A brush fire has been raging near the Ayia Napa forest since midday, authorities said on Sunday.The forestry department said three of their fire trucks were in the area, along with two fire engines from the local fire brigade.Two forestry department aircraft have also been deployed.More than three hours after it began, the fire was still raging and heading towards the Protaras area, CNA reported.You May LikeCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityEarthquake insurance that fits your future plansCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityUndoSenior Living | Search AdsRowland Heights is Turning Heads With Cheap Luxury Senior ApartmentsSenior Living | Search AdsUndoDirectExposeWorld’s First Surviving Octuplets Are All Grown Up. Look At Them 9 Years LaterDirectExposeUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoVarosha move merely a ‘PR stunt’ by Ozersay, expert saysUndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
21Sep Rep. Barrett invites residents to upcoming coffee hours State Rep. Tom Barrett invites residents to join him for a cup of coffee and conversation during his local coffee hours.The meet-and-greet takes place Friday, Sept. 29 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Sophia’s House of Pancakes located at 1010 Charlevoix Drive in Grand Ledge.“In order to be an effective legislator, sitting down and discussing issues with the people who elected me to serve is essential,” said Barrett of Potterville. “I enjoy the opportunity to hear people’s thoughts about what is happening in state government and share what I have been doing to fight for them in Lansing.”No appointment is needed to attend coffee hours. Those who are unable to attend are encouraged to contact Rep. Barrett’s office by phone at 517-373-0853 or by email at TomBarrett@house.mi.gov. Categories: Barrett News
State Rep. Triston Cole announced Tuesday he is part of a bipartisan coalition to reform Michigan’s broken auto no-fault insurance system and dramatically cut costs for drivers.Cole supports House Bill 5013Rep. that will lower the cost of auto insurance in Michigan – which now has the highest rates in the nation – by offering motorists more coverage options, fighting fraud and reining in medical costs.“A lot of hard-working families and seniors have contacted me on the need for reform,” said Cole, of Mancelona, after helping to unveil the plan at the state Capitol. “The current system is failing and the people of Michigan are the ones paying the price.”Michigan’s average full coverage auto insurance premium cost – nearly $2,400 per year – is more than $1,000 above the national average and twice as high as those in neighboring states.The new bipartisan plan continues and guarantees benefits for Michiganders already receiving lifetime health care after a catastrophic traffic accident. The plan also gives motorists the option to continue to buy unlimited personal injury protection coverage, or buy more affordable alternative coverage plans.HB 5013:Provides a guaranteed rate reduction for drivers who choose certain coverage plans alternative to the unlimited plan;Gives individuals the choice on the extent of PIP coverage as part of their auto insurance. Choice levels include $250,000, $500,000 or unlimited;Allows seniors age 62 or older with lifetime health care benefits the option to opt out of PIP coverage to avoid the current double taxation;Establishes fee schedules and attendant care limits to lower medical costs related to auto injuries;Helps the state ensure insurance companies are complying with state law, and creates a fraud authority to address fraudulent claims;Provides a state review of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) to make sure motorists are not overpaying for insurance; andAddresses attorney fee costs and unfounded lawsuits while eliminating attorney conflict of interests with medical providers.“This plan is for the people, not special interests,” Cole said. “These comprehensive reforms will deliver rate relief for those on fixed incomes for years to come.”Cole is hosting an auto insurance meeting Sept. 29 at the ASI Community Center & Park with special guest state Rep. Lana Theis, chair of the House Committee on Insurance, to further discuss HB 5013 with the community. Categories: Cole News 28Sep Rep. Cole supports reform to lower Michigan auto insurance rates
