APCraigslist said Friday that it is taking the site’s personals section offline.You can still find furniture or a roommate on Craigslist. But ads seeking romance or sexual connections are no longer going to be available, after Craigslist took down the “personals” section Friday for its U.S. site.The company says it made the change because Congress has passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, meant to crack down on sex trafficking of children. It was approved by a landslide in the Senate earlier this week, as NPR’s Alina Selyukh has reported, but has been met with criticism by free speech advocates and sex workers.As Craigslist wrote, the law seeks “to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.”“Any tool or service can be misused,” Craigslist said. “We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.”The site added: “To the millions of spouses, partners and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!”Proponents of the measure have argued that it makes Internet sites more accountable for the content that users post that could contribute to child sex trafficking.But as Alina reported, tech companies see this as “the first major cutback to the protections that these companies have had under the law.” And sex workers have argued that this will make people who work in the industry less safe, pushing them onto the street or deeper into the dark Web.Trump has not yet signed the bill, which is known as FOSTA. It passed in the House by 388-25 and in the Senate by 97-2.Until 2009, Craigslist had a section of the website called “erotic services,” where people openly advertised sex. That year it changed the name to “adult services” and promised stricter screening, after a medical student in Boston was accused of killing a woman he met through the site, NPR’s Tovia Smith noted. Craigslist eventually stopped listing ads for “adult services” in 2010, as NPR reported, though its personals section has continued until now.The site’s popular “missed connections” section remains in place in the U.S. The personals section is still accessible outside the U.S. — users must confirm that they are 18 and understand they may see adult content.Reddit has also announced policy changes this week. It said that users could not use the site to “solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift involving certain goods and services,” which include:“Firearms, ammunition or explosives;“Drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, or any controlled substances (except advertisements placed in accordance with our advertising policy);“Paid services involving physical sexual contact;“Stolen goods;“Personal information;“Falsified official documents or currency”The Reddit statement adds: “Reddit is not intended to be used as a marketplace and takes no responsibility for any transactions individual users might decide to undertake in spite of this.” As the site wrote, “Always remember: you are dealing with strangers on the internet.”Alina has dug into the legal history of how much responsibility Internet companies have for content published on their sites. Read it here.Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
The Oculus Rift is getting a lot of attention as developers continue to make interesting experiences designed for the virtual reality head-mounted display. Sony has been making similar products for a few years, but they’re not exactly a consumer success. Sony’s newest VR headset, the HMZ-T3W suffers from a flaw more serious than the boring name — the price. This display is priced at £1299, or $2025.You do get a lot for your money with the HMZ-T3W. This face display has two 720p OLED screens, one for each eye so as to create a 3D effect. That’s much higher than the Oculus. The headset has both 2D and 3D modes. It uses a wireless HD signal to playback video content, but can also be connected via an HDMI. Audio is reportedly “high-definition” and in virtual 7.1 surround. Additionally, it looks pretty nice.For power, it has a small battery that can be tethered to the headset, but Sony didn’t say what the expected battery life is. There’s an AC adapter as well if you don’t mind being connected to a wall. Frankly, you shouldn’t be up walking around while wearing a VR headset anyway.Sony is rumored to be working on a 3D head-mounted display for the PS4, but this is a separate product line. Anything produced for the PS4 would be lower quality, and probably much bulkier. The HMZ-T3W would work for PC games, but it’s more expensive than most gaming PCs. Still, if a little DNA from this product gets into the PS4 headset (if it’s real), that could be a compelling product.
Alphabet Inc easily beat Wall Street’s quarterly profit forecasts on Monday, helped by strong mobile advertising sales, sending the shares of Google’s parent higher in after-hours trading to surpass Apple Inc as the most valuable U.S. company.For the first time, the company disclosed the profitability of Google’s search engine and its other online services, and how much it is spending on ambitious technology projects such as self-driving cars.The numbers were lapped up by investors, who saw room for growth in Google’s traditional business, and were relieved to see that spending on new projects it calls ‘Other Bets’ was not as lavish as some had feared.”It’s pretty interesting that 80 percent of YouTube views come from outside of the United States. I didn’t think it would be that high,” said Kevin Kelly, managing partner at Recon Capital. “It demonstrates that the value of YouTube can continue to be extracted,” he said.The operating profit margin for its Google unit was 31.9 percent in the most recent quarter, compared to 25 percent for Alphabet.Alphabet spent $869 million on capital expenditures for the Other Bets in 2015, up from $501 million in 2014. It has not made any projections about if or when those bets cumulatively would become profitable.”As long as the core business continues to operate well with accelerated revenue… investment in those businesses can continue,” said Ronald Josey of JMP Securities.The company said consolidated revenue jumped 17.8 percent to $21.33 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $18.10 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected $20.77 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.Revenue for Other Bets was $151 million, up 29.8 percent from $106 million in the same quarter last year, primarily from its smart-home monitoring unit Nest, Google Fiber, which provides high-speed Internet access, and its life sciences business Verily.Adjusted earnings of $8.67 per share handily beat analysts’ average estimate of $8.10 per share.In a call with analysts, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat attributed the strong earnings to “increased use of mobile search by consumers,” as well as “ongoing momentum” in YouTube and programmatic advertising, referring to the automatic buying of ads.Kelly at Recon Capital said he would not be surprised if YouTube saw a surge in advertising revenues beyond the 17 percent increase it saw during the 2015 fiscal year.Total operating losses on the Other Bets – which include glucose-monitoring contact lenses and Internet balloons – increased to $3.57 billion in the 12 months ended Dec. 31, and $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter.The Google unit houses its Internet and related businesses such as search, ads, maps, YouTube and Android as well as hardware products such as its low-cost Chromebook laptops.Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said on the call that its Gmail service crossed one billion monthly active users last quarter, joining Search, Android, Maps, Chrome, YouTube and Google Play in topping that mark.He also touted the company’s performance during the holiday shopping season, saying that programmatic video impressions doubled this season compared to last, and that 60 percent of them came from mobile devices.But Porat, without providing figures, said the company planned to accelerate capital expenditures in 2016 compared to the previous year.Google’s shares rose almost 5 percent in after-hours trading. Alphabet’s combined share classes were worth $549 billion, compared with Apple, which had a value of about $534 billion.Alphabet will officially overtake Apple in market value if both companies’ shares open around current levels on Tuesday.Google’s advertising revenue increased nearly 17 percent to $19.08 billion, while the number of ads, or paid clicks, rose 31 percent, the company said. Analysts had expected paid clicks to increase 21.8 percent.Advertisers pay Google only if someone clicks on their ad.Net income in the fourth quarter rose to $4.92 billion, or $7.06 per Class A and B share and Class C capital stock, from $4.68 billion, or $6.79 per share. (bit.ly/1WY8V19)Adjusted earnings of $8.67 per share excluded certain one-time items.(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru and Deborah M. Todd in San Francisco; Editing by Savio D’Souza, Stephen R. Trousdale and Bill Rigby) February 2, 2016 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 4 min read Register Now » This story originally appeared on Reuters Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global
5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center WASHINGTON (AP) — High rents are worth it.At least that’s the sentiment of apartment dwellers in New York, San Francisco and Washington, who say they’re more satisfied living in those cities than do renters in far more affordable areas such as Milwaukee, Albuquerque and Detroit.The finding comes from a survey released Thursday by Apartment List, a San Francisco-based company that helps renters find homes. It dovetails with other evidence that people are spending more on rent yet avoiding home ownership given the high cost of a down payment. Renters enjoyed the best of all worlds in Louisville, Fort Worth, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio: High satisfaction at roughly the same levels as the most expensive cities but with average rents below $800.Evidence suggests that many renters are accepting the financial pressures created by expensive cities.About a third of apartment dwellers in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami are forking over half their paychecks for rent, said Jonathan Eppers, CEO of RadPad, whose company is slated to process up to $70 million in rental payments this year. The government defines housing costs in excess of 30 percent of income as burdensome.Nearly 50 percent of renters using RadPad choose to pay with a credit card, even though the company charges them an additional fee for doing so. This suggests to Eppers that they’re trying to smooth out their cash flow because payday seldom lines up with due date for the rent.“More renters than we think are living check to check,” Eppers said. “They’re willing to pay that 3 percent fee in order to make sure that they pay their rent on time.”Nationwide, rents are consuming a greater share of incomes.In April, the median rent climbed 4 percent over the previous 12 months to $1,364, real estate data firm Zillow said Thursday. That’s nearly double the 2.1 percent annual increase in hourly wages tracked by the Labor Department. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How do cataracts affect your vision? Tenants in the most expensive cities expressed more confidence in the local economy, felt safer from crime and enjoyed the parks, recreation and nightlife, according to the survey of more than 18,000 renters.“These are all places that are very, very expensive,” said Andrew Tam, vice president of data science at Apartment List. “It’s this combination of having excellent job opportunities and an amazing lifestyle.”In other words, it appears to reflect the adage that you get what you pay for. The higher prices point to strong demand from renters in cities with solid job markets and cultural and recreational amenities but also limited supplies of apartments. Renter priorities do shift with children. For parents, safety tends to edge out the local economy as the dominant factor.Monthly rent for a two-bedroom in San Francisco averages $4,250. Even so, the availability of higher-paying tech jobs, outdoor space and lifestyle caused renter satisfaction there to be rated “A+.”Washington, with its plum legal and government-related jobs, also earned an A+, and New York drew an A. (A grade at B- or lower was deemed below average.)Cheaper rent proves to be a poor predictor of satisfaction, Tam said. Milwaukee, where rent for a two-bedroom averages $960 a month, earned a C -. Albuquerque ($750 a month) received a C-. Detroit ($610) flunked with an F. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Many renters aspire to own a home. But 70 percent of tenants who dealt with a rent hike in the past two years say they “cannot afford” to buy at this point, according to survey results released Monday by mortgage giant Freddie Mac.“We’ve found that rising rents do not appear to be playing a significant role in motivating renters to buy,” David Brickman, an executive vice president at Freddie Mac, said in a statement.“This contradicts what some in the housing market think as they expect more renters ought to be actively looking to purchase a home.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Men’s health affects baby’s health too
May 21, 2014 558 Views To its credit, Fannie Mae did not expect soaring growth in the 2014 housing market in the first place. But even its hopes for modest growth have cooled as the lingering effects of a harsh winter and a combination of reduced affordability and consumer reticence regarding mortgages weigh down the national housing market.In its latest economic forecast, released Wednesday, Fannie reported that housing remains the weakest link in the national economy. Through the first three months of 2014, existing-home sales, new single-family home sales, single-family housing starts, and multifamily housing starts all declined year-over-year.Fannie found that existing-home sales, which comprised roughly 90 percent of sales activity in March, edged down 0.2 percent to 4.59 million—the slowest sales pace since July 2012. Sales of lower-priced homes also showed a dramatic year-over-year decline, which Fannie attributes to less demand from investors.The new homes market plunged 14.5 percent in March, an eight-month low. However, this sharp decline in sales amid slowly growing supply pushed the months’ supply