Monday, September 25, 2017 Tags: Cuba Posted by Havana, Varadero travel advisories lifted TORONTO — The Cuba Tourist Board of Canada says the Canadian government has lifted its travel advisories for Havana and Varadero in the wake of “a swift and effective response” to Hurricane Irma.The federal government had issued regional advisories for both cities, citing initial uncertainty over the impact of Irma.“The retraction of the travel advisories for Havana and Varadero is really a reflection of how Cubans have banded together to get life back on track,” said Eloy Govea, Director for Canada for the Cuba Tourist Board.“We are pleased that the Canadian government is confident in the safety of our destinations and look forward to showcasing Canadian travellers the spirit of Cuba once again.”Canadian travel and tour operators have resumed flights and activities in Havana, Varadero and Holguin. With the vast majority of hotels and resorts in these cities now up and running, only the destinations of Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria remain under regional advisory. There is currently no nationwide advisory in effect for Cuba, said Govea.More news: Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthMaria did not make true landfall on Cuba, he adds, with only the easternmost regions of the country experiencing elevated winds and rougher waters. Stabilization efforts remain on schedule in regions previously impacted by Irma.Canadians looking to support Cuba’s post-Irma transition are encouraged to do so by visiting the country, notes Govea. Cuba’s tourism industry generates a large portion of its national GDP, making it an integral part of the Cuban economy.“The continued flow of Canadian guests to Cuba is instrumental not only to economic recovery, but to the spirit of the Cubans that want to confirm that Canadian love for the island has not changed after Irma,” said Govea. “Cuba is the same beautiful, welcoming destination it has always been, and we invite Canadians with open arms to see that for themselves.” Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>
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‘Queer Eye’ star France bridges divides on TV, in real life by Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press Posted Apr 5, 2019 10:59 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email In this March 15, 2019, photo, Tan France, a cast member on the Netflix series “Queer Eye,” poses among his clothes in the attic of his home in Salt Lake City. The series touches on some of the country’s deepest divides with persistent optimism. The makeover program starring five gay men tackles the contrast between urban and rural, white and black, liberal and conservative. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) SALT LAKE CITY — The Netflix show “Queer Eye” caught on by doing something unusual: creating reality TV that touches on some of the country’s deepest divides with persistent optimism.Alongside sleek new haircuts and rehabbed wardrobes, the makeover program starring five gay men tackles the contrast between urban and rural, white and black, liberal and conservative.The show’s resident fashion expert, Tan France, switches between those worlds off-camera too. He’s an English immigrant who was raised Muslim and spends his off hours at home with his husband in decidedly red-state Utah.He says living in Salt Lake City gives him a perspective that comes in handy for a show featuring a cross-section of America, and has no plans to move even as the show takes off.Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
Categories: McCready Photos,State of the State State Rep. Mike McCready, right, is joined by his guest, Robert Glass, in his Lansing office prior to the State of the State address. McCready invited the superintendent of Bloomfield Hills Schools to the Capitol for a special joint session of the Michigan House and Senate, during which Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his key goals for the year. 17Jan McCready welcomes Bloomfield Hills superintendent to Capitol for governor’s State of the State address
02Dec Rep. Hooker speaks during Rally for Religious Liberty at Capitol today LANSING – Rep. Tom Hooker, R-Byron Center, joined other state legislators in speaking during a Rally for Religious Liberty at the state Capitol today and submitted a resolution for consideration on the House floor.“Today is about the growing abuse of power by the judiciary,” said Rep. Hooker. “States should continue to have their rights to legislate as dictated by the United States Constitution and individuals to practice their faith without criticism or scorn.”The resolution challenged the U.S. Supreme Court’s authority, emphasizing Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides specific processes that do not involve the judicial branch of government as the only means of amending the Constitution.Specifically, Rep. Hooker’s resolution points to Obergefell vs. Hodges, which the Court ruled “same sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all states and all state laws are invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from marriage.”“We urge the governor and all executive officers in the state of Michigan to uphold their oaths of office and re-claim this state’s sovereignty by not recognizing or enforcing the United States Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision as a rule of law,” said Rep. Hooker in the resolution.Rep. Hooker resolution 12-2-2015 Categories: News
