Australia’s largest online payment provider joins AFTAThe AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme (AICS) is pleased to announce that SecurePay has become the newest payment partner for AICS through its Secure Online Payments service.AFTA CEO Jayson Westbury said; “AICS is proud to welcome our newest payment partner SecurePay, who has unprecedented experience in providing safe and efficient payment products to all businesses in the Australian economy.SecurePay General Manager, Michael Luddeni said SecurePay was delighted to partner with AFTA and its members to facilitate AICS payments.“SecurePay has provided online payment processing services to Australian businesses since 1999. SecurePay offers ATAS-accredited travel agents easy access to a wider choice of payment methods, improved payment processing and the protection provided by AICS,” said Mr Luddeni.“We understand that reliability, security and the ability to offer a broad range of payment options and features specific to a given travel agency’s own needs is important. We are really excited about deepening our relationship with the Australian Travel Agency community and partnering with AFTA to add even more value to its members,” said Mr Luddeni.ATAS Travel agents are encouraged to apply to participate in AICS by completing the form on www.afta.com.au/AICS.Source = AFTA
Nicosia District Court judge Ioannis Ioannides gave the defence time until November 6 to consider whether they will file a complementary objection to the application for an emergency injunction filed by Hermitage Capital founder William Browder and his associate Ivan Cherkasov.Ioannides was commenting on Wednesday at the court hearing, days after he ordered on Thursday, September 28, that the application should be served to Attorney General Costas Clerides, acting on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus. Clerides was represented by lawyer Andreas Christophorou from the Republic’s Law Office.With the application, Browder and Cherkasov want the Republic of Cyprus to stop cooperating with Russia in a probe against the Georgiades and Pelides law firm, to which the police sent on August 23 a questionnaire requesting information about transactions carried out by Cypriot subsidiaries of Hermitage.Hermitage Capital was at the heart of the Magnitsky case, named after the Russian lawyer who died in a Russian prison in 2009 after exposing a $230m (€196m) tax fraud involving three Russian subsidiaries of Hermitage which were illegally obtained by a group of Russian police officers.The latter had Sergey Magnitsky arrested. The case has blemished Russia’s reputation to such a degree that Interpol repeatedly denied Russian requests in relation to Browder. The Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly asked member states three years ago to deny cooperation with Russia in this area and to follow the example of the US which in 2012 adopted targeted actions against individuals implicated in Magnitsky’s death.Christos Pourgourides, the lawyer representing Browder’s side, said that if the Republic of Cyprus decides to file a complementary objection, then the plaintiffs may respond with a supplementary affidavit responding to the allegations.Pourgourides, who was commenting in an interview right after the hearing, said that he also reserves his right to request a new ex parte order banning Cypriot authorities from attempting to continue the investigation in the case, even as the current application remains pending.He also said that Browder and Cherkasov filed a lawsuit against the Republic of Cyprus requesting compensation for damages for an alleged violation of their constitutional rights.In case the defence decides not to challenge the application of the plaintiffs, the court will issue the order, according to the lawyer of the defendants.“If the Ministry of Justice confirms that the motivation behind the prosecution (of the plaintiffs) is political, then it is very likely that there will be on objection,” said Christophorou.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementAdd This One Thing To Your Dog’s Food To Help Them Be HealthierUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementUndoGundry MDHow To Make Your Dark Spots Fade (Effortless 2 Minute Routine)Gundry MDUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
