The agent turnout has been impressive for Helloworld Travel’s expansion of its Learning and Development opportunities and programs that offer face-to-face training in areas of negotiation, selling skills and leadership.Kelley Matson, National Training Manager, Helloworld Travel Limited, says the timing of the delivery of the courses has been designed to help agents hit the ground running for the financial year ahead.Training with Kelley MatsonThe specifically tailored skills-based course entitled The Art of Conversion has already attracted over 160 consultants and covers the steps of the sales process with particular emphasis on the customer experience, building strong relationships and the value that is add by being the Travel Professional.Helloworld Travel is currently running Leadership training around the country focusing on Goal Setting, KPIs and Performance Measurements for Teams for agents across the Branded and Associate networks.Julie Primmer, Head of Branded Network at Helloworld Travel emphasised the importance and value of these bespoke in-house training development opportunities. “These courses really provide vital assistance to our networks of owner managers to identify the gaps in their business and to encourage and allow them to acquire the tools they can use to fill the gaps and make their business more profitable.” agentsHelloworld Traveltraining
D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ In his first season with the Cardinals, Jay Feely missed three field goals. In 16 games.The kicker has already equaled that number in just three games this season, and his pair of misses Sunday in Seattle proved to be rather costly, especially the 49-yard attempt he left short with the Cardinals down three and roughly five minutes left in the game.The Cardinals ended up losing the game 13-10.“Maybe we’re getting them all out of our system early,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said of Feely’s struggles. “But that doesn’t make it any better.” Whisenhunt said kicker is a tough position to play — and no one is doubting that — but for a guy who was so reliable just one season ago to struggle right out of the gate is a bit concerning. However, the coach isn’t worried.“I’ll say this about Jay, he’s mentally a very strong guy,” he said. “I have great confidence that on whatever kick he’s kicking, the next kick is going to go through because I believe in Jay.”It’s good the coach believes in Feely because fans might start to get nervous if the struggles continue. That said, the kicker’s issues could be due to a number of circumstances, all of which are really out of his control.First, the Cardinals cut punter Ben Graham before the season opener in favor of Dave Zastudil. Graham, of course, was the holder on Feely’s kicks, and the change — even if all things seem right — could be an issue. Former Cardinal Neil Rackers had a similar problem with the team cut Scott Player loose in favor of Dirk Johnson, struggling with his kicks after the change.Of course, Feely’s issue Sunday may have simply been the weather. Seattle is not an easy place to kick, with swirling winds and a wet football likely playing a role. Regardless, Feely’s job is to make field goals, and he didn’t come through Sunday afternoon. He’ll have plenty more chances this season, though, and Whisenhunt and the Cardinals are hoping he has, in fact, gotten the misses out of the way.Arizona Sports’ Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Comments Share Top Stories Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away
Aston Martin triumphed in both GT1 and GT4 categories in front of a 25,000-strong crowd in the first race of the FIA GT Championship at Silverstone over the weekend.In poor weather with heavy fog and rain, the famous Tourist Trophy was won by Karl Wendlinger and Ryan Sharp in the number 33 Jetalliance Aston Martin DBR9. Allan Simonsen and Philipp Peter finished 3rd in the Gigawave DBR9 after holding off intense competition in a thrilling climax to the race.The second Jetalliance car driven by Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer and Alex Müller claimed an excellent 6th place after starting from 9th on the GT1 grid.Karl Wendlinger said: “It has been an incredibly tough race in very difficult conditions. Both the wet tyres and the intermediates were degrading quickly during my stints. And then also my spin – but still it worked out okay. Ryan has performed superbly today and won the race for us. A perfect season opener!”Ryan Sharp commented: “I desperately wanted to win here at Silverstone of all places. Now the feeling is just incredible. We had a perfect car and perfect teamwork.”In GT3 where six Aston Martin DBRS9s were in action, Brixia Racing in their debut race achieved the highlight result claiming a 3rd place podium finish in race one.The new GT4 category for production-standard race cars saw Aston Martins victorious in both races, with Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof in the Jetalliance Vantage N24 taking victory in Saturday’s race. The final race on Sunday saw eight Vantage N24s start on the grid and in a gripping tussle for the lead, Jamie Smyth in the Beechdean N24 triumphed over the 2nd placed Mustang on the final lap. Klaus Engelhorn took 3rd and Jurgen Van Hover finished 4th.David King, Head of Product Communications and Motorsport, Aston Martin said: “We are very proud of the achievements of all the Aston Martin teams across all four classes of GT racing this weekend.“Jetalliance has made a perfect start to their FIA GT1 campaign and their support for GT4 really paid off too with a great win for Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof in his debut race in one of four Jetalliance-entered Vantage N24s.“The 3rd place in GT1 for the Gigawave team was an amazing achievement in their first GT1 season and in GT3 the competition was incredible, with 50 cars from nine different marques battling it out, making a debut 3rd place finish for the Brixia team all the more special.”Meanwhile in the American Le Mans Series in Long Beach, Paul Drayson and Johnny Cocker successfully drove the brand new Drayson-Barwell Vantage GT2 to its maiden race finish.
