DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – A U.S. group monitoring religious freedoms has hailed the release of a Christian pastor after nearly three years in custody in Iran.A statement by the U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom says it welcomes the release of Youcef Nadarkhani and urges Iran to free other “prisoners of conscience.”Nadarkhani had been held since October 2009 amid conflicting reports on the charges against him. Top Stories International rights groups said he faced the death sentence for refusing to renounce his Christian faith after he converted from Islam as a teenager. Iranian officials later claimed Nadarkhani was not jailed on religious grounds but was charged with rape and extortion.Iranian officials had no comment Sunday on the reports of Nadarkhani’s release. His whereabouts were not immediately known.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments Share Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center 5 treatments for adult scoliosis How do cataracts affect your vision?
CLIA Australasia held its glittering Awards night on Saturday (23 February 2019), with Phil Hoffman Travel, itravel Carlingford (NSW) and Nicole Edgar TravelManagers among the top winners.“We had a record number of submissions this year which made for a heightened level of competition,” said CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz. “It proves that travel agents are more engaged than ever and more dedicated to developing their cruise business, which makes them a key driver of the ongoing growth in the cruise industry.”A highlight honour was the induction of Crystal Cruises Managing Director & Senior Vice President Australia & New Zealand Karen Christensen into the CLIA Hall of Fame, recognising her for more than 30 years in the Australasian cruise industry and her long association with CLIA.SEE ALL THE WINNERS HERE CLIA Awards 2019
WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is holding her first briefing in more than a month, but the questions aren’t to come from working journalists.Sanders made herself available Thursday for what the White House said was a “kids-only press briefing” held for children participating in “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.”Journalists who cover President Donald Trump and the White House on a daily basis have been waiting for a similar opportunity since Feb. 28, the last time Sanders held a briefing.Questions about Sanders’ credibility resurfaced after special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report revealed she admitted to investigators she had made an unfounded claim that “countless” FBI agents had reached out to express support for Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.The Associated Press by The Associated Press Posted Apr 25, 2019 8:14 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Sanders holds 1st press briefing since Feb. 28, but for kids
Categories: Cox News,Cox Photos State Rep. Laura Cox, R-Livonia, is sworn in by Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. (left). She was joined by (from left) her daughter Sinéad, her husband Mike, and her parents Robert and Peggy Erpelding. 15Jan Rep. Cox sworn in for first term
Categories: Frederick News 01Feb Frederick lauds plan to increase government transparency Bipartisan bills subject governor’s office, legislature to open records rulesState Rep. Ben Frederick today joined his fellow representatives for a press conference to announce a bipartisan package giving the public more access to information from state government.Frederick, of Owosso, co-sponsored the reform plan, which makes the governor and lieutenant governor subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and creates a set of similar rules for state representatives and senators called the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).“This is a great move that will give the people of Michigan more confidence in the work we’re doing on their behalf,” Frederick said. “I was more than willing to comply with the Freedom of Information Act when I served as mayor for the city of Owosso, and I believe we should be held to the same transparency standards as state representatives. I’m here to represent the people of our district, they have the right to hold me accountable.”###
Categories: News,Whiteford News 25May Rep. Whiteford’s assigned claims reform bill approved by committee The House Insurance Committee took a step toward reforming claims involving uninsured motorists and pedestrians through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP) today, by approving legislation introduced by State Rep. Mary Whiteford.“This legislation is about protecting hard-working auto insurance payers by reducing fraud and bringing down the cost of auto insurance while still ensuring those that qualify receive the proper coverage.” said Whiteford, of Casco Township.Whiteford’s legislation clarifies the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility (MAIPF)’s function regarding eligibility and review of a claim involving uninsured pedestrians and motorists injured during an auto accident, which is needed before the claim is assigned to an insurance carrier to complete the process.This legislation is part of a four-bill legislative package that addresses the MACP to better refine the process for potential claims and reduce fraud. Whiteford joined fellow Reps. Curt VanderWall, Bronna Kahle and Hank Vaupel in testifying before the committee on May 18.The legislation advances to the House for its consideration.
