Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology “The drones are like bees,” he said, referring to the long hours the drones were seen, with their buzzing noise heard in different neighborhoods of Benghazi. Militias, known as brigades, fought regime forces during Libya’s eight-month civil war that led to Moammar Gadhafi’s fall last year. Since then, many have roles in keeping security, though they have not been integrated into government forces.An airport official confirmed the firing on the drones was the reason for the airport shutdown.U.S. officials said drones in Libya include Predators and Reapers, which are being used for surveillance and are largely unarmed. While drones have been there consistently, officials have increased their coverage and cycles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.The American consulate in Benghazi came under deadly attack Tuesday night when angry mob and heavily armed Islamists demonstrating against a film denigrating Prophet Muhammad stormed the compound, setting the building on fire. Four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.So far, the identity of the attackers is unknown, though Libyan leaders have vowed to work with the Americans in catching them. Authorities in Libya say they arrested four suspects linked to the attack. Haroun, however, said no one had been arrested and that the announcement is only for media consumption. Parents, stop beating yourself up Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments Share Along with drone surveillance, the U.S. has deployed an FBI investigation team, and a small surge of U.S. intelligence officers to try to track down al-Qaida sympathizers thought responsible for turning the demonstration into a violent militant attack.___Associated Press writers Maggie Michael in Cairo and Kimberly Dozier in Washington contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) – U.S. drones hovered over the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday and militia forces fired toward the crafts, prompting authorities to close the airport for several hours for fear a commercial aircraft could be hit, Libyan officials said.Abdel-Basit Haroun, the head of the militia in charge of city security, said the drones could easily be spotted from the ground. He says men angry over perceived foreign intervention fired in the air and authorities closed the airport. The vital role family plays in society
Source = The landmark Rendezvous Hotel The landmark Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne was awarded Outstanding Marketed Hotel of the Year at the Australian Hotels Association (Victoria) Accommodation Awards on Friday 20 May, 2011. Held at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne, the event celebrates the leaders of excellence within Victoria’s tourism industry for the 2010-2011 period.It was a big night for Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne, which not only took home the award for Outstanding Marketed Hotel of the Year, but was also a finalist for the Superior Accommodation Hotel of the Year. The Hotel’s employees were also recognised, with finalist nominations for Niall Blundell as the Front Office Service Employee of the Year and David West, who was nominated as Administration Employee of the Year. “We are delighted to take home the Outstanding Marketed Hotel of the Year award, and are so proud of all of the staff, especially those finalists who work so diligently to ensure each guest’s stay is enjoyable in every aspect of the hotel,” said Alexander Billing, of Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne.Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne, which is managed by Rendezvous Hospitality Group, is one of the few grand hotels remaining in Australia. Seeped in travel history since it was built in 1913, the hotel was originally home to the Commercial Travellers Club. Since then, the 4.5 star heritage listed Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne has been meticulously restored to retain the feel and style of the classical 1900’s era, whilst at the same time providing guests with leading 21st century technology and facilities.