by The Associated Press Posted Jul 27, 2018 8:32 am PDT Last Updated Jul 27, 2018 at 9:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Belle Isle museum showcasing antique outboard motors, boats DETROIT – A museum on Detroit’s Belle Isle is showcasing antique outboard motors and vintage powerboats on its grounds.The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is hosting the fourth annual event Saturday on the longtime island park that also will feature historic racing hulls.It’s all in recognition of the history of outboard motor building and boat racing in Michigan and Ontario.The museum says the outboard was first commercially manufactured in Detroit.The free event is organized by the Great Lakes Chapter and Southern Ontario Rowboat Motor Chapter of the Antique Outboard Motor Club Inc. and Detroit Historical Society.
State Rep. Earl Poleski, R-Jackson, today announced Coffee Hours and Office Hours for the month of February. The third-term lawmaker says this is an opportunity for residents to come together with questions and concerns regarding state government and pending and passed legislation.Residents can meet Rep. Poleski at the following times and locations:Coffee Hours will be held from 7 to 8:30 a.m. on:Monday, Feb. 1 at Wooden Spoon Café, 5781 King Rd. in JacksonMonday, Feb. 8 at Napoleon Café, 6816 W Brooklyn Rd. in NapoleonMonday, Feb. 15 at Subway, 2002 Horton Rd. in JacksonMonday, Feb. 22 at Jackson Coffee Co., 201 S Mechanic St. in JacksonOffice Hours will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Jackson County Tower Building, located at 120 W. Michigan Ave. in Jackson on the following dates:Friday, Feb. 5Friday, Feb. 12Friday, Feb. 19Friday, Feb. 26If you are unable to attend at any of these times but would still like the opportunity to ask Rep. Poleski questions, please contact his office by phone, toll free, at 888-643-4786, or by email at EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov.### Categories: News 27Jan Rep. Poleski encourages residents to attend local discussions
State Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, did not miss a single vote during her six-year tenure representing the 89th District in the House of Representatives.Rep. Price submitted the last of her 4,123 votes during the final day of the current session on Thursday, Dec. 15.“Representing the 89th District meant making every single vote,” said Rep. Price. “We had so many important issues to resolve in Lansing. I set a goal of making every vote to help turn Michigan around while representing our district.”In addition, Rep. Price, who completed her current term as chair of the House Committee on Education and vice-chair on the Committee on Local Government, participated in every committee vote during her tenure. She was also a member of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Communications and Technology, and Workforce and Talent Development committees in 2015-16.On the House floor, Rep. Price’s first term in 2011-12 had the most votes with 1,632, followed by 1,345 in 2013-14 and 1,261 in 2015-16.“We’ve done a lot to help get Michigan back on track – being on-time with state budgets, repealing thousands of regulations, navigating the Detroit bankruptcy, developing a road funding package, and getting third grade reading literacy legislation passed,” said Rep. Price. “We tackled intractable issues in this legislature and put in place policies that will sustain our state for years to come. We have developed a great sense of pride in Michigan, which is working hard for its future.”Rep. Price also committed to be available to area residents, including monthly coffee hour events across the district.“Attending county meetings, discussions at coffee hours, chats over ice cream, prayers of support and questions at chamber events – I’m thankful for all of that.” Rep. Price said. “I’m humbled and grateful to have represented the residents of the 89th district and all the residents of Michigan.”### Categories: News 21Dec Rep. Price completes term with perfect voting record
27Sep Hernandez bill protects concealed pistol license holders ‘Punishment should fit the crime’ for people who forget to renew CPLLegislation introduced by state Representative Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) passed the Michigan House of Representatives today with large bipartisan support.House Bill 4458 would protect concealed pistol license (CPL) holders from facing excessive and unreasonable punishments simply for forgetting to renew their licenses before the expiration date.CPL holders currently face the possibility of a five-year felony if they are found in possession of a concealed pistol even one day after their license expires. The same punishment as individuals who have never obtained a CPL.“A person who has underwent firearms training, has exercised their Constitutional rights responsibly, and has every intention of following the rules doesn’t deserve to face felony charges merely for forgetting about the expiration date on their CPL,” said Hernandez. “This is common sense legislation that I feel is long overdue.”The Hernandez legislation creates a six-month “grace period” after the license expires where people who remain eligible for a CPL would be subject to a $330 fine if found to be carrying a concealed pistol. The fine can also be waived if the individual receives a renewal license within 60 days of the violation.House Bill 4458 now moves to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: Hernandez News
