Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments Share WASHINGTON (AP) — An Amtrak train that derailed Tuesday evening in Philadelphia was travelling about 107 miles per hour as it approached a curve where the speed limit is less than half that, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday the train’s own data showed it traveling almost exactly that speed — 106 miles per hour — before jumping the tracks in an old industrial neighborhood not far from the Delaware River shortly after 9 p.m. Investigators also said the train engineer applied emergency braking shortly before the crash. Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 In this aerial photo, emergency personnel work at the scene of a deadly train wreck, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Philadelphia. Federal investigators arrived Wednesday to determine why an Amtrak train jumped the tracks in the wreck, Another body has been pulled from the wreckage of an Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, increasing the death toll to at least seven. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Surveillance video viewed by the AP shows the passenger train, which was roughly 662 feet long, passed the camera in just over five seconds. But because the video inexplicably plays back slightly slower than in real time, it took the train a little more than four seconds to move past a fixed point on the screen.That means the train was travelling about 107 miles per hour just before it derailed and tipped over, tearing the cars apart and killing at least seven people. The NTSB announced its findings less than an hour after the AP’s initial report.More than 140 people went to hospitals to be evaluated or treated from the crash, and several were critically injured.The surveillance camera from which the AP reviewed video was located at an industrial building a few hundred feet before a bend in the tracks, where the speed limit was only 50 miles per hour.Light from an apparent explosion or a brilliant electrical discharge is visible in the video just over three seconds after the train passes. That would indicate the train was entering the curve as it began to derail, with the train located several hundred feet east of the camera.The AP reviewed both the surveillance footage and government mapping data to determine the train’s speed and location. That data showed the relative location of the surveillance camera to the train’s path, the bends in the railroad tracks and the eventual location of the crash site. The Amtrak engineer at the train’s control refused to talk to police Wednesday and declined to provide a statement to authorities.___Follow Jack Gillum on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jackgillumCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean
One of the most visited cities in the world, Bangkok is making way for the MICE or business tourism as well. Infamous as the backpackers paradise Bangkok is turning towards different segments of tourism. Source: CNN
360 Mortgage Group Movers & Shakers 2014-09-04 Tory Barringer 360 Mortgage Group, a privately owned mortgage banker headquartered in Austin, recruited Shane O’Dell as its new western regional manager.O’Dell has been involved in mortgages and marketing for 21 years, holding a number of leadership roles in that time.He joins 360 Mortgage from Majestic Mortgage, where he was national sales director of wholesale and correspondent channels. Before that, he was regional sales manager of the western United States for CMG Financial. His career has also included roles at Bay Equity, United Residential Lending, LIME Financial, Chase Manhattan Mortgage, and the Mortgage Warehouse.O’Dell’s new role at 360 Mortgage will have him focusing on bringing in new sales executives to expand the company’s footprint throughout the West and Midwest.”Shane not only brings significant mortgage and marketing experience to 360 Mortgage Group, but an impressive track record of developing, implementing and executing sales growth strategies and improving the performance of the sales teams,” said Mark Greco, CEO of 360 Mortgage. “Shane and his team will focus on providing mortgage brokers throughout the Western region our extensive mortgage products portfolio and industry leading technology platform, as well as real time service.”Joining O’Dell in the West are three new account executives: Mike Lynch, Teresa Spinelli, and Maria Cordova, as well as area sales manager David Johnston. All will be based throughout the region.”We are pleased to be onboarding such a talented group of account executives to expand our West coast sales infrastructure to better serve our customers,” Greco said. “Their deep expertise and commitment to service adds a significant advantage and will allow us to further enhance the level of local support that mortgage brokers need to succeed today.” Share 360 Mortgage Group Adds to West Regional Sales Team in Headlines, News, Uncategorized September 4, 2014 461 Views