Categories: VanSingel News 09May Rep. VanSingel supports reform to reduce car rates The Michigan House approved a landmark plan to fix our state’s car insurance system, and reduce rates for all Michigan drivers, state Rep. Scott VanSingel announced.Rep. VanSingel voted in favor of the plan to offer drivers personal injury coverage options, rein in medical costs and fight fraud – features designed to end Michigan’s long-standing tenure as the state with the most expensive car insurance rates in the nation.“I’ve listened to residents concerned about the high cost car insurance. Today we have delivered reform and rate relief,” VanSingel, of Grant, said after the vote. “I am proud to vote on this historic legislation to help Michigan drivers.”Michigan’s costs are high because it is the only state that mandates unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance. This legislation allows those who want unlimited coverage to keep it, while providing more affordable options.The plan:Guarantees lower rates for all Michigan drivers.Gives drivers a choice on car insurance policies.Stops price gouging on medical services for car accident victims.Combats fraudulent claims to help lower costs.Helps the state ensure insurance companies charge fair rates, while addressing attorney fee settlements and significantly reducing litigation.The sweeping legislation now advances to the Senate for consideration.#####
Share159Tweet30ShareEmail189 SharesBy LAANE Editor [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia CommonsMay 22, 2018; The ConversationWe probably should not be surprised that an industry has been built to support “rounding down” the wages of low paid workers, but there’s evidently a large market for it. Perhaps United Way’s new ALICE initiative should pay attention to this kind of corporate behavior.It’s all pretty simple. You clock into your job, and the system is set to round the time up or down (sometimes in your favor, sometimes not) if you are a few minutes early or you stay late. The system is set to deduct time for your breaks and your lunch, even if you are not able to take that time because of a crisis or a demanding work project. You don’t get paid for that time worked. And now we know that companies are deducting these hours purposefully.University of Oregon Associate Professor of Law Elizabeth C. Tippett documented this first and co-authored a 2017 study on timekeeping software and a follow-up article on wage theft. Now, she writes in The Conversation about how employers are using software for the purpose of “wage theft” and are cheating workers out of millions of dollars of wages they have worked and should have been paid for.“Wage theft” is a shorthand term that refers to situations in which someone isn’t paid for the work. In its simplest form, it might consist of a manager instructing employees to work off the clock. Or a company refusing to pay for overtime hours.A report from the Economic Policy Institute estimated that employees lose $15 billion to wage theft every year, more than all of the property crime in the United States put together.That report, however, focused on workers being paid less than the federal or state minimum wage. Our 2017 study, which was based on promotional materials, employer policies and YouTube videos, suggested that companies can now use software to avoid paying all sorts of hourly workers.Tippett focuses on two main areas of digital wage theft by employers: rounding and automatic break deduction. She did a search to see if there were legal cases brought to reclaim lost wages to these two causes, expecting to find only a few. To her surprise, she found hundreds and hundreds of legal opinions. To quote her from the article, “The study’s methodology does not support quantitative inferences about how often digital wage theft occurs or how much money US workers have lost to these practices over time. But what I can say is that this is not a theoretical problem. Real workers have lost real money to these practices.”Rounding is almost like gambling; if you come to work too early, you lose wages, but if you are late, the same thing happens. You have to hit the “sweet spot” for the digital clock to add to your hours (mostly set in 15-minute increments, but not on quarter hours as one might think). This clock illustrates one such digital rounding plan.Some companies prohibit workers from clocking in too early or too late, thus losing time worked.With automatic break deductions, it is harder to regain time lost. The software does not know if you took your break or had a full lunchtime or not, so it always errs on the side of a full break. Then, it is your word against a machine.In some workplaces, taking a lunch break can be difficult, especially for those providing patient care in hospitals and nursing homes. Studies of nurses suggest that they are completely unable to take breaks in about 10 percent of shifts and aren’t relieved of duty for meals and breaks in about 40 percent.The author concludes that these issues exist due to outdated rules from “back in the day” when employers had to calculate wages by hand. The assumption was that things would average out over time. Automatic break deductions were not even in the picture when these regulations were at play, so courts now have to struggle to determine what is fair in this arena.Then again, the courts may not get involved, given the Supreme Court ruling this past week that, under current law, all employee disputes may be settled by individual arbitration (see this NPQ article) and class action, which has been the path for much of the wage theft disputes. As Tippett concludes, “This problem is not going away. As long as these regulatory loopholes exist, employers and software makers will find ways to exploit them. That means if you’re paid an hourly wage, you may very well be losing out.”—Carole LevineShare159Tweet30ShareEmail189 Shares