Tags: Judiciary Committee, Trial by Jury 07Mar Glenn defends right to trial by jury in Michigan Categories: Glenn News Legislator: Constitutional rights should be restoredState Rep. Gary Glenn today introduced a bill to restore Michigan citizens’ constitutionally guaranteed right to a jury trial, which includes lawsuits filed against the state.The legislation would allow any Michigan citizen to sue the state on any matter and demand a trial by jury in their district of residence, a right outlined in the Michigan Constitution. However, Michigan residents lost their right to trial by jury in November of 2013 under Public Act 164 of 2013. Under the current system, lawsuits against the state are heard by the Court of Claims, which provides no trial by jury. Rep. Glenn’s legislation would right this wrong and put in to law what is already in our state constitution.“Many people didn’t even notice their rights being taken from them,” said Glenn (R-Williams Township). “Now, if you have a claim against the state, your case is heard by an appointed judge in Detroit, Lansing, Troy or Grand Rapids, rather than by peers in your community.“As legislators, we have an obligation to our residents to uphold the constitution, whether its protections may have been unconstitutionally limited in the past. I look forward to restoring the constitutional rights of Michigan taxpayers who have a dispute with state government.”House Bill 5700 was cosponsored by Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain, and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.###
29Jun Johnson bill to repeal case mandate signed into law Rep. Steve Johnson today announced that his legislation to remove a mandate that bows, crossbows and slingshots be cased during transport in a vehicle has been signed into law.Johnson said the issue was brought to his attention by local residents who were concerned about the confusing aspects of bow and crossbow transport requirements. “I regard this as a simple criminal justice issue,” said Johnson, R-Wayland. “This common sense change clarifies Michigan law, and ensures that law-abiding hunters simply traveling from one location to another with a bow or crossbow will not be at risk of a misdemeanor and jail time.”The new law includes a provision that bows, crossbows and slingshots would need to be unloaded and uncocked to transport without a case. This change brings Michigan in line with several other Great Lakes states that have similar transportation provisions.House Bill 5417 is now Public Act 272 of 2018. Categories: Steven Johnson News
15Mar Rep. Alexander: Sunshine Week best time to get involved in reforming car insurance Categories: Alexander News House website provides latest news, meeting times and public interactionAs part of Sunshine Week in Michigan, state Rep. Julie Alexander encourages Jackson County residents to visit the House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates website. Those interested can be a part of the governmental process by staying informed and getting involved with modifications to the state’s no-fault car insurance system.The committee recently launched www.ReduceMiRatesNow.com, allowing drivers to have their voices heard by submitting their own reform ideas and stories of how they are hurt by the nation’s highest car insurance rates. Since the website rollout, over 800 Michigan motorists have offered their input to help the committee craft future solutions.“This is an excellent opportunity for Jackson-area residents to get involved in state government, and provide critical input to help reduce car insurance rates for all drivers across the state,” said Alexander, of Hanover. “The Legislature wants to deliver a meaningful solution that best serves the interest of Michigan drivers. The only way we can do that is by hearing from the very people affected by the state’s highest-in-the-nation car insurance rates.”The committee website includes a news tab allowing residents to keep informed with developments and committee meeting schedules. Ideas submitted by motorists will go directly to the committee, assuring every submission is considered.“We want to make sure this process is transparent and easy to understand. The Michigan House needs to be held accountable to over 90 percent of drivers demanding long-overdue meaningful change,” Alexander said. “We are going to get auto insurance reforms right with drivers at our side throughout the process.”Alexander also encourages residents to “like” the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReduceMiRatesNow/ as another means to follow the latest news regarding the committee.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesSeptember 14, 2014; New York TimesYesterday’s New York Times printed a letter to the editor from Omar Garriott about and to college seniors who will be looking for serious jobs that will advance their life’s work next year. He worries that many of those seniors, at least in fields of study like business and engineering, are not even considering the nonprofit sector—but, he says, this is where these grads are most needed and where they can contribute the most.He bases much of his argument on his own experience, writing,“Working for a rapidly growing nonprofit, I got a crash course in marketing, fund-raising, information technology and policy advocacy. I was a 20-something who had no clue what I was doing. But the best way to learn is by trying. And I did so in service to a mission I believed in.