while also providing additional fire protection measures to the water system to help improve safety and reliability.In total, this line extension project will make water service available to nearly 200 people in northern Wyoming County and the work will position the new water lines in a way that will allow for additional water line extensions to other unserved areas of the county in the future.“Today is a good day for Wyoming County, but we’re not done yet by a long shot,” Gov. Justice said. “As we go forward, we’ve got to keep doing more and more in places where there’s a lot of need, to make sure that those people have access to all the resources and opportunities we can get them.” Local NewsNewsWatchTop Stories Gov. Justice announces $1.39 million in federal grant funding for water line extension in Wyoming County By Tyler BarkerApr 11, 2019, 12:03 pm 427 0 Next PostBeckley Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Charge Pinterest Tumblrlast_img read more