If you’ve lived in Cyprus for more than a year, you know exactly which beaches you prefer. Looking for a pebbly shore, and a quiet day by the sea in Larnaca? Then Oroklini Beach is the place to be. Eastward bound, and in search of sand, snorkeling, and facilities on a Blue-flagged beach? Fig Tree Bay’s a good choice. Or if you’re after total peace and quiet near Limassol, and in possession of a 4×4, then it’s down to Ayios Yiorgos. But here’s the thing: even if you’ve known the island your whole life, there are hundreds of coastal spots still to be discovered. Or, if you’re a tourist, you probably have little notion of just which beach suits your needs. And that’s where the new app, Cyprus Beaches, comes in extremely handy…Developed by Andreas Papadopoulos in cooperation with the CTO, Cyprus Beaches was released at the start of May. Available for both Android and iOS (in Greek, English, and Russian) it’s still in the fine-tuning stage, but the basics are there, the photos spectacular, and the options legion. You can search by region, morphology, facilities, access, number of visitors, activities and atmosphere. You can filter for disabled access, for public transport routes, for nearby picnic sites; for a party atmosphere, for wifi, for sunbeds and umbrellas. You can even access the Get Directions option which will gps you on your way. Or, you could just sit back and scroll through the entire list of 135 beaches, taking in a slide show of more than 500 coastal shots (taken both from the ground and the air) to see which beach takes your fancy.Less a labour of love than an abiding passion for its creator, the Cyprus Beaches app has been four years in the making. Or possibly a decade, depending on how you look at it. The author of four books pertaining to the beaches of Cyprus (published between 2012 and 2017), Andreas is passionate about his homeland, and especially fascinated by the local coastline.“The sea holds your gaze like the land holds your feet,” he enthuses. “I’ve visited beaches all over the world but Cyprus,” he suggests, “is unique. In Scotland, you get unbelievable beaches, but you can’t swim; it’s too cold. In North Carolina, it’s beautiful, but the huge waves are incredibly dangerous. Even in Mykonos you get uncomfortable winds. But here, along with richly varied coastal terrain, you get warm, clear, shallow, safe waters and weather that’s generally mild and pleasant.”It’s a rare combination of parameters, a blend of factors which lends itself perfectly to exploration and discovery. And this ties in perfectly with Andreas’ ultimate aim for the newly-released app: that it should facilitate the exploration, appreciation and care of the island of Cyprus. “So often you hear people complain that we don’t take care of our country. And I am of the belief that this is the case not because we are incapable of looking after our island, but because we don’t really know it. If you get to know Cyprus – really know and understand the beauty and the value we take for granted – then you grow to love it, to be proud of it, and begin to take care of it.”Andreas himself exemplifies this sentiment: not only has he written four books on the island’s beaches, and recently released the app, he’s also the owner of both Discovering Cyprus (a directory of all beaches on the island) and protaras.org, as well as being an ardent photographer of the island’s beauty. In fact, all the photos of beaches (and there are at least four pictures of every spot) come courtesy of the man behind the app…“I’ve visited every single one of these beaches myself,” Andreas grins, adding that he’s certainly put his car through its paces in the process! “Firstly, I note down all the features such as morphology of the coastline, the attributes of the sea – whether it’s deep or shallow, its colour and clarity – and the wind direction. I take sand samples and check the softness, particle size and colour. And I also look at the nearby facilities: bathrooms, wifi, disabled access, and so forth… Then I choose the right time of day and photograph the beach: both from the ground and the air…”This he does mainly by paragliding above the shore, a process which is – he suggests – incredibly enjoyable but rather costly; especially when you run the risk of dropping your camera equipment into the sea! “Once I was 100 metres up in the air and pressed the lens release rather than the focus button – it was almost a total disaster,” he laughs. “But it’s all worth it in the end!”In the course of his coastal journeying, Andreas has had any number of novel experiences: he knows where all the turtles nest and has seen the hatchlings; he’s pedal boated up close to the elusive Mediterranean monk seal, and – thanks to his love for Cyprus’ coastline – is currently involved in a project to green the beaches, in cooperation with the Department of Forestry, the municipalities, and the Blue Flag organisation CYMEPA. He’s also busy adding the beaches of Larnaca to the app (all other districts have been covered), while looking forward to a future in which Cyprus Beaches becomes interactive.