“This breadth and depth of experience set me up (and set me apart) for a top M.B.A. program and jobs at leading tech companies. And it sped up learning about what my unique contribution to the world was to be.”Okay, let’s just stop and take a breath here. There is a lot in these few paragraphs that does not necessarily follow.First, you have the assumption that nonprofits are seeking professional skills as taught in school above many other characteristics, such as a proven commitment to the field and and a track record that matches it. One young reader, responding to the letter, said that she was edged aside for an entry-level job at an NGO by a women without the formal education she had but with a few years of experience working on the ground in Africa.Graduating students would do well to understand that experience matters and that they must respect apprenticeship-type learning as much as academic. Garriott talks about being a twenty-something with no clue what he was doing, and he says “the best way to learn is by trying.” We might agree with that, but for nonprofits looking to hire proven staff, the assumption that one learns and proves one’s self by trying may very well translate into a preference for someone who has put in some time doing parts of the job for which they are being hired and who has a sense of the rigors and nuances of the work.That said, I agree that nonprofits are an excellent place to try your hand at many types of endeavors but only if the nonprofit is open to such stuff and can support it. Highly hierarchical nonprofit organizations with immutable protocols and narrow job descriptions are unlikely to afford the kind of learning environment Garriott was privileged to be a part of. If you want that kind of environment, you have to find it and then continue to negotiate through hard and creative work.One of the very best ways of incorporating deep learning is to do work of consequence, where the results of your work actually adds or detracts from the organization’s outcomes. This is very often how staff are tested and grow.Garriott loses us when he advises new grads to seek out nonprofits “that are well funded and growing, with bold aspirations and business models.” That first qualifier, in fact, leaves out a good part of the nonprofit sector, which comprises small to mid-size organizations with sometimes hinky financial conundrums to work out and make work. Bold business models, by the way, do not always translate to success or great funding, so he is really narrowing the choices here.We like this advice from one of the readers, Natalie Goodis:“Young grads have to remember that there is no such thing as a career path; it’s more like a career jungle gym with jumps, lateral moves and falls. We have the power to write our own story, and just because I’m working for a tech company right now does not mean that I won’t go back to business or law school or decide to work for a nonprofit down the line. It’s all part of the journey. It’s up to us, the recent grads, not to get stuck in the binary.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares September 29, 2014;Washington Post“We are very sorry for the inconvenience, but we need democracy,” read signs at the student-led protest dubbed “Occupy Central” in Beijing. Protestors in Hong Kong’s business and political core are entering their fifth day of occupying public places in response to an electoral reform proposal Beijing recently advanced that gives China’s central government pre-selection control over who is able to stand for election for chief executive of that city.Hong Kong Basic Law, agreed to by Beijing in Hong Kong’s 1997 handover from Britain, stipulates that nominees for chief executive will be chosen by a “broadly representative nominating committee, in accordance with democratic procedures.” So protestors are calling foul and demanding fully free elections in 2017.Some observers, reacting to the use of tear gas on the crowd on Sunday and recalling the horror of Tiananmen Square, are warning that the protests may elicit a violent intervention, though the central government is denying any intentions along that line.Steven Stromberg suggests in the Washington Post that the protests are part of a longer call to action for democracy:“The fight over electing the chief executive is just one round in a series of interactions between Beijing and Hong Kong as they sort out how the city is to be governed. Communist Party leaders may get the message that they cannot slap Hong Kong—an advanced society that cherishes its basic rights, maintains the rule of law and can distinguish authentic democracy from managed democracy—without Hong Kong slapping back in a way that harms China.”He also suggests that the protests “may push Hong Kong leaders to better represent the city’s interests in their interactions with the central government.” Indeed, Al Jazeera reports that Emily Lau Wai-hing, a lawmaker with Hong Kong’s Democratic Party and a key backer of the movement, says that if successful, Occupy Central “would be a good demonstration for the whole of China and for the international community.”But Elizabeth Economy, a Chinese policy scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, says “Nothing the administration [of Chinese President Xi Jinping] has done in his political reform of the last two years of leadership shows greater avenues for political participation and freedom of voice…Everything has been in the other direction.”The protestors are urging participants to look to October 1st, 2014—Chinese National Day—when their own next steps will be declared. Vice reports one reaction: “I will stay for as long as it takes,” said Jackson Tsung, a university student. “I am scared about what will happen to me, but what’s the point in living if we can’t live in a place we can call home?”