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email This cover image released by Gallery Books shows “The Last Second,” a novel by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison. (Gallery Books via AP) Review: ‘The Last Second’ is a popcorn movie in print form by Jeff Ayers, The Associated Press Posted Mar 25, 2019 8:41 am PDT “The Last Second” by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison (Gallery).The launch of a corporate satellite covertly begins the countdown to the end of the world in Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison’s latest thriller featuring FBI Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine.The head of the tech company Galactus, Jean-Pierre Broussard, is on a treasure hunt to find the elusive Holy Grail, and he believes he’s found it. His second in command, Nevaeh Patel, is a former astronaut who lost her career when she supposedly lost her mind during a space walk outside the International Space Station. Nobody believes her when she says that aliens that call themselves the Numen saved her life, and that they still routinely communicate telepathically with her.Broussard believed in her abilities, which is why he hired her. He has no idea that, when he’s on the verge of finding the Holy Grail, Patel has arranged for the retrieval of the artifact while also killing him so she can take over the company.The communications satellite that Galactus has just launched has also been manipulated by Patel, and when the countdown on board the craft reaches zero, it will release a nuclear-triggered electromagnetic pulse that will throw Earth and the survivors back to the Stone Age. Patel believes that this will make her immortal, and she will become one with the aliens at that point.The FBI Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine are thrust into the chase to save the world when one of their own is assigned to protect Broussard, and is almost killed in a bold attack. Now it’s a race against the clock to stop the impending destruction even as they battle a reluctant Broussard who cannot believe that Patel would want him dead and responsible for a trajectory change with the satellite launch.Coulter and Ellison’s series has locked itself into a wonderful groove. It is fun following these agents and their allies as they continue to experience chaos, mayhem, and ruthless villains that guarantee a fun time. “The Last Second” is a perfect example of a popcorn movie in print form, and their latest in this series arguably is the best one to date.AdChoices广告Jeff Ayers, The Associated Press
Follow @dfriend on Twitter.David Friend, The Canadian Press TORONTO — Former Guess Who bandmates Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings reunited on Thursday for a charity concert of warm memories and unforgettable hits that marked their first time performing together in a decade.The on-again, off-again musical partnership reached a high note at Music Under the City Stars, a fundraiser in support of Canada’s Walk of Fame at Toronto’s landmark Casa Loma, where the duo reminisced about the good times.They shared the stories behind their iconic songs, including “American Woman” and “No Sugar Tonight,” and poked fun at each other about getting older.“This is the way they sounded when they were being written — before they became records,” Cummings, 71, explained before kicking off the 90-minute set of stripped-down takes without a backing band.“This is sort of like Randy and me inviting you into our living room in the old days.”For the audience of roughly 200 people at the dinner and concert fundraiser — which went for $2,500 per seat — seeing Bachman and Cummings on friendly terms was a rare delight.The Winnipeg-bred musicians have long battled over their personality differences and last performed together in 2009. Bachman wrote in his 2014 book “Tales From Beyond the Tap” about what he considered inequitable distribution of publishing profits between the two songwriters.None of those squabbles were apparent as the musicians sat on opposite sides of the stage while chatting about their spot in Canadian history at a event that doubled as an announcement of the next generation of Walk of Fame inductees.Among the names who will be honoured this year are the late “Mr. Dressup” children’s entertainer Ernie Coombs, actor Will Arnett, and Olympic speedskater Cindy Klassen.Bachman and Cummings are both two-time Walk of Fame inductees themselves, once for the Guess Who and the other in Bachman’s case for his work in Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Cummings has recognition as a solo artist.Both artists acknowledged their post-Guess Who hits during the show. Bachman chose to perform songs that included “Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” and “Takin’ Care of Business” from his days in Bachman-Turner Overdrive, while Cummings sang his solo efforts “Stand Tall” and “Break It to Them Gently.”Still, neither of them could escape the fact they were reunited on stage to celebrate a certain part of their youth and the infectious classics that era inspired.Bachman recalled how “girls were crying on the front lawn” of their house after news spread that Cummings had split from his R&B band the Deverons to join the Guess Who.Their careers took off with “These Eyes,” which Bachman and Cummings co-wrote. The international hit single is a vocal feat that involves Cummings scaling the octaves each time, Bachman acknowledged.