Opposition MPs on Thursday accused the government of attempting to legitimise the appointment of the board of the organisation of state health services (Okyy) through an amendment it filed of the law establishing the body.Members of the House health committee said that the composition of the Okyy board is contrary to the law, and also cited possible conflict of interest.The amendment, MPs said, provides for a change in the composition of Okyy’s board of directors.Akel MP Giorgos Georgiou said after the committee meeting that the proposed changes are aimed at legitimising the current Okyy board which, he said, does not fulfil the criteria set by law.“They sacrificed the substance of the unhindered operation of the organisation for pre-election purposes, cancelled all their announcements for the transparent appointment of the most competent persons with knowledge and experience in hospital management, did not implement the law that they themselves filed and now they want to change it to accommodate their chosen ones,” Georgiou said.The government, he said, must answer for the appointment of the board, whose composition is not in line with the law.Georgiou also called on the government and the health minister to give an account of the organisation’s actions so far, what has been done concerning the restructuring of state hospitals and promptly submit timeframes for hospital autonomy.He also questioned whether the current board itself is legal and wondered why the government filed an amendment, given that the composition of the board was not subject to change.The government, Georgiou said, ought to stop toying with public health and focus on state hospitals being prepared to ensure a smooth transition to the introduction of the National Health Scheme (Gesy).Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos said that the government is aiming to legitimise the existing Okyy board, and spoke of ‘a new arbitrariness of the executive’.“The government appointed the board tasked with (hospital) autonomy and before their meetings even began as well as relevant plans, it tabled to parliament an amendment of the bill in question with a clear aim to justify and legitimise the arbitrariness that has been made in terms of the appointments,” he said.It seems, he said, that most of the Okyy board members have failed to file the declaration concerning conflict of interest, as required by law.“It is precisely for this reason that the government will – in retrospect – legalise through this procedure the unlawful appointment of those persons, the failure to observe the provisions of the legislation and, moreover, the possibility of exempting members who have a conflict of interest with regard to the specific appointment,” Sizopoulos said.He said that he believes there is an issue of conflict of interest and that his party has asked that the declarations of all board members are filed in parliament.That four of the eight board members do not reside in Cyprus, he said, raises the question of whether they have adequate knowledge of ‘Cypriot reality’. He also said there are grey areas as regards the board chairman Sir David Nicholson, citing reports in the UK media on alleged scandals during his term as Britain’s NHS chief.The eight-member board of the organisation of state health services was appointed last December, following cabinet approval. The main responsibilities of the board of directors are to oversee the operation of all public hospitals and centres of primary health care as well as the implementation of administrative and financial autonomy in public hospitals. Hospital autonomy is the first step toward the implementation of Gesy.The board, which will serve a five-year term is chaired by Nicholson, and its members are businessmen Anastasios David and Nikolas Shiacolas, Professor David Anthony Haslam, Chartered Accountant Marios Klitou and Dr Peter Martin Dawson. The permanent secretaries of the health and finance ministries are ex officio board members.The board assumed duties at the beginning of this year and was to begin procedures to man Okyy and hire the managing teams of each state hospital.Okyy will replace the health ministry in providing health services.You May LikePlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameMen over 40 Would Consider This Game a Must-TryPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoMBA Degrees | Search AdsMBA Programs OnlineMBA Degrees | Search AdsUndoLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are Leading The Pack. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: News Baldwin Community Schools are one of seven recipients of a year-round school grant made possible by legislation strongly supported by Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo. The bill passed the House in March allowing schools to switch to balanced, year-round academic calendars and provides grants to aid the transition.“I’ve been a huge supporter of this legislation from day one,” Bumstead said. “I could not be more grateful to Gov. Snyder and the MEDC for giving Baldwin schools a chance at this incredible opportunity to improve and implement non-traditional education based on students’ needs.”Traditionally, summer break is approximately three months long, which has educators and parents concerned about children losing academic motivation and even forgetting information year-to-year. In the balanced, year-round format, day count requirements remain unchanged and breaks from the classroom are spread evenly throughout the year.“Though balanced calendars may not be right for every school district, I’m very excited that our children have been given the opportunity to try something new and potentially transformative,” Bumstead said.The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) granted $750,000 to fund Baldwin Community Schools’ transition, which includes adjusting teachers’ contracts and renovating classrooms to accommodate for summer heat and humidity.### 27Aug Bumstead thanks Snyder for Baldwin year-round school grant
Categories: News 05Mar Rep. LaFontaine takes fourth plunge for Special Olympics LANSING, Mich. — State Rep. Andrea LaFontaine once again braced herself for the annual Legislative Polar Plunge on the Capitol lawn. The Columbus Township representative today made her fourth jump for Special Olympics Michigan on the sunny, 13-degree Michigan afternoon.