“This is a soft launch; a primitive app in a way because users can’t rate or comment,” he says, adding that he hopes to amend this in time. “At the moment, I can’t communicate with users, and I do want to include these interactive parameters in the future – giving everyone the opportunity to make our beaches better,” he explains. With approximately 10 downloads a day just a month after launch – and no marketing or publicising to date – the app looks to be well on the road to success. “It’s not like a book: printed, published, and unchangeable. It’s dynamic. And I believe it’s already helping both locals and tourists to appreciate the beaches and nature of the island. So this,” Andreas concludes, “is really just the beginning….” The Cyprus Beaches app is available to download for both iOS and Android at a cost of €2.29. For more information, visit www.discoveringcyprus.com/ or ‘Cyprus Beaches’ on Google Play and the App Store. You May LikeLa Mexicana Authentic FoodLamexicana2019La Mexicana Authentic FoodUndoDailyChoicesMost People Don’t Know This Song Was Written About HerDailyChoicesUndoLifeInTheGoldenYears.com11 Most Difficult Dogs To RaiseLifeInTheGoldenYears.comUndo Greek Prime Minister in Cyprus for official visitUndoBritain preparing for a no-deal BrexitUndoWidowers threaten legal action over pensionsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: VerHeulen News 02Jul Local lawmakers announce road projects to benefit Kent County State Reps. Peter MacGregor, Ken Yonker, Rob VerHeulen, Lisa Posthumus Lyons and Tom Hooker today announced road projects that will help fix some of the crumbling roads and bridges throughout Kent County, adding a long-term plan is still being worked out.“All of the projects being announced today are much-needed and will greatly benefit our area, but that does not lessen the necessity of a long-term road-funding solution,” said MacGregor, R-Cannon Township. “Michigan’s roads and bridges are in bad shape, and, despite the House’s passage of a plan earlier this year, we are still working to deliver a comprehensive plan to fix our current transportation woes once and for all. House Republicans have put additional money into roads the past several years, but the fact remains that every Michigan resident deserves safe, sustainable roads – both now and well into the future.”The money was previously set aside by the Michigan Legislature, which allocated a total of $230 million in the fiscal year 2014 budget for road improvements across the state. One half of the existing state funds were available for appropriation late last year, and the other half is now being appropriated.“This funding will go toward repairing roadways across the state that residents and visitors alike travel while enjoying the summer getaways throughout Michigan,” said VerHeulen, R-Walker, who chairs the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. “But these projects are just the beginning, and they will serve as a great springboard toward finding a sustainable solution to our roadway issues.”More than 10 Kent County road projects totaling $4.1 million are being announced in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation, including:A resurfacing and widening of M-11 from M-45 north to Remembrance Road, totaling $2.3 million;A $530,000 project to resurface M-21 between Lovell Street and Hillcrest Drive; andA $78,000 cap and seal improvement to Commerce and Sycamore Streets in the city of Wayland.“These projects are a great first step and are part of a much needed long-term fix for our ailing roads and infrastructure,” said Lyons, R-Alto. “A long-term solution still needs to be identified, and I’m confident that discussions and actions taken thus far in the House are heading in the right direction. In the meantime we cannot neglect our most dire roads, so this additional funding will be helpful.”Other improvement projects totaling $1.2 million will be taking place on Fruit Ridge Avenue, Wilson Avenue, Alden Nash Avenue, Myers Lake Avenue and 13 Mile Road as well.“We look forward to the much needed improvements these road projects will offer the state, ensuring that our road conditions do not deteriorate further,” said Yonker, R-Caledonia. “They are a solid start toward turning the poor road conditions around as we work to find a way to sustain better road maintenance in the future.”The funding is in addition to $285 million the Legislature approved for roads and bridges in June, which is part of the fiscal year 2015 budget. Since FY 2012, the state has allocated nearly $870 million to improve roads and bridges – a stark contrast to the zero general fund dollars spent on roads between 2003 and 2011.###