State Rep. Joe Bellino of Monroe will host office hours on Monday, Oct. 23 to meet with residents of Monroe and Wayne counties.“Since taking office, I have held nearly 30 separate office hour sessions throughout our communities,” Rep. Bellino said. “I look forward to continuing to follow through on my commitment to remain accessible again this month.”Rep. Bellino will meet with residents at the following times and locations:10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Tim Hortons, 404 S. Monroe St. in Monroe;Noon to 1 p.m. at Biggby, 26614 Telegraph Road in Flat Rock; and6 to 7 p.m. at Little Brown Jug, 7697 Bluebush Road in Maybee.Appointments are not necessary during office hours. Anyone unable to attend is encouraged to contact Rep. Bellino’s office at (517) 373-1530, email JosephBellino@house.mi.gov or visit www.RepBellino.com. Categories: Bellino News 12Oct Rep. Bellino hosts local office hours
21Mar Hernandez Continues to Work for Better Roads Categories: Hernandez News LANSING – State Representative Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron), chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, and his colleagues on the committee advanced a transportation budget that continues to shift existing funding away from administrative and planning programs and puts more money into fixing Michigan roads.“I take my role as Chairman very seriously,” said Hernandez. “Our citizens are taxed enough. It’s our job as elected officials to do a better job of spending taxpayer’s money.”The budget passed out of subcommittee represents the third year of five funding increases planned to phase in the road funding package passed in 2015. Despite these additional funds, Representative Hernandez is focused on finding efficiencies to further increase road funding without raising taxes. Cuts in funding for department positions that have long gone unfilled, further scrutiny of spending on state owned airplanes, and using ‘toll credits’ that have been accumulated over time to draw down federal matching funds are a few of the ways additional dollars are directed toward infrastructure improvements in this budget.Not only does the budget increase funding for roads, but it also contains language meant to increase transparency in future road projects.“Citizens have the right to know how their money is being spent and the legislature has the duty to oversee every dollar spent as if it was our own,” stated Hernandez “We live in an internet age, and it is now easier than ever to find information. Government should be no different.”In addition to his own sub-committee work on the transportation budget, Representative Hernandez fought hard to ensure that the $175 million boost to transportation funding that Governor Snyder signed this week was done during the current fiscal year as opposed to waiting for current budget negotiations to conclude.“The number one concern I hear over and over from people in my district is that Michigan must finally figure out a way to improve our roads, and I couldn’t agree more” Hernandez continued. “I want to thank the Governor, and all the members of both the House and Senate for working together in order to get this done.”###
State Rep. Sue Allor’s plan to make state government more accountable to the people of Michigan was unanimously approved today by the Michigan House.Allor, of Wolverine, said Michigan is one of just two states that still exempts its governor and state legislators from open records laws. Her legislation is part of a bipartisan plan to end these exemptions and increase transparency in state government.“The people of Michigan have a right to know what their state government is doing and how public tax dollars are spent,” Allor said. “We must remove barriers that prevent the public from holding their elected state officials accountable.”The proposal will subject the governor and lieutenant governor to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and hold state representatives and senators to the same high standard by creating the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).While LORA mirrors FOIA in many ways, there are exemptions for constituent inquiries to ensure that personal information is protected and kept private. Other communications lawmakers have with state departments and lobbyists would not be exempt.House Bills 4007-13 and 4015-16 now advance to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: Allor News,News 19Mar Rep. Allor’s open records plan approved by Michigan House
Categories: Kahle News 22Jun Rep. Kahle proposes additional funds to bolster PFAS cleanup efforts State Rep. Bronna Kahle, of Adrian, this week announced a plan that would provide the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) much needed resources to better understand and track PFAS contaminated groundwater. The plan is part of a larger, bipartisan reform package addressing the safety and security of Michigan’s drinking water supply and recreational waterways. Kahle’s proposal would set aside $3 million annually to fund a geological survey that would help the state’s PFAS action response team.“Ensuring a clean, safe drinking water supply is a top priority – from the lakefront to the faucet and everywhere in between,” said Kahle. “Everyone in Lenawee and across the state deserves the peace of mind to know that our Michigan water is safe. I remain committed to protecting our families and neighbors by identifying sources of contamination, overseeing cleanup efforts, and finding long-term solutions to protect our water.”In addition to Kahle’s legislation, House Bill 4745, the package includes House Bills 4742-4769. The 14-bill reform proposal reforms water quality across the board: from improving municipal safeguards and oversight to tightening up environmental protection and conservation.Ensuring safe drinking water remains a top concern for families across Michigan, especially following the discovery of lead service lines in communities across our state and the detection of PFAS contamination at more than 1,100 sites, Kahle said.HB 4769 has been referred to House Committee on Appropriations for further consideration.