State Rep. Jeff Noble of Plymouth will host an open office hour on Monday, Sept. 18 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Plymouth Township Hall Multi-Function Room located at 9955 N. Haggerty Road in Plymouth.“I am committed to meeting residents and discussing matters of state government,” Rep. Noble said. “I look forward to hearing about what issues are important to people in my district.”No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Noble at 517-373-3816 or via email at JeffNoble@house.mi.gov. 08Sep Rep. Noble invites residents to open office hour in Plymouth Categories: Noble News
Categories: Iden News,News State Rep. Brandt Iden of Oshtemo Township will chair the newly created House Ways and Means Committee for the 2019-20 legislative term.Iden will begin his third term representing the 61st House District, which includes part of Kalamazoo County, when the new Legislature convenes in January.The Ways and Means Committee, announced by Speaker-elect Lee Chatfield, will be one of four committees that will advance bills to the House floor. Topics could include tax policy, regulatory reform and commerce, among many others.“I am honored to be appointed to this position and to serve Michigan in this way,” Iden said. “We want to ensure that policies have been fully discussed and debated, and that various perspectives are accounted for.“The people of Michigan deserve a state House that will deliver on top priorities, and will move Michigan forward into the new decade.”The House Ways and Means Committee will review legislation after it has been approved by its original committee, encouraging further deliberation before it is considered by all 110 House members.Iden chaired the House Regulatory Reform Committee during the 2017-18 legislative session. He has served on House committees for Commerce and Trade, Oversight, Communications and Technology, Tax, and Workforce and Talent Development.##### 27Dec Rep. Iden will lead influential new Michigan House committee in 2019-20 legislative session
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesFebruary 20, 2014; Star-LedgerThe almost complete silence of nonprofit leadership organizations about government-created and government-controlled nonprofits is kind of embarrassing. The recent spate of government nonprofits involves state governments creating nonprofits (or “public-private partnerships”) to run state economic development activities that were once the province of public agencies. Ohio’s creation of JobsOhio may be the example most well known to NPQ readers due to our coverage of the sturm und drang behind Governor John Kasich’s plan. North Carolina’s attempt to copy the Ohio model is probably the latest, but examples like the creation of Enterprise Florida go back to the mid-1990s.Getting less attention are nonprofits created by or controlled by municipal or county governments, some of which are quite old. In Newark, New Jersey, residents probably paid scant attention to a nonprofit called the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation until the past couple of years when the organization disbanded in the wake of leakage. Not water leaks, though reports did show that the water system loses 26 percent of its water through leakage and theft, but scandals, culminating in a thorough and devastating investigation by the Star-Ledger.Last week’s report is the state comptroller’s investigation, which documented spending by the executive director and others that gave new definition to the word “profligate.” Newark has been in financial trouble for years, but the Watershed nonprofit, in charge of the city’s water and sewer systems, felt no compunctions about lavish self-indulgences, unauthorized expenditures, and other questionable outlays, including two severance packages awarded to the executive director, Linda Watkins-Brashear—one for $209,000 while she was still employed and being paid by the organization in 2006, and a second for $454,000 when she finally did leave in 2013. She also gave more than $1 million in contracts to her friends and her ex-husband, mismanaged a half million dollars in petty cash, and lost another half million in what the Star-Ledger called “dubious stock ventures.”As summarized by the Star-Ledger, the State Comptroller’s report “accuses Watkins-Brashear and her cohorts of siphoning off millions of city dollars in illegal payments, sweetheart deals and risky stock ventures right under the nose of then-Mayor Cory Booker.” One has to wonder about Booker’s nose. When he became mayor in 2006, he consolidated water and sewer infrastructure control under the organization and provided all of its funding from tax revenues. Although Booker, now a senator, was the agency’s ex-officio chairman, he apparently never attended a board meeting. Booker, according to the report, relied on the city’s business administrator to attend on his behalf, but the business administrator resigned in 2010 and Booker never