22Sep Rep. Webber to hold Sept. office hours State Rep. Michael Webber has announced office hours to be held near the end of the month.Office hours will be held on Monday, Sept. 28 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Older Person’s Commission, located at 650 Letica Drive in Rochester.“Office hours are one of my favorite parts of this job,” said Rep. Webber, R-Rochester Hills. “I hope that many get the chance to attend so that I can take their thoughts and ideas with me to Lansing.”No appointment is necessary. Residents unable to attend office hours are encouraged to contact Rep. Webber’s office by phone at 517-373-1773, or by email at MichaelWebber@house.mi.gov.### Categories: Webber News
Categories: Chatfield News Bill would establish days for tax-free purchases of back-to-school supplies and clothing, outdoor recreation equipment and Pure Michigan products Under new legislation introduced by state Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, consumers across Michigan may soon purchase back-to-school clothing and school supplies without having to pay the six percent state sales tax on those items. The bill would also allow for the tax-free purchase of camping, fishing and hunting equipment, and Pure Michigan products.“I believe hard-working parents deserve a break, and this bill will be a boost for tourism and outdoor recreation which are driving forces in Northern Michigan and our statewide economy,” Rep. Chatfield said.House Bill 5428 would establish three sales tax holidays in Michigan during 2016:June 3-5: Pure Michigan tourism productsSeptember 2-5: Back-to-school supplies and clothing November 4-6: Camping, fishing and hunting equipment HB 5428 has been referred to the House Committee on Tax Policy for further consideration. 07Mar Rep. Chatfield introduces legislation to create sales tax holidays
Categories: News 29Dec Rep. Hooker completes third term with perfect attendance State Rep. Tom Hooker, R-Byron Center, did not miss a vote during the 2015-16 session while completing his six-year term in the House of Representatives.“Being a true representative of the 77th District meant making every vote,” said Rep. Hooker. “We had over 1,200 votes during the past two years on many important issues and our district’s residents allowed me to be to their conservative voice.”Beyond his votes in the Capitol, Rep. Hooker also had perfect attendance for Education, Health Policy, and Military and Veterans Affairs committees as well as serving as the chair of House Committee on Families, Children and Seniors.Rep. Hooker was nearly perfect during his term, missing just 10 out of a possible 4,123 votes over three sessions – meaning he participated in 99.75 percent of roll calls. His missed votes were from a single day during the 2011-12 session and involved a family medical emergency.“It’s hard to believe six years have gone by so fast, but it was an honor to represent the good people of the 77th District,” said Rep. Hooker. “I thank you all.”
Categories: Featured news,News,Steven Johnson News,Steven Johnson Photos Tags: #SB Gaines Township supervisor attends as Johnson’s special guestState Rep. Steve Johnson was pleased to welcome Gaines Township Supervisor Robert DeWard to the Capitol on Tuesday as his special guest for Gov. Rick Snyder’s annual State of the State address.“I am honored to represent the residents of Gaines Township at this historic event,” said Supervisor DeWard. “I look forward to working alongside Rep. Johnson to accomplish great things for the people of West Michigan.”Rep. Johnson, R-Wayland, issued the following statement regarding the governor’s address:“I am eager to work with Gov. Snyder to continue Michigan’s comeback, and I will be working to reduce the size and scope of all aspects of state government. In order to keep our state’s economy strong, I agree with the governor that we must continue to be a leader in the nation in job growth and opportunity.”“Whether it be skilled trades, education or sound financial management practices, let’s continue to get government out of the way and make Michigan a model for the nation to follow,” concluded Rep. Johnson. 19Jan Rep. Johnson issues statement following the State of the State address
State Rep. Martin Howrylak will host office hours on Aug. 26 in Troy.“I believe talking to friends and neighbors is the best way to gather ideas,” Howrylak said. “Residents who are interested in discussing legislative matters or who have questions related to state government are encouraged to stop by at their leisure.”Office hours take place at the following time and location:Saturday, Aug. 26 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Troy Library, 510 W. Big Beaver Road in Troy.No appointment is necessary. Residents unable to attend office hours may contact Rep. Howrylak’s office by phone toll free at 1-877-248-0001, or by email at MartinHowrylak@house.mi.gov. Categories: Howrylak News 09Aug Rep. Howrylak announces August office hours