“It sounds easy, but if you’re trying to sing it, it just goes up and up and up,” he said.“I don’t think Celine (Dion) could sing this song. I’d love it if she tried.” by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 19, 2019 4:43 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Warm memories, hit singles: Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings reunite for charity show
A lot of Cypriots with vested interests are sabotaging the country’s bid to register halloumi cheese as a protected designation of origin (PDO), Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said on Tuesday, without however, naming names.The minister acknowledged that Cyprus’ application to register its renowned cheese was facing problems but he expressed optimism that it would succeed before the end of the year.Asked whether the problem related to the quantity of sheep milk, the minister said these were “fairy tales from certain manufacturers.”He added that halloumi was being registered to the benefit of thousands of Cypriot farmers and not just three or four large manufacturers.“My job is to secure the interests of the Cypriot people and not those of four or five people,” Kouyialis said. “Many Cypriots are sabotaging (the application), some secretly and others openly, and I will name the open ones soon. The biggest war on this registration file was from the inside.”There is a long-running dispute over the sheep/goat and cow milk ratio content in halloumi cheese, as the cheese industry insists that there is not enough sheep and goat’s milk to meet demand.The application was filed in July 2015, and the file stipulates that the ratio of goat’s and sheep’s milk, or a combination of both, needs to be more than the amount of cow’s milk.Along with halloumi, the government is seeking to register three other delicacies that very often go together with the cheese.They are hiromeri, or cured ham, lountza, made from cured pork tenderloin, and village sausages – all produced in the Pitsilia region on the Troodos mountain range.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementAdd This One Thing To Your Dog’s Food To Help Them Be HealthierUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
State Rep. Jim Stamas (left) along with state Sen. John Moolenaar (behind Rep. Stamas) presented a State of Michigan flag to the family of United States Marine Lance Corporal Steven J. Szymanski (from left to right: Grandparents Jim and Judy Marcoux; Ashlie Szymanski, sister; parents John and Dawn Szymanski) in a special remembrance in the Michigan Capitol today honoring the life of Lance Corporal Szymanski who tragically lost his life in October.“For his sacrifice, along with family, friends and members of the House we are eternally grateful,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “It’s always with a heavy heart that we remember the heroes who give their lives when protecting our freedom and liberties, and today was no different. Our thoughts and prayers will be with Lance Corporal Szymanski’s family during this difficult time.”### Categories: News 11Dec Rep. Stamas honors fallen Marine at Capitol ceremony
15Jan Rep. Nesbitt sworn in for third term, announces office contact information Categories: News,Photos State Rep. Aric Nesbitt this week took the oath of office at the Capitol building in Lansing, kicking off his third term as representative for the people of the 66th House District. Nesbitt’s third term includes a new leadership role as majority floor leader for the state House.As floor leader, Nesbitt will be responsible for helping prepare the legislative agenda and ensure bills are ready for voting on the House floor.“After two terms in the Michigan House, I am proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to help move us toward a better Michigan,” said Nesbitt, R-Lawton. “We’ve balanced the state budget and completed it early four years in a row, and have made huge strides in paying down massive state debt and revamping Michigan’s economy. But there is still more work to be done.“As we begin to look at new legislation this term, I’m focused on achieving real results for Michigan’s hard-working families. As always, I encourage friends and neighbors throughout Southwest Michigan to contact me with any feedback on legislative issues or if help is needed working with state government agencies.”Rep. Nesbitt’s new office is located in Room 153 of the Capitol building in Lansing, and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nesbitt can be reached at (517) 373-0839, via email at AricNesbitt@house.mi.gov, and by mail at P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909.