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share38TweetShare3Email41 SharesJune 15, 2015; Boston.comFor almost a month, Angel Echavarria has been walking free—albeit with an ankle monitor tying him to the crime he says he never committed. Now that ankle monitor is coming off, along with the weight of nearly two decades of incarceration for a wrongful conviction.Echavarria’s first-degree murder conviction for the 1994 shooting death of Daniel Rodriguez in Lynn, Massachusetts, was overturned at the end of April after the judge allowed Echavarria’s motion for a new trial on the grounds of ineffective counsel. The Essex County District Attorney had the option of pursuing a new trial, but instead choose to drop the charges.As in so many other wrongful conviction cases, the Essex County prosecutor’s office may be paying for the past mistakes of their predecessor. Despite the fact that no physical evidence linked him to the murder, Echavarria was sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment. The lawyer who represented Echavarria was disbarred a year after the murder conviction.Echavarria’s motion for a new trial sat on the judge’s bench for years before it was even considered. Without an invested advocacy effort, Echavarria would not be free today. Part of the success of Echavarria’s exoneration is due to the Schuster Institute of Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit organization that has been investigating and advocating for Echavarria for nearly 10 years.The battle does not end after exoneration, though. As NPQ has previously reported numerous times, there must be strong advocacy and support systems for ex-convicts following their release, and it must extend beyond the nonprofit sector into society. After being locked out of society, ex-felons are then locked out of jobs opportunities upon their release. Massachusetts is one of several “Ban the Box” states—the box here referring to the area in a job application where an applicant must disclose their criminal history. While Massachusetts, Georgia, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, and a slew of other states prohibit employers from considering a criminal history in hiring decisions, other states have no such guarantee, but it is to their detriment.Hawaii became the original “Ban the Box” state in 1998, and the impact of the policy on crime in the state has been remarkable. A study from last year examining the impact of the policy in Hawaii found that “a criminal defendant prosecuted in Honolulu for a felony crime was 57 percent less likely to have a prior criminal conviction after the implementation of Hawaii’s ban the box law.” The policy helped curb repeat offenses in the state by helping diminish the negative stigma of being an ex-convict. When considering $179 billion federal and state funds go toward crime control, it would behoove states to consider control methods that humanize, rather than stigmatize the ex-convict.Gainful employment and a chance to be an active, respected member of society again are crucial parts of the rehabilitation process following a prison release. As the study indicates, the marginalization of ex-convicts eventually leads them to band together, increasing their propensity toward more criminal activity. The absence of income in combination with an onslaught of societal responsibilities, including to their families, may also lead them to try to obtain funds illegally.Being responsive to the unique needs of ex-convicts can be a universal good for society, yet the stigma of being a felon still exists. So where does Echavarria go from here? Echavarria has family (he can now be the involved father to his five children he couldn’t be before), he has a huge community of supporters thanks to the Schuster Institute, and staff members and former affiliates of the project have created a fundraising page to help him transition back into society. Still, having been out of the workforce for 20 years, he is going to need continued support.Exoneree or not, it’s time society begins the process of helping ex-convicts assimilate back into society and accept their debts have been paid.—Shafaq HasanEditor’s Note: The writer was previously employed by the Justice Brandeis Law Project at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism during her time at Brandeis University.Share38TweetShare3Email41 Shares
Multimedia Polska has extended the reach of its digital network to the towns of Chojnów, Wołów and Nową Rudę in the south west of Poland. The cable operator is offering its full package of digital TV, including HD channels and VOD content for between PLN20 (€4.57) and PLN40 per title, high speed internet and telephony services to the towns.