Categories: News,Whiteford News 28Sep Rep. Whiteford issues statement on Palisades announcement State Rep. Mary Whiteford of Casco Township today issued the following statement on the announcement that the Palisades nuclear power plant in southwest Michigan will remain open until at least 2022, delaying a planned 2018 closure:“More than 100 people employed at Palisades live in Allegan County. Today’s announcement is great news for them and for all of southwest Michigan. Keeping Palisades open strengthens our communities and maintains safe, reliable power for our region.”
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 16, 2014; The RepublicBeginning last summer, NPQ provided a good deal of coverage to a strange story from New Mexico where 15 behavioral health organizations were summarily shut down by the state through a withholding of payments. The action came pursuant to an audit performed by the Boston-based Public Consulting Group, which was looking for fraud and mismanagement. The audit document had not then, nor has since been made available to the providers or to the public. The caseloads of those clinics were transferred to agencies located in Arizona. An outcry about a lack of transparency ensued, and attempts to get the results of the audit released through the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act were unfruitful. Now, more than four months later, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King’s office has announced that in at least the first case it reviewed, that of the Counseling Center in Alamogordo, no fraud has been found, though there were overbillings amounting to less than $20,000, and no criminal charges will be brought.The Counseling Center will be the fourth organization to be cleared to reopen, but it has since gone out of business. The CEO has said it’s doubtful the nonprofit would resume operations because its assets are exhausted, but it will fight to collect approximately $400,000 in withheld payments. “They put us out of business. I don’t see any way that can be turned around now,” said Jim Kerlin, who served as CEO for 25 years. At the time of the closing, he had protested, saying, “We get between one and three audits every year…. We’ve always scored above 90 percent. The year before last, we scored 100 percent, which means they found no irregularities. We’re in compliance.”Democratic Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino is saying that that the state could face lawsuits from mental health providers that were forced out of business. “Why did it take six months to clear some agency of this? And in the meantime they went out of business? This is really a distressing thing,” said Ortiz y Pino.Meanwhile, the legislature will be considering what additional protections should be considered for service providers. Ad spots on radio stations across the state suggest that listeners call legislators to demand due process rights for healthcare providers. (The ads were paid for by a coalition called New Mexicans Fighting To Save Behavioral Health, a group that includes the former providers but also consumers, their families, and advocates.)“I think the whole way it has been handled is very unfortunate,” said Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen (D-Las Cruces). “Many legislators, on both sides of the aisle, would have preferred that there had been more transparency…. When you feel like something is operating in the shadows, you have a very difficult time getting on board with what they’re doing.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesSeptember 1, 2014; StatelineThe news of the day that prompted President Obama to convene a small White House press conference dealing with Iraq and Ukraine was so bad that he took an extra question as he was about to leave the dais—on immigration reform. Oddly, his news on immigration reform wasn’t much more positive than his message on Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine. In his impromptu last question on immigration, the president backed off his longstanding commitment to take action on immigration reform by executive order by the end of the summer if Congress didn’t act. Citing a decline in the number of border apprehensions of undocumented immigrants in August compared to the previous month amounting to “a significant downward trend in terms of…[undocumented] unaccompanied children,” the president said, “Hope springs eternal that after the midterm elections [Congress] may act.” That means that the political calculus is to do nothing significant that might upset the applecart of reelecting Democrats to the House and Senate in November.The statement was kind of sad, as the president added, “We’ve had a lot of stakeholder discussions; that set of proposals is being worked up.” In the sixth year of the Obama presidency, it was just about the immigration equivalent of his “We don’t have a strategy yet” statement on ISIL in