nationally up to six months, in line with the historical average and a marked improvement for an inventory that just a few months ago was less than four months in some areas.Still, Fannie is hanging on to its cautious optimism. Resales, for example, edged up by 0.2 percent in March, only the second time in nine months that an uptick occurred there. Fannie is also pinning hope for slow-but-steady growth on the results of its April consumer survey, which showed that 42 percent of those polled think it’s a good time to sell. “As consumers become more confident in the selling environment and more supply enters the market, it will help to boost housing turnover,” Fannie reported.Fannie is also optimistic—if guardedly so—that the spring and summer buying seasons will bring modest gains in the housing market. The agency’s tempered optimism is a slight backpedalling from its beginning-of-the-year predictions that spring itself would usher in a steady rebound in housing.Standing in the way, however, is the impending rise in mortgage rates, which are expected to end the year above 5 percent, and tightening lending regulations that, while designed to keep Americans from overspending, make it tough for many banks to write mortgages.On the plus side, Fannie found that pending home sales, which record contract signings on existing-home sales and typically lead closings by one to two months, broke a streak of eight consecutive monthly declines in March by rising 3.4 percent. This was their highest level since November. And purchase mortgage applications continued to trend up modestly from the nearly two-decade low they hit in February, but were still down more than 20 percent from the previous April.A main constraint for potential homebuyers remains banks’ willingness to lend. The Federal Reserve Board Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey, released quarterly, has shown continued tightening in subprime and nontraditional mortgages. However, Fannie believes recovery hinges on people more than regulations. “Given the current regulatory landscape, we believe rising employment and income are more likely to bolster housing demand rather than easing credit conditions,” Fannie reported. in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Fannie Trims Growth Forecast in Wake of Q1 Disappointment Existing-Home Sales Fannie Mae Forecast New Home Sales 2014-05-21 Scott_Morgan Share
Competitive Market Forces Buyers to Consider Options Share The competitive homebuying market brought on by short inventory supply is causing potential buyers to keep their renting options open, according to the latest Zillow Group Report.Zillow found that on average renters spend about 10 weeks looking for a new place. Buyers spend about 17 weeks. Add to that the fact that at almost half of all buyers are first-time buyers, and 54 percent of buyers do not get the first house they bid on, and suddenly it forces house hunters to consider staying in rental properties longer, Zillow reported.The times only get longer the lower the income of the buyer. Low-income renters spend on average 12 weeks looking for a rental, Zillow found. And for many renters, buying is not a financial option. The median income of homebuyers is $87,500 a year, while renters make, on average, $37,500.“The line between renting and buying is blurry, and that’s a sign of the times,” said Zillow chief marketing officer Jeremy Wacksman. “It’s difficult and time-consuming to find a home to move to, especially in competitive housing markets. Savvy shoppers have a Plan B, hoping to buy if it works out, but willing to sign a lease for a home if they don’t make a deal by the time they need to move.”According to Zillow, among those who bought a home in the last 12 months, 66 percent of millennials considered renting as well. Just over half (54 percent) of Generation X buyers considered renting, as did 32 percent of Baby Boomer buyers.Younger renters are also more flexible when looking for a home to rent—63 percent of Millennials and 59 percent of Generation X renters considered buying while looking for a rental. Among renters over 50, most did not consider buying at all.Renters, once an afterthought to many in the housing industry, have become a significant pool. Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the homeownership rate hit 63.5 percent in Q3. While that’s an improvement over Q2, it’s barely about a half-century low. Homebuyers Renters Single Family Rental Market 2016-10-31 ScottMorgan1 in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News October 31, 2016 533 Views
Go back to the e-newsletterHurtigruten is giving travel agents the chance to go into the draw to win one of two Apple Watches with its ‘Sail Small Win Big’ promotion.To enter, agents need to make and deposit any valid Norway Coastal Voyage or Explorer Voyage booking with Discover Travel Shop between February and March 2016.The ‘Classic Round Voyage’ hugs the Norwegian coastline from Bergen up to Kirkenes, where it turns around and starts its journey south back to Bergen. There are more than 50 optional excursions along the way, from husky sledging to snowmobiling or a midnight concert in the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso.Go back to the e-newsletter
RelatedHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows DestinationsMuggles all over the country are poised with excitement for the penultimate Potter film.Fantasy Holidays; Quidditch Ewok eco-village & skiing Star WarsFantasy Holidays; Quidditch World Cup; Ewok eco-village & skiing Star WarsWizarding Holidays: World’s Most Wizardly DestinationsSkyscanner goes on a magic trip to reveal the homes of wizards around the world Harry Potter fever is about to strike the Muggle world once again with the release of the 6th film in the series – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Skyscanner presents the ultimate Harry Potter tour, where fans of wizards, witches and wands can explore the Potter universe and visit all the places associated with the Potter films and books.So if you’re a real Harry Potter fan, jump on your broomstick, start your flying car or just grab your floo powder and visit these famous Potter landmarks. Or if your wand is broken and your wizarding skills just aren’t up to par, you can always find a cheap flight on Skyscanner with the rest of us Muggles.1. London Kings Cross StationPotter World: the famed Platform 9 ¾ is where Harry and his wizarding pals hop aboard the steaming Hogwarts Express at the start of each term on their way to their magical school.Muggle World: the actual platform used for the filming was Platform 4, but Network Rail have erected a Platform 9 ¾ sign and a luggage trolley magically disappearing into the wall to honour the story, which has made Kings Cross station a must see for fans on the Potter circuit. Find cheap flights to London.2. Goathland, North YorkshirePotter World: Hogsmeade Station is the place where Harry and friends disembark the Hogwarts Express before making the onward journey to Hogwarts School.Muggle World: Goathland station is a real station in North Yorkshire that was used as the film set for Hogsmeade and Potter fans still flock to get their pictures taken at this now famous landmark. Unfortunately you