The House today approved a bill sponsored by state Rep. Sue Allor to connect skilled trade students with post-high school education programs and potential careers.“We’ve got open career opportunities right now in northern Michigan and this legislation is part of the solution to match those jobs with the right employees,” said Allor, of Wolverine. “We need to refine the career pathways for our students by working together and giving our community colleges, jobs training programs and other proprietary schools the needed information to create that connection.”Allor’s bill, which requires parental consent, gives training schools and skilled trade employers access to high school pupil directory information for the purposes of recruitment and professional development. Her legislation is part of a five-bill bipartisan package to enhance skilled trade education in Michigan’s public schools and assist students in matching their interests to career opportunities.The legislative package will:Create a K-12 model program that emphasizes career learning and themes for each grade level, while focusing on engaging with parents, community businesses and industry interests;Provide continuing education and professional development credit for teachers who spend time engaging with local employers and professional trade centers;Permit schools to more readily hire professional trade instructors to teach classes that align with their expertise.“This legislation provides the flexibility to better emphasize skilled trades in the local school districts then let the kids and their parents decide,” Allor said. “From there, it’s just communicating between the families and career training programs to see what’s best for the student’s future.”The legislative package advances to the Senate for its consideration.##### 13Dec House supports Rep. Allor bill to link students to careers Categories: Allor News,News
Share1TweetShareEmail1 SharesJanuary 4, 2014; The LancetThis past November, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, conducted a visit to Ghana to look at the nation’s psychiatric hospitals and “prayer camps” that are used to treat people with mental illnesses. Based on this visit, Mendez raised serious concerns about the warehousing of people with mental illnesses, the use of electro-shock therapy without anesthesia or the informed consent of the patients, and the practice of keeping hundreds or even thousands of people in “prayer camps” associated with Pentecostal and evangelical churches managed by people who call themselves “prophets.”Writing for The Lancet, Jocelyn Edwards looks at the prayer camps where, she says, “people with mental health problems are chained, beaten, starved, and prevented from leaving.” One camp she described is the Mount Horeb Prayer Centre, created by a self-proclaimed prophet named Paul Nii Okai. According to Prophet Okai’s wife, Rev. Betty Okai, people with mental illnesses voluntarily come to Mount Horeb because “they believe that the power of God can work more than medicine.” The treatment at Mount Horeb, Rev. Okai says, is Bible reading, fasting, and prayer “in the healing name and blood of Jesus.”Rev. Okai asserts that patients are well treated at the camp, but that wasn’t the finding of a Human Rights Watch team that visited Mount Horeb in 2012. HRW issued a report that described patients being chained, forced to fast for up to 36 hours, and prevented from leaving. Presaging the UN special rapporteur’s findings, HRW found conditions in Ghana’s psychiatric hospitals to be overcrowded and unsanitary, but conditions in the prayer camps much worse, with “nearly all residents…chained by their ankles to trees in open compounds, where they slept, urinated, and defecated and bathed…[and] routinely forced to fast for weeks, usually starting with 36 hours of so-called dry-fasting, denied even water.”These hundreds of prayer camps are run by “prophets” who have no medical training. The patients’ incarceration may not be quite voluntary, as families often send family members to the camps for treatment because, according to Edwards, many people in Ghana see mental illness as a spiritual problem. More than a fourth of Ghanaians are members of the charismatic and Pentecostal denominations typically associated with these camps. According to Peter Yaro, the director of an NGO called BasicNeeds, in this very religious society, “mental illness is believed by most people to be supernatural and therefore it needs to be addressed by similarly supernatural forces.”Edwards tells the story of a woman named Doris Appiah who was sent to camps in her 20s with a bipolar condition. In addition to being chained, left outside in the rain, and being beaten, Appiah describes some treatments that sound like waterboarding. It is no wonder that the UN’s expert on torture was sent to investigate the prayer camps. But there is also a non-physical dimension of Ghana’s mental health system—hospitals as well as prayer camps—the perception, according to Appiah, that treatment for mental illness is a stigma. “People think that you are mentally ill because you have done a terrible sin and that is the punishment”, she says.In 2012, Ghana passed a law to bring the prayer camps into a regime of governmental oversight and regulation. However, in a year and a half since the enactment of the law, the governmental board to be charged with implementation of the law still hasn’t been appointed, so the oversight and training of the camps and their personnel hasn’t even started.While clearly appalling, the prayer camps are more than centers of mistreatment of the mentally ill. That these Ghanaian camps exist with the awareness of and sometimes under the aegis of some religious institutions and religious leaders is tragic. They reflect the misuse of religion, the abuse of people under the guise of religion, and as such, religious leaders from these denominations involved and from other denominations should be protesting the prayer camps and their so-called mental illness treatments.—Rick CohenShare1TweetShareEmail1 Shares