Syria. Little wonder that 145 young protesters were arrested in acts of civil disobedience outside the White House calling for an end to immigration deportations.While the president ponders the proposals Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson is generating, the young “Dreamers” who were undocumented immigrants when they entered the U.S. but younger than 16 present an immediate policy challenge for both Democrats and Republicans. In 2012, the president launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which gives qualifying Dreamers permission to stay in the U.S., pursue educations, work, and even receive Social Security numbers. Some Republicans are pushing for a repeal or override of DACA, while some Republicans on the very far right of the immigration debate, like Rep. Steve King (R-IA), think that Obama’s approval of DACA makes him a candidate for impeachment. Although they probably have less support than immigration advocates fear, the president’s inaction on comprehensive immigration reform might make DACA more vulnerable.However, with or without comprehensive immigration reform, according to Tim Henderson writing for Stateline, the various states treat DACA participants very differently, reflecting the problem of states’ having very different attitudes toward immigrants and immigration. Arizona presents obstacles to DACA participants getting GEDs, while both Arizona and Nebraska apparently make it difficult for them to get driver’s licenses. The DACA-eligible young immigrants are the Dreamers who were meant to benefit from the president’s executive order two years ago. Three-fourths of the over 1 million potentially eligible DACA participants are from Mexico, and most end up in California and Texas, as this Pew Charitable Trusts table demonstrates:Making the issue more complicated is the recent surge of unaccompanied Central American children crossing the U.S./Mexico border. Those these children do not qualify for DACA, which requires that eligible candidates have lived in the U.S. since 2007, and anti-DACA Republicans have blamed the program for encouraging the new young immigrants that have captured press headlines this past year. The evidence suggests that it is the push from violence in their home countries, rather than the pull of DACA, that is at play with the unaccompanied children, but that hasn’t seemed to affect the thinking of DACA opponents. Those million or so potential dreamers have become a political force, with a national network called United We Dream. Their We Can’t Wait campaign (#WeCantWait), aimed at “tearing down President Obama’s deportation machine,” challenges President Obama to act faster and to confront political opponents, such as Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who recently called for deportations of young people and blamed DACA for the young immigrants surge.There is a reason why the nation is perched on having DACA interpreted in multiple ways across the various states. It is not just because the DREAM Act, which would have been the legislative version of DACA, failed to get congressional approval. It is because the nation has yet to come to terms with comprehensive immigration reform. Perhaps some people think that this is the wrong time to push immigration reform because there is so much else for the administration and Congress to confront, such as ISIL in Iraq and Syria, a war between Israel and Palestine in Gaza, and a Russian “incursion,” as the president called it, into Ukraine. And last year might have been a bad time because of the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act and continuing governmental preoccupation with the nation’s stumbling recovery from the recession. Truth be told, there are always lots of things happening used as excuses for inaction, but the amazing thing about the U.S. government is that executives and legislators can walk and chew gum at the same time when they want to. In the case of immigration reform, it will take the leadership of Dreamers and others to push reluctant politicians to remedy the nation’s immigration chaos.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share6TweetShare8Email14 SharesOctober 14, 2015; Washington PostHow quickly the public shifts its attention, relegating world-changing crises and controversies to the memory dustbin once the issues appear to be resolved or, in the case of epidemics and pandemics, “cured.” In the UK, a nurse who had treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone was thought to have recovered from her own previous bout with the disease in January. Last week, Pauline Cafferkey was readmitted to a London hospital, and this week her condition was downgraded to critically ill. With the reemergence of Ebola in Cafferkey, authorities have identified 58 of the Scottish nurse’s “close contacts” and offered an experimental vaccine to 40 of them, with 25 having accepted the treatment.Other Ebola survivors are reporting other Ebola-related symptoms, notably including problems with blindness. One American survivor, Dr. Ian Crozier, reports swelling and vision problems and that one of his eyes has changed color since he recovered from Ebola. A World Health Organization (WHO) support