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 23, 2014; Washington PostThe Attorney General in Virginia has decided that he will not defend the state’s recently adopted constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. More than that, a spokesperson for the newly elected Democrat, Mark Herring, stated that he will side with two same-sex couples that are taking Virginia to court, arguing that the Commonwealth’s amendment violates the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. Herring will ask the courts to strike down the Virginia amendment. “It’s time for Virginia to be on the right side of the law, and the right side of history,” he said.Predictably, the reactions to Herring’s decision have been swift and strong, as reported in the Washington Post. In the article, 20 people are quoted: seven Democratic legislators, nine Republican legislators, and four people who are community leaders but do not represent any specific political party. Not surprisingly, six of the Democrats support Herring’s decision and seven Republicans decry it.Of those who support the Attorney General, State Senator Adam Ebbin’s comment is quite representative: “Today is a proud day to be a Virginian. We are the birthplace of civil liberties, and it’s exciting to see Virginia getting this right.” House Speaker William House’s comment sums up the major argument of those who oppose Herring’s decision: “The attorney general has a constitutional and statutory obligation to enforce and defend the duly adopted laws and Constitution of Virginia. This is not an obligation that can be taken lightly. The attorney general’s decision today demonstrates a great deal of disregard for that obligation, as well as the legislative and democratic processes by which those laws are adopted.”In general, those who are against Herring in this decision suggest it is his responsibility to defend the Virginia constitution as written, whether he likes it or not. The fact is, these people argue, in 2006, over a million Virginians voted to amend the constitution to state that marriage is between a man and a woman. Those who support Herring in his decision have two main arguments. One is that Herring is echoing the emerging trend among citizens of the United States to accept same-sex marriage as a right. According to a recent poll, 58 percent of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be recognized and only 36 percent say it should be illegal. The other argument is that as Attorney General, Herring swore to uphold not only the constitution of Virginia, but that of the United States.The comments quoted in the Washington Post also run the gamut of civil discourse from practically rude to very thoughtful. For example, State Senator Richard Black is quoted as saying, “I don’t know what the difference between a dictatorship and this is.” On the other hand, Thomas Garrett, a fellow Republican State Senator, is more circumspect: “I don’t think he should do it, but I think he can do it, and I think it’s probably within his job description to do it if he thinks the ban conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.”Of course, Virginia is not alone in having voted such a constitutional amendment. As the case works its way through the courts, it will be interesting to watch reactions from leaders with White House aspirations in other states, such as Wisconsin, Texas, or Florida.—Rob MeiksinsShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
SeaChange has completed the sale of its broadcast server and storage business. The VOD technology company has also announced a customer win in Poland.The company’s sale of its broadcast server and storage business to XOR Media closed yesterday following regulatory approval. SeaChange is restructuring its business to focus on its software and services operations. Earlier this year the company reduced its workforce in a move that it said would result in over US$5 million (€3.8 million) in annualised cost reductions.Separately, Polish cable operator Vectra is using SeaChange’s Adrenalin back office to support the rollout of video-on-demand and future expansion into multiscreen services and social TV.“Consumers want ever more choice. After extending our digital TV offering with additional channels, VOD is an important first step towards a truly multiscreen video service for our customers,” said Tomasz Zuranski, CEO of Vectra. “SeaChange has extensive experience of successful multi-screen video deployments worldwide, both in software and system integration. They have been a valuable partner in defining and implementing an infrastructure that supports our business strategy. The Adrenalin video back office fits perfectly. It’s easy to integrate with our existing IT and conditional access system, it’s future-proof and it has an open architecture that allows us to freely choose the best-of-breed components for our headend as well as subscriber devices.”
Content delivery network specialist Akamai Technologies and Verimatrix have launched an alliance that integrates Akamai’s Sola Media Solutions’ viewer-enhancing client technologies into components of the Verimatrix Video Content Authority System (VCAS). The solution combines multi-network revenue security from Verimatrix with Akamai’s delivery acceleration and audience analytics technologies.“By aligning Akamai’s Sola Media Solutions’ capabilities with the Verimatrix VCAS offerings, we intend to add value for our customers by giving them greater visibility of, and control over, the performance of their premium video services,” said Troy Snyder, vice-president, business development, Akamai. “Working together with Verimatrix allows our two companies to better address the broader marketplace for multi-network digital TV services. The integration of VCAS stream security with Sola Media Solutions is expected to enable our customers to provide a high quality, and highly secure, viewing experience for their subscribers.”Separately, Verimatrix has partnered with TV software company Access to launch what the companies claim to be the first ‘studio confident’ media sharing solution. The solution features the integration of Verimatrix ViewRight security with the Access NetFront Living Connect DLNA Technology Component.