bothered to name a replacement. Booker’s close friend, “political advisor,” and former law partner, Elnardo Webster, served as the agency’s general counsel, billing more than $1 million between 2007 and 2011 for his services, though saying that he was unaware of any of the misdeeds that occurred during that time.The Watershed nonprofit’s problems might have been under Booker’s nose, but they connected with his campaign and business interests. The Star-Ledger details some of the expenses charged by Booker’s former law firm partners, including “$22 to read an e-mail, $67.50 to read a Star-Ledger article,” but the money raked in by Webster and his firms hit seven-figure totals. Watkins-Brashear was a donor and volunteer for Booker’s mayoral campaigns, and many contractors showed up as donors to Empower Newark, the political action committee linked to the former mayor, now senator.A read of the Comptroller’s report is a tutorial in long-running municipal government corruption in Newark. One might hope that Booker would be embarrassed by this soap opera that existed throughout the duration of his service as mayor of Newark, but it seems he actually strengthened the corporation, consolidated more power and control under it, and clearly chose not to be engaged in the oversight of an entity in charge of providing water for 500,000 customers.The implications for nonprofits are not brought out in the report. If they were, nonprofits would be aghast at the actions taken under the penumbra of the agency’s nonprofit status.As the report notes, under the cover of the organization’s nonprofit status, “The NWCDC Executive Director Abused Her Authority by Improperly Enriching Herself, Her Associates and NWCDC Employees with Public Funds,” including the illegal severance payments and multiple other examples. That looks like self-enrichment.“The NWCDC Executive Director, Without Board Knowledge or Approval, Awarded No-Bid Contracts to Her Former Husband, Close Personal Associates and NWCDC Employees,” which was defended as allowable because the agency was a nonprofit and therefore not required to put contracts out to bid—even though the agency was wholly paid for by tax revenues. That sounds like self-dealing and conflict of interest.The executive director made a loan of agency funds to the National Black United Fund, whose executive director was an NWCDC board member, because NBUF was short of operating funds, even though there was no business justification for NWCDC to be loaning NBUF anything; she also distributed $250,000 between 2008 and 2011 as gifts to other community organizations, the bulk of the funding to an organization chaired by an NWCDC employee. These are examples of board members who appear to have put their personal organizational interests ahead of their obligations as NWCDC trustees.NWCDC’s board, independent auditor, accountant, and general counsel all seem to have failed to exercise the due diligence required of them to rein in the executive director’s alleged excesses, including omissions on the organization’s 990 by the independent auditor of the agency’s clearly dubious stock investments. These are failures to carry out delegated duties.The City’s systematically and repeatedly fell short of its duties of overseeing the agency and protecting the funding from Newark taxpayers. This is no doubt shoddy due diligence by government. Add it all up, and it is a damning critique of the problems of transparency, disclosure, and oversight of a government-created and -run nonprofit. It should be an opportunity for nonprofit leaders to tell governments to stop screwing around with 501(c)(3)s that get used as means of trading political favors, enriching political and business colleagues, and hiding important information from the public by using the shield of nonprofit tax-exempt status.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share10Tweet2Share1Email13 SharesWestbound / Nicholas A. TonelliSeptember 13, 2016; VoxThe newest Census Bureau data contains good news for most sections of the U.S. population and for the country overall. Median household incomes are up more than five percent over last year, the poverty rate is down, and poor and middle-class families are making real gains. But, as Vox’s Timothy B. Lee pointed out Tuesday, rural areas are not recovering as quickly, and their residents are falling behind the rest of the country. Will philanthropy pay attention?Nationally, median household incomes are up 5.2 percent from 2014, and adjusting for inflation, they’re as high as they’ve been since the late 1990s. The rising income level has not, however, applied to rural areas. Across the 20 million households identified as being located outside of any major metropolitan area, median household income actually dropped by two percent between 2014 and 2015, from $45,534 to $44,657. Comparatively, the income of suburban households grew by four percent while households located inside the principal