officer, Margaret Nanyonga, is in Kenema, Sierra Leone, investigating “post-Ebola syndrome” symptoms and has discovered survivors with significant long-term fatigue and aches plus cases of vision difficulties—and at least two of blindness—making resumption of their pre-Ebola lives and work difficult or impossible..According to Ryan Lenora Brown, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, this week was the first since March of 2014 without a new case of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Guinea. In other words, there have been new cases of Ebola every week for more than a year, but with little or no attention paid to the pandemic by most of the public. Brown’s report from the village of Kpondu reveals the post-Ebola devastation, regardless of whether the disease itself has been, at least for the moment, stanched. Community leaders told Brown about serious concerns regarding the delivery of aid to orphans and survivors. Across Sierra Leone, Brown heard complaints that “international aid organizations, attempting to ease the burden of those who had suffered most from Ebola, were actually making recovery more difficult, breeding suspicion, distrust, and jealousy in tight-knit villages where communal support offered the best chance for physical and psychological recovery from the disease’s traumas.”“Sierra Leone often feels like a graveyard of the entire world’s good intentions,” Brown wrote:Its villages and towns are scattered with slouching signboards announcing a parade of foreign-sponsored aid projects—boreholes and school feeding programs, micro-lenders and community clinics. Some of these, of course, have improved life here, but for every project that’s been effective, the Sierra Leoneans I talked to could point to twice as many that flashed and fizzled.For me, all of this was a great reminder of how dangerous an emotion compassion can be, how quickly it can slant towards pity, then condescension—how quickly we can forget to ask those we want to help what they really need. That is a danger not only for aid workers and donors, but for journalists as well. It is so easy to write of the poor, sick, and suffering in a way that makes them seem pitiable and worthy of our empathy and open wallets. It’s so much harder to bring the rest of their lives into the same, sharp focus, to remind readers that our subjects, like us, have complex, contradictory, and sprawling lives that resist easy categorization or easy solutions. That they are not simply empty vessels for us to pour our guilt and good intentions into.The sad reality is that Ebola is not gone. Some of the underlying conditions that led to its emergence and persistence in West Africa still exist. According to B.T. Slingsby, the CEO of the Japan-based Global Health Innovation Technology Fund, a nonprofit that works on developing affordable vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics, “Ebola was very much a wake-up call for our global society”:Regardless of whether we’re dealing with a pandemic, such as Ebola, or antimicrobial resistance, or with more endemic diseases like malaria or tuberculosis—all of those infectious diseases have one thing in common: Innovations do not come from the free market on its own. But we need these innovations—and therapies, vaccines and diagnostics.I believe, in the wake of the Ebola epidemic, a we’ll be building a lot of momentum in terms of what we need to do as a global society—what the G7 needs to do, what the G20 needs to do, what UN organizations, the World Bank, the private sector need to do—what we need to do collectively in order to resolve this problem, by giving birth to new technologies against infectious diseases.Would that were true. According to Laurie Garrett in a tour-de-force review of the world’s response to the last year’s Ebola epidemic (unfortunately behind a paywall in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs), as of late last year, “at least 16 more Ebola outbreaks across the Congo basin and Uganda in the interim, the world had not developed any new technical or medical tools for addressing the virus. Treatment was only incrementally more sophisticated than it had been back in 1995, it was still impossible to rapidly diagnose infections, and there was still no vaccine.”“The global health infrastructure has shown itself to be weak, fractured, prone to infighting, and more interested in searching for technological silver bullets than engaging in the hard slog of social mobilization and classic local public health work,” Garrett observes. “And through it all, the WHO has struggled to remain credible as its financial resources have shrunk, tensions have grown between its Geneva headquarters and its regional offices, and rival multilateral organizations have taken control over much of the global health action and agenda.”Garrett reports that the much-vaunted U.S. Army commitment to combat Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone arrived when the disease was already winding down, resulting in U.S.