Share9TweetShareEmail9 SharesMarine 69-71 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia CommonsDecember 9, 2018; Arizona RepublicAs Linda Valdez writes in the Arizona Republic, there are increasing signs that the state’s declaration of a public health emergency in 2017 and passage of subsequent legislation to address the opioid epidemic has been effective, even if 2018 numbers proving that 2017 was a peak year for overdose deaths will not be available for several months yet. In 2017, 949 Arizonans died of opioid overdoses, a rate of 19 per 100,000 (the national average was 15 per 100,000), and more than twice the state’s fatality rate in 2012. Arizona is one of eight states nationwide to have declared a public health emergency for opioids. (The federal government also made such a declaration.)Following the state’s public health emergency declaration, the state legislature unanimously passed the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act of 2018. The law, notes Valdez includes the following provisions:Expanded access to naloxone, which reverses the effects of overdoses.Medical education for those who either prescribe or dispense opioids.A Good Samaritan exception to enable friends and family to call 911 in case of overdose without risking arrest.Limits on prescribing opioids to first-time usersThese provisions are not as far-reaching as those that NPQ profiled in Dayton, Ohio last month, but are still quite extensive. To date, the impacts have included:“A 36 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions, compared to 2016”“A 60 percent decrease in the number of patients ‘doctor shopping’ for opioid prescriptions, compared to July 2017”“A 58 percent increase in overdoses referred to behavioral health providers, compared to July 2017”“A 296 percent increase in naloxone doses dispensed by pharmacies, compared to September 2017”Still to be implemented is a requirement that electronic prescriptions be used, an effort to cut down on fraud and forgeries. High population counties such as Maricopa (where Phoenix is) will implement the rule in January 2019, with the entire state following by July 2019. Also, starting in January, Arizona will regulate and license pain management clinics for the first time.As Valdez notes, in Arizona (as in Dayton, Ohio), the measures demonstrate that government can effectively regulate business to protect consumers. But Valdez does not hide the fact that government helped create the crisis that city, county, and state public health departments are now working around the clock to mitigate.Earlier this year, Valdez notes, Dr. David Kessler, who was head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under President Bill Clinton in 1995 when OxyContin was approved, admitted the agency erred in approving the drug without testing. “No doubt it was a mistake. It was certainly one of the worst medical mistakes, a major mistake,” Kessler now says. But the errors didn’t stop with the hasty approval process that resulted in the sale and distribution of one of the deadliest drugs to receive FDA approval in agency history.As NPQ has covered, Purdue Pharma, owned by the descendants of Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, heavily marketed OxyContin and is now facing hundreds of lawsuits from states, cities, and American Indian nations. But the feds were not neutral. Valdez recalls that, “The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [was] including questions about pain management in patient satisfaction surveys that were used to determine hospital reimbursement rates.”“The pressure was on to relieve pain, and opioids were sold as a safe way to do it,” Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ tells Valdez. Now, the government is “taking on chronic pain as a public health issue,” says Christ. Among other things, this means the state government is tracking drug usage and making available information and resources regarding strategies for managing chronic pain that extend beyond medication.It is good to see that government actions are starting to make a meaningful difference. But is it too much to ask that the next time a drug is discovered to be dangerous, it won’t take 200,000 deaths nationwide to spur action?—Steve DubbShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares
Digital movie retailer Acetrax plans to launch an online TV and movies on-demand across the UK, France, Italy and Germany using UK-based Inview Technology’s connected TV service.The Acetrax movies app will offer viewers using the Inview platform access to a range of movies without being tied in to a subscription service.The Inview service runs on second-tier TVs and set-top boxes, turning low cost products into connected devices. The service includes a fully integrated royalty-free electronic programme guide, media browser and personal scheduling tool.