city of a metropolitan area grew by 7.3 percent.The slow rural recovery rate has been observed in previous reporting. Last year, the USDA reported that rural residents—about 15 percent of the U.S. population—face a higher poverty rate than their urban counterparts across nearly all races and gender lines. According to the 2015 USDA report, people of Hispanic descent in rural areas belong to the only racial group for which poverty is now lower than it was in 2007; for rural whites and, especially, rural black and Native people, poverty rates are still significantly higher than they were pre-recession.The slow rural recovery is tied to lower levels of employment. While unemployment rates continue to steady for both metro and non-metro populations, participation rate is significantly down in rural areas. In mid-2015, metro employment exceeded its pre-recession peak by over three percent, while non-metro employment was three percent lower than pre-recessionary levels. An aging population, a flat population rate, and a decrease in work opportunities in rural areas contribute to this stunted growth, according to one writeup by the USDA. A report from the Economic Innovation Group, which Lee also covered for Vox, compared employment growth to county size. It found that, between 2010 and 2014, counties with under 100,000 residents gained jobs at “about half the rate of big cities.”It’s easy (and appropriate) to speculate on the ties between the urban/rural economic growth divide and the political divide that’s become so stark this election season. It makes sense that rural voters feel disengaged from the growing economic recovery. The nonprofit sector would do well to look at this divide in its own practices, as some evidence exists that rural areas receive a disproportionately small number of domestic grant dollars. As NPQ’s own Jim Schaffer wrote Wednesday, “As we in the nonprofit sector know from daily experience, the household income gains are welcome but fragile.”—Lauren KarchShare10Tweet2Share1Email13 Shares
Inspector Morse and Agatha Christie’s Poirot are set to launch across the Nordic region after ITV Studios Global Entertainment struck a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) deal for a raft of crime titles.The international arm of the British commercial broadcaster struck the multiyear deal with home entertainment firm Svensk Filmindustri (SF), that will see the dramas launched on SF’s branded section of C More’s SVOD platform.Titles in the deal include Lewis, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Agatha Christie’s Marple, Prime Suspect, A Touch Of Frost and Inspector Morse.The shows will launch from the start of December. This follows ITV Studios Global Entertainment’s long term DVD deal with SF for the Nordic region.Dan Gopal, senior vice-president, global digital media and home entertainment, ITV Studios, said: “We are delighted to build upon our long-standing partnership with SF in the Nordic region, and further extend the reach of our great content and the Crime Time brand. SF is extremely well positioned in the market to offer consumers the choice and flexibility across multiple formats and devices via their DVD, subscription and transactional services.”Tore Skarelid, senior vice-president, Svensk Filmindustri, added: “We are delighted to be extending our existing relationship with ITVS GE and look forward to further strengthening it going forward on packaged media as well as digital.”
Hungary had 2.169 million fixed broadband connections at the end of November, led by cable with 876,000 homes, according to the latest survey by regulator the NMHH.According to the survey, xDSL lines numbered 775,000 at the end of the month, with FTTx connections numbering 317,000.Magyar Telekom was the leading service provider with a 34.7% market share in fixed broadband, followed by UPC with a 21.8% share and Digi with 13.7%. Magyar Telekom had a 59.1% share of the fixed voice market, followed by Invetel with 13%, UPC with 12.7% and Digi with 8.9%.
TeliaSonera-owned Estonian telco Elion has revamped its nutiTV IPTV offering with a new user experience. The operator has revamped its user interface with a simpler structure, with most-viewed channels attached to the picture-in-picture feature.The company has added a set of ‘most popular’ channels to its basic package, available both in Estonian and Russian. Other new additions to the service include a Disney package, the addition of the NBA channel to the sports package and the abilty to order channels on an à la carte basis.Elion is also supplying a new remote control with a simplified functionality based on up and down arrows that also enables viewers to watch TV using only a single remote.The new features are available to nutiTV customers with a Samsung smart TV or a Motorola digibox.Content services manager Paul Kristjan Lilje said that the changes were deisgned to meet demand for felxibile viewing on any device at any time.