State Rep. Laura Cox of Livonia today announced she will promote child car seat inspections throughout the month.September is recognized as National Highway Safety Month across the country.To highlight the importance of properly installed car seats for children, Rep. Cox is hosting a series of events where nationally-certified technicians help residents correctly install their car seats. The first event will take place at the following date and time:Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Livonia Fire Station No. 3, 35000 W. Seven Mile Road in Livonia.Rep. Cox will also be introducing legislation early this month that would update Michigan’s child passenger safety law to better align with national guidelines and move closer to the goal of greatly reducing the number of preventable child injuries and deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents.“For those of us who are parents and grandparents, we understand how important it is to ensure a child is safely secured while riding in a vehicle. However, many are still unsure if their car seat is properly installed,” Rep. Cox said. “This is why I’ve partnered with local, state and federal organizations to highlight child car seat safety and host car seat inspection events throughout the area.”Those who are interested are encouraged to stop by with their child in their car seat and the instruction manuals for both the car seat and vehicle, if possible. Expectant parents are also welcome to stop by with their car seat. Categories: Cox News 05Sep Rep. Cox promotes car seat safety during National Highway Safety Month
Categories: Iden News,Iden Photos,News,Photos 06Feb Rep. Iden announces coffee hours State Rep. Brandt Iden today announced plans to meet with residents of Southwest Michigan during local coffee hours in February.“Hosting coffee hours helps me stay focused on the issues that matter most to people in our community,” Iden said. “Talking to my neighbors, listening to their concerns, and answering any questions they have about state government continues to be one of the most important parts of my job.”The coffee hours take place at the following times and locations:Friday, Feb. 168:30 to 10 a.m. at Rise N Dine, 121 S. Main St. in Vicksburg;Monday, Feb. 199:30 to 11 a.m. at Water Street Coffee Joint, 245 W. Center Ave. in Portage.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend are invited to contact Iden’s Lansing office at 517-373-1774 or via email at BrandtIden@house.mi.gov. Coffee hours are subject to change, please check Rep. Iden’s website for the most up to date information.###
State Rep. Kim LaSata’s legislation preserving the integrity of elections in Michigan was overwhelmingly approved today by the Michigan House.LaSata, of Bainbridge Township, said the Michigan Supreme Court recently decided Michigan law does not clearly define election forgery as a crime.“Our election system cannot inspire public confidence without safeguards to deter fraud,” LaSata said. “By closing this loophole, we give law enforcement officers the legal mechanism they need to be able to appropriately prosecute cases of election forgery.”LaSata’s legislation, part of a three-bill package, creates clear penalties for falsely signing a petition or signing a petition with multiple names.Additionally, the plan creates a new crime and definition for election forgery. Under the legislation, any person who knowingly makes, files or publishes a false document or a document with false signatures with the intent to defraud is guilty of forgery.Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic praised the measure’s passage.“This legislation fills a gap in our election laws that permitted one to freely tamper with recall petitions,” Sepic said. “These reforms ensure the integrity of the entire petitioning process every citizen expects.”House Bills 5992, 6107 and 6108 now move to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: LaSata News 27Sep Rep. LaSata’s plan to deter election fraud gains House approval
17Jan Schroeder to serve as vice chair of House Financial Services Committee State Rep. Andrea Schroeder, of Independence Township, was appointed to serve as vice chair of the Michigan House of Representatives Financial Services Committee. She will also be a member of the Commerce and Tourism, Energy, Oversight, and Tax Policy committees. The first-term lawmaker said she is eager to begin work on these diverse committees to help make Michigan an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. “Each of these committees play a significant role in our state’s economy and overall quality of life. I’m excited for my first committee hearing and to begin creating the best policy possible for our residents,” said Schroeder. Schroeder has already introduced her first bill that is part of a bipartisan package to increase state government transparency and integrity. In addition to transparency, Schroeder named reducing auto insurance rates and increased investment in our infrastructure to prepare Michigan for autonomous vehicles as her biggest concerns this term. “I want to thank Speaker Lee Chatfield and the members of the Committee on Committees for the opportunity to work on these important issues.” Schroeder’s office can be reached at (517) 373-0615 or AndreaSchroeder@House.MI.gov.### Categories: Schroeder News