won’t see Hogwarts in the distance as in the films – it was created using special effects. Find cheap flights to Leeds-Bradford3. Alnwick Castle, EnglandPotter World: the grounds outside Hogwarts where Harry and his classmates have their first ever broomstick flying lesson.Muggle World: the second largest inhabited castle in England after Windsor Castle, it was used in the filming of the exterior of Hogwarts for the flying lesson scene as well as when Harry crash lands the flying car. Several other locations were also used to film parts of Hogwarts including: Christ Church, Oxford, Durham Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral and Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire. Find cheap flights to Newcastle4. London ZooPotter World: the place where Harry realises he is a Parselmouth – i.e. fluent in snake speak – during Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone.Muggle World: the reptile house in London Zoo was used to film this slithery scene. Why not see if you can discuss the latest in reptilian fashion with a boa constrictor too? Find cheap flights to London5. ScotlandPotter World: though never specifically mentioned in the books, JK Rowling has remarked in interviews that Scotland was the logical setting for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the place where the vast majority of Harry and co’s adventures take place.Muggle World: Scotland is well known for its castles, mansions and noble houses, all of which may have provided Rowling with inspiration for Hogwarts. Glen Nevis was used for some of the Quidditch scenes, and the West Highland Railway was used to film the journey of the Hogwarts Express which also takes in the incredible Glenfinnan Viaduct. Find cheap flights to Scotland6. BulgariaPotter World: Bulgaria is home to Durmstrang Institute’s wizarding student and international Quidditch champion, Viktor Krum.Muggle World: Bulgaria’s White Brotherhood – a group who believe in supernatural beings of great power, collect in the Seven Lakes region of the Rila Mountains to perform a spiritual dance every year. Here, over a thousand people dressed in white robes move slowly around in huge concentric circles. The spectacle is so impressive that Michael Palin visited the area and filmed it for his BBC documentary series, New Europe. Find cheap flights to Bulgaria7. IrelandPotter World: the Emerald Isle is home to many magical creatures in the Potter Universe including Imps, (small mischievous creatures), Porlocks, (horse guardians from southern Ireland) and Kelpies (water demons). Ireland is also well known in the wizarding world for being the proud winners of the 1994 Quidditch World Cup.Muggle World: catch a hurling match, which is about as close as a Muggle can get to the sport of Quidditch. A hugely popular sport in Ireland, most towns have a hurling field and team. Find cheap flights to Ireland8. WalesPotter World: home to the “Welsh Green” dragon, this species prefers to nest in high mountain regions. It mainly hunts sheep and small mammals but tends to avoid human contact. Muggle World: climb Wales’ highest and most famous mountain, Snowdon. A typical climbing party takes around 5-6 hours to reach the summit and come down again, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you may just catch a glance of a Welsh Green. Pembrokeshire in Wales is also the film location for Shell Cottage, home of married couple Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour which will feature in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows film. Find cheap flights to Wales 9. NorwayPotter World: home to the native Norwegian Ridgeback dragon which inhabits the northern mountains, this beast has venomous fangs and feeds on large animals and sometimes aquatic mammals. Hagrid succeeds in hatching a Norwegian Ridgeback egg but eventually gives it to Charlie Weasley who takes the dragon to the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary.Muggle World: Norway’s mountains and fjords are a paradise for wildlife; we don’t know about dragons, but trolls are a strong part of Norse mythology, said to be devious and fearsome creatures living underground in hills, caves or mountains. Find cheap flights to Norway10. RomaniaPotter World: this eastern European country is home to the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary, a preservation area created for the protection and study of dragons. The largest dragon sanctuary in the Potter universe, it was the preferred supplier of dragons for the Triwizard Tournament.Muggle World: Transylvania in Romania is well known for its spooky, reputedly haunted castles. Ever since Bram Stoker used it as the setting for his Dracula novel, the region has been shrouded in supernatural folklore and associated with vampires, who also form part of the wizarding world in the Potter series. Find cheap flights to Romania11. Wollongong AustraliaPotter World: home to the Woollongong Warriors, one of the strongest Quidditch teams in the Harry Potter Universe and dominators of the Australian Quidditch league, their rivalry with the Thundelarra Thunderers is legendary amongst the Australian magical community as documented in JK’s book: Quidditch Through the Ages.Muggle World: Woollongong is an obvious reference to very similar sounding Wollongong, a city in New South Wales, Australia, noted for its numerous surfing beaches, scenery and botanic gardens, so no doubt an ideal place for wizards to obtain essential ingredients for their potions. Find cheap flights to Australia12. Orlando FloridaThe Harry Potter Wizarding World Theme Park will offer possibly the most Harry Potter-esque experience possible in the Muggle world. Due to open in 2010, the park promises to ‘immerse fans in the adventures of the world’s most popular wizard’. Find cheap flights to Orlando13. EdinburghNo Harry Potter fan can omit Edinburgh as part of their tour. It was in this fine city (which is also home of Skyscanner) that JK Rowling completed the first book in her series – Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone – reputedly doing much of the writing in cafes around the city. To the dismay of Potter fans, one of her favourite spots, Nicolson’s Café, has since turned into an all-you-can eat Chinese restaurant. However, another one of JK’s haunts, The Elephant House still stands and a coffee with a bagel here is a must for any Potter Fan. Find cheap flights to EdinburghOther Venues in the Potter UniverseNumerous other buildings were used for film locations including Bodleian Library, Oxford (Hogwarts interiors), Australia House, The Strand London (Gringott’s Bank), Martins Heron, Berkshire (Privet Drive) and Leadenhall Market, London (Diagon Alley).For more on the Harry Potter World visit: The Harry Potter WikiTo find flights to more Muggle locations visit: SkyscannerReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