The two-hour strike at state hospitals was staged to sensitise the government to the problems faced by the sector, doctors said on Wednesday, as they demanded the decriminalisation of medical acts in the wake of the arrest of two of their own in connection with the death of a 10-year-old boy last week.The death of the boy caused a storm of public indignation over the weekend after his mother publicly accused Larnaca general hospital doctors who treated him of failing to diagnose his injury correctly.Police arrested the doctor who treated the boy and the director of the A&E who were both remanded in custody for five days.The health ministry has said the boy’s death appears to be a case of medical negligence as the boy was first taken to the hospital after an accident at school. He underwent an X-ray but was then sent home without a radiologist seeing the scans, which showed a skull fracture. He was not offered a CT scan.A few hours later, the boy was taken back to the hospital in Larnaca and had to be rushed to Nicosia general hospital only to die in surgery.The sight of the two doctors on television being hauled to court in handcuffs irked doctors who blamed the poor state of public facilities for the boy’s death and the state that’s doing nothing to rectify the situation.The chairman of the main doctors’ union Pasyki said they were not out to score points but to sensitise the government and those responsible for organising the system.“We repeat, as doctors we are not denying our responsibilities provided they are proven by proper procedures,” Soteris Koumas told a news conference.But they were experiencing unacceptable conditions that forced doctors to demand the system itself share equal blame for the incident.Koumas said doctors were offended by the procedure followed during the administrative probe and the extremely humiliating manner in which their colleagues had been arrested.A doctor with the sign saying ‘We are doctors not criminals’ (Christos Theodorides)“You cannot criminalise each medical act,” Koumas said. “There are laws, there are procedures, and society cannot demand from us to follow them when other institutions do whatever they see fit.”Koumas said they had warned early on that conditions in state facilities could lead to tragic incidents but they were not heeded, leading to the death of the boy for which the blame was put on two doctors.“Things are not so, others too must assume their responsibilities and that is why we are striking mainly to sensitise the health ministry but also others involved, to modernise public hospitals,” he said.The medical association censured the authorities and the media for the way they handled the issue.Chairman Petros Agathangelou said the two doctors had been humiliated through practices that had never been used for dangerous criminals, their names were leaked before the probe started, they were arrested in record time and handcuffed, and the health ministry preempted the findings of the inquiry.Police conceded that the cuffs were excessive but stressed the investigation was being carried out within the strict framework of the law.“As regards the use of handcuffs during the two suspects’ transfer to court, we judge that in this case, considering all the facts, it could have been avoided,” the force said.On the ground, the health ministry will have to come up with solutions fast as two other doctors working at Larnaca general hospital’s A&E have submitted their resignations.Pasyki said doctors could no longer take the mental and physical pressure.But in Paphos, the general hospital’s cardiology unit and head of A&E did not take part in the strike because they did not agree with the action.Head of the hospital Joseph Moutiris said the strike was, in his opinion, “at the wrong time and without any substantive reason justifying this action”.Neofyta Chrysanthou, head of the first aid department at the hospital, said that her colleagues in Larnaca were handling the case wrongly.She added that patients are not responsible for problems in the public health sector.The alliance for rare diseases condemned the strike saying there was no justification for it and doctors should not be exempt from the law if they had made a mistake.In modern democracies, no one avoids justice, the association said in a statement.“Presidents, officials and high-ranking members of states have sat in the dock, so we condemn any attempt to decriminalise the medical profession.”The only thing doctors achieved by the strike was to make the public lose respect for all doctors despite there being some excellent professionals in their ranks, the alliance said. 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25Jan Rep. Runestad applauds increased House transparency The Michigan House of Representatives recently reintroduced the financial disclosure and transparency website and made House employee salary information available to the public.State Rep. Jim Runestad, of White Lake, issued the following statement regarding the recent decision:“I’m commend House Speaker Tom Leonard on his decision to disclose this financial information publicly.“I’ve met with local residents in my community who strongly believe that state government should be held liable for their work as public servants through ease of accessibility to electronic records accounting for every dollar spent.“I am pleased to be a part of this outstanding group of lawmakers led by a Speaker whose priority is putting people before politics.”The salary database can be viewed at http://house.mi.gov/PDFs/salaries.pdf .##### Categories: Featured news,News,Runestad News Tags: #SB