Share27TweetShare6Email33 SharesGene Takagi, Image Source: TwitterOctober 19, 2015; LinkedIn, “Pulse”It should be no surprise that 15-year-old Hana co-authored a post with her uncle Gene titled, “Why Are Charities Tax-Exempt?” Uncle Gene is Gene Takagi, the managing attorney at the NEO Law Group and a nationally known expert in nonprofit law. Gene’s Nonprofit Law Blog should be on everyone’s blog feed.Assisted by Uncle Gene, Hana has composed a very competent review of the requirements for entities to receive 501(c)(3) designations and, as she puts it, “whether governmental authorities are appropriately enforcing those requirements.”After very helpfully reviewing Treasury regulations what it means to be “charitable” or “educational,” two of the possible purposes for 501(c)(3) status, Hana and Gene perceptively note that some critics have suggested that “it’s too easy to pass the requirements for furthering a ‘charitable’ or ‘educational’ purpose” and that this “anything goes” approach “has only been made worse by the new Form 1023-EZ” that the IRS started using last year for “streamlined” 501(c)(3) applications. The 1023-EZ form, a three-page application that simplifies qualification for 501(c)(3) status down to answering 11 basic questions about proposed activities, makes the IRS review process of the past look like an insuperable obstacle course in comparison.With an under-resourced tax-exempt unit at the IRS, it is possible that the 1023-EZ was seen as a way of reducing a backlog of applications. Perhaps the IRS was simply admitting that the front-end review of 501(c)(3) applications wasn’t that much more robust than walking through the 1023-EZ checklist.“With unclear guidance [from the IRS] about what it means to be operating for ‘charitable’ and/or ‘educational’ purposes,” Hana and Gene write, “there are likely thousands of charitable organizations that are operating with purposes that many critics believe are not worthy of tax-exemption.”The Takagis’ concern zeroes in on a serious problem. The 1023-EZ process, even if a well-intentioned response to the capacity limitations of the IRS, exacerbated by the troubles of the tax-exempt unit of the Service in the wake of the Lois Lerner imbroglio, may well be counterproductive. In 2014, the president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, Tim Delaney, wrote a critical review of the 1023-EZ process, highlighting potential problems that could ensue:The new form and process would all but eliminate the current due diligence undertaken by the IRS. One experienced nonprofit executive forecasts chaos for individual donors and foundations, “if the field is suddenly flooded with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of newly minted (c)(3)s.” State charity regulators… uniformly oppose the proposed process. The National Association of State Charity Officials has sternly warned the IRS that “that the Form 1023-EZ will increase opportunity for fraud and heighten the burden on state regulators.”A year later, the National Taxpayer Advocate’s office has continued to raise concerns: “Because Form 1023-EZ does not require applicants to provide supporting documentation or substantiation, but only to attest they qualify for exempt status, the IRS has in effect relinquished its power to educate and regulate taxpayers before it confers exempt status.” As a result of the 1023-EZ process, the Advocate’s analysis shows that the approval rate for 501(c)(3) applications rose from 84 percent in FY2013 to 94 percent in FY2014, and the number of applicants more than doubled from 45,289 to 100,032. The 2014 number provides some evidence for Delaney’s concern, in that the Form 1023-EZ process started only in July of that year. Early results on the 1023-EZs themselves through the second quarter of 2015 indicate a 95 percent approval rate. An IRS random sample of a small number of 1023-EZ applications suggests that there might be an error rate in 1023-EZ approvals of somewhere between 21 and 29 percent compared to a more intensive due diligence process.The Taxpayer Advocate’s report added, “The information on the e-Postcard [Form 990-N] is insufficient to allow a potential donor or researcher to determine whether the organization actually conducts exempt activities. Thus, Form 1023-EZ and Form 990-N, even taken together, provide almost no transparency.”The IRS appears to know it has launched a dynamic that warrants a critical reexamination. The 2016 workplan for the Tax Exempt/Governmental Entities unit calls for evaluating the 1023-EZ process to come up with “potential improvements,” collect data on the trends and patterns of 1023-EZ applicants, and initiate “post-determination compliance enforcement on organizations that were granted exempt status through the submission of the Form 1023-EZ application.”Even