Categories: Lucido News,News 12Apr House approves Rep. Lucido’s bill allowing parents to better protect their children The Michigan House today approved state Rep. Peter Lucido’s legislation allowing parents, foster parents and guardians to better protect their families by legally allowing them to monitor their children’s phone conversations and electronic devices.Under current law, it is illegal to overhear, record, amplify, or transmit private conversations without the permission of everyone involved, regardless of their age.In Michigan, it’s legal for a participant in a conversation to record it, but not a third party who is not a part of the conversation.“Parents, foster parents and guardians are and should be responsible for their children, and the opportunity to listen to the conversations is a good way to prevent children from serious danger,” said Lucido, of Shelby Township. “We must remain vigilant to ensure the safety of our children and our communities.”Lucido’s bill confirms the right of parents, foster parents and guardians to monitor their children’s phone calls and electronic devices until the child turns 18 and parents are no longer legally responsible for their behavior.House Bill 4891 advances to the Senate for further consideration.###
### 19Dec Rep. Albert’s system to evaluate economic incentives headed to governor for consideration The state House provided its final approval to Rep. Thomas Albert’s plan to determine the effectiveness of Michigan’s economic incentive programs, sending the measure to the governor for consideration.Albert’s measure would require the state to hire an independent outside contractor to evaluate and recommend changes to the state’s economic incentive programs, which generally provide business tax incentives with the goal of promoting job creation and economic development.“We owe it to taxpayers to study these programs thoroughly and determine whether they work in Michigan’s best interests,” said Albert, of Lowell, chair of the House Financial Liability Reform Committee. “Are these incentives worth the money Michigan invests or forgoes? The best way to truly find out is with an open, honest and complete evaluation from an independent reviewer.“Whether you lean for or against economic incentives in general, we should all be able to support this huge step toward an accountable and transparent government.”An independent analysis of each incentive program would help determine which programs should continue, which should be improved and which should be eliminated. Evaluations would determine whether stated goals of incentive programs are being met. Reviews also would consider economic impact and effects on other businesses, along with impact on the state budget.House Bill 6052 is now awaiting Gov. Rick Snyder’s review. Categories: Albert News,News
Share3TweetShareEmail3 SharesFebruary 2, 2015; Sacramento BeeSure, we can all find books in our local libraries, but does your library let you check out a camera? Maybe a printer? Or how about a sewing machine? If you live around Sacramento, California, you may be in luck. The Sacramento Public Library is launching a program called “Library of Things” to expand its collection beyond just books, films, and music to provide other resources community members might need, from tools to technology.According to library spokesman Malcolm Maclachlan, the idea behind the program came from its patrons who live in urban settings and don’t necessarily have the space for objects they don’t normally use or would use only on occasion. “If you need to use a tool once, you don’t necessarily need to own it.”The question of what exactly will be available for lending and borrowing will depend on what the community suggests. Community members have been able submit their ideas through the library’s website and will be able to continue to do so through next week. Once ideas have been submitted, they will appear as comments on the page. The most popular objects will be purchased. (Within reason, of course; the library has allotted a budget of $3,900.) So far, the two most popular ideas, tied at 150 votes each, have been a sewing machine and video games—clearly, a variety of demographics are being served here. In response, the library has already bought six sewing machines and expects to begin circulating them by mid-February.Other suggestions also include practical items like laptops, phone chargers, and instructional aids for schools (such as calculators). And then there’s the suggestion for a drone. I guess you never know when it could come in handy. However, jokes aside, the project might encourage individuals to invest their time in something they may not have had previous access to, taking up photography with a borrowed camera or sewing on a rented machine.“It could get people interested in sewing and crafting who maybe can’t afford it,” said Stephanie Bucknam, a volunteer at the library. Bucknam offered to teach a sewing class at the library upon hearing about the program. “I thought since I already volunteer, I should volunteer time for this.”The community the library is so diligently serving is the same community that forked over $12 extra dollars per household last year to ensure it could continue functioning properly. Like many other local libraries, funding and contributions are needed to ensure they can continue to provide necessary services. For this project, some of the funding is coming through a federal grant, while another $2 million in funding has also given the project financial stability, according to the library’s director, Rivkah Sass.The “Library of Things” is only part of a larger creative development of public libraries. In a response to our changing society, libraries are going “bookless,” lending tools, offering classes, or expanding into research institutions to become modern forums of innovation. Last September, a new initiative, Outside the Lines, recruited libraries from all over the country to participate in a weeklong event to celebrate the “creativity and innovation happening in libraries.”Lori Easterwood, the manager of the “Library of Things” program, also hopes it will remind the public of the impact a library can have in its community. “It’s when you create a project that gets people’s attention that you remind them about the other things the library has to offer.”—Shafaq HasanShare3TweetShareEmail3 Shares
Share39TweetShareEmail39 SharesU.S. Department of Agriculture / 20180710-RD-LSC-1358October 31; Rewire.NewsOn November 6th, the people of Maine will have a chance to vote on a referendum that would provide home care to any adult unable to perform at least one activity of daily living—for example, one who is unable to bathe, dress, or eat—without assistance. Maine’s proposed law—known on the ballot as Question 1—is the first in the nation to propose a universal home care benefit. “If passed, [the law] will guarantee that every senior, every Mainer with a disability, gets the care they need to stay at home,” Mike Tipping, communications director at Mainers for Homecare, told Bryce Covert at Rewire.News.Mainers for Homecare is the coalition behind the ballot measure. The measure has the support of over 60 organizations, according to the organization’s website, including the Maine AFL-CIO, Maine Council of Churches, Maine Small Business Coalition, and the Maine Direct Care Alliance.Maine has the distinction of having the oldest population in the country, with a median age of 44.6. By 2030, the number of residents over 65 will double. Families are already confronting a major gap in our health care system; the kind of in-home