Share2TweetShareEmail2 SharesApril 22, 2014;ForbesForbes economics writer Mark Hendrickson writes that Dick Morris, the former political consultant to Bill Clinton who became a political advisor to Republicans, advised his new party allies in the House of Representatives not to pass the budget developed a month ago by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) because it would guarantee a Republican loss of the House to Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in November. The fatal flaw, he said, was Ryan’s focus on slowing the growth of the federal budget and reforming Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.It is difficult to figure out what may be motivating Morris, especially since the chances of the Ryan budget becoming the nation’s budget are just about nonexistent. But some elements of the House Budget Committee’s product may survive the congressional interplay, especially as politicians of both parties may not be as opposed to some of Ryan’s budgetary themes as their rhetoric may appear.If aspects of the Ryan budget have legs, nonprofits should know what’s in the details for the issues they are concerned about. Culling through the budget reveals these nonprofit-relevant tidbits:Amazingly, the Ryan budget increases military spending and makes massive cuts in the tax rates of millionaires. If Ryan is interested in balancing the budget—and couches changes such as increasing the eligibility age for Medicare as components of that—it makes no sense that the budget would let millionaires pay even less tax than they do and would fund the nation’s already bloated Pentagon apparatus.Sometimes the national aggregates of increases and decreases are hard to make real, but Ellie Hill, a Montana state representative (who we wrote about in 2012 because of her endorsement by Robert Egger’s CForward) boiled the human dimensions down to Montana-specific terms:“Here’s what the GOP’s ‘Paul Ryan’ budget would mean for the state of Montana…10,952 seniors would pay more for medicine by bringing back the prescription drug donut hole; 1,780 college students wouldn’t receive Pell Grants; 236 domestic violence victims would lose access to the STOP Violence Against Women Program; 530 children would lose access to Head Start…But hey, 485 millionaires would get an $87,000 tax break.”Expanding on Hill’s point, Jonathan Weisman writing for the New York Times noted that under the Ryan budget, “domestic programs would be reduced to the lowest levels since modern government accounting.” Partly, Ryan would achieve that by big cuts in food stamps, in Medicaid, and the total repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Reversing support for expanded Medicaid and eliminating the ACA would be strange, as though Republicans in the 1940s and 1950s decided to campaign to wipe out Social Security or in the 1980s and 1990s to eliminate Medicare.On Medicare, the Ryan budget actually makes changes that would change this single-payer system into something more complex, into a “premium support” system in which seniors could use federal money—think “vouchers”—to buy private insurance rather than relying on government-paid care. There is no question that there are problems with health care provision under Medicare, with many doctors not accepting Medicare patients, but converting it from the guarantee of government-paid coverage to the complexity of what private insurers will and won’t cover is a step in the wrong direction.To his credit, Ryan is one of the few politicians of either party willing to talk about poverty instead of simply repeating the mantra of the middle class, but his budget proposal represents a step backwards for poor people. Earlier in March, he issued a report, “The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later,” which took aim at what he said were the “nearly 100 programs at the federal level that are meant to help, but they have actually created a poverty trap.” But his overhaul is really a huge cut —$4.3 trillion in nondefense discretionary spending over ten years, with $3 trillion coming from critically important programs aimed at helping poor and working class Americans.A meat-axe is an overhaul of sorts, but not the kind of overhaul that some had expected. Robert Woodson, the founder of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and the advisor to Ryan on poverty issues, responded to David Weigel of Slate that he believes—and