if the issue were simply a matter of warding off problems of nonprofit fraud and abuse, the problem extends beyond the role of the federal government. At the 2015 meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO), regulators noted “the explosive growth of the number of nonprofit organizations, due in part to the IRS Form 1023-EZ and the availability of online fundraising platforms…[and] state charity regulators…working hard to ensure that organizations are complying with their state legal obligations.” With inadequate IRS definition, due diligence, and oversight, state regulators will inexorably enter the fray to determine what the states themselves must do to ensure nonprofit probity.Hana and Gene Takagi end their LinkedIn essay with a call for better guidance on the requirements and qualifications for tax-exempt status. “What is important is for the IRS and state agencies to consistently and fairly enforce laws to help prevent organizations from operating inconsistent with 501(c)(3),” they conclude. We need more 15-year-olds like Hana Takagi reminding the nonprofit sector to ask hard questions of itself and its regulators.—Rick CohenShare27TweetShare6Email33 Shares
French video-on-demand and DVD rental specialist Vidéofutur says it is on target to sign up 300,000 subscribers to its €6.99 a month Pass Duo service, which combines online VOD with DVD rental, over three years.The service, which launched in mid-2011, currently has 30,000 customers. Vidéofutur said VOD usage had doubled since the start of the year. New titles are available on a transactional basis for €2.99. The service, with about 5,000 titles available online, is available via connected TV and the web.The company posted a loss of €3.9 million for the year, a reduction of 32% on the previous year’s loss, with revenues of €7.2 million.
Broadcast services provider Arqiva has leased additional capacity from Eutelsat’s 7A satellite to meet growing demand for video services in Europe and the Middle East.Under the new agreement, Arqiva has taken an additional 36MHz transponder of capacity on Eutelsat 7A, which provides coverage of Europe, Russia, Turkey and the Middle East.Barrie Woolston, commercial sales director at Arqiva, said, “As our occasional use business continues to grow we regularly review our satellite coverage and capacity to ensure we are best meeting the needs of our customers. Taking additional capacity on Eutelsat 7A significantly reinforces our occasional use capability, enabling us to offer customers better coverage, more capacity and access to a thriving antenna community via the already popular Eutelsat 7A satellite.”
Content security and interactive TV specialist Nagra has used IBC to launch HomeCruise, a platform that provides what the company describes as an “off-the-shelf” reference design for accelerated time-to-market of multiscreen television servicesAccording to Nagra, the design leverages the full suite of capabilities offered by Nagra OpenTV 5, the company’s media convergence solution. The reference platform gives device partners the opportunity to build and deploy a range of media streaming devices based on OpenTV 5, Nagra’s middleware platform.HomeCruise microGateway is the reference platform’s first implementation, enabling service providers to extend their broadcast services including live TV signal to wired or wirelessly IP connected devices within a home. It enables service providers to distribute live linear channels in a secure environment to a variety of IP-enabled devices within the home, such as tablets, smartphones, IP set-top boxes and personal computers.“The ability to leverage existing broadcast infrastructure to monetise IP connected devices like tablets and smart phones in a home is a clear differentiator for service providers,” said Samir Mehta, senior vice-president digital TV solutions for Nagra. “Nagra HomeCruise takes full advantage of the multi-service capabilities of OpenTV 5 and is immediately available to our device partners. It will allow service providers to accelerate the launch of revenue-generating services while providing them with the freedom to work with a variety of innovative device vendors.”
Broadcast services provider WRN Broadcast is investing over £1 million (€1.2 million) in its London-based media centre.The investment, which will be completed by March 2013, includes a dedicated archive environment with an additional two petabytes worth of storage, a new master control room and a significant upgrade to the current media asset management and mediator system, according to the company.WRN Broadcast’s newly appointed chief technology officer Dave Travis said: “We’ve worked closely with our technology partners, including Evertz, Spectra Logic and Bright Media to continually innovate our broadcast services and keep our technology solutions first class. We continue to respond to our clients needs and will always invest in promising new areas of the business.”WRN Broadcast clients include Viacom International Media Networks, NHK World and Wananchi, the East African Broadcaster.