services that help elders remain safe, healthy, and independent are not covered by Medicare. Only if you are living in poverty—and thus eligible for Medicaid—can you access this type of long-term care support. For Maine’s middle-income families who have to pay out of pocket, the cost of home care—averaging $50,000 per year—is prohibitive.The ballot measure would establish a trust fund for universal, free home care, supported by revenue from a new 3.8 percent tax on incomes over $128,400. Income above this level is not subject to Social Security tax, so the burden on the two percent of high-wage earners who would pay the tax is small. By contrast, the public benefit is considerable: it is expected that the tax would generate $180 million a year. The University of Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service estimates some 21,000 people will qualify for services under the law.Because of Governor Paul LePage’s persistent refusal to implement a previous ballot initiative to expand Medicaid, the new trust fund would be controlled not by the legislature but by a democratically elected board which would include three direct care workers, three service recipients, and three representatives from home care agencies. The Universal Home Care Board would be responsible for ensuring that 77 percent of the funds allocated to the trust go to workers’ wages, an effort to use the law to improve the quality of caregiving jobs.Direct care work is among the fastest-growing occupations in the state—as it is nationally. But poor wages—averaging around $11 per hour—inhibit recruitment and lead to high turnover, as NPQ’s Amy Costello has reported. Maine currently has such a severe shortage of home care workers that 6,000 hours of needed care go unstaffed each week. The hope is that by bringing more money into the system, wages will rise to help meet the demand for care.Maine’s Question 1 is supported by Caring Across Generations, a nonprofit organization that is building a movement around the need for quality long-term supports and services. Caring Across Generations also worked with Hawaii advocates to pass the Kupuna Caregivers Act in 2017, the first publicly funded long-term care program. Hawaii’s law, however, is considerably narrower than Maine’s Question 1, providing a $70 per day stipend to family caregivers who remain in the workforce. The $70 can be used to pay for home care services, adult day care, or other supports. By narrowing the scope of the legislation, a tax hike was avoided, allowing the bill to move through the legislature.Question 1 is also controversial because it raises taxes. Opponents argue that the tax will discourage health care professionals, also in short supply, from moving to Maine. “We have a workforce crisis already, and this increase—which would make our income tax rate among the highest in the country—would be a disaster,” said Jeffrey Austin, vice president of government affairs for the Maine Hospital Association, told Judith Graham of Kaiser Health News. (Of course, one might question why doctors earning six-figure salaries should be favored over homecare workers earning $11 an hour).The Home Care and Hospice Alliance, a trade association, has also come out against the ballot initiative, claiming it will cost too much to provide universal coverage, regardless of financial need. AARP has remained neutral but has expressed reservations concerning the funding mechanism.Nonetheless, for families in need of care, the ballot initiative could be a lifeline. Rick Alexander, a 70-year-old retired school librarian, is caring for his wife, Debbie, who is 64 and has multiple sclerosis. Alexander told Judy Graham, “We brought in some paid help years back, but we couldn’t do that for very long: it’s too expensive.” As her condition worsens, Alexander worries that the physical and emotional challenges will make it impossible for him to care for Debbie on his own, at home.“It’s been emotional,” said Tipping from Mainers for Homecare. “I have never had so many people tell such heartbreaking stories when they’re signing a petition. Everyone has a caregiving story.”—Karen KahnShare39TweetShareEmail39 Shares
Bulgarian telco and pay TV operator Vivacom has been acquired by newly registered company Viva Telecom Bulgaria.NEF Telecom has sold its 93.99% stake in the telco following the receipt of regulatory approval to Viva Telecom, a consortium that includes Russia’s VTB Capital and Hungary’s Corporate Commercial Bank.Under the terms of the deal, worth €130 million, Vivacom’s debt has been reduced to €588 million from approximately €1.7 billion.
BT is set to boost its music offering through a streaming deal with major label Universal Music. The agreement, which is yet to be formally announced, will see BT initially offer some 150 albums to stream, with plans to expand this offering with more content and label deals.The deal will extend BT’s existing TV music offering, which already includes music videos, live concerts, documentaries and karaoke – with viewers able to watch different playlists or a select their favourite music videos.This is free to BT Unlimited TV package customers, or costs £3 (€3.60) per-month as a bolt-on to other BT TV packages.The news came as BT signed a deal with the NBA to air exclusive live TV coverage of top basketball games and programmes on BT Sports in the UK and Ireland.
Yahlive, the Abu Dhabi-based satellite joint venture between SES and UAE satellite operator Yahsat, is the most popular satellite broadcast provider for Farsi-speaking viewers across the Middle East and south-west Asia, according to a report by Ipsos Connect.According to the research, Yahlive’s market share amongst Farsi speakers increased from 20% in 2014 to 34% last year. Among satellite users, Yahlive’s market share increased from 27% to 49% over the same period.The report found that Farsi-speaking DTH viewer numbers in Tajikistan exceeded two million in 2015, while viewer numbers of exclusive Farsi-based terrestrial networks in Afghanistan and the UAE reached 8.94 million. Combined, the total number of viewers of Farsi content over DTH Terrestrial Networks grew by approximately 50% between 2014 and 2015 from north of 26 million to 39 million.The research also found that Farsi-speaking DTH veiwers across the region grew by 75% from 16 million in 2014 tio 28 million in 2015.“Yahlive enjoys an impressive retention rate of 88% across Farsi-speaking communities who are found in multiple markets including Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, and the UAE. The show of loyalty for Yahlive programming is the highest in the industry, and this remarkable performance is directly linked to our efforts to deliver premium content that people want to watch time and again. The reliability of our broadcast also works in our favour with respect to winning followers as does our customer focus,” said Ammar Baranbo, chief operating officer of Yahlive.“For a community limited by the relatively small number of terrestrial Farsi language channels, satellite broadcasters pick up much of the responsibility for providing truly differentiated and compelling viewing content, and this is an area in which Yahlive has proven to be especially effective and highly successful.”