Lou Schwartz, CEO, UUXTotal Media Networks, the owner of South American OTT service Totalmovie, has merged with OTT Networks to launch a white label internet TV-as-a-service firm called UUX. With the launch, Totalmovie will wind down its operations as a customer-facing service, with UUX aiming to instead sign deals with mobile and fixed line operators to power their branded video offerings.UUX is incorporated in the UK with offices in London, Madrid, Miami, Mexico and Sao Paulo – with the company looking to position itself as a global player, operating across Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific, as well as Latin America.Speaking to DTVE, UUX CEO Lou Schwartz said that “the business objective of UUX is to leverage all the experience that Totalmovie had in marketing a retail service, but white-labelling that entire solution, including connected device content and some of the professional and specialised services, to offer a branded service to particularly mobile operators.”Schwartz, who was formerly CEO of the Americas for Kit Digital (now Piksel), said “Totalmovie was principally a retail service. For the most part we will abandon our retail strategy and take on a wholesale approach by leveraging the elements of Totalmovie, but as a white label service that can be resold to the wholesale market. We want to be the brand behind the brand now.”Discussing the transition from Totalmovie to UUX, Schwartz said the reason for winding down Totalmovie as a customer-focused service “wasn’t the brand, it wasn’t the infrastructure, it was simply billing”.“The challenge to bill a retail customer in Latin America is significant. They have a very low penetration rate for credit card billing, so where we had two million active subscribers, many of them churned out because we weren’t able to bill. This was the impetus for shifting our focus from b2c to b2b and being able to bill directly through the mobile carriers who have pre-existing relationships with their subscribers,” said Schwartz.The UUX cloud streaming platform will support live and catch-up TV and video-on-demand content across all internet connected devices and screens.UUX said it provides the capacity to manage and support “hundreds of millions of daily Internet connected device interactions for a growing market of 2 billion addressable internet television subscribers.”
France’s AB Group is to make its full portfolio of channels available to distribution partners in full HD from today and is shutting down standard-definition transmission of the services.Canalsat will offer four of the HD channels – RTL9, Cine FX, Action and Animaux – to its subscribers.AB Group said the migration had presented a major technical challenge that required significant investment on its part, but that it would position it amongst the major providers of full HD channels in France.Separately, France’s media regulator, the CSA, is to hear an appeal by factual channel Planète to migrate from the pay to the free tier of channels on the country’s digital-terrestrial TV platform on June 3.
TV platform operator M7 Deutschland is buying KabelKiosk, a platform of digital channels and interactive services for cable and IPTV networks in Germany, from Eutelsat. M7 Deutschland, an affiliate of European satellite services firm M7 Group, said that under the deal it will continue to develop KabelKiosk and will launch new IPTV and OTT video delivery platforms.The acquisition, which was made for undisclosed terms, includes a long-term agreement for the lease of multiple transponders at Eutelsat’s 9° East orbital position. Eutelsat will also continue to provide uplink services for the KabelKiosk platform from its teleports in Italy and France.In addition, Eutelsat and M7 Deutschland said they have agreed to establish a strategic partnership for connected TV, combining broadcast and on-demand video services.“We are confident that KabelKiosk will further grow its existing cable business, as well as achieve additional growth through the exciting new opportunities provided by the new IPTV and OTT delivery platforms,” said Kees Färber, managing director of M7 Deutschland.Eutelsat CEO and chairman, Michel de Rosen, added: “Having built a strong video distribution platform in Germany it is now time for a new shareholder to drive KabelKiosk forward as it embarks on a new chapter of expansion.“Following the recent launch by M7 of its new Hungarian pay-TV venture from our 9° East video neighbourhood, the transaction announced today strengthens our relationship with the M7 group of companies.”M7 Group already operates local European TV brands such as: CanalDigitaal and Online.nl in the Netherlands; TV Vlaanderen in Flanders; TéléSAT in French speaking Belgium; AustriaSat and HD Austria in Austria; AustriaSat Magyarország in Hungary; and CS Link and Skylink for the Czech and Slovak market.