09May LaFave sponsors tele-town hall for U.P. residents Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain is sponsoring a tele-town hall for the residents of Delta, Dickinson, and Menominee counties. “Listening to people has been my priority since taking office,” Rep. LaFave said. “Even though nearly 450 miles separates my home from Lansing, I have always remained accessible. This tele-town hall is a great opportunity to establish another form of communication with the people I represent.” The tele-town hall is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10 at 7 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. CST. Although the discussion will be centered around government fiscal responsibility, auto no-fault insurance reform, mining in the Upper Peninsula, sanctuary cities and other current issues, people are encouraged to call in with any questions or concerns they may have. The initial call for the event will come from the Rep. LaFave’s office, but if someone misses the call, the number to dial is (855) 756-7520 ext. 35322. For questions regarding the tele-town hall, residents are encouraged to contact LaFave’s office at (517) 373-0156 or BeauLaFave@house.mi.gov. Categories: LaFave News
Share9TweetShareEmail9 Shares“The Rent Is Too Damn High,” Grace C.November 7, 2018; Sacramento BeeRent control in California was dealt a major blow in the November 6th midterm election when two-thirds of voters defeated Proposition 10, a ballot referendum that would have repealed the state’s 23-year-old law that severely curtails the ability of municipalities to regulate residential rents. This 30-point defeat came in a state where two out of three respondents in a statewide poll before the election said that housing affordability was a big problem and where renters need to make $32.68 an hour (California’s minimum wage is $11/hour) to afford a two-bedroom rental home without spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.Certainly, some (or much) of Prop 10’s lopsided defeat can be tied to campaign spending. Its proponents, a coalition that included unions and environmental organizations, raised more than $25 million to pass the measure. They argued that expanding rent control would protect tenants, that too many families are forced to move far away from their jobs and even into homelessness, and that with every five percent increase in rent, 2000 people are forced out of their homes. Furthermore, they said, Prop 10 gives local governments the flexibility to decide if regulating rents make sense for their situation, rather than forcing one solution on all. Finally, the pro camp noted that this measure still allows landlords to make reasonable annual increases in rents.The opposing side—Wall Street firms and real-estate giants like Blackstone, Essex Property Trust, and Equity Residential that lined up behind the California Apartment Association—amassed more than $74 million to defeat Prop 10. With ads in English and Spanish, Prop 10’s opponents argued that enabling localities to enact rent control laws would drive up rents and hurt seniors, veterans, and other lower-income populations. Renters would be forced out by corporate landlords choosing to turn apartments into condos and vacation rentals, and bureaucrats would be giving unlimited powers to add fees to housing.What does the research say about the real impacts of rent control? The evidence is mixed and one’s takeaway depends on ideology and self-interest. A literature review prepared for the National Multifamily Housing Council (the apartment industry trade association) that covered studies published between 1972 and 2017 concluded that rent control and rent stabilization policies do a poor job at targeting benefits to low-income families (higher-income families benefit as well); that because residents of rent-controlled units move less often, it can cause them to live in housing that is the wrong size and/or in the wrong location to best meet their needs; that rent control leads to a reduction in the available supply of rental housing in a community (particularly because of conversion to condos or other ownership forms); that they generally lead to higher rents in the uncontrolled market; and that there are significant fiscal costs for the administering entity.On the other hand, an October 2018 literature review by a team at USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, reached a different and more nuanced set of conclusions about the impacts of rent regulations:They have little negative impact on new construction but may lead landlords to reduce maintenance or remove units from the rental market through conversion into condos or owner move-ins.Renters in the controlled or impacted units experience real gains in welfare due to rent increases lags.Removing rent regulations leads to rent increases in both controlled and non-controlled units in a community (most likely due to displacement from gentrification).Rent regulations promoted housing stability for rent control beneficiaries but these benefits were offset by decreases in the number of available units.In summary, the USC study concludes that “the current evidence cannot answer all the questions swirling about rent regulations,” but that there are some tangible benefits and fewer negative impacts than are often presented. More research is needed about