Abu Dhabi media development group TwoFour54 is introducing a rebate for TV and film producers shooting in the Emirate. The scheme is the first of its kind in the Middle East and TwoFour54 chief operating officer Wayne Borg told told DTVE’s sister publication TBI that discussion with producers are underway and he expects the first projects to be ready to go when it comes into effect this September.“We want to connect international and regional producers with what’s happening in Abu Dhabi,” Borg said. “The incentive scheme is clear, simple and transparent and a compelling proposition for producers.”Qualifying productions can claim a 30% rebate. The scheme applies to TV series and documentaries as well as movies, advertising and music video production. The qualifying spend relates to goods and services sourced from Abu Dhabi and for relevant expenditure on location or studio filming and post-production. It also covers costs of contracting local crews or those registered as local freelancers using the TwoFour54’s freelance visa scheme. It also covers accommodation, freight and flight costs.Borg, speaking from the Cannes Film Festival, said that he anticipates an even split of TV and movie productions taking advantage of the scheme.“Incentives like this are in operation in other parts of the world, but this the first of its kind in the region. We decided that if we were serious about being an attractive proposition for producers we were going to need to step up and now is the time to do that.”Borg also said that following recent management changes, he is committed to remaining in his position at TwoFour54. Tony Orsten was recently replaced as CEO by Noura Al Kaabi.Separately, TwoFour54 announced that US digital production company Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) is setting up a studio at TwoFour54. The animation, visual effects and motion capture studio will use a 150,000 square foot facility and employ 500 people. There will also be an accompanying training scheme for local professionals when the studio opens in 2015.
German cable operator Kabel Deutschland (KDG) has launched a new DVR with what it claims to be the largest hard drive in the country.The Sagemcom RCI88-1000 offers up to 1TB of storage, enabling users to record 220 hours of HD content. The box has four tuners and can be rented by new and existing customers. Users can programme the DVR from smartphones and tablets devices using an app that can be downloaded from the iTunes Store and Google Play.
UKTV is introducing a new on-air look and feel.The UK channel operating group, which is a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, said it is introducing the new look to coincide with its twenty-first year in digital TV.The new look will go live on Tuesday March 26.Chief executive, Darren Childs said: “Strengthening of our network status will cement UKTV’s partnerships with our increasing number of new and incumbent platforms – Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, TalkTalk and our own direct On Demand services – as well as increasing our profile internationally throughout the 200 territories that we now supply with our programming.”The refreshed UKTV brand will appear on air in cross promotion menus, programme opening and closing credits, co-branded consumer advertising and throughout all B2B communications.UKTV’s network brand was last on screen in 2008 following the introduction of new channel brands including Dave in 2007.
Almost a third of Italians used time-shifted viewing last year, while 59% of pay TV operator Sky Italia’s subscribers used non-linear viewing, according to a study by the Politecnico di Milano and Studio Frasi on the evolution of the Italian TV market.According to the study, 31% of Italians – about 17.8 million people – used time shifted-viewing in 2012, while 59% per cent of Sky Italia’s subscribers – about 7.4 million people –used non-linear viewing.The study found about 1.7 million daily non-linear viewing contacts a day on average in 2012, with an average audience of 68,000 using services for an average of 57 minutes per day.Non-linear viewing peaked during the week ending June 7, when the Euro 2012 match between Italy and Russia was shown on Rai, with a large number of people watching the match live and using catch-up services to view other programmes.