The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has completed the specification for its new Ultra HD Blu-ray format and released the new logo that will delineate Ultra HD Blu-ray products. The move is seen a key step in the fight-back by the physical media industry against what is expected to be a sharp decline in physical media consumption as 4K/UHD gains adoption. In addition to delivering content in up-to 3840×2160 resolution, the Ultra HD Blu-ray format enables delivery of a significantly expanded colour range and allows for the delivery of high dynamic range (HDR) and high frame rate content. Next-generation immersive, object-based sound formats will also be delivered via the specification according to the BDA.An optional digital bridge feature is designed to enable the consumer to view their content across multiple in-home and mobile devices.The specification also mandates all new Ultra HD Blu-ray players be capable of playing back current Blu-ray Discs, ensuring that equipment can be used to view an extensive existing catalogue of content.Licensing of Ultra HD Blu-ray is scheduled to begin this summer. The BDA said it was working closely with industry leaders in the authoring, testing, certification and replication industries to develop the tools and process needed to ensure interoperability between players and software.Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will use the H.265 video format and will come as double- and triple-layer discs with 66GB and 100GB capacity respectively.“For years, Blu-ray Disc has set the standard for high definition picture and audio quality in the home. Ultra HD Blu-ray will do the same for UHD home entertainment,” said Victor Matsuda, chair, BDA Promotions Committee. “The technical capabilities of Blu-ray Disc, in particular its significant storage capacity and high data transfer rates, will enable the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable UHD experience.”
Delivering complex content such as sport or high action onto a large-screen TV via streaming requires a minimum of 6Mbps to achieve an ‘excellent’ viewer rating, whilst smartphones require between 2-3Mbps, according to a study by CDN provider Akamai with Eurofins.For less-complex content, optimal bit rates are lower and 2-4Mbps will still deliver an excellent visual rating on large-screen TVs, according to the study.The Akamai-Eurofins study looked at the experience of viewing different types of content on different smartphones, set-top boxes, desktop PCs, tablets and smart TVs. Researchers used SSIMplus – a Quality of Experience measure that is said to closely represent the human perception of video quality – to rank the perceived quality of the video, where anything rating above 80 out of 100 is deemed ‘excellent’, or the equivalent of HDTV.The tests covered three different content genres – talking heads, drama and high action content. Different combinations of player, content and bitrate, were tested under both normalised and challenging network conditions.The results showed significant variation in the bitrate required to deliver a high-definition image. The two smartphones tested achieved optimal perceptual quality scores with bitrates of less than 3Mbps but had significant perceptual quality variation between them. The smart TVs on test required encode profiles of beyond 6Mbps to achieve a similar score. Desktop PC’s_ on test required bitrates of around 5Mbps but again showed significant variation in their perceptual quality.The set-top box tested delivered a better result under challenging conditions than the smart TV.The study also found that smartphones delivered a consistently high-quality video stream even when network conditions were especially challenging and did this noticeably better than most of the other players tested and recommended the use of transport protocols such as UDP rather than TCP to improve stream consistency.According to the study’s authors, delivering content at lower bitrates to avoid buffering can have a negative impact on perceived picture quality, with viewers who are used to HjDTV now expecting similar levels of quality from OTT services.The Akamai-Eurofins study found that measures such as rebuffering ratio, video start time, and video start failures do not provide a full picture of video quality and argued that a meaningful measure of video quality for OTT services should now include a PQ score as an objective measure of picture quality in addition to the current KPIs typically used to measure quality.The study is the second phase of a broader research project from Akamai investigating issues around the quality of IP-delivered video streams. The first phase, via a study undertaken on behalf of Akamai by Sensum into how we as viewers react to video quality, focused on how quality of experience impacts commercial success.