one would guess Ryan knows this as well—that the Affordable Care Act is not going to be repealed. Although he indicated that any real overhaul of poverty programs would “have to wait till the election is over to do something serious,” Woodson plans to bring his allies this year together to present “specific, concrete anti-poverty proposals.” It isn’t clear how programs to help the poor get fixed by getting eviscerated.Slashing Medicaid, reversing Medicaid expansions, and eliminating all of the Affordable Care Act are actually among the most devastating parts of the Ryan budget for the poor. Remember what drives working people into poverty as much as anything: More than mortgage payments, more than credit card bills, medical bills are the top cause of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. The sad result of the Ryan budget is that it would drive more people into poverty and gut many of the federal government’s social safety net supports to help low-income people survive and move back up the socio-economic status ladder. That’s the unfortunate message of the House Budget Committee’s political document.—Rick CohenShare2TweetShareEmail2 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares November 10, 2014; CBS Los AngelesCompanies often use beagles for chemical and pharmaceutical testing, but CBS’s Los Angeles affiliate reported on a local group giving some of those dogs a life outside of a cage and in “forever homes.”The Beagle Freedom Project saves beagles used in research labs and has rescued more than 300 from across the country since 2010.“These dogs have spent their lives in a cage,” said the group. “We were told directly by the people in the lab that they have never been outside, that they had never seen sunlight, that they had never had a toy.”The TV report tells the story of Riley, a three-year-old dog who met his family in July. He first showed some signs of being a lab dog, but he quickly learned the ropes around the home.What goes on in many labs is usually well hidden from the public, although the animal rights advocacy group PETA has made its name showing videos from investigations; in one, a worker is shown force-feeding a beagle Oxycontin. Another investigation showed beagles suffering mental trauma after years of confinement. “It’s important to note that there is no experiment on dogs that’s illegal. Experiments have to be approved by committees within a laboratory, but nothing is against the law, so they’re put through all kinds of cruelty,” says a PETA spokesperson, adding that most dogs end up euthanized.Dogs bred for the lab rarely end up in a loving home, mostly because the labs want to keep a low profile—they understand the power that anti-cruelty advocacy campaigns can have on public opinion. While there is strong support for the medical necessity of such experimentation, the details of it repulse the public.The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency in charge of overseeing animal testing, turned down CBS’s request for an interview.—Larry Kaplanimages/newswire/Mex-City.jpgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share125Tweet21ShareEmail146 SharesMarch 2, 2018; NPR, “Code Switch”Which states have the dubious distinction of having the highest levels of structural racism? If you named any of the states below the Mason-Dixon line, you’d be wrong. Researchers at Boston University’s School of Public Health, who set out to understand the racial dynamics of police shootings, developed a novel picture of how our nation has progressed in its efforts to erase the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. Their findings on the shootings by white police officers of unarmed blacks illustrates clearly why this portrait has a wider meaning.According to NPR’s Gene Denby, to understand the racial dimension of police shootings, the BU researchers created a metric called the “state racism index.”It took state-level data on black-white residential segregation, as well as disparities in educational attainment, employment status, economic status, and incarceration status, and scored each of these variables. Those scores were then tabulated into a number on a zero to 100 scale; the higher the number, the more pronounced the structural racism in a state.The national portrait that emerges is not what one might expect. Wisconsin topped the researchers’ list with a rating of 74.9, followed by Minnesota (70.0), New Jersey (68.5), Illinois (67.8), and Connecticut (63.9). (For comparison, the lowest score belonged to Montana, at 25.9, followed by Hawaii, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Nevada, which all had scores below 35.) Speaking to NPR, Dr. Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences and a coauthor of the study, said “Traditionally, we’re taught that racism is [most visible] in the South, but we’re seeing here that it’s the Midwest and the Northeast.”Slavery in Southern states created a violently enforced caste system that, according to Gerson, “paradoxically, brought black and white Southerners into fraught social and geographic proximity.” On the other hand, the Great Migration of Black southerners to the north in the early part of the 20th century, motivated by growing industrialization, found them settling into “racially and economically isolated neighborhoods and ghettos. That separation was maintained through insidious housing policies like redlining. While the legal underpinnings of segregation in the South were formally, if not practically, overturned by the courts, the ways cities in the North and Midwest maintain segregation are enduring and hard to see. That means major metro areas outside of the South are among the nation’s most diverse and most deeply partitioned.”When the BU researchers used this perspective to study police shootings, they showed the importance of understanding the reality of our nation. The higher the level of racism in a state, the higher the incidence of white police shootings of unarmed blacks; “for every 10 point increase in the state racial segregation index, there was a 67 percent increase in the state’s ratio of police shootings of unarmed Black victims to unarmed White victims.” From Dr. Siegel’s perspective, “the problem of police killings of unarmed Black victims should not be viewed merely as a problem of flawed action on the part of individual police officers, but more because of the broader problem of structural racism. Unjustified homicide by police should be added to the long list of the public health consequences of societal racism.”For policymakers at all levels, it’s that long list that must be of concern. In describing the impact of this work, Dr. Siegel saw it as changing the focus from individual behavior to structural challenges: “Our study suggests that this problem is not simply about the actions of individuals, but about the actions of all of society. Hopefully, reframing this from an individual to a societal problem will pave the way for a meaningful discussion about institutional racism.” We should not limit our concern to quality policing and efforts to make it race-neutral. Education, healthcare, housing, and environmental policies may each look different when viewed through the BU researchers’ lens. Seeing the problem as one of “bad apples” makes responses easier but risks missing real solutions.—Martin LevineShare125Tweet21ShareEmail146 Shares
Polish cable operator Vectra is making the Filmbox Extra channel available to its digital subscribers for free until April 29.The promotion for the channel, which is available in the Vectra Premium package, will coincide with the launch of the new series of Starz drama Boss and is aimed at highlighting the content available on the network.Vectra offers some 182 digital TV channels, including 44 in HD.
RTL Group has said its first quarter EBITA for the year is expected to increase by a mid-to-high single digit percentage year-on-year. In a trading update ahead of a listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the media group said that the German TV ad market was up by low single digits in the first quarter and that RTL Deutschland had, as expected, lost some market share. The Dutch market, meanwhile, is in negative territory, RTL said, with a similar decline to that experienced in 2013 expected for this year.The Belgian market declined by 10% for the first quarter, while the TV ad markets in Spain and Hungary experienced severe declines.RTL said that its EBITA growth was being driven by the solid performance of RTL Deutschland and that it expected first quarter revenue to be in line with the strong first quarter experiencec in 2012.The update came as RTL Group announced the price range for its secondary public offering.Majority-owner Bertelsmann has set a price range at €54-62 per share for a public offering comprising up to 25.5 million shares, including a possible over-allotment option of up to 2.318 million shares.The shares are expected to start trading in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on April 30.The shares are being offered by Bertelsmann and RTL Group will not raise new capital via the public offering or receive any proceeds from it.Bertelsmann confirmed earlier this month that it planned to reduce its holding in RTL while maintaining a majority stake of at least 75% and that it would complete the move via a “secondary public offering” that would result in a significant increase in RTL Group shares. In addition to the Frankfurt listing, Bertelsmann said it would also offer shares to institutional investors outside Germany and Luxembourg via private placements.
Pay TV operator Canal Plus’s won a audience 14% share amongst its own subscriber base during the first quarter, their highest rating to date for this period.Canal Plus’s own channels obtained a 4.1% audience share amongst over fours nationwide.Canal Plus posted revenues of €473 million for the first quarter, flat year-on-year. Advertising revenue fell 6% to €49 million.Canal Plus had 5.5 million subscriptions sold in metropolitan France at the end of March, flat year-on-year.