the impacts of rent controls on small landlords and the net impact on local businesses when residents have more disposable income.The issue of the efficacy—or not—of rent control is not just critical for California. Since 1990, our nation has lost over 2.5 million housing units that rent for less than $800 a month, with nearly half of 43 million renting households paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent, with 11 million spending more than 50 percent. Rent control is a live political issue in Illinois, where residents in three Chicago wards passed resolutions calling on Illinois legislators to rescind that state’s long-standing ban on rent control, and in New York State where tenant advocates intend to pressure the new, now Democrat-dominated legislature to expand New York City’s rent control regulations to the entire state. In Washington state, though a bill earlier this year to repeal the ban on rent control never made it out of committee, advocates see a renewed interest with a new Democratic majority in both houses of the legislature.But as affordable housing and tenants’ rights advocates and organizers note, rent control is but one tool to respond to the nation’s rental affordability crisis and massive and aggressive efforts to both preserve existing affordable housing—housing that is nonprofit, cooperative, or publicly owned—as well as increase its supply are essential to making a serious dent in our growing rental affordability calamity.—Debby WarrenShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares
Dutch cable operator Ziggo has made its live TV streaming app available for iPhones and iPod Touches. The service had previously been available on iPads.Ziggo TV can be viewed on an iPhone 3GS or higher, or a third or fourth generation iPod Touch. The app is free to download, but users must subscribe to broadband from Ziggo to watch the channels.The platform streams 10 channels, including Ned 1, Ned 2, Ned 3, RTL4, RTL5, RTL7, RTL8, Net5, SBS6 and Veronica.
Swiss cable operator UPC Cablecom has acquired the network in the region of Kreuzlingen from the private shareholders of Stadtantenne Kreuzlingen.Stadtantenne Kreuzlingen has been a partner of UPC cablecom since 1989. UPC said customers would be unaffected by the takeover and in the future will be offered various advanced services, including video-on-demand and an expanded range of digital TV channels.UPC said the proceeds from the sale of the shares would be used to invest in updating the network’s digital communication infrastructure.
MTG-backed commercial broadcaster Viasat has launched its pay-channel Viasat Motor in the Baltic region.The channel has secured rights for various motor events, including Formula1, Moto GP, and Nascar. It joins Viasat’s other channels for the Baltic region that include Viasat Sport Baltic, Viasat Golf and Viasat Premier League HD.Viasat Motor SD will be available for Viasat Gold package subscribers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Viasat Motor HD will be available to those subscribing to the Viasat HD package.
The BBC has confirmed that it will launch its first companion screen app for the new run of its popular Antiques Roadshow series.When the series airs in October, the BBC will initially launch a live multiple-choice valuation game accessible via the red button, allowing viewers to follow the action on-screen and rates their performance against the professionals on the show. Later in the series, the BBC will add its playalong app, as reported by DTVE in May.This will allow multiple viewers in the same room to play along on their mobile devices, and rate their performances against each other. When launched, the app will work with the programme as broadcast, as well as with recorded episodes and programme catch up on BBC iPlayer.Viewers will be asked to choose a value for each of the objects in turn as they appear in the programme. A clock will indicate how long they have left before the show’s experts gives their valuation. The system keeps a total of the objects viewers value correctly and gives them a ranking based on their result at the end of the programme: novice, enthusiast, connoisseur, or expert.
Bahrain-based IPTV operator Atyaf has selected Envivio’s Muse software-based encoding solutions for its live and on-demand TV Everywhere services. Atyaf’s recently-launched multiscreen service offers over 130 channels in multiple adaptive bit-rate profiles for delivery to connected TVs, PCs, Android and Apple iOS devices. In its new multiscreen headend, Atyaf is using Envivio Muse Live and Muse On-Demand on the Envivio 4Caster appliances, as well as Envivio 4Manager for headend control and monitoring.“Our goal is to enable the transformation of lifestyles for Atyaf customers, with next generation services that offer new viewing options, for anytime, anywhere access,” said Nezar Jamsheer, CEO of Atyaf Telecommunications and Infrastructure. “We selected Envivio because they provided the best video and audio quality in a converged solution that could be quickly deployed and scale as our needs require.”