-built facilities treating few or no patients. But the official U.S. government response was no worse than that of the World Health Organization. Here is what Garrett concluded:The WHO performed so poorly during the crisis that there is a question of whether the world actually needs it. The answer is yes, it does—but in a revised form, with a clearer mandate, better funding, more competent staff, and less politicization. The agency should be clearly at the apex of the global health architecture, not jockeying for command of epidemic response with other organizations, as happened last year.The spread of the Ebola disease may have subsided for the moment, though there are gaps in information regarding reports from parts of Africa where the disease might still be affecting people. That’s the part of the issue regarding the disease. Other parts of the Ebola crisis—the sometimes uncoordinated responses of many government and NGO players, the sclerotic response of the WHO bureaucracy, and the nearly invisible health infrastructures of the affected countries—have not been substantially addressed, much less fixed.—Rick CohenShare6TweetShare8Email14 Shares
Share17TweetShareEmail17 SharesJuly 14, 2016, Inter Press ServiceCritics both within and outside the United Nations bureaucracy are criticizing member nations with weak human rights records for denying key non-governmental organizations (NGOs) a role in UN deliberations. Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights, is quoted in the IPS Press article as saying “Governments do not need to agree to everything civil society said, but they are obliged to at least guarantee their freedom and listen.”One way for an NGO to exert influence is to receive consultative status at the United Nations, a privilege bestowed by the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the six principal UN organs established in the 1945 UN Charter. According to its website, ECOSOC is the UN’s “central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals.” However, as Philip Kaeding reports for Inter Press Service, NGOs “are concerned about declining possibilities for participation.”Of the more than 10 million NGOs at work in the world, some 4,500 organizations have this special access to the UN’s global political process. Unfortunately, key organizations are being resisted, and their conspicuous absence gives rise to the sentiment that “many civil society actors feel their influence is shrinking.” This tension coincides with the need for civil society organizations (CSOs) to help implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs replaced and expanded on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in January 2016. The SDGs represent a primary international mechanism for guiding development in all UN member states until 2030. Governments enthusiastically acknowledge they need the involvement of civil society to help them focus on human rights, social justice, environmental sustainability, and the exclusion of marginal populations. “The State of Civil Society Report 2016,” published by Civicus this June, addresses this need in depth. Nevertheless, UN member nations reveal their true intentions by denying consultative status to worthy NGOs. With the SDGs decided, the debates turn now to discussing the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in implementing the goals. Particular attention is given to how best to deploy this universal framework at the local level. Civil society organizations have the local knowledge required to ensure accountability and service delivery.One such vital actor is the International Disability Alliance (IDA) representing over 1,100 organizations of persons with disabilities and their families. IDA is responsible for The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the fastest ratified human rights treaty in history, requiring nations to include representatives of persons with disabilities in all programs relating to them, echoing the disability rights movement’s call for “nothing about us, without us.” If only this convention applied to IDA: Eighty percent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries and have won a hard-fought role in designing and overseeing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations. But they are still being left out of development policies and programmes by governments within their own countries. “Persons with disabilities were left out of the Millennium Development Goals. If we are excluded by governments now, the SDGs will leave us behind again.”—Colin Allen, Chair of the International Disability AllianceThe Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) “promotes press freedom worldwide,” meaning that CPJ defends hundreds of journalists who are attacked, imprisoned, and too often killed each year. CPJ needs consultative status to access UN bodies and processes, especially the Human Rights Council in Geneva, to accomplish its work. CPJ first submitted its application in 2012. It was deferred seven times until May of this year, when the application was finally denied. The application process itself is straightforward. Getting countries with abysmal press freedom records to vote in CPJ’s favor is the challenge. “The decision was widely criticized and even Ban Ki-Moon said that ‘freedom is under threat, including at the last place this should happen: at the United Nations.’”Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, adds his criticism:The ECOSOC accreditation process is simply shameful. […] Not many people come to international meetings after all…the majority of the people are out there and you would have thought that that’s the place where the UN would stand up and speak up for the people. Unfortunately, that is very rarely the case.While NPQ has long observed threats to the independence of civil society organizations in the countries where they operate, such as in Russia, China and Egypt, it is especially troubling that the UN would exclude some of them from participation at a time when the UN needs them to help implement the SDGs. By insisting on a transparent and inclusive process for the involvement of the world’s civil society organizations, the UN will benefit from their unique ability to adapt, extend, update, and localize the SDGs.—James SchafferShare17TweetShareEmail17 Shares
Finnish service provider DNA has doubled the upstream speeds offered by cable operator DNA Welho and has launched a new 350Mbps broadband service as part of a major upgrade programme.The upgraded offering is available to DNA Welho’s 600,000 homes in Helsinki and across the country.
Lovefilm has bought a raft of classic BBC kids content including iconic series Teletubbies.The Amazon-owned streaming service has inked a deal with BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the UK public broadcaster, and picked up a package of kids content.Tiles include The Story of Tracy Beaker, The Sarah Jane Adventures and preschool series Balamory.Lovefilm operates in the UK and Germany and this agreement is UK-specific.Lovefilm recently inked a deal for Power Rangers and other series from Saban Brands and also has deals for kids content with Aardman, Disney and Entertainment One among others.It will also show original kids pilots coming out of its US-based Amazon Studios original content unit.Its chief rival Netflix is also moving into original content with Turbo: F.A.S.T., a spin-off of DreamWorks’ upcoming movie Turbo.
Changes at the top of Turner Broadcasting System continue apace with Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin exiting for a new role.The 14-year Turner veteran has been named CEO of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team. This hands him control of his hometown team.Koonin’s role as entertainment networks chief placed him in control of programming, strategy, scheduling, marketing and operations of cable channels TNT, TBS, TruTV and TCM. While in the role, he was credited with launching a number of sports-themed programming initiatives.Koonin’s departure is the latest in a long line of top level changes at Turner and come after John Martin and David Levy were named CEO and president of the business, respectively, beginning their roles at the turn of the year.Last month, Stu Snyder revealed he was leaving his post as president and COO of Turner’s animation division, while the international division has been overhauled since an EMEA-wide business review began in 2012.Jaime Ondarza also replaced the long-serving Domingo Corral at Turner’s Iberia division in a role that handed him control of Southern Europe and Africa. Then two weeks ago, BBC Worldwide executive VP Ian McDonough was drafted in to take on the Northern European duties Ondarza relinquished as part of a wide restructure.Former Sony Pictures Television Asia boss Ricky Ow has also landed at Turner Asia Pacific as president, while local entertainment networks chief Sunny Saha left at the end of February.Elsewhere, publishing firm Time Out’s global CEO Aksel van der Wal recently joined Turner EMEA has senior VP, finance.Before Turner, Koonin held key positions at The Coca-Cola Company.
US streaming and catch-up service Hulu has recruited Jenny Wall, Netflix’s former marketing executive who oversaw campaigns for series including House of Cards, Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black.At Hulu she takes the position of senior VP, head of marketing.Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced the hire in a post on the company’s site yesterday in which he noted Hulu will be upping its marketing spend as it rolls out new original series.“At our Upfront, we announced that over the next year, we will more than triple our content marketing spend to grow awareness for, and interest in, Hulu Originals,” he said. “Additionally, we will be investing in a viewer acquisition and brand campaign to drive new TV lovers to Hulu. We count ourselves lucky to have Jenny at the helm as we accomplish this.”Wall will work across marketing strategy, communications and overall brand building.Prior to leading the global creative team at Netflix, Wall was chief marketing officer at the BLT agency and founded interactive agency Go Marketing where she ran campaigns for HBO, Discovery, Sundance Channel, and Paramount.She said: “The intersection of entertainment and technology continues to fascinate me, and how amazing, challenging and ever changing it is – being part of something that changes how people view television is in my bones. I believe strongly that Hulu is at the forefront of where things are going, and on the right path to defining the future of television.”