The continued strength of YouTube along with mobile gains helped Google parent company Alphabet to report significant second quarter growth.Speaking on the company’s Q2 earnings call, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that YouTube showed “strong momentum” and said that video is the “killer format on mobile”.Though the company did not break out specific figures for YouTube, Pichai reiterated its claim that YouTube reaches “more 18-34 and 18-49 [year-olds] than any other TV network, broadcast or cable.”“Every indication we see is that the growth is very, very strong, being driven by mobile, and it’s growing globally as well. Overall, I think engagement is very, very healthy,” he said.The Google boss revealed that more than 1,000 YouTube content creators are now crossing the 1,000 subscribers mark every day.He also highlighted the gains YouTube is making in the live video space, with YouTube’s live–stream time up threefold since the beginning of the year.The service also now supports 360 degrees live video and also the ability for creators to ‘go live’ direct from the YouTube mobile app.“Earlier in the quarter, we teamed up with BT to live–stream the Champions League and Europa League finals on YouTube in the UK. This special event was UK’s biggest ever live–stream,” said Pichai.“All these innovations are a big reason why partner revenue has averaged 50% growth over the last three years.”Overall, for the quarter ended June 30, Alphabet reported a 21% year-on-year increase in revenue to US$21.5 billion (€19.4 billion), while net income climbed 24% to US$4.88 billion.Alphabet chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, said that the primary driver for growth was the increased use of mobile search by consumers and that the company also benefited from solid growth in desktop and tablet search as well as continued strength in YouTube and programmatic advertising.“Our terrific second quarter results, with 21% revenue growth year on year, and 25% on a constant currency basis reflect the successful investments we’ve made over many years in rapidly expanding areas such as mobile and video. We continue to invest responsibly in support of our many compelling opportunities,” said Porat.
Former Sky chief executive Sam Chisholm has died after a short illness. Chisholm, who was 78, helmed Sky from 1989 until 1997, overseeing its merger with rival British Satellite Broadcasting to form BSkyB.Sam ChisholmChisholm, known for his ruthlessness as an executive as well as discreet personal generosity, played a major role in ensuring Sky’s survival and success, helping to secure crucial Premier League rights and deals with major Hollywood studios.He remained on the BSkyB board for two years after retiring from the UK pay TV outfit in 1997 before returning to Australia at the end of the 1990s.The New Zealander had previously worked as chief executive of Nine Network in Australia, a job he returned to briefly in the 2000s. He led media mogul Kerry Packer’s Nine over a period when it was confirmed as the country’s leading TV network in terms of both audience ratings and revenue.Nine Network described its former CEO as “a pugnacious go-getter” and “so-called ‘starmaker’…with a big chequebook and loud opinions”.“Nicknamed a legend in his own lunchtime for his lavish lifestyle at work and play – and the man who popularised the phrase ‘losers have meetings, but winners have parties’,” it said.“Always controversial and a larger than life figure, he left Nine for Britain and Murdoch’s BSkyB and returned ten years later to a very different and challenging world in Australian television.“Nine recognises the unique role he played with the Network and for Australian television, and sends their condolences to the extended family and friends on his passing today, in particular his wife Sue and daughter Caroline.”Chisholm, who underwent a double lung transplant in 2003, served as a director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute from 2000-07 and as chairman of the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplant Authority from 2009-12.He was inducted into Australia’s television Hall of Fame in 2004 and presented with a Gold Logie award.
Switzerland’s competition watchdog is to launch an in-depth examination of telecom operator Sunrise’s planned acquisition of UPC Switzerland from Liberty Global.Sunrise said the announcement of the detailed probe of the deal by COMCO/WEKO was in “in line with [its] expectation”.COMCO said that its preliminary look at the deal had revealed some indications that the combination could create or reinforce a dominant position in different markets. The regulator said that it was concerned that the merger of the pair could have an anti-competitive impact on the supply of retransmission rights for sports events for pay TV and on the broadband access market.COMCO said its investigation had also suggested that the merger could create or reinforce a collective dominant position between Sunrise and Swisscom in the high-speed internet and fixed telephony markets, the linear TV distribution market and, at a regional level over UPC’s footprint, the market for video-on-demand services.Under Swiss law, COMCO has four months to complete its phase II probe.Sunrise and Liberty Global agreed the CHF6.3 billion (€5.6 billion) transfer of cable operator UPC Switzerland at the end of February, in a move designed to position Sunrise as the leading converged challenger to Swisscom.Sunrise said that it expected the deal would be approved by the competition authorities on the grounds that the acquisition would intensify competition in the telecommunications market. A decision by COMCO/WEKO is expected by beginning of October 2019 at the latest. Sunrise anticipates that the transaction will be completed in the fourth quarter 2019.Separately, UPC Switzerland has committed to invest CHF40 million this year in its network, products and customer services.Existing UPC customers will be allowed to replace their legacy services with the company’s latest products, with most able to do so at the same price as their current packages, according to the operator.UPC said that it had installed over 130,000 new TV set-tops since launching its advanced devices in the market in October last year. The company plans to launch its latest Gigabit broadband offering later this year with new DOCSIS 3.1 modems.“Today, we have a full line-up of innovative and attractively priced products and services. Our new UPC TV experience is proving to be very popular with our customers, our fast Internet with 600 Mbit/s surfing speed is available throughout Switzerland and we now have highly attractive unlimited mobile offers including EU roaming. To make sure that our existing customers also benefit from this, we have started a two-year programme to bring these new products and speeds to them even faster,” said UPC Switzerland CEO Severina Pascu.“Through this programme, over 50% of digital TV customers will be able to enjoy the new UPC TV experience with a brand new box by the end of the year. In addition, various customers have already received, or will receive, speed increases as part of the programme. And we will make sure that customers have better access to further improved customer service.”