Polish broadcaster TVN said a recovering TV ad market and improvement in brokerage fees from premium TV services helped it to up its revenues in Q1. The firm said that advertising and sponsorship revenues in the period up by PLN 7 million, or 2.5%, while the TV advertising market increased by 4.8%.Brokerage fees from Premium TV services reached a revenue growth rate of 87%.”TVN maintained its market leader position reflected in the highest value market share in the TV advertising environment which was in line with expectations delivering mid-single digit growth in the first quarter,” said CEO Markus Tellenbach.“Performance of TVN was softer due to impacts of [the] novelty factor for new DTT channels benefiting from full national reach and good audience share results of [the] Winter Olympic Games. However, our initiatives in non-linear content exploitation and TV advertising brokerage performed exceptionally well: online video usage was again up by close to 50% while third party inventory represented by premium TV expanded by more than 80% driving similar revenue growth.”TVN said its channels portfolio increased its all day audience share in the commercial target group by 0.7 percentage points year-on-year to 23.5% and said that its pay TV operator division nc+ counted 2.2 million post-paid subscribers at the end of March.Overall, TVN’s revenues increased by 2.5% year-on-year in the first quarter, reaching PLN 352 million. However, reported EBITDA in the first quarter was PLN 96 million, down year-on-year by 2.3%.
Scripps Networks UK and EMEA has concluded a licensing deal with Simplestream-owned UK free streaming app TVPlayer for channels Food Network and Travel Channel and their plus-one-hour variants.The addition of the channels take the TVPlayer offering to 40 channels. The latter plans to license more channels over the summer and claims to have more licensed channels than any other live streaming app in the UK market.TVPlayer this month updated its software, introducing new features including iOS push notifications, meaning that he player can now remind its users of events and new channel additions.“We are delighted to welcome Food Network and Travel Channel to TVPlayer, offering our users a great selection of premium programming,” said Adam Smith, founder and CEO of Simplestream.“The addition of Scripps channels form the start of a series of updates over the summer period, which will add further channels and functionality to TVPlayer, culminating with the launch of our PVR service later in the year. With the number of set top boxes currently in the market, we think the TVPlayer app offers a welcomed alternative to tech-hungry audiences, who are looking to watch TV on their mobile and tablet devices whilst they are out and about as well as at home.”
Phil CraigDiscovery Communications has recruited Phil Craig as chief creative officer.Craig’s appointment comes after chief content officer, Luis Silberwasser left Discovery – he is now president of Telemundo – and Julian Bellamy also left the factual channel operator for ITV, although the chief creative officer title is a new one at the company.The Discovery new recruit joins from Australian pubcaster the ABC, where he has been head of factual since 2012. Craig will relocate from Sydney to London for the new role and will report directly to JB Perrette, Discovery’s international boss. He starts in February 2015.Before working at the ABC, Craig was at Jane Root’s indie producer Nutopia. He has also been a producer at UK pubcaster the BBC.“I’m thrilled that Phil Craig is joining us to lead DNI’s creative strategy and team. It is a hugely exciting time for the company, with international revenues now exceeding those in the US, and the incredible momentum of our international network portfolio which just delivered a third straight record quarter in viewership,” said Perrette.Craig will lead Discovery’s production and development group, which spans: Silver Spring, New York, Miami, London and Singapore.“Being offered this incredible job feels like re-connecting with a great friend,” said Craig. “Ten years ago, Discovery asked me to make The Flight that Fought Back. After that, I produced and executive produced many hours for Discovery Channel all over the world.”Headded: “I look forward to growing the business still further, in close collaboration with colleagues at the U.S. networks and across all the local and regional markets, as Discovery Networks International continues to establish itself as a world-leading commissioner of original, quality programming across all platforms.”
Fashion One has added its FO HD channel to Spanish cable operator Ono’s platform. FO HD becomes the fiftieth high definition channel to joins Ono’s HD TV channel line-up, broadcasting on channel 114 from this month.FO HD aims at a “fashionable and stylish female audience” and covers fashion, entertainment, lifestyle news, A-list celebrity profiles, luxury brands, holiday destinations and red carpet events.“We are excited to work with ONO as we continue to showcase up and coming Spanish talents and local events from the region in an international platform,” said Ashley Jordan, CEO of Fashion One.Fashion One is a subsidiary of Bigfoot Entertainment, launched in 2010, and operates Fashion One, FO, and Fashion First around the world.