Online video distribution specialist Rightster has hired John Dillon as vice-president of marketing, in charge of marketing functions and stakeholder communications.Dillon was previously head of marketing of Alcatel Lucent’s software and service portfolio and previously served as chief marketing officer of Velocix, the CDN provider acquired by Alcatel Lucent.Dillon’s appointment follows that of three former ITV executives – Robin Pembrooke as vice-president of product and solutions, Jonathan Bates as director of content and partnerships and Ben Freeman as head of Rightster Studios – as well as Donagh O’Malley from Google TV as global vice-president, platforms and general manager of Rightster US.Rightster also announced today that it had broken into the top 10 US comScore YouTube rankings for the first time, following a record 17 million US views in October.
Over 220 million Smart TV sets will be sold worldwide in 2017, up from the 54 million that will be sold in 2012, according to Informa Telecoms & Media’s latest Smart TV device forecasts.The forecast says 31% of households worldwide will own at least one Smart TV in five years time, with household penetration much higher in North America (63%) and Western Europe (64%).However, while Smart TV connection rates are rising, they will continue to lag the connection rates of games consoles and media streaming devices such as Apple TV and Roku.“Informa estimates that in 2017 more than half of the 800 million Smart TV sets will only be used as dumb screens,” said Andrew Ladbrook, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. “Moreover, while any ‘smart’ TV bought in 2011 or 2012 can be used for streaming online video services for a few years, they lack the processing power and the necessary hardware to perform those smart TV functions that will be standard in 2015. Simply put, any Smart TV purchased in 2012 will be effectively obsolete by 2015.”
Spanish telco Telefónica has signed a strategic partnership with Russian telecoms firm MegaFon, in a move that could see the pair develop new businesses such as OTT.Under the deal, the companies will make joint equipment purchases, exchange “technological know-how,” and the firms will use each other’s networks to offer business customers services when abroad, Telefónica said.It added that in the future, the firms said they would also focus on the “rapid development, launch and monetisation of products in adjacent telecom businesses” as well as look to develop new businesses like OTT and cloud services.The agreement boosts Telefónica’s Partners Programme, which already includes firms like China Unicom and Telecom Italia.
Companion TV app Zeebox has rebranded as Beamly in a bid to “capture the zeitgeist” of its core target audience of 16 to 24 year-old millennials and to break away from its “geeky male audience”.Announcing the move, Zeebox founders Ernesto Schmitt and Anthony Rose described the move as an evolution of the service, in line with shifts in the wider second screen TV market.Discussing the rebrand, Beamly chief technology officer, Rose, admitted in a blog post that since its launch two years ago, Zeebox’s TV guide has been “embraced by a geeky male audience” and that its perception has been that of a “new-fangled social TV guide rather than the social network and TV participation experience that was our vision.”He added that while “Zeebox was all about TV, Beamly is all about the show,” with the app becoming a destination that provides value “even if you’re never in front of a TV.”Beamly CEO and co-founder, Schmitt said: “The rebrand to Beamly is a celebration of the huge development our app has been through since launching two years ago, originally as a simple program guide and synch experience.”“The initial phase of social television and second screen was limited to apps providing a companion experience for audiences while watching TV. However, people’s emotional engagement with TV spans the whole day… Beamly for the first time brings together all of these touchpoints with TV in a single app.”Beamly is designed to be a destination for news and gossip about TV shows and a place for people to chat about programmes with other passionate fans and celebrities – “instead of just a TV guide.”Rose said that while the rebranded Beamly takes nothing away from Zeebox, it shifts the focus away from live interactions and Zeebox’s personalised TV guide, following the recent rollout of new features.“We’ve already seen a marked progression in the behaviors of users since gradually introducing our new social features over the past few months,” said Rose.“The social effect of users following other users, for instance, lifts frequency by nine times, to over 21 visits per user per week, and usage to over 500 minutes per user per week – so we’re pretty excited. And since almost two thirds of our users are now female, and the 16-24 age bracket is our core, the new Beamly brand captures the zeitgeist of these millennials perfectly.”