VGTRK-backed Russian thematic channel provider Digital Television Russia (DTR) is at MIPCOM for the first time this year as it looks to forge international partnerships for expansion into markets globally. Chairman Dmitry Mednikov talked to DTVE about the company’s plans.What is driving demand for your thematic channels within the Russian market and what genres have performed best?We work across many content genres and in all categories our channels are within the top-3 category. Twelve months ago we launched Moolt, a pre-school animation channel. Today this is the #1 kids channel in Russia, it preforms better than many other international kids channels who broadcast locally.DTR’s ‘Russian Romance’, a female skewed TV series and movies channel is another success story for us. We are traditionally strong in the factual content genre – we currently have an unmatched portfolio of seven channel brands, with ‘My Planet’ being the #1 factual channel. It continues to significantly outperform other international factual channels in Russia. Last year we rebranded T24 (Turbo channel) which now holds the fort as a younger male-skewed channel, with key content and programming genres focusing on airspace, military technology, auto and other flagship shows like Polygon, where hosts drive tanks or fly air-jets. Recently, we launched The ‘Living Planet’ channel which focuses on all thing wild life, and it performs extremely well for us.What further plans do you have to develop your offering for the domestic market over the coming year?We are constantly evolving as a local and international media business and invest research studies. We look at ‘audience preference’ and try to understand our hard-to-reach audience. We promote programming on the channel in the most appropriate way and try to understand the social trends in order to be in line with the coming changes.We are at MIP and all around the world to source and bring to domestic market the best content productions. We are very excited about production from new markets like Latin America, China and India.What brands, content and formats from your Russian properties can translate internationally and how do you plan to commercialise these? Will you focus on selling content, licensing formats or licensing channel brands, for example? What other products or activities could emerge from international partnerships?We are in the business of pay-TV, so we operate on a dual-revenue stream basis – affiliate revenue and advertising sales is our focus. All our linear content has digital extensions like VOD, mobile and internet rights. And we creating an exciting experience with social gaming. Licensing consumer products and content syndication is another strong plan for us. We target emerging middle-class audiences and local production on our channels is very important. We have strong Russian pay-TV brands which are showing high potential and strong market share. We are open to commercial discussion in producing international channels for a Russian diaspora outside of Russia.Linear channels – Moolt which will be ANI in Latin America. We are in the process of research and testing for India.T24 and our Living Planet channel is set become a successful younger male and family channel. The format for our Russian Romance channel is great for female-skewed audiences; and we created a new international channel brand for our foreign audiences which is based on Russian ballet, classical dance and fashion which we plan to introduce to Asia.Do you plan to market channel brands internationally as well as content formats, and, if so, which brands?We plan to come to market with MOOLT, Planeta Vivo (Living Channel) and SERIAMOR a (Russian Romance).In each region it is going to be local brands and local programming strategies.What specifically is planned from the collaboration with Prasar Bharati? Do you expect other markets to follow the same pattern?This is very big and important project for us. Being a commercial arm of VGTRK we have strong social responsibility. Hence the areas where we are collaborating with PBClosing the information gap between India and Russia. The more people in both countries know and understand about respective culture, technology, or business, the more educational, cultural, business, tourism exchange will all take place through this collaboration.New marketing and distribution opportunities will boost local production and will give an opportunity for Indian talent to introduce their content in Russia and vice versa.One of our partner company distributes ZEE Television portfolio in Russia and we see strong viewership growth and interest to Indian content in Russia. We are considering a partnership with BRIC programmers to grow our business domestically.DTR has best expertise in creating channels for emerging middle class and DTR is excited to collaborate with PB which owns the strongest local content library to produce pay TV channels in India. This is targeted for a growing Indian middle-class audience, which is expected to grow up to 40% in the next 5 years.What kinds of JV or partnership do you think will work best internationally in terms of the ownership structure, management etc.?All markets are different in terms of local requirements. Our key principle is equal rights and strong vote in decision making for everyone at the table, and we should bring additional value to each partner.You mention plans specifically for the Middle East and Latin America. What is your assessment of the opportunity in each of these markets and how can your offering be tailored for each?We are company which has the expertise to create content for middle-class audiences. DTR offers premium content at accessible rates. DTR’s growth drives overall pay-TV growth in Russia and it benefits the entire ecosystem. Pay TV market penetration is at 90% today compared to 31% 5 years ago when we launched our first channel – My Planet. Our portfolio allows our affiliates partners to form sub-basic local packages which are affordable. This is where we foresee as an opportunity for us as a programmer, to work in collaboration with Latin American operators to grow the market up to additional 30% which is somewhat flat today.
“The use of such motorised vehicles as a leisure activity can be both exciting and fun however, if used inappropriately, this can be against the law in certain circumstances. “Quads, and some scramblers, do not comply with Construction and Use Regulations and Vehicle Safety Standards and therefore are restricted to “off-road” use only. “This does not mean that they can be driven anywhere off-road. “These vehicles should only be driven on private land where the landowner has given permission and should not be driven on pavements, roads, public property or parks. “Insurance and safety equipment must be complied with as well in order to drive these vehicles legally. “We have the power to seize these vehicles and will do so in an effort to ensure public safety. If you have any concerns please call the non-emergency number 101.”POLICE INVESTIGATING REPORTS OF SCRAMBLER BIKES CAUSING NUISANCE IN CO DERRY was last modified: November 18th, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: “We’ve had a number of reports of scramblers causing a nuisance in the Iniscarn Forest, area of Desertmartin.“These vehicles are dangerous, they are not toys.“Any people involved in using scramblers are asked to be very mindful of their safety and parents of children that are using these vehicles are asked to ensure that they are suitably equipped for them.“No-one wants to be dealing with serious injuries, or worse, in their family. ShareTweet THE PSNI say they are are investigating reports of scrambler bikes causing nuisance in the Desertmartin area of Co Derry.The police are advising about the dangers of such vehicles on the roads.A spokesman Magherafelt PSNI said: “It’s important to bear in mind the dangers associated with the use of off-road scramblers and quad bikes. DESERTMARTINPOLICE INVESTIGATING REPORTS OF SCRAMBLER BIKES CAUSING NUISANCE IN CO DERRYPSNI MAGHERAFELT