The EBU’s technology and innovation director Lieven Vermaele is to leave the organization to return to his native Belgium and take on the role of CEO of a technology startup.The EBU has announced that it is recruiting a replacement for Vermaele. The technology director reports to the EBU’s director-general and sites on the organisation’s management committee.
Caroline van Weede, managing director of Cable Europe, talks about digital growth in the cable industry and about regulatory issues.
UK cable operator Virgin Media is adding new 3D titles to its on-demand TV service. Around 50 hours of 3D content, including 3D Dive, Kalahari Meerkats and Monster Trucks will join Virgin Media’s on demand line-up from this month.Other forthcoming 3D titles include movie Jack the Giant Slayer, available from July 22, as well as TV shows from NMV, Discovery, Electric Sky TV, Vision TV and Sony TV.Movies such as Oz the Great and Powerful, the Oscar-winning Life of Pi and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey have been available in 3D this month.Kevin O’Neil, head of TV product management at Virgin Media said: “3D offers a unique and often breathtaking experience and our customers are making the most of Virgin Media’s 3D On Demand line-up to sit down and try it for themselves. We offer our customers a wide choice of content and 3D at no extra cost is proving to be a valuable addition for many of our TV fans.”
Digital UK has put its support behind broadcast regulator Ofcom’s plans to make better use of the ‘white space’ spectrum, but warned that appropriate measures should be taken “to protect terrestrial television services from interference.”In a response to Ofcom’s TV white space consultation, Digital UK’s joint submission – which represents the views of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva – backed “the principle of developing white space devices and Ofcom’s plans to explore ways of making more efficient use of spectrum.”“If deployed effectively, this area of innovation is expected to offer significant benefits for consumers, the broadcast industry and wider stakeholders. Potential applications identified by Ofcom include WiFi hotspots, rural broadband and machine-to-machine communications,” said Digital UK.However, the not-for profit organisation called on Ofcom to make sure that DTT services remained interference-free, adding that it was specifically concerned about “the impact on viewers using indoor aerials and the uncertainty caused by potential future changes in the amount of spectrum allocated to terrestrial television.”Digital UK manages strategy and policy for digital terrestrial television in the UK and led the successful implementation of digital TV switchover from 2008-2012. Ofcom is currently planning its pilot of innovative white space technology in the UK, which it claims is among the first of its kind in Europe.
Online video specialist Saffron Digital is to use the IBC show to launch Superfan TV, an OTT channel platform that connects talent, brands and broadcasters directly to their fan bases, according to the company.Based on Saffron Digital’s MainStage platform, Superfan TV is described by the company as an ‘out of the box’ OTT subscription channel which combines customer relationship management and social technology with Saffron Digital’s premium OTT platform. It is designed to enable talent and content owners to launch direct-to-consumer OTT channels that feature on demand and live video, value-added content and community engagement across smartphones, tablets and web.A debut service, The Paula Deen Network, featuring US chef Paula Deen, is set to launch on iOS, Android and web in late September.We are seeing a lot of top talent and brands disrupting the market with OTT offerings that increase their direct engagement with their fans. With that in mind we have created a product that lets them quickly and cost-effectively launch a premium video channel where they can give their fans exclusive content and convert those fans into paying subscribers. The Paula Deen Network has already attracted a lot of interest so we’re really excited about the potential when it launches in September,” said Jason Keane, Saffron Digital’s CEO.
Swedish cable operator Com Hem has struck an agreement with local network operator Stadsnät i Svealand AB that will see it distribute its services, including the TiVo advanced TV platform, to Stadsnät i Svealand customers.Stadsnät i Svealand delivers services to about 50,000 homes in the Mälardalen region in eastern central Sweden – specifically in the cities of Västerås, Eskilstuna, Hallstahammar and Arboga – the second largest urban area in the country after the capital, Stockholm.Stadsnät i Svealand AB sales and marketing chief Niklas Dennerås said the operator was pleased and proud to offer Com Hem services to its subscribers as one of the service providers available on the network.
Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Poland has extended its network to the city of Rzeszów in south-eastern Poland, where it will open its first sales point-of-presence on August 17.UPC will offer its full range of services in the city, including its Horizon advanced TV offering, broadband internet up to 250Mbps and telephony.The latest expansion means that UPC’s network now reaches over 2.7 million households across the country.Jerzy Gołębiowski, UPC board member responsible for development, said that UPC had targeted Rzeszów for expansion because it was a dynamic city with higher than average investment per capita.