Polish pay TV operator Cyfrowy Polsat has added new functionality to the HBO Go service it offers its subs.HBO Go is premium programmer and channel operator HBO’s on-demand service, allowing HBO customers to watch shows from the channel on-demand and on connected devices.Cyfrowy Polsat was already making Go available to its customers, but has now added a live-streaming component. The pay TV operator’s customers who have HBO can now watch the channel live online.Polish customers pay PLN35 (€8.34) a month for an HBO subscription, which comprises six channels and the HBO Go service.HBO has been aggressively rolling out Go in central and eastern Europe. Earlier this week it announced a new launch in Bulgaria.
International news channel Euronews has expanded its distribution in North America after launching its service on IP-based content delivery service Enovative TV.Euronews will be carried as part of Enovative TV’s basic package in English and French language versions.Enovative TV provides a line-up of over 75 channels, video-on-demand, radio and other services via TVs, computers and mobile devices via a customised receiver that integrates TV with other Android applications including Skype, Netflix and Facebook.“Euronews offers our French and English speaking subscribers high quality, unbiased, fact-based coverage of global news from Europe’s leading news network,” said Serge Vallet, executive director of Enovative TV.
The BBC World Service will receive a £5 million (€5.9 million) boost in income to £245 million when it moves to being funded by the licence fee next year.Following a written ministerial statement from the foreign secretary on his department’s spending for the current financial year, BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten said: “When it comes under licence fee funding from April next year, the BBC Trust will be able to give the World Service a far greater degree of financial security, from which it can continue to provide its much-needed and valued services for audiences around the world. From 1 April 2014 the total budget for the World Service from the licence fee will be £245m, an increase of over £5m a year on the new level of grant now being provided from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”The move to licence fee funding was agreed as part of the licence fee settlement reached between the government and the BBC in 2010.
BBC Three one-off drama Murdered by my Boyfriend topped the UK public broadcaster’s BBC iPlayer catch-up service requests line-up in June, in a month that also saw a modest spike in live transmission requests fuelled by high-profile sports events.Overall, iPlayer saw 260 million requests in June, up 9% on the same month last year. Murdered by my Boyfriend was requested over 1.94 million times, followed by David Beckham into the Unkown with 1.28 million requests. The remainder of the TV top 10 mostly comprised episodes of soap opera Eastenders, with Match of the Day Live 2014 football World Cup coverage of the Brazil v Chile match coming in at number 10.June saw 190 million TV requests and 70 million radio requests. The breakdown of viewing by type of devices was little changed, with computers accounting for a third of requests, followed by tablets at 22%, mobile devices at 19% and TV platform operators at 12%. Games consoles accounted for 3% of requests, while connected TVs accounted for 2%.Live simulcasts of TV shows accounted for 14% of requests, up from 12% in May, with catch up requests accounting for 86%, down from 88%.
UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has said that it is “very unlikely” that all the new local TV stations being licensing will succeed, after Birmingham’s City TV became the first to go bust in August.Issuing a ‘progress update’ on local TV, two years on from when the first channel licences were awarded, Ofcom said that bidders for licences must demonstrate they will be “financially sustainable,” though admitted that more channels could fail.“The nature of awarding licences for a new type of service in a competitive media market means that it is very unlikely that all channels will succeed. This is an inherent feature of the nature of awarding a large number of licences for a new service across very different parts of the UK,” said Ofcom.It also claimed that administrators for Birmingham’s local station are looking to transfer the licence to another party that could launch the channel – subject to Ofcom’s approval.BLTV secured the licence for Birmingham’s City TV in November 2012, before going into administration last month. The licence is said to be the station’s only significant asset. BLTV has no studio premises or broadcast equipment and failed to meet a commitment to launch a service between Easter and June of last year.“Bidders must demonstrate that they would be financially sustainable and provide evidence that funding is in place, or would be if their application was successful. When awarding a licence, Ofcom carefully considers these factors and makes the best decision it can on the available evidence,” said Ofcom in the update.So far, Ofcom has issued 30 local TV licences across the UK, with a second phase of licensing already underway. Six local TV channels are now on-air, while more than 10 stations are preparing for launch before February 2015.One of the stations that is up and running, London Live, requested last month to stop making and buying entertainment series, and instead focus on news and current affairs programming.However, in a ruling published today, Ofcom’s Broadcast Licensing Committee rejected its request to vary its programming commitments.