Viacom18 – the Indian joint venture between Viacom and TV18 – has launched a new ad-supported video-on-demand service called VOOT.The platform will be made free on iOS and Android devices and the web, and will house series such as Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and Chhota Bheem from Nickelodeon.It will offer the entire content libraries of Viacom18 channels such as Nick, MTV and Colors, and – significantly – will have a “repository” of original programmes featuring Bollywood actors such as Gulshan Grover and big0name scriptwriters and directors.The platform will offer an alternative to Netflix, which recently launched in the market, and the US studio-backed Hooq.Six originals are planned through the launch phase, including what’s being described as India’s first mockumentary, titled Badman. The four-part show comes from Soulmik Sen and was co-written by stand-up Anubhav Pal, and willstar Grover playing a version of himself.Soadies is a comic spin-off of popular Indian series Roadies, with prodco Frames attached as producer, while another comedy, Chinese Bhassad, comes from Raahil Qaazi (Do Dooni Chaar). Sinskari is billed as a talk show with a twist, produced by Monozygotic.Meanwhile, on the reality front, a ‘content around content’ section will offer specially curated and platform exclusive programmes.“As a network we are a content powerhouse, be it through our television channels or through our film studio,” said Viacom18 Digital Ventures COO Gaurav Gandhi. “Our content strategy for VOOT is true to Viacom18’s philosophy of inclusive entertainment.“Between VOOT Originals, VOOT Kids, our network content and Content-around-content created exclusively for the platform, the idea is topeddle happiness to the ‘always wanting’ India, racing to go digital.”The free pricing may prove a boon against VOOT’s Indian SVOD rivals. Various commentators have criticised Netflix for pricing its Indian offer in line with the amount it charges elsewhere, which could lock out large swathes of the lower-income local audience.“From a business standpoint, we are following the advertising led VOD model,” said Gandhi. “As the market matures in the next 12-24 months, we will be evaluating both freemium and subscription led models.”Viacom18 Digital Ventures launched last year as a new division of the Viacom International Media Networks and TV18 Group broadcasting joint venture. Gandhi was promoted from group COO of the JV’s integrated distribution business Indiacast to run the unit.
Motorsports channel Motorvision TV has struck a deal with Liberty Global’s UPC Austria and UPC Switzerland, giving access to the channel to cable subscribers in the two countries.The channel’s latest carriage deal follows its move from exclusive to non-exclusive carriage with Sky Deutschland earlier this year. That change freed the service up to strike agreement with other distribution partners in the German-speaking area.The UPC deal gives Motorvision TV access to a potential 1.3 million homes in Switzerland, including 700,000 premium homes, where it is carried as part of UPC’s Sport TV package, and 500,000 in Austria, including 370,000 premium homes, where it is offered as part of the Horizon TV Plus HD package.In the German-speaking area, Motorvision TV continues to be available on satellite via Sky Deutschland, on IPTV via Deutsche Telekom’s EntertainTV and on the internet via OTT services M2M TV (Mobile2Morrow) and Watch-it!The channel said that further distribution partners for the German feed will be announced shortly.
A+E Networks’ History’s video-on-demand service, History Vault, has launched in South Africa, marking the first time the service has been available outside North America.Yusuf NabeeHistory Vault offers an array of curated content such as Mankind: The Story of Al of Us, Cities from the Underworld , Mummies Day, Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll, World War II: The World in Crisis, and the Secrets of the Dark Ages, as well as content covering a range of topics like space exploration, the Bible, legendary leaders and much more.The South African service will include HD content curated from over 30 collections in its first three months, with new collections to be added on a weekly basis.History Vault is available to pay TV service DStv’s customers on Catch Up Plus on DStv Now online or through the service’s app, and also via DStv Explora set-top boxes connected to the internet.A+E Networks currently distributes linear channels Lifetime and Crime + Investigation, as well as History, in South Africa.Yusuf Nabee, General Manager at A+E Networks Africa said: “A+E Networks Africa has been at the forefront of digital innovation, recently launching a pop-up channel dedicated to the history of football and an app allowing viewers to create user-generated content for special event programming. History Vault further cements our commitment to work closely with our partners and offer our content in a variety of innovative ways.’’