TV technology specialist Grass Valley has named former Harris Broadcast president Tim Thorsteinson as president and CEO. Thorsteinson was most recently president and CEO of Enablence Technologies.Current chief executive Alain Andreoli, who led the acquisition and separation of Grass Valley from Technicolor, has stepped down and will leave the business at the end of this month.“We are pleased to have Tim Thorsteinson join Grass Valley at this pivotal point in the company’s transformation. Tim’s in-depth industry knowledge and his proven track record of value creation will ensure Grass Valley’s continued success as an independent leader in the rapidly evolving broadcast infrastructure market”, said David Golob, partner at Francisco Partners and chairman of the board of Grass Valley. “I would also like to thank Alain for all of his contributions in helping to re-establish Grass Valley as an independent company.”
Micro-payment and subscriber management specialist PayWizard has launched a complete payment and subscription system designed for the TV and media industry specifically, with ITV as an anchor customer.The PayWizard system includes payment processing, subscriber management technology and real-time customer service operations.James Micklethwait, online product director, ITV, said: “When we launched the new ITV Player it was imperative that we found a payment partner that understood our needs and met the technical, commercial and operational requirements of our business. It was clear from PayWizard’s proven ability to provide a comprehensive suite of products aimed at monetising digital content and supporting customer purchases, that they could do exactly that.”ITV is using a white-label version of the PayWizard platform integrated with Irdeto’s customer management system to support on-demand transactions via the ITV Player. The broadcaster is currently delivering transactional services online only.PayWizard is also supporting production company All3Media’s app on the Samsung connected TV platform, where subscribers can set up a PayWizard account through a dedicated PayWizard app to rent content.
Russian service provider VimpelCom has named Yuliya Koneva as director of marketing communications and brand management.Koneva was previously director of marketing and mass-market brand management. In her expanded role, she will be responsible for all marketing communications and brand development associated with VimpelCom’s Beeline products. She replaces Olga Tourischeva, who has decided to leave the company.Koneva will report to CEO Anton Kudryashov.
Second screen viewing is an “inevitable part of the future” and presents “tremendous potential” when it comes to content designed for synchronous viewing, according to new research.The second part of a joint research study on the second screen by The National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) – which was presented at the NATPE conference yesterday – said producers are “still searching for the best solutions to optimise technology to create a seamless experience for the viewer.”Taking a cross-section of producers that have worked across drama, comedy and reality programming, the study claimed that synchronous second screen content does not have “unanimous support” beyond sports, reality shows and news.However, it added that there is a consensus among the producers polled that content not meant for live viewing presents “an additional second screen opportunity to maximise and extend their brand,” and that the second screen offers a “significant opportunity to grow and sustain audiences around appointment viewing television.”Part one of the research, which was released earlier this month, said that 91% of second screen viewers access asynchronous program content, yet only 42% have tried synchronising their content experience to live TV.Some 72% of consumers who had accessed synchronised second screen content said it is only appropriate for certain kinds of shows.
Vice and FremantleMedia have joined forces to make culinary content for a new food channel.Producer and distributor FremantleMedia and youth brand Vice will codevelop programming for the new online service, which was described by the partners as ‘a multichannel food platform for a millennial audience’.FremantleMedia is expected to sell the resulting content in international markets.Vice already makes food programming for its online channels including including chef series Munchies and Fresh Off The Boat, about culture-defining global food trends.The new channel will be populated with original series, articles, how-tos, recipes and events.Andrew Creighton, president of Vice Media said: “Today’s youth are the driving force behind the food culture explosion, yet they remain totally underserved when it comes to original food programming. The new Vice food channel will upend the culinary media landscape, producing more jaw-droppingly entertaining original multi-channel food programming than anywhere else and ensuring the content reaches a global audience on every screen.”