RTL Group has agreed to pay US$107 million (€85 million) to buy a controlling stake in StyleHaul – a multi-channel Youtube network dedicated to fashion, beauty and lifestyle.The deal increases RTL Group’s shareholding in StyleHaul from 22.3% to 93.6% and values the US-based business at US$151.4 million. It also includes earn-out mechanisms that could increase the initial consideration, subject to the future performance of the business.RTL has at the same time pledged to invest a further US$20 million in toStyleHaul to fund the company’s growth plans.“The acquisition of StyleHaul is another major strategic step in developing RTL Group into a global powerhouse in the rapidly growing market for online video,” said RTL Group co-CEOs Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch in a joint statement.“StyleHaul is an excellent fit with our digital portfolio, complementing our recent, technology-focused acquisitions BroadbandTV and SpotXchange. With its strong advertising sales team, impressive track record in producing web content and the synergy potential with RTL Group’s broadcasters and producers, StyleHaul has the ideal foundations for continued strong growth.”RTL Group made its initial 22.3% investment in StyleHaul in 2013, following a funding round led by Bertelsmann’s digital investment fund BDMI.Since then, Tiny Riot, the North-American digital studio belonging to RTL Group’s content production arm, FremantleMedia, has made content for StyleHaul. This includes talk show The Crew, which is StyleHaul’s most-watched original series.“For the past two years the partnership between StyleHaul and RTL Group has played an integral role in our success and growth. We are thrilled to be deepening that relationship and play a significant role in their emergence as a leader in the digital landscape,” said StylHaul founder and CEO, Stephanie Horbaczewski.Horbaczewski, a former marketing director at Saks Fifth Avenue, founded StyleHaul in 2011 with Allen and Aaron DeBevoise – the team that founded Machinima.StyleHaul now claims more than 900 million video views per month, and RTL Group said that for the full year 2014 it now expects to more than double its online video views to around 40 billion.The StyleHaul deal is expected to close by the end of November.
Belarusian pay TV provider Cosmos TV has added four new channels to its Regional package.The operator is adding factual channels Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, Discovery-owned lifestyle channel TLC and domestic teleshopping channel Doma TV to its line-up.At the same time, the pay TV provider is dropping four channels – movie channels Dom Kino, Feniks+ Kino and Nashe Novoye Kino, and factual channel National Geographic Channel – from its line-up.
Advertising firm WPP has agreed to buy a minority stake in new Swedish over-the-top TV service, FlowNetwork.FlowNetwork delivers programmes via the web and supplies a number of Sweden’s regional newspapers with technology and content. FlowNetwork is also co-producer of the new Swedish drama series Gåsmamman.“This investment continues WPP’s strategy of developing its integrated services in fast-growing and important markets and sectors and strengthening its capabilities including digital media,” said WPP.WPP’s digital revenues were US$6.9 billion in 2014, representing 36% of the Group’s total revenues of nearly US$19 billion. WPP has set a target of 40-45% of revenue to come from digital in the next five years.
Vodafone Spain has launched a converged offering including sports TV channels aimed at hotels, restaurants and bars. The TV package includes coverage of La Liga top-tier domestic football via its deal with Telefonica, as well as Champions and Europa League European football via its deal with Mediapro.The Vodafone One offering for the hospitality market includes one mobile line with unlimited calls and 3GB of data, 120Mbps high-speed broadband and a package of 80 TV channels including all football for €190 a month excluding VAT.In addition to Spanish and European football, Vodafone can offer coverage of matches from other European domestic leagues including those of England, Italy, France and Germany.Vodafone has also teamed up with Sony to provide a promotional offer that combines the converged package with an exclusive discount price on an 50-inch Android TV for those that sign up.