The BBC is partnering with Bitmovin in a deal that allows it to make live shows from the BBC’s TV channels available on satellite provider set-top boxes soon after their time of broadcast.DynastiesThe BBC is using the Bitmovin Encoder to speed up content preparation and maximise quality for selected live content on catch-up TV and video-on-demand services.The solution is also being used in ultra high definition (UHD) and high dynamic range (HDR) trials for shows such as Dynasties, which was available in high quality via the iPlayer on devices like smart TVs and cable provider set-top boxes.“Every asset the BBC produces needs to be delivered at the best possible quality, including for catch-up and new release VOD services,” said Stefan Lederer, CEO at Bitmovin.“We are proud our encoding solution enables their viewers to access their favorite programs in a timely manner, leveraging our cloud-native, massively distributed encoding technology which achieves greater encoding speeds without compromising video quality.”
Altice France has unveiled a number of new value-added services to its TV offering.The group has launched a new catch-up TV interface and services for its BFM TV, BFM Business, RMC Story and RMC Découverte channels.Altice said that its new offering included an immersive interface that gives rapid access to video-on-demand services. Catch-up availability will be extended beyond the current seven-day limit and other features are to follow in the coming weeks, including the ability to take up viewing from the point where it was left off, favourite lists and series linking.Altice will also provide all episodes of certain new series immediately.In addition to being accessible via Altice’s SFR set-tops, the new service will be extended to Bouygues Telecom’s TV offering in the near future.Altice France remains at loggerheads with rival ISP Free, which has refused to pay for carriage of its channels on the model successfully fought for by national broadcaster TF1. The pair have been in dispute over the terms of carriage of the channels since March.Altice’s current contract with Orange is meanwhile set to expire this month, leading to a potential clash with that operator over the terms of carriage of its services.
PSNI officers in Derry will be carrying out random breath tests at vehicle checkpoints this summer in a bid to catch more drink drivers and take them off the roads.Launching their summer road safety campaign, the police urged drivers to take extra care on the roads as the school holidays begin.Superintendent Sue Steen said over the coming months, officers would be using legislation which gives them powers to perform random breath tests at vehicle checkpoints. To date this year, 28 people have been killed on the roads in Northern Ireland.“Considering that many, if not the majority of these deaths caused by collisions could have been avoided; it is an appalling waste of life,” said Superintendent Steen.“Inattention, speeding, or more accurately, excessive speed for the conditions and drink or drug driving, are consistently the principal causes of the most serious road traffic collisions in which people are killed or seriously injured.“Over the coming months, we will have police resources on the roads across Northern Ireland and will be using legislation first introduced in November 2016, which gives us powers to perform random breath tests at vehicle checkpoints. “In addition to the checkpoints, any driver or motorcyclist we stop, whether for speeding, using a mobile phone, or committing any moving traffic offence can expect to be breathalysed.“So too can anyone involved in a collision or who we suspect may have consumed alcohol or taken drugs.”The PSNI will also be working with An Garda Síochána Traffic Corps looking for road users taking unnecessary and potentially life-changing risks.Drivers are being urged to keep an eye out for increased numbers of children using or crossing roads, particularly close to parks and leisure amenities, in addition to junctions and bus stops.Pedestrians must pay attention to their environment, whether that means not getting distracted by friends or mobile devices, or being especially careful when walking on country roads by walking against the traffic flow and by wearing highly visible clothing, said Superintendent Steen.Gardai will be helping PSNI along the border to catch those drivers taking unnecessary risks“With the better weather we are also particularly mindful of more motorcyclists taking to the roads, so we’re encouraging bikers to ensure their motorcycles and safety equipment are in good working order and that they ride defensively.“In addition, drivers need to be alert to the presence of motorcyclists using the road network, particularly when emerging from and turning into junctions.”Police are also advising anyone taking using their vehicle on any long holiday trips or drives to ensure that their vehicle is in top and safe working condition.DRINK DRIVERS WARNED AS COPS PLAN SUMMER BREATH TEST CHECKPOINTS was last modified: July 3rd, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweet AN GARDA SIOCHANADRINK DRIVERS WARNED AS COPS PLAN SUMMER BREATH TEST CHECKPOINTSPSNISUPT SUE STEEN