European broadcaster Modern Times Group (MTG) has launched four factual entertainment channels for the first time in the East African country of Malawi. Viasat Crime, Viasat Explore, Viasat History and Viasat Nature are now available on the Wananchi Group-owned pay TV platform Zuku TV.The pay TV channel rollout further boosts MTG’s African presence, with the channels already available in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.“Storytelling is at the heart of African society and our portfolio of factual channels tell the best and most engaging stories and have become must-have channels for platform operators on the continent,” said Laetitia Royaards, MTG Africa’s head of pay TV.Viasat Explore airs programmes about topics ranging from “the latest scientific breakthroughs to the everyday lives of the engaging characters” and first launched in the Nordic region in 2002.Viasat Crime carries a mixture of unsolved crime and mystery investigations, as well as programmes about “police work, criminal masterminds and daring heists.” Viasat Crime was called TV6 Action World when it was introduced in the Nordic region in February 1998. It became Viasat Action in 2002 and got its current name in October 2005.Viasat Nature is focused around wildlife and nature programming. It was launched in 2010 in 25 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and in 2011 on Chinese operator StarTimes’ DTT networks in Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania, as well as on Zuku’s DTH platform in Uganda.Viasat History is focused on historical documentaries. In 2011 distribution of the channel was extended for the first time outside Europe, to Africa, through two satellite TV networks in Nigeria and a cable TV network in Kenya, where it is broadcast for 12 hours per day.
French public broadcaster France Télévisions is to launch a digital news channel this month, according to a report in French daily Le Figaro.According to the paper, the launch, which will be part of a major reorganization of news activities at the pubcaster, will capitalise on the success of France Télévisions’ FranceTVinfo website in capturing a significant audience, with 6.55 million unique visitors in October, according to Médiamétrie.The broadcaster has already launched an on-demand news service on connected TVs earlier this year.In September, commercial broadcaster TF1 announced that its own news service, LCI, would cease to exist in its current form after the broadcaster failed to secure regulatory approval to transform the pay TV channel into a free-to-air service, with the loss of 148 jobs.
UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has set new rules that will boost the amount of TV programmes made specifically for sign language users.From next January, smaller TV channels — with an audience viewing share of between 0.05% and 1% – will be required to up their amount of British Sign Language-presented programmes form 30 minutes to 75 minutes per month.As an alternative, channels can currently contribute a minimum of £20,000 (€27,840) a year to help make sign-presented TV programmes available – a figure that Ofcom said “will also rise in real terms.”Channels that opt to make the financial contribution usually support the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT), which funds sign-presented content shown on the Community Channel and Film 4.
Set-top box chipset manufacturer Broadcom has unveiled what it claims is the first DOCSIS 3.1 cable set-top box (STB) reference design.Broadcom’s BCM93390VMS52, which is being demoed at ANGA COM this week, combines combines data delivery at speeds of up to five gigabits per second (Gbps), support for 4K, Ultra HD video decoding and multi-gigabit WiFi home networking.“Competition among service providers is driving an increase in gigabit internet speeds and 4K IP video around the world,” said Broadcom’s vice-president of marketing, broadband and connectivity group, John Gleiter.“Broadcom is bringing to market an extraordinary set-top box reference design that gives service providers a platform to enable the best connectivity performance available today.”At the same time, Broadcom announced a satellite STB solution that is designed to deliver a boost performance, lower power and support for the new DVB-S2X broadcast standard.The new BCM45308 system-on-a-chip (SoC) device integrates full band capture (FBC) technology to provide satellite operators with more efficient video and IP service distribution to connected devices throughout the home, according to Broadcom.
Snapchat has reportedly filed for an initial public offering (IPO) that could value the firm at as much as US$25 billion.According to Wall Street Journal and Reuters reports, Snapchat, now known formally as Snap Inc, has confidentially filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and is expected to IPO as early as March.Both reports claim the firm could be valued between US$20 billion and US$25 billion when it goes public, which would make it the biggest US technology IPO since Alibaba’s stock market debut in 2014.