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) announced this morning that it will reduce the headcount across its EMEA operations by 30%. TBS employs about 900 people across the region and about 250 positions will go following today’s news.The swingeing cuts follow a review of operations by Gerhard Zeiler, (pictured) who became president of TBS International last year.He has already announced a new organisational structure that Turner said was designed to give more operating power and accountability within the regions.Following that restructure, the senior management team comprises Pete Flamman who oversees kids, Jaime Ondarza who runs Turner’s operations in Italy, France and UK, Domingo Corral in Iberia, Hannes Heyelmann in German-speaking territories and Rani Raad in Turkey, Middle East and Africa. Raad also retains his role as senior vice-president, CNN International.Zeiler said today: “This review required us taking some tough decisions, but they are absolutely necessary to put Turner International in the best possible position for future growth. Greater empowerment and broader accountability for local management will lead to simplified processes throughout the organisation, improved efficiency and reduced costs.”A Turner spokesperson told DTVE sister title TBI that the company’s investment in content is not part of the review and therefore no decision has been made to reduce or increase the amount it spends on original and acquired programming across its EMEA footprint.Turner will not share any details of where the cuts would come in terms of job titles and territories while the consultation and redundancy process continues. When the business review was announced last year, the whole of Turner’s UK staff was placed at risk of redundancy.The company’s pledge that the cuts will not impact programming spend come after sources told TBI last year that programming staff have been reluctant to make any key decisions while uncertainty prevails about the structure of the Time Warner-owned company’s various operations, which include Cartoon Network, CNN, TCM and TNT.
Orange recently released version 2 of its TVcheck social TV app and is now moving into the fourth phase of its implementation of features, focusing on recommendation.Patrice Slupowski, vice-president of digital innovation at Orange France Telecom, speaking on the Social TV, Data Analytics & the New UI conference stream at TV Connect yesterday, said that Orange had identified seven bases for recommending content – item-to-item, statistics, immediate popularity, editorial authority, social buzz, excitement and random recommendation. “It is important not just to solve the problem with algorithms but with a human element in the form of curation,” he said. The feature Orange is implementing, For You, will deliver recommendations primarily based on what users have checked into via the app and identified as a favourite programme. It also has the capability to provide an instant indicator of “social buzz” around a programme in the recommendation list by displaying the number of tweets about the programme that is being recommended.Slupowski said that an attitude that could be described as “Inter-passivity” – interacting with content in a ‘lean-back’ posture – characterises the attitude of second screen users. Second screen use can encompass conversation, gaming and discovery, said Slupowksi, but users also employ second screens to shop, to access information, to check on trends, to use the screen as a remote control and to participate in the show itself.“We think TVcheck is a way to bridge the gap between TV and the digital world,” he said. Users are rewarded for checking in to TV shows using the app by means including competitions and prizes. “People ask what is the reward for sharing,” he said. “If I just get a list of five Eddie Murphy movies because I watched Beverley Hills Cop, it’s not a clear benefit from sharing the [user’s] data.”The TVcheck app is currently free and open to all. Slupowski said analysis of user behaviour will be the basis for any future business model for the application.Addressing monetisation, Slupowski said that Orange’s partners can provide bespoke advertising campaigns, but that advertising was problematic because TV ads had a duration of 20-30 seconds, not enough for users to use an app.
YouTube has reached a landmark one billion unique users per month with nearly half of the world’s internet users now accessing the site.Announcing the milestone figure, the Google-owned video site said that its monthly viewership is now “the equivalent of roughly ten Super Bowl audiences” and said that if YouTube were a country, it would be “the third largest in the world after China and India.”It added that the US’s top 100 advertising spenders, as ranked by AdAge, all now run campaigns on the site.