HBO’s Game of ThronesPolish pay TV provider Cyfrowy Polsat is making the HBO Go multiscreen on-demand service available via its connected satellite set-top boxes following a software upgrade.From Monday viewers will be able to access the first episodes of the final season of True Blood, while new series The Leftovers will be available from June 30.Other content available on HBO Go includes Game of Thrones, Band of Brothers, Sex and the City, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under.The software upgrade will made HBO Go available to Cyfrowy Polsat subscribers equipped with MINI HD 2000, HD 3000, HD 5000, HD 6000 and PVR HD 7000 set-tops.Cyfrowy Polsat’s OTT service Ipla is already available on connected set-tops. The operator this week announced that the second season of home-produced crime drama series Na Krawędzi would be available exclusively on Ipla from July 1.
Numericable-SFR has launched an 800Mbps internet service to about half a million homes in Paris. Customers connected to the operator’s fibre network in the capital will now be able to download and stream content to multiple devices simultaneously via the La Box Fibre platform.Numericable-SFR is offering a bundle of services including 800Mbps internet from €59.90, including HD TV, unlimited international calls, 30,000 video-on-demand titles, Restart TV and VideoShot TV, Numericable’s service to enable users to share their own content.
Netflix has added its social recommendations feature to the Netflix app for Android phones, letting users privately endorse content to friends and family.With the update, Netflix is also adding push notification capabilities, images and action buttons to its Android app to let users watch, get more info, or thank a friend for a recommendation.A new ‘Android Wear’ integration will also alert Android smartwatch users when they receive a recommendation.Netflix first launched its new social recommendations feature for the Netflix website, iPad, iPhone, PS3, Xbox, and a number of set-top boxes and smart TVs in September.This lets users send recommendations and messages to friends, which that person will receive next time they log into Netflix – without the message appearing publically on Facebook.
German cable operator Primacom grew its revenues by 37.2% last year to reach €131.6 million, while EBITDA grew by 55.3% to reach €55.2 million, thanks to its acquisition of sixth-ranked player DTK Group and higher sales of HDTV, broadband and telephony packages. Primacom said its sales of digital services grew by 33.5% last year, including DTK, while revenue-generating units increased by 24.8%.Excluding DTK, Primacom grew its revenues to 4.7% to €100.4 million, while EBITDA increased by 16.7% to €41.5 million.
Vivendi-owned German subscription video-on-demand service Watchever has revamped its service with a new structure based around branded channels.The SVoD service, the new version of which is available from today, is offering a total of 25 branded channels across genres, that have been developed in partnership with content providers including CBS, BBC Worldwide, The Walt Disney Company and ZDF Enterprises. New services include BBC Worldwide’s BBC Brit and BBC First services, which are making appearances in Germany for the first time.Also new to the service is a recommendation engine combining the use of an algorithm with input from an in-house editorial team. Subscribers will be able to select up to five different profiles at any time.The service has also relaunched with a new look and feel and other original features. Vivendi said that Watchever would provide additional channels to its subscribers in the coming months.The service has launched a national marketing campaign with the tagline Es gibt noch so viel zu entdecken (There is so much more to discover).The service, which costs €8.99 a month, is currently available on the web and Apple TV, with new devices to be added in the next few weeks.“When we launched our service more than two-and-a-half years ago, we shook up the German video streaming market. We have learned continuously ever since – the viewers want to discover new and diverse content amongst movies, series and concerts. I am very happy that we can take this path in SVoD together with our new and already existing partners. With our unique and pioneering channel-based structure we are generating despite the repute of the brand anincreased visibility for our licensors. With the new Watchever we can now ensure that our users won’t miss the exciting, relevant shows on Watchever,” said Karim Ayari, managing director of Watchever.“By continuing our relationship with Watchever, on their innovative new platform, we’re ensuring audiences have a dedicated space to find the programmes they love. We’re especially excited to be introducing our new brands BBC Brit and BBC First to the German market for the first time, both will sit alongside our established brands BBC Earth and global hit Doctor Who. Together we looking forward to learning how audiences navigate and best enjoy the shows this partnership will offer,” said Isabelle Helle, managing director of BBC Worldwide Germany.